Front Page Titles (by Subject) Notes made by Bentham in his Memorandum-book, 1818-19. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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Notes made by Bentham in his Memorandum-book, 1818-19. - 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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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:—