Jeremy Bentham

Michael Quinn (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Writings on the Poor Laws, Vol. 2

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Editor’s Note
1 The title is taken from the Table of Contents for 'Pauper Management Improved', Annals of Agriculture, vol. xxx (1798), 89–90 (see p. 487 below). The following fragment at UC cliv. 113, drafted as an introduction to the subject of clothing for inclusion in Bk. II, Ch. VI. Diet, is the only material dealing with this subject which has been located: 'Let no man, on the ground of minuteness, scorn the details that follow. Particulars are the stuff that generals are composed of: for one who preaches generals, to be ignorant of particulars, is to be worse than simply ignorant of generals. From the pursuit of generals to the neglect of particulars, arises false knowledge and the common-place that grows out of it. Without soaring to generals, a mind may be master of particulars: but to be ignorant of particulars and knowing generals, is a contradiction in terms. He who in mind thus sets himself above his business is in effect below it.
'That of the practicability of which you are not fully persuaded, do not propose.—Do not hold yourself assured that a thing can be done in any mode, till some one mode at least has presented itself to you, and been approved of, as a mode in which it is capable at least of being done.
'Every thing is ennobled by extent: because use encreases with extent, and nobility crowns extensive use.
'In Bacon's wisdom of the Ancients, the Giant Typhuis might have been given as the emblem of the accomplished Statesman—
ουρανω εινεκάλυψε κάρη κι επι χθονι βαινει‎
'His head the heavens, the earth his footsteps sweep.'
For Bacon's version of the story of Typhon, monstrous son of Gaia and Tartarus, see De Sapienta Veterum, in Works of Francis Bacon, vi. 630–1. Bentham has either misrecollected or deliberately rephrased a line from Homer, Iliad, IV. 443, which actually describes Eris, the personification of Strife: οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξε κάρη καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ βαίνει‎, i.e. 'she rests her head in the heavens, and walks on the earth'. Bentham has abbreviated και‎, i.e. 'and', to κι‎, and has replaced the verb εστήριξε‎, i.e. 'rests', with εινεκάλυψε‎, i.e. 'hid' or 'veiled'.
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