Front Page Titles (by Subject) Bentham to W. Tait. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index)
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Bentham to W. Tait. - 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 W. Tait.
“5th March, 1831.
“Yesterday, (the 4th inst.,) Dr Bowring put into my hands a letter under your signature, in which letter I read the following passage:—‘If Bentham approves of such unions, I shall be gratified by a few lines from him to communicate to the Union. Has he written anything recommending unions of the people? His writings are far too little known.’
“It is with great pleasure that I make communication of my compliance with the wish thus expressed: it produces in me, as you see, the effect of a law.
“In principle I am, and, as long as I can recollect, have at all times been, a decided advocate of the most unrestrained peaceable intercourse between man and man for political purposes; consequently for that union, of which I have heard such warm approbation, from friends in whose wisdom and benevolence I am in the habit of placing the firmest reliance.
“But as to details, I have not received any information. You would therefore oblige me much by furnishing me with any such information as is in print; and, in the meantime, letting me know by post at what time, and by what conveyance, I may expect to receive it; and through what channel I may convey to you any such literary matter, as is too bulky to be transmitted by that conveyance.
“This same principle—namely, of unrestrained political intercourse, so it be peaceable—including even union, will be found pervading, and upon occasion showing itself in freedom, in every plan I ever published; but in a more particular manner in my work entitled Bentham’s Radical Reform Bill, in which are contained my reasons for wishing to see given to the suffrage of the electors of the members of the British and Irish House of Commons, the attributes of ‘Secrecy, Universality, Equality, and Annuality;’ of the first of which, namely, Secrecy, the process called the Ballot, is the appropriate instrument.
“Towards this state of perfection, the nearer that any actually proposed plan appears to me to approach, the nearer it accordingly approaches to the consummation of my wishes.
“As to the plan at present upon the carpet, so considerable is the approval it appears to me to merit, that it is not without high delight that I contemplate it.
“Always understood that it will be followed by the Ballot, which I look upon as a consequence sufficiently assured, to keep alive the most sanguine hope; but not in such sort assured as to warrant any relaxation of the endeavours which are employed for the attainment of it. For without the secrecy in question, I look upon all these other securities as little worth.
“As to my works, enclosed is the latest list of them that has been printed.
“Flattering myself with the having fulfilled your wishes, as expressed in your letter. I am, Sir, with sincere respect, yours,” &c.
When the Whig Government was projecting a prosecution of Cobbett, Bentham wrote the following letter to an influential member of that Government:—
“22d June, 1831.
“Your kindness will excuse this intrusion. The motives will speak for themselves; and if it does no good, it will do no harm.
“For something or other that has been lately published by Cobbett, Government, (I understand,) after having commenced a prosecution against him, and let it sleep for some time, perseveres in bringing it to a conclusion. Several men of whose public affections I am sure, and of whose judgment I think well, agree with me in the apprehension, lest by such a proceeding the administration should be lowered in the estimation of the people. In my opinion, this would be a probable result of any prosecution for anything that goes under the name of a political libel: for, of bad advice in print, if it be in general terms, the bad effect may be more effectually counteracted by good counter advice, backed by reasons also in print; and bad advice, recommending the inflicting injury, in such and such a shape, on an individual, would, in case of the commission of the injury, render the adviser an accomplice, and as such punishable.
“As to Cobbett, a more odious compound of selfishness, malignity, insincerity, and mendacity, never presented itself to my memory or my imagination: and I know not that man for whose sufferings I should have less sympathy than for this man’s; nor do I know any man in whose estimation the intellectual part of his fame holds so low a place as in mine. Moreover, a friend writes to me—‘Cobbett has been abusing you very lately.’ Be it so: his abuse of me is no more a matter of interest to me, than would be a dog’s barking at me. Never, I believe, did he make mention of me for any other purpose, than that of lowering me in the estimation of the public. For a great many years past, never to my recollection have I read ten lines together of anything he has written, or heard, except by accident, a few lines more.
“Were I, for example, to succeed in this my application, in such sort, that for this cause alone the prosecution were dropped, I would not wish that he should know as much: he would (I should expect) labour but so much more to injure me. Such is my opinion of his gratitude.
“A small part of all this might probably have sufficed, as well as the whole, to convince you, that this address has for its cause regard for the public, and not for the individual: and with this confession, I conclude myself, yours most sincerely.”
Bentham was used to keep a memorandum book, in which, under the name of Dicenda, he entered all the anticipated topics of conversation with his visiters. One specimen will suffice:—