Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION II.: MOST PROMINENT PRESENT GRIEVANCE, GAREISONING FRANCE. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3
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SECTION II.: MOST PROMINENT PRESENT GRIEVANCE, GAREISONING FRANCE. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 3.
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MOST PROMINENT PRESENT GRIEVANCE, GAREISONING FRANCE.
The plains, or heights, or whatsoever they are, of Waterloo—will one day be pointed to by the historian as the grave—not only of French, but of English liberties. Not of France alone, but of Britain with her, was the conquest consummated in the Netherlands. Whatsoever has been done and is doing in France, will soon be done in Britain. Reader, would you wish to know the lot designed for you? Look to France, there you may behold it.
In France, on the subject of their common interests, no longer can any information be received through the channel of any newspaper, other than those which are not only instruments, but avowed instruments, in the hands of the ruling despotism: no longer, from any source, any information that has not for its object deception—constant and universal deception: information in which, with a degree of anxiety proportionate to its importance, truth is suppressed, and by which pernicious error is circulated and inculcated. A newspaper, into which any expression can find its way, by which the “feelings” of “great characters” in their high situations can in any degree be “hurt”—(and is it possible they should not be hurt, as often as any misdeeds of theirs are exposed?)—any such source of instruction is in that country a no longer tolerable nuisance. The same causes will produce the same effects: the same “great characters” by which the monster of anarchy has so happily been crushed in France—by these same exalted persons will the same monster be crushed in Britain.
There they are—our fifty thousand men, with the conqueror of French and English liberties—the protector of the Bourbons—the worthy vanquisher and successor to Bonaparte at the head of them: they are—and, until every idea of good government—every idea of anything better than the most absolute despotism—has been weeded out,—once more as thoroughly weeded out by the Bourbons, as ever it had been by Bonaparte,—there it is that the whole of them, or whatsoever part may be deemed sufficient for the purpose, are destined to continue.
There they are, and for what is it that they were planted there?—For security? For the security of Britons? for the security of Frenchmen? for the security of Germans? for the security of Netherlanders? for the security of any other race of men under the sun? Impossible.
Had the security, of anything but the universal despotism which produced it, been the object of that new holy league, by which all France is put under a garrison—the means of security were as obvious as the efficacy of them was certain,—and in comparison with the existing ones, the modes and forms lenient to the vanquished. Blow up all their fortifications without exception: carry off all their cannon: destroy all their arsenals and their founderies: destroy all their manufactories of arms of every kind: leave them not a fowling-piece: mark out for predicted vengeance every attempt to set up another foundery:—parcel out half the country among the allies: or, should any such partition be too dangerous to Christian charity among the crowned and newly-christianized Christians, divide the whole into any number of lots. Yes: though the whole country were parcelled out into lots,—still, if in each lot men were left to take their own measures for the preservation of what was left to them,—all these inflictions put together would have been mercy, in comparison of that of fastening upon their shoulders the old man of the woods, with his 150,000 foreign guards.
For the moment, in respect of subjection, and absence of everything that ever went under the name of liberty, France is but what she was. Exit the old weathercock, enter the ultras, and then Spain will be to France the model of good government. Then, under the protection of the Waterloo conqueror and his employers, the wardrobe of the Holy Virgin will be supplied with a new gown, and every prison in the country with a new set of torture-boots and thumb-screws.
Let him who thinks himself able, figure to himself a case in which there would not be a demand—an adequate demand—for the system of garrisoning France;—on the supposition that the existence of any such demand has place at present. The demand is composed of possibilities,—converted, it is alleged, into practical certainties by past facts. There have been Septembrians and anarchists;—ergo, no sooner does France cease to be garrisoned by us, than the reign of those miscreants will recommence. There has been one Napoleon Bonaparte;—ergo, no sooner does France cease to be garrisoned by us, than in comes either the self-same, or exactly such another. Well: these past events, who is there that can cause them not to have had place? Nobody. Well then; never, never can it cease—the necessity of garrisoning France with English armies.
Once more:—For what, then, is it that France has been, is now, and by the blessing of God is destined to be forever, garrisoned? Is it for security?—is it for the keeping out anarchy?—is it for the keeping out bad government? Alas! no: to any such object, never, never has any real fear attached itself: the healing—the moderately monarchical—constitution, on which, at their entrance, the despots set their perfidious foot, would that have been bad government? No: it was not for keeping out bad—it was for keeping out good government. Under whatsoever form it might have been established—constitutional monarchy, or upon the model of the American United States, democracy—there was the real object of terror to all the newly re-christianized crowned heads,—and to their loyal and correspondently pious,—coroneted, and not yet coroneted advisers.
There they are—but happily with the Atlantic between us and them—the never-sufficiently-accursed United States. There they are—living, and (oh horror!) flourishing—and so flourishing! flourishing under a government so essentially illegitimate! Oh what a reproach to legitimacy! Oh what a reproach, a never-to-be-expunged reproach, to our own Matchless Constitution—matchless in rotten boroughs and sinecures! Oh! had they but one neck—these miscreants! Ten times, twenty times, any number of times, the blood spilt at Waterloo, would be well spent in cutting it. There they are, with their prosperity the effect: there they are, with their good government—their matchless good government—the cause of it.
There they are—but, happily, with two thousand leagues of sea between us and them—the ten millions of two-legged swine, with the illegitimacy and the unincumbered and undisturbed prosperity in which they wallow.
But now—suppose the same, or a similar accursed government, with the accursed prosperity, transplanted from that blessed distance—planted under our very noses: planted with no more than one-and-twenty miles of sea to dilute the stench of it. Without so much as a single useless place, needless place, overpaid place, unmerited pension—not to speak of sinecures—no not so much as a peerage, to settle a borough or buy off a country gentleman:—suppose these miscreants—not one of them re-christianized—not one of them occupied in embroidering a robe for the Holy Virgin—debating, and resolving, and enacting—without so much as a single bayonet to secure good order to their deliberations;—resolving and enacting, and, like their accursed preceptors and forerunners, paying off public debt faster than we are contracting it:—suppose all this state of things brought into existence—brought into existence, and not more than half-a-guinea or a crown, for a place in a passage-boat—not more than three hours row in a wherry—necessary to enable a man to see it.
In this case, by what possibility could the eye, the head, or the heart, be shut against the spectacle of the united nuisances—prosperity and good government? To what use deny their existence? With as much effect might a man deny the existence of the dome of St. Paul’s, in the face of those who are viewing it from St. James’s park.
Here then is one use, for the fifty thousand Britons, who, in France, with the hundred thousand men of other nations, are preying at one and the same time upon the vitals of France and Britain. Here is one use—behold now another.
The other use—need it here be mentioned? Exists there that reader, who has not already told it to himself? Yes, it is to return to all plans of reform, to all petitions for reform—to all groans—to all complaints—to all cries for mercy—the proper, and properly, and already proposed answer, the bayonet. The bayonet? Yes: by the blessing of God, the bayonet. But is it altogether so sure, that, should matters come to the push, the direction that will be prescribed by legitimacy is exactly the direction in which the bayonets will move? The men by whom they will be to be pushed, of what class are they? Are they of the blood royal?—are they of the peerage? Are they not of the swinish multitude?—are they not as perfect swine as we are? Is it possible they should ever forget it? And when, in a direction that is not pleasing to him, the swine is driven, is he not apt to retrograde?
An army in France necessary for the security of Britain? Yes! if an army in China is so too;—not otherwise.
Propose anything good; the answer is at hand:—wild, theoretical, visionary, Utopian, impracticable, dangerous, destructive, ruinous, anarchical, subversive of all governments—there you have it. Well, but in America there it is: and no such evil consequences—nothing but what is good, results from it. Aha! and so the United States government is your government, is it?—You are a republican then, are you?—what you want is, to subvert this constitution of ours; the envy of nations! the pride of ages!—matchless in rotten boroughs and sinecures!—Very well: begin and set up your republic. and, in the meantime, you, who are so ready to talk of feelings, think what yours will be, when, after a few nights lodging in the Tower, the knife of the hangman, after having rubbed off its rust upon the Spenceans, is doing its office in your bowels.
Propose anything that would put any power into the hands of those of whose obedience all power is composed: you propose democracy; and if any such epithet as democratical is applicable to it, there you have a reason, and that a conclusive one, for casting it out without further thought: casting it off as if it were a viper, and trampling upon it: and for this reason—for there needs no other—is eternity to be given to every thing that is corrupt and mischievous.
What, according to these men, is the use of the constitution? To make the people happy? Make them happy!—curse on the swinish multitude! What then? Why, to make the one man happy, the one object of legitimate idolatry,—with the small number of others to whom it accords with his high pleasure to impart any of the means of happiness.
Now, by this bugbear word democracy, are the people of this country to be frightened out of their senses?—frightened by Gwelphs any more than by Stuarts, into passive obedience and non-resistance.