Front Page Titles (by Subject) Bentham to the Duc de Broglie. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index)
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Bentham to the Duc de Broglie. - 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.
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Bentham to the Duc de Broglie.
“August 13, 1830.
“The opinion with which I was not long ago favoured by you on the subject of Imprisonment for Debt, afforded me the heartfelt satisfaction of beholding in you a friend to justice. It is not, however, by that, or any other isolated and unconnected operation on the field of procedure, that the ends of justice can be accomplished, and the benefit of the services of the functionaries belonging to the judicial department imparted to all who stand in need of it.
“In this respect, Buonaparte’s Codes have made a prodigious advance beyond anything that ever went before them, and present to view a pattern of perfection in comparison of that system of abomination under which I have had the misfortune to live, and which so large a portion of my long life has been occupied in the endeavour to expose to that full and general abhorrence which must take place before any effectual reform can be accomplished.
“But the system, the greater part of which is exhibited by these Codes, will, if I do not grossly deceive myself, be seen to be yet at a sad distance from that degree of perfection which the nature of the case admits of. After all that has been done by it, it leaves the benefit of justice still out of the reach of the vast majority of the whole numbers of the people: for besides the fees which it attaches to all the several operations and written instruments which it necessitates, it supposes and necessitates, on both sides of the suit, the intervention of professional assistants or substitutes of the parties under the name of Avoués, behind whom link, without being once held up to view by any of the Codes, the further and still more expensive assistance of Avocats, on both sides of the suit. What is the consequence? That those who are utterly unable to purchase the assistance of these professional men, without breaking in upon their own means of subsistence, must go without justice—must submit to depredation and oppression at the hands of all those who are content to pay the price of this maleficent service: the expense on the plaintiff’s side, having the effect of denying remedy to wrong in every shape; and that on the defendant’s side, of lending the assistance of the several functionaries, official and professional, together with the use and service of judicatories, in the infliction of wrong in every shape, for want of the means of defending, on the occasion in question, his just rights.
“As to the Cour de Conciliation, in name it affords remedy without expense,—remedy accessible to all without distinction,—without that distinction which has place between those who are, and those who are not, in condition to defray the expense.
“But the supposed remedy is little better than an empty name; and against those against whose machinations the demand for justice is most urgent, it amounts absolutely to none,—I mean the whole class of mala fide suitors: suitors whose plan it is, by means of relative opulence on their side, coupled with relative indigence on the other side, to engage on their side the power and services of the judge; to their case this same supposed remedy is clearly inapplicable. By resort made to the Reconcilement Court, their plan would be defeated; and they are under no obligation to resort to it.* To the ordinary courts, and to these alone, they apply themselves; for there it is that the faculty of depredation, or that of oppression, whichever it is that is most to their taste, or both in one, is upon sale, ready to be exercised at the expense of whatsoever relatively indigent individual they have marked out for their victim.
“Unfortunately for mankind, the interest of professional lawyers on this ground is in a state of direct and inexorable opposition to the interests of the rest of mankind; and the same everywhere,—in the unchangeable nature of the case, the influence of that body can never cease to be very great.
“The interest of non-lawyers is, that in the business of procedure, expense and delay be at a minimum; the interest of professional lawyers is, that those evils be at a maximum: expense for the sake of the lawyer’s profit, of which, in so large a part, it is composed: delay for the sake of the occasion it produces for expense.
“Under the English Judicial Establishment, official lawyers are large partakers of that same sinister interest: under the French to a comparatively minute extent, if any.
“If reaping pecuniary profit in proportion as the ends of justice are contravened by them, and their professed duty thus violated, is not corruption, I know not what is: if not, it is, at any rate, something worse, being practised by wholesale, and in the instance of every individual suit whatsoever; whereas, in the mode styled bribery, it has never, by the most abandoned offender, been practised but in here and there a suit: and the money being received under the name of fees, the act of maleficence (for be it understood it is not an offence) is practised with the full assurance of impunity; and the profit, direct and (by means of patronage) indirect together, is so enormous, that you would find difficulty in giving credit to it.
“I am wandering, and must have done.
“In a word, the object of the liberty I am thus taking is this. Notwithstanding all that has been done (and it is no small matter) by Buonaparte and his draughtsmen—his codifiers, towards the remedying the cost, still in France the benefit of justice remains inaccessible to a very large portion of the community,—I believe far the largest; and to another vast portion is not attainable, without a grievous and most oppressive tax paid to the professional lawyers, the sum of whose enjoyments from that source bears but a very small ratio to the sum of the sufferings produced by the same cause in all other breasts.
“In this state of things, notwithstanding the comparative disinterestedness and generosity of the French character, any such expectation as that of finding, in the instance of the influential portion of the body of professional lawyers, any sincere coöperation with anything other than the most determinate opposition to any plan well adapted to the diminution of their own profit, would be altogether inconsistent with any the smallest insight into human nature.
“The object of this is, therefore, to endeavour to learn whether I may entertain a hope of a disposition on your part to contribute in your country, by your endeavours and your influence, towards the removal of so cruel an evil as that in question, and to honour me with your coöperation towards that end. Dr Bowring obliges me by being the bearer of this letter: he is my most intimate and confidential friend, and a man so well qualified for giving all the required and desirable explanations is not to be found.—I am, Sir, with the most sincere respect, yours,” &c.
The Duke replied, that he hoped, when the agitating events were passed, which then occupied every public man’s attention in France, he should be able, “à têteréposée, et avec maturité d’esprit,” to occupy himself with the important subject of Law Reform.
On the Revolution of the Three Days in France, it was Bentham’s intention to address a series of letters to the French people. Only one, however, was written, as follows:—
[* ] Bentham seems not to have been aware, that, in Denmark, all suitors are compelled to resort to the Courts of Conciliation; and can only commence proceedings at the ordinary courts when the Conciliation Court has certified that a doubtful point of law is at issue between the parties.