chapter  10
18 Pages

Jeremy Bentham and the Victorian Administrative State by David Roberts

In 1830 Jeremy Bentham published the first volume of his Constitutional Code. Two years later, with the monumental Code nearly completed, he died. In 1841 his friend John Bowring, using in places the author's rough notes, published it in its entirety. The world thus received from a philosopher already famous for his radical attacks on institutions a complete constitution suitable for any country and for all time. Its massive detail, dealing with every facet of government, was exactingly subordinated to universally valid, rational, and efficient principles. Manhood suffrage, the secret ballot, and a single chamber legislature would insure a true democracy; trained judges,

simple rules of evidence, and a codified law would guarantee justice ; and thirteen ministries supervising locally elected authorities would secure clean towns, free public education, effective police, good roads and efficient poor relief. The government would so regulate society that man's own self-interest would promote the greatest happiness.