« AnteriorContinuar »
ef France called in the help of Spain against a | their countrymen. It will not be denied that Huguenot king. Would it be fair to infer, that they are far better affected to the state than the at present the French Protestants would wish followers of Coligni or Vane. But they are to see their religion made dominant by the help not so well treated as the dissenting sects of of a Prussian or English army? Surely not. Christians are now treated in England; and And why is it that they are not willing, as they on this account, and, we firmly believe, on this formerly were willing, to sacrifice the interests account alone, they have a more exclusive of their country to the interests of their reli- spirit. Till we have carried the experiment gious persuasion? The reason is obvious: they farther, we are not entitled to conclude that were persecuted then, and are not persecuted they cannot be made Englishmen altogether. now. The English Puritans, under Charles The statesman who treats them as aliens, and the First, prevailed on the Scotch to invade then abuses them for not entertaining all the England. Do the Protestant Dissenters of our feelings of natives, is as unreasonable as the time wish to see the church put down by an tyrant whe punished their fathers for not mak invasion of foreign Calvinists? If not, to what ing bricks without straw. cause are we to attribute the change? Surely Rulers must not be suffered thus to absolve to this, that the Protestant Dissenters are far bet- themselves of their solemn responsibility. It ter treated now than in the seventeenth century. does not lie in their mouths to say that a sect Some of the most illustrious public men that is not patriotic. It is their business to make England ever produced were inclined to take it patriotic. History and reason clearly indirefuge from the tyranny of Laud in North cate the means. The English Jews are, as far America. Was this because Presbyterians and as we can see, precisely what our government Independents are incapable of loving their has made them. They are precisely what any country! But it is idle to multiply instances. sect, what any class of men, treated as they Nothing is so offensive to a man who knows have been treated, would have been. If all the any thing of history or of human nature as to red-haired people in Europe had, during cenhear those who exercise the powers of govern- turies, been outraged and oppressed, banished ment accuse any sect of foreign attachments. from this place, imprisoned in that, deprived If there be any proposition universally true in of their money, deprived of their teeth, conpolitics it is this, that foreign attachments are victed of the most improbable crimes on the the fruit of domestic misrule. It has always feeblest evidence, dragged at horses' tails, been the trick of bigots to make their subjects hanged, tortured, burned alive, if, when manmiserable at home, and then to complain thatners became milder, they had still been subject they look for relief abroad; to divide society, to debasing restrictions and exposed to vulgar and to wonder that it is not united; to govern insults, locked up in particular streets in some as if a section of the state were the whole, and countries, pelted and ducked by the rabble in to censure the other sections of the state for others, excluded everywhere from magistracies their want of patriotic spirit. If the Jews have and honours, what would be the patriotism of not felt towards England like children, it is gentlemen with red hair? And if, under such because she has treated them like a step- circumstances, a proposition were made for mother. There is no feeling which more cer- admitting red-haired men to office, how striking tainly developes itself in the minds of men a speech might an eloquent admirer of our living under tolerably good government than old institutions deliver against so revolutionary the feeling of patriotism. Since the beginning a measure! "These men," he might say, of the world, there never was any nation, or "scarcely consider themselves as Englishmen. any large portion of any nation, not cruelly They think a red-haired Frenchman or a redoppressed, which was wholly destitute of that haired German more closely connected with feeling. To make it therefore ground of ac- them than a man with brown hair born in their cusation against a class of men, that they are own parish. If a foreign sovereign patronizes not patriotic, is the most vulgar legerdemain red hair, they love him better than their own of sophistry. It is the logic which the wolf native king. They are not Englishmen: they employs against the lamb. It is to accuse the cannot be Englishmen: nature has forbidden mouth of the stream of poisoning the source. it: experience proves it to be impossible. If the English Jews really felt a deadly hatred | Right to political power they have none; for to England, if the weekly prayer of their syna- no man has a right to political power. Let gogues were that all the curses denounced by them enjoy personal security; let their pro Ezekiel on Tyre and Egypt might fall on Lon-perty be under the protection of the law. But don, if, in their solemn feasts, they called down if they ask for leave to exercise power over a blessings on those who should dash our chil- community of which they are only half memdren to pieces on the stones, still, we say, their bers, a community the constitution of which is hatred to their countrymen would not be more essentially dark-haired, let us answer them in intense than that which sects of Christians the words of our wise-ancestors, Nolumus leges have often borne to each other. But in fact Anglia mutari." the feeling of the Jews is not such. It is precisely what, in the situation in which they are placed, we should expect it to be. They are treated far better than the French Protestants were treated in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or than our Puritans were treated in the time of Laud. They, therefore, have no rancour against the government or against
But, it is said, the Scriptures declare that the Jews are to be restored to their own coun try; and the whole nation looks forward to that restoration. They are, therefore, not so deeply interested as others in the prosperity of England. It is not their home, but merely the place of their sojourn, the house of their bondage. This argument, which first appeared in
the Times newspaper, and which has attracted | which they have never done. She enjoins her a degree of attention proportioned not so much priests to observe strict purity. You are to its own intrinsic force as to the general always taunting them with their licentioustalent with which that journal is conducted, ness. She commands al' her followers to fast belongs to a class of sophisms by which the often, to be charitable to the poor, to take no most hateful persecutions may easily be jus- interest for money, to fight no duels, to see no fied. To charge men with practical conse- plays. Do they obey these injunctions? If it quences which they themselves deny, is disin- be the fact that very few of them strictly obgenuous in controversy; it is atrocious in serve her precepts, when her precepts are government. The doctrine of predestination, opposed to their passions and interests, may in the opinion of many people, tends to make not loyalty, may not humanity, may not the those who hold it utterly immoral. And cer- love of ease, may not the fear of death, be tainly it would seem that a man who believes sufficient to prevent them from executing his eternal destiny to be already irrevocably those wicked orders which she has issued fixed is likely to indulge his passions without against the sovereign of England? When restraint and to neglect his religious duties. we know that many of these people do not If he is an heir of wrath, his exertions must be care enough for their religion to go without unavailing. If he is preordained to life, they beef on a Friday for it, why should we think must be superfluous. But would it be wise to that they will run the risk of being racked and punish every man who holds the higher doc- hanged for it? trines of Calvinism, as if he had actually committed all those crimes which we know some Antinomians to have committed? Assuredly not. The fact notoriously is that there are many Calvinists as moral in their conduct as any Arminian, and many Arminians as loose as any Calvinist.
People are now reasoning about the Jews as our fathers reasoned about the Papists. The law which is inscribed on the walls of the sy nagogues prohibits covetousness. But if we were to say that a Jew mortgagee would not foreclose, because God had commanded him not to covet his neighbour's house, every body It is altogether impossible to reason from would think us out of our wits. Yet it passes the opinions which a man professes to his feel- for an argument to say that a Jew will take no ings and his actions; and in fact no person is interest in the prosperity of the country in ever such a fool as to reason thus, except when which he lives, that he will not care how bad he wants a pretext for persecuting his neigh its laws and police may be, how heavily it bours. A Christian is commanded, under the may be taxed, how often it may be conquered strongest sanctions, to be just in all his deal- and given up to spoil, because God has proings. Yet to how many of the twenty-four mised that, by some unknown means, and at millions of professing Christians in these isl- some undetermined time, perhaps ten thousand ands would any man in his senses lend a thou-years hence, the Jews shall migrate to Pales sand pounds without security? A man who tine. Is not this the most profound ignorance should act, for one day, on the supposition that of human nature? Do we not know that what ail the people about him were influenced by is remote and indefinite affects men far less the religion which they professed, would find than what is near and certain? The argu himself ruined before night; and no man ever ment too applies to Christians as strongly as does act on that supposition in any of the ordi- to Jews. The Christian believes, as well as nary concerns of life, in borrowing, in lend- the Jew, that at some future period the pres ing, in buying, or in selling. But when any of ent order of things will come to an end. Nay, our fellow-creatures are to be oppressed, the many Christians believe that the Messiah will case is different. Then we represent those shortly establish a kingdom on the earth, and motives which we know to be so feeble for reign visibly over all its inhabitants. Whether good as omnipotent for evil. Then we lay to this doctrine be orthodox or not we shall not the charge of our victims all the vices and here inquire. The number of people who hold follies to which their doctrines, however re- it is very much greater than the number of motely, seem to tend. We forget that the same Jews residing in England. Many of those who weakness, the same laxity, the same disposi- hold it are distinguished by rank, wealth, and tion to prefer the present to the future, which ability. It is preached from pulpits, both of make inen worse than a good religion, make the Scottish and of the English church. Nothem better than a bad one. blemen and members of parliament have writ ten in defence of it. Now wherein does this doctrine differ, as far as its political tendency
It was in this way that our ancestors reasoned, and that some people in our own time still reason, about the Catholics. A Papist concerned, from the doctrine of the Jews! believes himself bound to obey the pope. The If a Jew is unfit to legislate for us because he pope has issued a bull deposing Queen Eli- believes that he or his remote descendents will zabeth. Therefore every Papist will treat be removed to Palestine, can we safely open her grace as an usurper. Therefore every the House of Commons to a fifth monarchy Papist is a traitor. Therefore every Papist man who expects that, before this generation ought to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. To shall pass away, all the kingdoms of the earth this logic we owe some of the most hateful will be swallowed up in one divine empire? laws that ever disgraced our history. Surely the answer lies on the surface. The church of Rome may have commanded these men to treat the queen as an usurper. But she has Lommanded them too many other things
Does a Jew engage less eagerly than a Chris tian in any competition which the law leaves open to him? Is he less active and regular in his business than his neighbours? Does he furnish his house meanly, because he is a pil
that crime which made the earth shake and blotted out the sun from heaven? The same reasoning which is now employed to vindicate the disabilities imposed on our Hebrew countrymen will equally vindicate the kiss of Judas and the judgment of Pilate. "The Son of man
grim and sojourner in the land? Does the expectation of being restored to the country of his fathers make him insensible to the fluctuations of the stock-exchange? Docs he, in arranging his private affairs, ever take into the account the chance of his migrating to Palestine? If not, why are we to suppose that feel-goeth, as it is written of him; but woe to that ings which never influence his dealings as a man by whom the Son of man is betrayed." merchant, or his dispositions as a testator, will And woe to those ho, in any age in any acquire a boundless influence over him as soon country, disobey his benevolent commands un as he becomes a magistrate or a legislator? der pretence of accomplishing his predictions If this argument justifies the laws now existing against the Jews, it justifies equally all the cruelties which have ever been committee against them, the sweeping edicts of banish ment and confiscation, the dungeon, the rack, and the slow fire. How can we excuse our. selves for leaving property to people who are
There is another argument which we would not willingly treat with levity, and which yet we scarcely know how to treat seriously. Scripture, it is said, is full of terrible denunciations again st the Jews. It is foretold that they are to be wanderers. Is it then right to give them a home? It is foretold that they are to be oppressed. Can we with propriety suffer" to serve their enemies in hunger, and in thirst, them to be rulers? Tc admit them to the and in nakedness, and in want of all things:" rights of citizens is manifestly to insult the for giving protection to the persons of those Divine oracles. who are to "fear day and night, and to have none assurance of their life;" for not seizing on the children of a race whose "sons and daughters are to be given unto another people."
We allow that to falsify a prophecy inspired by Divine Wisdom would be a most atrocious crime. It is, therefore, a happy circumstance for our frail species, that it is a crime which no man can possibly commit. If we admit the Jews to seats in Parliament, we shall, by so doing, prove that the prophecies in question, whatever they may mean, do not mean that the Jews shall be excluded from Parliament.
We have not so learned the doctrines of Him who commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves, and who, when he was called upon to explain what He meant by a neighbour, selected as an example a heretic and an alien. Last year, we remember, it was In fact it is already clear that the prophecies represented by a pious writer in the John Bull do not bear the meaning put upon them by the newspaper, and by some other equally fervid respectable persons whom we are now answer- Christians, as a monstrous indecency, that the ing. In France and in the United States the measure for the relief of the Jews should be Jews are already admitted to all the rights of brought forward in Passion week. One of citizens. A prophecy, therefore, which should these humourists ironically recommended that mean that the Jews would never, during the it should be read a second time on Good Fri course of their wanderings, be admitted to all day. We should have had no objection; nor the rights of citizens in the places of their so- do we believe that the day could be commemo journ, would be a false prophecy. This, there-rated in a more worthy manner. We know of fore, is not the meaning of the prophecies of no day fitter for terminating long hostilities Scripture. and repairing cruel wrongs, than the day on which the religion of mercy was founded. We know of no day fitter for blotting out from the statute book the last traces of intolerance than the day on which the spirit of intolerance produced the foulest of all judicial murders, the day on which the list of the victims of intoler ance, that noble list wherein Socrates and More are enrolled, was glorified by a yet greater and holier name.
But we protest altogether against the practice of confounding prophecy with precept, of setting up preclictions which are often obscure against a morality which is always clear. If actions are to be considered as just and good merely because they have been predicted, what action was ever more laudable than that crime which our bigots are now, at the end of eighteen centuries, urging us to avenge on the Jews,
MILL'S ESSAY ON GOVERNMENT.*
[EDINBURGH Review, March, 1829.]
Of those philosophers who call themselves | them that the studies which they have neglected Utilitarians, and whom others generally call are of no value, puts five or six phrases intc Benthamites, Mr. Mill is, with the exception of their mouths, lends them an odd number of the the illustrious founder of the sect, by far the Westminster Review, and in a month transmost distinguished. The little work now before forms them into philosophers. Mingled with us contains a summary of the opinions held by these smatterers, whose attainments just suffice this gentleman and his brethren, on several to elevate them from the insignificance of subjects most important to society. All the dunces to the dignity of bores, and to spread seven Essays of which it consists, abound in dismay among their pious aunts and grandcurious matter. But at present we intend to mothers, there are, we well know, many wellconfine our remarks to the Treatise on Govern- meaning men, who have really read and ment, which stands first in the volume. On thought much; but whose reading and medisome future occasion we may perhaps attempt tation have been almost exclusively confined to do justice to the rest. to one class of subjects; and who, consequently, though they possess much valuable knowledge respecting those subjects, are by no means so well qualified to judge of a great system as if they had taken a more enlarged view of litera ture and society.
It must be owned, that, to do justice to any composition of Mr. Mill is not, in the opinion of his admirers, a very easy task. They do not, indeed, place nim in the same rank with Mr. Bentham; but the terms in which they extol the disciple, though feeble when compared with the hyperboles of admiration employed by them in speaking of the master, are as strong as any sober man would allow himself to use concerning Locke or Bacon. The Essay before us is perhaps the most remarkable of the works to which Mr. Mill owes his fame. By the members of his sect, it is considered as perfect and unanswerable. Every part of it is an article of their faith; and the damnatory clauses, in which their creed abounds far beyond any theological symbol with which we are acquainted, are strong and full against all who reject any portion of what is so irrefragably established. No man, they maintain, who has understanding sufficient to carry him through the first proposition of Euclid, can read this master-piece of demonstration, and honestly declare that he remains unconvinced. We have formed a very different opinion of this work. We think that the theory of Mr. Mill rests altogether on false principles, and that even on those false principles he does not reason logically. Nevertheless, we do not think it strange that his speculations should have filled the Utilitarians with admiration. We have been for some time past inclined to suspect that these people, whom some regard as the lights of the world, and others as incarnate demons, are in general ordinary men, with narrow understandings, and little information. The contempt which they express for elegant literature is evidently the contempt of ignorance. We apprehend that many of them are persons who, having read little or nothing, are delighted to be rescued from the sense of their cwn inferiority, by some teacher who assures
* Essays on Government, Jurisprudence, the Liberty of the Press, Prisons and Prison Discipline, Colonies, the Law of Nations and Education. By JAMES MILL, Esq., author of the History of British India. Reprinted by permission from the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica. (Not for sale.) London. 1828
Nothing is more amusing or instructive than to observe the manner in which people, who think themselves wiser than all the rest of the world, fall into snares which the simple good sense of their neighbours detects and avoids. It is one of the principal tenets of the Utilitarians, that sentiment and eloquence serve only to impede the pursuit of truth. They therefore affect a quakerly plainness, or rather a cynical negligence and impurity of style. The strongest arguments, when clothed in brilliant language, seem to them so much wordy nonsense. In the meantime they surrender their understandings, with a facility found in no other party, to the meanest and most abject sophisms, provided those sophisms come before them disguised with the externals of demonstration. They do not seem to know that logic has its illusions as well as rhetoric,-that a fallacy may lurk in a syllogism as well as in a metaphor.
Mr. Mill is exactly the writer to please people of this description. His arguments are stated with the utmost affectation of precision: his divisions are awfully formal; and his style is generally as dry as that of Euclid's Elements. Whether this be a merit, we must be permitted to doubt. Thus much is certain, that the ages in which the true principles of philosophy were least understood, were those which the ceremonial of logic was most strictly observed, and that the time from which we date the rapid progress of the experimental sciences was also the time at which a less exact and formal way of writing came into use.
The style which the Utilitarians admire, suits only those subjects on which it is possible to reason a priori. It grew up with the verbal sophistry which flourished during the dark ages. With that sophistry it fell before the Baconian philosophy, in the day of the great deliverance of the human mind. The induc tive method not cnly endured, but required,
greater freedom of diction. It was impossible | in a theory because a fact contradicts it, is what to reason from phenomena up to principles, to neither philosopher nor pope ever before remark slight shades of difference in quality, or quired. This, however, is what Mr. Mill deto estimate the comparative effect of two oppo-mands of us. He seems to think that if all site considerations, between which there was despots, without exception, governed ill, it no common measure, by means of the naked would be unnecessary to prove, by a synthetical and meager jargon of the schoolmen. Of those argument, what would then be sufficiently clear schoolmen, Mr. Mill has inherted both the spirit from experience. But as some despots will be and the style. He is an Aristotelian of the so perverse as to govern well, he finds himself fifteenth century, born out of due season. We compelled to prove the impossibility of their have here an elaborate treatise on government, governing well, by that synthetical argument, from which, but for two or three passing allu- which would have been superfluous had not sions, it would not appear that the author was the facts contradicted it. He reasons a priori, aware that any governments actually existed because the phenomena are not what, by reaamong men. Certain propensities of human soning a priori, he will prove them to be. In nature are assumed; and from these premises other words, he reasons a priori, because, by so the whole science of polities is synthetically reasoning, he is certain to arrive at a false deduced! We can scarcely persuade ourselves conclusion! that we are not reading a book written before the time of Bacon and Galileo,—a book written in those days in which physicians reasoned from the nature of heat to the treatment of fever, and astronomers proved syllogistically that the planets could have no independent motion, because the heavens were incorruptible, and nature abhorred a vacuum!
The reason, too, which Mr. Mill has assigned for taking this course strikes us as most extraordinary.
In the course of the examination to which we propose to subject the speculations of Mr. Mill, we shall have to notice many other curious instances of that turn of mind which the passage above quoted indicates.
"Experience," says he, "if we look only at the outside of the facts, appears to be divided on this subject. Absolute monarchy, under Neros and Caligulas, under such men as the emperors of Morocco and sultans of Turkey, is the Scourge of human nature. On the other side, the people of Denmark, tired out with the oppression of an aristocracy, resolved that their king should be absolute; and, under their absolute monarch, are as well governed as any people in Europe."
The first chapter of his Essay relates to the ends of government. The conception on this subject, he tells us, which exists in the minds of most men, is vague and undistinguishing. He first assumes, justly enough, that the end of government is "to increase to the utmost the pleasures, and diminish to the utmost the pains, which men derive from each other." He then proceeds to show, with great form, that "the greatest possible happiness of society is attained by insuring to every man the greatest possible quantity of the produce of his labour." To effect this is, in his opinion, the end of government. It is remarkable that Mr. Mill, with all his affected display of precision, has here given a description of the ends of government far less precise than that which is in the This Mr. Mill actually gives as a reason for mouths of the vulgar. The first man with pursuing the a priori method. But, in our whom Mr. Mill may travel in a stage-coach judgment, the very circumstances which he will tell him that government exists for the mentions, irresistibly prove that the a priori protection of the persons and property of men. method is altogether unfit for investigations of But Mr. Mill seems to think that the preservathis kind, and that the only way to arrive at the tion of property is the first and only object. It truth is by induction. Experience can never be is true, doubtless, that many of the injuries divided, or even appear to be divided, except which are offered to the persons of men prowith reference to some hypothesis. When we ceed from a desire to possess their property. say that one fact is inconsistent with another But the practice of vindictive assassination, fact, we mean only that it is inconsistent with as it has existed in some parts of Europe-the the theory which we have founded on that other practice of fighting wanton and sanguinary fact. But, if the fact be certain, the unavoid-duels, like those of the sixteenth and sevenable conclusion is, that our theory is false: and teenth centuries, in which bands of seconds in order to correct it, we must reason back from risked their lives as well as the principals ;an enlarged collection of facts to principles. these practices, and many others which might be named, are evidently injurious to society; and we do not see how a government which tolerated them could be said "to diminish to the utmost the pains which men derive from each other." Therefore, according to Mr. Mill's very correct assumption, such a government would not perfectly accomplish the end of its institution. Yet such a government might, as far as we can perceive, "insure to every man the greatest possible quantity of the produce of his labour." Therefore, such a government might, according to Mr. Mill's subsequent doctrine, perfectly accomplish the end of its institution. The matter is not of much consequence, except as an instance cí
Now, here we have two governments which, by Mr. Mill's own account, come under the same head in his theoretical classification. It is evident, therefore, that, by reasoning on that theoretical classification, we shall be brought to the conclusion that these two forms of government must produce the same effects. But Mr. Mill himself tells us, that they do not produce the same effects. Hence he infers, that the only way to get at truth is to place implicit confidence in that chain of proof a priori, from which it appears that they must produce the same effects! To believe at once in a theory, and in a fact which contradicts it, is an exercise of faith sufficiently hard: But, to believe