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in all communities the interest of a king must be opposed to that of the people, but also that, in all communities, it must be more directly opposed to the interest of the people than to the interest of the aristocracy. But he has not shown this. Therefore he has not proved his proposition on his own principles. To quote history would be a mere waste of time. Every school-boy, whose studies have gone so far as the abridgments of Goldsmith, can mention in-security against the sinister interest of the stances in which sovereigns have allied them- people's representatives, so it appears that it selves with the people against the aristocracy, is the only security of which the nature of the and in which nobles have allied themselves case admits." But all the arguments by which with the people against the sovereign. In ge- Mr. Mill has proved monarchy and aristocracy neral, when there are three parties, every one to be pernicious, will, as it appears to us, of which has much to fear from the others, it equally prove this security to be no security is not found that two of them combine to plun- at all. Is it not clear that the representatives, der the third. If such a combination be formed, as soon as they are elected, are an aristocracy it scarcely ever effects its purpose. It soon be- with an interest opposed to the interest of the comes evident which member of the coalition community? Why should they not pass a law is likely to be the greater gainer by the trans- for extending the term of their power from one action. He becomes an object of jealousy to year to ten years, or declare themselves senahis ally, who, in all probability, changes sides, tors for life? If the whole legislative power and compels him to restore what he has taken. is given to them, they will be constitutionally Everybody knows how Henry VIII. trimmed competent to do this. If part of the legislative between Francis and the Emperor Charles. power is withheld from them, to whom is that But it is idle to cite examples of the operation part given? Is the people to retain it, and to of a principle which is illustrated in almost express its assent or dissent in primary assemevery page of history, ancient or modern, and blies? Mr. Mill himself tells us that the comto which almost every state in Europe has, at munity can only act when assembled, and that, one time or another, been indebted for its in- when assembled, it is incapable of acting. Or dependence. is it to be provided, as in some of the American republics, that no change in the fundamental laws shall be made without the consent of a convention, specially elected for the purpose? Still the difficulty recurs: Why may not the members of the convention betray their "In the grand discovery of modern times, trust, as well as the members of the ordinary the system of representation, the solution of all legislature? When private men, they may the difficulties, both speculative and practical, have been zealous for the interests of the comwill perhaps be found. If it cannot, we seem munity. When candidates, they may have to be forced upon the extraordinary conclusion, pledged themselves to the cause of the constithat good government is impossible. For as tution. But as soon as they are a convention, there is no individual or combination of indi- as soon as they are separated from the people, viduals, except the community itself, who would as soon as the supreme power is put into their not have an interest in bad government, if in-hands, commences that interest, opposite to the trusted with its powers, and as the community interest of the community, which must, accorditself is incapable of exercising those powers, ing to Mr. Mill, produce measures opposite to and must intrust them to certain individuals, the interests of the community. We must find the conclusion is obvious: the community it- some other means, therefore, of checking this self must check those individuals, else they check upon a check; some other prop to carry will follow their interest, and produce bad the tortoise, that carries the elephant, that cargovernment. But how is it the cominunity ries the world. can check? The community can act only when assembled; and when assembled, it is incapable of acting. The community, however, can choose representatives."
Mr. Mill has now, as he conceives, demonstrated that the simple forms of government are bad, and that the mixed forms cannot possibly exist. There is still, however, it seems, a hope for mankind.
The next question is-How must the representative body be constituted? Mr. Mill lays down two principles, about which, he says, "it is unlikely that there will be any dispute."
"First, The checking body must have a degree of power sufficient for the business of checking.
"Secondly, It must have an identity of interest with the community. Otherwise, it will make a mischievous use of its power."
derstands the words, "interest of the community."
The first of these propositions certainly admits of no dispute. As to the second, we shall hereafter take occasion to make some remarks on the sense in which Mr. Mill un
It does not appear very easy, on Mr. Mill's principles, to find out any mode of making the interest of the representative body identical with that of the constituent body. The plan proposed by Mr. Mill is simply that of very frequent election. "As it appears," says he, "that limiting the duration of their power is a
We know well that there is no real danger in such a case. But there is no danger, only because there is no truth in Mr. Mill's princi ples. If men were what he represents them to be, the letter of the very constitution which he recommends would afford no safeguard against bad government. The real security is this, that legislators will be deterred by the fear of resistance and of infamy from acting in the manner which we have described. But restraints, exactly the same in kind, and differing only in degree, exist in all forms of government. That broad line of distinction which Mr. Mill tries to point out between monarchies and aristocracies on the one side, and democracies on the other, has in fact no existence. In no form of government is there an absolute identity of interest between the
vernment the rulers stand in some awe of the people. The fear of resistance and the sense of shame operate, in a certain degree, on the most absolute kings and the most illiberal oligarchies. And nothing but the fear of resistance and the sense of shame preserves the freedom of the most democratic communities from the encroachments of their annual and biennial delegates.
people and their rulers. In every form of go- | terest of a Chinese the same with that of the woman whom he harnesses to his plough! Is the interest of an Italian the same with that of the daughter whom he devotes to God! The interest of a respectable Englishman may be said, without any impropriety, to be identi cal with that of his wife. But why is it so! Because human nature is not what Mr. Mil conceives it to be; because civilized men, pursuing their own happiness in a social state, are not Yahoos fighting for carrion; because there is a pleasure in being loved and esteemed, as well as in being feared and servilely obeyed. Why does not a gentleman restrict his wife to the bare maintenance which the law would compel him to allow her, that he may have more to spend on his personal pleasures? Because, if he loves her, he has pleasure in seeing her pleased; and because, even if he dislikes her, he is unwilling that the whole neighbourhood should cry shame on his meanness and ill-nature. Why does not the legislature, altogether composed of males, pass a law to deprive women of all civil privileges whatever, and reduce them to the state of slaves? By passing such a law, they would gratify what Mr. Mill tells us is an inseparable part of human nature, the desire to possess unlimited power of inflicting pain upon others. That they do not pass such a law, though they have the power to pass it, and that no man in England wishes to see such a law passed, proves that the desire to possess unlimited power of inflicting pain is not inseparable from human nature.
We have seen how Mr. Mill proposes to render the interest of the representative body identical with that of the constituent body. The next question is, in what manner the interest of the constituent body is to be rendered identical with that of the community. Mr. Mill shows that a minority of the community, consisting even of many thousands, would be a bad constituent body, and, indeed, merely a numerous aristocracy.
"The benefits of the representative system," says he, "are lost in all cases in which the interests of the choosing body are not the same with those of the community. It is very evident that, if the community itself were the choosing body, the interest of the community and that of the choosing body would be the same."
On these grounds Mr. Mill recommends that all males of mature age, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, shall have votes. But why not the women too? This question has often been asked in parliamentary debate, and has never, to our knowledge, received a plausible answer. Mr. Mill escapes from it as fast as he can. But we shall take the liberty to dwell a little on the words of the oracle. "One thing," says he, "is pretty clear, that all those individuals whose interests are involved in those of other individuals may be struck off without inconvenience. this light women may be regarded, the interest of almost all of whom is involved either in that of their fathers, or in that of their husbands."
If there be in this country an identity of interest between the two sexes, it cannot possibly arise from any thing but the pleasure of being loved, and of communicating happiness. For that it does not spring from the mere inInstinct of sex, the treatment which women experience over the greater part of the world abundantly proves. And if it be said that our laws of marriage have produced it, this only removes the argument a step further; for those laws have been made by males. Now, if the kind feelings of one-half of the species be a sufficient security for the happiness of the other, why may not the kind feelings of a monarch or an aristocracy be sufficient at least to prevent them from grinding the people to the very utmost of their power?
If Mr. Mill will examine why it is that women are better treated in England than in Persia, he may perhaps find out, in the course of his inquiries, why it is that the Danes are better governed than the subjects of Caligula.
If we were to content ourselves with saying, in answer to all the arguments in Mr. Mill's Essay, that the interest of a king is involved in that of the community, we should be accused, and justly, of talking nonsense. Yet such an assertion would not, as far as we can perceive, be more unreasonable than that which Mr. Mill has here ventured to make. Without adducing one fact, without taking the trouble to perplex the question by one sophism, he placidly dogmatizes away the interests of one-half of the human race. If there be a word of truth in history, women have always We now come to the most important practibeen, and still are, over the greater part of the cal question in the whole Essay. Is it desiraglobe, humble companions, playthings, cap-ble that all males arrived at years of discretives, menials, beasts of burden. Except in a tion should vote for representatives, or should few happy and highly civilized communities, a pecuniary qualification be required? Mr. they are strictly in a state of personal slavery. Mill's opinion is, that the lower the qualificaEven in those countries where they are best tion the better; and that the best system is treated, the laws are generally unfavourable that in which there is none at all. to them, with respect to almost all the points in which they are most deeply interested.
"The qualification," says he, "must either be such as to embrace the majority of the population, or something less than the majority. Suppose, in the first place, that it embraces the majority, the question is, whether the majority would have an interest in op
Mr. Mill is not legislating for England or the United States; but for mankind. Is then the interest of a Turk the same with that of the girls who compose his haram? Is the in
pressing those who, upon this supposition, It may, perhaps, be said that, in the long run. would be deprived of political power? If we it is for the interest of the people that property reduce the calculation to its elements, we shall should be secure, and that, therefore, they will see that the interest which they would have respect it. We answer thus:-It cannot be of this deplorable kind, though it would be pretended that it is not for the immediate insomething, would not be very great. Each terest of the people to plunder the rich. There man of the majority, if the majority were con- fore, even if it were quite certain that, in the stituted the governing body, would have some-long run, the people would, as a body, lose by thing less than the benefit of oppressing a doing so, it would not necessarily follow that . single man. If the majority were twice as the fear of remote ill consequences would overgreat as the minority, each man of the ma- come the desire of immediate acquisitions. jority would only have one-half the benefit of Every individual might flatter himself that the oppressing a single man. punishment would not fall on him. Mr. Mill Suppose, in the second place, that the qualifi- himself tells us, in his Essay on Jurisprudence, cation did not admit a body of electors so that no quantity of evil which is remote and large as the majority, in that case, taking uncertain will suffice to prevent crime. again the calculation in its elements, we shall But we are rather inclined to think that it see that each man would have a benefit equal would, on the whole, be for the interest of the to that derived from the oppression of more majority to plunder the rich. If so, the Utilitathan one man; and that, in proportion as the rians will say, that the rich ought to be plunelective body constituted a smaller and smaller dered. We deny the inference. For, in the minority, the benefit of misrule to the elective first place, if the object of government be the body would be increased, and bad government | greatest happiness of the greatest number, the would be insured." intensity of the suffering which a measure The first remark which we have to make on inflicts must be taken into consideration, as this argument is, that, by Mr. Mill's own ac- well as the number of the sufferers. In the next count, even a government in which every place, we have to notice one most important human being should vote would still be defec-distinction which Mr. Mill has altogether overtive. For, under a system of universal suffrage, looked. Throughout his Essay, he confounds the majority of the electors return the repre- the community with the species. He talks of sentative, and the majority of the representa- the greatest happiness of the greatest number: tives make the law. The whole people may but when we examine his reasonings, we find vote, therefore, but only the majority govern. that he thinks only of the greatest number of a So that, by Mr. Mill's own confession, the most single generation. perfect system of government conceivable is one in which the interest of the ruling body to oppress, though not great, is something.
But is Mr. Mill in the right, when he says that such an interest could not be very great? We think not. If, indeed, every man in the community possessed an equal share of what Mr. Mill calls the objects of desire, the majority would probably abstain from plundering the minority. A large minority would offer a vigorous resistance; and the property of a small minority would not repay the other members of the community for the trouble of dividing it. But it happens that in all civilized communities there is a small minority of rich men, and a great majority of poor men. If there were a thousand men with ten pounds apiece, it would not be worth while for nine bundred and ninety of them to rob ten, and it would be a bold attempt for six hundred of them to rob four hundred. But if ten of them had a hundred thousand pounds apiece, the case would be very different. There would then be much to be got, and nothing to be feared.
"That one human being will desire to render the person and property of another subservient to his pleasures, notwithstanding the pain or loss of pleasure which it may occasion to that other individual, is," according to Mr. Mill, "the foundation of government." That the property of the rich minority can be made subservient to the pleasures of the poor majority, will scarcely be denied. But Mr. Mill proposes to give the poor majority power over the rich minority. Is it possible to doubt to what, on his own principles, such an arrangement must lead?
Therefore, even if we were to concede, that all those arguments of which we have exposed the fallacy, are unanswerable, we might still deny the conclusion at which the essayist arrives. Even if we were to grant that he had found out the form of government which is best for the majority of the people now living on the face of the earth, we might still, without inconsistency, maintain that form of government to be pernicious to mankind. It would still be incumbent on Mr. Mill to prove that the interest of every generation is identical with the interest of all succeeding generations. And how, on his own principles, he could do this we are at a loss to conceive.
The case, indeed, is strictly analogous to that of an aristocratical government. In an aristocracy, says Mr. Mill, the few, being invested with the powers of government, can take the objects of their desires from the people. In the same manner, every generation, in turn, can gratify itself at the expense of posterity,-priority of time, in the latter case, giving an advantage exactly corresponding to that which superiority of station gives in the former. That an aristocracy will abuse its advantage, is, according to Mr. Mill, matter of demonstra tion. Is it not equally certain that the whole people will do the same; that, if they have the power, they will commit waste of every sort on the estate of mankind, and transmit it to posterity impoverished and desolated?
How is it possible for any person who holds the doctrines of Mr. Mill to doubt, that the rich, in a democracy such as that which he recommends, would be pillaged as unmercifully as under a Turkish pacha? It is no doubt for the
interest of the next generation, and it may be
It is scarcely necessary to discuss the effects which a general spoliation of the rich would produce. It may indeed happen, that where a legal and political system full of abuses is inseparably bound up with the institution of property, a nation may gain by a single con vulsion, in which both perish together. The price is fearful: but if, when the shock is over, a new order of things should arise, under which property may enjoy security, the industry of individuals will soon repair the devastation. Thus we entertain no doubt that the Revolution was, on the whole, a most salutary event for France. But would France have gained, if, ever since the year 1793, she had been governed by a democratic convention? If Mr. Mill's principles be sound, we say that almost her whole capital would by this time have been annihilated. As soon as the first explosion was beginning to be forgotten, as soon as wealth again began to germinate, as soon as the poor again began to compare their cottages and salads with the hotels and banquets of the rich, there would have been another scramble for property, another maximum, another general confiscation, another reign of terror. Four or five such convulsions following each other, at intervals of ten or twelve years, would reduce the most flourishing countries of Europe to the state of Barbary or the Morea.
The civilized part of the world has now nothing to fear from the hostility of savage nations. Once the deluge of barbarism has passed over it, to destroy and to fertilize; and in the present state of mankind we enjoy a full security against that calamity. That flood will no more return to cover the earth. But is it possible that, in the bosom of civilization itself, may be engendered the malady which shall destroy it? Is it possible that institutions may be established which, without the help of earthquake, of famine, of pestilence, or of the foreign sword, may undo the work of so many ages of wisdom and glory, and gradually sweep away taste, literature, science, commerce, ma
These conclusions are strictly drawn from Mr. Mill's own principles: and, unlike most of the conclusions which he has himself drawn from those principles, they are not, as far as we know, contradicted by facts. The case of the United States is not in point. In a country where the necessaries of life are cheap and the wages of labour high, where a man who has no capital but his legs and arms may expect to become rich by industry and frugality, it is not very decidedly even for the immediate advantage of the poor to plunder the rich; and the punishment of doing so would very speedilynufactures, every thing but the rude arts nefollow the offence. But in countries in which cessary to the support of animal life? Is it the great majorities live from hand to mouth, possible, that in two or three hundred years, a and in which vast masses of wealth have been few lean and half-naked fishermen may divide accumulated by a comparatively small number, with owls and foxes the ruins of the greatest the case is widely different. The immediate of European cities-may wash their nets want is, at particular seasons, craving, impe- amidst the relics of her gigantic docks, and rious, irresistible. In our own time, it has build their huts out of the capitals of her steeled men to the fear of the gallows, and stately cathedrals? If the principles of Mr. urged them on the point of the bayonet. And Mill be sound, we say, without hesitation, that if these men had at their command that gallows, the form of government which he recommends and those bayonets, which now scarcely restrain will assuredly produce all this. But if these them, what is to be expected? Nor is this state principles be unsound, if the reasonings by of things one which can exist only under a bad which we have opposed them be just, the higher government. If there be the least truth in the and middling orders are the natural representa doctrines of the school to which Mr. Mill be- tives of the human race. Their interest may longs, the increase of population will necessa- be opposed, in some things, to that of their rily produce it everywhere. The increase of poorer contemporaries, but it is identical with population is accelerated by good and cheap that of the innumerable generations which are government. Therefore, the better the govern- to follow. ment, the greater is the inequality of conditions; and the greater the inequality of conditions, the stronger are the motives which impel the populace to spoliation. As for America, we appeal to the twentieth century.
Mr. Mill concludes his essay, by answering an objection often made to the project of universal suffrage-that the people do not understand their own interests. We shall not go through his arguments on this subject, because,
till he has proved, that it is for the interest of | are sick, it seems, like the children of Israel,
of the objects of our old and legitimate wor
"The opinions of that class of the people who are below the middle rank are formed, and their minds are directed, by that intelligent, that virtuous rank, who come the most immediately in contact with them, who are in the constant habit of intimate communication with them, to whom they fly for advice and assistance in all their numerous difficulties, upon whom they feel an immediate and daily dependence in health and in sickness, in infancy and in old age, to whom their children look up as models for their imitation, whose opinions they hear daily repeated, and account it their honour to adopt. There can be no doubt that the middle rank, which gives to science, to art, and to legislation itself, their most distinguished ornaments, and is the chief source of all that has exalted and refined human natnre, is that portion of the commuuity, of which, if the basis of representation were ever so far extended, the opinion would ultimately decide. Of the people beneath them, a vast majority would be sure to be guided by their advice and example."
This single paragraph is sufficient to upset Mr. Mill's theory. Will the people act against their own interest? Or will the middle rank act against its own interest? Or is the interest of the middle rank identical with the interest of the people? If the people act according to the directions of the middle rank, as Mr. Mill says that they assuredly will, one of these three questions must be answered in the affirmative. But if any one of the three be answered in the affirmative, his whole system falls to the ground. If the interest of the middle rank be identical with that of the people, why should not the powers of government be intrusted to that rank? If the powers of government were intrusted to that rank, there would evidently be an aristocracy of wealth; and "to constitute an aristocracy of wealth, though it were a very numerous one, would," according to Mr. Mill, 1 leave the community without protection, and exposed to all the "evils of unbridled power." Will not the same motives which induce the middle classes to abuse one of kind of power, induce them to abuse another? If their interest be the same with that of the people, they will govern the people well. If it be opposite to that of the people, they will advise the people ill. The system of universal suffrage, therefore, according to Mr. Mill's own account, is only a device for doing circuitously what a representative system, with a pretty high qualification, would do directly.
Our readers can scarcely mistake our object in writing this article. They will not suspect us of any disposition to advocate the cause of absolute monarchy, or of any narrow form of oligarchy, or to exaggerate the evils of po pular government. Our object at present is, not so much to attack or defend any particular system of polity, as to expose the vices of a kind of reasoning utterly unfit for moral and political discussions; of a kind of reasoning which may so readily be turned to purposes of falsehood, that it ought to receive no quarter, even when by accident it may be employed on the side of truth.
Our objection to the essay of Mr. Mill is fundamental. We believe that it is utterly impossible to deduce the science of govern. ment from the principles of human nature.
What proposition is there respecting human nature which is absolutely and universally true? We know of only one; and that is not only true, but identical; that men always act from self-interest. This truism the Utilitarians proclaim with as much pride as if it were rew and as much zeal as if it were important. But in fact, when explained, it means only that men, if they can, will do as they choose When we see the actions of a man, we know with certainty what he thinks his interest to be But it is impossible to reason with certainty from what we take to be his interest to his actions. One man goes without a dinner, that he may add a shilling to a hundred thousand pounds: another runs in debt to give balls and masquerades. One man cuts his father's throat to get possession of his old clothes: another hazards his own life to save that of an enemy. One man volunteers on a forlorn hope: another is drummed out of a regiment for cowardice. Each of these men has, no doubt, acted from self-interest. But we gain nothing by knowing this, except the pleasure, if it be one, of multiplying useless words. In fact, this principle is just as recondite, and just as important, as the great truth, that whatever is, is. If a philosopher were always to state facts in the following form-"There is a shower: but whatever is, is; therefore, there is a shower," his reasoning would be perfectly sound; but we do not apprehend that it would materially enlarge the circle of human knowledge. And it is equally idle to attribute any importance to a proposition, which, when interpreted, means only that a man had rather do what he had rather do.
If the doctrine that men always act from self-interest be laid down in any other sense than, this-if the meaning of the word selfinterest be narrowed so as to exclude any one of the motives which may by possibility act on any human being,-the proposition ceases to be identical; but at the same time it ceases to be true.
What we have said of the word "self-inte
So ends the celebrated essay. And such is this philosophy, for which the experience of three thousand years is to be discarded; this philosophy, the professors of which speak as if it had guided the world to the knowledge of navigation and alphabetical writing; as if, before its dawn, the inhabitants of Europe had lived in caverns and eaten each other! Wel VOL. V.-86