Front Page Titles (by Subject) O'Connell to Bentham. (Extracts.) - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index)
Return to Title Page for The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
O’Connell to Bentham. (Extracts.) - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 11.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
O’Connell to Bentham.
“Respected and revered Master,—
To begin with the beginning—I did get your half letter as I was leaving the Cork Assizes, and wrote a reply; but an accident caused it not to be sent, and then I had a thousand things to add—and then I determined to write fully when I was just about to open the winter’s campaign.
“I give myself six or seven weeks here of comparative mental inexertion. This is the wildest and most stupendous scenery in nature—and I enjoy my residence here with the most exquisite relish. I have a pack of beagles with which I hunt on foot three days in the week. They are of the very best and most sagacious quality. I am in truth fascinated with this spot: and did not duty call me elsewhere, I should bury myself alive here. As to the remainder, the change of scene—of hours—of habits—of exercise—gives a new tone to my mind, and I leave this place with a new impulse, and with my mind new strung for reform and utility in every shape and form. To-morrow I spend, as my last day this season, in hunting. On Monday, I leave for Dublin—all for work—incessant work.
“I give you this sketch to show you why I have been less active in pursuit of useful change for the last six or seven weeks.
“My winter’s campaign commences. My first duty is to discharge my debt to you.
“The History of the Catholic Association (Wyse’s) omits that part of the struggle which is most interesting, and is most instructive,—I mean the working up of small means into mighty engines. The progress from political infancy, through political infantile squabbles, into something of youthful strength, and then into great manhood and vigour.
“This session—now or never, for Law Reform. We must begin the first day of the session before the king’s speech, if possible. No delay. No vacation. The Law-despatch Court is independent of the Code. It is just what, in my judgment, ought to be brought on at once.
“I will be in London, please God, a week or ten days before the ‘Honourable House’ sits. I will take with me a great number of petitions for justice, speedy, inexpensive, and real justice.
“But it is not now practicable to send round in Ireland law-preachers—preachers of Law Reform. You can form no adequate idea of the present state of the public mind in this island. We are in the last stage of the politico-religious fever. I have been watching its symptoms, and permitting nature to take its course. Believe me, the patient will be soon well, and strong soon, and fit to teach a lesson to the nations on all subjects of public amelioration. The Orange symptoms might easily be exasperated by irritation. It is left to disappear of itself; and is disappearing. You shall—you will hear of Ireland with pleasure, before the traffickers meet again in St Stephen’s Chapel. I am much deceived, if Law Reform and Parliamentary Reform do not meet with powerful assistance from Ireland shortly—very shortly.
“I get the Westminster Review by post as soon as it is published. The triumph over the Edinburgh is complete. That controversy is terminated, unless the Edinburgh renews it. I am also an active agent for the circulation of the Westminster. Not one of the mercenary agents can be more zealous. Simply because I feel the value to public opinion of that work.
“I have no objection that you should show my letters to any person you please. I give you the most unlimited discretion on that subject, both for the past and future, including the present. I do this without any feeling of vanity; because I know, that a man, ignorant as I am, may possibly be the means of suggesting a train of thought, which may lead superior minds to objects of great utility. Do with my letters just what you please.
“I trust the American Republics will at length settle into peace. The number of selfish beings which their revolutions have produced, desirous of converting the popular struggles into individual advantage, is not creditable to them. But their materials for change were of the worst description; and to this, I verily believe, much of the conduct of Bolivar, which appears suspicious, is to be attributed. Look back, however, at his career, and behold what eminent services he has rendered to Liberty. It was his generous persevering ardour that, in spite of every motive to despair, enabled him at length to crush the Spaniards in Colombia; and thereby, to lay the foundation of freedom in other, and even very distant provinces. He first taught the natives that the Spaniards were not invincible. Then he established the perfect equalisation of civil rights amongst all castes and colours. Do not, I beg of you, give him up without sifting the evidence against him closely. His accusers, amongst his countrymen, are mean and selfish individuals, who cannot submit to the superiority of talent and virtue. Society is in its most discordant elements around him; and it may be difficult to confide power to an unformed, ignorant, scattered population. If I must abandon my reliance on the purity of Bolivar, I will shed a tear for poor human nature. But no: I venture to prophesy that he will live to have his patriotism and disinterested virtue recognised all over the world.
“I know General Miller, and think very highly indeed of him. I read the historical part of his work, and will seize the first leisure moment to read the remainder of it. I do entirely agree with you that he is a very interesting and highly-gifted man.
“My accident was much less serious than as represented in the newspapers. I was not for one moment insensible; but having been dashed violently against the ground, I was unable to rise for about one minute. In ten minutes afterwards, I was as competent to assist my brother, who broke his arm, as if I had not fallen at all. The terrors of the place too are much exaggerated: but why should I detain you respecting an incident which would be forgotten by myself, but that the papers have fabricated ‘an article’ on it; and what is to me really precious, that you have expressed so much of kind solicitude for me.—Believe me, I am most cordially grateful.
“I have read, or rather, am carefully reading your book on Judicial Evidence. It affords me the greatest satisfaction. But I must release you from this lengthened communication: let me first call on you for suggestions—say commands, as to my parliamentary career. If you think it right, I will begin with ‘the Despatch Court,’—that is, the first or second day of the session: then the natural, as opposed to technical procedure—at least a petition on this subject: then an address to procure ‘a Code.’ Every day I will have a petition on some one or more law-abuse. It seems to me, that it will be useful to have a talk on this subject almost every day. So many people have to complain of the expense and delay of the law, that thus stimulating the expression of public opinion cannot but be useful.—I am, with the sincerest respect, your zealous disciple,” &c.