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rest applies to all the synonymes and circum-/ about the whole species, the impossibility of locutions which are employed to convey the answering is still more evident. Man differs same meaning; pain and pleasure, happiness from man; generation from generation ; Da. and misery, objects of desire, and so forth. tion from nation. Education, station, sex, age,
The whole art of Mr. Mill's essay consists accidental associations, produce infinite shades in one simple trick of legerdemain. Il con- of variely. sists in using words of the sort which we have Now, the only mode in which we can conbeen describing, first in one sense and then in ceive it possible to deduce a theory of geveraanother. Men will take the objects of their ment from the principles of human nature, is desire if they can. Unquestionably :—but this this. We musi find out what are the motives is an identical proposition: for an object of which, in a particular form of government, desire means merely a thing which a man will impel rulers to bad measures, and what are procure if he can.' Nothing can possibly be those which impel them to good measures. inferred from a maxim of this kind. When We must then compare the effect of the two we see a mar. take something, we shall know classes of motives; and according as we find that it was an object of his desire. But till the one or the other to prevail, we must prothen, we have no means of judging with cer- nounce the form of government in question tainty what he desires, or what he will take. good or bad. The general proposition, however, having been Now let it be supposed that, in aristocrat.cal admitted, Mr. Mill proceeds to reason as if and monarchical states, the desire of wealth, men had no desires but those which can be and other desires of the same class, always gratified only by spoiliation and oppression. It tend to produce misgovernment, and that the then becomes easy to deduce doctrines of vast love of approbation, and other kindred feelings, importance from the original axiom. The always tend to produce good governant only misfortune is, thai by ihus narrowing the Then, if it be impossible, as we have shown meaning of the word desire, the axiom be. that it is, to pronounce generally which of the comes false, and all the doctrines consequent two classes of motives is the more influential, upon it are false likewise.
it is impossible to find out, a priori, whether a When we pass beyond those maxims which monarchical or aristocratical form of goveroit is impossible to deny without a contradiction ment be good or bad. in terms, and which, therefore, do not enable Mr. Mill has avoided the difficulty of making us to advance a single step in practical know the comparison, by very coolly putting all the ledge, we do not believe that it is possible to weights into one of the scales,-by reasoning lay down a single general rule respecting the as if no human being had ever sympathized molives which influence human actions. There with the feelings, been gratified by the thanks, is nothing which may not, by association or by or been galled by the execrations, of another. comparison, become an object either of desire The case, as we have put il, is decisive or of aversion. The fear of death is generally against Mr. Mill; and yet we have put it in a considered as one of the strongest of our feel. manñer far too favourable to him. For in ings. It is the most formidable sanction which fact, it is impossible to lay it down as a general legislators have been able to devise. Yet rule, that the love of wealth in a sovereign it is notorious that, as Lord Bacon has ob- always produces misgovernment, or the love served, there is no passion by which that fear of approbation good government. A patient has not been often overcome. Physical pain and far-sighted ruler, for example, who is less is indisputably an evil; yet it has been often desirous of raising a great sum immediately, endured, and even welcomed. Innumerable than of securing an unencumbered and promartyrs have exulted in torrents which made gressive revenue, will, by taking off restraiuls the spectators shudder; and, to use a more from trade, and giving perfect security lo prohomely illustration, there are few wives who perty, encourage accumulation, and entice do not long to be mothers.
capital from foreign countries. The com Is the love of approbation a stronger motive mercial policy of Prussia, which is perhaps than the love of wealth? It is impossible to superior to that of any government in the answer this question generally, even in the world, and which puts to shame the absurdi. case of an individual with whom we are very ties of our republican brethren on the other intimate. We often say, indeed, that a man side of the Atlantic, has probably sprung from loves fame more than money, or money more the desire of an absolute ruler io enrich him. than fame. But this is said in a loose and self. On the other hand, when the popular popular sense ; for there is scarcely a man estimate of virtues and vices is erroneous, who would not endure a few sneers for a great which is too often the case, the love of approsum of money, if he were in pecuniary dis- bation leads sovereigns to spend the wealth of tress; and scarcely a man, on the other hand, the nation on useless shows, or to engage in who, if he were in flourishing circumstances, wanton and destructive wars. If, then, we can would expose himself to the hatred and con- neither compare the strength of two motives, tempt of the public for a trifle. In order, there. nor determine with certainty to what descrip fore, to return a precise answer, even about a tion of actions either motive will lead, how can single human being, we must know what is the re possibly deduce a theory of government amount of the sacrifice of reputation demand from the nature of man? ed, and of the pecuniary advantage offered, How, then, are we to arrive at just conclu. and in what situation the person to whom the sions on a subject so important to the happi. temptation is proposed stands at the time. But ness of mankindSurely by that method when the question is propounded generally I which, in every experimental science to which 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 invigorale the mind,—which method for which our new philosophers would draws nutriment 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, nutriment and ornament to all. We are ages,-by the method of induction ;-by observ. surry 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 lest of new real utility, the talents and industry which are facts, by correcting, or altogether abandoning now wasted on verbal sophisms, wretched or 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 sec!, 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 liberty. But, on the whole, they might have pill of the advertising quack, which is 10 chosen worse. They may as well be Utilitacure all human beings, in all ciimates, of all rians as jockeys or dandies. And though diseases.
quibbling aboui 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 pelly ment for a grown man, it ceriainly hurts the craft, so often mistaken for statesmanship by health less than hard drinking, and the fortune ininds grown narrow in habits of intrigue, job- less than high play: it is not much more bing, and official etiqueue ;-which, of all laughable than phrenology, and is immeasuiences, is the most portant to the welfare rably more humane than cock-fighting.
BENTHAM'S DEFENCE OF MILL.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, JUNE, 1829.)
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 ful 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 pobleman 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 Home'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 noi 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 deseoce, 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 fil 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, 10 attack or to defend a book with. shall 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. Benthaw 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 governpublic 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 intelo 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 meril, 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 seleeble 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 fratior, the exuberant 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 wilh
full confidence put ourselves on the country I ne Westminster Review, No. XXI., Article XVI. Edinburgh Review, No.
It is not necessary, for the purposes of this VII., Article on Mill's Essays un Government, &c.
investigation, that we should stale what our
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 tn his Now, in the first place, we never cited the Romeo 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 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 despol. 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 magnificeni 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, thought fit to display their the distinction between a despot and an absoingenuity on questions of the most momentous lute’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 beunder 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 10 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. Benthamn 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 deinocracy 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 agaiņst 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 prosword 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 governsovereign 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 exe a rural 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 Jending us his as sabre.
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; but in 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 becn 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 I 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 theit 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 ?' Why 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 deirauder with a rebut it is scarcely anywhere so bad as Mr. Mill petatur haustus, 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 conclasions 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 il 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 answering 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 arguinent 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 from August, and yet not ihink it likely that there dishonesty by raising them above distress, would-be snow next August. A single oc- would not be a better 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-apgled tri- or a member of the aristocracy whenever he angle, the square of the hypothenusé 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. Beniham censures with re. say, in passing, that it gives us real pleasure ference to physical pleasures only. The plea'o 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 descrip:ion, havo, bim that his merriment gives us far more plea- we distinctly allowe., 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 pleusures, at an nursery, in spite of the story of Romulus and expense which the rudest and poorest comingRemus. 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. aster ielling this story to his companions, to Mill. “Whal," 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, which 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 thai it mere love of eating and of drinking, or all the could not possibly disobey ils 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 whiclı has eaten ninety-nine fied.” What the difference is between being children should spare the hundredth. But the speedlily satisfied and being soon saturated, we fact that a wolf has once spared a child is leave Mr. Benthain and Mr. Mill to settle tosulficient 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 us as very pure English; bar, 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 salurated.' roots in comm. n with our mother tongue, vrs Tell it not in Bow Street, whisper il not in can contrive, by the help of a converted UtiliHatton Garden—that there is a plan for pre- larian, who altinds us in the capacity of Mootventing injustice by · saluration. With what shee, to make oui a little. Bul Mr. Bentham's peals of unearthly merriment would Minos, authority is of course decisive, and we bow facus, and Radamanthus, be aroused upon to it.