On this page
- Text (2)
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The text has not been manually corrected and should not be relied on to be an accurate representation of the item.
Additionally, when viewing full transcripts, extracted text may not be in the same order as the original document.
A review of the life of Bentham exercises the same influence over the mind as that which is here so finely described as attending on its close . There is throughout the same " stern simplicity , " imparting to the " principle of utility" by the unity and consistency of its influence over all his actions , a power of
touching the feelings , while it addresses itself to the intellect . It is impossible , without emotion , to contemplate him devoting s for upwards of half a century eight hours a day , and sometimes twelve , to intense study—having in that study no view whatever to his own interest or advancement , but solely the benefit of mankind , and contented to wait for a result till future
generations should be able to perceive , what he did not expect from his contemporaries , the nature and extent of the work he had , achieved . For this work he very early quitted the practice of the law , the imperfections and absurdities of which disgusted him . His own account of his reasons is given with his characteristic simplicity : —
" These things ( instances of chicanery and falsehood ) , and others of the same complexion , in such immense abundance , determined me to quit the profession ; and as soon as I could obtain my father ' s permission , I did so ; I found it more to my taste to endeavour ^ as I Have been doing ever since , to put an end to them , than to profit by them . "
The object of his labours was to apply the principle of utility , or more properly of felicity , to the science of legislation ; making the " greatest happiness of the greatest number " th § sole aim of that science , and the basis of every one of its , enactments . " Had the human mind applied itself with all ita faculties , with all the energy which those faculties are capable of putting forth , with sincerity of purpose , and with persevere ance , to the adoption of institutions , laws , procedures , rules ,
an 4 sanctions , having such , and only such , ends in view ; had it devoteditself to this pursuit , from thatpoint of civilization in the history of our race , which is compatible with labour of this sort , up to the present hour , what would now have been the condition of human society !—what would now have been the amount of obtainable felicity , felicity actually and hourly enjoyecl by the millions of human beings that make up that vast aggregate !" —Lecture delivered over the remains of Jeremy Bentham , by Dr Southwood Smith .
He advanced very considerably towards the completion pf an all-comprehensive system or code of internal law , divided in ^ o four minor codes ; the constitutional , the civil , the penal > and the administrative . " For the constitutional code he has done enough to render its
cpmpletioii comparatively easy ; while the all-important branches of offences of reward and punishment , of procedure , of evidence , have been worked out by him with a comprehensiveness and minuteness which may be saifl to have exhausted these subjects . "— -Lecture , pp . 22— -24 .
Memoranda of Bentham . 19
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1837, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1827/page/21/