AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION by
JEREMY BENTHAM. First published in 1789. PREFACE: THE following
sheets weref. As the note on the opposite page expresses, printed
so lojag ago as the year 1780. The design, in pursuance of which
they were written, was not so extensive as that announced by the
present title. They had at that time no other destination than that
of serving as an introduction to a plan of a pemil code in
terminis, designed to follow them, in the same volume. The body of
the work had received its completion according to the then present
extent of the authors views, when, in the investigation of some
Haws he had discovered, he found himself unexpectedly entangled in
an unsuspected corner of the meta physical maze. A suspension, at
first not apprehended to be more than a temporary one, necessarily
ensued suspension brought on coolness, and coolness, aided by other
concurrent causes, ripened into disgust. Imperfections pervading
the whole mass had already pointed out by the sincerity of severe
and discerning friends and conscience had certified the justness of
their censure. The inordinate length of borne of the chapters, the
apparent inutility of others, and the dry and metaphysical turn of
the whole, suggested an apprehension, that, if published in its
present form, the work would contend under great disadvantages for
any chance, it might on other accounts possess, of being read, and
consequently of being of use. But, though in this manner the idea
of completing the pre sent work slid insensibly aside, that was not
by any means the case with the considerations which had led him to
engage in it. Every opening, which promised to afford the lights
hestood in need of, was still pursued as occasion arose, the
several depart ments connected with that in which he had at first
engaged, were successively explored insomuch that, in one branch or
other of the pursuit, his researches have nearly embraced the whole
field of legislation. Several causes have conspired at present to
bring to light, under this new title, a work which under its
original one had been imperceptibly, but as it had seemed
irrevocably, doomed to oblivion. In the course of eight years,
materials for various works, corresponding to the different
branches of the subject of legislation, had been produced, and some
nearly reduced to shape and, in every one of those works, the
principles exhibited in the present publication had been found so
necessary, that, either to transcribe them piece-meal, or to
exhibit them somewhere where they could be referred to in the lump,
was found unavoidable. The former course would have occasioned
repetitions too bulky to be employed without necessity in the
execution of a plan unavoidably so voluminous the latter was
therefore indisputably the preferable one. To publish the materials
in the form in which they were already printed, or to work them up
into a new one, was therefore the only alternative the latter had
all along been his wish, and, had time and the requisite degree of
alacrity been at command, it would as certainly have been realised.
Cogent considerations, however, concur, with the irksomeness of the
task, in placing the accomplishment of it at present at an
unfathomable distance. Another consideration is, that the
suppression of the present work, had it been ever so decidedly
wished, is no longer altogether in his power. Inthe course of so
long an interval, various inci dents have introduced copies into
various hands, from some of which they have been transferred, by
deaths and other accidents, into others that are unknown to him...
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