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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 12: July 1824 to June 1828

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note3308To Robert Peel3 February 1827 (Aet 78)

Q.S.P. 3d Feby 1827.


On the specimens of Manifold Writing herewith sent.

In p. 43 of the copy which I took the liberty of sending you of my Article in the Westminster Review on Mr Humphreys's Code,2 mention is made of the mode of writing called the Manifold mode.3 In the event of your looking into that pamphlet, it has occurred to me pg 314that you might perhaps not be disinclined to see a specimen of the result. I accordingly herewith take the further liberty of inclosing three pages of it. Two of them, namely those which contain some observations of my own, were already written, when it occurred to me that perhaps you might be disposed to communicate a specimen of that invention to one person or another, to whom it would not be thought advisable to communicate the abovementioned three. I have accordingly added the fourth, which contains nothing but two Extracts from your Speech on Criminal Law Consolidation, together with an Extract from Mr Hammond's two Letters on the subject of Codification,4 as coming from a learned Gentleman, who writes as from authority, and as giving intimation of a design which, so far as regards the subject-matter mentioned in those two passages, it would be matter of delight to me to find presenting a faithful interpretation of your own.5 For my own part, I can not help regarding the question as between Codification and mere Consolidation, without substitution of Common to Statute Law, as a pierre de [touche].6

  •                I am, Sir, with the truest respect,
  •                          Your's
  •                                           Jeremy Bentham

Right Hon: Robert Peel

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3308. 1 Northumberland County Record Office, Brooks Collection, i. 223. In the hand of Colls, with autograph signature, direction, and minor corrections. An autograph draft dated '1827 Jany 22 or 24', and headed 'J.B. to Peel inclosing Manifold Writing Samples', is at UC, xi. 244, and a copy in the hand of Colls, with autograph corrections, headed by Bentham 'Taken by Mr Colls this day— / Q.S.P. 3 Feb:y 1827 / On the specimens of Manifold writing herewith sent', is at xi. 254.
Editor’s Note
2 For the passage in question see 'Art. VIII.—Observations on the actual State of the English Law of Real Property, with the Outline of a Code', Westminster Review, vol. vi., no. xii (October 1826), 486, and Bowring, v. 406.
Editor’s Note
3 Bentham first mentioned the manifold writing technique in a letter to his brother Samuel, dated 23 September 1808 (Letter 2003, Correspondence, vii), where he attributed the invention to Ralph Wedgwood (1766–1837), son of Thomas Wedgwood (1734–88), cousin and partner of the potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730–95). Ralph Wedgwood is named as the patentee in Alphabetical Index of Patentees of Inventions, from March 2, 1617 (14 James I.) to October 1, 1852 (16 Victoriæ.), London, 1854, 7 October 1806, no. 2972, 'Apparatus for producing duplicates of writings', and 22 February 1808, no. 3110, 'Apparatus for producing several original writings or drawings at one and the same time. "Manifold Writer." ' For further accounts of manifold writing see Constitutional Code, I (CW), pp. 160–1, and Rationale of Judicial Evidence, ii. 670 n. (Bowring, vi. 576n.)
Editor’s Note
4 None of the specimens of writing produced using the manifold mode sent to Peel have been located, though the drafts prepared by Bentham, containing the extracts which were to be copied using the manifold writing system, are at UC, xi. 245–8. The autograph drafts of the first three specimen sheets to which Bentham refers, headed '1827 Jan. 21 / J.B. to Peel On Manifold paper. / Manifold writing—Specimens of it in three different hands January 1827', containing extracts from Peel's speech of 9 March 1826 in the House of Commons on the consolidation of the criminal law (see Parliamentary Debates (1826) xiv. 1214–16), and accompanied by Bentham's 'Observations', are at UC, xi. 246–8. A fair copy of the same material, in the hand of Colls, headed '1827. Jany 22d / J.B. to Peel, on Manifold paper', is at UC, xi. 249–51.
The draft of the fourth specimen sheet, partly autograph and partly in Colls' hand, headed '1827 Jan.y 24 / Manifold Writing: as described in the Westminster / Review No XII for October 1826 p. 486: / Specimens of it in three different hands', containing two of the same extracts from Peel's speech of 9 March 1826, and extracts from Anthony Hammond, 'A Letter to the Members of the Different Circuits', London, 1826, p. 2, and Anthony Hammond, Correspondence between the Commissioners of New York, appointed to revise the Laws of that State, and Anthony Hammond, Esq. of the Inner Temple, London, 1826, p. 26, is at UC, xi. 245. A printed copy of Hammond's 'Letter to the Members of the Different Circuits', containing markings by Bentham, is at UC, xi. 200.
Editor’s Note
5 The passages extracted from Hammond's works advocate the codification of the criminal law.
Editor’s Note
6 MS 'trache' appears to be a miscopy by Colls.
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