Page images

it has been applied, has signally increased the of nations-which, of all sciences, most tends power and knowledge of our species,-by that to expand and invigorate the mind, which method for which our new philosophers would draws putriment and ornament from every part substitute quibbles scarcely worthy of barba- of philosophy and literature, and dispenses, in rous respondents and opponents of the middle return, putriment and ornament to all. We are ages,-by the method of induction ;-by observ- sorry and surprised when we see men of good ing the present state of the world, -by as- intentions and good natural abilities abandon siduously studying the history of past ages, this healthful and generous study, lo pore over by sifting the evidence of facts-by carefully speculations like those which we have been combining and contrasting those which are examining. And we should heartily rejoice to authentic --by generalizing with judgment and find that our remarks had induced any person diffidence-by perpetually bringing the theory of this description, to employ, in researches of which we have constructed to the test of new real utility, the talents and industry which are facts,-by correcting, or altogether abandoning now wasted on verbal sophisms, wretched of it, according as those new facts prove it to be their wretched kind. partially or fundamentally unsound. Proceed As to the greater part of the sect, it is, we ing thus,-patiently, diligently, candidly,-we apprehend, of little consequence, what they may hope to form a system as far inferior in study, or under whom. ' It would be more. pretensions to that which we have been ex- amusing, to be sure, and more reputable, if they amining, and as far superior to it in real utility, would take up the old republican cant, and as the prescriptions of a great physician, vary declaim about Brutus and Timoleon, the duty ing with every stage of every malady, and of killing tyrants, and the blessedness of dying with the constitution of every patient, to the for liberiy. But, on the whole, they might have pill of the advertising quack, which is to chosen worse. They may as well be Utilitacure all human beings, in all climates, of all rians as jockeys or dandies. And though diseases.

quibbling about self-interest and motives, and This is that noble science of politics, which objects of desire, and the greatest happiness is equally removed from the barren theories of of the greatest number, is but a poor employthe Utilitarian sophists, and from the petty ment for a grown man, it certainly hurts the craft, so often mistaken for statesmanship by health less than hard drinking, and the fortune minds grown narrow in habits of intrigue, job- less than high play: it is not much more bing, and official etiquette ;-which, of all laughable than phrenology, and is immeasusciences, is the most important to the welfare rably more humane than cock-fighting.



We have had great reason, we think, to be However sharply he may speak of us, we can gratified by the success of our late attack on never cease to revere in him the father of the the Utilitarians. We could publish a long list philosophy of Jurisprudence. He has a full of the cures which it has wrought, in cases right to all the privileges of a great inventor; previously considered as hopeless. Delicacy and, in our court of criticism, those privileges forbids us to divulge names; but we cannot will never be pleaded in vain. But they are refrain from alluding to two remarkable in- limited in the same manner in which, fortustances.-A respectable lady writes to inform nately for the ends of justice, the privileges of us, that her son, who was plucked at Cam- the peerage are now limited. The advantage bridge last January, has not been heard to call is personal and incommunicable. A nobleman Sir James Mackintosh a poor ignorant fool can now no longer cover with his protection more than twice since the appearance of our every lackey who follows his heels, or every article. A distinguished political writer in the bully who draws in his quarrel; and, highly Westminster and Parliamentary Reviews has as we respect the exalted rank which Mr.Benborrowed Hume's History, and has actually got tham holds among the writers of our time, yet as far as the battle of Agincourt. He assures when, for the due maintenance of literary pous that he takes great pleasure in his new lice, we shall think it necessary to confule sostudy, and that he is very impatient to learn phists, or to bring pretenders to shame, we shall how Scotland and England became one king- not depart from the ordinary course of our prodom. But the greatest compliment that we ceedings because the offenders call themselves have received is, that Mr. Bentham himself Benthamites. should have condescended to take the field in Whether Mr. Mill has much reason to thank defence of Mr. Mill. We have not been in the Mr. Bentham for undertaking his defence, our habit of reviewing reviews; but as Mr. Bentham readers, when they have finished this article, is a truly great man, and as his party have will perhaps be inclined to doubt. Great as thought fit to announce in puffs and placards Mr. Bentham's talents are, he has, we think, that ihis article is written by him, and contains shown an undue confidence in them. He not only an answer to our attacks, but a develop- should have considered how dangerous it is Inent of the “greatest happiness principle,” for any man, however eloquent and ingenious with the latest improvements of the author, we he may be, to attack or to defend a book withshall for once depart from our general rule. out reading it. And we feel quite convinced However the conflict may terminate, we shall that Mr. Bentham would never have written at least not have been vanquished by an igno- the article before us, if he had, before he be. ble hand.

gan, perused our review with attention, and of Mr. Benthain himself, we shall endea compared it with Mr. Mill's Essay. vour, even while defending ourselves against He has utterly mistaken our object and his reproaches, to speak with the respect to meaning. He seems to think that we have which his venerable age, his genius, and his undertaken to set up some theory of govern* Iblic services entitle him. If any harsh ex- ment in opposition to that of Mr. Mill. But we pression should escape us, we trust that he distinctly disclaimed any such design. From will attribute it to inadvertence, to the momen- the beginning to the end of our article, there is tary warmth of controversy,—to any thing, in not, as far as we remember, a single sentence short, rather than to a design of affronting him. which, when fairly construed, can be considered Though we have nothing in common with the as indicating any such design. If such an excrew of Hurds and Boswells, who, either from pression can be found, it has been dropped by interested motives, or from the habit of intel- inadvertence. Our object was to prove, not lectual servility and dependence, pamper and that monarchy and aristocracy are good, but vitiate his appetite with the noxious sweetness that Mr. Mill had not proved them to be bad; of their undiscerning praise, we are not per- not that democracy is bad, but that Mr. Mill haps less competent than they to appreciate had not proved it to be good. The points in his merit, or less sincerely disposed to acknow- issue are these, Whether the famous Essay on ledge it. Though we may sometimes think his Government be, as it has been called, a perfect reasonings on moral and political questions solution of the great political problem, or a seCeeble and sophistical—though we may some-ries of sophisms and blunders; and whether times smile at his extraordinary language-we the sect which, while it glories in the precision can never be weary of admiring the amplitude of its logic, extols this Essay as a masterpiece of his comprehension, the keenness of his pene- of demonstration, be a sect deserving of the Sratior, the exuberani fertility with which his respect or of the derision of mankind. These, mind pours forth arguments and illustrations. we say, are the issues; and on these we with

full confidence put ourselves on the country. * 1 he Westminster Review, No. XXI., Article XVI. Edinburgh Review, No. ovil., Article on Mill's Essays | investigation, that we should stale what our

It is not necessary, for the purposes of this

tip Government. &c

political creed is, or whether we have any po- trusting to arbitrary power on the credit of
litical creed at all. A man who cannot act the these specimens.”
most trivial part in a farce has a right to his Now, in the first place, we never cited the
Komeo Coates—a man who does not know a case of Denmark to prove that all despots do
vein from an artery may caution a simple not govern ill. We cited it to prove that Mr.
neighbour against the advertisements of Doc- Mill did not know how to reason. Mr. Mill
tor Eady. A complete theory of government gave it as a reason for deducing the theory of
would, indeed, be a noble present to mankind; government from the general laws of human
but it is a present which we do not hope, and nature, that the king of Denmark was not
do not pretend, that we can offer. If, however, Caligula. This we said, and we still say, was
we cannot lay the foundation, it is something absurd.
to clear away the rubbish-if we cannot set up In the second place, it was not we, but Mr.
truth, it is something to pull down error. Even Mill, who said that the king of Denmark was
if the subjects of which the Utilitarians treat a despot. His words are these :-“The people
were subjects of less fearful importance, we of Denmark, tired out with the oppression of
should think it no small service to the cause an aristocracy, resolved that their king should
of good sense and good taste, to point out the be absolute; and under their absolute monarch
contrast between their magnificent pretensions are as well governed as any people in Europe."
and their miserable performances. Some of We leave Mr. Bentham to settle with Mr. Mill
them have, however, ihought fit to display their the distinction between a despot and an abso-
ingenuity on questions of the most momentous Jute king.
kind, and on questions concerning which men In the third place, Mr. Bentham says, that
cannot reason ill with impunity. We think it, there was in Denmark a balanced contest be-
under these circumstances, an absolute duty tween the king and the nobility. We find
to expose the fallacy of their arguments. It some difficulty in believing that Mr. Bentham
is no matter of pride or of pleasure. To read seriously means to say this, when we consider
their works is the most soporific employment that Mr. Mill has demonstrated the chance to
that we know; and a man ought no more to be as infinity to one against the existence of
be proud of refuting them than of having two such a balanced contest.
legs. We must now come to close quarters Fourthly, Mr. Bentham says, that in this
with Mr. Bentham, whom, we need not say, balanced contest the people turned the scale
we do not mean to include in this observation. in favour of the king against the aristocracy.
He charges us with maintaining,

But Mr. Mill has demonstrated, that it cannot
"First, that it is not true that all despots possibly be for the interest of the monarchy
govern ill:'-whereon the world is in a mis- and democracy to join against the aristocracy;
take, and the whigs have the true light. And and that wherever the three parties exist, the
for proof, principally,--that the king of Den- king and the aristocracy will combine against
mark is not Caligula. To which the answer the people. This, Mr. Mill assures us, is as
is, that the king of Denmark is not a despot. certain as any thing which depends upon
He was put in his present situation, by the human will.
people turning the scale in his favour, in a Fifthly, Mr. Bentham says, that if the king
balanced contest between himself and the no- of Denmark were to oppress his people, the
bility. And it is quite clear that the same people and nobles would combine against the
power would turn the scale the other way, the king. But Mr. Mill has proved that it can
moment a king of Denmark should take into never be for the interest of the aristocracy to
his head to be Caligula. It is of little conse combine with the democracy against the king.
quence by what congeries of letters the ma. It is evidently Mr. Bentham's opinion, that
jesty of Denmark is typified in the royal press monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, may
of Copenhagen, while the real fact is, that the balance each other, and by mutual checks pro-
sword of the people is suspended over his head duce good government.” But this is the very
in case of ill-behaviour, as effectually as in theory which Mr. Mill pronounces to be the
other countries where more noise is made wildest, the most visionary, the most chimeri.
upon the subject. Everybody believes the cal, ever broached on the subject of govern-
sovereign of Denmark to be a good and virtu- ment.
ous gentleman; but there is no more superhu We have no dispute on these heads with Mr
man merit in his being so, than in the case of Bentham. On the contrary, we think his ex.
a raral squire who does not shoot his land--planation true-or, at least, true in part; and
steward, or quarter his wife with his yeomanry we heartily thank him for lending us his as-


sistance to demolish the essay of his follower. "It is true that there are partial exceptions His wit and his sarcasm are sport to us; bat to the rule, that all men use power as badly as they are death to his unhappy disciple. they dare There may have been such things Mr. Bentham seems to imagine that we have as amiable negro-drivers and sentimental mas- said something implying an opinion favourable ters of press-gangs; and here and there, among to despotism. We can scarcely suppose that, the odd freaks of human nature, there may have as he has not condescended to read that portion

been specimens of men who were • No tyrants, of our work which he undertook to answer, he • though bred up to tyranny. But it would be can have bestowed much attention on its general

as wise to recommend wolves for nurses at character. Had he done so, he would, we think, the Foundling, on the credit of Romulus and scarcely have entertained such a suspicion. Remus, as to substitute the exception for the Mr. Mill asserts, and pretends to prove, that general fact, and advise mankind to take to under no despotic government does any human


being, except the tools of the sovereign, possess their benches, if the light wings of saffron more than the necessaries of life, and that the and of blue' should bear this theory into their most intense degree of terror is kept up by grim domains! Why do not the owners of constant cruelty. This, we say, is untrue. It pocket-handkerchiefs try to saturate?' Wlly is not merely a rule to which there are excep- does not the cheated publican beg leave to tions: but it is not the rule. Despotism is bad; check the gulosity of his defrauder with a rebut it is scarcely anywhere so bad as Mr. Mill petatur hausłus, and the pummelled plaintiff says that it is everywhere. This, we are sure, neuiralize the malice of his adversary, by reMr. Bentham will allow. If a man were to say questing to have the rest of the beating in prethat five hundred thousand people die every sence of the court,-if it is not that such conyear in London of dram-drinking, he would duct would run counter to all the conclusions not assert a proposition more monstrously false of experience, and be the procreation of the than Mr. Mill's. Would it be just to charge us mischief it affected to destroy! Woful is the with defending intoxication because we might man whose wealth depends on his having more say that such a man was grossly in the wrong? than somebody else can be persuaded to take

We say with Mr. Bentham that despotism is from him; and woful also is the people that is . a bad thing. We say with Mr. Bentham that in such a case !" the exceptions do not destroy the authority of Now, this is certainly very pleasant writing: the rule. But this we say—that a single ex- but there is no great difficulty in answerirg ception overthrows an argument, which either the argument. The real reason which makes does not prove the rule at all, or else proves it absurd to think of preventing theft by penthe rule to be true without exceptions ; and such sioning off thieves is this, that there is no limit an argument is Mr. Mill's argument against to the number of thieves. If there were only despotism. In this respect, there is a great a hundred thieves in a place, and we were difference between rules drawn from expe- quite sure that no person not already addicted rience, and rules deduced à priori. We might to theft would take to it, it might become a believe that there had been a fall of snow last question, whether to keep the thieves frein August, and yet not think it likely that there dishonesty by raising them above distress, would be snow next August. A single oc- would not be a beiter course than to employ currence opposed to our general experience officers against them. But the actual cases are would tell for very little in our calculation of not parallel. Every man who chooses can be the chances. But if we could once satisfy come a thief; but a man cannot become a king ourselves that, in any single right-angled tri- or a member of the aristocracy whenever he angle, the square of the hypothenuse might be chooses. The number of the depredators is less than the squares of the sides, we must re limited; and therefore the amount of depredaject the forty-seventh proposition of Euclid tion, so far as physical pleasures are concernaltogether. We willingly adopt Mr. Bentham's ed, must be limited also. Now, we make the lively illustration about the wolf; and we will remark which Mr. Bentham censures with resay, in passing, that it gives us real pleasure ference to physical pleasures only. The pleato see how little old age has diminished the sures of ostentation, of taste, of revenge, and gayety of this eminent man. We can assure other pleasures of the same description, have, him that his merriment gives us far more plea- we distinctly allowed, no limit. Our words are sure on his account, than pain in our own. these :-"A king or an aristocracy may be We say with him, keep the wolf out of the supplied to satiety with corporal pleasures, at an nursery, in spite of the story of Romulus and expense which the rudest and poorest commuRemus. But if the shepherd who saw the wolf nity would scarcely feel." Does Mr. Bentham licking and suckling those famous twins, were, deny this? If he does, we leave him to Mr. after telling this story to his companions, to Mill

. “What,” says that philosopher, in his assert that it was an infallible rule that no Essay on Education," what are the ordinary wolf ever had spared, or ever would spare, pursuits of wealth and power, wbich kindle to any living thing which might fall in its way, such a height the ardour of mankind ? Not to that its nature was carnivorous—and that it mere love of eating and of drinking, or all the could not fossibly disobey its nature, we think physical objects together which wealth can that the hearers might have been excused for purchase or power command. With these starting. It may be strange, but is not incon- every man is in the long run speedily satissistent, that a wolf which has eaten ninety-nine fied.” What the difference is between being children should spare the hundredth. But the speedily satisfied and being soon saturated, we fact that a wolf has once spared a child is leave Mr. Benthain and Mr. Mill to settle to suficient to show that there must be some flaw gether. in the chain of reasoning, purporting to prove The word " saturation," however, seems to that wolves cannot possibly spare children. provoke Mr. Bentham's mirth. It certainly did

Mr. Bentham proceeds to attack another po- not strike as as very pure English; but, as Mr. sition which he conceives us to maintain : Mill used it, we supposed it to be good Ben

" Secondly, That a government not under the thamese. With the latter language we are not control of the community (for there is no ques- critically acquainted, though, as it has many tion upon any other) .may soon be saturated.' roots in comm n with our mother tongue, we Tell it not in Bow Street, whisper it not in can contrive, by the help of a converted Utili. Hatton Garden-that there is a plan for pre- tarian, who attends us in the capacity of Moonventing injustice by saturation.'' With what shee, to make out a little. Bui Mr. Bentham's peals of unearthly merriment would Minos, authority is of course decisive, and we bow Xacus, and Rada inanthus, be aronsed upon to it.

Mr. Bentham next represents us as main-ple, because they are accustomed to wrong the taining,

people, “Thirdly, That 'though there may be some Here Mr. Mill differs, as usual, from Mr. Ben. tastes and propensities that have no point of tham. “The greatest princes," says he, in his saturation, there exists a sufficient check in Essay on Education, “ihe most despotical mas. the desire of the good opinion of others. The ters of human destiny, when asked what they misfortune of this argument is, that no man aim at by their wars and conquests, would an. cares for the good opinion of those he has been swer, if sincere, as Frederic of Prussia anaccustomed to wrong. If oysters have opi- swered, pour fair parler de soi ;-to occupy a nions, it is probable they think very ill of those large space in the admiration of mankind." who eat them in August; but small is the Putting Mr. Mill's and Mr. Bentham's princieffect upon the autumnal glutton that engulfs ples together, we might make out very easily their gentle substances within his own. The that " the greatest princes, the most despotical planter and the slave-driver care just as much masters of human destiny," would never abuse about negro opinion as the epicure about the their power, sentiments of oysters. M. Ude throwing live A man who has been long accustomed to ineels into the fire as a kindly method of divest- jure people, must also have been long accusing them of the unsavoury oil that lodges be- tomed to do without their love, and to endure neath their skins, is not more convinced of the their aversion. Such a man may not miss the immense aggregate of good which arises to the pleasure of popularity; for men seldom miss a !ordlier parts of the creation, than is the gentle pleasure which they have long denied thempeer who strips his fellow-man of country and selves. An old tyrant does withont popularity, of family for a wild fowl slain. The goodly just as an old water-drinker does without wine. landowner, who lives by morsels squeezed in- But though it is perfectly true that men who, discriminately from the waxy hands of the for the good of iheir health, have long abcobbler and the polluted ones of the nightman, stained from wine, feel the want of it very lit. is in no small degree the object of both hatred lle, it would be absurd to infer that men will and contempt; but it is to be feared that he is always abstain from wine, when their health a long way from feeling them to be intolerable. requires that they should do so. And it would The principle of " At mihi plaudo ipse domi, simul be equally absurd to say, because men who ac nummos contemplorin arcá,' is sufficient to make have been accustomed to oppress care litile for a wide interval between the opinions of the popularity, that men will therefore necessarily plaintiff and defendant in such cases. In short, prefer the pleasures of oppression to those of io banish law and leave all plaintiffs to trust to popularity. the desire of reputation on the opposite side, Then, again, a man may be accustomed to would only be transporting the theory of the wrong people in one point, and not in another. whigs from the House of Commons to West. He may care for their good opinion with re. minster Hall."

gard to one point, and not with regard to anNow, in the first place, we never maintained other. The Regent Orleans laughed at charges the proposition which Mr. Bentham pots into of impiety, libertinism, extravagance, idleness, our mouths. We said, and say, that there is a disgraceful promotions. But the slighiest alcertain check to the rapacity and cruelty of lusion to the charge of poisoning threw him men, in their desire of the good opinion of into convulsions. Louis the Fifteenth braved others. We never said that it was sufficient. the hatred and contempt of his subjects during Let Mr. Mill show it to insufficient. It is many years of the most odious and imbecile enough for us to prove that there is a set-off misgovern:nent. But when a report was against the principle from which Mr. Mill de- spread that he used human blood for his baths, duces the whole theory of government. The he was almost driven mad by it. Surely Mr. balance may be, and, we believe, will be, against Bentham's position, “that no man cares for the despotism and the narrow forms of aristocracy.good opinion of those whom he has been acBut what is this to the correctness or incor- customed to wrong," would be objectionable, as reciness of Mr. Mill's accounts? The question far too sweeping and indiscriminate, even if it is not, whether the motives which lead rulers did not involve, as in the present case we have to behave ill, are stronger than those which shown that it does, a direct begging of the lead them to behave well;—but whether we question at issue. ought to form a theory of government by look Mr. Bentham proceeds: ing only at the motives which lead rulers to be “Fourthly, The Edinburgh Reviewers are have ill, and never noticing those which lead of opinion, that it might, with no small them to behave well.

plausibility, be maintained, that, in many counAbsolute rulers, says Mr. Bentham, do not tries, there are two classes which, in some decare for the good opinion of their subjects ; for gree, answer to this description;' (viz.] 'that no man cares for the good opinions of those the poor compose the class which government whom he has been accustomed to wrong. By is established to restrain, and the people of Mr. Bentham's leave, this is a plain begging of some property, the class to which the powers the question. The point ar issue is this :-Will of government may without danger be connings and nobles wrong the people? The ar- fided.' gument in favour of kings and nobles is this: “ They take great pains, it is true, to say they will not wrong the people, because they this, and not to say it." They shuffle and creep care for the good opinion of the people. But about, to secure a hole to escape al, if .whai this argument Mr. Ben:ham meets thus they they do not asseri' should be found in any de will not care for the good opinion of the peo-gree inconveniente. A man might waste bix

« PreviousContinue »