« PreviousContinue »
the Times newspaper, and which has attracted which they have never done. She enjoins her a degree of attention proportioned not so much priests to observe strict purity. You are to its own intrinsic force as to the general always taunting them with their licentious. talent with which that journal is conducted, Dess. She commands al' her followers to fast belongs to a class of sophisms by which the often, to be charitable to the poor, to take no most hateful persecutions may easily be jus interest for money, to fight no duels, to see no fied. To charge men with practical conse- plays. Do they obey these injunctions? If it quences which they themselves deny, is disin- be the fact that very few of them strictly obgenuous in controversy; it is atrocious in serve her precepts, when her precepts are government. The doctrine of predestination, opposed to their passions and interests, may in the opinion of many people, tends to make not loyalty, may not humanity, may not the those who hold it utterly immoral. And cer. love of ease, may not the fear of death, be tainly it would seem that a man who believes sufficient to prevent them from executing his eternal destiny to be already irrevocably those wicked' orders which she has issued fixed is likely to indulge his passions without against the sovereign of England? When restraint and to neglect his religious duties. we know that many of these people do not If he is an heir of wrath, his exertions must be care enough for their religion tc go without unavailing. If he is preordained to life, they beef on a Friday for it, why should we think must be superfluous. But would it be wise to that they will run the risk of being racked and
punish every man who holds the higher doc- hanged for it? • trines of Calvinism, as if he had actually com People are now reasoning about the Jews as
mitted all those crimes which we know some our fathers reasoned about the Papists. The Antinomians to have committed! Assuredly law which is inscribed on the walls of the synot. The fact notoriously is that there are nagogues prohibits covetousness. But if we many Calvinists as moral in their conduct as were to say that a Jew mortgagee would not any Arminian, and many Arminians as loose foreclose, because God had commanded him as any Calvinist.
not to covet his neighbour's house, every body It is altogether impossible to reason from would think us out of our wits. Yet it passes the opinions which a man professes to his feel for an argument to say that a Jew will take no ings and his actions ;-and in fact no person is interest in the prosperity of the country, in ever such a fool as to reason thus, except when which he lives, that he will not care how bad he wants a pretext for persecuting his neigh-its laws and police may be, how heavily it bours. A Christian is commanded, under the may be taxed, how often it may be conquered strongest sanctions, to be just in all his deal- and given up to spoil, because God has proings. Yet to how many of the twenty-four mised that, by some unknown means, and at millions of professing Christians in these isl. some undetermined time, perhaps ten thousand ands would any man in his senses lend a thou- years hence, the Jews shall migrate to Palessand pounds without security? A man who tine. Is not this the most profound ignorance should act, for one day, on the supposition that of human nature? Do we not know that what all the people about him were influenced by is remote and indefinite affects men far less the religion which they professed, would find than what is near and certain? The arguhimself ruined before night; and no man ever ment too applies to Christians as strongly as does act on that supposition in any of the ordi- to Jews. The Christian believes, as well as nary concerns of life, in borrowing, in lend- the Jew, that at some future period the presing, in buying, or in selling. But when any of ent order of things will come to an end. Nay, our fellow-creatures are to be oppressed, the many Christians believe that the Messiah will case is different. Then we represent those shortly establish a kingdom on the earth, and motives which we know to be so feeble for reign visibly over all its inhabitants. Whether good as omnipotent for evil. Then we lay to this doctrine be orthodox or not we shall not the charge of our victims all the vices and here inquire. The number of people who hold folhes to which their doctrines, however re- it is very much greater than the number of motely, seem to tend. We forget that the same Jews residing in England. Many of those who weakness, the same laxity, the same disposi- hold it are distinguished by rank, wealth, and tion to prefer the present to the future, which ability. It is preached from pulpits, both of make men worse than a good religion, make the Scortish and of the English church. Nothem better than a bad one.
blemen and members of parliament have writ- It was in this way that our ancestors rea- ten in defence of it. Now wherein does this soned, and that some people in our own time doctrine differ, as far as its political tendency still reason, about the Catholics. A Papist is concerned, from the doctrine of the Jews! believes himself bound to obey the pope. The If a Jew is unfit to legislate for us because he pope has issued a bull deposing Queen Eli. believes that he or his remote descendents will zabeth. Therefore every Papist will treat be removed to Palestine, can we safely open her grace as an usurper. Therefore every the House of Commons to a fifth monarchy Papist is a traitor. Therefore every Papist man who expects that, before this generation ought to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. To shall pass away, all the kingdoms of the earth this logic we owe some of the most hateful will be swallowed up in one divine empire ? laws that ever disgraced our history. Surely Does a Jew engage less eagerly than a Christhe answer lies on the surface. The church tian in any competition which the law leaves of Rome may have commanded these men to open to him? Is he less active and regular in treat the queen as an asurper. But she has his business than his veighbours? Does he ummanded them to tu many other things furnish bis house meanly, because he is a pil
grim and sojourner in the land? Does the ex- that crime which made the earth shake and pectation of being restored to the country of blotted out the sun from heaven? The same his fathers make him insensible to the fluctua- reasoning which is now employed to vindicate tions of the stock-exchange? Docs he, in ar- the disabilities imposed on our Hebrew counranging his private affairs, ever take into the trymen will equally vindicate the kiss of Judas account the chance of his migrating to Pales- and the judgment of Pilate. “The Son of man tine? If not, why are we to suppose that feel-goeth, as it is written of him; but woe to that ings which never influence his dealings as a man by whom the Son of man is betrayed." merchant, or his dispositions as a testator, will And woe to those who, in any age or in any acquire a boundless influence over him as soon country, disobey his benevolent commands unas he becomes a magistrate or a legislator? der pretence of accomplishing his predictions
There is another argument which we would If this argumeni justifies the laws now existing not willingly treat with levity, and which yet we against the Jews, it justifies equally all the scarcely know how to treat seriously. Scrip- cruelties which have ever been committed ture, it is said, is full of terrible denunciations against them, the sweeping edicts of banish against the Jews. It is foretold that they ment and confiscation, the dungeon, the rack, are to be wanderers. Is it then right to give and the slow fire. How can we excuse our them a home? It is foretold that they are to selves for leaving property to people who are be oppressed. Can we with propriety suffer " to serve their enemies in hunger, and in thirst, them to be rulers? To admit them to the and in nakedness, and in want of all things;" rights of citizens is manifestly to insult the for giving protection to the persons of those. Divine oracles.
who are to fear day and night, and to have We allow that to falsify a prophecy inspired none assurance of their life;" for not seizing by Divine Wisdom would be a most atrocious on the children of a race whose “sons and crime. It is, therefore, a happy circumstance daughters are to be given unto another people." for our frail species, that it is a crime which We have not so learned the doctrines of no man can possibly commit. If we admit the Him who commanded us to love our neighJews to seats in Parliament, we shall, by so bour as ourselves, and who, when he was doing, prove that the prophecies in question, called upon to explain what He meant by a whatever they may mean, do not mean that the neighbour, selected as an example a heretic Jews shall be excluded from Parliament and an alien. Last year, we remember, it was
In fact it is already clear that the prophecies represented by a pious writer in the John Ball do not bear the meaning put upon them by the newspaper, and by some other equally fervid respectable persons whom we are now answer-Christians, as a monstrous indecency, that the ing. In France and in the United States the measnre for the relief of the Jews should be Jews are already admitted to all the rights of brought forward in Passion week. One of citizens. A prophecy, therefore, which should these humourists ironically recommended that mean that the Jews would never, during the it should be read a second time on Good Fri. course of their wanderings, be admitted to all day. We should have had no objection; nor the rights of citizens in the places of their so- do we believe that the day could be commemo. journ, would be a false prophecy. This, there-rated in a more worthy manner. We know of fore, is not the meaning of the prophecies of no day fitter for terminating long hostilities Scripture.
and repairing cruel wrongs, than the day on But we protest altogether against the prac- which the religion of mercy was founded. We rice of confounding prophecy with precept, of know of no day fitter for blotting out from the setting up predictions which are often obscure statute book the last traces of intolerance than against a morality which is always clear. If the day on which the spirit of intolerance proactions are to be considered as just and good duced the foulest of all judicial murders, the merely because they have been predicted, what day on which the list of the victims of intoleraction was ever more laudable than that crime ance, that noble list wherein Socrates and More which our bigots are now, at the end of eighteen are enrolled, was glorified by a yet greater and centuries, urging us to avenge on the Jews, holier name.
MILL'S ESSAY ON GOVERNMENT.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, MARCH, 1829.)
Or those philosophers who call themselves them that the studies which they have neglected Utilitarians, and whom others generally call are of no value, puts five or six phrases inte Benthamites, Mr. Mill is, with the exception of their mouths, lends them an odd number of the the illustrious founder of the sect, by far the Westminster Review, and in a month transmost distinguished. The little work now before forms them into philosophers. Mingled with us contains a summary of the opinions held by these smatterers, whose attainments just suffice this gentleman and his brethren, on several to elevate them from the insignificance of subjects most important to society. All the dunces to the dignity of bores, and to spread seven Essays of which it consists, abound in dismay among their pious. aunts and grandcurious matter. But at present we intend to mothers, there are, we well know, many wellconfine our remarks to the Treatise on Govern- meaning men, who have really read and ment, which stands first in the volume. On thought much; but whose reading and medisome future occasion we may perhaps attempt tation have been almost exclusively confined to do justice to the rest.
to one class of subjects; and who, consequently, It must be owned, that, to do justice to any though they possess much valuable knowledge composition of Mr. Mill is not, in the opinion respecting those subjects, are by no means so of his admirers, a very easy task. They do well qualified to judge of a great system as if not, indeed, place nim in the same rank with they had taken a more enlarged view of literaMr. Bentham ; but the terms in which they ture and society. extol the disciple, though feeble when com Nothing is more amusing or instructive than pared with the hyperboles of admiration em- to observe the manner in which people, who ployed by them in speaking of the master, are think themselves wiser than all the rest of the as strong as any sober man would allow him- world, fall into snares which the simple good self to use concerning Locke or Bacon. The sense of their neighbours detects and avoids. Essay before us is perhaps the most remarka- It is one of the principal tenets of the Utilitable of the works to which Mr. Mill owes his rians, that sentiment and eloquence serve only fame. By the members of his sect, it is con- to impede the pursuit of truth. They theresidered as perfect and unanswerable. Every fore affect a quakerly plainness, or rather a part of it is an article of their faith ; and the cynical negligence and impurity of style. The damnatory clauses, in which their creed abounds strongest arguments, when clothed in brilliant far beyond any theological symbol with which language, seem to them so much wordy nonwe are acquainted, are strong and full against sense. In the meantime they surrender their all who reject any portion of what is so irre- understandings, with a facility found in no fragably established. No man, they maintain, other party, to the meanest and most abject who has understanding sufficient to carry him sophisms, provided those sophisms come before through the first proposition of Euclid, can them disguised with the externals of demonstraread this master-piece of demonstration, and tion. They do not seem to know that logic has honestly declare that he remains unconvinced. its illusions as well as rhetoric,--that a fallacy
We have formed a very different opinion of may lurk in a syllogism as well as in a this work. We think that the theory of Mr. metaphor. Mill rests altogether on false principles, and Mr. Mill is exactly the writer to please people that even on those false principles he does not of this description. His arguments are stated reason logically. Nevertheless, .we do not with the utmost affectation of precision : his think it strange that his speculations should divisions are awfully formal; and his style is have filled the Utilitarians with admiration. generally as dry as that of Euclid's Elements. We have been for some time past inclined to Whether this be a merit, we must be permitted suspect that these people, whom some regard to doubt. Thus much is certain, trai the ages as the lights of the world, and others as incar- in which the true principles of philosophy nate demons, are in general ordinary men, with were least understood, were those 11. Which the narrow understandings, and little information. ceremonial of logic was most strictly observed, The contempt which they express for elegant and that the time from which we date the rapid literature is evidently the contempt of igno- progress of the experimental sciences was also rance. We apprehend that many of them are the time at which a less exact and formal way persons who, having read little or nothing, are of writing came into use. delighted to be rescued from the sense of their The style which the Utilitarians admire, suits own inferiority, by some teacher who assures only those subjects on which it is possible to
reason a priori. It grew up with the verbal * Essays on Government, Jurisprudence, the Liberty of sophistry which flourished during the dark the Press, Prisons and Prison Discipline, Colonies, the Law ages. With that sophistry it fell before the of Nations and Education. By JAMEX Mill, Esq., author Baconian philosophy, in the day of the great or the History of British India. Reprinted by permission deliverance of the human mind. The inducfrom the Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica. (Not for sale. London. 1828
rive method not cnly endured, but required,
greater freedom of diction. It was impossible in a theory because a fact contradicts it, is what to reason from phenomena up to principles, to neither philosopher nor pope ever before remark slight shades of difference in quality, or quired. This, however, is what Mr. Mill de to estimate the comparative effect of two oppo- mands of us. He seems to think that if all site considerations, between which there was despots, without exception, governed ill, it no common measure, by means of the naked would be unnecessary to prove, by a synthetical and meager jargon of the schoolmen. Of those argument, what would then be sufficiently clear schoolmen, Mr. Mill has inherted both the spirit from experience. But as some despots will be and the style. He is an Aristotelian of the so perverse as to govern well, he finds himself fifteenth century, born out of due season. We compelled to prove the impossibility of their have here an elaborate treatise on government, governing well, by that synthetical argument, from which, but for two or three passing allu- which would have been superfluous had not sions, it would not appear that the author was the facts contradicted it. He reasons a priori, aware that any governments actually existed because the phenomena are not what, by reaamong men. Certain propensities of human soning a priori, he will prove them to be. In nature are assumed; and from these premises other words, he reasons a priori, because, by so the whole science of politics is synthetically reasoning, he is certain to arrive at a false deduced! We can scarcely persuade ourselves conclusion! that we are not reading a book written before In the course of the examination to which the time of Bacon and Galileo,-a book written we propose to subject the speculations of Mr. in those days in which physicians reasoned Mill, we shall have to notice many other curious from the nature of heat to the treatment of instances of that turn of mind which the pas. fever, and astronomers proved syllogistically sage above quoted indicates. that the planets could have no independent The first chapter of his Essay relates to the motion,- because the heavens were incorrupti- ends of government. The conception on this ble, and nature abhorred a vacuum!
subject, he tells us, which exists in the minds The reason, too, which Mr. Mill has assigned of most men, is vague and undistinguishing. for taking this course strikes us as most extra. He first assumes, justly enough, that the end ordinary.
of government is to increase to the utmost “ Experience,” says he, “if we look only at the pleasures, and diminish to the utmost the the outside of the facts, appears to be divided on pains, which men derive from each other." He this subject. Absolute monarchy, under Neros then proceeds to show, with great form, that and Caligulas, under such men as the emperors the greatest possible happiness of society is of Morocco and sultans of Turkey, is the attained by insuring to every man the greatest scourge of human nature. On the other side, possible quantity of the produce of his labour." the people of Denmark, tired out with the op- To effect this is, in his opinion, the end of gopression of an aristocracy, resolved that their vernment. It is remarkable that Mr. Mill, with king should be absolute; and, under their abso- all his affected display of precision, has here lute monarch, are as well governed as any given a description of the ends of government people in Europe."
far less precise than that which is in the This Mr. Mill actually gives as a reason for mouths of the vulgar. The first man with pursuing the a priori method. But, in our whom Mr. Mill may travel in a stage-coach judgment, the very circumstances which he will tell him that government exists for the mentions, irresistibly prove that the a priori protection of the persons and property of men. method is altogether unfit for investigations of But Mr. Mill seems to think that the preservathis kind, and that the only way to arrive at the tion of property is the first and only object. It truth is hy induction. Experience can never be is true, doubtless, that many of the injuries divided, or even appear to be divided, except which are offered to the persons of men prowith reference to some hypothesis. When we ceed from a desire to possess their property. say that one fact is inconsistent with another But the practice of vindictive assassination, fact, we mean only that it is inconsistent with as it has existed in some parts of Europe--the the theory which we have founded on that other practice of fighting wanton and sanguinary fact. But, if the fact be certain, the unavoid-duels, like those of the sixteenth and sevenable conclusion is that our theory is false: and teenth centuries, in which bands of seconds in order to correct it, we must reason baek from risked their lives as well as the principals; an enlarged collection of facts to principles. these practices, and many others which might
Now, here we have two governments which, be named, are evidently injurious to society; by Mr. Mill's own account, come under the and we do not see how a government which same head in his theoretical classification. It tolerated them could be said "to diminish to is evident, therefore, that, by reasoning on that the utmost the pains which men derive from thcoretical classification, we shall be brought each other." Therefore, according to Mr. to the conclusion that these two forms of go- Mill's very correct assumption, such a govern. vernment must produce the same effects. But ment would not perfectly accomplish the end Mr. Mill himself tells us, that they do not pro- of its institution. Yet such a government duce the same effects. Hence he infers, that might, as far as we can perceive, “insure to the only way to get at truth is to place implicit every man the greatest possible quantity of the confidence in that chain of proof a priori, from produce of his labour."
Therefore, such a which it appears that they must produce the government might, according to Mr. Mill's same effects! To believe at once in a theory, subsequent doctrine, perfeetly accomplish the and in a fact which contradicts it, is an exer- end of its institution. The matter is not of cise of faith sufficiently hard : But, to believe much consequence, except as an instance of
that slovenliness of thinking which is often tocracy may soon be saturated with the objects concealed beneath a peculiar ostentation of of their desires, and may then protect the corc logical neatness.
munity in the enjoyment of the rest ? Mr. Having determined the ends, Mr. Mill pro- Mill answers in the negative. He proves, with ceeds to consider the means. For the pre- great pomp, that every man desires to have servation of property, some portion of the the actions of every other correspondent to community must be intrusted with power. his will. Others can be induced to conform This is government; and the question is, how to our will only by motives derived from pleaare those to whom the necessary power is in- sure or from pain. The infliction of pain is trusted to be prevented from abusing it? of course direct injury; and even if it take the
Mr. Mill first passes in review the simple milder course, in order to prodnce obedience forms of government. He allows that it would by motives derived from pleasure, the governbe inconvenient, if not physically impossible, ment must confer favours. But, as there is no that the whole community should meet in a limit to its desire of obedience, there will be no mass; it follows, therefore, that the powers of limit to its disposition to confer favours; and, government cannot be directly exercised by as it can confer favours only by plundering the people. But he sees no objection to pure the people, there will be no limit to its disposiand direct democracy, except the difficulty tion to plunder the people. “It is therefore which we have mentioned.
not true, that there is in the mind of a king, or « The community," says he, "cannot have in the minds of an aristocracy, any point of an interest opposite to its interest. To afirm saturation with the objects of desire." this would be a contradiction in terms. The Mr. Mill then proceeds to show that, as mocommunity within itself, and with respect to parchical and oligarchical governments can itself, can have no sinister interest. One com- influence men by motives drawn from pain as munity may intend the evil of another; never well as by motives drawn from pleasure, they its own. This is an indubitable proposition, will carry their cruelty, as well as their rapaand one of great importance.".
city, to a frightful extent. As he seems greatly Mr. Mill then proceeds to demonstrate that to admire his own reasonings on this subject, a purely aristocratical form of government is we think it but fair to let him speak for him. necessarily bad.
self. « The reason for which government exists “The chain of inference in this case is close is, that one man, if stronger than another, will and strong to a most unusual degree. A man take from him whatever that other possesses desires that the actions of other men shall be and he desires. But if one man will do this, instantly and accurately correspondent to his so will several. And if powers are put into will." He desires that the actions of the great-.. the hands of a comparatively small number, est possible number shall be so. Terror is the called an aristocracy,-powers which make grand instrument. Terror can work only them stronger than the rest of the community, through assurance that evil will follow any they will take from the rest of the community failure of conformity between the will and the as much as they please of the objects of desire. actions willed. Every failure must therefore They will thus defeat the very end for which be punished. As there are no bounds to the government was instituted. The unfitness, mind's desire of its pleasure, there are, of therefore, of an aristocracy to be intrusted course, no bounds to its desire of perfection with the powers of government, rests on de- in the instruments of that pleasure. There monstration."
are, therefore, no bounds to its desire of exactIn exactly the same manner Mr. Mill proves ness in the conformity between its will and the absolate monarchy to be a bad form of govern- actions willed; and, by consequence, to the ment.
strength of that terror which is its procuring "If government is founded upon this as a law cause. Even the most minute failure must be of human nature, that a man, if able, will take visited with the heaviest infliction; and as from others any thing which they have and he failure in extreme exactness must frequently desires, it is sufficiently evident that when a happen, the occasions of cruelty must be in man is called a king he does not change his cessant. nature; so that when he has got power to en “We have thus arrived at several concloable him to take from every man what he sions of the highest possible importance. We pleases, he will take whatever he pleases. have seen that the principle of human nature To suppose that he will not, is to affirm that upon which the necessity of government is government is unnecessary, and that human founded, the propensity of on- man to possess beings will abstain from injuring one another himself of the objects of desire at the cost of of their own accord.
another, leads on, by infallible sequence, where " It is very evident that this reasoning ex. power over a community is attained, and 10tends to every modification of the smaller ihing checks, not only to that degree of plun. number. Whenever the powers of govern- der which leaves the members, (excepting alment are placed in any hands other than those ways the recipients and instruments of the of the community, whether those of one man, plunder,) the bare means of subsistence, but of a few, or of several, those principles of hu-to that degree of cruelty which is necessary to man nature which imply that government is at keep in existence the most intense terrors." all necessary, imply that those persons will Now, no man who has the least knowledge make use of them to defeat the very end for of the real state of the world. either in former which government exists."
ages or at the present moment, can possibly But is it not possible that a king or an aris- be convinced, though he may perhaps be be