Front Page Titles (by Subject) II.: Course and Plan of Instruction, in the cases of Adults. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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II.: Course and Plan of Instruction, in the cases of Adults. - 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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Course and Plan of Instruction, in the cases of Adults.
“His course is, in the first instance, to teach them to read in Irish; for which purpose he has caused to be printed Lesson Books.
“Those who are taught thus to read, are many, if not most of them, taught to write. A higher stage of instruction, to which not so large a number have been admitted, is that by which they learn to read and write English.
“The plan by which so prodigious a spread has been given to the quantity of instruction, all of it having for its original source the labour of one man, has been thus:—He began with teaching at one and the same time, a set as numerous as he could collect at one and the same place; but to this course none were admitted as disciples, but upon condition of their serving, each of them, if required, in the capacity of a teacher, to another such set, administering, in the same mode, the instruction he had received.
“By himself the instruction administered has always been perfectly gratuitous: and by every disciple and disciple’s disciple, and so on for ever, it has been administered on the same generous terms.
“In England, his pupils and disciples being day-labourers, and, as such, not having command of their own time, the hours for receiving the instruction on the one part, and for administering it on the other, could only be for the few hours which, in that condition in life, can be stolen from hard labour and repose—viz. from two to three hours in a working-day. In this state of things he has seldom been able to render the number in any set greater than 24; but in Ireland, where to so great an extent the tillers of the ground work each of them on his own account, this number is commonly much greater.
“The time which, at the above rate of working, has, in the instance of each set, been sufficient for perfecting the scholars in the reading of their own language, has been from two months to three months at the outside. I am not at present able to say, whether, in the course of this time, any have made any advances in the faculty of writing. Of those who are become perfect in their first lesson, some, while learning a second lesson, take a new set, and teach them the first lesson; and so on.
“When the inhabitants of one village have thus been taught by him, his way has been—to stretch at once to some other village, about twenty miles distant from the first; leaving the villages in the interval to be taught by his disciples.
“I have not learnt as yet from whence he has drawn his small resources. His own mode of living is frugal in the extreme. To the extent of my own observation he has refused all pecuniary assistance.
“I had begun concerting with him a plan for the increase of the number of the books which he distributes among his scholars: but, without my having received notice, I know not how it happened, he went off about two months ago for Ireland.
“He gave me the history of his parentage, of his education, and of the incidents by which he was led into this track of beneficence. Interesting as they are, time will not admit of my committing to paper any such details.
“The lessons he employs for instruction are taken out of the Bible; but he avoids all topics characteristic of different sects. For this cause, his life and those of his disciples have been repeatedly put in danger, by persons set on by Catholic priests.
“Amongst his disciples, one particularly remarkable is a man of the name of Ford. Some highly intelligent friends of mine have been, and could at any time be, in communication with him. This man is but a day-labourer; and to his energetic mind, he adds no skill capable of giving an extra value to his bodily labour. At about thirty or forty miles distance from London, during the hours which he could steal from bodily labour, he has for years, under the guidance of Mr Connellan, been another and successful instructor of his countrymen, during their correspondent hours. During our late distresses, being one of the multitude who were unable to find employment, he was in danger of perishing, and his beneficial labours were necessarily suspended. Some friends of the system succeeded in procuring him admittance, always in the quality of day-labourer, into the Government dock-yard at Chatham: his school was then revived, and, by the last accounts I have heard, continues.
“During one of these intervals of distress, his patron, Mr Connellan, on departing for Ireland, left him an order upon somebody for a twopenny loaf, to be delivered to him every day, on being called for. To the patron, on his return, this order was returned unemployed. The disciple had, somehow or other, found means to subsist without it.
“Upon the above grounds, the plan which I take the liberty, Sir, of submitting to your consideration, is this:—
“Assured of the principle upon which this scheme of benevolence has, with so much perseverance, and to so great an extent, been already carried on, I take for granted, that, though the here proposed extension of the scene is so far distant from this country as New York, there exists in the mind of the master-workman, and some of his principal under-workmen, a spirit equal to the attempt, on the supposition that the necessary, though no more than absolutely necessary, means were put into their hands. I write without communicating even with the above-named Ford; the departure of my friend, your above-named fellow-citizen, not admitting of it.
“The terms for which I should expect to find acceptance at their hands, are as follows:—
“1. Disciples of Mr Connellan, to the number of two, three, or more, to have the expense of their freight and subsistence to New York defrayed: the money not to pass through their hands.
“2. On their arrival, labourer’s pay to be insured to them, at a rate which need not exceed the lowest rate, they giving the whole of their bodily labour for it, if required; but, in this case, the hours during which they could administer instruction, could not, of course, be more than such as they could steal from labour and repose.
“3. Each man to be sent back to this country, or to Ireland, whichever country he came from, in the same manner—that is, free from expense—at any time after, and within a certain time to be named, upon his requiring it.
“With the favourers of this proposal, if it should find any, it will be for their consideration whether to add to the above manifestly indispensable assistance, anything to look to in the shape of reward, in case of success, according to such description as might be given of the different degrees of success, of which the undertaking is susceptible.
“The proofs of success might be rendered the subject of public exhibition: reading in public—writing in public.
“To the instructors, with or without the addition of a select number of the instructed pupils, could grants of land, for example, be made on terms more favourable in this or that particular, than ordinary terms? Such grants confined of course to such, if any, so circumstanced as to be found capable of occupying the lands in person to their advantage; for as to grants made with no other expectation than that of the lands being sold, half of this sort would manifestly be but so much waste.
“In the midst of their poverty, the Irish of the labouring classes, I understand from Mr Connellan, are at least pretty extensively addicted to gaming—to wit, in the shape of card-playing. As to his pupils, as they learnt to read, they very generally, so he informed me, left off gaming. If thus by reading, men in that condition have been weaned from vice in that shape, why not from vice in the shape of drunkenness?
“The small pecuniary means, which on these terms would be necessary, with what prospect of success can they be looked for? Any public fund? or beneficence purely private exercised in the way of subscription? On this subject, all conjecture is, of course, beyond the competence of any such stranger as myself.
“The person to receive and supply the money would, I suppose, be some citizen of New York, whose station, whether in or not in office, happens to be in this country. That for any such purpose, the person to whose lot it has fallen to be giving you this trouble, is altogether out of the question, is sufficiently evident.
“P.S.—To make provision against accidents, I propose sending a duplicate, or the equivalent, through some other channel.
“To the Honourable De Witt Clinton, Governor of the State ofNew York.
Governor Plumer to Bentham.
“United States, New Hampshire,
Agreeably to my intimation to you in my letter of the 2d of October 1817, I communicated to the Legislature of New Hampshire, at their last Session, the papers that you had previously transmitted to me. They referred them to a committee, who reported that the farther consideration of them should be postponed to their next Session, which report the Legislature accepted. What course the Legislature will eventually adopt, in relation to the principles you so ably recommend, is not certain; but ’tis a fact that your writings, where they are read and candidly examined, produce an effect favourable to the rights and interests of the people.
“Under other envelopes, I have sent you a letter from my eldest son, who is a member of the Legislature; and also a copy of my last public message to the Legislature.—The ill state of my health, and my advanced years, have induced me to withdraw my name from the list of candidates for the gubernatorial chair for the next year. My term of office will therefore expire on the first Wednesday of June next. But whether in public or private life, permit me to assure you that I am, and ever shall remain, with much respect and esteem, &c.
J. B. Say to Bentham.
“October 7, 1818.
“Our revolution had created a tabula rasa. Buonaparte covered the field with despotic institutions, and that deliberately, introducing more encumbrances than existed before. This is the evil still pressing on us. Must we again set fire to the whole edifice? It is a cruel, perhaps a dangerous, experiment.
“Our administrators of communes and of departments are but pachas, who, in doing the work of their masters, do their own,—but never the work of those who are subjected to them.
“But opinion speaks out,—and this is something,—for our government is weak and foolish,—led under the worst auspices, and badly supported. The state of parties is curious. The ministry is Buonapartist, and persuades the legitimate family that the nation must be governed and bridled, as it was governed and bridled by Napoleon. But the ministry has few supporters, except among the salaried, or those who expect to be salaried.
“The ultra-royalists represent your Opposition. They have no other grief than that they are out of place, and want their doctrines to prevail that they may turn them to personal account. But they have for leaders the whole family of the Bourbons,—though the Bourbons think more of themselves than of their followers. Money, however, and favours are distributed among them,—but no power. In the nation, this faction has no support, except among a few prolétaires and fanatics; and these diminish daily.
“The Independents or Liberals constitute the great mass of the nation,—and what is strange, the march of other nations is like our own. Our people read not, heed not what yours are doing: yours seem as careless—and so it is everywhere.—A change must take place,—the difficult question is, the when and the how.”
Romilly died in November, 1818. His death affected Bentham much,—for though in many points they differed, Romilly and his wife were most loveable beings, and among the few who could ever induce Bentham to quit his Hermitage and mingle with the world. They met so frequently, that though multitudes of communications passed between them, they consisted principally of short notes, making appointments at each other’s houses,—or arrangements, almost always terminating in personal interviews. Romilly’s attachment to Bentham was most affectionate,—his reverence for his opinions and character great,—and their mutual intercourse was to each a source of varied and virtuous enjoyment.
In answer to a request from the Mutual Improvement Society, that Bentham would be their chairman at an anniversary dinner, he sent this reply:—
“Queen’s Square Place,Westminster,
I have to acknowledge the favour of your letter of the 10th inst. It is with sincere regret that I must confess my misfortune, in not being able to avail myself of an invitation, which is so honourable to me, and so kindly announced to me.
“Not to speak of other infirmities, a weakness I have in my eyes would be sufficient to prevent my existing, in a room such as that in question, otherwise than in such a state of sufferance as, by their view of it, would suffice to cloud with sympathetic concern the festivity of the social board.
“Even setting aside so insuperable a bar, you will be disposed (I think) to regard with indulgence, my wish to stand excused from accepting the intended honour, when you reflect upon my time of life, coupled with those parts of my character which appear to have recommended me to your notice. For these many years, so exclusively have I devoted my applicable hours to my endeavours toward the service of mankind, upon the largest scale within my power, that I have turned an inexorable ear to all dinner invitations: for, of the quantity of time which might otherwise be employed at my desk, any such visits would unavoidably consume a portion, the waste of which I could not endure the thoughts of. The last house I continued visiting at dinner-time was Romilly’s, and that not more than once in a twelvemonth.
“You see, Sir, that I choose to call forth your smiles, not to say your laughter, by that garrulity which is apt to be the concomitant of old age, rather than my sensibility to your kindness, and the regret which I really feel at not having it in my power to take my patrons by the hand, should be exposed to doubt. I say my patrons: for mine you are more properly than I yours.
“As it is to your opinion of my pursuits, and my perseverance in them, that I stand indebted for all the tokens I have received of your regard, it has occurred to me to transmit to you, Sir, if the state of my eyes will allow me to get them up, a few papers, which, if the reading of any of them should be thought conducive to the entertainment of any of the company, may serve to convey some idea of the prospects, and even of some effects of a more substantial nature, of which those pursuits have been productive. I say it with perfect sincerity,—the apprehension lest a society which stands so high in my estimation should suffer in its prosperity, from having given the appellation of its patron, to a man so destitute of all those objects of admiration, the possession of which is so commonly regarded as an indispensable requisite to every man on whom any such title is bestowed,—it is by this apprehension, I say, rather than by anything else, that the idea of sending to you these same papers was suggested to me. ‘I see not,’ I said to myself, ‘in what way I can be of use to them; let me, at any rate, do whatever may be in my power, towards lessening whatever injury they may have done themselves by the sort of notice they have taken of me.’ ‘Theoretical, visionary, Utopian, Jacobinical, impracticable:’ in terms of reproach such as these, is constituted the sort of return, which from the first I was prepared to receive, in large proportion, for all my labours, and which I have accordingly been in the habit of receiving in the expected abundance. What, however, the papers in question may help to show, is, that from foreign countries, at any rate, this is not the only sort of return that I have received; and if in any degree they should be found to relieve my own name from any of these reproaches, the contents of the same papers may, I hope, in a correspondent degree help to save from the like imputations the views and occupations of my worthy friends, whose endeavours and affections are so congenial to my own.*
“Though it has been necessary for me to make allusion to my infirmities, let not the general hilarity be damped by any such feelings of sympathy as, if unexplained, a word like this might be apt to excite. That these infirmities, too unquestionable as they are, are by no means incompatible with cheerfulness, nor even with gaiety, some individuals of your number may, perhaps, have had occasion to observe; that though I go nowhere except on a walk for fresh air, as a substitute for physic, I have the good fortune of not being altogether destitute of friends, by whose favour I can hold occasional communication, at my humble distance, with the world at large.
“Without you troubling yourself, Sir, to inform me, I shall have no difficulty in hearing the exact day of your festive meeting; and while, in full assembly, you are giving expression to your kind wishes for my health over some more luxurious liquor, I shall be doing the like, on my part, for the prosperity of your society, in company with one or two friends, over my small-beer, which, with that fountain of faculties, tea, has for many years composed my only beverage.—Believe me now as ever, Sir, yours and the Society’s faithful friend and servant,
“To Mr Thomas Tucker, Secretary for the Society for Mutual Improvement.”
In a letter to Mr W. Thompson, of Cork, who had consulted him on the subject of establishing a Chrestomathic school in that place, Bentham says:—
Bentham to Mr Thompson.
“7th April, 1819.
“An undertaking such as yours should, if I mistake not, be preceded by all the appropriate lights which the circumstances of the time can be made to afford. Those I have in view are,—1. Mr Matheson’s Institution. 2. The great orthodox school, called the National Society School, carried on, on Dr Bell’s plan. 3. The great Schismatic school, carried on, on Lancaster’s plan, called the British and Foreign School Society. 4. The great school, or schools, at Edinburgh; of which last, if you have a copy of my Chrestomathia, you see an account in the Appendix. Of the Bell school and Lancaster school, a general idea cannot but be more or less familiar to you. Within the field of reading, writing, and common arithmetic, all the instruction they afford is comprehended. To these, Mr Matheson’s Institution adds a further acquaintance with arithmetic, book-keeping, Latin and French. Of the rapidity with which the arithmetical operations are there performed, as likewise the grammatical, so far as regards the parsing, construing, and the rules of prosody, I, as well as several very intelligent friends of mine, have been eye-witnesses,—it is only not miraculous. With regard to French, it may serve for understanding and silent reading; but for speaking, it is anything rather than French. Mr Matheson’s dialect, so Scotsmen say, is of the broadest of broad Scotch. But to the purpose in question this matters nothing. By all this, you will say, much exercise and strength may be, and doubtless is, given to the memory; but, perhaps, little to the judgment, and not a great deal more to the conception, except as to the mere signs. This I should expect to find the case. But according to my notion of the matter, confirmed by that of others, you must either lose a great many years of time, or be content with a very weak association between the signs and the ideas. But when once the signs are lodged in the memory, and the corresponding ideas by ever so weak a string hooked on to them, the association becomes gradually stronger and stronger, and the ideas clearer and more expanded.
“What you seem to require as indispensable from the beginning, I acknowledge to be necessary to perfect intellection; but it is what I should be content to find at the conclusion of the course, and I have very little expectation of finding anything like it at the commencement. Be this as it may, promptitude seems to me to be a habit of prime importance; and when acquired with relation to any one subject, it seems applicable, with more or less advantage, and with a greater or less degree of facility, to every other. What you have probably heard of the alacrity inspired by the new mode of instruction, is realized in Mr Matheson’s, I am informed, in a very extraordinary degree. The great difficulty is, I am told, to tear the boys from the work, not to set them to it.”
On inviting Mr Thompson to his house, he gives this account of his domestic habits:—
“29th Sept. 1819.
“During your stay in London, my hermitage, such as it is, is at your service, and you will be expected in it. I am a single man, turned of seventy; but as far from melancholy as a man need be. Hour of dinner, six; tea, between nine and ten; bed, a quarter before eleven. Dinner and tea in society; breakfast, my guests, whoever they are, have at their own hour, and by themselves; my breakfast, of which a newspaper, read to me to save my weak eyes, forms an indispensable part, I take by myself. Wine I drink none, being, in that particular, of the persuasion of Jonadab the son of Rechab. At dinner, soup as constantly as if I were a Frenchman, an article of my religion learnt in France: meat, one or two sorts, as it may happen; ditto sweet things, of which, with the soup, the principal part of my dinner is composed. Of the dessert, the frugality matching with that of the dinner. Coffee for any one that chooses it.”
Major Cartwright to Bentham.
“37, Burton Crescent,
“My dear Friend,—
The letter of Sir Francis Burdett is above all praise. I rejoice that Westminster is so prompt in meeting on this great occasion. She, I trust, will set an example worthy of the whole kingdom. But the occasion demands that even the bloody atrocity at Manchester, while written in words of fire that shall cause the hearts of Englishmen to burn within them, ought still to be treated as a mere illustration of the necessity of restoring the constitution, civil and military; for hath not that atrocity been a direct consequence of the actual subversion of that constitution?
“If this moment be rightly improved, a great light shall burst forth, and our country shall be saved. The baronet’s letter, in unison with the general feeling, will have prepared the public mind for a welcome reception of constitutional truth. But the crisis requires the pen, not only of patriot virtue, but of enlightened statesmanship and of profound philosophy. Let England and mankind have the benefit of yours!
“Most sincerely do I now wish, that the task of preparing two bills, for restoring the constitution in both its branches, had been undertaken by some one more competent to the work, than the volunteer whose zeal in the cause prompted the attempt. It would, at this crisis, have been an incalculable advantage, had the undertaker of the work stood on the loftiest height of reputation for talent and learning, that so the nation might willingly have followed the banner of such a leader to their salvation.
“But as Providence sometimes works by inferior agents, and, as on the present occasion, where not invention, but restoration,—where not original planning by a legislative architect, but repairing by a pupil, (provided fidelity to the original were but secured,) was all that was immediately indispensable, nothing more as to the work itself was perhaps wanting; although a great name might have commanded the aid that is necessary for a full accomplishment of the ultimate design and object in view.
“But if great names shall now sanction the work, such as it is; if those whose approbation can stamp on it the necessary value for currency, shall confer on it that value; all may yet be well.
“The late Lord Liverpool remarked, that ‘Our Saxon ancestors, as much as they are ridiculed for their ignorance and barbarity, were possessed of one piece of knowledge, superior in real use to many modern refinements,—I mean that of wisely constituting civil societies: their military establishments were, however, the distinguishing parts of their Government.’
“The two bills alluded to, would, as I presume, completely restore the plain Saxon fabric of our freedom: which done; then, taught by our experience the fatal consequence of wanting a written delineation of our constitution, with a correspondent code of ascertained and unpervertiblelaw, these might, and I presume they would, be early supplied.
“I send for your perusal a letter to E. B. Wilbraham, towards the end of which you will see what is said of one of the two bills above spoken of, as a rallying standard to the Reformers. As such, that bill was expressly pointed out at Birmingham; and the extensive and still increasing call for its principles and provisions, seem to manifest the policy of holding it up as such a standard.
“I would to God it had been, as it might have been, the bill of him for whom it was originally framed, and lay for more than a year for his adoption! or I would it had been that of a still higher authority in the science of legislation, and who has, in fact, given its principles a foundation of adamant!
“But what might have been most desirable is not now the question; but what, with the materials in our hands, is practicable? If the existing bill, for restoring the civil branch of the constitution, be but competent to the end in view, is it not the best policy of the crisis to hold it up as a rallying standard?
“It has been well observed, that resolutions expressive of mere opinions, are at the best unembodied abstractions, not calculated to take such hold of the human mind, as practicable systems of conduct for public salvation; since the one leads only to thought, the other to profitable action.
“And if the bill for restoring the military branch of the constitution, which is ready in manuscript, would perfect the foundation of our freedom, is not the crisis peculiarly favourable for a call to introduce it?
“I am well aware of the narrow views too often taken of extraordinary events, and of the cobbling expedients usually adopted by uncomprehensive minds; but I hope that the work of master spirits only, will be visible on this occasion in Westminster.
“The first meeting on this business, in the Strand on the 21st of this instant, was a mere hasty preliminary—a mere incitement. It was without any prospect of a patronage calculated to render it a national example.
“The whole country, after Sir Francis Burdett’s letter, will look to Westminster for a right line of conduct. Let it be such as an occasion of such infinite importance demands, for calling forth energies to save the state! Let the bravest hearts and ablest heads be brought together without delay!
“If aught in nature would afford evidence that nothing short of radical reform can produce a power able to avert from our country complete slavery, we have, and in abundance, that evidence.
“And, in that evidence, we have the proof, that radical reform is in strict accordance with the eternal law of Nature, which is the law of the Deity for individual and national self-preservation; and that it is the only complete guarantee of internal right, justice, order, and tranquillity; as it likewise is, for a perfect invulnerability from external hostility or annoyance.—Yours truly.”
Bentham to Sir Francis Burdett.
“Much esteemed Disciple,—
Man proposes: God disposes. In the event of a removal, I have all along had it fully in contemplation to profit by thy kind invitation last year signified; but Providence has ordained it otherwise. The cold weather is now come: to my weak eyes the heat and light of an ordinary fire are altogether unsupportable. I have here, as thou mayest perhaps remember, an apparatus for keeping the seat of my meditations in a state of moderate warmth, without visible fire. At Ford Abbey I had an apparatus for that same purpose: otherwise I could not, as in winter I did, have sojourned there.
“The produce of thy fields arrived here in safety: it hath assisted me in the support of my mortifications.
“Forget not the children of men: wicked and ungrateful as they are, keep thyself for their sake. For this cause, understanding that thy health is concerned therein, I hereby grant thee my dispensation; permitting thee to run after Foxes; yea, also after hares and Partridges.
“Ce qui est differé n’est pas perdu, sayeth a French proverb.—Receive the blessing of
“The Hermit of Queen’s Square Place.
“Given at this my hermitage, this 5th October, 1819.”
Notes made by Bentham in his Memorandum-book, 1818-19.
“Antiquation—terminative or abrogative; Do. confirmative, terminative, or abrogative,—is the operation performed by the statute called of Limitations, and other such laws. In the case of the parties in whose favour the termination or abrogation is effected, is in the possession of a real entity, as a piece of land or a receivable article,—by the same operation of law by which the right of the party not in possession is terminated or abrogated, that of the party in possession is confirmed.
“The term limitation in use in English law, is not specific enough. The other term in use in Roman law, prescription, is shockingly inapt: in English law not less so. In each case it requires a long explanation to afford the glimpse of a meaning.
“In both cases, the act really done, it is the law and the law alone that does it—or causes one party to have the right in question, the other not to have it. What, by the term prescription, is the act said to be done, is the act of the party: a party by whose act, without the law, no effect can be produced. The act of writing, says the portion ‘script’ or ‘scription:’ bearing some relation to some object, says the proposition ‘prœ’: what the relation is, what the object, to neither of these questions does it afford the least glimpse of an answer.
“By something which he is to write, or cause to be written, the party is to call upon the constituted authorities to concur in the production of the effect in question in respect of the right; which done, the law commands them to act accordingly. This, such as it is, is the intimation conveyed, or endeavoured to be conveyed, by the legislator, or in the case of judge-made law, the judge, by the use thus made of the words, prescription.”
“Murder upon a small scale—no: that is not good. Why? Because we are used to see men hanged for it. Murder on the largest scale. Oh, that is most excellent! Why? Because we are used to see men crowned for it.”
“Evil, to which it is quite sure that it is impossible for you to apply any the least remedy, think as little of as possible: the more you think of it the more you increase it.”
“Oppression well exemplified by anticombination and anti-emigration laws. Anti-combination acts prevent men from earning subsistence at home; Anti-emigration acts from earning it abroad: both join in driving men into the poor-house and suborning suicide.”
“For reputation, considered as one of the shapes of good, say estimation—it may include esteem and respect.”
“Relation of emotion, affection, passion, and humour, to pleasure and pain, and thereby to one another:—
“An act is said to be the result or effect of an emotion, when the motive by which it is regarded as produced is a pleasure or pain considered as transient:—of an affection, when it is regarded as the result of a permanent, or say, an habitual, state of mind in which sympathy or antipathy towards the object in question, and consequently the pleasures and pains corresponding to them, are regarded as frequently having place:—of a passion—of a state of mind transient or permanent, in which the emotion or affection is regarded as being in a high degree of intensity:—of a man’s humour, when the emotion, or affection, or passion, is regarded as being produced by an incident, or sort of incident by which it is seldom or never produced in any other, or in more than a few other minds, in any degree, or in a degree equal to that in which it is produced in the mind in question.”
“Motives—Purity of Motives.—The sources of the indefatigable pretensions on this head.—1. Strength of self-regarding affection on the part of the speaker or writer. 2. Perception of the prodigious strength of authority—of authority-begotten prejudice—of the magnitude of the part which derivative judgment has—of the smallness of the parts which self-formed judgment has—in the determination of human conduct upon the whole.”
“Ordo for Deontology (private.)—1. Prudence (self-regarding.) 2. Justice. 3. Beneficence and benevolence. Prudence first: because, 1. Self-regarding affection is more necessary than sympathetic is to man, with relation to existence, and thence to happiness; to man in general, therefore to every man. 2. The subject is more simple: to wit, one human being alone—in the first instance. But prudence will be to be divided into, 1. Purely self-regarding; 2. Extra-regarding: self-regarding, as exercised when the welfare of no other person is at stake.”
“Logic, alias Metaphysics, is the art and science whereby clearness, correctness, completeness, and connexity are given to ideas: its usefulness is in the joint ratio of the importance of the ideas to which it applies itself—to the ideas themselves—and hence to the expressions whereby they are designated—since it is only by means of this sign that these qualities, or any qualities, can for any length of time be given to the ideas.
“By Logic, alias Metaphysics, reason is applied to these several purposes.—‘I hate metaphysics,’ quoth Edmund Burke, in his pamphlet on the French Revolution. He may safely be believed. He had good cause to hate it. The power he trusted to was oratory—rhetoric—the art of misrepresentation—the art of misdirecting the judgment by agitating and inflaming the passions.”
“Defence against Edinburgh Review.—Men’s minds are known, not from professions but from circumstances. When a man has read, first the Reviewer’s expressed or insinuated opinions, then my real ones, then let him say to himself whether there is a shade of difference.
“To J. B. no small advantage to have the real opinion of such authority on his side.”
“Constitutional Law.—When a business is to be done, to do which in perfection may, in respect of local knowledge, require the operation of subordinate bodies, the legislature should do the business itself in the first instance, by arrangements not to take effect till a more or less distant day assigned, giving intimation to the subordinates to suggest amendments in the meantime:—instance, making or amending territorial divisions—counties and sub-counties—parishes and sub-parishes.”
“If Christianity be the law of the land, disobedience to the precepts in the sermon on the Mount is an indictable offence.”
“Associated Suppressors of Free Inquiry.—They are paid for supporting what? The truth? No! but that which is given them to support, whether it be true or no—like the hirelings of the law, purchasable male prostitutes.”
“In Britain, the ruling few are in a constant state of alarm. Why? Because the government is a continued system of oppression and injustice.
“In the United States, they know not what alarm is. Why? Because, not having power to oppress, they never do oppress.”
“By assuming extra-sapience, despots, instead of warranting despotism, warrant it by adding insult to it.
“The security of the people is as the strength of the people: the strength of a people (in every constitution but a democratical) is as the weakness of the government.”
“Use of the Rules of Deontology.—Being at times free from excitation, stored up in the mind, afterwards under excitation, viz.—by imprudence or maleficence—they may become useful, by checking the bad passion at its commencement.
“By being put into verse, their usefulness might be much increased.”
“Character—cast of mind,—better than turn or frame.”
“To each man the court of public opinion is that which sits in the circle in which he moves.”
“J. B.’s knowledge of the World, Whig Lords, &c.—Those who live with them, and, by describing their doings and looking at their titles, pretend to know what they are,—know only what they say. I, who might have lived with them, and would not live with them,—and who neither know nor care what they say,—know, and without living with them, what they think.”
“Similes, however fantastic, supposing them not inapposite, are of real use, viz. to conception. By adding to a generically, specifically, individually, designative conception, they give to it a determinateness and clearness which otherwise it might not have. Dead as a nit—as a door-nail, &c.”
“For diet, nothing but self-regarding affection will serve: but for a dessert, benevolence,—even universal benevolence is, make the least of it, a very valuable addition. Universal beneficence is within the power of very few,—benevolence, in its conceivable extent, is within the power of all.”
“All reading pro forma is non-reading.”
“Interest appeals to the will, argument to the understanding. What can argument do against interest? The understanding is but the servant—the very slave to the will. What can be done against the master by application to the slave?”
“Deontology private.—Beneficence, self-regarding motives conducing to the exercise of it.—
“N.B.—Justice is but beneficence—positive or negative—considered in respect of certain occasions on which it is exercised.
“Beneficence may be considered as exercised,—
“1. Towards all persons, without distinction.
“2. Towards persons standing, with reference to the agent, in the relation of equals, superiors, and inferiors.
“Self-regarding motives for exercising beneficence towards all, without distinction:—
“1. By the services in question, probability created for the receipt of other services to an indefinite extent.
“2. Present exercise of power: thence enjoyment of the pleasure of power. Without sacrifice of self-regarding interest in any shape, almost every man in these ways advances it. Every man has more or less of time during which he has nothing particular to do. Let him employ it in beneficence.
“Justice is beneficence: in the cases in which the non-performance of it is considered as punished, or punishable by the force of one or other of the several sanctions: principally the political, including the legal, and the moral or popular sanction.
“In the above distinction, no reference is made to the occasion.
“The occasion is either permanent or transient. The permanent are those which are afforded by permanent situations.
“Permanent situations are those which are created by the several relations in life.
“These are either, 1. Private, or 2. Public. To the class of private belong domestic or family relations: to the public, those belonging to the official establishment.”
“Precedent.—The habit of taking it for a rule in the practice of the legislature, is an expedient employed for supporting abuse against utility and reason: precedent being an avowed substitute for reason, and all precedents the results of the predominance of the sinister interests of the ruling few.”
“For a share of power, a man will do many a bad thing which he would scarcely do for any sum of money. Why? Because in what he does for the power, there are so many to give him countenance and support.”
“The physical world is kept in the state we see it in, by the result of the contest between the principles of attraction, and those of repulsion. So likewise in the moral world.
1820—23. Æt. 72—75.
Libel Law in the United States.—Mr Rush.—Rivadavia.—Blaquiere.—Spanish Politics.—Dr Bowring’s Introduction to Bentham.—Townsend the Traveller.—Extracts from Note-Book.—Table of Fallacies.—Cartwright.—Hobhouse.—Dumont on the Penal Code for Geneva.—J. B. Say.—Miss Frances Wright.—Lafayette.—Carlisle.—Re-eligibility of Representatives.—Note-Book.—Brougham.—Dr Bowring’s Imprisonment in France.—The Greek Revolution, and Dr Parr.
On the subject of Libel Law in the United States of America, the following correspondence took place between Bentham and a distinguished functionary of that country:—
Bentham to Richard Rush.
“On the subject of political libels, what I understood from Mr Quincy Adams, if I misrecollect not, was—that originally there was not any such thing in any of the United States, as an indictment for any such cause—civil action for the injury to the individual, nothing more: but that, at the recommendation of John Adams, (Quincy’s father,) when President, an Act of Congress was enacted, making a political libel punishable by indictment in certain cases. That in virtue of this Act, Onis, then Envoy from the King of Spain to the United States, indicted somebody for a libel, either on him (Onis) as Minister from that King, or on the Spanish Government at large. (Marshal, was it?) I forget his name—whose daughter Onis had married, being the Chief Justice before whom the prosecution was tried. The verdict was—Not Guilty. After this President Adams lost a great deal of his popularity; and to the part he had taken in the occasion of that libel law, was the loss regarded as having been in agreat degree referrible. Quincy Adams was kind enough to give me in writing, several articles of information of which I stood in need; but I had neglected to beg leave to add this to the number.
“Taking for granted that which is above, is, as faras it goes, correct, (which, however, is more than I can be sure of,) to render it complete, the following are the particulars I stand in need of:—
“1.Reference to the law whatever it is, by which prosecution by indictment, in cases of political libel, was authorized.
“2. Reference to the law, whatever it is, by which the above-mentioned Act was repealed, or, at any rate, in some way or other, the effect of it done away.
“3. Does any indictment lie for a blasphemous libel? I should suppose not: Paine’s Age of Reason having always been circulated, I am told, with undisturbed liberty in all the States.
“Perhaps, from your own collection or some one else’s, you could favour me with the sight of the laws that bear upon the subject: within a week you might depend upon their being returned. This is a subject I have perpetual need to make reference to; and when laws exist, mention of the supposed purport or effect, without reference to the tenor of them, never can be adequately satisfactory.”
Richard Rush to Bentham.
“March 21, 1820.
“Prior to what was commonly called the Sedition Act, there never was any such thing known, under the Federal Government of the United States, (in some of the individual states they have sometimes, I believe, taken place,) as a criminal prosecution for a political libel. The Sedition Act was passed by Congress, in July 1798. It expired, by its own limitation, in March 1801. There were a few prosecutions under it whilst it was in force. It was, as you have intimated, an unpopular law. The party that passed it went out of power, by a vote of the nation, in March 1801. There has been no prosecution for a political libel, under the authority of the Government of the United States, since that period. No law known to the United States would authorize such a prosecution. During the last war, the measures of the Government were assailed by the party in opposition, with the most unbounded and furious license. No prosecution for libel ever followed. The Government trusted to public opinion, and to the spontaneous counteracting publications from among the people themselves, for the refutation of libels. The general opinion was, that the public arm grew stronger, in the end, by this course.
“There has never been any prosecution by the Government of the United States for a blasphemous libel. There is no law existing, of which I have knowledge, that would sustain such a prosecution.”
On the trial of Sir Charles Wolsley and Harrison, Bentham sent his pamphlet, then entitled “Brief Remarks, tending to show the untenability of the Indictment,” (Works, vol. v. p. 255,) desiring it should be distributed among the Judges, Jurors, and other parties before the trial—but under the advice of the lawyers this course was abstained from.
On sending to Rivadavia, his “Emancipats your Colonies,”* Bentham wrote:
Bentham to Rivadavia.
You wish for a king for Buenos Ayres and Chili: so, at least, I understand from our friend Lawrence. If so, much good may it do you. But how much better would you be with a king, than the Anglo-Americans without one? The Spaniards have a reason, such as it is, for having a king. But you have not that reason—nor ever had. Be this as it may, if I understand right, it is not the King of Spain that you wish for: on the contrary, you are determined not to have him. You would not have him when he was free: as little do you choose to have him now he is bound:—that is to say, you do not choose to be governed by a Spanish Cortes, in which ten times the number of votes you could hope for, would not give you any efficient protection against misrule; nor, at the long run, by a Spanish Ministry, after they had succeeded in establishing, as with us and in France, a despotism by corruption and military force together, in the place of the late despotism by military force. Well, then, what you want of Spain, is—that she, at least so far as you are concerned, should be willing to emancipate her colonies. In regard to her colonies, the case of Spain coincides, in many essential particulars, in this respect, with the case of France, in regard to her colonies, at the commencement of the French Revolution. The arguments in the enclosed Tract, for which I beg the honour of your acceptance, applied themselves in particular, to the case of France at that time. But, from that time to this, my opinion has been, that all colonies and distant dependencies, without exception, are essentially mischievous. I should say that the sort of connexion is essentially and preponderantly mischievous to the great majority of the people on both sides. In point of argument, I should not, on the general question, have much to add to the arguments of this little Tract: and, in point of spirit and compactness, I should, at this time of life, lose much. In point of argument, however, I should have to add something: I mean, in point of generally applicable argument: viz. on the subject of the corruptive influence, necessarily exercised on the representatives of the people in the governing country by the patronage: I mean, by the power of nominating to situations, clothed in factitious dignity, and to offices, clothed with power and emolument, in the dependent country, as well as to offices in the military department by sea and land, and the civil department occupied in, or at least established for, the defence of the dependencies against foreign aggression, and keeping them in their dependent state. As to the applying the general principles to the particular case, as between Spain and her dependencies, here, of course, I should find myself at a fault. But you, Sir—you, whose interest in the matter is so immediate, and whose knowledge of the subject is so commanding—how could your talents at this crisis be so worthily employed, as by the application of them to this great question? viz. either by an original or independent work, or by a translation into Spanish, of the little Tract in question, if found worthy of it; with comments, applying the arguments to the present case; or, in short, devoting those talents to a something between both, or including both.”
While Blaquiere was in Spain, constant correspondence was kept up between him and Bentham on all subjects of political interest. He was a sort of wandering apostle of Benthamism,* originating and promoting the circulation of his works with enthusiastic zeal. Spain, indeed, is one of the countries where Utilitarian doctrines have taken the strongest hold. Several translations exist of the Treatises on Legislation, Political Tactics, and the Book of Fallacies. The Panopticon was rendered into Spanish, and the plan approved and adopted by a vote of the Cortes. Blaquiere’s letters all represent the sanguine character of his mind: his disgust at the corruptive and oppressive intrigues of the few,—his confidence in the patriotic and courageous virtues of the many. Bentham’s eager and hopeful spirit responded to all Blaquiere’s anticipations. “How strongly,” he says to him, “has the great Spanish nation excited both our sympathies! An abler, or in any respect a more valuable agent I could not have had if, instead of a poor hermit, I had been a monarch with a salary of an ambassador extraordinary to pamper him with.”
The Cortes of Spain in this year, came, in fact, to a unanimous resolution to avail themselves of Bentham’s services in the preparation of codes of law for that country. Count Toreno, who was then the President, wrote of him as “Lumbrera dela Legislacion y bienhechor de la humanidad,”—Light of legislation, and benefactor of man.†
Blaquiere remained some time at Bayonne, carrying on his correspondence between France and England,—a diligent contributor to the newspapers of both countries. But he was much harassed by the police, and found that his letters were generally read,—and frequently detained.
Blaquiere’s volume on the Spanish Revolution, contains a resumé of his correspondence,—highly interesting as it was to Bentham, who indulged the hope that democratic representation, which he deemed to be the only basis of good government, would produce all the fruits of public peace and prosperity which he had anticipated. And it cannot be denied that the violence of the enemies of freedom and reform, directed against the constitutional liberties of Spain, found its main source and strength in the success of the popular experiment. For, under the Cortes, justice was made more accessible,—education was widely spread,—the tithes were abolished,—reforms were penetrating into every department of the state,—the influence of the monarch, and of the aristocracy, both clerical and civil, was greatly curtailed. A few years of tranquillity would probably have firmly rooted the liberal institutions of Spain. But the Bourbon invasion of that country overthrew the hopes of the enlightened,—who, indeed, found some consolation, a few years after, in the more complete and ruinous overthrow of those very Bourbon invaders from the throne of France.
Bentham to Blaquiere.
“June 5th, 1820.
“At this time I am hard at work upon an almost hopeless attempt: that of persuading the rulers in Spain, whoever they are, to emancipate all Spanish America, even though said America were down upon her knees to beg to be retained. Of this said dominion, the only fruit to the Spanish people ever has been, or ever can be, immense expense, consequently immense taxes, without profit to the value of a halfpenny in any shape. Unfortunately, the case is the reverse, with regard to their rulers, whoever they are: to them vast profit, in the shape of patronage, every penny of it operating in the shape of matter of corruption, corrupting, by the possession and prospect of it, the members of the administrative body, and enabling and engaging them to corrupt the representatives of the people, members of the legislative.”
In this letter, I find the phrase, “pressure from without,” whose adoption by Sir Robert Peel has given it a wide currency.
“Does there seem any the smallest chance that, if convinced of what is above, the leading men in Spain, or any considerable section of them, or so much as any one who could procure for himself a hearing, would, either of his own motion, or by pressure from without, be induced to give support to any such proposal?
“In my pamphlet on ‘Emancipation,’ nothing was said on the subject of corruptive influence; for in those days, such was my simplicity, not having yet discovered the distinction between influence of understanding on understanding, and influence of will on will,—the nature and effects of corruptive influence on the representatives of a people, were unknown to me.
“ ‘Townsend’s Journey through Spain, in 1786 and 1787.’ London. 3 vols. 8vo, 2d edition, 1792.—Is it in Spanish? It contains a great quantity of matter, with which it would be of great use to them to be acquainted. I knew the author well.* Through the medium of the first Lord Lansdowne, through whom I knew him, he had access to everything, and knew how to make his profit of it. From him are the following particulars:
“1. Anno 1786. Vol. ii. p. 181. After quoting various diplomatic statements, ‘the fact is, if we may believe those who are the best informed, the Spanish colonies yield no direct revenue to the mother country; nor yet any indirect.’ So I prove.
“2. Anno 1771. 1. Expenditure, (national,) applying exclusively to Spain, pounds sterling, 750,790: add to it two 00, you convert it into reals vellon. 2. Expenditure, (national,) applying indistinguishably to Spain and Creolia, £2,877,723. Place to the account of Creolia, half that sum, this makes expense on Creolia, £1,438,861½. Add expense of Council of the Indies in Spain, £80,000. Together, £1,518,861½. Expenditure, (royal,) £1,281,732. Send the beloved to continue his embroidery, you strike off this last expense. But the authors of the Revolution, whoever they are, with their virtue, whatever it may be, how will they endure the mention of it?”
Speaking of the Spanish Constitution, Bentham says:—
“Unless the number of stages of election be reduced one, the absurd prohibition of amendment of the constitution, for eight years to come, not only must, but will be done away, or at least, broken through. In France there is reason for adhering to the charter, à toute outrance, because, without the king’s good-will, it is impossible for them to get anything better; not so in Spain. All offices being in the king’s (that is, in his new adviser’s) nomination, they will continue, of course, except in so far as frightened out of it by the people, as much as possible of the present enormous civil list,—copying the example of the first French National Assembly, who gave theirs a most enormous one, much larger than ours, that there might be no want of offices to bribe them with. Note, ratio of king’s annual expenditure to the whole: in England, as 1 to 100; in France, as 1 to 50; in Spain, as 1 to 4. Anno 1778, as above, probably not much diminished since. In Madrid, would all or any of these observations be endured?”
The effect produced, in Spain, by Bentham’s letter on the subject of an hereditary legislation,* was great. “The great mass of the nation,” says a letter from Madrid, “had an instinct opposed to an Upper Chamber—it shocked their feelings. Many refugees who had been travelling in England, returned with sentiments of admiration for English institutions—institutions which have their foundation rather in the habits, than in the interest or the philosophy of the people. But in Spain, the proposal of hereditary legislation shocked the general sentiment; and Bentham’s letters on the subject gave irresistible arguments to those who wanted no conversion—while they converted many more.”
My acquaintance with Bentham began in 1820. The politics of Spain were the first bond of intimacy. Blaquiere had suggested to Bentham that my knowledge of Peninsular matters might be not wholly without use to him. He invited me to his house. The intimacy strengthened from day to day. For the last ten years of his life, I believe, not a thought—not a feeling of his was concealed from me. Considering the disparity of age, I doubt if any man was ever more thoroughly possessed of the confidence of another than I possessed that of Bentham. Frequently I was an inmate of his house—always was I a welcome guest at his table. During his lifetime he placed in my hands the most interesting portion of his correspondence; and at his death, he bequeathed all his MSS. to my care, in order that I might select and superintend their publication.
Blessings, benefits, benignities, courtesies, in every shape, I have received at his hands. No son was ever honoured by an affectionate father with more evidence of fondness, esteem, and confidence. And to me his friendship was that of a guardian angel. It conducted me with faithful devotion through a period of my existence in which I was steeped in poverty and overwhelmed with slander. His house was an asylum—his purse a treasury—his heart an Eden—his mind a fortress to me. It is only since his death, and when, in my situation of executor, all his papers have fallen into my hands, that I have learned how much I owed to his courageous friendship—his unbroken, his unbending trust. For I was calumniated on every side; and the calumnies were addressed in multitudes to my protector. His good opinion was turned aside by no insinuation; and the heavier the accusation, the more cordial and earnest was the defence. I give one of his earliest letters to me:—
“Q. S. P., September, 1820.
Now that you have taken me under your protection, there are some hopes for me. I am a hardworking, pains-taking man: a lawmaker by trade—a shoemaker is a better one by half—not very well to do in the world at present: wish to get on a little: have served seven apprenticeships, and not opened shop yet; make goods upon a new pattern: would be glad to give satisfaction: anything they may be thought wanting in quality, should be made up for in cheapness: under your favour could get up some choice articles for the Spanish market: would not interfere with my protector: scorn any such thing: mine a different line: would allow a per centage for agency, if agreeable. A few samples were circulated some time ago by an agent of mine, M. Dumont, of Geneva: think they were approved of. He has set up for himself, and got a job there. I let him have some of my tools and materials. He was forced to take in partners. They had been so used to the old way, that they were a little awkward at the new one: they have been coming out by degrees; still it is but up-hill work. He would have had me take the job in hand and go through with it. If I lived, so perhaps I might one of these days, rather than the thing should not be done; but the market there is so narrow. Spain! Spain! there is something like a market! An order from that country would make a man work early and late.”
Bentham thought highly of Townsend the Traveller, and speaks of him thus, in a letter to a witty politician:—
“Never were better opportunities possessed by any traveller: never did opportunities find a traveller better qualified, in all points, for improving them to the best advantage. Mr Townsend had his introductions from the first Marquis of Lansdowne. His acquirements covered the whole field of useful knowledge: he saw everybody and everything: he was beloved by everybody he saw.
“He was a clergyman of our Established Church. But his charity was universal; and his piety, which was eminent, never displayed itself in any of those forms in which piety is, so unhappily, apt to be at variance with charity: nor, in the course of his travels in Spain, in any form in which (on the supposition of a little prudence on the part of the translator) it could give offence to the religious virtue in a Spanish mind.”
It is somewhat amusing to contrast the wit’s opinion of Mr Townsend with the above:—
“I knew the man well: he was not so good as his book—a gross flatterer—an unfeeling person. The best thing that I know of him is, that he was esteemed by you, which, by the way, I never knew before. He ran mad about Moses; and besides his great book, μεγα ϰαϰον really fancied with Huet, and Dacier, and some others, that he (Moses, not Townsend,) was the same as Mercury, and Priapus, and Pan, and the Lord knows what other obscene symbol—all grounded on his rod, which, had it twitched Townsend’s tail, instead of bewitching his head, might have made him a better scholar, and something more of a philosopher. I lived a great deal with this ‘helluo librorum’: he made his own fire of a morning, and indeed did everything for himself, but wash his own hands, which neither he nor any one did for him,—for he was what the chambermaids called ‘a nice man’—that is, never dirtied the towels, nor emptied the water-jug. I pray you, forgive my repaying your friend’s hospitality by this portrait; but he lived as much with —, as I lived with him,—so partie quitte: besides, I only went to shoot a course at his house, and always gave him the game.”
This slashing style by no means pleased Bentham; and he wrote to a common friend, speaking of the general tone of his friend’s correspondence:—
“I am concerned for —. That which it grieves me to see are those expressions of universal and undiscriminating scorn, which it delights him to scatter on all that come in his way, whether friends or foes. Evil communications corrupt good manners. He has learnt this from —; but — is an unhappy man, and is independent of the affections of the people. To be loved by men, a man must appear to love them; and for preserving the appearance, I cannot think of any means so sure as the reality.”
In 1820, an Italian translation of Political Tactics was published at Naples: the first edition was immediately sold.
There were published in Paris in 1821—“Tables synoptiques des ouvrages de Jeremie Bentham,” a sort of index raisonné, or classified analysis of the contents of his works. They were constructed by M. J. B. Gontier, a French lawyer. They consist of four sheets, but refer only to the works edited by Dumont.
Notes in Bentham’s Memorandum-Book. 1820.
“Constitutional Law.—The pretence is, constitution semper eadem. The truth is, that, till arrived at U. S. representative democracy, it is continually upon the change, except under pure despotism. Every attempt to meliorate it is sure to produce new coercion here, and measures by which it is rendered less and less popular.”
“Communicate not to a friend, if permanently distant, vexations of yours unrelievable by him.”
“In the ethics of a monarch, there is but one virtue; obsequiousness to his will: there is but one vice; resistance to it.”
“Rules for repression of Anger.—When cool, satisfy yourself completely of the usefulness of these rules. Being thoroughly lodged in your memory,—when any incidental provocation happens, to excite to anger, the recollection of these rules may serve to suppress it.
“To avoid giving useless offence on the occasion of anything you are about to do, or to say, in relation to any individual, think, in the first place, in what manner, if said or done in relation to yourself, it would affect yourself: if to yourself it would be a matter of indifference, think then, whether, between your situation and his, there may not be some difference, the effect of which would be to render painful to him what would not be so to you.”
“Of mathematics, the chief use is the habituating the mind to pay attention to the subject of proportions; and that in ethics as well as physics. For example. in ethics utility depends altogether on proportions; which ipse-dix-itism, in the shape of sentimentalism, and all other shapes, neglects.”
“Liberty of the Press—Defamation.—The suppression of all true statements is an encouragement to, and almost a justification of lying ones.”
“Pretended suppressors of vice,—the weakness of whose faith is proclaimed by the strenuousness of their exertions to suppress all arguments against it.”
“While the Government punish lies that make against them, they have full impunity for lies that make for them.”
“Despotism punishes the vices which itself engenders: it creates the crime, and inflicts the penalty.”
“Under libel law, whatever is done for the safety, for the liberty, for the morality of the people, depends for its efficacy on the weakness of the law.”
“Curbing the irascible appetite as good a subject of exercise and boasting, as extraordinary walking, running, donkey-racing, chess-playing, &c.”
“In the East, the religion of Mahomet was propagated by the sword of war. In England, the religion of Jesus is upheld by the sword of judicature, calling itself the sword of justice. To say that this support is necessary to its existence, is to contradict experience—the most notorious experience. For, in the Anglo-American United States it has no such support. Yet, in those States, the belief has place, with exceptions, to a much less extent than in England.”
“Fallacies,—to be added.—The notmuch cause, therefore no-cause—argument.
“No preventing the past, therefore no preventing the future—argument.”
“Penal Code.—Offences against reputation. At suit of relatives, query, whether to give satisfaction, lucrative or vindictive, for offences against reputation of deceased relatives? If yes, only vindictive, and that not unless with criminal consciousness, not for rashness. Query, within what degree of relationship must be the plaintiff?”
“Constitutional Law.—Proof of the superior probity of the lower orders, the smallness of the proportion of crimes to numbers, considering that, by taxes and lawyers, they are divested of security for person, property, reputation, and condition of life against another’s transgressions.”
“For negativing a pleasure, the best mode is indicating a better. The direct negation imparts disapprobation, and imposes pain of humiliation.”
“When anything is wished for at your hands, withhold it not on the score of any apparent unreasonableness, unless the unreasonableness be of such a nature as to produce evil to yourself or others.”
“Evitanda.—All discourse tending to give uneasiness to others without benefit to self or others. Example—Indication of imperfections of an irremediable nature, as bodily defects, mental defects, in so far as incorrigible, ex gr. stupidity, dulness of apprehension.
“In so far as indication is given of remediable imperfections, it should be in such manner that it may be seen that the motive is the benefiting the other party,—not enjoying at his expense the pleasures of power and vanity. For this purpose, let it be in the presence of no other person that the indication is given; for if in the presence of others, the greater the number the greater the pain of humiliation, which, besides the irritation it may produce,—irritation from which you may yourself be a sufferer, it is so much pain produced in waste.”
“God is made by man after his own image: What is good by the beneficent; what is evil by the maleficent.”
“In all governments, democracy excepted, reason is never employed by rulers as a guide to will, but always as a slave. Will being always determined by the personal interests of rulers,—by the universal interest never.”
“Rich, why less moral than the poor?
“1. The richer, the more independent of good behaviour.—2. The richer, the fewer with whom he sympathizes.
“The property of the rich is in no danger from the poor: the property of the poor is not only in danger from the rich, but constantly encroached on by them and lessened.
“The small property of the poor is, every particle of it, necessary to their subsistence; it is, therefore, more carefully watched and guarded: the richer a man is, the more careless, the better he can afford to see defalcations made from it.
“But the property of the poor is of no value in the eyes of the rich: hence they conclude it to be of little value in the eyes of its possessors.”
“If the affections of him with whom you are about to commence a conversation be matter of indifference to you, all topics are open to you: if it be an object with you to gain or keep his affections, choose that topic, whatever it be, that is most agreeable to him. At any rate, you may avoid every topic which you know, or suspect, to be disagreeable to him.
“So as to hearing and making others hear: matter of prudence as to the proportion of time for making display, and hearing the companion’s display.
“Kind words cost no more than unkind ones. Kind words produce kind actions, not only on the part of him to whom they are addressed, but on the part of him by whom they are addressed,—understand, not incidentally only, but habitually, in virtue of the principle of association.”
The MSS. of the Political Fallacies were for some time in Mr J. C. Hobhouse’s hands, who had expressed a wish to be the editor of them. His purpose, however, was not accomplished.
As an example of masterly analysis—the condensation of a volume into a page—I give here Bentham’s Headings of the Book of Fallacies as originally proposed by him. It differs considerably from the Table of Contents, as afterwards printed.
THE BOOK OF FALLACIES. TITLES OF BOOKS, PARTS, AND CHAPTERS.
[* ] The papers sent were probably the Codification Proposal, with its Appendix of Testimonials from foreign countries. See works, vol. iv. p. 537.
[* ] Works, vol. iv. p. 407.
[* ] He wrote the notice of Bentham which appeared in the “Biographie des Hommes vivans.”
[† ] See Bentham’s “Letters to Toreno,” Works, vol. viii. p. 487 et seq.
[* ] See above, p. 123.
[* ] See the Three Tracts on Spanish and Portuguese Affairs, Works, vol. viii. p. 461.