Jeremy Bentham

Catherine Fuller (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 11: January 1822 to June 1824

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Editor’s Note3053To Alexander Mavrokordatos6 March 1824 (Aet 76)

Jeremy Bentham, to Prince Alexander Mavrocordato

Secretary of State to the Provisional Government of Greece χαίρειν‎.2

Little did my father think when six and Seventy years ago, he first folded me in his arms little did he think when seventy and more Years ago, he taught me to repeat Πάτερ ἠμῶν‎3 in its own language, that the object of these his fond labors, was destined to receive, and at the same time, letters4 from the two most illustrious successors of those heroes, whose lives in the Pages of their fellow countryman,5 were numbered soon after, among the choicest of my amusements.

Not many years had elapsed when he put in to my hands a work on Ethics written (I have heard say) by an ancestor of Yours, and which at any rate bears your name.6

Little did I dream of receiving, from a name from which I was then receiving lessons of morality any such missive as an invitation to address to that same name a work on Legislation.

This is an age of wonders, and not the least of them is, this same correspondence, a correspondence on such a subject, and between two such men, between one of the descendants of those handfuls of men, who in the Garden of Europe for so many ages, kept at bay the Despots of the East, with their ever armed yet still enslaved millions, between one of the pg 357most enlightened, of that first enlightened nation, and a fellow countryman of those naked barbarians, who were never deemed worth taming and but for a little tin, they had now and then picked up, would never have been worth visiting.

Continue in success as well as endeavours—continue as You have begun and Greece to her former ever tottering liberty, and that engrossed by the few will see substituted that only true liberty which is enjoyed alike by all—That liberty which is the matchless fruit of a Representative Democracy, with secrecy universality, equality, and annuality of suffrage.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
3053. 1 Telegrafo Greco, no. 13, 12 June 1824, p. 2. Typographical errors have been corrected. Printed in Ἱστορικὸν Ἀρχεῖον Ἀλεξάνδρου Μαυροκορδάτου‎, iv. 234. For the delivery of this letter, with Letters 3049 and 3052, see Letter 3049 n. 1.
Editor’s Note
2 i.e. 'greetings'.
Editor’s Note
3 'Our Father', the first words of the Lord's Prayer.
Editor’s Note
4 Letter 2971 from Orlandos, and Letters 2980, 2981 from Mavrokordatos.
Editor’s Note
5 Presumably Plutarch, Lives. For Bentham's recollections of reading Plutarch see Bowring, x. 20.
Editor’s Note
6 Probably one of the philosophical writings of Alexandros Mavrokordatos (1636–1709), a Constantinople Greek, educated in Rome and Padua, a teacher and writer, who held public office in the Porte.
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