Bentham (Jeremy) / Stanhope Letters

Scope and Content

Volume of 35 letters from Jeremy Bentham to Leicester Stanhope, 1823-1831, on topics including the transmission of Bentham's 'Constitutional Code' to Greece; Greek deputies sent to London to raise money for the Greek cause; the reform of the British colonial government in India; an account of Bentham's foundation of the Law Reform Association and Bentham's involvement with the Westminster Review. The letters include references to Francis Burdett, Daniel O'Connell, John Bowring; Colonel John Young, Ram Mohun Roy and Joseph Hume.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born, 15 February 1748; learned Latin, Greek and French at a young age; attended Westminster School, 1755; Queen's College Oxford, 1760; awarded BA degree in 1763 and Master's in 1766; called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, 1817; did not succeed or continue in the law profession; dabbled in chemistry and the physical sciences but the doctrine of utilitarianism and the principle of 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number', law reform, politics, jurisprudence and philosophy, became the occupation of his life; produced a utilitarian justification for democracy; also concerned with prison reform, religion, poor relief, international law, and animal welfare; published many writings on these subjects; died, 6 June 1832.

Publications: 'Introduction to the principles of morals and legislation' (T Payne and Son, London, 1789)

'Chrestomathia: being a collection of papers, explanatory of the design of an institution, proposed to be set on foot, under the name of the Chrestomathic Day School' (Payne and Foss, London, 1815)

'Supply without Burthen; or Escheat vice Taxation' (J Debrett, London, 1795)

'A Fragment on Government; being an examination of what is delivered on the subject of government in general, in the introduction to Sir W Blackstone's Commentaries' (T Payne, London, 1776)

'Constitutional Code; for the use of all nations, and all governments professing liberal opinions' (printed for the Author, London, 1830).


Bound in a volume.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2003.

Other Finding Aids

A basic list is available on the online catalogue.