Jeremy Bentham

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

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Sect. IV. Constitution.

1. Board of General Direction stationed in the metropolis—directors, say twelve or twenty-four; a governor and sub-governor included. 2. Qualification for a Director as in the East India Company.—3. Qualification for voting at election of directors as in ditto.—4. Qualification for voting in assemblies of stock holders, as in ditto.8 5. Shares very small,a and determinate;b say 10l. or 5l.


a Shares why small?—Reasons. 1. Satisfaction of concurring in a work of beneficence, the more extensively diffused. 2. The necessary quantum of capital, the more easy to obtain. 3. Pecuniary benefit the more extensively diffused, by bringing to light small hoards, hitherto barren, and enabling them to bear an interest. 4. Frugality promoted, by giving additional security as well as value to small savings. {See Book iii. [Chap.]10 5. Frugality assisted.}11 5. Content promoted, by giving, to the frugal among the self-maintaining poor, an interest in the economical maintenance and due employment of the burdensome poor. 6. National quiet promoted, by giving to some of the classes most disposed to turbulence, an interest in the prosperity of the proposed company, and of the government under which it acts—as the national debt gave to the public creditors an interest in supporting the title of King William.12

b Shares why determinate?—Reasons.—To avoid the perplexity that would attend the paying dividends of interest upon fractional sums. 2. To hold out to frugality a determinate mark to aim at. 3. To facilitate the allowance of interest, as between seller and buyer, according to the number of days elapsed since the payment of the last dividend, as in the case of India bonds.5

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Editor’s Note
10 Annals '§'.
Editor’s Note
12 See p. 4 n. above.
Editor’s Note
5 The East India Company borrowed money on short-term bonds, which were secured on the debt due from the government to the Company. The bonds were commonly issued in units of £100, on the basis of a six months' notice of repayment, and were readily transferable. The interest rate was set by the Company, and interest was computable daily. For an account of the bonds see, for example, Thomas Mortimer, Every man his own broker, or, a guide to Exchange-Alley, 5th edn., London, 1162, pp. 180–8.
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