Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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The Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, Esq. of Lincoln’s Inn. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 10.
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The Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, Esq. of Lincoln’s Inn.
“A rare example of the most disinterested, shrewd, and independent spirit, who, soon after he was called to the bar as a counsel, although possessed of abilities equal to any attainment in the law, found himself obliged to quit the practise of it, from the consideration of its subjecting him to the necessity of maintaining indiscriminately the cause of chicanery and falsehood, as well as that of right and justice. But he, nevertheless, continued to devote his time and his thoughts to the improvement of jurisprudence in general, and the development of errors in the legal system, not only of his own country, but even of France, in consequence of the Revolution that had lately taken place there; and to that end, he communicated to the National Assembly at Paris a plan, to be adopted by them for the improvement and establishment of a legal jurisdiction in that country, which was so well received, that he had their public thanks and acknowledgments, as appears by one of their periodical publications to the following effect: viz.
Du Courrier de Provence, No. 121.
Pour servir de suite aux Lettres du Cte. de Mirabeau à ses Commèttans.
Seances du Lundi 22 au 23 Mars, 1790, p. 123.
“Dans ce moment où l’Assemblée va s’occuper de l’Organisation du Pouvoir Judiciaire, nous presentons à nos Lecteurs comme une varieté des plus interessantes, l’extrait suivant d’un ouvrage manuscrit de M. Bentham, sur le plan du Comité de Constitution. Cet auteur Anglois, l’un des plus grands penseurs et des hommes les plus versés dans la Jurisprudence Legislative qui existent actuellement en Angleterre, a consacré par pure philanthropie, un temps precieux à l’etude des Lois françoises, à la recherche de celles qui conviennent le mieux au caractere nationale, et aux principes de la constitution que l’Assemblee a adoptée.”
From the Courier of Provence, No. 121.
To serve as a Continuation of the Letters of Count de Mirabeau to his Constituents.
The Sessions of Monday 22 to 23 of March, 1790, page 123.
“At the moment when the National Assembly was going to be employed about the Organization of the Justiciary Power, we present to our readers, as a variety the most interesting, a manuscript work of M. Bentham upon the plan of the Constitutional Committee. This English author, one of the deepest thinkers, and most conversant in Legislative Jurisprudence of any who are now in England, has consecrated, from the purest principles of philanthropy, his valuable time to the study of the French laws, to the examination of such as are most suitable to the national character, and to the principles of the Constitution which the Assembly has adopted.”
“And should this portrait ever chance to fall into the hands of any one (besides his own family) that may have the least inclination to know more of him than is above related, there is another portrait of him in full length, which, in 1789, was made a present of by his father to the Marquis of Lansdowne, at Lansdowne House in Berkeley Square, accompanied with a letter, explanatory of some particulars of that portrait, which, as it contains a further account of the original, and was honoured with an answer from his lordship, expressive of his esteem for the original, may possibly be considered as not altogether unworthy of notice by those whose curiosity may lead them to drop their eye upon the letters themselves, which are literally as follows, viz.:—
“My Good Lord,—
Your acceptance of a portrait of my eldest son is so flattering a testimony of your lordship’s friendship and regard for the original, that I cannot let it go without making my acknowledgments for the honour it does him, by giving it a place where there is so noble and valuable a collection, that I could wish the piece itself had more pretensions to such a distinction. The portrait, at least the capital part of it, I mean the head, was done by Frye, a painter of no small eminence in his time, and was then looked upon as a very striking resemblance, how little likeness soever there may appear to be now; but by the death of Frye before it was finished, the under part was the work of a different, and I am sorry to say of an indifferent hand. The two stanzas inscribed on it were part of a copy of verses of my son’s own composition in the collection of the university,—verses upon the occasion of the death of the late king, and the accession of his present majesty, and were introduced into the picture for the purpose of denoting the time when it was drawn, he being then a member of Queen’s College, Oxford, to which he was admitted when he was but thirteen years of age, and where he took his degree of A.B. at the age of sixteen, and his subsequent degree of A.M. by the time he was twenty, by which, as I was informed, he became the youngest graduate that had ever been in the regular course of education of either of our universities. With respect to the violin, which makes a part of the picture, it gives me occasion to mention, that before he was five years old, he wanted much to know the meaning of musical notes; and being told they could not be explained but by means of some instrument, a friend made him a present of a kind of violin called a kit; and as he had an ear, he was soon capable of playing several tunes, which afterwards encouraged me to give him the assistance of a master of the profession. That he has at present, and has always had so much of the philosopher in him, your lordship will probably think it the less to be wondered at when I tell you that some of those who knew him when only five years of age, used to call him by that name; and if he really was one, he must, indeed, be said to be the Minute Philosopher, although he could not be supposed to be one of those whom the late Bishop Berkeley attacked with so much spirit in a book he published under the title of the ‘Minute Philosopher.’ These few anecdotes I have taken the liberty to mention, by way of explanation of the picture, is the only addition your lordship would have occasion for to know as much of the person they relate to as his father, since, to the best of my recollection, he has past more days, and slept more nights under your lordship’s roof from the time of his going from Westminster School to Oxford, than he has ever done under mine.
“As natural as it may be for a parent to extend his views and wishes with respect to his children, I am, however, become so much of a philosopher by contracting mine as to content myself with the reflection, that the satisfaction my son enjoys arises so much from himself, that no accidents of life are likely to deprive him of it while he has that share of the health and soundness of mind which he has at present, and which seem to promise to be lasting.
“That it may long continue to be so when I am no more, is a wish with which, I persuade myself, your lordship will have the goodness to allow me to conclude the trouble I have now given you, together with the assurance that I am, with the most perfect regard, my good lord, your lordship’s most obedient and very humble servant,
“Queen’s Square Place,
No one could make me a more acceptable present than the picture you have been so good as to send me of your son. The character you give of him, makes his society invaluable to me, whose lot it has been, hitherto, to spend my life in a political hospital. His disinterestedness and originality of character, refresh me as much as the country air does a London physician. Besides, Lord Wycombe loves him as much as I do; so that his portrait will be sure to be respected for two generations: but I beg you will say nothing to him of the present which you have been so good as to make me.
“I hope you will present my respects to Mrs Bentham, and that you will believe me, with great regard, your faithful humble servant.
“To Jereh. Bentham, Esq.”
“Meus Cujusque is est Quisque.”
As an example of the different styles of Bentham and Romilly, I give a passage, as it was originally written by the former and improved on by the latter. It can scarcely be denied that the emendations have enfeebled the text—and that the diffnseness of the elaborating critic has added little to the clearness of the first conception:—
“The Sudder-Adawlut presents itself here, of course, to every one who recollects anything of English-East-India Judicature. To others how can this oriental field of judicature be pointed out? In English there is no name for it. In Hebrew some have rendered it Aceldama. To complete the triumph of iniquity, the chapel of St Stephen is now also marked out for an Aceldama. Is there nobody left whose honest zeal will stand forth once more and endeavour to cleanse it from such contamination? Does it follow that, because one parliament has refused to punish a Judge for not having reprieved a criminal indubitably guilty, another will refuse to punish?”
“The Sudder-Adawlut must here occur to every one, who is at all acquainted with the history of English-East-India Judicature. To those who are strangers to the disgraceful history, it must be difficult to express all the ideas which the right word conveys. The Hebrew language, indeed, has a word which may serve to explain them, which most men have heard of—Aceldama. The Sudder-Adawlut will not, it is to be hoped, be forgotten by the members of the British Parliament, now that they have a living memorial of it among themselves; for it will hardly be contended that a resolution by one parliament not to prosecute for one crime, can operate as a bar to the prosecution of any other parliament for any other crimes. A resolution of the House of Commons not to prosecute, will hardly be thought to have the wonderful efficacy which the law of England ascribes to the king’s pardon, that of saving the offender from punishment, not only of the offence of which he has been convicted, but for all former crimes; and of doing away with, not only the amenability to law, but even the criminality of the offender; so that a man who stood one day at the bar of the House, charged with crimes and misdemeanours, shall, by the magic of a single vote, be qualified to take his seat among the prosecutors of Indian delnquency.”
The following is a letter written at this period to Brissot:—