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Quotations about Liberty and Power

About this Quotation:

Jeremy Bentham was forever petitioning governments and well-connected people to adopt his reform proposals, whether they were for prison reform, the colonisation of Australia, or the independence of France’s colonies. It is hard to tell what the French politicians thought of this tirade but it is amusing to read. Bentham has a strong dislike of the aristocrats in England and France who monopolised politics and cloaks his arguments in a thinly disguised theory of class (a view also adopted by his followers James Mill and other members of the Philosophic radicals). Abominations are not just abominations, but “aristocratical abominations”. I guess they don’t get much worse than that in his view.

Other quotes about Colonies, Slavery & Abolition:

6 August, 2007

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Jeremy Bentham relates a number of “abominations” to the French National Convention urging them to emancipate their colonies (1793)

Read the full quote in context here.

In an address to the French National Convetion in 1793 Jeremy Bentham urged the delegates to emancipate the colonies from French rule. He particularly denounced the policy of the government monopolizing the sugar trade:

The attempt, I say, is iniquitous: it is an aristocratical abomination: it is a cluster of aristocratical abominations: it is iniquitous towards them; but much more as among yourselves.

The full passage from which this quotation was taken can be be viewed below (front page quote in bold):

The attempt, I say, is iniquitous: it is an aristocratical abomination: it is a cluster of aristocratical abominations: it is iniquitous towards them; but much more as among yourselves.

Abomination the 1st. Liberty, property, and equality violated on the part of a large class of citizens (the colonists) by preventing them from carrying their goods to the markets which it is supposed would be most advantageous to them, and thence keeping from them so much as it is supposed they would otherwise acquire.

Abomination 2d. One part of a nation (the people of France) taxed to raise money to maintain by force the restraints so imposed upon another part of the nation (the colonists.)

Abomination 3d. The poor, who after all are unable to buy sugar—the poor in France, taxed in order to pay the rich for eating it. Necessaries abridged for the support of luxury. The burthen falls upon the rich and poor in common: the benefit is shared exclusively by the rich.

[More works by Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832)]