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who mingle little with men and things. Bold and original to a fault, he rather suspected that an old thing was necessarily a bad thing. His exhaustless patience, and fondness for abstractions and theorizing, which grew by what they fed on, led him to carry everything out, out, out, till he sometimes trenched on absurdity or sunk in obscurity. In vulgar phrase, he was prone

run a thing into the ground.” He mixed so little with the world, and had such limited experience in the every-day business of life, that he often forgot that his codes must be executed by and upon mortal men. He lived fifty years in the house immortalized as the dwelling-place of Milton, in the very heart of London ; and yet nine-tenths of the inhabitants, about whom he was thinking, and writing, and printing for half a century, never knew that he lived at all. Habits induced by this recluse life, were not improved by his being the head and oracle of a school, whose immoderate puffings, which he must hear, were not counterbalanced by denunciations from without, to which he never listened. He tried to reduce everything to a system, and wrote as if the human mind were a curious little wheel, to be put into a vast engine, which, when regulated according to his system, would run without jarring or friction. He made too little allowance for the individualities, eccentricities, crooked-stickednesses of mankind. But in this he did not differ from many other philosophers—men wiser and better than their generationmen so far beyond and above their times, that they look like dwarfs to their cotemporaries.

Then, he undertook so much that he left a great deal incomplete ; so that, in many of his works, while he has finished one side of a subject, he seems not to have touched or seen the other side. His style, especially in his latter years, was rough, involved, uncongenial ; often obscure from its very verbosity; and, when clear, fatiguing the reader by so thoroughly exhausting the subject as to leave nothing for him to do but read. He called his style of reasoning “ the exhaustive mode," and

he crowded it full of crabbed words of his own invention. He wrote many of his works in French, and they were given to the world by Dumont, a Genevan. Hazlitt has wittily said : “ His works have been translated into French; they ought to be translated into English." Sydney Smith, when reviewing his “Book of Fallacies," remarks, in his quaint way, “ Whether it is necessary there should be a middleman between the cultivator and the possessor, learned economists have doubted ; but neither gods, men, nor booksellers, can doubt the necessity of a middleman between Mr. Bentham and the public. The mass of readers will choose to become acquainted with him through the medium of Reviews, after that eminent philosopher has been washed, trimmed, shaved, and forced into clean linen.

Bentham invented the words Codify and Codification, now in such general use. But let it not be supposed that he was guilty of the absurdity of imagining that the entire laws of a Commonwealth could be compressed into a single volume ; nor of that other absurdity, that the laws can be written so plain that the meanest capacity can understand them fully, and

apply them, without mistakes, to all the varieties of human rights and wrongs, and the ever-shifting vagaries and exigencies of society. He never had wit enough to see how it was, that what never could be true in regard to any other science or species of writing, must be true in regard to jurisprudence and legislation. He left that discovery for penny-a-liners, who believe all the law the world needs can be printed between the yellow covers of a twenty-page pamphlet.

Bentham labored without any apparent success at home for years. He was famous in France, and appreciated in Russia, before he was known in England. At length, his reiterated blows made an impression. He won converts in high places, and they became his "middlemen” with the public. Brougham and Smith spread out his great ideas in attractive colors on the pages of the Edinburgh, and they sparkled in brilliant speeches from Romilly and Mackintosh on the floor of Parliament. One after another, the champions for the inviolability of the ancient system were prostrated, till reasonable men admitted that, whether or not Jeremy Bentham was right, the common law was certainly wrong, and must be materially altered. Though he took no part in actual legislation, his was the master mind that set other minds in motion ; his genius, the secret spring that operated a vast reformatory machine. He did not live to see his whole system adopted, (and would not, had he lived till the millennium,) but he saw parts of it incorporated into the jurisprudence of his country, whilst other parts were postponed rather than rejected. He saw the fruits of his labors in the amelioration of a sanguinary criminal code, and especially in the abridgment of the death penalty-in the improvement of the poor laws and penitentiaries, and the kindlier treatment of prisoners—in the softening of the harsher features of imprisonment for debt, of the bankrupt laws, and the general law of debtor and creditor-in lopping off some excrescences in chancery, and cutting down costs and simplifying the modes of procedure in other courts in the abolition of tests, and the emancipation of the Catholics-in the greater freedom of trade, the enlargement of the suffrage, and the partial equalization of representation in Parliament, in the appointment of commissioners to revise the whole mass of statute law, and reduce it to a uniform code—and, more than all, in the conviction, penetrating a multitude of intelligent minds, that a large portion of the English law, as administered, so far from being the perfection of reason, was a disgrace to the human understanding, and the homage paid to it a degrading idolatry.

Nor did he see these fruits in England alone. As he labored for the world, so he saw the products of his toil in both hemispheres. France and Russia published his writings, and they were read in Germany and Switzerland. His works were circulated at Calcutta and the Cape of Good Hope ; at New York, and New South Wales; in the Canadas, and the Republics of South America. This country profits by his culture in the simplification of its laws, and their revision and codification in many of its States—in the comparative humanity of its criminal codes and prison discipline--and especially in the recent sweeping reforms in the practice of its courts in three or four States, and the abolition of the monopoly of the legal profession-a monopoly worthless to those whom it protected, and galling to those whom it excluded. By no means do I intend to say, that to him we are solely indebted for these reforms. But his hand planted the tree whose fruit is now being gathered. His chief glory is the emancipation of the Anglo-Saxon mind from a blind idolatry of the English common law; and for this he deserves unmeasured praise.

Mr. Bentham was kind, cheerful, simple-hearted, witty, and greatly beloved by his friends. Frank, so frank that he was bluff, he refused a costly present from the Emperor of Russia, lest he should be tempted to praise when he ought to blame. A great husbander of moments, he took air and exercise while entertaining ordinary visitors; and, when conversing on his favorite themes with such as Romilly and Brougham, kept his secretaries busy in noting down their remarks. The ridicule and abuse of which he was the subject rarely reached its aim, for he avoided personal controversies, discussing principles, and not men. He died in 1832, in the 85th year of his age; and gave a singular evidence of his attachment to his principles, by bequeathing his body to the surgeon's knife, for the advancement of medical science.

CHAPTER IX.

Law Reform-The Penal Code of England-Its Barbarity-The Death

Penalty-Sir Samuel Romilly-His Efforts to Abolish Capital Punishment-His Talents and Character.

The earliest mouth piece of Jeremy Bentham in Parliament, and his “ middleman" with the public, was Sir Samuel ROMILLY.

This accomplished lawyer, from the period he entered Parliament, in 1806, till his death, in 1818, directed his main efforts to Law Reform; especially the amelioration of the Penal Code, and the diminution of the number of capital offenses.

The present criminal code of England is a disgrace to civilization. When Romilly commenced his labors, it would have disgraced barbarism. Blackstone had said in his Commentaries, and it was substantially true in 1806,) “Among the variety of actions which men are liable daily to commit, no less than one hundred and sixty are declared by act of Parliament to be felonies, without benefit of clergy ; or, in other words, to be worthy of instant death.” I will specify a few items in this bloody catalogue. Treason, murder, arson, and rape, were of course capital crimes. So was counterfeiting coin ; refusing to take the oath of allegiance under various circumstances; falsifying judicial records ; taking a reward for restoring stolen goods, when accessory with the thief; obstructing the service of legal process; hunting in the night disguised; writing threatening letters, to extort money; pulling down turnpike gates; assembling to produce riots, and

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