The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham Volume 2 - 1777 to 1780
Publisher: UCL Press
The first five volumes of the Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham contain over 1,300 letters written both to and from Bentham over a 50-year period, beginning in 1752 (aged three) with his earliest surviving letter to his grandmother, and ending in 1797 with correspondence concerning his attempts to set up a national scheme for the provision of poor relief. Against the background of the debates on the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, to which he made significant contributions, Bentham worked first on producing a complete penal code, which involved him in detailed explorations of fundamental legal ideas, and then on his panopticon prison scheme. Despite developing a host of original and ground-breaking ideas, contained in a mass of manuscripts, he published little during these years, and remained, at the close of this period, a relatively obscure individual. Nevertheless, these volumes reveal how the foundations were laid for the remarkable rise of Benthamite utilitarianism in the early nineteenth century.
Bentham’s correspondence reveals that in the late 1770s he
was working intensively on developing a code of penal law, but also expanding
his acquaintance and, to a moderate degree, enhancing his reputation as a legal
thinker. A significant family event took place in 1779 when his brother Samuel
went to Russia in order to make his fortune.
Praise for the Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, volumes 1-5
‘These volumes provide significant additions to our understanding of Bentham’s work in the first half of his life up to 1797. The insights they offer into Bentham’s activities, ideas and method cast light on his philosophical and political positions in a seminal period in British and European history.’British Journal for the History of Philosophy