Reading and transcribing historical documents can seem daunting at first. Here are some tips to help you.
Be aware that in the past spelling was inconsistent. Always transcribe the spelling you see in front of you and do not attempt to translate the word. Here are some examples of Bentham’s alternative spellings.
Bentham also coined many new words. Some of these, like ‘international’, we still use today, but many words are unusual and particular to Bentham. Try to represent the word as faithfully as possible. See a list of Bentham’s neologisms.
Letters were often represented with certain flourishes we do not use today. For example, Bentham usually wrote the letter 'd' with a swirl to the left.
A double 's', as in the word ‘necessary’, was represented as follows:
Take a look at further Examples of Bentham's handwriting .
If you are finding it difficult to make out a particular word, try the following:
The manuscripts have been categorised by difficulty level. If you are a beginner, select a manuscript from the Easy category to start off with. Remember, the more you read the easier it becomes!