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On return to England, Bentham moved back into the Shelburne (now, after his elevation, known as the Lansdowne House) circle. The pace of practical activity quickened, inspired by the revolutionary events in France. As Bentham wrote to Lansdowne’s son in March 1789 ‘for these five or six months past, my head and my heart have been altogether in France’ (CORR IV 33). He embarked on a stream of pamphlets designedto instruct the French, such as Political Tactics, and distributed to the revolutionaries by way of the Lansdowne House connections.

Bentham, in the Fragment on Govemment, criticises his target Blackstone both for his failure to adopt the right critical attitude and for inaccuracy in exposition, thinking that it was ‘no wonder’ that someone exhibiting the one defect should exhibit the other (404). Yet it is not obvious that someone might not have the right affections and yet cloudy understanding, or clear understanding and disreputable affections. However intimate the connection between an interest in clarity and an interest in welfare, it is at best contingent.

He returned to Oxford to hear some lectures, including Blackstone’s unconventional attempt to make ‘Jurisprudence to speak the language of the Scholar and the Gentleman’ (FG 413); an attempt which was sufficiently successful to draw prolonged criticism from Bentham a decade later. He also moved for three years to another Inn, the Middle Temple (1766-9). However, Lincoln’s Inn, of which he in later life became a bencher, was his most constant place of residence until he moved into his father’s old house.

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