Front Page Titles (by Subject) Bentham to Rammohun Roy. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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Bentham to Rammohun Roy. - 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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Bentham to Rammohun Roy.
“Intensely admired and dearly beloved collaborator in the service of Mankind!—
Your character is made known to me by our excellent friends, Colonel Young, Colonel Stanhope, and Mr Buckingham. Your works, by a book in which I read, a style which, but for the name of an Hindoo, I should have ascribed to the pen of a superiorly well-educated and instructed Englishman. A just-now-published work of mine, which I send by favour of Mrs Young, exhibits my view of the foundations of human belief, specially applied to the practice of this country in matters of law.
“Now at the brink of the grave, (for I want but a month or two of fourscore,) among the most delightful of my reflections, is the hope, I am notwithstanding feeding myself with, of rendering my labours of some considerable use to the hundred millions, or thereabouts, of whom I understand that part of your population which is under English governance or influence is composed.
“With Mr Mill’s work on British India you can scarcely fail to be more or less acquainted. For these three or four-and-twenty years he has numbered himself among my disciples; for upwards of twenty years he has been receiving my instructions; for about the half of each of five years, he and his family have been my guests. If not adequately known already, his situation in the East India Company’s service can be explained to you by Colonel Young. My papers on Evidence,—those papers which you now see in print—were in his hands, and read through by him, while occupied in his above-noticed great work; a work from which more practically applicable information on the subject of government and policy may be derived (I think I can venture to say) than from any other as yet extant; though, as to style, I wish I could, with truth and sincerity, pronounce it equal to yours.
“For these many years a grand object of his ambition has been to provide for British India, in the room of the abominable existing system, a good system of judicial procedure, with a judicial establishment adequate to the administration of it; and for the composition of it his reliance has all along been, and continues to be, on me. What I have written on these subjects wants little of being complete; so little that, were I to die to-morrow, there are those that would be able to put it in order and carry it through the press.
“What he aims at above all things is,—the giving stability and security to landed property in the hands of the greatest number throughout British India; and, for this purpose, to ascertain by judicial inquiry, the state of the customs of the people in that respect. For this same purpose, a great increase in the number of judicatories, together with the oral examination of all parties concerned, and recordation of the result will be absolutely necessary: the mode of proceeding as simple as possible, unexpensive and prompt, forming in these respects as complete a contrast as possible with the abominable system of the great Calcutta Judicatory: nations of unmixed blood and half-caste, both of whom could serve on moderate salaries, being, on my system, as much employed as possible.
“Though but very lately known to your new Governor-general, Mr Mill is in high favour with him; and (I have reason to believe) will have a good deal of influence, which, in that case, he will employ for the purpose above-mentioned.
“He has assured his lordship that there can be no good penal judicature without an apt prison and prison-management; and no apt prison or prison-management, without the plan which we call the Panopticon plan,—an account of which is in a work of mine, a copy of which, if I can find one, will accompany this letter. At any rate, Colonel Young can explain it to you, with the cause why it was not, five-and-thirty years ago, established here; and all the prisoners, as well as all the paupers of England, put under my care:* all the persons being, at all times, under the eye of the keepers, and the keepers, as well as they, under the eye of as many people as do not grudge the trouble of walking up a few steps for the purpose.
“For I know not how many years—a dozen or fifteen, perhaps—I have never paid a single visit to anybody, except during about three months, when a complaint I was troubled with forced me to bathing places, and at length to Paris. Thus it is that Lord William and I have never come together; and now there is not time enough. Half jest, half earnest, Mr Mill promised him a meeting with me on his return from India; for, old as I am, I am in good health and spirits, and have as yet lost but little of the very little strength I had in my youth. Though the influence of my writings is said to be something, of anything that can be called power I have not had any the least atom. I have some reason for expecting that, ere long, more or less use will be made of my work on Judicial Procedure by government here. But, from the influence possessed by Mr Mill, and the intense anxiety he has been manifesting for some years past for the completion of it, my hopes have in relation to your country been rather sanguine. Of the characters of it I cannot find time to say anything, except that, by the regard shown in it to the interests of the subject many, and by its simplicity, which I have endeavoured to maximize, I have little fear of its not recommending itself to your affections.
“What regards the Judiciary Establishment, will form about half of the second of two volumes, a copy of the first of which (with the exception of six introductory parts) being already in print, is designed to form part of the contents of this packet.
“While writing, it has occurred to me to add a copy of a work called Panopticon; the rather because, at the desire of Mr Mill, it is in the hands of your new Governor-general, Lord William Bentinck, to whom Mr Mill has been recommending, and, as he flatters himself, not altogether without success, the erection of a place of confinement, upon the principles therein displayed. More than thirty years ago, but for a personal pique taken against me by the late king, George the Third, all the prisoners in the kingdom, and all the paupers, would, under my care, have been provided for by me upon the same principle. To the Prime Minister of the time, (from 1792 to 1802,) with his colleagues, it was an object of enthusiastic and persevering admiration; and not only was an act of the Legislature, which (you know) could not have been enacted without the king’s consent, obtained for the purpose, but so much as related to the experimental prison carried into effect as the purchase of a large spot of ground for the purpose, and the greatest part put into my possession; but when the last step came to be taken, George the Third could not be prevailed upon to take it; and so the affair ended.
“In my Codification Proposal, you will see letter for Del Valle of Guatemala, alias Central America, in late Spanish America. He is the instructor of his country; such an one as you of yours. I thus mention him to you. I shall mention you to him. Several papers he has sent me have made known to me his history, his occupations, and his designs. I hear him spoken of, from various quarters, as by far the most estimable man that late Spanish America has produced. If there be anything that you could like to transmit to him, it would be a sincere pleasure to me to receive it, and transmit it to him accordingly. Yours and his are kindred souls. Though in his country highest in estimation, it is still uncertain whether he is so in power, there being another man whose party is at war with that to which Del Valle wishes best; but, as far as I can learn, that of Del Valle is most likely to be ultimately prevailing.
“Bowring, with whom you have corresponded, is now living with me. He is the most intimate friend I have: the most influential, as well as ardent man I know, in the endeavour at everything that is most serviceable to mankind.
“Farewell, illustrious friend! You may imagine from what is above, with what pleasure I should hear from you. Information from you might perhaps be made of use with reference to the above objects. But you should, in that case, send me two letters—one confidential, another ostensible. If I live seven days longer, I shall be fourscore. To make provision for the event of my death, you should do by your letters to me, as Colonel Young has done by his: send it open, enclosed in one to Bowring.
“We have high hopes of Lord William’s good intentions: so much better than from so high an aristocratical family as his could have been expected.
“I have been asking our common friends here, over and over again, for their assurance that there is some chance of your paying a visit to this strange country. I can get little better from them, than a shake of the head.
“P.S. Panopticon. Should this plan, and the reasoning, meet your approbation, you will see that none of the business as to which it is applicable, could be carried on well otherwise than by contract. What say you to the making singly, or in conjunction with other enlightened philanthropists, an offer to Government for that purpose? Professors of all religions might join in the contract; and appropriate classification and separation for the persons under management: provision correspondent to their several religions, and their respective castes; or other allocations under their respective religions. How it would delight me to see you and Colonel Young engaged in a partnership for a purpose of that sort!”
In answer to a request of Burdett, that he might be allowed to come and dine, and talk over Brougham’s Law Reform, Bentham answers:—
[* ] See the work on Pauper Management, in vol. viii. of the Works.