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[EDINBURGH Review, OCTOPER, 1829.)

We have long been of opinion that the Uti-l be afraid ;--that this logic will impose on no litarians have owed all their influence to a man who dares to look it in the face. mere delusion—that, while professing to have The Wesiminster Reviewer begins by charg. submitted their minds to an intellectual disci. ing us with having misrepresented an impori. pline of peculiar severity, to have discarded all ant part of Mr. Mill's argument. sentimentality, and to have acquired consum- “The first extract given by the Edinburgh mate skill in the art of reasoning, they are de- Reviewers from the essay was an insulated cidedly inferior to the mass of educated men passage, purposely despoiled of what had prein the very qualities in which they conceive ceded and what followed. The author had themselves to excel. They have undoubtedly been observing, that some profound and benefreed themselves from the dominion of some volent investigators of human affairs had absurd notions. But their struggle for intel- adopted the conclusion, that of all the possible lectual emancipation has ended, as injudicious forms of government, absolute monarchy is and violent struggles for political emancipation the test. This is what the reviewers have 100 ofien end, in a mere change of tyrants. omitted at the beginning. He then adds, as in Indeed, we are not sure that we do not prefer the extract, that Experience, if we look only at the venerable nonsense which holds prescrip- the outside of the facts, appears to be divided on live sway over the ultra-tory, to the upstart this subjeci;' there are Caligulas in one place, dynasty of prejudices and sophisms, by which and kings of Denmark in another. •As the the revolutionists of the moral world have surface of history affords, therefore, no certain suffered themselves to be enslaved.

principle of decision, we must go beyond the sur. The Utilitarians have sometimes been abused face, and penetrate to the springs within. This as intolerant, arrogant, irreligious,-as enemies is what ihe reviewers have omitted at the of literature, of the fine arts, and of the domes- end." ric charities. They have been reviled for some It is perfectly true, that our quotation from ihings of which they were guilty, and for some Mr. Mill's Essay was, like most other quotations, of which they were innocent. But scarcely preceded and followed by something which anybody seems to have perceived, that almost we did not quote. But if the Westminster Re. all their peculiar faults arise from the utter want viewer means to say, that either what preceded, both of comprehensiveness and of precision in or what followed, would, if quoted, have shown their mode of reasoning. We have, for some that we put a wrong interpretation on the pastime past, been convinced that this was really sage which was extracted, he does not underthe case; and that, whenever their philosophy stand Mr. Mill rightly. should be boldly and unsparingly scrutinized, Mr. Mill undoubtedly says that, “ as the sur. the world would see that it had been under a face of history affords no certain principle of inistake respecting them.

decision, we must go beyond the surface, and We have made the experiment, and it has penetrate to the springs within." But these succeeded far beyond our most sanguine ex- expressions will admit of several interpreta. pectations. A chosen champion of the school tions. In what sense, then, does Mr. Mill use has come forth against us. A specimen of his them? If he means that we ought to inspect logical abilities now lies before us; and we the facts with close attention, he means what pledge ourselves to show, that no prebendary is rational. But if he means that we ought to at an Anti-Catholic meeting, no true-blue baro- leave the facts, with all their apparent incon. net after the third boitle at a Pitt Club, ever sistencies, unexplained-to lay down a general displayed such utter incapacity of comprehend-principle of the widest extent, and to deduce ing or answering an argument, as appears in doctrines from that principle by syllogistic ar. the speculations of this Utilitarian apostle; gument, without pausing to consider whether that he does not understand our meaning, or those doctrines be, or he not, consistent with Mr. Mill's meaning. or Mr. Bentham's meaning, the facts,—then he means what is irrational; or his own meaning; and that the various paris and this is clearly what he does mean: for he of his system if the name of system can be immediately begins, withont offering the least su misapplied-directly contradict each other. explanation of the contradictory appearances

Having shown this, we intend to leave him in which he has himself described, to go beyond undispuied possession of whatever advantage the surface in the following manner :-" That he may derive from the last word. We pro- one human being will desire to render the per. pose only to convince the public that there is son and property of another subservient to his nothing in the far-famed logic of the Utilita- pleasures, notwithstanding the pain or loss of rians, of which any plain man has reason to pleasure which it may occasion, to that other

individual, is the foundation of government. tures of the Edinburgh Review (XCVIII. Art.1.) on the the power necessary to accomplish the object"

Westminster Review, (XXII. Art. 10,) on the Stric. The desire of the object implies the desire of C.llitarian Throry of Government, and the “Greatest {Iappiness Principle.”

And thus he proceeds to deduce consequences


directly inconsistent with what he has himself conclusion, that good government is impossista!ed respecting the situation of the Danish ble.” That the Danes are well governed withpeople.

out a representation, is a reason for deducing If we assume that the object of government the theory of government from a general prin. is the preservation of the persons and property ciple, from which it necessarily follows, that of men, then we must hold that, wherever that good government is impossible without a reobject is attained, there the principle of good presentation! We have done our best to put government exists. If that object he attained this question plainly; and we think, that if ihe both in Denmark and in the United States of Westminster Reviewer will read over what we America, then that which makes government have written, twice or thrice with patience and good must exist, under whatever disguise of attention, some glimpse of our meaning will title or name, both in Denmark and in the break in, even on his mina. United States. If men lived in fear for their Scme objections follow, so frivolous and unlives and their possessions under Nero and fair, that we are almost ashamed to notice them. under the National Convention, it follows that “When it was said that there was in Denthe causes from which misgovernment pro- mark a balanced contest between the king and ceeds, existed both in the despotism of Rome, the nobility, what was said was, that there was and in the democracy of France. What, then, a balanced contest, but it did not last. It was is that which, being found in Denmark and in balanced till something put an end to the bathe United States, and not being found in the lance; and so is every thing else. That such Roman empire, or under the administration of a balance will not last, is precisely what Mr Robespierre, renders governments, widely dif- Mill had demonstrated." fering in their external form, practically good! Mr. Mill, we positively affirm, pretends to Be it what it may, it certainly is not that which demonstrate, not merely that a balanced conMr. Mill proves à priori that it must be,-a de- test between the king and the aristocracy will mocratic representative assembly. For the not last, but that the chances are as infinity to Danes have no such assembly.

one against the existence of such a balanced The latent principle of good government contest. This is a mere question of fact: We ought to be tracked, as it appears to us, in the quote the words of the Essay, and defy the same manner in which Lord Bacon proposed Westminster Reviewer to impeach our accu. to track the principle of heat. Make as large racy :a list as possible, said that great man, of those " It seems impossible that such equality bodies in which, however widely they differ should ever exist. How is it to be estafrom each other in appearance, we perceive blished? Or by what criterion is it to be asheat; and as large a list as possible of those certained? If there is no such criterion, it which, while they bear a general resemblance must, in all cases, be the result of chance. to hot bodies, are, nevertheless, not hot. Ob- If so, the chances against it are as infinity to serve the different degrees of heat in different one." het bodies, and then, if there be something The Reviever has confounded the division which is found in all hot bodies, and of which of power with the balance or equal division the increase or diminution is always accom- of power. Mr. Mill says, that the division of panied by an increase or diminution of heat, power can never exist long, because it is next we may hope that we have really discovered to iinpossible that the equal division of power the object of our search. In the same manner, should ever exist at all. we ought to examine the constitution of all " When Mr. Mill asserted that it cannot be those communities in which, under whatever for the interest of either the monarchy or the form, the blessings of good government are en- aristocracy to combine with the democracy, it joyed; and to discover, if possible, in what is plain he did not assert that is the monarchy they resemble each other, and in what they all and aristocracy were in doubtful contest with differ from those societies in which the object each other, they would not, either of them, acof government is not attained. By proceeding cept of the assistance of the democracy. He thus we shall arrire, not indeed at a perfect spoke of their taking the side of the democratheory of government, but at a theory which cy; not of their allowing the democracy to take will be of great practical use, and which the side with themselves.” experience of every successive generation will If Mr. Mill meant any thing, he must have probably bring nearer and nearer to perfection. meant this--that the monarchy and the aristo

The inconsistencies into which Mr. Mill has cracy will never forget their enmiiy to the de. been betrayed, by taking a different course, mocracy, in their enmity to each other. ought to serve as a warning to all speculators. “The monarchy and aristocracy,” says he, Because Denmark is well governed by a mo- “have all possible motives for endeavouring parch, who, in appearance at least, is absolute, to obtain unlimited power over the persons and Mr. Mill thinks, that the only mode of arriving properly of the community. The consequence at the true principles of government, is to de- is inevitable. They have all possible motives duce them à priori from the laws of human na- for combining to obtain that power, and unless

And what conclusion does he bring out the people have power enough to be a match by this deduction ? We will give it in his own for both, they have no protection. The ba. words :-" In the grand discovery of modern lance, therefore, is a thing, the existence of times, the system of representation, the solu- which, upon the best possible evidence, is to cirn of all the difficulties, both speculative and be regarded as impossible.” practical, wiil perhaps be found. If it cannot, If Mr. Mill meant only what the Westminster He seem to be forced upon the extraordinary Reviewer conceives him to have meant, hus Vol. V.-88




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argument would leave the popular theory of some motive interferes to keep them from do the balance quite, untouched. For it is the ing so. very theory of the balance, that the help of the If there be, as the Westminster Reviewer people will be solicited by the nobles when acknowledges, certain checks which, under hard pressed by the king, and by the king political institutions the most arbitrary in seem. when hard pressed by the nobles; and that, ing, sometimes produce good government, and as the price of giving alternate support to the almost always place some restraint on the racrown and the aristocracy, they will obtain pacity and cruclty of the powerful; surely the something for themselves, as the reviewer ad- knowledge of those checks, of their nalare, mits that they have done in Denmark. If Mr. and of their effect, must be a most important Mill admits this, he admits the only theory of part of the science of government. Does Mr. the balance of which we never heard that Mill say any thing upon this part of the subvery theory which he has declared to be wild ject? Not one word. and chimerical. If he denies it, he is at issue The line of defence now taken by the Utili. with the Westminster Reviewer as to the phe- tarians evidently degrades Mr. Mill's theory nomena of the Danish government.

of government from the rank which, till within We now come to a more important passage. the last few months, was claimed for it by the Our opponent has discovered, as he conceives, whole sect. It is no longer a practical system, a radical error which runs through our whole fit to guide statesmen, but merely a barren exargument, and vitiales every part of it. We ercise of the intellect, like those propositions suspect that we shall spoil his triumph. in mechanics in which the effect of friction and

“Mr. Mill never asserted that under no des of the resistance of the air is left out of the potic government does any human being, except the question ; and which, therefore, though cortools of the sovereign, possess more than the necessa- rectly deduced from the premises, are in praeries of life, and that the most intense degree of terror tice utterly false. For if Mr. Mill professes to is kept up by constant cruelty.' He said that ab- prove only that absolute monarchy and aristosolote power Icads to such rescits, by infalli- cracy are pernicious without checks,-if be bie sequence, where power over a community allows that there are checks which produce is attained, and nothing checks.' The critic on good government, even under absoluie mothe Mount never made a more palpable mis- narchs and aristocracies,—and if he omits to quotation.

tell us what those checks are, and what effects “ The spirit of this misquotation runs through they produce under different circumstances, he overy part of the reply of the Edinburgh Re- surely gives us no information which can be view that relates to the Essay on Government; of real utility. and is repeated in as many shapes as the Ro

But the fact is,--and it is most extraordinary man Pork. The whole description of .Mr. that the Westminster Reviewer should do Mill's argument against despotism,'—including have perceived it, -that if once the existence the illustration from right-angled triangles and of checks on the abuse of power in monarchies the square of the hypothenuse,-is founded on and aristocracies be admitted, the whole of Mr. this invention of saying what an author has Mill's theory falls to the ground at once. This not said, and leaving unsaid what he has.” is so palpable, that in spite of the opinion of

We thought, and saill think, for reasons the Westminster Reviewer, we must acquit Mr. which our readers will soon understand, that Mill of having intended to make such an adwe represented Mr. Mill's principle quite fairly, mission. We still think that the words, "where and according to the rule and law of common power over a community is attained, and nosense, ut res magis valeat quam pereat. Let us, thing checks," must not be understood to mean, however, give him all the advantage of the that under a monarchical or aristocratical form explanation tendered by his advocate, and see of government there can really be any check what he will gain by it.

which can in any degree mitigate the wretchThe Utilitarian doctrine then is, not that edness of the people. despots and aristocracies will always oppress For, all possible checks may be classed usand plunder the people to the last point, but der iwo general heads,—want of will, and want that they will do so if nothing checks them. of power. Now, if a king or an aristocracy,

In the first place, it is quite clear that the having the power to plunder and oppress the lloctrine thus stated, is of no use at all, unless people, can want the will, all Mr. Mill's prinThe force of the checks be estimated. The ciples of human nature must be pronounced first law oï motion is, that a ball once pro- unsound. He tells us, " that the desire to pos. jected will Ay on to all eternity with undimi- sess unlimited power of inflicting pain upon nished velocity, unless something checks. The others, is an inseparable part of human nature;" fact is, that a ball stops in a few seconds after and that“ a chain of inference, close and strong proceeding a few yards with very variable to a most unusual degree,” leads to the corelomotion. Every man would wring his child's sion that those who possess this power will verk, and pick his friend's pocket, if nothing always desire to use it. It is plain, therefore, checked him. In fact, the principle thus stated, that, if Mr. Mill's principles be sound, the check means only that government will oppress, un- on a monarchical or an aristocratical govern. less they abstain from oppressing. This is ment will not be the want of will to oppress. quite true, we own. But we might with equal If a king or an aristocracy, having, as Mr. propriety turn the maxim round, and lay it Mill tells us that they always must have, the will down as the fundamental principle of govern. to oppress the people with the utmost severity mert, that all rulers will govern well, unless want the power, then the government, by what

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ever name it may be called, must be virtuallying of the word circle. But when we analyze a mixed government, or a pure democracy: for his speculations, we find that his notion of it is quite clear that the people possess some power is, in the words of Bacon, phantastica power in the state-some means of influencing et male terminata.” the nominal rulers. But Mr. Mill has demon- There are two senses in which we may use strated that no mixed government can possibly the word power, and those words which denote exist, or at least that such a government must the various distributions of power, as for excome to a very speedy end : therefore, every ample, monarchy ;-the one sense popular and country in which people not in the service of superficial,—the other more scientitic and acthe government have, for any length of time, curate. Mr. Mill, since he chose to reason à been permitted to accumulate more than the priori, ought to have clearly pointed out in bare means of subsistence, must be a pure de- which sense he intended to use words of this mocracy. That is to say, France before the kind, and to have adhered inflexibly to the sense revolution, and Ireland during the last century, on which he fixed. Instead of doing this, he were pure democracies. Prussia, Austria, fies backwards and forwards from the one sense Russia, all the governments of the civilized to the other, and brings out conclusions at last world, were pure democracies. If this be not which suit neither. a reductio ad absurdum, we do not know what is. The state of these two communities to which

The errors of Mr. Mill proceed principally he has himself referred- the kingdom of Den. from that radical vice in his reasoning, which, mark and the empire of Rome-may serve to in our last number, we described in the words illustrate our meaning. Looking merely at the of Lord Bacon. The Westminster Reviewer surface of things, we should ca Denmark a is unable to discover the meaning of our ex. despotic monarchy, and the Roman world, in tracts from the Novum Organum, and expresses the first century after Christ, an aristocratical himself as follows:

republic. Caligula was, in theory, nothing “The quotations from Lord Bacon are mis- more than a magistrate elected by the senate, applications, such as anybody may make to and subject to the senate. That irresponsible any thing he dislikes. There is no more re- dignity which, in ihe most limited monarchies semblance between pain, pleasure, motives, of our time, is ascribed to the person of the &c., and substantia, generatio, corruptio, elemen- sovereign, never belonged to the earlier Cæsars. tum, materia,-than between lines, angles, mag. The sentence of death which the great council pitudes, &c., and the same."

of the commonwealth passed on Nero, was It would perhaps be unreasonable to expect strictly according to the theory of the constituthat a writer who cannot understand his own lion. Yet, in fact, the power of the Roman English, should understand Lord Bacon's La- emperors approached nearer to absolute domi. tin. We will, therefore, attempl to make our nion than that of any prince in modern Europe. meaning clearer.

On the other hand, the king of Denmark, in What Lord Bacon blames in the schoolmen theory the most despotic of princes, would, in of his time, is this,-that they reasoned syllo- practice, find it most perilous 10 indulge in crugistically on words which had not been defined elly and licentiousness. Nor is there, we bewith precision ; such as moist, dry, generation, lieve, at the present moment, a single sovereign corruption, and so forth. Mr. Mill's error is in our part of the world, who has so much real exactly of the same kind. He reasons syllo- power over the lives of his subjects as Robes. gisticaliy about power, pleasure, and pain, pierre, while he lodged at a chandler's and without allaching any definite notion to any dined at a restaurateur's, exercised over the one of those words. There is no more resem-lives of those whom he called his fellow-citis blance, says the Westminster Reviewer, be- zens. tween pain and substantin, than between pain Mr. Mill and the Westminster Reviewer seem and a line or an angle. By his permission, in to agrce, that there cannot long exist, in any the very point to which Lord Bacon's observa- society, a division of power between a monarch, tion applies, Mr. Mill's subjects do resemble an aristocracy, and the people; or between any the substantia and elementum of the schoolmen, two of them. However the power be distri. and differ from the lines and magnitudes of buted, one of the three parties will, according to Euciid. We can reason d priori cn mathema. ihem, inevitably monopolize the whole. Now, tics, because we can define with an exactitude what is here meant by power? If Mr. Mili which precludes all possibility of confusion. speaks of the external semblance of power,If a mathematician were to admit the least of power recognised by the theory of the con. laxity into his notions; if he were to allow stitution,,he is palpably wrong. In England, himself to be deluded by the vague sense for example, we have had for ages the name which words bear in a popular use, or by the and form of a mixed government, if nothing aspect of an ill-drawn diagram; if he were to more. Indeed, Mr. Mill himself owns, tbat forget in his reasonings that a point was indi- there are appearances which have given colour visible, or that the definition of a line excluded to the theory of the balance, though he mainbreadth, there would be no end to his blunders. tains that these appearances are delusive. But The schoolmen tried to reason' mathematically if he uses the word power in a deeper and phi. about things which had not been, and perhaps losophical sense, he is, if possible, still more in could not be, defined with mathematical accu- the wrong than on the former supposition. racy. We know the result. Mr. Mill has in For if he had considered in what the power of our time attempted to do the same. He talks one human being over other human beings must of power, for example, as if the meaning of the ultimately consist, he vould have perceived, word power were as determinate as the mean. I not only that there are mixed governments in the world, but that all the governments in through fear of the resistance of the people, the world, and all the governments which can there the constitution, whatever it may be even be conceived as existing in the world, called, is in some measure democratical. The are virtually mixed.

admixture of democratic power may be slight. If a king possessed the lamp of Aladdin,- It may be much slighter than it ought to be; if he governed by the help of a genius, who but some admixture there is. Wherever a nucarried away the daughters and wives of his merical minority, by means of superior wealth subjects through the air to the royal Parc-uux- or intelligence, of political concert, or of milicerfs, and turned into stone every man who tary discipline, exercises a greater influence on wagged a singer against his majesty's govern the society than any other equal number of inent, there would, indeed, be an unmixed des- persons,-there, whatever the form of govern. potism. But, fortunately, a ruler can be grati- may be called, a mixture of aristocracy does fied only by means of his subjects. His power in fact exist. And wherever a single man, depends on their obedience; and, as any three from whatever cause, is so necessary to the or four of them are more than a match for commur.ity, or to any portion of it, that he him by himself, he can only enforce the un- possesses more power than any other man, willing obedience of some, by means of the ihere is a mixture of monarchy. This is the willing obedience of others. Take any of philosophical classification of governments; those who are popularly called absolute and if we use this classification we shall find, princes–Napoleon for example. Could Napo- not only that there are mixed governments, bat leon have walked through Paris, cutting off the that all governments are, and must always be, head of one person

every house which he mixed. But we may safely challenge Mr. Mill passed ? Certainly not without the assistance to give any definition of power, or to make any of an army. If not, why not? Because the classification of governments, which shall bear people had sufficient physical power to resist him out in his assertion, that a lasting division him, and would have put forth that power in of authority is impracticable. defence of their lives and of the lives of their It is evidently on the real distribution of children. In other words, there was a portion power, and not on names and badges, that the of power in the democracy under Napoleon. happiness of nations must depend. The repreNapoleon might probably have indulged him-sentative system, though doubtless a great and sell in such an atrocious freak of power if his precious discovery in politics, is only one of army would have seconded him. But if his ihe many modes in which the democratic part army had taken part with the people, he would of the community can effectually check the have found himself utterly helpless; and even governing few. 'That certain men have been if they had obeyed his orders against the peo- chosen as deputies of the people,--that there ple, they would not have suffered him to deci- is a piece of paper stating such deputies to mate their own body. In other words, there possess certain powers,—these circumstances was a portion of power in the hands of a mi. in themselves constitute no security for good nority of the people, that is to say, in the hands government. Such a constitution nominally of an aristocracy, under the reign of Napoleon.existed in France; while, in fact, an oligarchy

To come nearer home,--Mr. Mill tells us that of committees and clubs trampled at orce on it is a mistake to imagine that the English go- the electors and the elected. Representation is vernment is mixed. He holds, we suppose, a very happy contrivance for enabling large with all the politicians of the Utilitarian school, bodies of men to exert their power, with less that it is purely aristocratical. There certainly risk of disorder than there would otherwise be is an aristocracy in England, and we are afraid But assuredly it does not of itself give power that their power is greater than it ought to be. Unless a representative assembly is sure of They have power enough to keep up the game being supported, in the last resort, by the laws and corn-laws; but they have not power physical strength of large masses, who have enough to subject the bodies of men of the spirit to defend the constitution, and sense to lowest class to wanton outrage at their plea- defend it in concert, the mob of the town in sure. Suppose that they were to make a law, which it meets may overawe it;—the howls of that any gentleman of two thousand a year the listeners in its gallery may silence its de might have a day-labourer or a pauper flogged liberations ;-an able and daring individual with a cat-of-nine-tails whenever the whim may dissolve it. And if that sense and that might take him. It is quite clear, that the first spirit of which we speak be diffused through a day on which such flagellation should be ad- society, then, even without a representative asministered, would be the last day of the English sembly, that society will enjoy many of the aristocracy. In this point, and in many other blessings of good government. points which might be named, the commonalty Which is the better able to defend himself, in our island enjoy a security quite as com--a strong man with nothing but his fists, or a plete as if they exercised the right of univer- paralytic cripple encuinbered with a sword sal suffrage. We say, therefore, that the Eng. which he cannot lift? Such, we believe, is the lish people have, in their own hands, a suffi- difference between Denmark and some new recient guarantee that in some points the aristo- publics in which the constitutional forms of the cracy will conform to their wishes;-in other United States have been most sedulously imiwords, they have a certain portion of power tated. over the aristocracy. Therefore the English Look on the Long Parliament, on the day on government is mixed.

which Charles came to seize the five members, Wherever a king or an oligarchy refrains and look at it again on the day when Cromwell from the last extremity of rapacity and tyranny, Istamped with his foot on its foor. On which

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