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Jeremy Bentham
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

Jeremy Bentham
Portrait by Henry William Pickersgill
Born: 15 February 1748, London, England, Kingdom of Great Britain
Died: 6 June 1832 (aged 84), London, England, United Kingdom
Education: The Queen's College, Oxford (BA 1763; MA 1766)
Era: 18th-century philosophy; 19th-century philosophy
School: Utilitarianism; Legal positivism; Liberalism; Epicureanism
Main interests: Political philosophy, philosophy of law, ethics, economics
Notable ideas: Greatest happiness principle, Radical Consequentialism[1]
Influences: Protagoras Epicurus John Locke David Hume Montesquieu Helvétius Hobbes Beccaria Adam Smith
Influenced: John Stuart Mill Thomas Hodgskin William Thompson Henry Sidgwick Michel Foucault Peter Singer John Austin Robert Owen H. L. A. Hart Francis Y. Edgeworth A. V. Dicey[2] Étienne Dumont

Jeremy Bentham (/ˈbɛnθəm/; 15 February 1748 [O.S. 4 February 1747][3] – 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism.[4][5]

Bentham defined as the "fundamental axiom" of his philosophy the principle that "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."[6][7] He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He advocated individual and economic freedoms, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the right to divorce, and (in an unpublished essay) the decriminalising of homosexual acts.[8][9] He called for the abolition of slavery, capital punishment and physical punishment, including that of children.[10] He has also become known as an early advocate of animal rights.[11][12][13][14] Though strongly in favour of the extension of individual legal rights, he opposed the idea of natural law and natural rights (both of which are considered "divine" or "God-given" in origin), calling them "nonsense upon stilts".[4][15] Bentham was also a sharp critic of legal fictions.

Bentham's students included his secretary and collaborator James Mill, the latter's son, John Stuart Mill, the legal philosopher John Austin, as well as Robert Owen, one of the founders of utopian socialism. He "had considerable influence on the reform of prisons, schools, poor laws, law courts, and Parliament itself."[16]

On his death in 1832, Bentham left instructions for his body to be first dissected, and then to be permanently preserved as an "auto-icon" (or self-image), which would be his memorial. This was done, and the auto-icon is now on public display in the entrance of the Student Centre at University College London (UCL). Because of his arguments in favour of the general availability of education, he has been described as the "spiritual founder" of UCL. However, he played only a limited direct part in its foundation.[17]


Early life

Portrait of Bentham by the studio of Thomas Frye, 1760–1762

Bentham was born on 15 February 1748 in Houndsditch, London,[18] to a wealthy family that supported the Tory party. He was reportedly a child prodigy: he was found as a toddler sitting at his father's desk reading a multi-volume history of England, and he began to study Latin at the age of three.[19] He learnt to play the violin, and at the age of seven Bentham would perform sonatas by Handel during dinner parties.[20] He had one surviving sibling, Samuel Bentham (1757–1831), with whom he was close.

He attended Westminster School; in 1760, at age 12, his father sent him to The Queen's College, Oxford, where he completed his bachelor's degree in 1763 and his master's degree in 1766. He trained as a lawyer and, though he never practised, was called to the bar in 1769. He became deeply frustrated with the complexity of English law, which he termed the "Demon of Chicane".[21] When the American colonies published their Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the British government did not issue any official response but instead secretly commissioned London lawyer and pamphleteer John Lind to publish a rebuttal.[22] His 130-page tract was distributed in the colonies and contained an essay titled "Short Review of the Declaration" written by Bentham, a friend of Lind, which attacked and mocked the Americans' political philosophy.[23][24]

In examining this singular Declaration, I have hitherto confined myself to what are given as facts, and alleged against his Majesty and his Parliament, in support of the charge of tyranny and usurpation. Of the preamble I have taken little or no notice. The truth is, little or none does it deserve. The opinions of the modern Americans on Government, like those of their good ancestors on witchcraft, would be too ridiculous to deserve any notice, if like them too, contemptible and extravagant as they be, they had not led to the most serious evils.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-- Preamble, The Declaration of Independence: The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, In Congress

In this preamble however it is, that they attempt to establish a theory of Government; a theory, as absurd and visionary, as the system of conduct in defence of which it is established is nefarious. Here it is, that maxims are advanced in justification of their enterprises against the British Government. To these maxims, adduced for this purpose, it would be sufficient to say, that they are repugnant to the British Constitution.

To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen either out of the people or over the people. Mr. Burke has made no distinction. He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything; but he has signified his intention of undertaking, at some future opportunity, a comparison between the constitution of England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of controversy by throwing the gauntlet, I take him upon his own ground. It is in high challenges that high truths have the right of appearing; and I accept it with the more readiness because it affords me, at the same time, an opportunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments arising out of society.

But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a Constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word; we must fix also a standard signification to it.

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.

Can, then, Mr. Burke produce the English Constitution? If he cannot, we may fairly conclude that though it has been so much talked about, no such thing as a constitution exists, or ever did exist, and consequently that the people have yet a constitution to form.

Mr. Burke will not, I presume, deny the position I have already advanced- namely, that governments arise either out of the people or over the people. The English Government is one of those which arose out of a conquest, and not out of society, and consequently it arose over the people; and though it has been much modified from the opportunity of circumstances since the time of William the Conqueror, the country has never yet regenerated itself, and is therefore without a constitution.

I readily perceive the reason why Mr. Burke declined going into the comparison between the English and French constitutions, because he could not but perceive, when he sat down to the task, that no such a thing as a constitution existed on his side the question. His book is certainly bulky enough to have contained all he could say on this subject, and it would have been the best manner in which people could have judged of their separate merits. Why then has he declined the only thing that was worth while to write upon? It was the strongest ground he could take, if the advantages were on his side, but the weakest if they were not; and his declining to take it is either a sign that he could not possess it or could not maintain it.

-- Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine

But beyond this they are subversive of every actual or imaginable kind of Government.

They are about “to assume,” as they tell us, “among the powers of the earth, that equal and separate station to which” — they have lately discovered — “the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God entitle them.” What difference these acute legislators suppose between the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, is more than I can take upon me to determine, or even to guess. If to what they now demand they were entitled by any law of God, they had only to produce that law, and all controversy was at an end. Instead of this, what do they produce? What they call sell-evident truths. “All men,” they tell us, “are created equal.” This rarity is a new discovery; now, for the first time, we learn, that a child, at the moment of his birth, has the same quantity of natural power as the parent, the same quantity of political power as the magistrate.

The rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — by which, if they mean any thing, they must mean the right to enjoy life, to enjoy liberty, and to pursue happiness — they "hold to be unalienable.” This they “hold to be among truths self-evident.” At the same time, to secure these rights, they are content that Governments should be instituted. They perceive not, or will not seem to perceive, that nothing which can be called Government ever was, or ever could be, in any instance, exercised, but at the expence of one or other of those rights. — That, consequently, in as many instances as Government is ever exercised, some one or other of these rights, pretended to be unalienable, is actually alienated.

That men who are engaged in the design of subverting a lawful Government, should endeavour by a cloud of words, to throw a veil over their design; that they should endeavour to beat down the criteria between tyranny and lawful government, is not at all surprising. But rather surprising it must certainly appear, that they should advance maxims so incompatible with their own present conduct. If the right of enjoying life be unalienable, whence came their invasion of his Majesty’s province of Canada? Whence the unprovoked destruction of so many lives of the inhabitants of that province? If the right of enjoying liberty be unalienable, whence came so many of his Majesty’s peaceable subjects among them, without any offence, without so much as a pretended offence, merely for being suspected not to wish well to their enormities, to be held by them in durance? If the right of pursuing happiness be unalienable, how is it that so many others of their fellow-citizens are by the same injustice and violence made miserable, their fortunes ruined, their persons banished and driven from their friends and families? Or would they have it believed, that there is in their selves some superior sanctity, some peculiar privilege, by which those things are lawful to them, which are unlawful to all the world besides? Or is it, that among acts of coercion, acts by which life or liberty are taken away, and the pursuit of happiness restrained, those only are unlawful, which their delinquency has brought upon them, and which are exercised by regular, long established, accustomed governments?

In these tenets they have outdone the utmost extravagance of all former fanatics.The German Anabaptists indeed went so far as to speak of the right of enjoying life as a right unalienable. To take away life, even in the Magistrate, they held to be unlawful. But they went no farther, it was reserved for an American Congress, to add to the number of unalienable rights, that of enjoying liberty, and pursuing happiness; — that is,— if they mean any thing, —pursuing it wherever a man thinks he can see it, and by whatever means he thinks he can attain it: — That is, that all penal laws — those made by their selves among others—which affect life or liberty, are contrary to the law of God, and the unalienable rights of mankind: — That is, that thieves are not to be restrained from theft, murderers from murder, rebels from rebellion.

Here then they have put the axe to the root of all Government; and yet, in the same breath, they talk of “Governments,” of Governments “long established.”
To these last, they attribute same kind of respect; they vouchsafe even to go so far as to admit, that “Governments, long established, should not be “changed for light or transient reasons.”

Yet they are about to change a Government, a Government whose establishment is coeval with their own existence as a Community. What causes do they assign? Circumstances which have always subsisted, which must continue to subsist, wherever Government has subsisted, or can subsist.

For what, according to their own shewing, what was their original their only original grievance? That they were actually taxed more than they could bear? No; but that they were liable to be so taxed. What is the amount of all the subsequent grievances they alledge? That they were actually oppressed by Government? That Government has actually misused its power? No; but that it was possible that they might be oppressed; possible that Government might misuse its powers. Is there any where, can there be imagined any where, that Government, where subjects are not liable to taxed more than they can bear? where it is not possible that subjects may be oppressed, not possible that Government may misuse its powers?

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

-- Preamble, The Declaration of Independence: The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, In Congress

This I say, is the amount, the whole sum and substance of all their grievances. For in taking a general review of the charges brought against his Majesty, and his Parliament, we may observe that there is a studied confusion in the arrangement of them. It may therefore be worth while to reduce them to the several distinct heads, under which I should have classed them at the first, had not the order of the Answer been necessarily prescribed by the order — or rather the disorder, of the Declaration.

The first head consists of Acts of Government, charged as so many acts of incroachment, so many usurpations upon the present King and his Parliaments exclusively, which had been constantly exercised by his Predecessors and their Parliaments.1

In all the articles comprised in this head, is there a single power alleged to have been exercised during the present reign, which had not been constantly exercised by preceding Kings, and preceding Parliaments? Read only the commission and instruction for the Council of Trade, drawn up in the 9th of King William III addressed to Mr. Locke, and others.2 See there what powers were exercised by the King and Parliament over the Colonies. Certainly the Commissioners were directed to inquire into, and make their reports concerning those matters only, in which the King and Parliament had a power of controlling the Colonies. Now the Commissioners are instructed to inquire — into the condition of the Plantations, “as well with regard to the administration of Government and Justice, as in relation to the commerce thereof;”–into the means of making “them most beneficial and useful to England; — “into the staples and manufactures, which may be encouraged there;” — “into the trades that are taken up and exercised there, which may prove prejudicial to England;” — “into the means of diverting them from such trades.” Farther, they are instructed “to examine into, and weigh the Acts of the Assemblies of the Plantations;” — “to set down the usefulness or mischief to the Crown, to the Kingdom, or to the Plantations their selves.” — And farther still, they are instructed “to require an account of all the monies given for public uses by the assemblies of the Plantations, and how the same are, or have been expended, or laid out.” Is there now a single Act of the present reign which does not fall under one or other of these instructions?

The powers then, of which the several articles now before us complain, are supported by usage; were conceived to be so supported then, just after the Revolution, at the time these instructions were given; and were they to be supported only upon this foot of usage, still that usage being coeval with the Colonies, their tacit consent and approbation, through all the successive periods in which that usage has prevailed, would be implied; — even then the legality of those powers would stand upon the same foot as most of the prerogatives of the Crown, most of the rights of the people, — even then the exercise of those powers could in no wise be deemed usurpations or encroachments.

But the truth is, to the exercise of these powers, on many occasions the Colonies have not tacitly, but expressly, consented; as expressly as any subject of Great Britain ever consented to Acts of the British Parliament. Consult the Journals of either House of Parliament; consult the proceedings of their own Assemblies; and innumerable will be the occasions, on which the legality of these powers will be found to be expressly recognised by Acts of the Colonial Assemblies. For in preceding reigns, the petitions from these Assemblies were couched in a language, very different from that which they have assumed under the present reign. In praying for the non-exercise of these powers, in particular instances, they acknowledged their legality; the right in general was recognised; the exercise of it, in particular instances, was prayed to be suspended on the sole ground of inexpedience.

The less reason can the Americans have to complain against the exercise of these powers, as it was under the constant exercise of the self-same powers, that they have grown up with a vigour and rapidity unexampled: That within a period, in which other communities have scarcely had time to take root, they have shot forth exuberant branches. So flourishing is their agriculture, that — we are told — “besides feeding plentifully their own growing multitudes, their annual exports have exceeded a million;” So flourishing is their trade, that — we are told — “it has increased far beyond the speculations of the most sanguine imagination.”3 So powerful are they in arms, that we see them defy the united force of that nation, which, but a little century ago, called them into being; which, but a few years ago, in their defence, encountered and subdued almost the united force of Europe.

If the exercise of powers, thus established by usage, thus recognised by express declarations, thus sanctified by their beneficial effects, can justify rebellion, there is not that subject in the world, but who has, ever has had, and ever must have, reason sufficient to rebel: There never was, never can be, established, any government upon earth.

The second head consists of Acts, whose professed object was either the maintenance, or the amendment of their Constitution. These Acts were passed with the view either of freeing from impediments the course of their commercial transactions,4 or of facilitating the administration of justice,5 or of poising more equally the different powers in their Constitution;6 or of preventing the establishing of Courts, inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution.7

To state the object of these Acts, is to justify them. Acts of tyranny they cannot be: Acts of usurpation they are not; because no new power is assumed. By former Parliaments, in former reigns, officers of customs had been sent to America: Courts of Admiralty had been established there. The increase of trade and population induced the Parliaments, under the present reign, for the convenience of the Colonists, and to obviate their own objections of delays arising from appeals to England, to establish a Board of Customs, and an Admiralty Court of Appeal. Strange indeed is it to hear the establishment of this Board, and these Courts, alleged as proofs of usurpation; and in the same paper, in the same breath, to hear it urged as a head of complaint, that his Majesty refused his assent to a much greater exertion of power: —to an exertion of power, which might be dangerous; the establishment of new Courts of Judicature. What in one instance he might have done, to have done in another, cannot be unconstitutional. In former reigns, charters had been altered; in the present reign, the constitution of one charter, having been found inconsistent with the ends of good order and government, was amended.

The third head consists of temporary Acts, passed pro re notá, the object of each of which was to remedy some temporary evil, and the duration of which was restrained to the duration of the evil itself.8

Neither in these Acts was any new power affirmed; in some instances only, the objects upon which that power was exercised, were new. Nothing was done but what former Kings and former Parliaments have shewn their selves ready to do, had the same circumstances subsisted. The same circumstances never did subsist before, because, till the present reign, the Colonies never dared to call in question the supreme authority of Parliament.

No charge, classed under this head, can be called a grievance. Then only is the subject aggrieved, when, paying due obedience to the established Laws of his country, he is not protected in his established rights. From the moment he withholds obedience, he forfeits his right to protection. Nor can the means, employed to bring him back to obedience, however severe, be called grievances; especially if those means be to cease the very moment that the end is obtained.

The last head consists of Acts of self-defence, exercised in consequence of resistance already shewn but represented in the Declaration as Acts of oppression, tending to provoke resistance.9 Has his Majesty cut off their trade with all parts of the world? They first attempted to cut off the trade of Great Britain. Has his Majesty ordered their vessels to be seized? They first burnt the vessels of the King. Has his Majesty sent troops to chastise them? They first took up arms against the authority of the King. Has his Majesty engaged the Indians against them? They first engaged Indians against the troops of the King. Has his Majesty commanded their captives to serve on board his fleet? He has only saved them from the gallows.

By some, these acts have been improperly called “Acts of punishment.” And we are then asked, with an air of insult, “What! will you punish without a trial, without a hearing?” And no doubt punishment, whether ordinary or extraordinary; whether by indictment, impeachment, or bill of attainder, should be preceded by judicial examination. But, the acts comprised under this head are not acts of punishment; they are, as we have called them, this of self-defence. And these are not, cannot be, preceded by any judicial examination. An example or two will serve to place the difference between acts of punishment and acts of self-defence in a stronger light, than any definition we can give. It has happened, that bodies of manufacturers have risen, and armed, in order to compel their masters to increase their wages: It has happened, that bodies of peasants have risen, and armed, in order to compel the farmer to sell at a lower price. It has happened, that the civil magistrate, unable to reduce the insurgents to their duty, has called the military to his aid. But did ever any man imagine, that the military were sent to punish the insurgents? It has happened, that the insurgents have resisted the military, as they had resisted the civil magistrate: It has happened, that, in consequence of this resistance, some of the insurgents have been killed: — But did ever any man imagine that those who were thus killed, were therefore punished? No more can they be said to be punished, than could the incendiary, who should be buried beneath the ruins of the house, which he had feloniously set on fire. Take an example yet nearer to the present case. When the Duke of Cumberland led the armies of the king, foreign and domestic, against the Rebels in Scotland, did any man conceive that he was sent to punish the Rebels? — Clearly not. — He was sent to protect dutiful and loyal subjects, who remained in the peace of the King, against the outrages of Rebels, who had broken the peace of the King. — Does any man speak of those who fell at the battle of Culloden, as of men that were punished? Would that man have been thought in his senses, who should have urged, that the armies of the King should not have been sent against these Rebels in Scotland, till those very Rebels had been judicially heard, and judicially convicted? Does not every man feel that the fact, the only fact, necessary to be known, in order to justify these acts of self-defence, is simply this: — Are men in arms against the authority of the King? — Who does not feel, that to authenticate this fact, demands no judicial inquiry? If when his Royal Highness had led the army under his command into Scotland, there had been no body of men in arms; if, terrified at his approach, they had either laid down their arms and submitted, or had dispersed and retired quietly, each to his own home, what would have been the consequence? The civil magistrate would have searched for and seized upon those who had been in arms would have brought them to a court of justice. That court would have proceeded to examine, and to condemn or to acquit, as evidence was, or was not, given of the guilt of the respective culprits. The Rebels did not submit, they did not lay down their arms, they did not disperse; they resisted the Duke: a battle ensued: some of the Rebels fled, others were slain, others taken. It is upon those only of the last class, who were brought before and condemned by Courts of justice, that punishment was inflicted. By what kind of logic then are these acts ranked in the class of grievances?

These are the Acts — these are the exertions of constitutional, and hitherto, undisputed powers, for which, in the audacious paper, a patriot King is traduced — as “a Prince, whose character is marked by every Act “which may define a tyrant;” as “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” These are the Acts, these exertions of constitutional, and, hitherto, undisputed powers, by which the Members of the Congress declare their selves and their constituents to be “absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown” pronounce “all political connection between Great Britain and America to be totally dissolved.” With that hypocrisy which pervades the whole of the Declaration, they pretend indeed, that this event is not of their seeking; that it is forced upon them; that they only “acquiesce in the necessity which denounces their separation from us:” which compels them hereafter to hold us, as they hold the rest of mankind; enemies in war; in peace, friends.”

How this Declaration may strike others, I know not. To me, I own, it appears that it cannot fail — to use the words of a great Orator— “of doing us Knight’s service.”10 The mouth of faction, we may reasonably presume, will be closed; the eyes of those who saw not, or would not see, that the Americans were long since aspiring at independence, will be opened; the nation will unite as one man, and teach this rebellious people, that it is one thing for them to say, the connection, which bound them to us, is dissolved, another to dissolve it; that to accomplish their independence is not quite so easy as to declare it: that there is no peace with them, but the peace of the King: no war with them, but that war, which offended justice wages against criminals. — We too, I hope, shall acquiesce in the necessity of submitting to whatever burdens, of making whatever efforts may be necessary, to bring this ungrateful and rebellious people back to that allegiance they have long had it in contemplation to renounce, and have now at last so daringly renounced.

1. Under this head are comprised articles I. II. so far as they are true, III. VII. IX. so far as the last relates to the tenure of the Judges’ offices. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XVII. XVIII. so far as the last relates to the Declaration of the power of Parliament to make laws for the Colonies binding in all cases whatsoever.
2. See Com. Journ. vol. xii. , p. 70, 71, 72.
3. See Mr. Burke’s speeches.
4. Article X.
5. Article XVIII, so far as it relates to the multiplication of the Courts of Admiralty.
6. Article XXI
7. Article VIII.
8. Under this head may be classed Articles IV., V. VI. IX. so far as the last relates to the payment of the Judges by the Crown. XV. XXII so far as the latter relates to the suspension of their legislatures.
9. Under this head may be classed Articles XVI.,XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII. Two other Acts there are, not comprised with any of the four heads, the XX and XXVIII. The former of there relates to the government of Quebec., with which the revolted Colonies have no more to do, than with the government of Russia: The latter relates to the humble petitions they pretend to have presented “in every stage,” as they style it, “of the oppressions,” under which they pretend to labour. This we have seen to be false. Not one one humble petition; no one decent representation, have they offered,
10. Mr. Burke’s speech.

-- A Short Review of the Declaration, by Jeremy Bentham, 1776

Abortive prison project

In 1786 and 1787, Bentham travelled to Krichev in White Russia (modern Belarus) to visit his brother, Samuel, who was engaged in managing various industrial and other projects for Prince Potemkin.

His rule in the south is associated with the "Potemkin village", a ruse involving the construction of painted façades to mimic real villages, full of happy, well-fed people, for visiting officials to see.

-- Grigory Potemkin, by Wikipedia

It was Samuel (as Jeremy later repeatedly acknowledged) who conceived the basic idea of a circular building at the hub of a larger compound as a means of allowing a small number of managers to oversee the activities of a large and unskilled workforce.[25][26]

Bentham began to develop this model, particularly as applicable to prisons, and outlined his ideas in a series of letters sent home to his father in England.[27] He supplemented the supervisory principle with the idea of contract management; that is, an administration by contract as opposed to trust, where the director would have a pecuniary interest in lowering the average rate of mortality.[28] The Panopticon was intended to be cheaper than the prisons of his time, as it required fewer staff; "Allow me to construct a prison on this model," Bentham requested to a Committee for the Reform of Criminal Law, "I will be the gaoler. You will see ... that the gaoler will have no salary—will cost nothing to the nation." As the watchmen cannot be seen, they need not be on duty at all times, effectively leaving the watching to the watched. According to Bentham's design, the prisoners would also be used as menial labour, walking on wheels to spin looms or run a water wheel. This would decrease the cost of the prison and give a possible source of income.[29]

The ultimately abortive proposal for a panopticon prison to be built in England was one among his many proposals for legal and social reform.[30] But Bentham spent some sixteen years of his life developing and refining his ideas for the building and hoped that the government would adopt the plan for a National Penitentiary appointing him as contractor-governor. Although the prison was never built, the concept had an important influence on later generations of thinkers. Twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that the panopticon was paradigmatic of several 19th-century "disciplinary" institutions.[31] Bentham remained bitter throughout his later life about the rejection of the panopticon scheme, convinced that it had been thwarted by the King and an aristocratic elite. It was largely because of his sense of injustice and frustration that he developed his ideas of "sinister interest"—that is, of the vested interests of the powerful conspiring against a wider public interest—which underpinned many of his broader arguments for reform.[32]

Elevation, section and plan of Bentham's panopticon prison, drawn by Willey Reveley in 1791.

On his return to England from Russia, Bentham had commissioned drawings from an architect, Willey Reveley.[33] In 1791, he published the material he had written as a book, although he continued to refine his proposals for many years to come. He had by now decided that he wanted to see the prison built: when finished, it would be managed by himself as contractor-governor, with the assistance of Samuel. After unsuccessful attempts to interest the authorities in Ireland and revolutionary France,[34] he started trying to persuade the prime minister, William Pitt, to revive an earlier abandoned scheme for a National Penitentiary in England, this time to be built as a panopticon. He was eventually successful in winning over Pitt and his advisors, and in 1794 was paid £2,000 for preliminary work on the project.[35]

The intended site was one that had been authorised (under an act of 1779) for the earlier Penitentiary, at Battersea Rise; but the new proposals ran into technical legal problems and objections from the local landowner, Earl Spencer.[36] Other sites were considered, including one at Hanging Wood, near Woolwich, but all proved unsatisfactory.[37] Eventually Bentham turned to a site at Tothill Fields, near Westminster. Although this was common land, with no landowner, there were a number of parties with interests in it, including Earl Grosvenor, who owned a house on an adjacent site and objected to the idea of a prison overlooking it. Again, therefore, the scheme ground to a halt.[38] At this point, however, it became clear that a nearby site at Millbank, adjoining the Thames, was available for sale, and this time things ran more smoothly. Using government money, Bentham bought the land on behalf of the Crown for £12,000 in November 1799.[39]

From his point of view, the site was far from ideal, being marshy, unhealthy, and too small. When he asked the government for more land and more money, however, the response was that he should build only a small-scale experimental prison—which he interpreted as meaning that there was little real commitment to the concept of the panopticon as a cornerstone of penal reform.[40] Negotiations continued, but in 1801 Pitt resigned from office, and in 1803 the new Addington administration decided not to proceed with the project.[41] Bentham was devastated: "They have murdered my best days."[42]

Nevertheless, a few years later the government revived the idea of a National Penitentiary, and in 1811 and 1812 returned specifically to the idea of a panopticon.[43] Bentham, now aged 63, was still willing to be governor. However, as it became clear that there was still no real commitment to the proposal, he abandoned hope, and instead turned his attentions to extracting financial compensation for his years of fruitless effort. His initial claim was for the enormous sum of nearly £700,000, but he eventually settled for the more modest (but still considerable) sum of £23,000.[44] An Act of Parliament in 1812 transferred his title in the site to the Crown.[45]

More successful was his cooperation with Patrick Colquhoun in tackling the corruption in the Pool of London. This resulted in the Thames Police Bill of 1798, which was passed in 1800.[a] The bill created the Thames River Police, which was the first preventive police force in the country and was a precedent for Robert Peel's reforms 30 years later.[47]

Correspondence and contemporary influences

Bentham was in correspondence with many influential people. In the 1780s, for example, Bentham maintained a correspondence with the aging Adam Smith, in an unsuccessful attempt to convince Smith that interest rates should be allowed to freely float.[48] As a result of his correspondence with Mirabeau and other leaders of the French Revolution, Bentham was declared an honorary citizen of France.[49] He was an outspoken critic of the revolutionary discourse of natural rights and of the violence that arose after the Jacobins took power (1792). Between 1808 and 1810, he held a personal friendship with Latin American revolutionary Francisco de Miranda and paid visits to Miranda's Grafton Way house in London. He also developed links with José Cecilio del Valle.[50][51]

South Australian colony proposal

Bentham contributed to a plan to found a new colony in South Australia: in 1831 a "Proposal to His Majesty's Government for founding a colony on the Southern Coast of Australia" was prepared under the auspices of Robert Gouger, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Anthony Bacon and Bentham, but its ideas were considered too radical, and it was unable to attract the required investment.[52]

Westminster Review

In 1823, he co-founded The Westminster Review with James Mill as a journal for the "Philosophical Radicals"—a group of younger disciples through whom Bentham exerted considerable influence in British public life.[53][54] One was John Bowring, to whom Bentham became devoted, describing their relationship as "son and father": he appointed Bowring political editor of The Westminster Review and eventually his literary executor.[55] Another was Edwin Chadwick, who wrote on hygiene, sanitation and policing and was a major contributor to the Poor Law Amendment Act: Bentham employed Chadwick as a secretary and bequeathed him a large legacy.[56]

Chadwick is remembered at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where his name appears among the names of 23 pioneers of public health and tropical medicine chosen to be honoured when the School was built in 1929.[34]

-- Edwin Chadwick, by Wikipedia

An increasing number of academic and research institutions, in the UK and globally, are responding to calls to decolonise the university. Starting at the University of Cape Town in 2015, the Rhodes must fall movement made its way to the University of Oxford. More recently, in the summer of 2019, the University of Glasgow signed a historic agreement with the University of the West Indies acknowledging the former’s historic links with slavery and setting out to raise and spend £20 million over the next 20 years on research and events highlighting the history of enslavement (University of Glasgow, 2019). In London, University College London (UCL) is currently in the midst of a one-year process to investigate UCL’s links to the British eugenics movement. These processes, crucially, place an emphasis on ‘decolonisation, not diversification’ (RMFO, 2015), that is to say they demand an in-depth engagement with the colonial and racist history that has and continues to shape knowledge production and institutional development at these universities, rather than the mere ‘tokenistic’ hiring of BME staff.

At LSHTM, the Decolonising Global Health group formed in March 2019 with the aim of creating a space to (self-) reflect and discuss how colonial legacies still shape global health internationally and at the school. A particular focus was hereby placed on colonial legacies in research, career progression and learning and teaching. These questions have particular salience in light of LSHTM’s 120th anniversary, which celebrated the school’s founding by Sir Patrick Manson in 1899. Manson, then Chief Medical Officer to the Colonial Office, is one of the most obvious links between the School and Britain’s colonial Empire. The Decolonising Global Health group was consulted in the writing of this protocol....

Individuals, Publications, Race-related issues

This theme builds on recent internal concerns with past expressions of racist or white supremacist attitudes by staff/school representatives, for example in discussion of Cicely Williams’ early writing. Several sources have made reference to a Chair of Racial Hygiene, which used to exist at the School and some research will be directed to investigate this as well as racist writings contained in the LSHTM archives. L.W.G. Malcolm, an Australian anthropologist worked as Lecturer on Racial Hygiene at the School in the early 1930s. Major Greenwood, director of the department of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics studied under Karl Pearson, a known eugenicist at UCL, and seems to have been a member of the Eugenics Education Society (EES), although this still needs to be verified in the EES archives, which are held by the Wellcome Archives. Other alumni or past staff members whose writing may yield valuable case studies include Cecil Cook and Kenneth Mellanby.

-- The LSHTM [London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine] and colonialism: history and legacy – Draft protocol

Meanwhile in Western Europe, especially Britain and Germany, the adaptation of Darwin's ideas by his colleague and half-cousin Francis Galton -- as 'social Darwinism' -- led to the eugenics movement. Eugenics established itself as a powerful dogma at the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and equally prominent University College London in Gower Street. In the second of two papers on 'Hereditary Talent and Character', which is commonly held to mark the start of modern British psychology (Billig 1982, p. 72), Galton (1865), a renowned anthropologist and psychologist, claimed that European 'civilised races' alone possessed the 'instinct of continuous steady labour' while non-European 'savages' showed an innate 'wild untameable restlessness' and being 'incapable of progress ... remain children in mind with passions of grown men' (pp. 325-326). Galton's views were regarded with much respect by the British establishment at the time and were certainly not regarded as eccentric or offensive. He received many awards during his career. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1860, and was knighted shortly before he died (Brignell 2010). The main thrust of eugenics (accepted at the time as a scientific endeavour) was to identify 'inferior' races. Protege of Galton and first holder of the Galton Chair of Eugenics at University College, Karl Pearson (1901) saw the extermination of such races as an inevitable part of the evolutionary process. Yet the racist eugenic movement (like most academic discourses) formed links across the Atlantic into the wider English-speaking world. Work carried out on Ellis Island (where immigrants to the USA were held when they first arrived) by H.H. Goddard -- America's leading eugenicist psychologist [at the time] according to Richards (2012, p. 78) -- led to a scale for the estimation of 'mental defect' [sic] (Knox 1914).

-- Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology: Race Matters in Mental Health, by Suman Fernando
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

Old age

An insight into his character is given in Michael St. John Packe's The Life of John Stuart Mill:

During his youthful visits to Bowood House, the country seat of his patron Lord Lansdowne, he had passed his time at falling unsuccessfully in love with all the ladies of the house, whom he courted with a clumsy jocularity, while playing chess with them or giving them lessons on the harpsichord. Hopeful to the last, at the age of eighty he wrote again to one of them, recalling to her memory the far-off days when she had "presented him, in ceremony, with the flower in the green lane". To the end of his life he could not hear of Bowood without tears swimming in his eyes, and he was forced to exclaim, "Take me forward, I entreat you, to the future—do not let me go back to the past."[57]

A psychobiographical study by Philip Lucas and Anne Sheeran argues that he may have had Asperger's syndrome.[58] Bentham was an atheist.[59]



Bentham's ambition in life was to create a "Pannomion", a complete utilitarian code of law. He not only proposed many legal and social reforms, but also expounded an underlying moral principle on which they should be based. This philosophy of utilitarianism took for its "fundamental axiom", it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong".[60] Bentham claimed to have borrowed this concept from the writings of Joseph Priestley,[61] although the closest that Priestley in fact came to expressing it was in the form "the good and happiness of the members, that is the majority of the members of any state, is the great standard by which every thing relating to that state must finally be determined".[62]

The "greatest happiness principle", or the principle of utility, forms the cornerstone of all Bentham's thought. By "happiness", he understood a predominance of "pleasure" over "pain". He wrote in The Principles of Morals and Legislation:

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think ...[63]

Edwin Chadwick, a major contributor to the Commission's report, developed Jeremy Bentham's theory of utilitarianism, the idea that the success of something could be measured by whether it secured the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This idea of utilitarianism underpinned the Poor Law Amendment Act. Bentham believed that "the greatest good for the greatest number" could only be achieved when wages found their true levels in a free-market system. Chadwick believed that the poor rate would reach its "correct" level when the workhouse was seen as a deterrent and fewer people claimed relief. A central authority was needed to ensure a uniform poor law regime for all parishes and to ensure that that regime deterred applications for relief; that is, to ensure a free market for labour required greater state intervention in poor relief.

Bentham's argument that people chose pleasant options and would not do what was unpleasant provided a rationale for making relief unpleasant so that people would not claim it, "stigmatising" relief so that it became "an object of wholesome horror".

-- Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, by Wikipedia

Bentham was a rare major figure in the history of philosophy to endorse psychological egoism.[64]

Bentham was a determined opponent of religion. Crimmins observes: "Between 1809 and 1823 Jeremy Bentham carried out an exhaustive examination of religion with the declared aim of extirpating religious beliefs, even the idea of religion itself, from the minds of men."[59]

Bentham suggested a procedure for estimating the moral status of any action, which he called the hedonistic or felicific calculus. Utilitarianism was revised and expanded by Bentham's student John Stuart Mill. Mill sharply criticized Bentham's view of human nature, which failed to recognize conscience as a human motive. Mill considered Bentham's view "to have done and to be doing very serious evil."[65] In Mill's hands, "Benthamism" became a major element in the liberal conception of state policy objectives.

Bentham's critics have claimed that he undermined the foundation of a free society by rejecting natural rights.[66] Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote "The principle of the greatest happiness of the greatest number was as inimical to the idea of liberty as to the idea of rights."[67]

In his exposition of the felicific calculus, Bentham proposed a classification of 12 pains and 14 pleasures, by which we might test the "happiness factor" of any action.[68] Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked that Bentham's "hedonistic" theory (a term from J. J. C. Smart), unlike Mill's, is often criticised for lacking a principle of fairness embodied in a conception of justice. In Bentham and the Common Law Tradition, Gerald J. Postema states: "No moral concept suffers more at Bentham's hand than the concept of justice. There is no sustained, mature analysis of the notion..."[69] Thus, some critics[who?] object, it would be acceptable to torture one person if this would produce an amount of happiness in other people outweighing the unhappiness of the tortured individual. However, as P. J. Kelly argued in Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: Jeremy Bentham and the Civil Law, Bentham had a theory of justice that prevented such consequences. According to Kelly, for Bentham the law "provides the basic framework of social interaction by delimiting spheres of personal inviolability within which individuals can form and pursue their own conceptions of well-being".[70] It provides security, a precondition for the formation of expectations. As the hedonic calculus shows "expectation utilities" to be much higher than natural ones, it follows that Bentham does not favour the sacrifice of a few to the benefit of the many. Law professor Alan Dershowitz has quoted Bentham to argue that torture should sometimes be permitted.[71]

Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation[72] focuses on the principle of utility and how this view of morality ties into legislative practices. His principle of utility regards "good" as that which produces the greatest amount of pleasure and the minimum amount of pain and "evil" as that which produces the most pain without the pleasure. This concept of pleasure and pain is defined by Bentham as physical as well as spiritual. Bentham writes about this principle as it manifests itself within the legislation of a society. He lays down a set of criteria for measuring the extent of pain or pleasure that a certain decision will create.

The criteria are divided into the categories of intensity, duration, certainty, proximity, productiveness, purity, and extent. Using these measurements, he reviews the concept of punishment and when it should be used as far as whether a punishment will create more pleasure or more pain for a society. He calls for legislators to determine whether punishment creates an even more evil offence. Instead of suppressing the evil acts, Bentham argues that certain unnecessary laws and punishments could ultimately lead to new and more dangerous vices than those being punished to begin with, and calls upon legislators to measure the pleasures and pains associated with any legislation and to form laws in order to create the greatest good for the greatest number. He argues that the concept of the individual pursuing his or her own happiness cannot be necessarily declared "right", because often these individual pursuits can lead to greater pain and less pleasure for a society as a whole. Therefore, the legislation of a society is vital to maintain the maximum pleasure and the minimum degree of pain for the greatest number of people.


Defence of Usury, 1788

Bentham's opinions about monetary economics were completely different from those of David Ricardo; however, they had some similarities to those of Henry Thornton. He focused on monetary expansion as a means of helping to create full employment. He was also aware of the relevance of forced saving, propensity to consume, the saving-investment relationship, and other matters that form the content of modern income and employment analysis. His monetary view was close to the fundamental concepts employed in his model of utilitarian decision making. His work is considered to be an early precursor of modern welfare economics.

Bentham stated that pleasures and pains can be ranked according to their value or "dimension" such as intensity, duration, certainty of a pleasure or a pain. He was concerned with maxima and minima of pleasures and pains; and they set a precedent for the future employment of the maximisation principle in the economics of the consumer, the firm and the search for an optimum in welfare economics.[73]

Bentham advocated "Pauper Management" which involved the creation of a chain of large workhouses.[74][75]

Law reform

Bentham was the first person to be an aggressive advocate for the codification of all of the common law into a coherent set of statutes; he was actually the person who coined the verb "to codify" to refer to the process of drafting a legal code.[76] He lobbied hard for the formation of codification commissions in both England and the United States, and went so far as to write to President James Madison in 1811 to volunteer to write a complete legal code for the young country. After he learned more about American law and realised that most of it was state-based, he promptly wrote to the governors of every single state with the same offer.

During his lifetime, Bentham's codification efforts were completely unsuccessful. Even today, they have been completely rejected by almost every common law jurisdiction, including England. However, his writings on the subject laid the foundation for the moderately successful codification work of David Dudley Field II in the United States a generation later.[76]

Animal rights

Bentham is widely regarded as one of the earliest proponents of animal rights.[14] He argued and believed that the ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, should be the benchmark, or what he called the "insuperable line". If reason alone were the criterion by which we judge who ought to have rights, human infants and adults with certain forms of disability might fall short, too.[77] In 1789, alluding to the limited degree of legal protection afforded to slaves in the French West Indies by the Code Noir, he wrote:

The day has been, I am sad to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated by the law exactly upon the same footing, as, in England for example, the inferior races of animals are still. The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognised that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?[78]

Earlier in that paragraph, Bentham makes clear that he accepted that animals could be killed for food, or in defence of human life, provided that the animal was not made to suffer unnecessarily. Bentham did not object to medical experiments on animals, providing that the experiments had in mind a particular goal of benefit to humanity, and had a reasonable chance of achieving that goal. He wrote that otherwise he had a "decided and insuperable objection" to causing pain to animals, in part because of the harmful effects such practices might have on human beings. In a letter to the editor of the Morning Chronicle in March 1825, he wrote:

I never have seen, nor ever can see, any objection to the putting of dogs and other inferior animals to pain, in the way of medical experiment, when that experiment has a determinate object, beneficial to mankind, accompanied with a fair prospect of the accomplishment of it. But I have a decided and insuperable objection to the putting of them to pain without any such view. To my apprehension, every act by which, without prospect of preponderant good, pain is knowingly and willingly produced in any being whatsoever, is an act of cruelty; and, like other bad habits, the more the correspondent habit is indulged in, the stronger it grows, and the more frequently productive of its bad fruit. I am unable to comprehend how it should be, that to him to whom it is a matter of amusement to see a dog or a horse suffer, it should not be matter of like amusement to see a man suffer; seeing, as I do, how much more morality as well as intelligence, an adult quadruped of those and many other species has in him, than any biped has for some months after he has been brought into existence; nor does it appear to me how it should be, that a person to whom the production of pain, either in the one or in the other instance, is a source of amusement, would scruple to give himself that amusement when he could do so under an assurance of impunity.[79]

Gender and sexuality

Bentham said that it was the placing of women in a legally inferior position that made him choose in 1759, at the age of eleven, the career of a reformist.[80] Bentham spoke for a complete equality between the sexes, arguing in favour of women's suffrage, a woman's right to obtain a divorce, and a woman's right to hold political office. Bentham nevertheless thought women inferior to men regarding such qualities as "strength of intellectual powers" and "firmness of mind".[81]

The essay Paederasty (Offences Against One's Self)[8] (c. 1785) argued for the liberalisation of laws prohibiting homosexual sex.[82] The essay remained unpublished during his lifetime for fear of offending public morality. Some of Bentham's writings on 'sexual non-conformity' were published for the first time in 1931,[9] but Paederasty was not published until 1978.[83] Bentham does not believe homosexual acts to be unnatural, describing them merely as "irregularities of the venereal appetite". The essay chastises the society of the time for making a disproportionate response to what Bentham appears to consider a largely private offence—public displays or forced acts being dealt with rightly by other laws. When the essay was published in the Journal of Homosexuality in 1978, the "Abstract" stated that Bentham's essay was the "first known argument for homosexual law reform in England".[8]

This is the first publication of Jeremy Bentham's essay on "Paederasty," written about 1785. The essay which runs to over 60 manuscript pages, is the first known argument for homosexual law reform in England. Bentham advocates the decriminalization of' sodomy, which in his day was punished by hanging. He argues that homosexual acts do not "weaken" men, or threaten population or marriage, and documents their prevalence in ancient Greece and Rome. Bentham opposes punishment on utilitarian grounds and attacks ascetic sexual morality. In the preceding article (Journal of Homosexuality, 3(4), 1978, p. 383-387) the editor's introduction discussed the essay in the light of 18th-century legal opinion and quoted Bentham's manuscript notes that reveal his anxieties about expressing his views.

-- Offences Against One's Self: Paederasty, by Jeremy Bentham


For Bentham, transparency had moral value. For example, Journalism puts power-holders under moral scrutiny. However, Bentham wanted such transparency to apply to everyone. This he describes by picturing the world as a gymnasium in which each "gesture, every turn of limb or feature, in those whose motions have a visible impact on the general happiness, will be noticed and marked down".[84] He considered both surveillance and transparency to be useful ways of generating understanding and improvements for people's lives.[85]

Fictional entities

Bentham distinguished among fictional entities what he called "fabulous entities" like Prince Hamlet or a centaur, from what he termed "fictitious entities", or necessary objects of discourse, similar to Kant's categories,[86] such as nature, custom, or the social contract.[87]

Bentham and University College London

Bentham is widely associated with the foundation in 1826 of London University (the institution that, in 1836, became University College London), though he was 78 years old when the University opened and played only an indirect role in its establishment. His direct involvement was limited to his buying a single £100 share in the new University, making him just one of over a thousand shareholders.[88]

Henry Tonks' imaginary scene of Bentham approving the building plans of London University

Bentham and his ideas can nonetheless be seen as having inspired several of the actual founders of the University. He strongly believed that education should be more widely available, particularly to those who were not wealthy or who did not belong to the established church; in Bentham's time, membership of the Church of England and the capacity to bear considerable expenses were required of students entering the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. As the University of London was the first in England to admit all, regardless of race, creed or political belief, it was largely consistent with Bentham's vision. There is some evidence that, from the sidelines, he played a "more than passive part" in the planning discussions for the new institution, although it is also apparent that "his interest was greater than his influence".[88] He failed in his efforts to see his disciple John Bowring appointed professor of English or History, but he did oversee the appointment of another pupil, John Austin, as the first professor of Jurisprudence in 1829.

The more direct associations between Bentham and UCL—the College's custody of his Auto-icon (see above) and of the majority of his surviving papers—postdate his death by some years: the papers were donated in 1849, and the Auto-icon in 1850. A large painting by Henry Tonks hanging in UCL's Flaxman Gallery depicts Bentham approving the plans of the new university, but it was executed in 1922 and the scene is entirely imaginary. Since 1959 (when the Bentham Committee was first established) UCL has hosted the Bentham Project, which is progressively publishing a definitive edition of Bentham's writings.

UCL now endeavours to acknowledge Bentham's influence on its foundation, while avoiding any suggestion of direct involvement, by describing him as its "spiritual founder".[17]


The back of No. 19, York Street (1848). In 1651 John Milton moved into a "pretty garden-house" in Petty France. He lived there until the Restoration. Later it became No. 19 York Street, belonged to Jeremy Bentham (who for a time lived next door), was occupied successively by James Mill and William Hazlitt, and finally demolished in 1877.[89][90]

Jeremy Bentham House in Bethnal Green, East London; a modernist apartment block named after the philosopher

Bentham was an obsessive writer and reviser, but was constitutionally incapable, except on rare occasions, of bringing his work to completion and publication.[58] Most of what appeared in print in his lifetime (see list of published works online)[91] was prepared for publication by others. Several of his works first appeared in French translation, prepared for the press by Étienne Dumont, for example, Theory of Legislation, Volume 2 (Principles of the Penal Code) 1840, Weeks, Jordan, & Company. Boston. Some made their first appearance in English in the 1820s as a result of back-translation from Dumont's 1802 collection (and redaction) of Bentham's writing on civil and penal legislation.


• Bentham, Jeremy (1787). Panopticon or the Inspection-House – via Wikisource.
• On the Liberty of the Press, and Public Discussion. Hone. 1821.
• Schofield, Philip; Pease-Watkin, Catherine; Blamires, Cyprian, eds. (2002). Rights, Representation, and Reform: Nonsense upon Stilts and Other Writings on the French Revolution. Oxford: University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-924863-6.
• Bowring, John, ed. (1834). Deontology or, The science of morality. Vol. 1. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman. p. 101.
• "Gulphs in Mankind's Career of Prosperity: A Critique of Adam Smith on Interest Rate Restrictions". Econ Journal Watch. Fairfax. 5 (1): 66. January 2008.
• An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation . 1780 – via Wikisource.
• A fragment on government . 1776 – via Wikisource. This was an unsparing criticism of some introductory passages relating to political theory in William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. The book, published anonymously, was well received and credited to some of the greatest minds of the time. Bentham disagreed with Blackstone's defence of judge-made law, his defence of legal fictions, his theological formulation of the doctrine of mixed government, his appeal to a social contract and his use of the vocabulary of natural law. Bentham's "Fragment" was only a small part of a Commentary on the Commentaries, which remained unpublished until the twentieth century.
• Crompton, Louis, ed. (2008) [1785]. "Offences Against One's Self". Journal of Homosexuality. 3 (4): 389–406. doi:10.1300/J082v03n04_07. ISSN 0091-8369. PMID 353189.
• Short Review of the Declaration . 1776 – via Wikisource. An attack on the United States Declaration of Independence.
• Bentham, Jeremy (1816). Defence of Usury; shewing the impolicy of the present legal restraints on the terms of pecuniary bargains in a letters to a friend to which is added a letter to Adam Smith, Esq. LL.D. on the discouragement opposed by the above restraints to the progress of inventive industry (3rd ed.). London: Payne & Foss. Bentham wrote a series of thirteen "Letters" addressed to Adam Smith, published in 1787 as Defence of Usury. Bentham's main argument against the restriction is that "projectors" generate positive externalities. G.K. Chesterton identified Bentham's essay on usury as the very beginning of the "modern world". Bentham's arguments were very influential. "Writers of eminence" moved to abolish the restriction, and repeal was achieved in stages and fully achieved in England in 1854. There is little evidence as to Smith's reaction. He did not revise the offending passages in The Wealth of Nations, but Smith made little or no substantial revisions after the third edition of 1784.
• Essay on Political Tactics containing six of the Principal Rules proper to be observed by a Political Assembly In the process of a Forming a Decision: with the Reasons on Which They Are Grounded; and a comparative application of them to British and French Practice: Being a Fragment of a larger Work, a sketch of which is subjoined (First ed.). London: T. Payne. 1791.
• Emancipate Your Colonies! Addressed to the National Convention of France A° 1793, shewing the uselessness and mischievousness of distant dependencies to an European state . London: Robert Heward. 1830 – via Wikisource.
• Anarchical Fallacies; Being an examination of the Declaration of Rights issued during the French Revolution (London ed.). 1796. Retrieved 8 January 2016. An attack on the Declaration of the Rights of Man decreed by the French Revolution, and critique of the natural rights philosophy underlying it.
• Traités de législation civile et pénale (1802, edited by Étienne Dumont. 3 vols)
• Punishments and Rewards (1811)
• Panopticon versus New South Wales: or, the Panopticon Penitentiary System, Compared. Containing, 1. Two Letters to Lord Pelham, Secretary of State, Comparing the two Systems on the Ground of Expediency. 2. Plea for the Constitution: Representing the Illegalities involved in the Penal Colonization System. Anno 1803, printed: now first published (1812)
• A Table of the Springs of Action . London: sold by R. Hunter. 1817.
• "Swear Not At All" (1817)
• Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the form of Catechism with Reasons for Each Article, with An Introduction shewing the Necessity and the Inadequacy of Moderate Reform. London: R. Hunter, successor to Mr. Johnson. 1817.
• Church-of-Englandism and its Catechism Examined: Preceded by the Structures on the Exclusionary System, as pursued in the National Society of Schools: Interspersed with Parallel Views of the English and Scottish Established and Non-Established Churches: And Concluding with Remedies Proposed for Abuses Indicated: and An Examination of the Parliamentary System of Church Reform Lately Pursued, and Still Pursuing: Including the Proposed New Churches. London: Effingham Wilson. 1818.
• The Elements of the Art of Packing, as applied to special juries particularly in cases of libel law. London: Effingham Wilson. 1821.
• The Influence of Natural Religion upon the Temporal Happiness of Mankind (1822, written with George Grote and published under the pseudonym Philip Beauchamp)
• Not Paul But Jesus (1823, published under the pseudonym Gamaliel Smith)
• The Book of Fallacies from Unfinished Papers of Jeremy Bentham (First ed.). London: John and H.L. Hunt. 1824.
• Dumont, M., ed. (1825). A Treatise on Judicial Evidence Extracted from the Manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham, Esq (1st ed.). London: Baldwin, Cradock, & Joy.
• Rationale of Judicial Evidence, specially applied to English Practice, Extracted from the Manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham, Esq. I (First ed.). London: Hunt & Clarke. 1827.

Posthumous publications

On his death, Bentham left manuscripts amounting to an estimated 30 million words, which are now largely held by UCL's Special Collections (c. 60,000 manuscript folios) and the British Library (c.15,000 folios).

Bowring (1838–1843)

John Bowring, the young radical writer who had been Bentham's intimate friend and disciple, was appointed his literary executor and charged with the task of preparing a collected edition of his works. This appeared in 11 volumes in 1838–1843. Bowring based much of his edition on previously published texts (including those of Dumont) rather than Bentham's own manuscripts, and elected not to publish Bentham's works on religion at all. The edition was described by the Edinburgh Review on first publication as "incomplete, incorrect and ill-arranged", and has since been repeatedly criticised both for its omissions and for errors of detail; while Bowring's memoir of Bentham's life included in volumes 10 and 11 was described by Sir Leslie Stephen as "one of the worst biographies in the language".[92] Nevertheless, Bowring's remained the standard edition of most of Bentham's writings for over a century, and is still only partially superseded: it includes such interesting writings on international[ b] relations as Bentham's A Plan for an Universal and Perpetual Peace written 1786–89, which forms part IV of the Principles of International Law.

Stark (1952–1954)

In 1952–1954, Werner Stark published a three-volume set, Jeremy Bentham's Economic Writings, in which he attempted to bring together all of Bentham's writings on economic matters, including both published and unpublished material. Although a significant achievement, the work is considered by scholars to be flawed in many points of detail,[93] and a new edition of the economic writings is currently in preparation by the Bentham Project.

Bentham Project (1968–present)

Further information: Transcribe Bentham

In 1959, the Bentham Committee was established under the auspices of University College London with the aim of producing a definitive edition of Bentham's writings. It set up the Bentham Project[94] to undertake the task, and the first volume in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham was published in 1968. The Collected Works are providing many unpublished works, as well as much-improved texts of works already published. To date, 31 volumes have appeared; the complete edition is projected to run to around seventy. The volume Of Laws in General (1970) was found to contain many errors and has been replaced by Of the Limits of the Penal Branch of Jurisprudence (2010)[95] In June 2017, Volumes 1–5 were re-published in open access by UCL Press.[citation needed]

To assist in this task, the Bentham papers at UCL are being digitised by crowdsourcing their transcription. Transcribe Bentham is an award-winning crowdsourced manuscript transcription project, run by University College London's Bentham Project,[96] in partnership with UCL's UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, UCL Library Services, UCL Learning and Media Services, the University of London Computer Centre, and the online community. The project was launched in September 2010 and is making freely available, via a specially designed transcription interface, digital images of UCL's vast Bentham Papers collection—which runs to some 60,000 manuscript folios—to engage the public and recruit volunteers to help transcribe the material. Volunteer-produced transcripts will contribute to the Bentham Project's production of the new edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, and will be uploaded to UCL's digital Bentham Papers repository,[97] widening access to the collection for all and ensuring its long-term preservation. Manuscripts can be viewed and transcribed by signing-up for a transcriber account at the Transcription Desk,[98] via the Transcribe Bentham website.[99]

Free, flexible textual search of the full collection of Bentham Papers is now possible through an experimental handwritten text image indexing and search system,[100] developed by the PRHLT research center in the framework of the READ project.

Death and the auto-icon

Bentham's Public dissection

Bentham's auto-icon in a new display case at the Student Centre in 2020.

Bentham's auto-icon in 2003

Jeremy Bentham's severed head, on temporary display at UCL

Bentham died on 6 June 1832 aged 84 at his residence in Queen Square Place in Westminster, London, England. He had continued to write up to a month before his death, and had made careful preparations for the dissection of his body after death and its preservation as an auto-icon. As early as 1769, when Bentham was 21 years old, he made a will leaving his body for dissection to a family friend, the physician and chemist George Fordyce, whose daughter, Maria Sophia (1765–1858), married Jeremy's brother Samuel Bentham.[18] A paper written in 1830, instructing Thomas Southwood Smith to create the auto-icon, was attached to his last will, dated 30 May 1832.[18]

On 8 June 1832, two days after his death, invitations were distributed to a select group of friends, and on the following day at 3 p.m., Southwood Smith delivered a lengthy oration over Bentham's remains in the Webb Street School of Anatomy & Medicine in Southwark, London. The printed oration contains a frontispiece with an engraving of Bentham's body partly covered by a sheet.[18]

Afterward, the skeleton and head were preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet called the "Auto-icon", with the skeleton padded out with hay and dressed in Bentham's clothes. Originally kept by Bentham's disciple, Thomas Southwood Smith,[101] it was acquired by University College London in 1850. It is kept on public display at the main entrance of the UCL Student Centre. It was previously displayed at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the college until it was moved in 2020. Upon the retirement of Sir Malcolm Grant as provost of the College in 2013, however, the body was present at Grant's final council meeting. As of 2013, this was the only time that the body of Bentham has been taken to a UCL council meeting.[102][103] (There is a persistent myth that the body of Bentham is present at all council meetings.)[102][104]

Bentham had intended the auto-icon to incorporate his actual head, mummified to resemble its appearance in life. Southwood Smith's experimental efforts at mummification, based on practices of the indigenous people of New Zealand and involving placing the head under an air pump over sulfuric acid and drawing off the fluids, although technically successful, left the head looking distastefully macabre, with dried and darkened skin stretched tautly over the skull.[18] The auto-icon was therefore given a wax head, fitted with some of Bentham's own hair. The real head was displayed in the same case as the auto-icon for many years, but became the target of repeated student pranks. It was later locked away.[104] In 2017, plans were announced to re-exhibit the head and at the same time obtain a DNA sample for sequencing with the goal of identifying genetic evidence of autism.[105]

In 2020 the auto-icon was put into a new glass display case and moved to the entrance of UCL's new Student Centre on Gordon Square.[106]


The Faculty of Laws at University College London occupies Bentham House, next to the main UCL campus.[107]

Bentham's name was adopted by the Australian litigation funder IMF Limited to become Bentham IMF Limited on 28 November 2013, in recognition of Bentham being "among the first to support the utility of litigation funding".[108]

See also

• List of civil rights leaders – Wikipedia list article
• List of liberal theorists – Wikipedia list article
• Philosophy of happiness
• Rule according to higher law – Principle that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice.
• Rule of law – Political situation where every citizen is subject to the law


1. An Act for the More Effectual Prevention of Depredations on the River Thames (39 & 40 Geo 3 c 87)[46]
2. a word Bentham himself coined
1. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: Chapter I: OF THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY
2. Follett 2000, p. 7.
3. Johnson, Will (2012). "Ancestry of Jeremy Bentham". countyhistorian. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
4. Sweet, William (n.d.). "Bentham, Jeremy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
5. "Jeremy Bentham". n.d. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
6. Bentham 1977, p. 393.
7. Burns 2005, pp. 46–61.
8. Bentham 2008, pp. 389–406.
9. Campos Boralevi 2012, p. 37.
10. Bedau 1983, pp. 1033–1065.
11. Sunstein 2004, pp. 3–4.
12. Francione 2004, p. 139: footnote 78
13. Gruen 2003.
14. Benthall 2007, p. 1.
15. Harrison 1995, pp. 85–88.
16. Roberts, Roberts & Bisson 2016, p. 307.
17. "UCL Academic Figures". Archived from the original on 18 December 2010.
18. Rosen, F. (2014) [2004]. "Bentham, Jeremy". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2153. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
19. "Jeremy Bentham". University College London. Archived from the original on 1 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
20. Warren 1969.
21. Stephen 2011, pp. 174–5.
22. Dupont & Onuf 2008, pp. 32–33.
23. Armitage 2007.
24. Anonymous 1776, p. 3.
25. Semple 1993, pp. 99–100.
26. Roth, Mitchel P (2006), Prisons and prison systems: a global encyclopedia, Greenwood, p. 33, ISBN 9780313328565
27. Semple 1993, pp. 99–101.
28. Semple 1993, pp. 134–40.
29. Bentham 1995, pp. 29–95.
30. Bentham 1787.
31. Foucault 1977, pp. 200, 249–256.
32. Schofield, Philip (2009). Bentham: a guide for the perplexed. London: Continuum. pp. 90–93. ISBN 978-0-8264-9589-1.
33. Semple 1993, p. 118.
34. Semple 1993, pp. 102–4, 107–8.
35. Semple 1993, pp. 108–10, 262.
36. Semple 1993, pp. 169–89.
37. Semple 1993, pp. 194–7.
38. Semple 1993, pp. 197–217.
39. Semple 1993, pp. 217–22.
40. Semple 1993, pp. 226–31.
41. Semple 1993, pp. 236–9.
42. Semple 1993, p. 244.
43. Semple 1993, pp. 265–79.
44. Semple 1993, pp. 279–81.
45. Penitentiary House, etc. Act: 52 Geo. III, c. 44 (1812).
46. French, Stanley (n.d.). "The Early History of Thames Magistrates' Court". Thames Police Museum. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
47. Everett 1966, pp. 67–69.
48. Persky 2007, p. 228.
49. Bentham 2002, p. 291.
50. Darío, Rubén (1887). "La Literatura en Centro-América". Revista de artes y letras (in Spanish). Biblioteca Nacional de Chile. XI: 591. MC0060418. Retrieved 25 March 2019. In Guatemala there was Valle, a man of vast intellect, friend of Jeremías Bentham, with whom he corresponded frequently. Bentham sent him shortly before dying a lock of his hair and a golden ring, shiny as José Cecilio's style.
51. Laura Geggel (11 September 2018). "Oddball Philosopher Had His Mummified Body Put on Display … and Now His Rings Are Missing". Live Science. Retrieved 26 March 2019. We can safely assume that [Guatemalan philosopher and politician] José del Valle received one, as he is featured wearing it in a portrait," Causer said. "Interestingly, on the bookshelf of that portrait is one of Bentham’s works, as well as a Spanish translation of Say’s 'Traité d’économie politique.' It’s a neat, tangible link between Bentham, Say and del Valle.
52. "Foundation of the Province". SA Memory. State Library of South Australia. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
53. Hamburger 1965.
54. Thomas 1979.
55. Bartle 1963.
56. Everett 1968, p. 94.
57. Packe 1954, p. 16.
58. Lucas & Sheeran 2006, pp. 26–27.
59. Crimmins 1986, p. 95.
60. Bentham 1776, Preface (2nd para.).
61. Bentham 1821, p. 24.
62. Priestley 1771, p. 17.
63. Bentham 1789, p. 1, Ch. I.
64. May, Joshua (n.d.). "Psychological Egoism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
65. Mill, John Stuart Early Essays of John Stuart Mill (London, 1897) pp. 401–404
66. Smith, George H. (26 June 2012). "Jeremy Bentham's Attack on Natural Rights". Retrieved 11 June2018.
67. Himmelfarb 1968, p. 77.
68. Bentham 1789, Ch, IV.
69. Postema 1986, p. 148.
70. Kelly 1990, p. 81.
71. Dershowitz, Alan M. (18 September 2014). "A choice of evils: Should democracies use torture to protect against terrorism?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
72. Bentham, Jeremy, 1748-1832. (2005). An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation. [Chestnut Hill, Mass.?]: Elibron Classics. ISBN 1-4212-9048-0. OCLC 64578728.
73. Spiegel 1991, pp. 341–343.
74. Bentham, Jeremy (1843). "Tracts on Poor Laws and Pauper Management" (PDF). Retrieved 27 March2019.
75. Himmelfarb 1968, pp. 74–75.
76. Morriss 1999.
77. Bentham 1879.
78. Bentham 1879, Ch. 17.
79. Bentham, Jeremy (9 March 1825). "To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle". Morning Chronicle. London. p. 2.(subscription required)
80. Williford 1975, p. 167.
81. Bentham 1879, p. 48.
82. Campos Boralevi 2012, p. 40.
83. Journal of Homosexuality, v.3:4(1978), p.389-405; continued in v.4:1(1978)
84. Bentham 1834, p. 101.
85. McStay, Andrew (8 November 2013). "Why too much privacy is bad for the economy". The Conversation. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
86. Cutrofello 2014, p. 115.
87. Murphy 2014, p. 61–62.
88. Harte 1998, pp. 5–8.
89. Stephen 1894, p. 32.
90. Grayling 2013, "19 York Street".
91. Anon (n.d.). "Published Works of Jeremy Bentham". Retrieved 12 June 2018.
92. Bartle 1963, p. 27.
93. Schofield 2009a, pp. 475–494.
94. "Bentham Project". Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2002.
95. Schofield 2013, p. 51–70.
96. "The Bentham Project". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
97. "UCL digital Bentham collection". 20 August 1996. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
98. "Transcribe Bentham: Transcription Desk". Retrieved 26 April 2012.
99. "Transcribe Bentham". Retrieved 26 April 2012.
100. "PRHLT text indexing and search interface for Bentham Papers".
101. Marmoy, C.F.A. (1958). "The 'Auto-Icon' of Jeremy Bentham at University College, London". Medical History. University College London. 2 (2): 77–86. doi:10.1017/s0025727300023486. PMC 1034365. PMID 13526538. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2007. It seems that the case with Bentham's body now rested in New Broad Street; Southwood Smith did not remove to 38 Finsbury Square until several years later. Bentham must have been seen by many visitors, including Charles Dickens.
102. Smallman, Etan (12 July 2013). "Bentham's corpse attends UCL board meeting". Metro. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
103. Das, Subhadra (curator) (19 November 2018). The Boring Talks [#25 Jeremy Bentham's 'Auto-Icon'] (podcast). BBC.
104. "UCL Bentham Project". University College London. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
105. Sarah Knapton (2 October 2017). "Severed head of eccentric Jeremy Bentham to go on display as scientists test DNA to see if he was autistic". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
106. "Jeremy Bentham's Body Gets A Contentious New Box At UCL". Londonist. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
107. "About UCL Laws". University College London. 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
108. "About us". Bentham IMF Limited. 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014.


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Further reading

• Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Benthamism". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bentham, Jeremy" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Macdonell, John (1885). "Bentham, Jeremy" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
• Jeremy Bentham, "Critique of the Doctrine of Inalienable, Natural Rights", in Anarchical Fallacies, vol. 2 of Bowring (ed.), Works, 1843.
• Jeremy Bentham, "Offences Against One's Self: Paederasty", c. 1785, free audiobook from LibriVox.

External links

• Portraits of Jeremy Bentham at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• Works by Jeremy Bentham at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Jeremy Bentham at Internet Archive
• Works by Jeremy Bentham at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Transcribe Bentham, initiative run by the Bentham Project that has its own website with useful links.
• The curious case of Jeremy Bentham at
• Jeremy Bentham, categorised links
• The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an extensive biographical reference of Bentham.
• "Jeremy Bentham at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007" A play-reading of the life and legacy of Jeremy Bentham.
• Jeremy Bentham at Find a Grave
• Jeremy Bentham, biographical profile, including quotes and further resources, at
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 6:54 am

Eugenics: The Academy’s Complicity
by Dr. Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman
University College London [UCL]

“The British invented racism,” said the UK’s first “black female” MP. “Britain…almost invented racism,” said the US’ first “black male” ambassador to the UN. If by “racism” we mean “the science of improving stock”, by “giv[ing] to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable”, then Diane Abbott in April 1988 and Andrew Young in April 1977 were right: the British invented eugenics. More precisely, the University of London invented national eugenics, in the service of the British Empire.

By the end of the 19th century it was clear, at least to the British, which nation had won the 400-year-long European competition to colonise our planet. Indeed, this self-confidence was very soon vindicated, when, following that colonial competition’s catastrophic climax (which we currently celebrate under the euphemism of “Great War”), the British Empire became the most extensive, populous and influential empire the world had ever known.

Yet uneasy lay the head that wore the crown. Birth rates in free-fall; women and workers wanting rights; a majority of men unfit to fight against Africans – it seemed that Britain, as David Lloyd George put it, was an “A1 Empire with a C3 Population”. Wealthy “white” men of Britain were plagued with anxiety that their kind were degenerating to such an extent that they would soon be toppled from their proper place at the top of the pile.

Enter eugenics. Whereas Charles Darwin’s natural selection described what he saw in nature, his half-cousin Francis Galton’s national selection prescribed what action we should take in society. Crucially, this was a prescription for British society, since, said Galton, “to no nation is a high human breed more necessary than to our own, for we plant our stock all over the world”. Yet, despite Galton’s assertion in 1883 – when he coined the word from the Greek eugenes, meaning “good in stock” – “improving stock” was not yet taken seriously as a “science”.

For this reason, on 10 October 1904 Galton wrote to the principal of the University of London, offering £500 a year over three years towards a new “Research Fellow” in “National Eugenics”, or “Francis Galton Scholar”. Galton “presumed that the University will provide accommodation for the person appointed” and “that the stamped official writing paper of the University may be used”. Only four days later, a committee, including the principal and the chairman of convocation, met to write the job description. Seven days later, the senate signed it off; 16 days later, an advertisement appeared in The Times.

Crucially, Galton’s disciple and protégé, biometrician Karl Pearson, said his “recollection of the meeting is that most of the time was spent in drafting a definition”, which Galton “finally approved”: “The term National Eugenics is here defined as the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.”

This institutional act of definition was, in fact, an act of legitimation. Such is the power of the university that not only could it at the stroke of a pen turn the Anthropometric Laboratory (founded in 1884) into the Eugenics Record Office, with rooms provided at 50 Gower Street (now part of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), it could also turn what had for the previous 20 years been nothing more than a gentleman’s obsessive hobby into the academy’s official discipline.

Eugenics is a two-edged sword: as much a concern of the pre-First World War British Fabian Left as of the pre-Second World War German Nazi Right, it intellectually underpinned policies not only of segregation, sterilisation and Shoah, but also of birth control, public hospitals and the welfare state. Furthermore, it is now entrenched in our universities as a foundation of legitimate disciplines such as economics, statistics and genetics. How, then, d’you solve a problem like eugenics?

A frequent response is to rename. Yet putting right this wrong is not as simple as renaming a lecture theatre, an academic building or a prestigious professorship. In the 1960s, the Francis Galton Laboratory for the Study of National Eugenics (founded in 1907) became the Galton Laboratory of the Department of Human Genetics and Biometry, and the Galton Professor of Eugenics (founded in 1911, with Pearson the first to hold the chair) became the Galton Professor of Human Genetics. That did not stop University College London, in 1980, from renaming the Bartlett Building the Pearson Building. Ignorance did not lead to justice. Justice demands a public discussion about why we have (and about why, for so long, we have kept) those names.

At an event this week, 110 years to the day that the university legitimised Galton’s research on eugenics, UCL will face up to its complicity in constructing unjust racial hierarchy. This is virtually without precedent. Only Brown University in the US has been as bold: following an inquiry into its historical relationship with European enslavement of African peoples, Brown established the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and the Ruth J. Simmons Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Slavery and Justice, named in honour of the president who had the courage to launch the inquiry. No British university has ever been so candid. Will any British university show such courage?


History of eugenics at UCL [University College London]: The long-discredited science written into university buildings
by Seren John-Wood

A great deal of scientific progress is represented in the names now immortalised on UCL’s buildings. So are a great deal of racist, classist and ableist ideologies.


1. Galton Lecture Theatre

Widely considered the father of the movement, Francis Galton coined ‘eugenics’ as the science of ‘improving stock’. In 1904, Galton set up the Eugenics Records Office, legitimising the science and establishing UCL as its centre. Eugenics, with the lofty goal of ‘bettering the human race’, sought to ‘weed’ society by imposing racist and classist ideas about superiority. Galton, who advocated for the segregation of ‘elite’ humans from those considered unintelligent or deviant, thought eugenics not just a science but a philosophy.

2. Pearson Building

If Galton was the father of eugenics, Karl Pearson was the dedicated disciple, providing statistical data to corroborate its claims. A mathematician and biostatistician, Pearson was also directed the research of Galton Laboratory and set up a Chair of National Eugenics. Pearson was even more radical than Galton, stating ‘superior and inferior races cannot co-exist; if the former are to make effective use of global resources; the latter must be extirpated.’

3. Darwin Building

The former site of Galton Laboratory of National Eugenics was replaced in 1984 with the Darwin Building, home of biological sciences, due in part to the decline in popularity of eugenics. However, eugenics history still persists in its title. Whilst difficult to dispute Darwin’s commemoration, it is noteworthy that Darwin was not necessarily opposed to the eugenics movement -– Darwin praised Galton’s work, stating ‘I have never read anything so interesting and original.’

4. Petrie Museum

Housing the collection of Egyptologist William Petrie, this building is already problematic for its contribution to Britain’s legacy of appropriating other cultures’ artefacts. However, of present concern is its namesake’s obsession with a superior ‘Dynastic Race.’ Petrie was convinced that the sophisticated culture behind his uncovered artefacts could not have been African in origin. Petrie theorised that a ‘Caucasoid race’ from northern Europe conquered Ancient Egypt and introduced a superior culture, drawing on racist experiments on skull measurements.

5. Medawar Building

If Peter Medawar, while esteemed for his contribution to the development of organ transplants, also advocated that eugenics could eradicate ‘bad genes’. Medawar’s beliefs, then-popular among scientists, were conceptually separate from the goal of a ‘superior’ human, which has been described as ‘positive eugenics.’ Medawar’s interests lie in the field of ‘negative eugenics’ – eliminating traits perceived to be the cause of suffering. He discouraged procreation among those with ‘genetic abnormalities,’ suggesting they shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

6. J.B.S. Haldane Room

Called ‘the cleverest man I ever knew’ by Medawar, Haldane was a geneticist, socialist, and renowned eccentric, whose views also mirrored the contemporary left-wing support of state intervention on family planning. Whilst ostensibly re-moved from the racist and classist features of eugenics, Haldane’s views still attempt to limit the rights of certain groups to pro-create. Haldane believed in the potential to eliminate disease and suffering and held the popular assumption that the upper classes had a ‘superior’ genetic make-up.

7. Francis Crick Institute

The Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre founded in 2015, is named for the famous contributor to the discovery of DNA. Crick also supported eugenics, radically proposing the potential of artificial insemination to ‘licenses’ for procreation in order to discourage the poor from having children, and that only babies with certain genetic criteria should be allowed to live.

8. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Initial location of the Eugenics Records Office, set up in 1905 at UCL by Galton and Pearson. In an article for the Times, the establishment of the Eugenics Records Office was described as an act which turned ‘what had for the previous 20 years been nothing more than a gentleman’s obsessive hobby into the academy’s official discipline’.

9. Marie Stopes House

Whilst not UCL-affiliated, Stopes House is named after an alum. [Marie] Stopes, a scientist and women’s advocate, studied and lectured at UCL before resigning in 1920 to set up the ‘Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress,’ and campaign for a birth control clinic. However, racist and ableist beliefs motivated her campaign—she wrote that babies had the right to ‘be given a body untainted by any heritable disease, uncontaminated by any of the racial poisons,’ something achieved with birth control.

10. R.A. Fisher Centre for Computational Biology

R.A. Fisher, an important statistician and geneticist, was also the second Chair of Eugenics and founding member of the Cambridge Eugenics Society. Given his conception of the notion of heritability, Fisher’s role as ‘an ardent eugenicist’ is unsurprising. Fisher believed that human divisions differed in their innate ‘quality,’ writing that civilisations fail because people of ‘low genetic value’ procreate more than people with ‘high genetic value’.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 7:26 am

Marie Stopes
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Marie Stopes
Marie Stopes at the time of the marriage with Mr. H.V. Roe.
Stopes in 1918
Born: Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, 15 October 1880, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Died: 2 October 1958 (aged 77), Dorking, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Nationality: British
Education: University of London (BSc, DSc); University of Munich (PhD)
Known for: Family planning, Eugenics
Spouse(s): Reginald Ruggles Gates (m. 1911; annulled 1914); Humphrey Verdon Roe (m. 1918; ? 1935)
Children: Harry Stopes-Roe
Scientific career
Fields: Palaeobotany
Institutions: University of Manchester

Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes (15 October 1880 – 2 October 1958) was a British author, palaeobotanist and campaigner for eugenics and women's rights. She made significant contributions to plant palaeontology and coal classification, and was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester. With her second husband, Humphrey Verdon Roe, Stopes founded the first birth control clinic in Britain. Stopes edited the newsletter Birth Control News, which gave explicit practical advice. Her sex manual Married Love (1918) was controversial and influential, and brought the subject of birth control into wide public discourse. Stopes publicly opposed abortion, arguing that the prevention of conception was all that was needed,[1] though her actions in private were at odds with her public pronouncements.[2]

Early life and education

Stopes was born in Edinburgh. Her father, Henry Stopes, was a brewer, engineer, architect and palaeontologist from Colchester. Her mother was Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, a Shakespearean scholar and women's rights campaigner from Edinburgh. At six weeks old, her parents took Stopes from Scotland;[3] the family stayed briefly in Colchester then moved to London, where in 1880 her father bought 28 Cintra Park in Upper Norwood.[4] Both of her parents were members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, where they had met.[5] Marie was taken to meetings where she met the famous scholars of the day. At first, she was home-schooled, but from 1892 to 1894 she attended St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh.[6] Stopes was later sent to the North London Collegiate School, where she was a close friend of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn.[1]

Stopes attended the University of London, at University College London as a scholarship student, where she studied botany and geology; she graduated with a first class B.Sc. in 1902 after only two years by attending both day and night schools at Birkbeck, University of London.[7] Following this, Stopes earned a D.Sc. degree from University College London, becoming the youngest person in Britain to have done so. In 1903 she published a study of the botany of the recently dried-up Ebbsfleet River. After carrying out research on Carboniferous plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and at University College, London, she studied the reproduction of living cycads at the University of Munich, receiving a Ph.D. in botany in 1904. Also in 1904, she was one of the first women to be elected a fellow of the Linnean Society of London.[8] She was also Fellow and sometime Lecturer in Palaeobotany at University College, London until 1920. She held the post of Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester from 1904 to 1910; in this capacity she became the first female academic of that university.[9]

Scientific research

Stopes in her laboratory, 1904

During Stopes's time at Manchester, she studied coal and coal balls and researched the collection of Glossopteris (Permian seed ferns). This was an attempt to prove the theory of Eduard Suess concerning the existence of Gondwana or Pangaea. A chance meeting with Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott during one of his fund-raising lectures in 1904 brought a possibility of proving Suess's theory. Stopes's passion to prove Suess's theory led her to discuss the possibility of joining Scott's next expedition to Antarctica. She did not join the expedition, but Scott promised to bring back samples of fossils to provide evidence for the theory.[10] Scott died during the 1912 Terra Nova Expedition, but fossils of plants from the Queen Maud Mountains found near Scott's and his companions' bodies provided this evidence.[11]

In 1907, Stopes went to Japan on a scientific mission. She spent eighteen months at the Imperial University, Tokyo and explored coal mines on Hokkaido for fossilised plants. She published her Japanese experiences as a diary, called "Journal from Japan: a daily record of life as seen by a scientist", in 1910.[9]

In 1910, the Geological Survey of Canada commissioned Stopes to determine the age of the Fern Ledges, a geological structure at Saint John, New Brunswick. It is part of the Early Pennsylvanian epoch Lancaster Formation. Canadian scholars were divided between dating it to the Devonian period or to the Pennsylvanian. Stopes arrived in North America before Christmas to start her research. On 29 December, she met the Canadian researcher Reginald Ruggles Gates in St. Louis, Missouri; they became engaged two days later. Starting her work on the Fern Ledges in earnest in February 1911, she did geological field work and researched at geological collections in museums, and shipped specimens to England for further investigation. The couple married in March and returned to England on 1 April that year. Stopes continued her research. In mid-1912 she delivered her results, finding for the Pennsylvanian period of the Carboniferous.[12] The Government of Canada published her results in 1914.[13] Later that year, her marriage to Gates was annulled.[2]

During the First World War, Stopes was engaged in studies of coal for the British government, which culminated in the writing of "Monograph on the constitution of coal" with R.V. Wheeler in 1918. The success of Stopes' work on marriage issues and birth control led her to reduce her scholarly work; her last scientific publications were in 1935. According to W. G. Chaloner (2005), "between 1903 and 1935 she published a series of palaeobotanical papers that placed her among the leading half-dozen British palaeobotanists of her time".[14] Stopes made major contributions to knowledge of the earliest angiosperms, the formation of coal balls and the nature of coal macerals. The classification scheme and terminology she devised for coal are still being used. Stopes also wrote a popular book on palaeobotany, "Ancient Plants" (1910; Blackie, London), in what was called a successful pioneering effort to introduce the subject to non-scientists.[14]

Married Love

Main article: Married Love

Cover of Marie Stopes's bestseller, Married Love.

Around the start of her divorce proceedings in 1913, Stopes began to write a book about the way she thought marriage should work. In July 1913, she met Margaret Sanger, who had just given a talk on birth control at a Fabian Society meeting. Stopes showed Sanger her writings and sought her advice about a chapter on contraception.[15] Stopes' book was finished by the end of 1913. She offered it to Blackie and Son, who declined. Several publishers refused the book because they thought it too controversial. When Binnie Dunlop, secretary of the Malthusian League, introduced her to Humphrey Verdon Roe—Stopes' future second husband—in 1917, she received the boost that helped her publish her book. Roe was a philanthropist interested in birth control; he paid Fifield & Co. to publish the work.[16] The book was an instant success, requiring five editions in the first year,[17] and elevated Stopes to national prominence.

Married Love was published on 26 March 1918; that day, Stopes was visiting Humphrey Roe, who had just returned with a broken ankle from service during the First World War after his aeroplane crashed.[18] Less than two months later they were married and Stopes had her first opportunity to practise what she preached in her book. The success of Married Love encouraged Stopes to provide a follow-up; the already written Wise Parenthood: a Book for Married People, a manual on birth control that was published later that year.[19] Many readers wrote to Stopes for personal advice, which she energetically endeavoured to give.

The following year, Stopes published A Letter to Working Mothers on how to have healthy children and avoid weakening pregnancies, a condensed version of Wise Parenthood aimed at the poor. It was a 16-page pamphlet and was to be distributed free of charge.[20] Stopes's intended audience had—until this work—been the middle classes. She had shown little interest in, or respect for, the working classes;[21] the Letter was aimed at redressing her bias.

On 16 July 1919, Stopes—pregnant and a month overdue—entered a nursing home. Stopes and the doctors clashed over the method of birth—she was not allowed to give birth on her knees. The child was stillborn; the doctors suggested the incident was due to syphilis, but an examination excluded the possibility. Stopes was furious and said her baby had been murdered. She was 38 years old.[22]

New Gospel

When Stopes had sufficiently recovered she returned to work in 1920; she engaged in public speaking and responding to letters seeking advice on marriage, sex and birth control.[23] She sent Mrs. E. B. Mayne to disseminate the Letter to Working Mothers to the slums of East London. Mayne approached twenty families a day, but after several months she concluded the working class was mistrustful of well-intentioned meddlers.[24]

This lack of success made Stopes contemplate a different approach to taking her message to the poor. A conference of Anglican bishops was due to be held in June; not long before the conference, Stopes had a vision. She called in her secretary and dictated a message addressed to the bishops which began: "My Lords, I speak to you in the name of God. You are his priests. I am his prophet. I speak to you of the mysteries of man and woman."[25] In 1922, Stopes wrote A New Gospel to All Peoples.[26] The bishops were not receptive; among the resolutions carried during the conference was one aimed against "the deliberate cultivation of sexual union" and another against "indecent literature, suggestive plays and films [and] the open or secret sale of contraceptives".[27] The Catholic Church's reaction was more strident,[28] marking the start of a conflict that lasted the rest of Stopes' life.[citation needed]

Family planning

Marie Stopes House in Whitfield Street near Tottenham Court Road was Britain's first family planning clinic after moving from its initial location in Holloway in 1925.

In 1917, before meeting Marie Stopes, Humphrey Roe offered to endow a birth control clinic attached to St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. He proposed all patients would be married and that no abortions would be done, but his offer was declined.[29][30] This was a serious issue for Roe; after their marriage, he and Stopes planned to open a clinic for poor mothers in London.[31]

Margaret Sanger, another birth-control pioneer, had opened a birth control clinic in New York but the police closed it. In 1920, Sanger proposed opening a clinic in London; this encouraged Stopes to act more constructively, but her plan never materialised.[32] Stopes resigned her lectureship at University College London at the end of 1920 to concentrate on the clinic; she founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress, a support organisation for the clinic.[33] Stopes explained that the object of the Society was:

" counteract the steady evil which has been growing for a good many years of the reduction of the birth rate just on the part of the thrifty, wise, well-contented, and the generally sound members of our community, and the reckless breeding from the C.3 end, and the semi-feebleminded, the careless, who are proportionately increasing in our community because of the slowing of the birth rate at the other end of the social scale. Statistics show that every year the birth rate from the worst end of our community is increasing in proportion to the birth rate at the better end, and it was in order to try to right that grave social danger that I embarked upon this work."[34]

On the printed notepaper is a list of prominent supporters which include the militant suffragette Lady Constance Lytton, feminist novelist Vera Brittain, Emily Pethick-Lawrence (former Treasurer of the Women's Social and Political Union), Rev Maude Royden (Women’s Suffrage Societies).[citation needed] Later supporters included eminent economist John Maynard Keynes.[citation needed] Three months later she and Roe opened the Mothers' Clinic at 61 Marlborough Road, Holloway, North London, on 17 March 1921.[35] The clinic was run by midwives and supported by visiting doctors.[36] It offered mothers birth control advice, taught them birth control methods and dispensed Stopes own "Pro-Race"[37] (and later the "Racial")[38] cervical caps.

The free clinic was open to all married women for knowledge about reproductive health. Stopes opposed abortion; she tried to discover alternatives for families and increase knowledge about birth control and the reproductive system. Options included the cervical cap—which was the most popular—coitus interruptus, and spermicides based on soap and oil.[39] Stopes rediscovered the use of olive oil-soaked sponges as an alternative birth control. Olive oil's use as a spermicide dates to Greek and Roman times. Her recipe proved very effective.[40] She tested many of her contraceptives on patients at her clinics.[citation needed]

Stopes became enthusiastic about a contraceptive device called the "gold pin", which was reportedly successful in America. A few months later, she asked Norman Haire, an Australian doctor, whether he would be interested in running a clinical trial of the device, as she had two correspondents who wanted to use it. Haire had already investigated the device and found it to be dangerous.[41] Haire became involved in another birth control clinic that opened in Walworth in November 1921; later a rivalry between Stopes and Haire erupted in The Lancet. Haire brought up the gold-pin episode,[42] even though Stopes' clinic had never used it. The issue of the gold pin device resurfaced in the Stopes-Sutherland libel case a few years later.[43]

In 1925, the Mothers' Clinic moved to Central London, where it remains as of 2015. Stopes gradually built up a small network of clinics across Britain, working to fund them. She opened clinics in Leeds in April 1934; Aberdeen in October 1934; Belfast in October 1936; Cardiff in October 1937; and Swansea in January 1943.[44]

The Marie Stopes International organisation

Main article: Marie Stopes International

The clinics continued to operate after Stopes' death, but by the early 1970s they were in financial difficulties and in 1975 they went into voluntary receivership. Marie Stopes International was established a year later as an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on sexual and reproductive health. The global partnership took over responsibility for the main clinic, and in 1978 it began its work overseas in New Delhi, India. Since then the organisation has grown steadily; today it works in over 40 countries, has 452 clinics and has offices in London, Brussels, Melbourne and in the US.[45][citation needed]

Opposition and libel case

In 1922, Dr Halliday Sutherland wrote a book called Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo Malthusians.[46] In the inter-war years, the terms "birth control" and "eugenics" were closely related; according to Jane Carey they were "so intertwined as to be synonymous".[47]

Following attacks on "the essential fallacies of Malthusian teaching", Sutherland's book attacked Stopes. Under the headings "Specially Hurtful to the Poor" and "Exposing the Poor to Experiment", it read:

In the midst of a London slum a woman, who is a doctor of German philosophy (Munich), has opened a Birth Control Clinic, where working women are instructed in a method of contraception described by Professor McIlroy as ‘The most harmful method of which I have had experience’. When we remember that millions are being spent by the Ministry of Health and by Local Authorities – on pure milk for necessitous expectant and nursing mothers, on Maternity Clinics to guard the health of mothers before and after childbirth, for the provision of skilled midwives, and on Infant Welfare Centres – it is truly amazing that this monstrous campaign of birth control should be tolerated by the Home Secretary. Charles Bradlaugh was condemned to jail for a less serious crime.[46]

Stopes was incensed. The reference to "doctor of German philosophy" sought to undermine Stopes because she was not a medical doctor and, being so soon after the First World War, sought to harness anti-German sentiment. Stopes' work had been associated with Charles Bradlaugh, who had been convicted of obscenity 45 years earlier when he had republished an American Malthusian text in Britain, which "advocated and gave explicit information about contraceptive methods".[47] Stopes challenged Sutherland to a public debate. When Sutherland did not respond, she brought a writ for libel against him.[48] The court case began on 21 February 1923; it was acrimonious. Four questions were put to the jury, which they answered as follows:

1. Were the words complained of defamatory of the plaintiff? Yes.
2. Were they true in substance and in fact? Yes.
3. Were they fair comment? No.
4. Damages, if any? £100.

Based on the jury’s verdict, barristers for both sides asked for judgement in their favour, so it came down to legal argument. Sutherland’s barrister successfully argued that as soon as the jury decided that the statements were true in substance and in fact, that was the end of the matter.[49] It was a moral victory for Stopes as the press saw it, and she appealed.[50] On 20 July, the Court of Appeal reversed the previous decision (2–1), awarding the £100 to Stopes. The Catholic community mobilised to support Sutherland (himself a Catholic) and Stopes publicly campaigned to raise £10,000.[51] Sutherland made a final appeal to the House of Lords on 21 November 1924.[52] The trial had made birth control a public topic and the number of clients visiting the clinic doubled. The Law Lords found in Sutherland's favour, 4–1, and their decision was irrevocable. The cost for Stopes was vast;[53] costs were partially compensated by publicity and book sales.[54]

Stopes was even remembered in a playground rhyme:

Jeanie, Jeanie, full of hopes,
Read a book by Marie Stopes,
But, to judge from her condition,
She must have read the wrong edition.[55]

Literary life

Coward's poem to Marie Stopes

If through a mist of awful fears,
Your mind in anguish gropes,
Dry up your panic-stricken tears
And fly to Marie Stopes.

If you have missed life's shining goal
And mixed with sex perverts and Dopes,
For normal soap to cleanse your soul
Apply to Marie Stopes.

And if perhaps you fail all round
And lie among your shattered hopes,
Just raise your body from the ground,
And crawl to Marie Stopes.[56]

Stopes was acquainted with many literary figures of the day. She had longstanding correspondences with George Bernard Shaw and Aylmer Maude, and argued with H. G. Wells. Noël Coward wrote a poem about her, and she edited Lord Alfred Douglas' letters. She unsuccessfully petitioned Neville Chamberlain to arrange for Douglas to receive a civil list pension; the petition was signed by Arthur Quiller-Couch, John Gielgud, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf, among others.[57] The general secretary of the Poetry Society, Muriel Spark, had an altercation with Stopes; according to Mark Bostridge, Spark "found herself lamenting that Stopes's mother had not been better informed on [birth control]".[58]

Stopes wrote poems, plays, and novels; during the First World War she wrote increasingly didactic plays. Her first major success was Our Ostriches, a play that dealt with society's approach to working class women being forced to produce babies throughout their lives.[59] The play ran for three months at the Royal Court Theatre. It was hurriedly produced in place of Vectia, another of Stopes' plays.[60] Vectia is an autobiographical attempt to analyse the failure of Stopes' first marriage. Because of its themes of sex and impotence, it was denied a licence to be performed, despite Stopes's frequent efforts.[61] In 1926, Stopes had Vectia printed under the title A Banned Play and a Preface on Censorship. In addition to a revival of Our Ostriches in 1930,[62] Stopes produced two other plays for the London stage, "Don't Tell Timothy," a musical farce produced in 1925-26,[63] and "Buckie's Bears," a children's Christmas pageant, allegedly dictated by her son, Henry Roe-Stopes, produced annually between 1931 and 1936.[64][65]

Stopes published several volumes of poetry, including Man and Other Poems (1913), Love Songs for Young Lovers (1939), Oriri (1940), and Joy and Verity (1952).

Stopes also published a novel, Love's Creation (1928), under the name semi-pseudonym of "Marie Carmichael."

Views on abortion

Publicly, Stopes professed to oppose abortion and, during her lifetime, her clinics did not offer that service. She single-mindedly pursued abortionists and used the police and the courts to prosecute them.[66] Stopes thought that the use of contraceptives was the preferred means by which families should voluntarily limit their number of offspring. Nurses at Stopes' clinic had to sign a declaration not to "impart any information or lend any assistance whatsoever to any person calculated to lead to the destruction in utero of the products of conception".[67] When Stopes learned that one of Avro Manhattan's friends had had an abortion, she accused him of murdering the unborn child.[68]

However, her private actions were at odds with her public pronouncements. In a 1919 letter she had outlined a method of abortion to an unidentified correspondent[69] and she "was even prepared in some cases to advocate abortion, or, as she preferred to put it, the evacuation of the uterus".[70] Further, in Wise Parenthood she had promoted the "Gold Pin" or "Spring" which was a "method [that] could be described as an abortifacient".[71]


In her biography of Stopes, June Rose claimed "Marie was an elitist, an idealist, interested in creating a society in which only the best and beautiful should survive,"[72] a view echoed by Richard A. Soloway in the 1996 Galton Lecture: "If Stopes' general interest in birth control was a logical consequence of her romantic preoccupation with compatible sexuality within blissful marriage, her particular efforts to provide birth control for the poor had far more to do with her eugenic concerns about the impending 'racial darkness' that the adoption of contraception promised to illuminate." [73]

Stopes’ enthusiasm for eugenics and race improvement was in line with many intellectuals and public figures of the time: for example Havelock Ellis, Cyril Burt and George Bernard Shaw. Eugenic sympathies were drawn from the left and the right of politics and included feminists and Labour politicians, such as Ellen Wilkinson.[citation needed] As a child Marie had met Francis Galton, one of the founders of modern Eugenics, through her father. She joined the Eugenics Education Society in 1912[74] and became a life fellow in 1921.[47] Clare Debenham[75] in her 2018 biography of Stopes argues in Chapter Nine that she was a maverick Eugenicist, who was shunned by the inner circle of the Eugenic Society. In 1934, she reflected: "I am a Life Fellow and would have much more interest in the Eugenics Society if I had not been cold shouldered".[76]

The objects of the Society For Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress revealed its eugenic aims,[77] summarised in point 16: "In short, we are profoundly and fundamentally a pro-baby organisation, in favour of producing the largest possible of healthy, happy children without detriment to the mother, and with the minimum wastage of infants by premature deaths. In this connection our motto has been 'Babies in the right place,' and it is just as much the aim of Constructive Birth Control to secure conception to those married people who are healthy, childless, and desire children, as it is to furnish security from conception to those who are racially diseased, already overburdened with children, or in any specific way unfitted for parenthood."[78] Stopes advocated the compulsory sterilisation of those she considered unfit for parenthood in 1918.[79] and in 1920.[80]

In Chapter XX of her 1920 book Radiant Motherhood Stopes discussed race and said that the "one central reform" was: "The power of the mother, consciously exerted in the voluntary procreation and joyous bearing of her children, is the greatest power in the world".[81] She added that two "main dangers" stood in the way. The first of these was ignorance and the second was the "inborn incapacity which lies in the vast and ever increasing stock of degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced who are now in our midst and who devastate social customs. These populate most rapidly and tend proportionately to increase and these are like the parasite upon the healthy tree sapping its vitality."[82] Stopes then stated that "a few quite simple acts of Parliament" could deal with "this prolific depravity" through sterilisation by x-rays and assured the reader that "when Bills are passed to ensure the sterility of the hopelessly rotten and racially diseased, and to provide for the education of the child-bearing woman so that she spaces her children healthily, our race will rapidly quell the stream of the depraved, hopeless and wretched lives which are at present increasing in proportion in our midst".[83]

Stopes promoted her eugenic ideas to politicians. In 1920 she sent a copy of her book, Radiant Motherhood—arguably the most explicitly eugenic of her books—to the Prime Minister's secretary, Frances Stevenson, and urged her to get David Lloyd George to read them.[84] In November 1922, just before the General Election, she sent a questionnaire to parliamentary candidates asking that they sign a declaration that: "I agree that the present position of breeding chiefly from the C3 population and burdening and discouraging the A1 is nationally deplorable, and if I am elected to Parliament I will press the Ministry of Health to give such scientific information through the Ante-natal Clinics, Welfare Centres and other institutions in its control as will curtail the C3 and increase the A1". She received 150 replies.[85]

In July 1931 the Women’s Co-operative Guild at their conference passed a resolution advocating compulsory sterilisation for the mentally or physically unfit.[citation needed]

A 1933 letter from Stopes to a friend revealed disillusion with Eugenics: "I do not think I want to write a book about Eugenics. The word has been so tarnished by some people that they are not going to get my name tacked onto it".[86] Despite this, she attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin in 1935[87] and, on her death in 1958, she bequeathed her clinics to the Eugenics Society.[88]

In 1934, an interview published in the Australian Women's Weekly disclosed Marie's views on mixed-race marriages: she advised correspondents against them and believed that all half-castes should be sterilised at birth... "thus painlessly and in no way interfering with the individual's life, the unhappy fate of he who is neither black nor white is prevented from being passed on to yet unborn babes."[89]

In August 1939 she sent a copy of her 'Love Song for Young Lovers' to Adolf Hitler because "Love is the greatest thing in the world". She wanted her poems to be distributed through the German birth control clinics. However, according to Rose any sympathy she may have had with Hitler would have been dissipated when he closed those clinics.[85] On 12 July 1940 she wrote to Winston Churchill to offer a slogan, "Fight the Battle of Britain in Berlin’s Air".[85]

Personal life

Stopes had a relationship, mainly through correspondence, with Japanese botanist Kenjiro Fujii, whom she met at the University of Munich in 1904 while researching her Ph.D. In 1907, during her 1904–1910 tenure at Manchester University, she arranged to research in Japan, allowing her to be with Fujii. The relationship ended.[citation needed]

In 1911, Stopes married Canadian geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates. She had maintained her name out of principle; her work was blooming while his was struggling. He was disturbed by what he considered her suffragette support. He failed to assert his position as head of the household and was frustrated.[90] The marriage fell apart amid squabbling over the house and rent. After another year, she sought legal advice about ending the marriage. Not receiving useful help, she read the legal code seeking a way to get a divorce.[91] On 11 May 1913, Stopes filed for divorce on the grounds that the marriage had never been consummated. Gates left England the following year and did not contest the divorce.

In 1918 she married Humphrey Verdon Roe, the financial backer of her most famous work, Married Love: A New Contribution to the Solution of the Sex Difficulties. Their son, Harry Stopes-Roe, was born in 1924.[92] Stopes disliked Harry's companion, Mary Eyre Wallis, who was the daughter of the noted engineer Barnes Wallis. When Harry announced their engagement in October 1947, his mother set about "to try to sabotage the union".[93] She found fault with Mary and wrote to Mary's father to complain.[94] She tried to get Humphrey's support against the marriage, arguing that any grandchildren might inherit Mary's myopia. He was not persuaded.[93] Later, believing "he had betrayed her by this marriage", Stopes cut him out of any substantial inheritance.[95][96][97]

In 1923, Marie Stopes bought the Old Higher Lighthouse on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, as an escape from the difficult climate of London during her court case against Halliday Sutherland. The island's Jurassic fossil forests provided her with endless interest.[98] She founded and curated the Portland Museum, which opened in 1930.[99] The cottage housing the museum was an inspiration behind The Well-Beloved, a novel by Thomas Hardy, who was a friend of Marie Stopes.[100]

Stopes died on 2 October 1958, aged 77, from breast cancer at her home in Dorking, Surrey. Her will left her clinic to the Eugenics Society; most of her estate went to the Royal Society of Literature. Her son Harry received her copy of the Greater Oxford Dictionary and other small items.[101][102] An English Heritage blue plaque commemorates Stopes at 28 Cintra Park, Upper Norwood, where she lived from 1880 to 1892.[103]

Selected works

• Marie C. Stopes (1910). A Journal From Japan. London: Blackie & Son, Limited. OL 9026688W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1912). Botany; or, The modern study of plants. London and Edinburgh: T. C. & E. C. Jack. OL 9026684W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1913). Catalogue of the Mesozoic Plants in the British Museum (Natural History): The Cretaceous Flora: Part I - II. London: British Museum.
• Marie C. Stopes; Jōji Sakurai (1913). Plays of Old Japan. London: William Heinemann.[104]
• Marie C. Stopes; Jōji Sakurai (1927). Plays of Old Japan: The 'Nō'. Eclipse Press. OL 9026704W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1914). The 'Fern ledges' Carboniferous flora of St. John, New Brunswick. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Government Printing Bureau.
• Marie C. Stopes (1914). Man, other poems, and a preface. London: William Heinemann. OL 9026691W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1917). Conquest; or, A piece of jade; a new play. London: French.
• Marie C. Stopes (1918). Married Love. London: Fifield and Co. ISBN 0-19-280432-4. OL 9026716W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1918). Wise Parenthood: A Treatise on Birth Control or Contraception. London: Rendell & Co. ISBN 0-659-90552-3. OL 9026714W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1918). On the Four Visible Ingredients in Banded Bituminous Coal: Studies in the Composition of Coal, No. 1. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Government Printing Bureau.
• Marie C. Stopes (1920). Radiant Motherhood. London: Putnam. OL 9026706W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1921). The Truth about Venereal Disease. London: Putnam.
• Marie C. Stopes (1923). Contraception (birth control) its theory, history and practice. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. OL 9026713W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1923). Our Ostriches. London: Putnam. OL 9026703W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1926). Sex and the Young. New York and London: Putnam. OL 53799W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1926). The Human Body. New York and London: Putnam. OL 9026707W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1926). A Banned Play and a Preface on the Censorship. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. OL 9026682W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1928). Enduring Passion. New York: Putnam.
• Marie C. Stopes (1935). Marriage in My Time. Rich & Cowan Ltd.
• Marie C. Stopes (1936). Change of Life in Men and Women. New York: Putnam. OL 9026710W.
• Marie C. Stopes (1939). Your Baby's First Year. London: Putnam.
• Marie C. Stopes (1940). Oriri. London: William Heinemann.
• Marie C. Stopes (1946). The Bathe, an Ecstasy. London: A. Moring. OL 412916W.
The standard author abbreviation Stopes is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[105]

See also

• Birth control movement in the United States
• Social hygiene movement


1. Maude, Aylmer (1933). Marie Stopes: Her Work and Play. John Bale & Sons and Danielsson. p. 42.
2. Brand, Pauline. Birth Control Nursing in the Marie Stopes Mothers' Clinics 1921–1931. De Montfort University Leicester. p. 243. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
3. Briant, Keith (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 14.
4. Stephanie Green (2013). The Public Lives of Charlotte and Marie Stopes. London: Pickering & Chatto. p. 48. ISBN 9781848932388.
5. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 16.
6. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 28.
7. Fraser, H. E. & C. J. Cleal, "The contribution of British women to Carboniferous palaeobotany during the first half of the 20th century", in Burek, C. V. & Higgs, B., eds. (2007). The Role of Women in the History of Geology. Geological Society, London.p.56.
8. The Linnean (2005) Vol. 21(2), p. 25
9. Marie Stopes. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36323.
10. The interior of Antarctica, being perpetually below 0 °C, is not suitable for life, so the presence of fossils provides evidence of major changes in biological conditions there during geologic time.
11. Morgan, Nina (6 June 2008). "Cold Comfort". Geological Society. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
12. Falcon-Lang, H.J.; Miller, R.F. (1 January 2007). "Marie Stopes and the Fern Ledges of Saint John, New Brunswick". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 281 (1): 227–245. Bibcode:2007GSLSP.281..227F. doi:10.1144/SP281.13.. (also printed in The Role of Women in the History of Geology edited by C. V. Burek & B. Higgs published by the Geological Society, London (2007) pp. 232,236).
13. Stopes, Marie C. (1914). Fern Ledges Carboniferous Flora of St. John, New Brunswick. Department of Mines, Geological Survey; Geological Series 38, Memoir 41. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.
14. Chalone, W.G. (2005). "The palaeobotanical work of Marie Stopes". Geological Society of London, Special Publications. 241 (1): 127–135. Bibcode:2005GSLSP.241..127C. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2003.207.01.10.
15. Greer, Germaine (1984). Sex and Destiny. Secker and Warburg. p. 306.
16. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 102–103.
17. Burke, Lucy, "In Pursuit of an Erogamic Life" in Ardis, Ann L., and Leslie W. Lewis, eds. (2003). Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p.254.
18. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 140–141.
19. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 148.
20. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 125–126.
21. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 173.
22. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 127–129.
23. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 132.
24. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 174.
25. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 160.
26. Stopes, Marie Carmichael (1922). A New Gospel to All Peoples. Arthur L. Humphreys.
27. Garrett, William (2007). Marie Stopes: Feminist, Eroticist, Eugenicist. San Francisco: Kenon. p. xvii–xix.
28. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 162–164.
29. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 140.
30. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 143.
31. Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 135. "In the two eventful years since they had met and married, Marie and Humphrey had discussed birth control, and looked for a way to work in that field. Tired of delays and timidity of other birth controllers, the couple decided to open their own clinic, and by 1920 they had begun to look for suitable premises, both passionately involved."
32. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 185–186.
33. Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 153.
34. Box, M. (Ed.). (1967). The Trial of Marie Stopes. London: Femina Books Ltd. Page 76.
35. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 186.
36. Marie Stopes (1925). The First Five Thousand. London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson. p. 9.
37. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 145.
38. ... ugenicist/ viewed 3 November 2018.
39. Stopes, Maire (2013). Wise Parenthood a Sequel to Married Love a Book for Married People. London: Forgotten Books.
40. James, Peter (1994). Ancient Inventions. New York: Ballantine Books.
41. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 168–169.
42. Wyndham, Diana (2012). Norman Haire and the Study of Sex. Sydney: Sydney University Press. pp. 99–100.
43. Box, M. (Ed.). (1967). The Trial of Marie Stopes. London: Femina Books Ltd. Page 94.
44. Cohen, Deborah A. (1993). "Private Lives in Public Spaces: Marie Stopes, the Mothers' Clinics and the Practice of Contraception". History Workshop. 35: 95–116. doi:10.1093/hwj/35.1.95.
45. "Where we work". Marie Stopes International. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
46. Halliday Sutherland, Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine against the Neo-Malthusians New York, PJ Kennedy and Sons, 1922.
47. Carey, Jane (2012). "The Racial Imperatives of Sex: Birth Control and Eugenics in Britain, the United States and Australia in the Interwar Years". Women's History Review. Monash University. 21 (5): 733–752. doi:10.1080/09612025.2012.658180.
48. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 158.
49. Box, Muriel, ed. (1968). The Trial of Marie Stopes. Femina Books. pp. 379–386.
50. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 172–173.
51. Westminster Gazette, July 28th 1923, "Work of the Mothers' Clinic: Appeal for a £10,000 Fund."
52. Box, Muriel, ed. (1968). The Trial of Marie Stopes. Femina Books. pp. 387–389.
53. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 174–175.
54. Kalsem, Kristin Brandser (2004). "Law, Literature and Libel: Victorian Censorship of "Dirty Filthy" Books on Birth Control'"(PDF). William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law. 10: 566.
55. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 5.
56. Sullivan, Esther Beth, "Vectia, Man-Made Censorship, and the Drama of Marie Stopes" in Theatre Survey, 46:1 (May 2005), p.93.
57. Briant, Keith (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 210.
58. Mark Bostridge (2 August 2009). "Muriel Spark: The Biography by Martin Stannard". The Guardian.
59. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 180–181.
60. Stopes, Marie (1926). A Banned Play and a Preface on Censorship. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. p. 6.
61. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 76.
62. Stopes, Marie (1939). Our Ostriches, 3rd ed. London: Putnam.
63. J.P. Weaving (1984). The London Stage, A Calendar of Plays, vol II: 1925-29. New Jersy and London: Metuchen. pp. 679–80.
64. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. [1].
65. Stopes, Marie Carmichael. British Library, Ad.MS 58505.
66. Brand, Pauline. "Birth Control Nursing in the Marie Stopes Mothers' Clinics 1921–1931". De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
67. Marie Stopes (1925). The First Five Thousand. London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson. pp. 16–17.
68. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 239.
69. Brand, Pauline. "Birth Control Nursing in the Marie Stopes Mothers' Clinics 1921–1931". De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
70. Hall, Leslie A. (1997). Peel, Robert A. (ed.). Marie Stopes Eugenics and The English Birth Control Movement. The Galton Institute. p. 41. ISBN 0950406627.
71. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 232 (footnote). ISBN 0-15-171288-3.
72. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 134.
73. Soloway, Richard (1997). Marie Stopes Eugenics and the English Birth Control Movement. London: The Galton Institute. p. 54. ISBN 0950406627.
74. Searle, G.R. (1976). Eugenics and Politics in Britain 1900–1914. The Netherlands: Leyden Noordhoff International Publishing. p. 102. ISBN 9028602364.
75. Debenham, Clare (2018). Marie Stopes' Sexual Revolution and the Birth Control Movement. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 121–132.
76. Archive letter to Cora Hudson 24 March 1934 (British Library, London, Marie C. Stopes’ Papers’)
77. ... the-c-b-c/
78. Maude, Aylmer (1924). The Authorized Life of Marie C Stopes. London: Williams & Norgate Ltd. pp. 222–226.
79. Problems of Population and Parenthood: The Second Report of the National Birth Rate Commission 1918-20. Chapman and Hall. 1920. p. 133.
80. Stopes, Marie C. (1921). Radiant Motherhood: A Book for Those Who are Creating the Future. G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 230 & 233.
81. Stopes, Marie (1920). Radiant Motherhood. G.P. Putnam's Sons Ltd. p. 226.
82. Stopes, Marie C. (1921). Radiant Motherhood: A Book for Those Who are Creating the Future. G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 228–229.
83. Stopes, Marie C. (1921). Radiant Motherhood: A Book for Those Who are Creating the Future. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 233.
84. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 138.
85. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 161.
86. British Library, London. Marie C. Stopes' Papers.
87. Paul, Diane (1995). Controlling Human Heredity. Humanity Books. pp. 84–91.
88. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 244.
89. Hall, Ruth (1995). Passionate Crusader: The Life of Marie Stopes. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 182. ISBN 0-15-171288-3.
90. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 93–94.
91. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 101.
92. Morpurgo, JE (1972). Barnes Wallis, a Biography. London: Longman Group Ltd. (Page number?)
93. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 234.
94. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 234–235.
95. In Rose's words, Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 236.
96. Peter Pugh (2005) Barnes Wallis Dambuster. Thriplow: Icon ISBN 1-84046-685-5; p. 178
97. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 303.
98. Falcon-Lang, H.J. (July–August 2008). "Marie Stopes: passionate about palaeobotany". Geology Today. 24 (4): 136. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2451.2008.00675.x.
99. "Marie Stopes Pictures, Portland, Dorset". Steps in Time—Images Project (SITIP) archive. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007.
100. "Portland Museum". About Britain.
101. Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 244.
102. Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 325.
103. "STOPES, Marie (1880–1958)". English Heritage. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
104. "Review of Plays of Old Japan: the Nō by Marie C. Stopes, together with translations of the dramas by M. C. Stopes and Prof. Jōji Sakurai, with a preface by Baron Kato". The Athenaeum (4479): 197–198. 30 August 1913.
105. IPNI. Stopes.


• "Dr. Marie Stopes". The Medico-legal Journal. 26 (2): 70–71. 1958. doi:10.1177/002581725802600205. PMID 13622045.
• Taylor, L. (October 1971). "The unfinished sexual revolution (Marie Stopes)". Journal of Biosocial Science. 3 (4): 473–492. doi:10.1017/S0021932000008233. PMID 4942965.
• Simms, M. (October 1975). "Marie Stopes Memorial Lecture 1975. The compulsory pregnancy lobby—then and now". The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. 25 (159): 709–719. PMC 2157852. PMID 1104826.
• Hall, L. A. (June 1983). "The Stopes collection in the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine". The Society for the Social History of Medicine Bulletin. 32: 50–51. PMID 11611236.
• Hall, L. A. (1985). ""Somehow very distasteful": doctors, men and sexual problems between the wars". Journal of Contemporary History. 20 (4): 553–574. doi:10.1177/002200948502000404. PMID 11617291.
• Bacchi, C. (1988). "Feminism and the "eroticization" of the middle-class woman: the intersection of class and gender attitudes". Women's Studies International Forum. 11 (1): 43–53. doi:10.1016/0277-5395(88)90006-4. PMID 11618316.
• Davey, C. (1988). "Birth control in Britain during the interwar years: evidence from the Stopes correspondence". Journal of Family History. 13 (3): 329–345. doi:10.1177/036319908801300120. PMID 11621671.
• Fairley, A. (May 1990). "The birth of birth control". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 142 (9): 993–995. PMC 1451747. PMID 2183921.
• Jones, G. (August 1992). "Marie Stopes in Ireland—the Mother's Clinic in Belfast, 1936–47". Social History of Medicine. 5 (2): 255–277. doi:10.1093/shm/5.2.255. PMID 11623088.
• Geppert, A. C. T. (January 1998). "Divine sex, happy marriage, regenerated nation: Marie Stopes's marital manual Married Loveand the making of a best-seller, 1918–1955". Journal of the History of Sexuality. 8 (3): 389–433. PMID 11620019.
• Fisher, Kate (2002). "Contrasting cultures of contraception: birth control clinics and the working-classes in Britain between the wars". Clio Medica. 66: 141–157. PMID 12028675.
• Sakula, Alex (August 2003). "Plaques on London houses of medico-historical interest; Marie Stopes (1880–1958)". Journal of Medical Biography. 11 (3): 141. doi:10.1177/096777200301100306. PMID 12870036.
• Aylmer Maude (1924). The Authorized Life of Marie C. Stopes. London: Williams & Norgate.
Aylmer Maude (1933). Marie Stopes: Her Work and Play. London: John Bale & Sons and Danielsson.
• Keith Briant (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
• Ruth Hall (1978). Marie Stopes: a biography. London: Virago, Ltd. ISBN 0-86068-092-4.
• June Rose (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-16970-8.

External links

• Works by Marie Stopes at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Marie Stopes at Internet Archive
• Works by Marie Stopes at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• "Archival material relating to Marie Stopes". UK National Archives.
• "Situating Stopes", by Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library, London
• Pictures of Marie Stopes and Thomas Hardy at her Portland home
• Marie Stopes International
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Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 7:38 am

John Maynard Keynes
by Colette Leung and Erna Kurbegovic
Eugenics Archive
Accessed: 5/20/20

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was a renown British economist and active proponent of eugenics, serving as Director of the British Eugenics Society (1937-1944).

Keynes is primarily remembered for his contributions to the study of modern economy. His book, General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) laid the groundwork for theories of "macroeconomics" (Leach, 2008), which were used by the United States President Franklin D Roosevelt in the Depression, to help the economy (Leach, 2008). The principle suggested that government bodies should keep economies afloat in times of difficulty by spending money, even if the government had none (Leach, 2008).

Keynes, however, was also a eugenicist. At the University of Cambridge, he served as treasurer of the University of Cambridge Eugenics Society upon its creation (di Mambro, 2003). Later, he also served as the director of the Eugenics Society of London (1937-1944), and gave a lecture entitled "Some Consequences of a Declining Population" (1937), that year's Galton Lecture (di Mambro, 2003). Even after World War II, Keynes did not renounce his views, but instead asserted that eugenics was "the most important and significant branch of sociology" (Keynes, 1946, as cited in Brignell, 2010, para. 19).

CITE THIS DOCUMENT (APA): Kurbegovic, C. (2013, September 14). Keynes, John Maynard. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from ... 00000000dc


Brignell, V. (2010, December 9). The eugenics movement Britain wants to forget. New Statesman. Retrieved from ... s-disabled

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J. B. S. Haldane
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Accessed: 5/20/20

J. B. S. Haldane, FRS
Haldane in 1914
Born: 5 November 1892, Oxford, England
Died: 1 December 1964 (aged 72), Bhubaneswar, India
Citizenship: British (until 1961) Indian
Education: Eton College
Alma mater: University of Oxford
Known for: Oparin–Haldane hypothesis; Malaria resistance; Population genetics; Enzymology; Neo-Darwinism; Haldane's rule; Haldane's principle; Haldane's dilemma; Primordial soup; Heterotrophic theory; Fitness; Kin selection; Selection shadow
Spouse(s): Charlotte Franken (m. 1926; div. 1945); Helen Spurway (m. 1945⁠–⁠1964)
Awards: Darwin–Wallace Medal (1958); Darwin Medal (1952)
Scientific career
Fields: Biology Biostatistics
Institutions: University of Cambridge; University of California, Berkeley; University College London; Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta
Academic advisors: Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Doctoral students: Helen Spurway; Krishna Dronamraju; John Maynard Smith

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane FRS (/ˈhɔːldeɪn/; 5 November 1892 – 1 December 1964[1][2]), nicknamed "Jack" or "JBS",[3] was a British-Indian scientist known for his work in the study of physiology, genetics, evolutionary biology, and mathematics. He made innovative contributions to the fields of statistics and biostatistics.

His article on abiogenesis in 1929 introduced the "primordial soup theory", and it became the foundation to build physical models for the chemical origin of life.[4] Haldane established human gene maps for haemophilia and colour blindness on the X chromosome, and codified Haldane's rule on sterility in the heterogametic sex of hybrids in species.[5][6] He correctly proposed that sickle-cell disease confers some immunity to malaria. He was the first to suggest the central idea of in vitro fertilisation, as well as concepts such as hydrogen economy, cis and trans-acting regulation, coupling reaction, molecular repulsion, the darwin (as a unit of evolution) and organismal cloning. In 1957 he articulated Haldane's dilemma, a limit on the speed of beneficial evolution which subsequently proved incorrect. He willed his body for medical studies, as he wanted to remain useful even in death.[7] He is also remembered for coining the words "clone" and "cloning" in human biology, and "ectogenesis".

Haldane's first paper in 1915 demonstrated genetic linkage in mammals. Subsequent works established a unification of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian evolution by natural selection whilst laying the groundwork for modern evolutionary synthesis and thus helped to create population genetics.

Haldane was a professed socialist, Marxist, atheist and humanist whose political dissent led him to leave England in 1956 and live in India, becoming a naturalised Indian citizen in 1961.

Arthur C. Clarke credited him as "perhaps the most brilliant science populariser of his generation".[8][9] Nobel laureate Peter Medawar called Haldane "the cleverest man I ever knew".[10] According to Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Haldane was always recognized as a singular case"; and to Michael J. D. White, "the most erudite biologist of his generation, and perhaps of the century."[11]


His father John Scott Haldane c. 1910

Early life and education

Haldane was born in Oxford to John Scott Haldane, a physiologist, scientist, a philosopher and a Liberal, and Louisa Kathleen Trotter, a Conservative. His younger sister, Naomi Mitchison, became a writer, and his uncle was Viscount Haldane and his aunt the author Elizabeth Haldane. Descended from an aristocratic and secular family[12] of the Clan Haldane, he would later claim that his Y chromosome could be traced back to Robert the Bruce.[13]

Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce (Medieval Gaelic: Roibert a Briuis; modern Scottish Gaelic: Raibeart Brus; Norman French: Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys; Early Scots: Robert Brus; Latin: Robertus Brussius), was King of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero.

-- Robert the Bruce, by Wikipedia

He grew up at 11 Crick Road, North Oxford.[14] He learnt to read at the age of three, and at four, after injuring his forehead he asked the doctor, "Is this oxyhaemoglobin or carboxyhaemoglobin?". From age eight he worked with his father in their home laboratory where he experienced his first self-experimentation, the method he would later be famous for. He and his father became their own "human guinea pigs", such as in their investigation on the effects of poison gases. In 1899 his family moved to "Cherwell", a late Victorian house at the outskirts of Oxford with its own private laboratory.

His formal education began in 1897 at Oxford Preparatory School (now Dragon School), where he gained a First Scholarship in 1904 to Eton. In 1905 he joined Eton, where he experienced severe abuse from senior students for allegedly being arrogant. The indifference of authority left him with a lasting hatred for the English education system. However, the ordeal did not stop him from becoming Captain of the school. He studied mathematics and classics at New College at the University of Oxford and obtained first-class honours in mathematical moderations in 1912 and first-class honours in Greats in 1914. He became engrossed in genetics and presented a paper on gene linkage in vertebrates in the summer of 1912. His first technical paper, a 30-page long article on haemoglobin function, was published that same year, as a co-author alongside his father.[15]


His education was interrupted by the First World War during which he fought in the British Army, being commissioned a temporary second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) on 15 August 1914.[16] He was promoted to temporary lieutenant on 18 February 1915 and to temporary captain on 18 October.[17][18] He served in France and Iraq, where he was wounded. He relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920, retaining his rank of captain.[19] For his ferocity and aggressiveness in battles, his commander called him the "bravest and dirtiest officer in my Army."[20]

Between 1919 and 1922 he was a Fellow of New College, Oxford,[21] where he researched physiology and genetics. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, where he accepted a readership in Biochemistry and taught until 1932.[12] From 1927 until 1937 he was also Head of Genetical Research at the John Innes Horticultural Institution.[22] During his nine years at Cambridge, Haldane worked on enzymes and genetics, particularly the mathematical side of genetics.[12] He was the Fullerian Professor of Physiology at the Royal Institution from 1930 to 1932 and in 1933 he became full Professor of Genetics at University College London, where he spent most of his academic career.[23] Four years later he became the first Weldon Professor of Biometry at University College London.[12]

In 1924, Haldane met Charlotte Franken. So that they could marry, Charlotte divorced her husband, Jack Burghes, causing some controversy. Haldane was almost dismissed from Cambridge for the way he handled his meeting with her. They married in 1926. Following their separation in 1942, the Haldanes divorced in 1945. Later that year he married Helen Spurway.[24]

Haldane, inspired by his father, would expose himself to danger to obtain data. To test the effects of acidification of the blood he drank dilute hydrochloric acid, enclosed himself in an airtight room containing 7% carbon dioxide, and found that it 'gives one a rather violent headache'. One experiment to study elevated levels of oxygen saturation triggered a fit which resulted in him suffering crushed vertebrae.[25] In his decompression chamber experiments, he and his volunteers suffered perforated eardrums. But, as Haldane stated in What is Life,[26] "the drum generally heals up; and if a hole remains in it, although one is somewhat deaf, one can blow tobacco smoke out of the ear in question, which is a social accomplishment."[27]

In India

Marcello Siniscalco (standing) and Haldane in Andhra Pradesh, India, 1964

J. B. S. Haldane Avenue in Kolkata, the busy connecting road from Eastern Metropolitan Bypass to Park Circus area containing Science City

In 1956, Haldane left University College London, and joined the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata, India,[28] where he headed the biometry unit. Officially he stated that he left the UK because of the Suez Crisis, writing: "Finally, I am going to India because I consider that recent acts of the British Government have been violations of international law." He believed that the warm climate would do him good, and that India shared his socialist dreams.[29] The university had sacked his wife Helen for excessive drinking and refusing to pay a fine, triggering Haldane's resignation. He declared he would no longer wear socks, "Sixty years in socks is enough."[30] and always dressed in Indian attire.[9]

He was keenly interested in inexpensive research. He wrote to Julian Huxley about his observations on Vanellus malabaricus, the yellow-wattled lapwing. He advocated the use of Vigna sinensis (cowpea) as a model for studying plant genetics. He took an interest in the pollination of Lantana camara. He lamented that Indian universities forced those who took up biology to drop mathematics.[31] Haldane took an interest in the study of floral symmetry. In January 1961 he befriended Gary Botting, 1960 U.S. Science Fair winner in zoology (who had first visited the Haldanes along with Susan Brown, 1960 U.S. National Science Fair winner in botany), inviting him to share the results of his experiments hybridising Antheraea silk moths. J.B.S., his wife Helen Spurway, and Krishna Dronamraju were present at the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata when Brown reminded the Haldanes that she and Botting had a previously scheduled event that would prevent them from accepting an invitation to a banquet proposed by J.B.S. and Helen in their honour and had regretfully declined the honour. After the two students had left the hotel, Haldane went on his much-publicized hunger strike to protest what he regarded as a "U.S. insult."[32][33] When the director of the ISI, P. C. Mahalanobis, confronted Haldane about both the hunger strike and the unbudgeted banquet, Haldane resigned from his post (in February 1961), and moved to a newly established biometry unit in Odisha.[29]

Haldane took Indian citizenship;[28] he was interested in Hinduism and became a vegetarian.[29] In 1961, Haldane described India as "the closest approximation to the Free World." Jerzy Neyman objected that "India has its fair share of scoundrels and a tremendous amount of poor unthinking and disgustingly subservient individuals who are not attractive."[28] Haldane retorted:

Perhaps one is freer to be a scoundrel in India than elsewhere. So one was in the U.S.A in the days of people like Jay Gould, when (in my opinion) there was more internal freedom in the U.S.A than there is today. The "disgusting subservience" of the others has its limits. The people of Calcutta riot, upset trams, and refuse to obey police regulations, in a manner which would have delighted Jefferson. I don't think their activities are very efficient, but that is not the question at issue.

When on 25 June 1962 he was described in print as a "Citizen of the World" by Groff Conklin, Haldane's response was as follows:[28]

No doubt I am in some sense a citizen of the world. But I believe with Thomas Jefferson that one of the chief duties of a citizen is to be a nuisance to the government of his state. As there is no world state, I cannot do this. On the other hand, I can be, and am, a nuisance to the government of India, which has the merit of permitting a good deal of criticism, though it reacts to it rather slowly. I also happen to be proud of being a citizen of India, which is a lot more diverse than Europe, let alone the U.S.A, the U.S.S.R or China, and thus a better model for a possible world organisation. It may of course break up, but it is a wonderful experiment. So, I want to be labeled as a citizen of India.


Shortly before his death from cancer, Haldane wrote a comic poem while in the hospital, mocking his own incurable disease. It was read by his friends, who appreciated the consistent irreverence with which Haldane had lived his life. The poem first appeared in print in 21 February 1964 issue of the New Statesman, and runs:[34][35]

Cancer's a Funny Thing:
I wish I had the voice of Homer
To sing of rectal carcinoma,
This kills a lot more chaps, in fact,
Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked ...

The poem ends:

... I know that cancer often kills,
But so do cars and sleeping pills;
And it can hurt one till one sweats,
So can bad teeth and unpaid debts.
A spot of laughter, I am sure,
Often accelerates one's cure;
So let us patients do our bit
To help the surgeons make us fit.

Haldane died on 1 December 1964 in Bhubaneswar. He willed that his body be used for medical research and teaching [36] at the Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada.[37]

My body has been used for both purposes during my lifetime and after my death, whether I continue to exist or not, I shall have no further use for it, and desire that it shall be used by others. Its refrigeration, if this is possible, should be a first charge on my estate.[38]

Academic achievements

Following his father's footsteps, Haldane's first publication was on the mechanism of gaseous exchange by haemoglobin.[15] and subsequently worked on the chemical properties of blood as a pH buffer.[39][40] He investigated several aspects of kidney functions and mechanism of excretion.[41][42]

Enzyme kinetics

In 1925, with G. E. Briggs, Haldane derived a new interpretation of the enzyme kinetics law described by Victor Henri in 1903, different from the 1913 Michaelis–Menten equation. Leonor Michaelis and Maud Menten assumed that enzyme (catalyst) and substrate (reactant) are in fast equilibrium with their complex, which then dissociates to yield product and free enzyme. The Briggs–Haldane equation was of the same algebraic form; but their derivation is based on the quasi-steady state approximation, which is the concentration of intermediate complex (or complexes) does not change. As a result, the microscopic meaning of the "Michaelis Constant" (Km) is different. Although commonly referring to it as Michaelis–Menten kinetics, most of the current models typically use the Briggs–Haldane derivation.[43][44]

Genetic linkage

With his sister Naomi Mitchison, Haldane started investigating Mendelian genetics in 1908, used guinea pigs and mice, publishing Reduplication in mice in 1915[45] the first demonstration of genetic linkage in mammals, showing that certain genetic traits tend to be inherited together (as was later discovered, because of their proximity on chromosomes).[3] As the paper was written during Haldane's service in the First World War, James F. Crow called it "the most important science article ever written in a front-line trench".[46] He was the first to demonstrate linkage in chickens in 1921,[47] and (with Julia Bell) in humans in 1937.[48]

Haldane's principle

In his essay On Being the Right Size he outlines Haldane's principle, which states that the size very often defines what bodily equipment an animal must have: "Insects, being so small, do not have oxygen-carrying bloodstreams. What little oxygen their cells require can be absorbed by simple diffusion of air through their bodies. But being larger means an animal must have complicated oxygen pumping and distributing systems to reach all the cells." The conceptual metaphor to animal allometry has been of use in energy economics and secession ideas.[49][50]

Origin of life

Further information: Prebiotic soup

Haldane introduced the modern concept of abiogenesis in an eight-page article titled The origin of life, in the Rationalist Annual in 1929,[51] describing the primitive ocean as a "vast chemical laboratory" containing a mixture of inorganic compounds – like a "hot dilute soup" in which organic compounds could have formed. Under the solar energy the anoxic atmosphere containing carbon dioxide, ammonia and water vapour gave rise to a variety of organic compounds, "living or half-living things". The first molecules reacted with one another to produce more complex compounds, and ultimately the cellular components. At some point a kind of "oily film" was produced that enclosed self-replicating nucleic acids, thereby becoming the first cell. J. D. Bernal named the hypothesis biopoiesis or biopoesis, the process of living matter spontaneously evolving from self-replicating but lifeless molecules. Haldane further hypothesised that viruses were the intermediate entities between the prebiotic soup and the first cells. He asserted that prebiotic life would have been "in the virus stage for many millions of years before a suitable assemblage of elementary units was brought together in the first cell."[51] The idea was generally dismissed as "wild speculation".[52] Alexander Oparin had suggested a similar idea in Russian in 1924 (published in English in 1936). The gained some empirical support in 1953 with the classic Miller–Urey experiment. Since then, the primordial soup theory (Oparin–Haldane hypothesis) has become prevalent in the study of abiogenesis.[53][54][55]

Malaria and Sickle-Cell Anemia

In 1949, Haldane proposed that genetic disorders in humans living in malaria-endemic regions provided a phenotype with immunity to blood-borne haemophiles. He noted that mutations expressed in red blood cells, such as sickle-cell anemia and various thalassemias, were prevalent only in tropical regions where malaria has been endemic. He further observed that these were favourable traits for natural selection which protected individuals from receiving malarial infection.[56] This idea was eventually confirmed by Anthony C. Allison in 1954.[57][58]

Population genetics

Further information: Modern synthesis (20th century)

He was one of the three major figures to develop the mathematical theory of population genetics, along with Ronald Fisher and Sewall Wright. He thus played an important role in the modern evolutionary synthesis of the early 20th century. He re-established natural selection as the central mechanism of evolution by explaining it as a mathematical consequence of Mendelian inheritance.[59][60] He wrote a series of ten papers, A Mathematical Theory of Natural and Artificial Selection, deriving expressions for the direction and rate of change of gene frequencies, and also analyzing the interaction of natural selection with mutation and migration. Haldane's book, The Causes of Evolution (1932), summarised these results, especially in its extensive appendix.

His contributions to statistical human genetics included: the first methods using maximum likelihood for the estimation of human linkage maps; pioneering methods for estimating human mutation rates; the first estimates of mutation rate in humans (2 × 10−5 mutations per gene per generation for the X-linked haemophilia gene); and the first notion that there is a "cost of natural selection".[61] At the John Innes Horticultural Institution, he developed the complicated linkage theory for polyploids;[22] and extended the idea of gene/enzyme relationships with the biochemical and genetic study of plant pigments.

Political views

A Low cartoon featuring Haldane – "Prophesies for 1949"

Lysenko speaking at the Kremlin in 1935. Behind him are (left to right) Stanislav Kosior, Anastas Mikoyan, Andrei Andreev and Joseph Stalin.

Haldane became a socialist during the First World War; supported the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War; and then became an open supporter of the Communist Party in 1937. A pragmatic dialectical-materialist Marxist, he wrote many articles for the Daily Worker. In On Being the Right Size, he wrote: "while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge."

Haldane has been accused by authors including Peter Wright and Chapman Pincher to have been a Soviet GRU spy codenamed Intelligentsia.[62][63]

Main Intelligence Directorate (Russian: Гла́вное разве́дывательное управле́ние, tr. Glavnoye razvedyvatel'noye upravleniye, IPA: [ˈglavnəjə rɐzˈvʲɛdɨvətʲɪlʲnəjə ʊprɐˈvlʲenʲɪjə]), abbreviated GRU (Russian: ГРУ, IPA: [geeˈru]), was the foreign military intelligence agency of the Soviet Army General Staff of the Soviet Union until 1991 and for a brief few months the foreign military intelligence agency of the newly established Russian Federation until it was deactivated on 7 May 1992 and replaced with the G.U. on the same day.

-- Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), by Wikipedia

In 1938, he proclaimed enthusiastically that "I think that Marxism is true." He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1942. He was pressed to speak out about the rise of Lysenkoism and the persecution of geneticists in the Soviet Union as anti-Darwinist and the political suppression of genetics as incompatible with dialectical materialism. He shifted his polemic focus to the United Kingdom, criticizing the dependence of scientific research on financial patronage. In 1941 he wrote about the Soviet trial of his friend and fellow geneticist Nikolai Vavilov:

The controversy among Soviet geneticists has been largely one between the academic scientist, represented by Vavilov and interested primarily in the collection of facts, and the man who wants results, represented by Lysenko. It has been conducted not with venom, but in a friendly spirit. Lysenko said (in the October discussions of 1939): 'The important thing is not to dispute; let us work in a friendly manner on a plan elaborated scientifically. Let us take up definite problems, receive assignments from the People's Commissariat of Agriculture of the USSR and fulfil them scientifically. Soviet genetics, as a whole, is a successful attempt at synthesis of these two contrasted points of view.'

By the end of the Second World War Haldane had become an explicit critic of the regime. He left the party in 1950, shortly after considering standing for Parliament as a Communist Party candidate. He continued to admire Joseph Stalin, describing him in 1962 as "a very great man who did a very good job".[20]

Social and scientific views

Human cloning

Haldane was the first to have thought of the genetic basis for human cloning, and the eventual artificial breeding of superior individuals. For this he introduced the terms "clone" and "cloning",[64] modifying the earlier "clon" which had been used in agriculture since the early 20th century (from Greek klōn, twig). He introduced the term in his speech on "Biological Possibilities for the Human Species of the Next Ten Thousand Years" at the Ciba Foundation Symposium on Man and his Future in 1963. He said:[65]

It is extremely hopeful that some human cell lines can be grown on a medium of precisely known chemical composition. Perhaps the first step will be the production of a clone from a single fertilized egg, as in Brave New World...

On the general principle that men will make all possible mistakes before choosing the right path, we shall no doubt clone the wrong people [like Hitler]...

Assuming that cloning is possible, I expect that most clones would be made from people aged at least fifty, except for athletes

and dancers, who would be cloned younger. They would be made from people who were held to have excelled in a socially acceptable accomplishment.

Ectogenesis and in vitro fertilisation

His essay Daedalus; or, Science and the Future (1924) introduced the term ectogenesis for the concept of what is later known as in vitro fertilisation (test tube babies). He envisioned ectogenesis as a tool for creating better individuals (eugenics).[66] Haldane's work was an influence on Huxley's Brave New World (1932) and was also admired by Gerald Heard.[67] Various essays on science were collected and published in a volume titled Possible Worlds in 1927. His book, A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions) (1938) combined his physiological research into the effects of stress upon the human body with his experience of air raids during the Spanish Civil War to provide a scientific account of the likely effects of the air raids that Britain was to endure during the Second World War.

Criticism of C.S. Lewis

Along with Olaf Stapledon, Charles Kay Ogden, I. A. Richards, and H. G. Wells, Haldane was accused by C. S. Lewis of scientism. Haldane criticised Lewis and his Ransom Trilogy for the "complete mischaracterisation of science, and his disparagement of the human race".[68] He wrote a book for children titled My Friend Mr Leakey (1937), containing the stories "A Meal With a Magician", "A Day in the Life of a Magician", "Mr Leakey's Party", "Rats", "The Snake with the Golden Teeth", and "My Magic Collar Stud"; later editions featured illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Hydrogen-generating windmills

In 1923, in a talk given in Cambridge titled "Science and the Future", Haldane, foreseeing the exhaustion of coal for power generation in Britain, proposed a network of hydrogen-generating windmills. This is the first proposal of the hydrogen-based renewable energy economy.[69][70][71]


In his An Autobiography in Brief, published shortly before his death in India, Haldane named four close associates as showing promise to become illustrious scientists: T. A. Davis, Dronamraju Krishna Rao, Suresh Jayakar and S. K. Roy.[72]

Awards and honours

Haldane was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1932.[23] The French Government conferred him its National Order of the Legion of Honour in 1937. In 1952, he received the Darwin Medal from the Royal Society. In 1956, he was awarded the Huxley Memorial Medal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. He received the Feltrinelli Prize from Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 1961. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Science, an Honorary Fellowship at New College, and the Kimber Award of the US National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Linnean Society of London's prestigious Darwin–Wallace Medal in 1958.[37]


The Haldane Lecture at the John Innes Centre,[73] where Haldane worked from 1927 to 1937 is named in his honour.[74] The JBS Haldane Lecture[75] of The Genetics Society is also named in his honour.

Haldane was parodied as "the biologist too absorbed in his experiments to notice his friends bedding his wife" by his friend Aldous Huxley in the novel Antic Hay (1923). Biography on him was published as A Dominant Character in 2019.


Oxford University Museum of Natural History display dedicated to Haldane and his reply when asked to comment on the mind of the Creator.

• He is famous for the (possibly apocryphal) response that he gave when some theologians asked him what could be inferred about the mind of the Creator from the works of His Creation: "An inordinate fondness for beetles."[76][77] This is in reference to there being over 400,000 known species of beetles in the world, and that this represents 40% of all known insect species (at the time of the statement, it was over half of all known insect species).[78]
• He was often quoted as saying, "My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."[79]
• "It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."[79]:209
• "Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he's unwilling to be seen with her in public."[80][81]
• "I had gastritis for about fifteen years until I read Lenin and other writers, who showed me what was wrong with our society and how to cure it. Since then I have needed no magnesia."[82]
• "I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: (i) This is worthless nonsense; (ii) This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; (iii) This is true, but quite unimportant; (iv) I always said so."[83]
• "Three hundred and ten species in all of India, representing two hundred and thirty-eight genera, sixty-two families, nineteen different orders. All of them on the Ark. And this is only India, and only the birds."[84]
• "The stupidity of the mynah shows that in birds, as in men, linguistic and practical abilities are not very highly correlated. A student who can repeat a page of a text book may get first class honours, but may be incapable of doing research."[85]
• When asked whether he would lay down his life for his brother, Haldane, presaging Hamilton's rule, supposedly replied "two brothers or eight cousins".[86]


• Daedalus; or, Science and the Future (1924), E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc., a paper read to the Heretics, Cambridge, on 4 February 1923
o second edition (1928), London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.
o see also Haldane's Daedalus Revisited (1995), ed. with an introd. by Krishna R. Dronamraju, Foreword by Joshua Lederberg; with essays by M. F. Perutz, Freeman Dyson, Yaron Ezrahi, Ernst Mayr, Elof Axel Carlson, D. J. Weatherall, N. A. Mitchison and the editor. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854846-X
• A Mathematical Theory of Natural and Artificial Selection, a series of papers beginning in 1924
• Briggs, G. E; Haldane, J. B (1925). "A note on the kinetics of enzyme action". Biochemical Journal. 19 (2): 338–339. doi:10.1042/bj0190338. PMC 1259181. PMID 16743508. (With G.E. Briggs)
• Callinicus: A Defence of Chemical Warfare (1925), E. P. Dutton
• Possible Worlds and Other Essays (1927), Chatto & Windus; 2001 reprint, Transaction Publishers: ISBN 0-7658-0715-7 (includes "On Being the Right Size" and "On Being One's Own Rabbit")
• On Being the Right Size (1929)
• "The origin of life" in the Rationalist Annual (1929)
• Animal Biology (1929) Oxford: Clarendon
• The Sciences and Philosophy (1929) NY: Doubleday, Doran and Company. By John Scott Haldane, JBS Haldane's father.
• Enzymes (1930), MIT Press 1965 edition with new preface by the author written just prior to his death: ISBN 0-262-58003-9
• Haldane, J. B (1931). "Mathematical Darwinism: A discussion of the genetical theory of natural selection". The Eugenics Review. 23 (2): 115–117. PMC 2985031. PMID 21259979.
• The Inequality of Man, and Other Essays (1932)
• The Causes of Evolution (1932)
• Science and Human Life (1933), Harper and Brothers, Ayer Co. reprint: ISBN 0-8369-2161-5
• Science and the Supernatural: Correspondence with Arnold Lunn (1935), Sheed & Ward, Inc,
• Fact and Faith (1934), Watts Thinker's Library[87]
• Human Biology and Politics (1934)
• "A Contribution to the Theory of Price Fluctuations", The Review of Economic Studies, 1:3, 186–195 (1934).
• My Friend Mr Leakey (1937), Jane Nissen Books reprint (2004): ISBN 978-1-903252-19-2
• "A Dialectical Account of Evolution" in Science & Society Volume I (1937)
• Haldane, J. B (1937). "View on race and eugenics: propaganda or science?". The Eugenics Review. 28 (4): 333–334. PMC 2985639. PMID 21260239.
• Bell, J; Haldane, J. B (1937). "The Linkage between the Genes for Colour-blindness and Haemophilia in Man". Annals of Human Genetics. 50 (1): 3–34. Bibcode:1937RSPSB.123..119B. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.1986.tb01935.x. PMID 3322165. (with Julia Bell)
• Haldane, J. B; Smith, C. A (1947). "A new estimate of the linkage between the genes for colourblindness and haemophilia in man". Annals of Eugenics. 14 (1): 10–31. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.1947.tb02374.x. PMID 18897933. (with C.A.B. Smith)
• Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) (1938), Victor Gollancz
• Heredity and Politics (1938), Allen and Unwin.
• "Reply to A.P. Lerner's Is Professor Haldane's Account of Evolution Dialectical?" in Science & Society volume 2 (1938)
• The Marxist Philosophy and the Sciences (1939), Random House, Ayer Co. reprint: ISBN 0-8369-1137-7
• Preface to Engels' Dialectics of Nature (1939)
• Science and Everyday Life (1940), Macmillan, 1941 Penguin, Ayer Co. 1975 reprint: ISBN 0-405-06595-7
• "Lysenko and Genetics" in Science & Society volume 4 (1940)
• "Why I am a Materialist" in Rationalist Annual (1940)
• "The Laws of Nature" in Rationalist Annual (1940)
• Science in Peace and War (1941), Lawrence & Wishart Ltd
• New Paths in Genetics (1941), George Allen & Unwin
• Heredity & Politics (1943), George Allen & Unwin
• Why Professional Workers should be Communists (1945), London: Communist Party (of Great Britain) In this four page pamphlet, Haldane contends that Communism should appeal to professionals because Marxism is based on the scientific method and Communists hold scientists as important; Haldane subsequently disavowed this position.
• Adventures of a Biologist (1947)
• Science Advances (1947), Macmillan
• What is Life? (1947), Boni and Gaer, 1949 edition: Lindsay Drummond
• Everything Has a History (1951), Allen & Unwin—Includes "Auld Hornie, F.R.S."; C.S. Lewis's "Reply to Professor Haldane" is available in "On Stories and Other Essays on Literature," ed. Walter Hooper (1982), ISBN 0-15-602768-2.
• "The Origins of Life", New Biology, 16, 12–27 (1954). Suggests that an alternative biochemistry could be based on liquid ammonia.
• The Biochemistry of Genetics (1954)
• Haldane, J. B (1955). "Origin of Man". Nature. 176 (4473): 169–170. Bibcode:1955Natur.176..169H. doi:10.1038/176169a0. PMID 13244650.
• Haldane, J. B. S (1957). "The cost of natural selection". Journal of Genetics. 55 (3): 511–524. doi:10.1007/BF02984069.
• Haldane, J. B (1956). "Natural selection in man". Acta Genetica et Statistica Medica. 6 (3): 321–332. doi:10.1159/000150849. PMID 13434715.
• Little Science, Big Science (1961)
• "Cancer's a Funny Thing", in New Statesman, 21 February 1964.

See also

• Experiments in the Revival of Organisms, a 1940 Soviet film featuring Haldane in the introduction.
• List of independent discoveries ("primordial soup" theory of the evolution of life from carbon-based molecules, c. 1924)
• Precambrian rabbit
• Timeline of hydrogen technologies
• Biography portal
• India portal
• Mathematics portal
• Science portal
• United Kingdom portal


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4. New research in this field began in 2018 in Canada, cf. ... imulator-2 .
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43. Briggs, GE; Haldane, JB (1925). "A Note on the Kinetics of Enzyme Action". The Biochemical Journal. 19 (2): 338–9. doi:10.1042/bj0190338. PMC 1259181. PMID 16743508.
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57. Allison, AC (1954). "The distribution of the sickle-cell trait in East Africa and elsewhere, and its apparent relationship to the incidence of subtertian malaria". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 48 (4): 312–8. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(54)90101-7. PMID 13187561.
58. Hedrick, Philip W (2012). "Resistance to malaria in humans: the impact of strong, recent selection". Malaria Journal. 11 (1): 349. doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-349. PMC 3502258. PMID 23088866.
59. Haldane, JB (1990). "A mathematical theory of natural and artificial selection--I. 1924". Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 52(1–2): 209–40, discussion 201–7. doi:10.1007/BF02459574. PMID 2185859.
60. Haldane, JB (1959). "The theory of natural selection today". Nature. 183 (4663): 710–3. Bibcode:1959Natur.183..710H. doi:10.1038/183710a0. PMID 13644170.
61. Haldane, J. B. S. (1935). "The rate of spontaneous mutation of a human gene". Journal of Genetics. 31 (3): 317–326. doi:10.1007/BF02982403.
62. Wright, Peter (1987). Spycatcher. Heinemann. p. 236.
63. Pincher, Chapman (2011). Treachery: Betrayals, Blunders and Cover-Ups: Six Decades of Espionage. Mainstream. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-84596-811-3. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.
64. Thomas, Isabel (2013). Should scientists pursue cloning?. London: Raintree. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4062-3391-9.
65. Haldane, J.B.S. (1963). "Biological Possibilities for the Human Species in the Next Ten Thousand Years". In Wolstenholme, Gordon (ed.). Man and his future. Novartis Foundation Symposia. London: J. & A. Churchill. pp. 337–361. doi:10.1002/9780470715291.ch22. ISBN 9780470714799. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014.
66. James, David N. (1987). "Ectogenesis: a reply to Singer and Wells". Bioethics. 1 (1): 80–99. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.1987.tb00006.x. PMID 11649763.
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Further reading

• Bryson, Bill (2003). A Short History of Nearly Everything. pp. 300–302; ISBN 0-552-99704-8
• Clark, Ronald (1968). JBS: The Life and Work of J.B.S. Haldane. Coward-McCann. ISBN 0-340-04444-6
• Crow, James F. (2000). "Centennial: J. B. S. Haldane, 1892–1964". In Crow, James F.; Dove, William F. (eds.). Perspectives on Genetics: Anecdotal, Historical, and Critical Commentaries, 1987–1998. Madison (US): University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 253–258. ISBN 978-0-299-16604-5.
• Dronamraju, Krishna R. (1968). Haldane and Modern Biology. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-8018-0177-8.
• Dronamraju, Krishna R. (1985). Haldane : the Life and Work of J.B.S. Haldane with Special Reference to India. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. ISBN 978-0-08-032436-4. Foreword by Naomi Mitchison.
• Dronamraju, Krishna (2011). Haldane, Mayr, and Beanbag Genetics. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-19-981334-6.
• Dronamraju, Krishna R. (2015). Selected Genetic Papers of J.B.S. Haldane. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-78343-0.
• Haldane, Louisa Kathleen (2009) [1961]. Friends and Kindred: Memoirs. Glasgow: Kennedy & Boyd. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-904999-99-7.
• Tredoux, Gavan (2017). Comrade Haldane is too busy to go on holiday: JBS Haldane, communism and espionage.

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Data from Wikidata
• Works by J.B.S. Haldane at Faded Page (Canada)
• Possible worlds, and other essays at Toronto Public Library
• Facsimiles of Haldane's books and some of his scientific papers, with photographs, a detailed bibliography of his publications and other materials.
• An online copy of Daedalus or Science and the Future
• A review (from a modern perspective) of The Causes of Evolution
• Unofficial SJG Archive – People – JBS Haldane (1892–1964)
• Haldane's contributions to science in India
• Marxist Writers: J.B.S. Haldane
• The biography on the Marxist Writers page has a photograph of Haldane when he was younger.
• My Friend Mr. Leakey – text – Haldane's most amusing imaginary acquaintance
• Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics: the J B S Haldane papers
• Haldane: a cantankerous and charismatic pioneer
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George Rapp [Johann Georg Rapp]
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Accessed: 5/20/20

Johann Georg Rapp
George Rapp as painted from memory by Phineas Staunton (1835)
Born: Johann Georg Rapp, November 1, 1757, Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany
Died: August 7, 1847 (aged 89), Economy, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation: Religious colonizer
Spouse(s): Christine Benzinger
Children: Johannes Rapp (1783–1812) and Rosine Rapp (1786–1849)

John George Rapp (German: Johann Georg Rapp; November 1, 1757 in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg – August 7, 1847 in Economy, Pennsylvania) was the founder of the religious sect called Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society.

Born in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany, Rapp became inspired by the philosophies of Jakob Böhme, Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. In the 1780s, George Rapp began preaching and soon started to gather a group of his own followers. His group officially split with the Lutheran Church in 1785 and was promptly banned from meeting. The persecution that Rapp and his followers experienced caused them to leave Germany and come to the United States in 1803.[1] Rapp was a Pietist, and a number of his beliefs were shared by the Anabaptists, as well as groups such as the Shakers.

Rapp's religious beliefs and philosophy were the cement that held his community together both in Germany and in America – a Christian community and commune, which in America organized as the Harmony Society. The Harmony Society built three American towns, became rich, famous, and survived for 100 years – roughly from 1805 until 1905.

George Rapp and the Harmony Society

In 1791, George Rapp said, "I am a prophet and I am called to be one" in front of the civil affairs official in Maulbronn, Germany, who promptly had him imprisoned for two days and threatened with exile if he did not cease preaching.[2][3] To the great consternation of church and state authorities, this peasant from Iptingen had become the outspoken leader of several thousand Separatists in the southern German duchy of Württemberg.[1][2][3] In 1798, Rapp and his group of followers had further distanced themselves from mainstream society. In the Lomersheimer Declaration, written in 1798, Rapp's followers refused to serve in the military or attend Lutheran schools. By 1802, the Separatists had grown in number to about 12,000 and the Württemberg government decided that they were a dangerous threat to social order.[1] Rapp was summoned to Maulbronn for an interrogation and the government confiscated Separatist books.[1] When released in 1803, Rapp told his followers to pool their assets and follow him on a journey for safety to the "land of Israel" in the United States, and soon over 800 people were living with him there.[1]

The initial move scattered the followers and reduced Rapp's original group of 12,000 to many fewer persons. In 1804, Rapp was able to secure a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and started his first commune. This first commune, 'Harmonie', (Harmony), Butler County, Pennsylvania, soon grew to a population of about 800, and was highly profitable. At Harmony, the Harmony Society was formally organized on February 15, 1805, and its members contracted to hold all property in common and to submit to spiritual and material leadership by Rapp and associates. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium.

In 1814, the society sold their first town in Pennsylvania to Mennonites for 10 times the amount originally paid for the land, and the entire commune moved out west to Indiana where their new town was also known as Harmony. Ten years after the move to Indiana the commune moved again, this time it returned to Pennsylvania and named their town 'Ökonomie', Economy. The Indiana settlement was sold to Robert Owen, at which point it was renamed New Harmony, Indiana.

George Rapp lived out his remaining days in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania, until August 7, 1847, when he died at the age of 89.

Early life and family

Church at Iptingen, Rapp's home village

Johann Georg Rapp was born on November 1, 1757, to Rosine Berger and Hans Adam Rapp (1720–71) in the village of Iptingen, 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Stuttgart in the Duchy of Württemberg. Rapp was the second child an oldest son of the family. His brother, Adam (born on March 9, 1762), and three sisters, Marie Dorothea (born October 11, 1756), Elise Dorothea (born August 7, 1760), and Maria Barbara (born October 21, 1765) later followed him to America; however, Adam died at sea.[4][5]

Rapp learned the art of wine making from his father, a farmer. After his father's death in 1771, Rapp trained as a journeyman weaver. He also developed an interest in preaching.[4] Vineyards and textiles would become a part of the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial economy in all three of the Harmonite towns that were later founded in the United States.[6]

On February 4, 1783, Rapp married Christine Benzinger of Fiolzheim. The couple had two children, a son, Johannes (December 22, 1783 – 1812), and a daughter, Rosine (February 10, 1786 – 1849).[4] Johannes, who trained as a surveyor, died at the age of twenty-nine in an industrial accident. Johannes's name is the only one listed on a stone in the Harmonist cemetery in Harmony, Pennsylvania. (The Harmonists did not mark their graves.) The marker was donated by non-Harmonists and the Society accepted it reluctantly. The specific location of Johannes's gravesite within the cemetery is unknown. Johannes's daughter, Gertrude (1808–89), later became a minor American celebrity and organized the Society's silk production at Economy, Pennsylvania.[citation needed] George Rapp later adopted Frederick Reichert (April 12, 1775 – June 24, 1834).[7]

Frederick Reichert, Rapp’s adopted son, organized the relocation of Rapp's followers from Württemberg to Pennsylvania in 1804 and supervised the immigration of other Rappites to the United States. Reichert, who became known as Frederick Rapp, was the business leader and public spokesman for the Harmony Society, drew up the town plan for its new village at New Harmony, Indiana, in 1814, and served as one of the delegates to the Indiana Territory's Constitutional Convention in 1816. Frederick Rapp also helped choose the site for the permanent seat of government of Indiana in 1820 that was later named Indianapolis and held leadership roles in several Indiana banks. After the Harmonists sold their Indiana land in 1824, he relocated with other members of the Society to Economy, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1834.[8][9]

George Rapp was tall, blue eyed, broad shouldered, with long hair and a patriarch's beard. He had a powerful voice, which matched his commanding presence.

Religious views

Map of Harmony (1833).

Rapp and his followers, the Harmonites, believed Christ would return in their lifetime. The purpose of the community was to be worthy of Christ and prepare for his return. They were nonviolent pacifists, refused to serve in the military, and tried to live by George Rapp's philosophy and literal interpretations of the New Testament. After leaving Germany and coming to the United States, they first settled in (and built) the town of Harmony, Pennsylvania in 1804, and established the Harmony Society in 1805 as a religious commune. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium. Rapp believed that the events and wars going on in the world at the time were a confirmation of his views regarding the imminent Second Coming of Christ, and he also viewed Napoleon as the Antichrist.[10] Rapp produced a book with his ideas and philosophy, Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, published in German in 1824 and in English a year later.

Virgin Sophia design on doorway in Harmony, Pennsylvania, carved by Frederick Reichert Rapp (1775-1834).

The Harmonites were Millennialists, in that they believed Jesus Christ was coming to earth in their lifetime to help usher in a thousand-year kingdom of peace on earth. This is perhaps why they believed that people should try to make themselves "pure" and "perfect", and share things with others while willingly living in communal "harmony" (Acts 4:32-37) and practicing celibacy. They believed that the old ways of life on earth were coming to an end, and that a new perfect kingdom on earth was about to be realized. They practiced socialism within their community, but traded their exotic agricultural goods, including lemons and figs grown in movable greenhouses, with others.[11]

Rapp and his group also practiced forms of Esoteric Christianity, Mysticism (Christian mysticism), and Rapp often spoke of the virgin spirit or Goddess named Sophia in his writings.[12] Rapp was very influenced by the writings of Jakob Böhme,[12] Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. Also, in Economy, Pennsylvania, there are glass bottles and literature that seems to indicate that the group was interested in (and practiced) alchemy.[12] Some other books that were found in the Harmony Society's library in Old Economy, Pennsylvania, include those by the following authors: Christoph Schütz, Gottfried Arnold, Justinus Kerner, Thomas Bromley, Jane Leade, Johann Scheible (Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses[2]), Paracelsus, and Georg von Welling (Opus Mago-Cabalisticum), among others.

The Harmonites tended to view unmarried celibate life as morally superior to marriage, based on Rapp's belief that God had originally created Adam as a dual being having male and female sexual organs.[13] According to this view, when the female portion of Adam separated to form Eve, disharmony followed, but one could attempt to regain harmony through celibacy.

Controversy and problems

George Rapp's life was not without controversy and problems. Rapp and the Harmony Society were involved in protracted legal cases: many relating to the monetary claims by former Society members who did not feel properly compensated for their time and labor, other cases concerned the ownership and sale of property Society members left in Württemberg, and legal complications from fines and payments made to avoid militia service. Rapp was called a tyrant and Society members his slaves. During elections, the Society was seen as a monolithic voting block which caused political ill feelings and generated animosity against Rapp. He was accused of killing his son Johannes – who died in an industrial accident. Rapp predicted that on September 15, 1829, the three and one half years of the Sun Woman would end and Christ would begin his reign on earth.[10]

The Woman of the Apocalypse (or Woman clothed in the Sun, γυνὴ περιβεβλημένη τὸν ἥλιον; Mulier amicta sole) is a figure described in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation (written c. AD 95).

The woman gives birth to a male child who is threatened by a dragon, identified as the Devil and Satan, who intends to devour the child as soon as he is born.[1] When the child is taken to heaven, the woman flees into the wilderness leading to a "War in Heaven" in which the angels cast out the dragon. The dragon attacks the woman, who is given wings to escape and then attacks her again with a flood of water from his mouth, which is subsequently swallowed by the earth.[2] Frustrated, the dragon initiates war on "the remnant of her seed", identified as the righteous followers of Christ.

The Woman of the Apocalypse is widely identified as the Virgin Mary [Pistis Sophia]. This interpretation is held by some commentators of the ancient Church as well as in the medieval and modern Catholic Church. This view does not negate the alternative interpretation of the Woman representing the Church, as in modern Catholic dogma, Mary is herself considered both the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Some Catholic commentaries, such as Thomas Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary (1859), allow for the interpretation of the woman as either the Church or Mary. The commentary of the New American Bible (the official Catholic Bible for America) states that "The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Genesis 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12."[3]

In Reformed theology and traditions which are averse to Marian veneration, the interpretation of the Woman represents the church.

-- Woman of the Apocalypse, by Wikipedia

Dissension grew when Rapp's predictions went unfulfilled. Perhaps his greatest error was in 1831 when he accepted Bernhard Müller, who called himself Maximilian Count de Leon, the "Lion of Judah" as the man who would unite all true Christians. In the year that followed Rapp changed his mind, but one third of the Society members separated and joined with Müller in establishing a separate community, the New Philadelphian Congregation. After Rapp's death in 1847, a number of members left the group because of disappointment and disillusionment over the fact that his prophecies regarding the return of Jesus Christ in his lifetime were not fulfilled. His last words to his followers were, "If I did not so fully believe, that the Lord has designated me to place our society before His presence in the land of Canaan, I would consider this my last".[14]

The Harmonite commune ultimately failed because the policy of celibacy prevented new members from within, and the majority of the outside world had no desire to give up so much to live in a commune. The society was formally dissolved in 1906.

See also

• Harmony Society
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony, Indiana
• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Old Economy Village
• Old Economy, Pennsylvania
• Economy, Pennsylvania


1. Robert Paul Sutton, Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities (2003) p. 38
2. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785-1847 (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1972)
3. Donald E. Pitzer, America's Communal Utopias (University of North Carolina, 1997) p.57
4. Karl J. R. Arndt (1965). George Rapp’s Harmony Society, 1785 -1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 15–17.
5. Donald E. Pitzer and Josephine M. Elliott (September 1979). "New Harmony's First Utopians, 1814-1924". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 75 (3): 227. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
6. Pitzer and Elliott, "New Harmony's First Utopians, 1814-1924,", pp. 233–34.
7. Arndt, pp. 52, 122, and 531.
8. Arndt, pp. 173, 165, 178 –79.
9. James H. Madison (2014). Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press and the Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 115–16. ISBN 978-0-253-01308-8. See also:"Frederick Rapp Papers, 1816-1827, Collection Guide" (pdf). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
10. Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization (1999) p.166
11. Rode, Silvia. "Johann Georg Rapp." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 1, edited by Marianne S. Wokeck. German Historical Institute. Last modified May 07, 2015.
12. Arthur Versluis, "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I (1999) pp. 20-47 [1]
13. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, 1847–1916 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971), p. 147.
14. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Indiana University Press, 1984) p.11


• Arndt, Karl J. R., George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.
• Arndt, Karl J. R., Harmony on the Connoquenessing 1803–1815, Worcester, Mass. Harmony Society Press, 1980.
• Duss, John S., The Harmonist: A Personal History, Harrisburg, PA, the Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943.
• Stewart, Arthur I. and Veith, Loran W., Harmony: Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of Harmony, Pennsylvania, Harmony, PA., June 1955.

Books and articles in German:

• Fritz, Eberhard: Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847) und die Separatisten in Iptingen. Mit einer Edition der relevanten Iptinger Kirchenkonventsprotokolle. Blätter für Wuerttembergische Kirchengeschichte 95/1995. S. 129-203.
• Fritz, Eberhard: Radikaler Pietismus in Württemberg. Religioese Ideale im Konflikt mit gesellschaftlichen Realitaeten. Quellen und Forschungen zur wuerttembergischen Kirchengeschichte Band 18.. Epfendorf 2003.
• Fritz, Eberhard: Separatistinnen und Separatisten in Wuerttemberg und in angrenzenden Territorien. Ein biografisches Verzeichnis. Arbeitsbücher des Vereins für Familien- und Wappenkunde. Stuttgart 2005. (Register of Separatists in Wuerttemberg, including most of Rapp's followers).
• Theodor Heuss: Der Räpple, in the same author's Schattenbeschwörung. Wunderlich, Stuttgart/Tübingen 1947; Klöpfer und Meyer, Tübingen 1999.

External links

• Daniel Heinz (1994). "Rapp, Johann Georg". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 7. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 1359–1361. ISBN 3-88309-048-4. with further reading.
• Johann Georg Rapp in the German-language in ADB volume 27 page 286 - 289 with further reading.
• "Rapp, George" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 11:39 am

Bernhard Müller [Count de Leon]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Bernhard Müller, or Count de Leon
Count de Leon
Born: March 21, 1788, Kostheim, Germany
Died: August 29, 1834 (aged 46), Grand Ecore, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States
Occupation: Religious colonizer
Spouse(s): Elisa Heuser Leon, or Countess Leon
Children: Johanna Schardt, Joseph Maximilian, and Anna Stahl Muller (or Leon)

Bernhard Müller, known as Count de Leon (born March 21, 1788,[1] Kostheim, Germany - died August 29, 1834, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana), was a German Christian mystic and alchemist of uncertain origins.


Müller wrote to the Harmony Society (and other communes in the United States as well as numerous leaders in Europe) in 1829 proclaiming himself to be the "Lion of Judah" and a prophet in possession of the Philosopher's stone. As well as giving himself numerous fictitious names and titles, like Count de Leon, Archduke Maximilian von Este, and Proli, he claimed that he and his followers were the true Philadelphians and were ready to make a home for themselves with the Harmonites in Old Economy, Pennsylvania. The Harmonites, being religious searchers looking for a hopeful sign, and eager to justify their own religious prophesies, agreed to the visit, and in 1831, Müller arrived with his entourage of forty people (including a Dr. Göntgen.) Soon, Müller and the Harmony Society's leader, George Rapp, grew tired of each other and began to argue. Sensing the dissatisfaction that some Harmonites were feeling towards the Society's custom of celibacy, Müller was able to use that to his advantage and get about a third of the Harmonites to be on his side in the ensuing argument. However, the majority of the Society decided to keep George Rapp as their leader. In the end, a settlement was reached with the dissenters, and all who wished to leave the Harmony Society during the schism were given $105,000 as a group.

In 1832, after leaving Old Economy, Pennsylvania, with about 250 former Harmony Society members, Bernhard Müller and his followers started a new community in Phillipsburg (now Monaca, Pennsylvania) with the money they obtained in the compromise with the Harmony Society. Here they established the New Philadelphian Congregation of the New Philadelphia Society, having constructed a church, a hotel, and other buildings. They renamed this community Löwenburg (Lion City). However, the Harmony Society soon made legal claims against the New Philadelphia Society. Perhaps because of ongoing litigation, and other financial problems, Müller's group decided to sell their communal land in Pennsylvania in 1833. Some community members stayed in Monaca in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, while others followed Müller and his family down the Ohio River on a flatboat. Soon they started a new colony at Grand Ecore, Louisiana, twelve miles north of Natchitoches; and there, in August, 1834, Müller died of yellow fever or cholera and was interred in Natchitoches Parish.

A number of his followers remained in Louisiana and practiced communal living for some years after that. When Müller died, a congressman successfully proposed a bill donating a tract of land to his followers, and Germantown Colony was formed.[2]

In 1835, the remaining group, led by Müller's widow, Countess Leon, moved from Grand Ecore to a place that is now called Germantown, which is located seven miles (11 km) northeast of Minden, in what was then Claiborne Parish.[3] Here, all property was owned in common and observance of religious principles was required. Though the colony was not very large, only about thirty-five people, it worked together and prospered.

The Civil War led to the end of the Germantown Colony, partially because of their disapproval of the war and the financial losses they suffered as a small pacifistic community during wartime, and because of the economic hardships of the war era in general. The colony disbanded in 1871, after nearly four decades of operating on a communal basis, and then Webster Parish was created from Claiborne Parish.[4] The Countess then moved to Hot Springs in Garland County, Arkansas, where she died in 1881.[3] The preservation of the Louisiana settlement is maintained by the Germantown Colony and Museum, now operated by the State of Louisiana.

Not long after Müller and his closest followers left Monaca, Pennsylvania, in 1833, a new religious speaker named William Keil showed up in that area in the early 1840s. Keil was able to attract some followers who were former Harmony Society and New Philadelphia Society members, and his group eventually moved away and settled the communal town of Bethel, Missouri, in 1844. By 1850, Bethel had a population of 650. However, the construction of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad threatened Keil's theocracy. From 1853 to 1856, Keil led his followers westward over the Oregon Trail, and eventually settled the town of Aurora, Oregon. Keil died in 1877, and his community was dissolved in 1883.

The Harmony Society, on the other hand, in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania, lasted until 1905. It was dissolved in 1906.

The house where Bernhard Müller lived from 1832 to 1833 in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The New Philadelphia Society's church, founded and led by Bernhard Müller from 1832 to 1833, in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The house where Müller's widow lived from around 1835 to 1871 at the Germantown Colony near Minden, Louisiana.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Beaver County, Pennsylvania
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony, Indiana
• Germantown Colony and Museum


1. Louisiana Historical Association, Dictionary of Louisiana Biography "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
2. "Minden Germantown Colony", The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.), August 14, 1987 [1]
3. David James, III, "Germantown: Once Thriving and Socialistic", Minden Press, July 7, 1958, pp. 1-2
4. "Respect for the Past, Confidence in the Future", Webster Parish Centennial, 1871-1971, pp. 13-14
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania and Its Centennial Celebration by Joseph Henderson Bausman (1904) Volume II, pp. 797–801
• Germantown Colony Museum near Minden, Louisiana
• Claus Bernet (2004). "Müller, Bernhard". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 23. Nordhausen: Bautz. cols. 978–984. ISBN 3-88309-155-3.

External links

• Karl John Richard Arndt collection of Bernhard Muller and the Harmony Society at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 11:53 am

William Keil
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

William Keil (1812-1877).

William Keil (March 6, 1812 – December 30, 1877) was the founder of communal religious societies in Bethel, Missouri, and Aurora Colony in Oregon, that he established and led in the nineteenth century.

Influenced by German Lutheranism, pietism, and revival Methodism, Keil's theology was based on the principle of the Golden Rule as well as the view that people should try to share all with others by living communally (Acts 4:32-37).

Keil was born in Prussia March 6, 1812 and raised by German Lutheran parents. He emigrated to the United States as a young man—apparently after receiving a mystic text from a gypsy. Initially he settled in New York and worked as a tailor, his family trade. Within a year, he and his wife, also German, moved to western Pennsylvania, where Keil gained a reputation as a mystic and healer. By 1837, he had opened a drugstore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Keil soon heard about a group of former Harmony Society members who had left that communal group, and had moved to Phillipsburg (now Monaca, Pennsylvania), where they had tried to form the New Philadelphia Society. When Keil contacted the families in the early 1840s, he impressed some of them, and they suggested he form a communal society. As former members of such a society, they provided invaluable practical assistance to its founding and maintenance.

Keil was influenced by revivalism and utopianism, which were popular in western Pennsylvania during the 1830s. After becoming a successful Christian preacher and building a large congregation, Keil, and his followers, moved to Bethel, Missouri, in 1844 and started a Utopian commune. This colony was considered successful, but many of its members—again led by Keil—moved to Oregon between 1853 and 1856 to start a new settlement, which became known as Aurora Mills. Keil died December 30, 1877, leaving a power vacuum that led to the dissolution of the colony in 1883.

Dr. Keil led the first wagon train to the Oregon territory carrying his eldest son, Willie, in a coffin in the lead wagon. Willie died a few days before the trip was to begin and had been promised by his Father that he would go, no matter what. Willie's coffin was filled with whiskey distilled at the Bethel colony and put in the lead wagon as promised. He was buried in Washington on the original settlement that would later move and become the Aurora Colony.

The community at Aurora is given tribute at Twin Oaks Community, a contemporary intentional community of over 100 people in Louisa County, Virginia. All Twin Oaks' buildings are named after communities that are no longer actively functioning, and "Aurora" is the name of the visitor residence.

His house near Bethel, known as Elim, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Located nearby is Hebron.[1]

See also

• Aurora Colony


1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
• Bek, W.(1909) The Community at Bethel, Missouri and its Off-Spring at Aurora, Oregon. German American Annals, n.s. 7 (September 1909), 263
• Kanter, R.(1971) Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA
• Bethel Colony, Missouri
• Old Aurora Colony Museum, Oregon
• "William Keil". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 12:26 pm

George Ripley (transcendentalist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

George Ripley
George Ripley, sometime between 1849 and 1860: a detail from Mathew Brady's daguerreotype of the New York Tribune editorial staff.
Born: October 3, 1802, Greenfield, Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1880 (aged 77), New York City

George Ripley (October 3, 1802 – July 4, 1880) was an American social reformer, Unitarian minister, and journalist associated with Transcendentalism. He was the founder of the short-lived Utopian community Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, George Ripley was pushed to attend Harvard College by his father and completed his studies in 1823. He went on graduate from the Harvard Divinity School and the next year married Sophia Dana. Shortly after, he became ordained as the minister of the Purchase Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts, where he began to question traditional Unitarian beliefs. He became one of the founding members of the Transcendental Club and hosted its first official meeting in his home. Shortly after, he resigned from the church to put Transcendental beliefs in practice by founding an experimental commune called Brook Farm. The community later converted to a model based on the work of Charles Fourier, although the community was never financially stable in either format.

After Brook Farm's failure, Ripley was hired by Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune.
He also published the New American Cyclopaedia, which made him financially successful. He built a national reputation as an arbiter of taste and literature before his death in 1880.


Early life and education

Ripley's ancestors had lived in Hingham, Massachusetts for 140 years before Jerome Ripley moved his family to Greenfield, a town in the western part of the state, in 1789.[1] He was moderately successful as the owner of a general store and tavern[2] and was a prominent member of the community.[3] His son George Ripley was born in Greenfield on October 3, 1802,[4] the ninth child in the family.[1]

George Ripley's early life was heavily influenced by women. His nearest brother was thirteen years older than he was and he was raised primarily by his conservative mother, who was distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, and his sisters.[5] He was sent to a private academy run by a Mr. Huntington in Hadley, Massachusetts to prepare for college.[6] Before going to college, he spent three months in Lincoln with Ezra Ripley, a distant relative who also married the aunt of Ralph Waldo Emerson.[7] Although Ripley wanted to attend the religiously conservative Yale University, his Unitarian father pushed him to attend Harvard College, then known as a hotbed of liberal Unitarianism.[3] Ripley was a good and dedicated student,[8] although he was not popular with students because of his trust of the establishment. Early in his time at Harvard, he had sided with the administration during a student-led protest against poor food, and his attempts at reconciling the two sides prompted ridicule from his peers.[9] Ripley, seeking a socially useful role, found work as a teacher in Fitchburg during winter vacation of his senior year.[10] He graduated in 1823.[3]

During his time at the school, Ripley became disenchanted with his father and his home town, admitting "no particular attachment to Greenfield".[11] He hoped to enroll at Andover[12] but his father convinced him to stay in Cambridge to attend Harvard Divinity School.[13] There, he was influenced by Levi Frisbie, Professor of Natural Religion, who was largely interested in moral philosophy, which he termed "the science of the principles and obligations of duty".[14] Ripley was becoming very interested in more "liberal" religious views, what he wrote to his mother as "so simple, scriptural, and reasonable".[3] He graduated in 1826. A year later, on August 22, 1827, he married Sophia Dana, a fact which he originally kept a secret from his parents. He asked his sister Marianne to inform them shortly after.[15]

Early career

Ripley officially became a minister at Boston's Purchase Street Church on November 8, 1826, and became influential in the developing the Unitarian religion.[16] These ten years of his tenure there were quiet and uneventful,[17] until March 1836, when Ripley published a long article titled "Schleiermacher as a Theologian" in the Christian Examiner. In it, Ripley praised Schleiermacher's attempt to create a "religion of the heart" based on intuition and personal communion with God.[18] Later that year, he published a review of British theologian James Martineau's The Rationale of Religious Enquiry in the same publication.[19] In the review, Ripley charged Unitarian church elders with religious intolerance because they forced the literal acceptance of miracles as a requirement for membership in their church.[20] Andrews Norton, a leading theologian of the day, responded publicly and insisted that disbelief in miracles ultimately denied the truth of Christianity.[21] Norton, formerly Ripley's teacher at the Divinity School, had been labeled by many as the "hard-headed Unitarian Pope", and began his public battle with Ripley in the Boston Daily Advertiser on November 5, 1836, in an open letter charging Ripley with academic and professional incompetence.[20] Ripley contended that to insist upon the reality of miracles was to demand material proof of spiritual matters, and that faith needed no such external confirmation; but Norton and the mainstream of Unitarianism found this tantamount to heresy. This dispute laid the groundwork for the separation of a more extreme Transcendentalism from its liberal Unitarian roots. The debate between Norton and Ripley, which earned allies on both sides, continued until 1840.[22]

Transcendental Club

Ripley met with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederic Henry Hedge, and George Putnam in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 8, 1836, to discuss the formation of a new club.[23] Ten days later, on September 18, 1836, Ripley hosted their first official meeting at his house. The group at this first meeting of what would become known as the "Transcendental Club" included Amos Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, James Freeman Clarke, and Convers Francis as well as Hedge, Emerson, and Ripley.[24] Future members would include Henry David Thoreau, William Henry Channing, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Sylvester Judd, and Jones Very.[25] Female members included Sophia Ripley, Margaret Fuller, and Elizabeth Peabody.[26] The group planned its meetings for times when Hedge was visiting from Bangor, Maine, leading to the early nickname "Hedge's Club".[23] The name Transcendental Club was given to the group by the public and not by its participants. Hedge wrote: "There was no club in the strict sense... only occasional meetings of like-minded men and women", earning the nickname "the brotherhood of the 'Like-Minded'".[27] Beginning in 1839, Ripley edited Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature: fourteen volumes of translations meant to demonstrate the breadth of Transcendental thoughts.[28]

Separation from church

Amid the Panic of 1837, many began to criticize social institutions. That year, Ripley gave a sermon titled "The Temptations of the Times", suggesting that the major problem in the country was "the inordinate pursuit, the extravagant worship of wealth".[29] Ripley had been asked by church proprietors to avoid controversial topics in his sermons. He said, "Unless a minister is expected to speak out on all subjects which are uppermost in his mind, with no fear of incurring the charge of heresy or compromising the interests of his congregation, he can never do justice to himself, to his people, or the truth which he is bound to declare".[30] In May 1840, he offered his resignation from the Purchase Street Church but was convinced to stay. He soon decided he should leave the ministry altogether and, on October 3, 1840, he read a 7,300-word lecture, Letter Addressed to the Congregational Church in Purchase Street, expressing his dissatisfaction with Unitarianism.[31]

Because of his experience with the Specimens translations,[32] Ripley was chosen to be the managing editor of the Transcendental publication The Dial at its inception, working alongside its first editor Margaret Fuller.[33] In addition to overseeing distribution, subscriptions, printing, and finances, Ripley also contributed essays and reviews.[34] In October 1841, he resigned his post with The Dial as he prepared for an experiment in communal living.[35] As he told Emerson, although he was happy seeing all the Transcendental thoughts in print, he could not be truly happy "without the attempt to realize them".[36]

Brook Farm

Former site of Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

In the late 1830s Ripley became increasingly engaged in "Associationism", an early Fourierist socialist movement. In October 1840 he announced to the Transcendental Club his plan to form an Associationist community based on Fourier's Utopian plans.[37] His goals were lofty. As he wrote, "If wisely executed, it will be a light over this country and this age. If not the sunrise, it will be the morning star."[38]

Ripley and his wife formed a joint stock company in 1841 along with 10 other initial investors.[39] Shares of the company were sold for $500 apiece with a promise of five percent of the profits to each investor.[37] The founding membership of the original community included Nathaniel Hawthorne.[39] They chose the Ellis Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts as the site of their experiment, which they named Brook Farm. Its 170 acres (0.69 km2) were about eight miles (13 km) from Boston; a pamphlet described the land as a "place of great natural beauty, combining a convenient nearness to the city with a degree of retirement and freedom from unfavorable influences unusual even in the country".[40] The land, however, turned out to be difficult to farm and the community struggled with financial difficulties as it built greenhouses and craft shops.[41]

Brook Farm was initially based mostly on the ideals of Transcendentalism; its founders believed that by pooling labor they could sustain the community and still have time for literary and scientific pursuits.[39] The experiment meant to serve as an example for the rest of the world, established on the principles of "industry without drudgery, and true equality without its vulgarity".[42] Many in the community wrote of how much they enjoyed their experience. One participant, a man named John Codman, joined the community at the age of 27 in 1843. He wrote, "It was for the meanest a life above humdrum, and for the greatest something far, infinitely far beyond. They looked into the gates of life and saw beyond charming visions, and hopes springing up for all".[43] In their free time, the members of Brook Farm enjoyed music, dancing, card games, drama, costume parties, sledding, and skating.[39] Hawthorne, eventually elected treasurer of the community, did not enjoy his experience. He wrote to his wife-to-be Sophia Peabody, "labor is the curse of the world, and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutified".[44]

Many outside the community were also critical, especially in the press. The New York Observer, for example, suggested that, "The Associationists, under the pretense of a desire to promote order and morals, design to overthrow the marriage institution, and in the place of the divine law, to substitute the 'passions' as the proper regulator of the intercourse of the sexes", concluding that they were "secretly and industriously aiming to destroy the foundation of society".[45]

In 1844, the community, perpetually struggling financially, drafted an entirely new constitution and committed to following more closely the Fourierist model.[46] Not everyone at the community supported the transition, and many left.[47] Many were disappointed that the new, more structured daily routine de-emphasized the carefree leisure time that had been a trademark.[48] Ripley himself became a celebrity proponent of Fourierism and organized conventions throughout New England to discuss the community.[49]

By May 1846, troubled by the financial difficulties at Brook Farm, Ripley had made an informal split from the community.[50] By its closure a year later, Brook Farm had amassed a total debt of $17,445.[51] Ripley was devastated at the failure of his experiment and told a friend, "I can now understand how a man would feel if he could attend his own funeral".[52] His personal life was also taxed. His wife had converted to Catholicism in 1846, encouraged by Orestes Brownson, and had become doubtful of his Associationist politics;[53] the Ripleys' relationship became strained by the 1850s.[54]


George Ripley as he appeared in his later years.

After Brook Farm, George Ripley began to work as a freelance journalist. In 1849 he was employed by Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune, taking the role left vacant by Margaret Fuller.[55] Greeley had been a proponent of Brook Farm's conversion to Fourierism.[56] Ripley started his role with the Tribune at $12 a week and, at this wage, was not able to pay off the debt of Brook Farm until 1862.[54] As a critic, he believed in high moral standards for literature but offered good-natured praise in the majority of his reviews.[57] Greeley took advantage of Ripley's cheerful style of writing to boost circulation amid significant competition. Ripley wrote a "Gotham Gossip" column and many articles discussing local personalities and notable public events, including speeches by Henry Clay and Frederick Douglass.[58] He stayed away from philosophy of theology, despite some efforts to persuade him to write on the subject. As he told a friend, he had "long since lost... immediate interest in that line of speculation".[59]

Ripley then edited Harper's Magazine. Together with Bayard Taylor he compiled a Handbook of Literature and the Fine Arts (1852).

With Charles A. Dana, he edited the 16 volume The New American Cyclopaedia (1857–1863), reissued as The American Cyclopaedia (1873–1876). It sold in the millions and its immediate earnings amounted to over $100,000.[60]

He also continued his critical work and in 1860 reviewed On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. He was one of the few contemporary critics to be sympathetic to Darwin, although he was reluctant to show he was convinced of the theories.[61]

Later years

In 1861 Sophia Ripley died. George Ripley remarried, to Louisa Sclossberger, in 1865, and was a part of the Gilded Age New York literary scene for the remainder of his life. Because of his convivial nature, he was careful to avoid the city's rampant literary feuds at the time.[55] He became a public figure with a national reputation[57] and, known as an arbiter of taste, he helped establish the National Institute of Literature, Art, and Science in 1869.[62] In his later years, he began suffering frequent illnesses, including a bout with influenza in 1875 which prevented him from traveling to Germany. He also suffered from gout and rheumatism.[63]

Ripley was found dead at his desk on July 4, 1880, slumped over his work.[64] Pallbearers at his funeral included Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, George William Curtis, and Whitelaw Reid.[65] At the time of his death, Ripley had become financially successful; the New American Cyclopaedia had earned him royalties of nearly $1.5 million.[57] A biography entitled George Ripley (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1882) was written by Octavius Brooks Frothingham.

Critical assessment

Ripley built a wide reputation as a critic. Contemporary publications rated him as one of the most important critics of the day, including the Hartford Courant, the Springfield Republican, the New York Evening Gazette, and the Chicago Daily Tribune.[66] Henry Theodore Tuckerman commended Ripley as "a scholar and an aesthetic as well as technical critic: [he] knows public taste and the laws of literature".[67]


1. Golemba, 15
2. Crowe, 3
3. Rose, 49
4. Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 48. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
5. Golemba, 16
6. Crowe, 14
7. Golemba, 18
8. Crowe, 26
9. Golemba, 19
10. Crowe, 27
11. Crowe, 24–25
12. Crowe, 29
13. Golemba, 22
14. Crowe, 34
15. Crowe, 40–41
16. Golemba, 26
17. Felton, 123
18. Packer, 54
19. Rose, 51
20. Delano, 5
21. Hankins, 30
22. Delano, 7
23. Packer, 47
24. Hankins, 23
25. Gura, 7–8
26. Buell, Lawrence. Emerson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003: 32. ISBN 0-674-01139-2
27. Gura, 5
28. Golemba, 50
29. Delano, 8
30. Packer, 84
31. Delano, 9–10
32. Golemba, 58–59
33. Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 61–62. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
34. Golemba, 59
35. Packer, 119
36. Golemba, 60
37. Packer, 133
38. Felton, 124
39. Hankins, 34
40. Delano, 39
41. Packer, 134
42. McFarland, Philip. Hawthorne in Concord. New York: Grove Press, 2004: 83. ISBN 0-8021-1776-7
43. Packer, 135
44. McFarland, Philip. Hawthorne in Concord. New York: Grove Press, 2004: 84. ISBN 0-8021-1776-7
45. Delano, 275–276
46. Packer, 157
47. Packer, 158
48. Felton, 127
49. Crowe, 170
50. Delano, 269
51. Rose, 136
52. Delano, 283
53. Packer, 172
54. Rose, 209
55. Miller, 249
56. Hankins, 35
57. Rose, 210
58. Crowe, 232
59. Crowe, 233
60. Miller, 341
61. Crowe, 248–249
62. Golemba, 150
63. Crowe, 261
64. Crowe, 262
65. "The Funeral of George Ripley: Simple but impressive services at the Church of the Messiah". The New York Times. July 8, 1880. Accessed November 9, 2008.
66. Golemba, 113
67. England, Eugene. Beyond Romanticism: Tuckerman's Life and Poetry. New York: SUNY Press, 1991: 231. ISBN 0-7914-0791-8


• Crowe, Charles. George Ripley: Transcendentalist and Utopian Socialist. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1967.
• Delano, Sterling F. Brook Farm: The Dark Side of Utopia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01160-0
• Felton, R. Todd. A Journey into the Transcendentalists' New England. Berkeley, California: Roaring Forties Press, 2006. ISBN 0-9766706-4-X
• Golemba, Henry L. George Ripley. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977. ISBN 0-8057-7181-6
• Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8
• Hankins, Barry. The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004. ISBN 0-313-31848-4
• Miller, Perry. The Raven and the Whale: Poe, Melville, and the New York Literary Scene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997 (originally published 1956). ISBN 0-8018-5750-3
• Packer, Barbara L. The Transcendentalists. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8203-2958-1
• Rose, Anne C. Transcendentalism as a Social Movement, 1830–1850. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 1981. ISBN 0-300-02587-4

External links

• George Ripley, Charles A. Dana. The American Cyclopaedia.. From Internet Archive.
• Ripley biography from Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography
• Ripley's career as a writer from Alcott School
• Ripley and Brook Farm from Transcendentalism Web
• Octavius Brooks Frothingham (1900). "Ripley, George" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography.
• Collection Guide to Ripley's scrapbooks, Houghton Library at Harvard University
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