A Blupete Biography Page


NOTES TO
The Life & Works of

Jeremy Bentham

1 See C. K. Ogden's introduction to Bentham's work, The Theory of Legislation (1789) (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner; 1931).

2 According to Augustine Birrell, Bentham had an "abhorrence of attorneys and our absurd juridical system." [See Birrell's William Hazlitt (1902) (London: MacMillan, 1902) at p. 93.]

3 My copy: Oxford University Press, 1951.

4 However, John Stuart Mill, in his autobiography was to write: "The notion that Bentham was surrounded by a band of disciples who received their opinions from his lips, is a fable ... The influence which Bentham exercised was by his writings."

5 As a founder of University College at London, Bentham's skeleton is there, I understand, at the University, preserved, dressed up in his clothes.

6 Hazlitt's essay, "Jeremy Bentham," being one of a compilation of his essays published in a book, in 1825, The Spirit of the Age. Hazlitt rented his house (19 York Street, Westminster) and rented it from Bentham; and, Bentham lived "in a mansion with a large garden just behind." (See Birrell's William Hazlitt, op. cit., p. 93.)

7 Hazlitt's "Jeremy Bentham," op. cit..

8 My soft covered copy came from Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988.

9 Compare the utiltarian theory with the views of the great 20th century philosopher, Karl Popper. In his work, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), Popper suggests what the guiding public policy should be: "Minimize avoidable suffering," this in contradistinction to the Utilitarian maxim, "Maximize happiness."

10 Hazlitt's essay, "Jeremy Bentham."

11 See pp. x-xi of Ogden's introduction to Bentham's work, The Theory of Legislation, op. cit.

12 Sydney Smith (1771-1845), with Jeffrey, Horner & Brougham, founded the Edinburgh Review. Smith was of the view that there "are a vast number of absurd and mischievous fallacies, which pass readily in the world for sense and virtue while in truth they tend only to fortify error and encourage crime." With thoughts like this we can readily see that Smith was a reformer of the Bentham bent. [See Smith's "Fallacies of Anti-Reformers" (1824).]

13 Ibid.

14 Hazlitt's essay, "Jeremy Bentham."

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Beginning with Sir Thomas More's (1478-1535) Utopia.

18 Hazlitt's essay, "Jeremy Bentham."

19 It was in his Principles of Legislation (1780) that Bentham thought: "Instead of the phrase, Law of Nature, you have sometimes Law of Reason." A statement, which betrays, of course, a complete misunderstanding of the notion, natural law.

20 See Chambers.

21 Johnson, p. 325.

22 The Minutes of the Plinian Society.

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Peter Landry

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2011