At the time when unofficial perquisites were being abolished in the naval departments, Samuel Bentham’s Utilitarianism produced new ethics which he commended both as the basis of his own new office and as the basis for reforms in dockyard management. His leading principle was individual responsibility, as an incentive for probity and public service in the place of private dealings and personal interests. From his own apprenticeship in the dockyards, he was aware of the role of vested interests in professional relationships and earnings which served to militate against change. According to the French philosopher, Helvetius, those who rejected corruption and embraced probity and public service pursued ‘the path of virtue’. Both Samuel and his brother Jeremy, who wrote on jurisprudence, considered their self-sacrificing pursuit of improvement to be virtuous. So too, the Inspector General believed in the virtue and importance of education for those who had responsibility in government and performed public services like naval shipbuilding. He wanted to establish schools in the dockyards for all shipwright apprentices and began the reform of apprenticeship to this end. He thought the proof of the value of these principles lay in the productivity of an educated individual. Indeed, he regarded the productivity of his own office as a test of his individual responsibility. The principle would be adopted and applied to members of the Navy, Admiralty and Treasury boards between 1803 and 1806, and to government ministers and bureaucrats after the war.