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in the world, but that all the governments in the world, and all the governments which can even be conceived as existing in the world, are virtually mixed.
through fear of the resistance of the people, there the constitution, whatever it may be called, is in some measure democratical. The admixture of democratic power may be slight It may be much slighter than it ought to be; but some admixture there is. Wherever a numerical minority, by means of superior wealth or intelligence, of political concert, or of mili tary discipline, exercises a greater influence on the society than any other equal number of persons,-there, whatever the form of govern may be called, a mixture of aristocracy does in fact exist. And wherever a single man, from whatever cause, is so necessary to the commurity, or to any portion of it, that he possesses more power than any other man, there is a mixture of monarchy. This is the philosophical classification of governments; and if we use this classification we shall find, not only that there are mixed governments, but that all governments are, and must always be, mixed. But we may safely challenge Mr. Mill to give any definition of power, or to make any classification of governments, which shall bear him out in his assertion, that a lasting division of authority is impracticable.
If a king possessed the lamp of Aladdin,if he governed by the help of a genius, who carried away the daughters and wives of his subjects through the air to the royal Parc-auxcerfs, and turned into stone every man who wagged a finger against his majesty's governinent, there would, indeed, be an unmixed despotism. But, fortunately, a ruler can be gratified only by means of his subjects. His power depends on their obedience; and, as any three or four of them are more than a match for him by himself, he can only enforce the unwilling obedience of some, by means of the willing obedience of others. Take any of those who are popularly called absolute princes-Napoleon for example. Could Napoleon have walked through Paris, cutting off the head of one person in every house which he passed? Certainly not without the assistance of an army. If not, why not? Because the people had sufficient physical power to resist him, and would have put forth that power in defence of their lives and of the lives of their children. In other words, there was a portion of power in the democracy under Napoleon. Napoleon might probably have indulged himself in such an atrocious freak of power if his army would have seconded him. But if his army had taken part with the people, he would have found himself utterly helpless; and even if they had obeyed his orders against the people, they would not have suffered him to decimate their own body. In other words, there was a portion of power in the hands of a minority of the people, that is to say, in the hands of an aristocracy, under the reign of Napoleon. To come nearer home,-Mr. Mill tells us that it is a mistake to imagine that the English government is mixed. He holds, we suppose, with all the politicians of the Utilitarian school, that it is purely aristocratical. There certainly is an aristocracy in England, and we are afraid that their power is greater than it ought to be. They have power enough to keep up the gamelaws and corn-laws; but they have not power enough to subject the bodies of men of the lowest class to wanton outrage at their pleasure. Suppose that they were to make a law, that any gentleman of two thousand a year might have a day-labourer or a pauper flogged with a cat-of-nine-tails whenever the whim might take him. It is quite clear, that the first day on which such flagellation should be administered, would be the last day of the English aristocracy. In this point, and in many other 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 encumbered 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 government is mixed.
Wherever a king or an oligarchy refrains from the last extremity of rapacity and tyranny,
It is evidently on the real distribution of power, and not on names and badges, that the happiness of nations must depend. The representative system, though doubtless a great and precious discovery in politics, is only one of the many modes in which the democratic part of the community can effectually check the governing few. That certain men have been chosen as deputies of the people, that there is a piece of paper stating such deputies to possess certain powers,-these circumstances in themselves constitute no security for good government. Such a constitution nominally existed in France; while, in fact, an oligarchy of committees and clubs trampled at once on the electors and the elected. Representation is a very happy contrivance for enabling large bodies of men to exert their power, with less risk of disorder than there would otherwise be But assuredly it does not of itself give power Unless a representative assembly is sure of being supported, in the last resort, by the physical strength of large masses, who have spirit to defend the constitution, and sense to defend it in concert, the mob of the town in which it meets may overawe it;—the howls of the listeners in its gallery may silence its de liberations;-an able and daring individual may dissolve it. And if that sense and that spirit of which we speak be diffused through a society, then, even without a representative as sembly, that society will enjoy many of the blessings of good government.
Look on the Long Parliament, on the day on which Charles came to seize the five members, and look at it again on the day when Cromwell stamped with his foot on its floor. On which
day was its apparent power the greater? On which day was its real power the less? Nominally subject, it was able to defy the sovereign. Nominally sovereign, it was turned out of doors by its servant.
Constitutions are in politics what papermoney is in commerce. They afford great facilities and conveniences. But we must not attribute to them that value which really belongs to what they represent. They are not power, but symbols of power, and will, in an emergency, prove altogether useless, unless the power for which they stand be forthcoming. The real power by which the community is governed, is made up of all the means which all its members possess of giving pleasure or pain to each other.
Great light may be thrown on the nature of a circulating medium by the phenomena of a state of barter. And in the same manner it may be useful to those who wish to comprehend the nature and operation of the outward signs of power, to look at communities in which no such signs exist: for example, at the great community of nations. There we find nothing analogous to a constitution: But do we not find a government? We do in fact find government in its purest, and simplest, and most intelligible form. We see one portion of power acting directly on another portion of Dower. We see a certain police kept up; the weak to a certain degree protected; the strong to a certain degree restrained. We see the principle of the balance in constant operation. We see the whole system sometimes undisturbed by any attempt at encroachment for twenty or thirty years at a time; and all this is produced without a legislative assembly, or an executive magistracy-without tribunals, without any code which deserves the name; solely by the mutual hopes and fears of the various members of the federation. In the community of nations, the first appeal is to physical force. In communities of men, forms of government serve to put off that appeal, and often render it unnecessary. But it is still open to the oppressed or the ambitious.
Of course, we do not mean to deny that a form of government will, after it has existed for a long time, materially affect the real distribution of power throughout the cominunity. This is because those who administer a government, with their dependents, form a compact and disciplined body, which, acting methodically and in concert, is more powerful than any other equally numerous body which is inferior in organization. The power of rulers is not, as superficial observers sometimes seem to think, a thing sui generis. It is exactly similar in kind, though generally superior in amount, to that of any set of conspirators who plot to overthrow it. We have seen in our time the most extensive and the best organized conspiracy that ever existed-a conspiracy which possessed all the elements of real power in so great a degree, that it was able to cope with a strong government, and to triumph over it-the Catholic Association. A Utilitarian would tell us, we suppose, that the Irish Catholics had no portion of political power
whatever on the first day of the late session of Parliament.
Let us really go beyond the surface of facts let us, in the sound sense of the words, pene. trate to the springs within; and the deeper we go, the more reason shall we find to smile at those theorists who hold that the sole hope of the human race is in a rule-of-three sum and a ballot-box.
We must now return to the Westminster Reviewer. The following paragraph is an excellent specimen of his peculiar mode of understanding and answering arguments.
"The reply to the argument against 'saturation,' supplies its own answer. The reason why it is of no use to try to saturate,' is precisely what the Edinburgh Reviewers have suggested that there is no limit to the number of thieves.' There are the thieves, and the thieves' cousins,-with their men-servants, their maid. servants, and their little ones, to the fortieth generation. It is true, that a man cannot become a king or a member of the aristocracy whenever he chooses; but if there is to be no limit to the depredators except their own incli. nation to increase and multiply, the situation of those who are to suffer is as wretched as it needs be. It is impossible to define what are corporal pleasures.' A Duchess of Cleveland was a 'corporal pleasure.' The most disgrace. ful period in the history of any nation,-that of the Restoration,-presents an instance of the length to which it is possible to go in an attempt to saturate' with pleasures of this kind.”
To reason with such a writer is like talking to a deaf man, who catches at a stray word, makes answer beside the mark, and is led further and further into error by every attempt to explain. Yet, that our readers may fully appreciate the abilities of the new philosophers, we shall take the trouble to go over some of our ground again.
Mr. Mill attempts to prove, that there is no point of saturation with the objects of human desire. He then takes it for granted that men have no objects of desire but those which can be obtained only at the expense of the happi. ness of others. Hence he infers that absolute monarchs and aristocracies will necessarily oppress and pillage the people to a frightful extent.
We answered in substance thus: there are two kinds of objects of desire; those which give mere bodily pleasure, and those which please through the medium of associations. Objects of the former class, it is true, a man cannot obtain without depriving somebody eise of a share: but then with these every man is soon satisfied. A king or an aristocracy can not spend any very large portion of the national wealth on the mere pleasures of sense. With the pleasures which belong to us as reason ing and imaginative beings we are never satiated, it is true: but then, on the other hand, many of those pleasures can be ob tained without injury to any person, and suma of them can be obtained only by doing good to others.
The Westminster Reviewer, in his former attack on us, laughed at us for saying, that a
for the purpose of proving that the poor were inclined to rob the rich.-They only said, 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 general confiscation,""&c. We said, that, if Mr. Mill's principles of human nature were correct, there would have been another scramble for property, and another confiscation. We particularly pointed this out in our last article. We showed the Westminster Reviewer that he had misunderstood us. We dwelt particularly on the condition which was introduced into our statement. We said that we had not given, and did not mean to give, any opinion of our own. And after this, the Westminster Reviewer thinks proper to repeat his former misrepresentation, without taking the least notice of that qualification to which we, in the most marked manner, called his attention.
We hasten on to the most curious part of the article under our consideration-the defence of the "greatest happiness principle." The Reviewer charges us with having quite mistaken its nature.
“All that they have established is, that they do not understand it. Instead of the truism of the whigs, that the greatest happiness is the greatest happiness,' what Mr. Bentham had demonstrated, or, at all events, had laid such foundations that there was no trouble in demonstrating, was, that the greatest happiness of the individual was, in the long run, to be obtained by pursuing the greatest happiness of the aggregate."
king or an aristocracy could not be easily satiated with the pleasures of sense, and asked why the same course was not tried with thieves. We were not a little surprised at so silly an objection from the pen, as we imagined, of Mr. Bentham. We returned, however, a very simple answer. There is no limit to the number of thieves. Any man who chooses can steal: but a man cannot become a member of the aristocracy, or a king, whenever he chooses. To satiate one thief, is to tempt twenty other people to steal. But by satiating one king or five hundred nobles with bodily pleasures, we do not produce more kings or more nobles. The answer of the Westminster Reviewer we have quoted above; and it will amply repay our readers for the trouble of examining it. We never read any passage which indicated notions so vague and confused. The number of the thieves, says our Utilitarian, is not limited. For there are the dependents and friends of the king, and of the nobles. Is it possible that he should not perceive that this comes under a different head? The bodily pleasures which a man in power dispenses among his creatures, are bodily pleasures as respects his creatures, no doubt. But the pleasure which he derives from bestowing them is not a bodily pleasure. It is one of those pleasures which belong to him as a reasoning and imaginative being. No man of common understanding can have failed to perceive, that when we said that a king or an aris tocracy might easily be supplied to satiety with sensual pleasures, we were speaking of sensual pleasures directly enjoyed by themselves. But "it is impossible," says the Reviewer, "to define what are corporal pleasures." Our brother would indeed, we suspect, find it a difficult task; nor, if we are to judge of his genius for classification from the specimen which immediately follows, would we advise him to make the attempt. "A Duchess of Cleveland was a corporal pleasure." And to this wise remark is appended a note, setting forth that Charles the Second gave to the Duchess of Cleveland the money which he ought to have spent on the war with Holland. We scarcely know how to answer a man who unites so much pretension to so much ignorance. There are, among the many Utilitarians who talk about Hume, Condillac, and Hartley, a few who have read those writers. Let the Reviewer ask one of these what he thinks on the subject. We shall not undertake to whip a pupil of so little "The real answer appeared to be, that men promise through his first course of meta- at large ought not to allow a government to physics. We shall, therefore, only say-leav-afflict them with more evil or less good, than ing him to guess and wonder what we can they can help. What a government ought to nean-that in our opinion, the Duchess of Cleveland was not a merely corporal pleasure, that the feeling which leads a prince to prefer one woman to all others, and to lavish the wealth of kingdoms on her, is a feeling which can only be explained by the law of association.
But we are tired, and even more ashamed than tired, of exposing these b.anders. The whole article is of a piece. One passage, however, we must select, because it contains a very gross misrepresentation.
They never alluded to the French Revolution
It was distinctly admitted by the Westminster Reviewer, as we remarked in our last article, that he could give no answer to the question,— why governments should attempt to produce the greatest possible happiness? The Reviewer replies thus:
"Nothing of the kind will be admitted at all. In the passage thus selected to be tacked to the other, the question started was, concerning the object of government;' in which government was spoken of as an operation, not as any thing that is capable of feeling pleasure or pain. In this sense it is true enough, that ought is not predicable of governments."
We will quote, once again, the passage which we quoted in our last number, and we really hope that our brother critic will feel something like shame while he peruses it.
do, is a mysterious and searching question, which those may answer who know what it means; but what other men ought to do, is a question of no mystery at all. The word ought, if it means any thing, must have reference to some kind of interest or motives; and what interest a government has in doing right, when it happens to be interested in doing wrong, is a question for the schoolmen. The fact ap pears to be, that ought is not predicable of governments. The question is not, why governments are bound not to do this or that, but why other men should let them if they can
help it. The point is not to determine why the lion should not eat sheep, but why men should not eat their own mutton if they can." We defy the Westminster Reviewer to reconcile this passage with the "general happiness principle," as he now states it. He tells us, that he meant by government, not the peopie invested with the powers of government, but a mere operation incapable of feeling pleasure or pain. We say, that he meant the people invested with the powers of government, and nothing else. It is true, that ought is not predicable of an operation. But who would ever dream of raising any question about the duties of an operation? What did the Reviewer mean by saying, that a government could not be interested in doing right because it was interested in doing wrong? Can an operation be interested in either? And what did he mean by his comparison about the hion? Is a lion an operation incapable of pain or pleasure? And what did he mean by the expression, "other men," so obviously opposed to the word "government?" But let the public judge between us. It is superfluous to argue a point so clear.
The Reviewer does indeed seem to feel that his expressions cannot be explained away, and attempts to shuffle out of the difficulty by own ing, that "the double meaning of the word government was not got clear of without confusion." He has now, at all events, he assures us, made himself master of Mr. Bentham's philosophy. The real and genuine "greatest happiness principle" is, that the greatest happiness of every individual is identical with the greatest happiness of society; and all other greatest happiness principles" whatever, are counterfeits. This," says he, "is the spirit of Mr. Bentham's principle; and if there is any thing opposed to it in any former statement, it may be corrected by the present."
Assuredly if a fair and honourable opponent had, in discussing a question so abstruse as that concerning the origin of moral obligation, made some unguarded admission inconsistent | with the spirit of his doctrines, we should not be inclined to triumph over him. But no tenderness is due to a writer who, in the very act of confessing his blunders, insults those by whom his blunders have been detected, and accuses them of misunderstanding what, in fact, he has himself misstated.
The whole of this transaction illustrates excellently the real character of this sect. A paper comes forth, professing to contain a full development of the "greatest happiness principle," with the latest improvements of Mr. Bentham. The writer boasts that his article has the honour of being the announcement and the organ of this wonderful discovery, which is to make "the bones of sages and patriots stir within their tombs." This "magnificent principle" is then stated thus: Mankind ought to pursue their greatest happiness. But there are persons whose interest is opposed to the greatest happiness of mankind. Ought is not predicable of such persons. For the word ought has no meaning, unless it be used with reference to some interest.
We answered, with much more lenity than
we should have shown to such nonsense had it not proceeded, as we supposed, from Mr. Bentham, that interest was synonymous with greatest happiness; and that, therefore, if the word ought has no meaning, unless used with reference to interest, then, to say that mankind ought to pursue their greatest happiness, is simply to say, that the greatest happiness is the greatest happiness; that every individual pursues his own happiness; that either what he thinks his happiness must coincide with the greatest happiness of society or not; that if what he thinks his happiness coincides with the greatest happiness of society, he will attempt to promote the greatest happiness of society, whether he ever heard of the "greatest happiness principle" or not; and that, by the admission of the Westminster Reviewer, if his happiness is inconsistent with the greatest happiness of society, there is no reason why he should promote the greatest happiness of society. Now, that there are individuals who think that for their happiness which is not for the greatest happiness of society is evident. The Westminster Reviewer allowed that some of these individuals were in the right; and did not pretend to give any reason which could induce any one of them to think himself in the wrong. So that the "magnificent principle" turned out to be either a truism or a contradiction in terms; either this maxim. "Do what you do;" or this maxim, "Do what you cannot do."
The Westminster Reviewer had the wit to see that he could not defend this palpable nonsense; but, instead of manfully owning that he had misunderstood the whole nature of the "greatest happiness principle" in the summer, and had obtained new light during the autumn, he attempts to withdraw the former principle unobserved, and to substitute another, directly opposed to it, in its place; clamouring all the time against our unfairness, like one who, while changing the cards, diverts the attention of the table from his sleight-of-hand by voci ferating charges of foul play against other people.
The "greatest happiness principle" for the present quarter is then this,-that every individual will best promote his own happiness in this world, religious considerations being left out of the question, by promoting the greatest happiness of the whole species. And this principle, we are told, holds good with respect to kings and aristocracies, as well as with other people.
"It is certain that the individual operators in any government, if they were thoroughly intelligent and entered into a perfect calculation of all existing chances, would seek for their own happiness in the promotion of the general; which brings them, if they knew it, under Mr. Bentham's rule. The mistake of supposing the contrary, lies in confounding criminals who have had the luck to escape punishment with those who have the risk still before them. Suppose, for instance, a member of the House of Commons were at this moment to debate with in himself whether it would be for his ultimate happiness to begin, according to his ability, to misgovern. If he could be sure of being as
lucky as some that are dead and gone, there | tocratical communities, the higher and more might be difficulty in finding him an answer. But he is not sure; and never can be till he is dead. He does not know that he is not close upon the moment when misgovernment, such as he is tempted to contemplate, will be made a terrible example of. It is not fair to pick out the instance of the thief that has died unhanged. The question is, whether thieving is at this moment an advisable trade to begin, with all the possibilities of hanging not got over? This is the spirit of Mr. Bentham's principle; and if there is any thing opposed to it in any former statement, it may be corrected by the present."
We hope that we have now at last got to the real "magnificent principle,"-to the principle which is really to make "the bones of the sages and patriots stir." What effect it may produce on the bones of the dead we shall not pretend to decide; but we are sure that it will do very little for the happiness of the living.
In the first place, nothing is more certain than this, that the Utilitarian theory of government, as developed in Mr. Mill's Essay, and in all the other works on the subject which have been put forth by the sect, rests on these two principles, that men follow their interest, and that the interest of individuals may be, and in fact perpetually is, opposed to the interest of society. Unless these two principles be granted, Mr. Mill's Essay does not contain one sound sentence. All his arguments against monarchy and aristocracy, all his arguments in favour of democracy, nay, the very argument by which he shows that there is any necessity for having government at all, must be rejected as utterly worthless.
This is so palpable, that even the Westminster Reviewer, though not the most clear-sighted of men, could not help seeing it. Accordingly, he attempts to guard himself against the objection, after the manner of such reasoners, by committing two blunders instead of one. "All this," says he, "only shows that the members of a government would do well if they were all-wise;" and he proceeds to tell us, that as rulers are not all-wise, they will invariably act against this principle wherever they can, so that the democratical checks will still be necessary to produce good government.
No form which human folly takes is so richly and exquisitely laughable as the spectacle of an Utilitarian in a dilemma. What earthly good can there be in a principle upon which no man will act until he is all-wise? A certain most important doctrine, we are told, has been demonstrated so clearly, that it ought to be the foundation of the science of government. And yet the whole frame of government is to be constituted exactly as if this fundamental doctrine were false, and on the supposition that no human being will ever act as if he believed it to be true!
The whole argument of the Utilitarians, in favour of universal suffrage, proceeds on the supposition that even the rudest and most uneducated men cannot, for any length of time, De deluded into acting against their own true alerest. Yet now they tell us that, in all aris
educated class will, not occasionally, but invariably, act against its own interest. Now, the only use of proving any thing, as far as we can see, is that people may believe it. To say that a man does what he believes to be against his happiness, is a contradiction in terms. If, therefore, government and laws are to be con stituted on the supposition on which Mr. Mill's Essay is founded, that all individuals will, whenever they have power over others put into their hands, act in opposition to the general happiness, then government and laws must be constituted on the supposition that no individual believes, or ever will believe, his own happiness to be identical with the happiness of society. That is to say, government and laws are to be constituted on the supposition that no human being will ever be satisfied by Mr. Bentham's proof of his "greatest happiness principle," a supposition which may be true enough, but which says little, we think, for the principle in question.
But where has this principle been demonstrated? We are curious, we confess, to see this demonstration which is to change the face of the world, and yet is to convince nobody. The most amusing circumstance is, that the Westminster Reviewer himself does not seem to know whether the principle has been demonstrated or not. "Mr. Bentham, he says, "has demonstrated it, or at all events has laid such foundations that there is no trouble in demonstrating it." Surely it is rather strange that such a matter should be left in doubt. The Reviewer proposed, in his former article, a slight verbal emendation in the statement of the principle; he then announced that the principle had received its last improvement; and gloried in the circumstance that the West minster Review had been selected as the organ of that improvement. Did it never occur to him that one slight improvement to a doctrine is to prove it?
Mr. Bentham has not demonstrated the "greatest happiness principle," as now stated He is far too wise a man to think of demonstrating any such thing. In those sections of his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, to which the Reviewer refers us in his note, there is not a word of the kind. Bentham says, most truly, that there are no occasions in which a man has not some motives for consulting the happiness of other men; and he proceeds to set forth what those motives are-sympathy on all occasions, and the love of reputation on most occasions. This is the very doctrine which we have been maintaining against Mr. Mill and the Westminster Reviewer. The principle charge which we brought against Mr. Mill was, that those motives to which Mr. Bentham ascribes so much influence, were quite left out of consideration in his theory. The Westminster Reviewer, in the very arti cle now before us, abuses us for saying, in the spirit and almost in the words of Mr. Bentham, that "there is a certain check to the rapacity and cruelty of men in their desire of the good opinion of others." But does this principle, in which we fully agree with Mr. Bentham, go the length of the new "greatest happiness princi