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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pg 85Editor’s Note2886To Étienne Dumont26 May 1822 (Aet 74)

Day of dispatching Sunday 26 May 1822.2

My dear Dumont

Receiving the accompanying packet from me you will pout, and imagine yourself ill-used if you receive not something of a letter along with it. Your last, date of it 15 Janvier 1822, lies before me:3 if you would furnish me with a new pair of eyes, or put yourself once more to a writing school, it would be an improvement. I have a patent for writing an illegible hand—I mean one so perfectly illegible as mine, and to write a hand equally illegible is an infringement. But I must adonize; and, while I adonize, I preach, and a boy scribbles.

Now in reply to your sarcasms, which you may remember or not remember, 'Modern Daniel' I recollect nothing about; What's a drill, case of Whigheveryman, as little:4 local allusions all of them: at least nothing more than allusions & which as such may be omitted with little loss, if any. To have indicated the head under which these phrases occurred, wd have cost you somewhat less time than it wd cost me to hunt for them through the whole mass of my matter on Evidence. Of 'Garrow's examination' I can say something.5 Garrow owed his rise to his particular aptitude for cross-examination—counter interrogation: an operation, which, when performed in public is not performed but before a Jury. The talent displayed in this line of business, raised him to the office of Attorney General. Possessing this talent & not possessing any other, he was found useless to the Ministry in the House of Commons. Had he been useful, the natural course was—after he had been useful long enough, & a vacancy happened, to the Chancellorship or one of the Chief Justiceships. Except for the offence of serving the opposite party, (for as to the cause of the people, no lawyer ever thought of serving it,) a lawyer is never turned adrift. They made him one of the 3 Puisne Judges of the Exchequer, who pg 86in that Judicatory are called Barons: so there he is starving upon not so much as 4,000£ a year.

'Deontology, a new Demon pamphlet?' No pamphlet, & as old as the hills. It is one out of half a dozen large works, that have been going on together, ever since you saw me, & before. One is in one man's hand, to be Dumontized; another, in another's.6 But there is no Dumont who can be mentioned in the same line with the original one. All others are idlers or imposters. At the long run all these works—these worlds I mean, will by their own gravity, fall into the lap of the only true Dumont in the world, by whom they will be regenerated & beautified. When he has given a day to each of the 6, he may read the book of Genesis & go to sleep the seventh.7

Sanctions. 1. Retributive. Of this sanction, you can neither (I think) deny the existence, nor the operation, nor the distinctness, from the 4 more extensive sanctions that are your old acquaintances.8 As to the sympathetic & antipathetic, I must confess they are somewhat of a plague to me. I had them, all together, exemplified, all 7 of them, in the case of drunkenness: sanctions remunerative as well as punitive: taking into account the evils casually produced from that infirmity: otherwise no such extensive exemplification would have been afforded. A sheet, to which this exemplification had been consigned, has found its way—to the moon, I imagine, for upon earth I can not find it. To re-write it would be a bug bear, so long has it been deferred. The best course (I believe) would be to preach it as I do these presents. The force of the moral sanction—the force applied by the public-opinion-tribunal is a sort of aggregate—viz the force of an unassignable number of individuals all the world over. The act of a tribunal, real or imaginary, is an act performed without passion: a decision, a cool judgement the result of a deliberation, indefinite in duration as well as in extent. The acts which are the results of the sympathetic & antipathetic sanctions are in each instance the acts of assignable individuals; they are the results of passion more or less intense. By sympathy, for your friend, who has been a sufferer from the frolics of a drunkard, is produced in your mind antipathy as towards the drunkard. Hence on your part, on whatever occasion it may happen to present itself, a propensity to bestow good offices—services upon your sober friend—to pg 87withhold them from his drunken adversary. Set yourself to work upon this; more at present I cannot afford.

The Journals of the Portugueze Cortes, bound in red and gold figure on my shelves. As they come to the Legation, so, through the Legation, so the continuations come to me. Of my letters to the Cortes one or two you will see in the inclosed.9 To make this part of the Testimonials complete, the others must (I believe) follow in a flying sheet.10 Some 2 or 3 years ago, was there not an Italian Journal, by which the title of Newton of Legislation was conferred on me?11 & did not you mention it to me at the time? If not, I am, as you will see, in a scrape. You must forge one, to draw me out of it A Bacon (I see) you have made me; but that alone will not suffice.12

Jury Trial. Assuming that your Evidence13 will come out first,—long before your organisation Judiciaire 14 is ready, my Jury trial will so be.15 To stop the creation of useless, needless, overpaid, & mischievous Offices—that, being much easier than to annihilate them when created, by way of a forerunner & in part of my Constitutional Code, being that one of the three which for divers reasons had been designed to come last (since I dispatched Count Toreno, Codification Proposal & the more essential parts of 'Rid yourselves of Ultramaria', sent in manuscript to Madrid, Lisbon, & Rio de Janeiro) I have been occupied with a work intituled 'Economy applied to Office.'16 Motto & memento, 'Aptitude maximized, Expence minimized'. In this, both being understood in the largest sense, every thing is contained. The advance already made is considerable. [1.] Securities for moral aptitude, identification of functionaries particular interest with universal interest, thence with duty. 2. Minimization of power. 3. Minimization of public money, at their disposal. 4. Application of apt counter force: apt, the force of popular or moral sanction, applied by public opinion tribunal; unapt, force of the religious sanction as applied by Government. In Jury trial, Jury's power a counter force to the power of the Judge. Jury's verdict, if obligatory, shares in the power of the legal sanction: if not obligatory, it would be the opinion of a section or pg 88Committee of the public opinion tribunal; in case of publicity, the audience at large, another. Thus destitute of legal power, a Jury, with an unobligatory verdict, might without change of constitution, be set up in Hindostan, in Morocco, or in Negroland: & thus prepare the way for a Jury with an obligatory verdict, in God's own good time. A silent Jury, over & above the casual throng of attendants, waiting till the causes they are concerned in come on, would be instituted with still less difficulty. Without such a Jury, special causes for secrecy excepted, no cause or suit, nor any part of any causes or suit, from first to last, ought to proceed. For a Jury to be good for any thing, the Members must, in each cause, be located, not by man but by Fortune.

By minimization, of money employed in dotation of office, not only is expence minimized but appropriate official aptitude, moral, intellectual & active, are all served. Voici de quoi faire penser. I must away, to take my ¾ of an hour, half walk, half run before breakfast, for which I have about as much active aptitude, corporeal as well as mental, as you ever saw me having.

Farewell, it is time this letter should be at its close.

I hear from you every now and then of an Italian Journal by Rossi.17 I heard from you 2 or 3 years ago of a Journal in which we were lauded, published (I believe) at Milan;18 but not long after its commencement extinguished: extinguished, perhaps for that, with or without other offences; could you not contrive, one of these days to send me an odd number or two of each? with an account of the first day of the first appearance of each, the frequency of appearance in the case of each, & how many following numbers of each have made their appearance. If I had a few prospectus's of the existing one, it seems not impossible, but that, sooner or later, I might be a means of giving some small currency to it: for example, I could contribute to its being known in Nth & Sth America. I find there are suspicions abroad of timeservingness, austrianism, & servileness, on the part of Rossi, grounded or groundless, there might be a use in their being known to you, & even to himself: certainly what I have printed from your manuscript quotation can have no tendency to please Austria, or the serviles in any shape any where. In that which you now receive, exists a page, that will throw your sovereign into a rage.19 I could not help it: no prayer of mine could cause the cup to be removed.20 This is not the only one, by thousands of millions of cases, in which it is necessary that the units be pinched, that the millions may be served. I know not whether I have told you above that I have received Diplomatic & tolerably well articulated assurance that the Portugueze translation of pg 89all my forthcoming works21 is likely to be out, before the Cortes breaks up, an event which is expected to take place in 2 or 3 months: so that my own countrymen & your countrymen if they wish to know the most that is to be known of me must learn Portugueze.

There is a pretty little book published here which exhibits, at one view the grammar of the Portugueze, Spanish & Italian languages.22 London 1815. Author Richard Woodhouse 8vo. pages 160: each language facilitates the learning of the other.23

Brochures herewith sent

1 Codification Proposal one copy inscribed with your name

2 One do inscribed with Bellot's

3 One do inscribed with Rossi's

3 do uninscribed

2. Propuesta de Codigo a Spanish translation With each copy is put up a list of my works.

I write to you as to a Trustee: if, out of loyalty to your Sovereign, or any limb of him, if you take upon you to suppress any one of these copies, you are guilty of a breach of trust, and the world shall ring with the Proclamation of it.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
2886. 1 Dumont MSS 33 / V, fos. 24–7. In the hand of Colls, except the first paragraph and final section which are in Bentham's hand.
Editor’s Note
2 According to Colls's Journal of 27 May 1822 (BL XXVII. 101), the packet containing this letter and enclosures was sent to the White Bear Piccadilly on 23 May 1822 for on ward transmission to Dumont in Geneva. Either Colls has mistaken the date, or 26 May 1822 refers to the day Bentham expected the letter to depart for Geneva. For further discussion of the letter's dispatch and arrival see Letters 2905, 2913.
Editor’s Note
3 i.e. Letter 2842.
Editor’s Note
5 Sir William Garrow (1760–1840), Solicitor General 1812–13, Attorney General 1813–17, and Puisne Baron of the Exchequer 1817–32. For earlier references to Garrow see Correspondence, viii, as index.
Editor’s Note
6 Dumont had last seen Bentham during his visit to England in 1818. The two works referred to by Bentham may be those edited by George Grote and Francis Place respectively, which were to appear pseudonymously: Philip Beauchamp, Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind, London, 1822; and Gamaliel Smith, Not Paul, but Jesus, London, 1823. Grote (1794–1871), historian of Greece, MP for the City of London 1832–41, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London 1862–71, Treasurer of University College London 1860, and President 1868. For Bentham's earlier contact with Grote see Correspondence, x, as index.
Editor’s Note
7 Genesis 2: 2–3.
Editor’s Note
8 The four sanctions that would have been 'old acquaintances' to Dumont were the physical, political, moral, and religious, described by Bentham in An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, ed. J.H. Burns and H.L.A. Hart, London, 1970 (CW), pp. 34–41, and in Traités de législation civile et pénale, i. 45–50.
Editor’s Note
9 i.e. in 'Codification Proposal': see 'Legislator of the World' (CW), pp. 317–21, 331–4.
Editor’s Note
10 A Supplement to 'Codification Proposal': see Letter 2859 n. 3.
Editor’s Note
11 The Italian journal has not been identified. Bentham was keen to trace the journal in which he believed he had been called 'the Newton of Legislation' as he had included this reference in 'Codification Proposal'; see 'Legislator of the World'' (CW), pp. 322–3. Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), natural philosopher.
Editor’s Note
12 In the advertisement for Traité des preuves judiciaires in Antologia Bentham had been called the Bacon of the science of legislation: see Letter 2842 & n. 24.
Editor’s Note
13 i.e. Traité des preuves judiciaires.
Editor’s Note
14 i.e. De l'organisation judiciaire, et de la codification.
Editor’s Note
15 Bentham may be referring to the response he had been preparing to Agustín de Argüelles's request for Bentham's opinion on the benefits of introducing the jury trial in Spain: see Letters 2736, 2742 & n. 1, Correspondence, ix. The work appears never to have been completed.
Editor’s Note
16 For the writing of 'Economy as Applied to Office' see First Principles Preparatory to Constitutional Code, ed. P. Schofield, Oxford, 1989 (CW), Editorial Introduction, pp. xix–xxvi.
Editor’s Note
17 i.e. Antologia: see Letter 2842 & n. 19.
Editor’s Note
18 Not traced.
Editor’s Note
19 Bentham had criticized the Conseil Souverain of Geneva for not attaching a rationale to the Penal Code drafted by the Commission of which Dumont was a member in 'Codification Proposal': see 'Legislator of the World' (CW), pp. 259–60. For correspondence between Dumont and Bentham on this point see Letters 2419, 2425, Correspondence, ix.
Editor’s Note
20 Luke 22: 41–2.
Editor’s Note
21 A Portuguese translation of Théorie des peines et des récompenses was published by the Imprensa Nacional in Lisbon under the general title of Traducção das obras politicas do sabio jurisconsulto Jeremias Bentham, vertidas do inglez na lingua portugueza por mandado do soberano congresso das Cortes Geraes, Extraordinarias, e constituintes da mesma nação, 2 vols., Lisbon, 1822: the first volume consisted of 'Theoria das Penas Legaes', and the second volume of 'Theoria dos Premios Legaes'.
Editor’s Note
22 The remainder of the letter is in Bentham's hand.
Editor’s Note
23 Richard Woodhouse, A grammar of the Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian languages, intended to facilitate the acquiring of these sister tongues, by exhibiting in a synoptical form the agreements and differences in their grammatical construction, London, 1815.
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