The writings collected in this volume make an important addition to The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. They lend credence to Bentham's claim that his ideas were appropriate 'for the use of all nations and all governments professing liberal opinions'. The essays, dating mainly from late 1822 and early 1823, are based exclusively on manuscripts, many of which have not been previously published. Turning his attention towards the Mediterranean basin, Bentham here attempts to legislate for one Islamic state, and offers advice to another in the process of throwing off Islamic rule. The Writings for Tripoli include the famous 'Securities against Misrule', in which Bentham draws up a constitutional charter with an accompanying explanation of its provisions. He also discusses the social, political, and religious institutions of the country, and proposes a scheme for the introduction of constitutional reform both there and in the other Barbary states. The Writings for Greece include a rare commentary on the first Greek constitution of 1822, and advice and warnings to the Greek legislators against the temptation of 'sinister appetites'.
The main theme in both groups of writings is the efficacy of representative institutions and the publicity of official actions in preventing the abuse of government power.