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for his instruments; nay, he denies their existence. of the disciple who receives the doctrine in the simple unsophisticated state in which Mr Bentham left it; and who understands conscience to mean nothing more than Mr Bentham understood it-a mere bundle of sympathies and antipathies.
The only possible way to reform these beings is, so to set before them the odiousness, the criminality of their behaviour, as to call up the detestation of their better nature against these actions—a detestation which shall be so painful as to more than weigh down the pleasure they would derive from the immediate gratification of the propensities. In the degree, that it is true that remote consequences affect us in the shape of motives less than proximate ones, it follows that, precisely in the same degree, utility,' as a motive, must be less prompt and powerful than the immediate, proximate feeling of moral approbation.' Still we are painfully aware, that conscience must fall infinitely short, both as a guide and sanction, of the magnificent promises with which Mr Bentham inflames the imagination of his converts. Nobody, whether wise or foolish, pretends that this moral sense is perfect. We concede, that often in different individuals its conclusions disagree—that often in the same individual it is susceptible of variation. It may be sensitive, and it may be obtuse; it may be enlightened, and it may be prejudiced; it may often fail in obtaining compliance with its suggestions or submission to its commands. But does its imperfection prove its nonexistence? As well might we say that men have no faculty of reason, because it slightly removes one person from animal instinct, whilst it assimilates another to the purely spiritual intelligences of heaven. The whole scene on which we are accors is stamped with imperfection ; the sight, the taste, the touch of different human beings vary in particular conclusions, though in general ones they accord. But, from the occasional discrepancies of the action of any sense, who was ever led to deny its existence ?
These are a few of the considerations which appear wholly irreconcilable with Mr Bentham's school of morals; and they must suffice for the present, as we cannot spare room for any
There was no necessity whatever for the publication of these posthumous volumes. As we have already said, they add nothing to those ethical views and arguments, which appeared, many years since, in Mr Bentham's Introduction to the Prin
ciples of Morals and Legislation ;' and we are much mistaken if they are not essentially inferior. The editor affirms, that • the present work, whose especial object it is to approve itself to VOL, LXI, NO, CXXIV.
the general reader, is more desultory and diffuse, and seeks to win its way by a style less stern and severe.' We doubt it. If it is less axiomatic—more diffuse-more familiar—many must see in this only the characteristics of garrulous old age. More over, it not only fails to further the theory of the former work among the unprejudiced and enquiring, but bids fair, by its spirit, to make fresh enemies, and increasingly to irritate its old ones. However amiable Mr Bentham may have been in private life, from his very first years of authorship he presented a strong contrast in public. Disrespect for the talents, want of charity for the candour, and a gratuitous imputation of intellectual indolence in all who differed from his opinions, marked his earliest productions. When we opened these volumes, we did hope that, in these points, they would differ from their predecessors. We have been disappointed. The reader is dared to differ from their author at his peril. Canvass his views, and you expose yourself to a volley of abuse. Your motives-your industry-your love of truth, are instantly put in question. This sort of style and temper is a singular mode of " maxim• ising happiness' either for one's self or others. We doubt
, whether the greatest happiness of the greatest number is certain of being much promoted by writings in which the principle of utility is exemplified in its tendency to sharpen the keenness
of the controversial faculty, rather than in its power to give wide views of human nature, and to enlarge and soften the sympathies of the heart.
The word Deontology, by which Mr Bentham has chosen to designate his system, is one of his own manufacturing. Its novelty and uncouthness were apparently attractions not to be resisted. Otherwise, looking to its etymology, it is altogether out of place in a system which knows of no such paramount word as duty, and which scratches out conscience and moral feelings, in order to write over them its list of pains and pleasures. But Greek was perhaps as useless an acquirement as Latin. What are we to think of the following quotation, as made by the dictators of modern science ?
• Sperne voluptates : docet empta dolore voluptas.' That this is no misprint, appears by the translation and the comment.- Translation : Spurn pleasures ; purchased pleasure teach* eth pain!' Comment : - Silly is the precept; sadly silly, if taken
to the letter. But no such silly notion did he mean to inculcate • Horace was thinking of the verse, not of the morality. And • when the option is between truth and rhythm, between serving “and pleasing, extraordinary indeed must be the poet who makes
any other choice than was made by Horace.' Of course, a true philosopher is bound to take a fling at poetry, whether right or wrong. This, accordingly, is all poor Horace gets by being an Epicurean-a disciple of the only philosopher among the ancients, who, Mr Bentham says, had discovered the true source of morals. There is an admirable exposition of Utility in Plato. But Plato was not narrow enough to be a Utilitarian and nothing
Therefore Mr Bentham informs his scholars, that while • Xenophon was writing history, and Euclid giving instruction ' in geometry, Socrates and Plato were talking nonsense, under
the pretence of teaching wisdom and morality.' Is it to be wondered at, that the most accurate, learned, and philosophical nation in Europe — the Germans—treat with contempt ignorance and insolence like this? They admit the merits of Mr Bentham as a jurisconsult, in his analysis and classification of the materiel interests of life; but their metaphysicians and moralists agree, we believe without an exception, in considering his speculative philosophy as undeserving even the pomp and ceremony of an argument.
ART. V.-Journal by FranceS ANNE BUTLER. 2 vols. 8vo.
London : 1835.
Rs Butler's Journal has all the freshness, confidence, and
indiscretion of an intercepted correspondence. Among its many indiscretions, her declarations against the Press-gang? that body before whom statesmen tremble—is pre-eminently indiscreet. But the sort of temptation, under which foolish and fearless schoolboys provoke a nest of hornets, appears to have been irresistible. Passages like the following were pretty certain to bring them out : 'Except where they have been made political
newspaper writers and editors have never, I believe, been admitted into good society in England.'— Here I do solemnly • swear, never again with my own good will to become acquainted ' with any man in any way connected with the public press. They are utterly unreliable people, generally ; their vocation requires
that they should be so, and the very few exceptions I must forego. • However I might like them, I can neither respect nor approve
of their trade—for trade it is in the vilest sense of the word.' The presentation of one of the proscribed race is forced upon her. She keeps her word : I was most ungracious and forbidding,
and meant to be so.' Among the catechising gentlemen who, after the fashion of the country, introduced themselves to her, there was one who (she was afterwards told) was a newspaper
editor. She cannot believe it: He looks too fat, fresh, and ‘good-tempered for that.'* Her tone is equally light and irreverent in speaking of contributors to annuals, of scribblers for narrow coteries, and of other small literati
. There is no accounting for the prejudice which can entertain, or the audaciousness which can publish, such opinions. Of this we are quite aware. Our readers, however, may perhaps by this time be able to account, in part, for a good deal that they may happen to have heard about the vulgarity' of Mrs Butler's Journal. She has had the misfortune also to raise up another class of enemies. While some of our writers are shocked at her vulgarity, the Americans, it is said, are likely to be as much offended with the freedom of her remarks upon their manners. Is there any, and what degree of reason in these objections ?
We take the book as it is, having neither means nor inclination to read the stars scattered over its pages. For any thing we can tell one way or the other, they may be very improper mischiefmaking stars, or the maidenliest stars in the firmament.' Confining ourselves, then, to the printed text, we should like to know, whom and what the public can have imagined the present journal was to place before them ?-a pure and shrinking snowdrop, just brought out of the nunnery of an English nursery ? --the milliners' flower-one of the curtseying conventional nonentities of fashion ?-or some more stately personification of matronly reserve, sculptured out from our native granite? If so, the public may well be surprised. But, in fact, the absurdity of such a representation, in the present instance, would probably have been surpassed only by its stupidity. Mrs Butler has dealt more kindly by us. Instead of getting up for the booksellers a book which a hundred other travellers could have manufactured as skilfully as herself, she has given us one of those vivid realities which it is beyond the faculty of authorship to create. Her picture is a picture from the life—the original drawings taken on the spot. Our surprise, however, is perhaps as great as that of our neighbours, only of a more agreeable kind; first, at the extraor
* The impression which, on her first coming out, her father's horsewhip over certain shoulders, necessarily made upon her, has remained much too absolutely on her mind. She would at once perceive the injustice to individuals and the injury to the public, of similar reflections on the stage. Yet a daily press is a thing which we could less spare a daily theatre ; and the degradation of its members, by indiscriminate abuse and exclusion, becomes proportionally absurd. "What Sir Joshua Reynolds did for artists, and Garrick for performers-change their posi tion in society—merit and encouragement may do for the members of the public press.
dinary rapidity and truth with which the impression of the moment has been committed to paper-so little lost, so little added; next, at the frankness and good faith with which she has retained these her first impressions, in spite of the thousand and one terrors, temptations, and prudential considerations of preparing for the press. The genuine juice of the grape, unmedicated and unmixed, is not a rarer phenomenon in the cellars of a wine merchant, than a production so perfectly natural, in the literary market. It is more like thinking aloud than any thing of personal history we ever expected to see in print. Now, thinking aloud, which would be rather a hazardous practise with most people, is not likely to be less hazardous than usual in the person of a young and lively actress—the writer, while in her teens, of so bold a play as that of Francis the First. We do not offer the result of the experiment as the precedent of a pattern-girl, whose manners, feelings, and expressions may be safely received by governesses as authority for their pupils. That is another question. There are too many impulses and contingencies belonging to most kinds of talent to make talents desirable, but as an exception in life. This must be particularly true in the case of women. All the arrangements of society proceed so completely on the contrary supposition! What allowances, then, ought justice and charity to interpose, where, in addition to the common risks of wayward genius, its youthful destiny has been identified with the literature of the drama, the habits of the green-room, and the excitement of the stage? In case a juvenile actress should contract from her profession only a certain quantity of bad taste, and a little more of mobility and self-confidence than would be found in a young thing, who, although naturally as excitable, had been but just taken out of its country nest, she will have come out of the terrible ordeal marvellously little spoiled by it.
The way in which the supposed specimens of bad taste have been selected, in the newspapers and other publications, for exposure-sentences or half sentences detached from their quick and flowing context—makes them appear infinitely worse than they really are. For, the head and front of her offending amount to little more than occasional instances of a vehement and random style, which (though it has nothing improper in it in itself, yet) as it is not the language of good company, it is somewhat startling to hear a gentlewoman indulging in. For instance, she has no timid misgivings about the personality of Satan. An old magician could not speak of him with greater familiarity. The difficulty which the ladies of New York experience in pronouncing broadly and distinctly the first syllable of Hell-gate (the name of one of the wonders of the neighbour