Bentham Project


Writings on the Poor Laws, volume II

Editorial work on this volume, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is well advanced. The volume will contain Outline of a work intituled 'Pauper Management Improved', which was published by Bentham in the Annals of Agriculture in 1797-8. In addition, the volume will contain the text, established from unpublished manuscript, of Pauper Management Improved, from which the Outline was extracted.

In this work Bentham sets out and defends in detail his plan for the transfer of poor relief to a National Charity Company, to which the existing poor rates would be transferred, and which would operate an initial two hundred and fifty Industry Houses spread over the territory of England and Wales. Of particular interest in this regard are chapters on the principles of management, on education, and on appropriate establishments, where the indigent with specific disabilities would be housed.

In the Outline, Bentham deliberately ommitted 'every thing which does not go to show the profitableness' of his plan; while the full version of Pauper Management Improved, while incomplete, presents a more balanced picture of Bentham's Poor Plan.

The final element in the volume will be Bentham's short draft of a 'Body-providing Bill', written in 1826, during a campaign by Bentham to persuade Home Secretary Robert Peel to address the shortage of bodies available for anatomical dissection, a camapaign that bore belated fruit with the passage of the Anatomy Act of 1832.

Michael Quinn (May 2007)

Writings on the Poor Laws, vol. 1 was published in May 2001

This research is funded by the Wellcome Trust