Bentham Project

A Comment on the Commentaries and A Fragment on Government

ed. J.H. Burns and H.L.A. Hart (The Athlone Press, 1977), pp. li, 576.

Never finally completed and only first published in 1928, the A Comment on the Commentaries is a sustained critique of the most influential interpretation of the English legal system produced in the eighteenth century, William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. A Fragment on Government, Bentham's first substantial publication (1776), was a by-product of this larger enterprise. Here Bentham advances the principle of utility to attack the contractual foundations of Blackstone's theory of government and sovereignty.

Re-issued by Oxford University Press November 2008