Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XX.: 1820—23. Æt. 72—75. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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CHAPTER XX.: 1820—23. Æt. 72—75. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 10.
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1820—23. Æt. 72—75.
Libel Law in the United States.—Mr Rush.—Rivadavia.—Blaquiere.—Spanish Politics.—Dr Bowring’s Introduction to Bentham.—Townsend the Traveller.—Extracts from Note-Book.—Table of Fallacies.—Cartwright.—Hobhouse.—Dumont on the Penal Code for Geneva.—J. B. Say.—Miss Frances Wright.—Lafayette.—Carlisle.—Re-eligibility of Representatives.—Note-Book.—Brougham.—Dr Bowring’s Imprisonment in France.—The Greek Revolution, and Dr Parr.
On the subject of Libel Law in the United States of America, the following correspondence took place between Bentham and a distinguished functionary of that country:—
Bentham to Richard Rush.
“On the subject of political libels, what I understood from Mr Quincy Adams, if I misrecollect not, was—that originally there was not any such thing in any of the United States, as an indictment for any such cause—civil action for the injury to the individual, nothing more: but that, at the recommendation of John Adams, (Quincy’s father,) when President, an Act of Congress was enacted, making a political libel punishable by indictment in certain cases. That in virtue of this Act, Onis, then Envoy from the King of Spain to the United States, indicted somebody for a libel, either on him (Onis) as Minister from that King, or on the Spanish Government at large. (Marshal, was it?) I forget his name—whose daughter Onis had married, being the Chief Justice before whom the prosecution was tried. The verdict was—Not Guilty. After this President Adams lost a great deal of his popularity; and to the part he had taken in the occasion of that libel law, was the loss regarded as having been in agreat degree referrible. Quincy Adams was kind enough to give me in writing, several articles of information of which I stood in need; but I had neglected to beg leave to add this to the number.
“Taking for granted that which is above, is, as faras it goes, correct, (which, however, is more than I can be sure of,) to render it complete, the following are the particulars I stand in need of:—
“1.Reference to the law whatever it is, by which prosecution by indictment, in cases of political libel, was authorized.
“2. Reference to the law, whatever it is, by which the above-mentioned Act was repealed, or, at any rate, in some way or other, the effect of it done away.
“3. Does any indictment lie for a blasphemous libel? I should suppose not: Paine’s Age of Reason having always been circulated, I am told, with undisturbed liberty in all the States.
“Perhaps, from your own collection or some one else’s, you could favour me with the sight of the laws that bear upon the subject: within a week you might depend upon their being returned. This is a subject I have perpetual need to make reference to; and when laws exist, mention of the supposed purport or effect, without reference to the tenor of them, never can be adequately satisfactory.”
Richard Rush to Bentham.
“March 21, 1820.
“Prior to what was commonly called the Sedition Act, there never was any such thing known, under the Federal Government of the United States, (in some of the individual states they have sometimes, I believe, taken place,) as a criminal prosecution for a political libel. The Sedition Act was passed by Congress, in July 1798. It expired, by its own limitation, in March 1801. There were a few prosecutions under it whilst it was in force. It was, as you have intimated, an unpopular law. The party that passed it went out of power, by a vote of the nation, in March 1801. There has been no prosecution for a political libel, under the authority of the Government of the United States, since that period. No law known to the United States would authorize such a prosecution. During the last war, the measures of the Government were assailed by the party in opposition, with the most unbounded and furious license. No prosecution for libel ever followed. The Government trusted to public opinion, and to the spontaneous counteracting publications from among the people themselves, for the refutation of libels. The general opinion was, that the public arm grew stronger, in the end, by this course.
“There has never been any prosecution by the Government of the United States for a blasphemous libel. There is no law existing, of which I have knowledge, that would sustain such a prosecution.”
On the trial of Sir Charles Wolsley and Harrison, Bentham sent his pamphlet, then entitled “Brief Remarks, tending to show the untenability of the Indictment,” (Works, vol. v. p. 255,) desiring it should be distributed among the Judges, Jurors, and other parties before the trial—but under the advice of the lawyers this course was abstained from.
On sending to Rivadavia, his “Emancipats your Colonies,”* Bentham wrote:
Bentham to Rivadavia.
You wish for a king for Buenos Ayres and Chili: so, at least, I understand from our friend Lawrence. If so, much good may it do you. But how much better would you be with a king, than the Anglo-Americans without one? The Spaniards have a reason, such as it is, for having a king. But you have not that reason—nor ever had. Be this as it may, if I understand right, it is not the King of Spain that you wish for: on the contrary, you are determined not to have him. You would not have him when he was free: as little do you choose to have him now he is bound:—that is to say, you do not choose to be governed by a Spanish Cortes, in which ten times the number of votes you could hope for, would not give you any efficient protection against misrule; nor, at the long run, by a Spanish Ministry, after they had succeeded in establishing, as with us and in France, a despotism by corruption and military force together, in the place of the late despotism by military force. Well, then, what you want of Spain, is—that she, at least so far as you are concerned, should be willing to emancipate her colonies. In regard to her colonies, the case of Spain coincides, in many essential particulars, in this respect, with the case of France, in regard to her colonies, at the commencement of the French Revolution. The arguments in the enclosed Tract, for which I beg the honour of your acceptance, applied themselves in particular, to the case of France at that time. But, from that time to this, my opinion has been, that all colonies and distant dependencies, without exception, are essentially mischievous. I should say that the sort of connexion is essentially and preponderantly mischievous to the great majority of the people on both sides. In point of argument, I should not, on the general question, have much to add to the arguments of this little Tract: and, in point of spirit and compactness, I should, at this time of life, lose much. In point of argument, however, I should have to add something: I mean, in point of generally applicable argument: viz. on the subject of the corruptive influence, necessarily exercised on the representatives of the people in the governing country by the patronage: I mean, by the power of nominating to situations, clothed in factitious dignity, and to offices, clothed with power and emolument, in the dependent country, as well as to offices in the military department by sea and land, and the civil department occupied in, or at least established for, the defence of the dependencies against foreign aggression, and keeping them in their dependent state. As to the applying the general principles to the particular case, as between Spain and her dependencies, here, of course, I should find myself at a fault. But you, Sir—you, whose interest in the matter is so immediate, and whose knowledge of the subject is so commanding—how could your talents at this crisis be so worthily employed, as by the application of them to this great question? viz. either by an original or independent work, or by a translation into Spanish, of the little Tract in question, if found worthy of it; with comments, applying the arguments to the present case; or, in short, devoting those talents to a something between both, or including both.”
While Blaquiere was in Spain, constant correspondence was kept up between him and Bentham on all subjects of political interest. He was a sort of wandering apostle of Benthamism,* originating and promoting the circulation of his works with enthusiastic zeal. Spain, indeed, is one of the countries where Utilitarian doctrines have taken the strongest hold. Several translations exist of the Treatises on Legislation, Political Tactics, and the Book of Fallacies. The Panopticon was rendered into Spanish, and the plan approved and adopted by a vote of the Cortes. Blaquiere’s letters all represent the sanguine character of his mind: his disgust at the corruptive and oppressive intrigues of the few,—his confidence in the patriotic and courageous virtues of the many. Bentham’s eager and hopeful spirit responded to all Blaquiere’s anticipations. “How strongly,” he says to him, “has the great Spanish nation excited both our sympathies! An abler, or in any respect a more valuable agent I could not have had if, instead of a poor hermit, I had been a monarch with a salary of an ambassador extraordinary to pamper him with.”
The Cortes of Spain in this year, came, in fact, to a unanimous resolution to avail themselves of Bentham’s services in the preparation of codes of law for that country. Count Toreno, who was then the President, wrote of him as “Lumbrera dela Legislacion y bienhechor de la humanidad,”—Light of legislation, and benefactor of man.†
Blaquiere remained some time at Bayonne, carrying on his correspondence between France and England,—a diligent contributor to the newspapers of both countries. But he was much harassed by the police, and found that his letters were generally read,—and frequently detained.
Blaquiere’s volume on the Spanish Revolution, contains a resumé of his correspondence,—highly interesting as it was to Bentham, who indulged the hope that democratic representation, which he deemed to be the only basis of good government, would produce all the fruits of public peace and prosperity which he had anticipated. And it cannot be denied that the violence of the enemies of freedom and reform, directed against the constitutional liberties of Spain, found its main source and strength in the success of the popular experiment. For, under the Cortes, justice was made more accessible,—education was widely spread,—the tithes were abolished,—reforms were penetrating into every department of the state,—the influence of the monarch, and of the aristocracy, both clerical and civil, was greatly curtailed. A few years of tranquillity would probably have firmly rooted the liberal institutions of Spain. But the Bourbon invasion of that country overthrew the hopes of the enlightened,—who, indeed, found some consolation, a few years after, in the more complete and ruinous overthrow of those very Bourbon invaders from the throne of France.
Bentham to Blaquiere.
“June 5th, 1820.
“At this time I am hard at work upon an almost hopeless attempt: that of persuading the rulers in Spain, whoever they are, to emancipate all Spanish America, even though said America were down upon her knees to beg to be retained. Of this said dominion, the only fruit to the Spanish people ever has been, or ever can be, immense expense, consequently immense taxes, without profit to the value of a halfpenny in any shape. Unfortunately, the case is the reverse, with regard to their rulers, whoever they are: to them vast profit, in the shape of patronage, every penny of it operating in the shape of matter of corruption, corrupting, by the possession and prospect of it, the members of the administrative body, and enabling and engaging them to corrupt the representatives of the people, members of the legislative.”
In this letter, I find the phrase, “pressure from without,” whose adoption by Sir Robert Peel has given it a wide currency.
“Does there seem any the smallest chance that, if convinced of what is above, the leading men in Spain, or any considerable section of them, or so much as any one who could procure for himself a hearing, would, either of his own motion, or by pressure from without, be induced to give support to any such proposal?
“In my pamphlet on ‘Emancipation,’ nothing was said on the subject of corruptive influence; for in those days, such was my simplicity, not having yet discovered the distinction between influence of understanding on understanding, and influence of will on will,—the nature and effects of corruptive influence on the representatives of a people, were unknown to me.
“ ‘Townsend’s Journey through Spain, in 1786 and 1787.’ London. 3 vols. 8vo, 2d edition, 1792.—Is it in Spanish? It contains a great quantity of matter, with which it would be of great use to them to be acquainted. I knew the author well.* Through the medium of the first Lord Lansdowne, through whom I knew him, he had access to everything, and knew how to make his profit of it. From him are the following particulars:
“1. Anno 1786. Vol. ii. p. 181. After quoting various diplomatic statements, ‘the fact is, if we may believe those who are the best informed, the Spanish colonies yield no direct revenue to the mother country; nor yet any indirect.’ So I prove.
“2. Anno 1771. 1. Expenditure, (national,) applying exclusively to Spain, pounds sterling, 750,790: add to it two 00, you convert it into reals vellon. 2. Expenditure, (national,) applying indistinguishably to Spain and Creolia, £2,877,723. Place to the account of Creolia, half that sum, this makes expense on Creolia, £1,438,861½. Add expense of Council of the Indies in Spain, £80,000. Together, £1,518,861½. Expenditure, (royal,) £1,281,732. Send the beloved to continue his embroidery, you strike off this last expense. But the authors of the Revolution, whoever they are, with their virtue, whatever it may be, how will they endure the mention of it?”
Speaking of the Spanish Constitution, Bentham says:—
“Unless the number of stages of election be reduced one, the absurd prohibition of amendment of the constitution, for eight years to come, not only must, but will be done away, or at least, broken through. In France there is reason for adhering to the charter, à toute outrance, because, without the king’s good-will, it is impossible for them to get anything better; not so in Spain. All offices being in the king’s (that is, in his new adviser’s) nomination, they will continue, of course, except in so far as frightened out of it by the people, as much as possible of the present enormous civil list,—copying the example of the first French National Assembly, who gave theirs a most enormous one, much larger than ours, that there might be no want of offices to bribe them with. Note, ratio of king’s annual expenditure to the whole: in England, as 1 to 100; in France, as 1 to 50; in Spain, as 1 to 4. Anno 1778, as above, probably not much diminished since. In Madrid, would all or any of these observations be endured?”
The effect produced, in Spain, by Bentham’s letter on the subject of an hereditary legislation,* was great. “The great mass of the nation,” says a letter from Madrid, “had an instinct opposed to an Upper Chamber—it shocked their feelings. Many refugees who had been travelling in England, returned with sentiments of admiration for English institutions—institutions which have their foundation rather in the habits, than in the interest or the philosophy of the people. But in Spain, the proposal of hereditary legislation shocked the general sentiment; and Bentham’s letters on the subject gave irresistible arguments to those who wanted no conversion—while they converted many more.”
My acquaintance with Bentham began in 1820. The politics of Spain were the first bond of intimacy. Blaquiere had suggested to Bentham that my knowledge of Peninsular matters might be not wholly without use to him. He invited me to his house. The intimacy strengthened from day to day. For the last ten years of his life, I believe, not a thought—not a feeling of his was concealed from me. Considering the disparity of age, I doubt if any man was ever more thoroughly possessed of the confidence of another than I possessed that of Bentham. Frequently I was an inmate of his house—always was I a welcome guest at his table. During his lifetime he placed in my hands the most interesting portion of his correspondence; and at his death, he bequeathed all his MSS. to my care, in order that I might select and superintend their publication.
Blessings, benefits, benignities, courtesies, in every shape, I have received at his hands. No son was ever honoured by an affectionate father with more evidence of fondness, esteem, and confidence. And to me his friendship was that of a guardian angel. It conducted me with faithful devotion through a period of my existence in which I was steeped in poverty and overwhelmed with slander. His house was an asylum—his purse a treasury—his heart an Eden—his mind a fortress to me. It is only since his death, and when, in my situation of executor, all his papers have fallen into my hands, that I have learned how much I owed to his courageous friendship—his unbroken, his unbending trust. For I was calumniated on every side; and the calumnies were addressed in multitudes to my protector. His good opinion was turned aside by no insinuation; and the heavier the accusation, the more cordial and earnest was the defence. I give one of his earliest letters to me:—
“Q. S. P., September, 1820.
Now that you have taken me under your protection, there are some hopes for me. I am a hardworking, pains-taking man: a lawmaker by trade—a shoemaker is a better one by half—not very well to do in the world at present: wish to get on a little: have served seven apprenticeships, and not opened shop yet; make goods upon a new pattern: would be glad to give satisfaction: anything they may be thought wanting in quality, should be made up for in cheapness: under your favour could get up some choice articles for the Spanish market: would not interfere with my protector: scorn any such thing: mine a different line: would allow a per centage for agency, if agreeable. A few samples were circulated some time ago by an agent of mine, M. Dumont, of Geneva: think they were approved of. He has set up for himself, and got a job there. I let him have some of my tools and materials. He was forced to take in partners. They had been so used to the old way, that they were a little awkward at the new one: they have been coming out by degrees; still it is but up-hill work. He would have had me take the job in hand and go through with it. If I lived, so perhaps I might one of these days, rather than the thing should not be done; but the market there is so narrow. Spain! Spain! there is something like a market! An order from that country would make a man work early and late.”
Bentham thought highly of Townsend the Traveller, and speaks of him thus, in a letter to a witty politician:—
“Never were better opportunities possessed by any traveller: never did opportunities find a traveller better qualified, in all points, for improving them to the best advantage. Mr Townsend had his introductions from the first Marquis of Lansdowne. His acquirements covered the whole field of useful knowledge: he saw everybody and everything: he was beloved by everybody he saw.
“He was a clergyman of our Established Church. But his charity was universal; and his piety, which was eminent, never displayed itself in any of those forms in which piety is, so unhappily, apt to be at variance with charity: nor, in the course of his travels in Spain, in any form in which (on the supposition of a little prudence on the part of the translator) it could give offence to the religious virtue in a Spanish mind.”
It is somewhat amusing to contrast the wit’s opinion of Mr Townsend with the above:—
“I knew the man well: he was not so good as his book—a gross flatterer—an unfeeling person. The best thing that I know of him is, that he was esteemed by you, which, by the way, I never knew before. He ran mad about Moses; and besides his great book, μεγα ϰαϰον really fancied with Huet, and Dacier, and some others, that he (Moses, not Townsend,) was the same as Mercury, and Priapus, and Pan, and the Lord knows what other obscene symbol—all grounded on his rod, which, had it twitched Townsend’s tail, instead of bewitching his head, might have made him a better scholar, and something more of a philosopher. I lived a great deal with this ‘helluo librorum’: he made his own fire of a morning, and indeed did everything for himself, but wash his own hands, which neither he nor any one did for him,—for he was what the chambermaids called ‘a nice man’—that is, never dirtied the towels, nor emptied the water-jug. I pray you, forgive my repaying your friend’s hospitality by this portrait; but he lived as much with —, as I lived with him,—so partie quitte: besides, I only went to shoot a course at his house, and always gave him the game.”
This slashing style by no means pleased Bentham; and he wrote to a common friend, speaking of the general tone of his friend’s correspondence:—
“I am concerned for —. That which it grieves me to see are those expressions of universal and undiscriminating scorn, which it delights him to scatter on all that come in his way, whether friends or foes. Evil communications corrupt good manners. He has learnt this from —; but — is an unhappy man, and is independent of the affections of the people. To be loved by men, a man must appear to love them; and for preserving the appearance, I cannot think of any means so sure as the reality.”
In 1820, an Italian translation of Political Tactics was published at Naples: the first edition was immediately sold.
There were published in Paris in 1821—“Tables synoptiques des ouvrages de Jeremie Bentham,” a sort of index raisonné, or classified analysis of the contents of his works. They were constructed by M. J. B. Gontier, a French lawyer. They consist of four sheets, but refer only to the works edited by Dumont.
Notes in Bentham’s Memorandum-Book. 1820.
“Constitutional Law.—The pretence is, constitution semper eadem. The truth is, that, till arrived at U. S. representative democracy, it is continually upon the change, except under pure despotism. Every attempt to meliorate it is sure to produce new coercion here, and measures by which it is rendered less and less popular.”
“Communicate not to a friend, if permanently distant, vexations of yours unrelievable by him.”
“In the ethics of a monarch, there is but one virtue; obsequiousness to his will: there is but one vice; resistance to it.”
“Rules for repression of Anger.—When cool, satisfy yourself completely of the usefulness of these rules. Being thoroughly lodged in your memory,—when any incidental provocation happens, to excite to anger, the recollection of these rules may serve to suppress it.
“To avoid giving useless offence on the occasion of anything you are about to do, or to say, in relation to any individual, think, in the first place, in what manner, if said or done in relation to yourself, it would affect yourself: if to yourself it would be a matter of indifference, think then, whether, between your situation and his, there may not be some difference, the effect of which would be to render painful to him what would not be so to you.”
“Of mathematics, the chief use is the habituating the mind to pay attention to the subject of proportions; and that in ethics as well as physics. For example. in ethics utility depends altogether on proportions; which ipse-dix-itism, in the shape of sentimentalism, and all other shapes, neglects.”
“Liberty of the Press—Defamation.—The suppression of all true statements is an encouragement to, and almost a justification of lying ones.”
“Pretended suppressors of vice,—the weakness of whose faith is proclaimed by the strenuousness of their exertions to suppress all arguments against it.”
“While the Government punish lies that make against them, they have full impunity for lies that make for them.”
“Despotism punishes the vices which itself engenders: it creates the crime, and inflicts the penalty.”
“Under libel law, whatever is done for the safety, for the liberty, for the morality of the people, depends for its efficacy on the weakness of the law.”
“Curbing the irascible appetite as good a subject of exercise and boasting, as extraordinary walking, running, donkey-racing, chess-playing, &c.”
“In the East, the religion of Mahomet was propagated by the sword of war. In England, the religion of Jesus is upheld by the sword of judicature, calling itself the sword of justice. To say that this support is necessary to its existence, is to contradict experience—the most notorious experience. For, in the Anglo-American United States it has no such support. Yet, in those States, the belief has place, with exceptions, to a much less extent than in England.”
“Fallacies,—to be added.—The notmuch cause, therefore no-cause—argument.
“No preventing the past, therefore no preventing the future—argument.”
“Penal Code.—Offences against reputation. At suit of relatives, query, whether to give satisfaction, lucrative or vindictive, for offences against reputation of deceased relatives? If yes, only vindictive, and that not unless with criminal consciousness, not for rashness. Query, within what degree of relationship must be the plaintiff?”
“Constitutional Law.—Proof of the superior probity of the lower orders, the smallness of the proportion of crimes to numbers, considering that, by taxes and lawyers, they are divested of security for person, property, reputation, and condition of life against another’s transgressions.”
“For negativing a pleasure, the best mode is indicating a better. The direct negation imparts disapprobation, and imposes pain of humiliation.”
“When anything is wished for at your hands, withhold it not on the score of any apparent unreasonableness, unless the unreasonableness be of such a nature as to produce evil to yourself or others.”
“Evitanda.—All discourse tending to give uneasiness to others without benefit to self or others. Example—Indication of imperfections of an irremediable nature, as bodily defects, mental defects, in so far as incorrigible, ex gr. stupidity, dulness of apprehension.
“In so far as indication is given of remediable imperfections, it should be in such manner that it may be seen that the motive is the benefiting the other party,—not enjoying at his expense the pleasures of power and vanity. For this purpose, let it be in the presence of no other person that the indication is given; for if in the presence of others, the greater the number the greater the pain of humiliation, which, besides the irritation it may produce,—irritation from which you may yourself be a sufferer, it is so much pain produced in waste.”
“God is made by man after his own image: What is good by the beneficent; what is evil by the maleficent.”
“In all governments, democracy excepted, reason is never employed by rulers as a guide to will, but always as a slave. Will being always determined by the personal interests of rulers,—by the universal interest never.”
“Rich, why less moral than the poor?
“1. The richer, the more independent of good behaviour.—2. The richer, the fewer with whom he sympathizes.
“The property of the rich is in no danger from the poor: the property of the poor is not only in danger from the rich, but constantly encroached on by them and lessened.
“The small property of the poor is, every particle of it, necessary to their subsistence; it is, therefore, more carefully watched and guarded: the richer a man is, the more careless, the better he can afford to see defalcations made from it.
“But the property of the poor is of no value in the eyes of the rich: hence they conclude it to be of little value in the eyes of its possessors.”
“If the affections of him with whom you are about to commence a conversation be matter of indifference to you, all topics are open to you: if it be an object with you to gain or keep his affections, choose that topic, whatever it be, that is most agreeable to him. At any rate, you may avoid every topic which you know, or suspect, to be disagreeable to him.
“So as to hearing and making others hear: matter of prudence as to the proportion of time for making display, and hearing the companion’s display.
“Kind words cost no more than unkind ones. Kind words produce kind actions, not only on the part of him to whom they are addressed, but on the part of him by whom they are addressed,—understand, not incidentally only, but habitually, in virtue of the principle of association.”
The MSS. of the Political Fallacies were for some time in Mr J. C. Hobhouse’s hands, who had expressed a wish to be the editor of them. His purpose, however, was not accomplished.
As an example of masterly analysis—the condensation of a volume into a page—I give here Bentham’s Headings of the Book of Fallacies as originally proposed by him. It differs considerably from the Table of Contents, as afterwards printed.
THE BOOK OF FALLACIES. TITLES OF BOOKS, PARTS, AND CHAPTERS.
FALLACIES OF THE INS.
Fallacies, applying to men’s fears.
Ch. I. (1.) Hobgoblin-crier’s, or Anarchy-crier’s, or Jacobin-crier’s, or Innovation-Denouncer’s argument.
Ch. II. (2.)What’s-at-the-bottom? or, the-Devil’s-behind argument.
Ch. III. (3.) Official-malefactor’s shift; or, Official-malefactor-screener’s device. Attack us, you attack Government.
Ch. IV. (4.) Accuser-scarer’s device; or, Failure-of-proof-and-calumny-confounder’s device; or, Escape-and-Innocence-confounder’s argument. Infamy must attach somewhere.
Fallacies, applying to men’s self-diffidence.
Ch. I. (1.) Authority-worshipper’s; or, Blind-confidence-preacher’s device or argument.
Ch. II. (2.) Ancestor-worshipper’s argument; or, Chinese argument; or argument in the Chinese style.
Ch. III. (3.) Precedent-worshipper’s; or, Where’s-your-precedent-crier’s argument.
Ch. IV. (4.) Importance-and-difficulty-trumpeter’s argument.
Ch. V. (5.) Browbeating-ignorance-professor’s; or, Browbeating-ignoramus’s, or self-stultifier’s argument.
Ch. VI. (6.) Paradox-brandisher’s device.
Ch. VII. (7.) Vaguely-insulting-vituperator’s argument. Wild, absurd, visionary, and senseless!
Fallacies, applying to men’s self-diffidence—continued.
Ch. I. (1.) Practical-man’s; or, Blind-horse’s; or, Thought-scorner’s; or, Reason-abjurer’s argument.
Ch. II. (2.) Impracticability-crier’s argument. Too good to be practicable!
Ch. III. (3.) Universal-corruption-pleader’s; or, Hope-destroyer’s argument. Let them mend themselves.
Ch. IV. (4.) Excellence-abhorrer’s; or, Perfectibility-denier’s; or, Meliorability-denier’s argument.
Ch. V. (5.) Self-contradicting-wiseacre’s; or, Shame-candid-knave’s argument. Good in theory—bad in practice.
Fallacies, applying to men’s superstitions.
Ch. I. (1.) Posterity-chainer’s; or, Eternal-bar-pleader’s; or, Unalterable-Institution-pleader’s device.
Ch. II. (2.) Jepthah’s-vow-pleader’s; or, Oath-pleader’s device.
Ch. III. (3.) Allegorical-personage-worshiper’s; or, Allegorical-personage-trumpeter’s device.
Fallacies, applying to men’s indolence and indifference.
Ch. I. (1.)All-hush-without-doors argument; or, Hold-still argument; or, Nobody-grumbles argument.
Ch. II. (2.) Anti-preventionalist’s; or, Suffer-first argument.
Ch. III. (3.) General-prosperity-pleader’s; or, Vicarious-comfort-preacher’s; or, Vicarious-relief-preacher’s; or, Happy-all-but-you! argument; or, What-signifies-it?; or, Nevermind-it! argument; or, Sham-consoler’s argument.
Ch. IV. (4.) Procrastinator’s-shift; or, By-and-by; or, Wait-a-little; or, Not-just-now; or, To-morrow’s-time-enough argument.
Ch. V. (5.) Snail’s-pace-preacher’s; or, Graduality-preacher’s argument.
FALLACIES OF THE INS.
Fallacies, applying to men’s antipathies.
Ch. I. (1.) Bad-motive-imputer’s argument.
Ch. II. (2.) Bad-design-imputer’s argument.
Ch. III. (3.) Bad-character-imputer’s argument.
Ch. IV. (4.) Inconsistency-imputer’s argument.
Ch. V. (5.) Quondam-bad-opinion-imputer’s argument.
Ch. VI. (6.) Bad-connexion-imputer’s argument.
Ch. VII. (7.) Bad-name-bestower’s argument; or, Give-the-dog-a-name-and-hang-him argument. Anarchist!—Atheist!—Jacobin!—Blasphemer!
Fallacies, applying to men’s sympathies.
Ch. I. (1.) Laudable-motive-trumpeter’s argument.
☞ For examples, see Erskine’s Defence, and Burke’s Pamphlets—Debates, and Morning Chronicles.
Ch. II. (2.) Laudable-design-trumpeter’s argument. See do.
Ch. III. (3.) Laudable-character-trumpeter’s argument. See do.
Ch. IV. (4.) Consistency-trumpeter’s argument. See do.
Ch. V. (5.) Inbred-laudable-disposition-trumpeter’s argument. See do.
Ch. VI. (6.) Laudable-connexion-trumpeter’s argument. See do.
Ch. VII. (7.) Good-name-bestower’s; or, Puffing-godfather’s argument. See do.
Ch. VIII. (8.) Human-idol-trumpeter’s; or, Deified-dead-man-trumpeter’s argument.
Ch. IX. (9.) Self-trumpeter’s; or, Pretty-poll’s; or, Who-but-I’s argument. See do.
Fallacies, applying to the Judicial faculty.
Ch. I. (1.) Question-begging-denomination-employer’s; or, Crafty-generalizer’s argument.
Ch. II. (2.) Calculation-spurning-partiality-preacher’s device. Argue not against use from abuse.
Ch. III. (3.) Calculation-scorning-atrocity-justifier’s argument. The end justifies the means.
Ch. IV. (4.) Eulogizing-lumping-classifier’s; or, Logical-cloud-climber’s; or, Logical-high-flyer’s; or, Distinction-confounder’s; or, Discrimination-eluder’s; or, Deformity-cloaker’s device.*
Ch. V. (5.) Sham-distinguisher’s device. Respect the liberty, but crush the licentiousness of the press.
Ch. VI. (6.) Cause—obstacle—and uninfluencing-circumstance-confounder’s device or argument. Before it, or along with it, therefore the cause of it.†
Ch. VII. (7.) Bar-vice-amendment-urger’s; or, Lumping-condemner’s device.
Ch. VIII. (8.) Crafty-diversion-creator’s argument. Why this, when there is that and that?
Ch. IX. (9.) General-rule-strainer’s device. *∗* Quere, exemplar?
Ch. X. (10.) Opposer-general’s; or, Defender-general’s justification argument. Not measures but men; or, Not men but measures.
FALLACIES OF THE OUTS.
Fallacies, applying to men’s jealousies and envyings.
Ch. I. (1.) Blind-place-abhorrer’s cry. What? More places?
Ch. II. (2.) Blind-job-denouncer’s cry. What? More jobs?
Note.—Both the arrangement and the nomenclature are (the author is fully sensible) open to much amendment: as well as the number of fallacies to augmentation. In many instances, it may be scarce possible to my to which of two or more heads of fallacy the examples most properly belong: and, in this case, the nomenclature will be apt to present itself as inapposite.
To each fallacy a chapter is allotted. But the number of the chapters will not exactly correspond with that of Fallacies. For in some instances, there may be an introductory chapter of explanation: and, in some instances, under one head of fallacy, the examples are so numerous, and the matter so copious, as to require several chapters. In each chapter are frequently several sections.
Note—That with the exception of the Fallacies (Part VIII.,) applying to the judicial faculty, all the Fallacies in this table are irrelevancies. Additions have been made at divers times: and even now it is far from being regarded as finished. In some instances, perhaps, nothing will be found but the title of the fallacy, neither examples, nor so much as general observations. Meantime, a foundation is laid: and it is hoped some progress made.
“Among the fallacies,” added Bentham, on another occasion, “not entered in the Book of Fallacies, is prudential præterition, or non-contradiction fallacy.
“Exposition.—When, having a bad cause to defend, a man feels himself pressed by an argument, to which he is unable to find so much as a tolerably plausible answer, he, perforce, passes it over unnoticed; and by whatsoever form he can contrive to give to his attacks or defences upon other points, uses his endeavours to drive off the attention of the judge or judges, whosoever they are, from the sore place.
“The more irresistible the argument is on which this mask of secret submission is bestowed—the more irresistible the argument, and, therefore, the more strict the necessity of taking this course in relation to it,—the more questionable may perhaps appear the propriety of placing upon the list of fallacies this unavoidable last shift.
“Of the mention here made of it, the principal use is the subjoining to it a memento to the arguer on the right side—to be on every occasion on the lookout for the instances in which such silence is maintained on the other side: and not to omit the opportunity which they may afford him of well-grounded and useful triumph. Proportioned to the cogency of the argument thus eluded, is the evidence which the silence affords of what is called mala fides—consciousness of being in the wrong—say, in a word, evil consciousness on the part of the self-constituted mute adversary. Wheresoever on this, as on any other occasion, such evil consciousness has place, no opportunity of holding it up to view, ought ever to be omitted. The stronger and more extensive the disrepute, the stronger is the repressive force with which the exposure tends to render the practice of this shift less successful, and hence, less frequent: and, in a word, to augment the probability of victory to every good, and defeat to every bad cause.”
Major Cartwright to Bentham.
“37, Burton Crescent,
“My dear Friend,—
Allow me to congratulate the cause of freedom on the results of yesterday’s meeting of the county at Hackney, and, not in the least degree, on three resolutions which, after an able and eloquent speech, were moved by Wooler, and unanimously passed as follows:—
“ ‘Resolved,—That for vigilantly watching over all movements in the great cause of Reform, either in or out of Parliament: and in order to apprize the nation whether such movements be constitutional or unconstitutional, or in what degree imperfect, it is extremely to be desired that a few decided friends to Constitutional Reform should unite in counsel and coöperation.
“That it is the earnest request of this meeting that the nine gentlemen to be named, will, for the purpose aforesaid, consent to consult and coöperate together, as Guardians of Constitutional Reform, viz.:—
“Bentham, Jeremy, Esq.
“Burdett, Sir Francis, Bart.
“Draper, The Rev. William
“Ensor, George, Esq.
“Hayes, The Rev. Richard
“Williams, Robert, Esq., C.N.
“Wolseley, Sir Charles, Bart.
“Wood, Matthew, Esq.
“That as all reports and observations to be made by the said Guardians of Reform, will equally concern the entire Democracy or Commons of the United Kingdom, it is desired that such reports and observations be uniformly made through the medium of such daily, weekly, or other newspapers, published in the Metropolis, as shall be open to the gratuitous insertion of them as news, and not otherwise.’
“And when you shall see the petition unanimously voted, I trust you will find that Radical Reform and Democratic Ascendancy are in a fair way to prosper.”
Major Cartwright to Bentham.
“18th February, 1821.
“My dear Friend,—
Our two legislatorial members having declined to accept the office of out-of-doors guardians of Constitutional Reform, it remains for the seven wise men who are left upon the roll, to agree on their mode of consulting and coöperating in that service, as occasion may require.
“As you may have the smallest portion of disposable time at liberty, your convenience ought to be consulted. Will you chalk out the line that would best suit yourself?
“The subjects on which our guardianship may need to be exercised, will, of course, arise only occasionally; but, nevertheless, a weekly meeting might be expedient, although a part only of the seven may be able to attend with regularity. For an original conference, I mean to invite my brethren to dine with me some day this week. If you can favour us with your company, name the day most convenient to you. Having among us two divines, we cannot have Sunday meetings, holy as our work in reality is.
“At all events, after such a request of a general meeting of the central county, the seat of public business, and considering the great probable utility of such a guardianship, it seems highly proper that those who are willing to act should consider on the best mode. Holding myself in readiness for the service, I am at your command, to confer with you on the subject at your own time and place.
“Yesterday, among some M.P.s, it was said by one of them, that Lord J. Russell’s Grampound louse was to be cracked by the huge thumb-nail of the Lord High Chancellor. When the fate of the louse shall be decided, the circumstance, whether the end be life or death, may perhaps furnish matter for a concise comment.
“Our friend Ensor writes in high spirits. I expect him in London ere long.—Yours truly,
Bentham to Major Cartwright.
“Queen’s Square Place,Westminster.
“My dear Friend,—
Your letter of this day’s date, replete with kindness as it is, in proposals as well as sentiments, cannot from me receive any other requital than that of a confession, in form, of my utter, and completely self-conscious incompetence. If, for the ‘out-door Guardianship of the Constitution,’ ‘seven’ be the desirable number of your ‘wise men,’ I had, at our last conference, the honour to bring to your view the mode of numeration, by which, according to my arithmetic, it may be made up.—Yours ever.”
But the Major was not willing to allow Bentham to withdraw from the field of active usefulness, to which he had been invited; and in answer to another very urgent letter, Bentham replies:—
“Q. S. P. 9th April, 1821.
“My dear Friend,—
I am a nonentity. A nonentity is nothing, and can do nothing. Why will you persist in regarding me as an existing being? The kingdom of Reform is yours: I am not worthy to set a foot in it. Govern it in your own way. The kingdom,—I should have said the empire: as in Japan, two emperors,—the temporal and the spiritual. Father Hayes, the spiritual. I need not say who the temporal is.—Your affectionate and obedient servant,
“Jeremy Bentham, Half blind.”
Bentham to J. C. Hobhouse.
“Queen’s Square Place,Westminster,
That hen that was to have laid the golden eggs, I wish you could contrive to catch hold of her and rip her open, that we may come at whatever embryo gold there may be in her: for, if we wait till it comes out in the regular way, I fear we shall have disappointment instead of eggs. There was a time when your humble servant was ‘an eagle,’ and the bird in question ‘a Tomtit,’ perched upon his wing. I forget the Anno Domini; but it was when Pythagoras was Panthoides Euphorbus. It looks to me as if, since then, she had undergone a fresh transmigration, and become a humming-bird. I am drawing up a ‘Whereas,’ for Mr Cobbett to insert in his Register, offering to any one that will catch her and bring her to his office that he may wring her neck off, a suitable reward, to be paid with that punctuality which, in the case of a reward in any such impressive shape, any man may make so sure of at his hands. For my part, if ever I should spy her again, I should put on again my eagle form, which would not cost me quite so much as it did the first time, and peck her till she sung peccavi; and, transforming herself into a Condor at least, not to speak of Rocs, laid eggs of magnitude proportionable. ‘A bird that can sing and won’t sing, should be made to sing,’ says the proverb: and if there is not another about laying of eggs, it is high time there should—meaning, of such eggs as are the fruits of promise.
“***** I had to dine with me yesterday, that I might be the better able to judge what he could do for the good cause, and what he is made of. My judgment, such as it is, is much in his favour. The views he gives of things, in the two numbers of his periodical, so far as I have found time to hear them, agree perfectly with mine. In his conversation, no boasting or figurative rhodomontade: in regard to matters of fact, plain and distinct statement, with all the marks of simplicity and verity: in particular as towards myself, except appearing pleased, and at his ease; no flattery, not a particle of flattery: not a grain of eulogy declared, or so much as insinuated. Not but that my mouth was open to have swallowed it all, had there been ever so much of it; but none came, and you see I have forgiven him notwithstanding. I see no reason to apprehend that what little promises I got from him will not be performed. My solitary £5 had, of course, been already sent to him. His personal interest, according to his own conception of it, seems to be, in his mind, sufficiently identified with the universal interest; and I can see nothing that seems likely to dissever it. In regard to Catholic Emancipation, he is, in one word, an anti-vetoist. Tories, Whigs, Catholic lords, and other Catholic aristocrats, down to my old friend Charles Butler, almost to a man are vetoists, aiding Castlereagh and Co. in their endeavours to make the King Pope as well as King, and add religious fetters to political ones. In the choice of the Irish bishops, the Pope of Rome has not, would not have, any influence; nor, had he ever so much, could he do any mischief with it. No mischief but from monarchy, with aristocracy above or under it.
“The conversion of Catholics into Radicals is what he has taken for the corner-stone of his influence, and thereby of his interest: he is, accordingly, as I am, against Catholic Emancipation by any other instrument than radicalism, or at any other time than at or after the triumph of radicalism. On the veto question, his antagonist was ************* or *** **********, whichever his name is: he cannot but be well known to you. For the foundation of his fame, ***, I shall call him for shortness, took the veto side of the question. At the Court of Rome (***** being a Franciscan friar, and having passed eight years of his life there, from fifteen to twenty-three) they intrigued one against the other; and *****, being employed by the great body of the Irish Catholics, best him in the Propaganda to which the matter belonged, (twelve cardinals all unanimous,) till Cardinal Gonsalvi, who is Prime Minister and omnipotent, was set against him by that Baron Ompteda, whose name speaks volumes. The course that *** took to destroy the influence of his monastic rival, was to spread stories to the prejudice of his chastity—stories which, by the imputed publicity, destroy themselves. ***, in whom the defamation is mendacious, gained B—, in whom it is but temerarious. B—, who has a sort of religious conscience, might, perhaps, if an able hand could get at him to work upon it, be made to give evidence against ***. But, as yet, for want of such evidence, ***** has been reduced to fall upon poor printers and booksellers, in the endeavour to get his character cleared. He is as void of all affectation as any man I ever met with: he shrinks from no questions: and, if you know of any surer mark of probity, I should be glad to hear of it. Without obtruding anything, in the five hours that he was with me, he told me as much of himself, in particular the resources he has, and those he has not, for intelligence, as I had time to get from him.
“To get anything from him, I had to surmount the disgust produced by that hideous physiognomy and manner which disgusted you, with the addition of the filthy practice of cramming his nose with snuff, all the time he was cramming his mouth with victuals, and covering my clean napkin with his ‘flag of abomination’ filthified. At parting, necessity compelled me to shake hands; but I had in readiness a basin of water, into which, the next moment, mine were plunged. In addition to the principles of repulsion you had to contend with, I had these. As to reform, however, a more promising instrument I know not how to figure to myself: if I had had the money I gave t’other day to—. I should myself have employed, instead of my miserable £5, some hundreds in the support of it.
“As far as I can find, to gain or keep men, the surest way is to appear to love them; and the surest way to appear to love them, is to do so in reality, or, at least, to act as if one did: powerful and powerless, rich and poor, honest and dishonest, sincere and insincere, wise and foolish, clean and dirty, omnium gatherum; and the less a man expects of them, the more he will love them. To impute self-preference to them individually, or in little groups, as a matter of discovery, is to show, not that a man knows, but that he does not know, what they are made of. With or without wit, to indulge himself in pouring down, or squirting up, scorn upon their heads, out of a full chamber-pot, borrowed from Lord B., is not the way for a man to make either them or himself the happier.—Dear Sir, your sincere—it will be seen whether too sincere friend.”
Dumont to Bentham.
“Geneva, 22d February, 1821.
“Our penal code has occupied a hundred sittings, each four hours long, without reckoning the time it took me to prepare it. It now goes to the Great Commission: thence to the Council of State;—then there will be an inquiry: and then it will go to the representative body, which will nominate another commission; all the discussions will be resumed—and there will be three debates in the Assembly: this is the enfer through which I have to pass. * * *
“I am far from satisfied. I have been compelled to make many sacrifices. The expositive part is mutilated. The instructions of the Council of State required that a maximum of punishment should be established, which the judges may diminish. And this has enervated the whole law. Yet it is based upon your views. Every crime is defined—there is an exposition, such as it is,—aggravation and attenuation are introduced,—private and public offences follow the appropriate order. This is a great point: it shows the practicability of your plan—that it is not, as the reporters of the Penal Code in France decided, ‘a beautiful speculation of a study.’ It is evident that this manner of treating Penal Law, is the most complete and the most compact. The punishment of death is preserved, but almost only in terrorem, and for cases so grave, that the public sentiment would scarcely be wounded by its infliction.”
The Diario das Cortes, of 15th April, gives the following account of what passed in the Chamber of Representatives, at Lisbon, on the presentation of Bentham’s writing:—
“A letter was read, which had been directed, by his Excellency Joze da Silva Carvalho, to Senhor Sepulveda, (a deputy,) accompanying the works presented by the illustrious J. Bentham to the august Congress. Senhor Sarmento proposed, that out of respect to the illustrious Jurisconsult, an exception should be made from the rules of the House, and an honourable mention made of that present. Senhor Moura was of the same opinion, adding, that the Regency should be directed to order that those works be translated into Portuguese. Senhor Malgalhaés advised, that a copy of the Act should be sent, by the same channel, to the Patriarch of the Constitutionalists.—All which was agreed to.”
Bentham to Cartwright.
“Q. S. P., 1st June, 1821.
“Joy to great Cæsar! They relent,—they are afraid of you. You are, however, a little disappointed: and because you are, I am. Three months in a Bastile would have been a crown of martyrdom.”
J. B. Say to Bentham.
“Paris, 8th July.
“Public affairs fill me with profound disgust. France is a robust body covered with vermin, which suck, and gnaw, and irritate it. At the first movement the vermin will be crushed,—but the movement must take place,—and it will be a spontaneous movement. Counsels have, indeed, been given,—and given in vain, and the counsellors are strangled.
“In political cases, the jurors are selected from even among the personal enemies of the accused. Advancement, recompenses, follow those judges whose judgments are the most severe. Buonaparte placed the judiciary at the disposal of the executive, and our courts are become the instruments of our police. Administration exercises the functions of a Police, in the interest of the rulers, and nothing more.
“According to the law, only newspapers ought to be subject to censorship. All publications are so, in fact. Five copies must be deposited before publication,—and, if the object be popular, there is a judicial seizure which prevents the sale. Appeal is useless: to whom can an appeal be made? To the very persons from whom the arbitrary orders emanate.
“Yet our people cry, Long live the Charter! so your people cry, Long live the Queen!—It means little,—it is only a cry of opposition. The state of the world astonishes, as much as it afflicts, the philosopher. Nothing is like it in history,—except the Stuarts’ period with you,—and this will end as that ended.
“There is, indeed, food enough for exasperation,—but the remedy is at hand.”
Miss Frances Wright’s “View of Society and Manners in America,” had much interested Bentham, and brought about a personal acquaintance and correspondence with the author. In one of her letters (Sept. 12, 1821) she gives this account of La Fayette:—
Frances Wright to Bentham.
“Having passed a day in Paris, I set out for La Grange, (about forty miles English from hence.) Imagine my dismay, on finding that General Fayette had crossed me on the road, having been summoned on business to Paris. His family (which comprises three generations,—sons and daughters, with their wives, husbands, and children, to the number, in all, of nineteen) received me with every possible demonstration of respect and regard, but were in despair at the absence of the General,—as I was in the same. I determined to return next day, to meet him here, which I did. You will say again, ‘giddy goose,’ why did you set off for La Grange, without having written beforehand? There are reasons for everything, great philosopher. I had found a letter in Paris notifying the approach of some English friends, who were coming to see all the sights of this gay city, in the short space of ten days. Civility, therefore, constraining, for this period, my presence in Paris, I was obliged to seize the only day that remained to me before their arrival, for my journey into the country. Returning late at night, I sent a note, early the following morning, to General La Fayette, who soon answered it in person. Our meeting was scarcely without tears, (at least on my side,) and whether it was that this venerable friend of human liberty saw in me what recalled to him some of the most pleasing recollections of his youth, (I mean those connected with America,) or whether it was only that he was touched by the sensibility which appeared at that moment in me, he evidently shared my emotion. He remained about an hour, and promised to return in the evening, (he was engaged to dine with Constant.) My sister, and all the rest of the family, escorted to Beaujons (a sort of Vauxhall) our English friends, while I remained to receive General La Fayette. We held an earnest tête-à-tête until after midnight. The main subject of our discourse was America, although we wandered into many episodes and digressions.
“The enthusiasm and heart affection with which he spoke of our Utopia, the high respect he expressed for the character of its people, the ardent love of liberty which breathed through all his discourse, found, I need not say, an answering note of sympathy in me. He told me he had been particularly interested by the allusions in my work to the history of the American Revolution: ‘you made me live those days overagain.’ In speaking of the revolutionary army, he exclaimed, ‘We were an army of brothers; we had all things in common, our pleasures, our pains, our money, and our poverty.’ At another time, he observed, ‘No historian could render justice to the virtues of that army, no words could paint their sufferings, still less could they paint their fortitude, their disinterested, and sublime patriotism.’ He observed, also, upon the simple manners, warm hospitality, and pure morals of the American nation, ‘You have only rendered justice to them,’ he added, smiling; ‘truly they are the best and happiest people in the world.’ I need scarcely say, that we talked of you often, and that General La Fayette expressed the highest respect and admiration for the philosopher and philanthropist, to whom, as he observed, the whole human race owes a debt of gratitude.”
Miss Wright reports, from General La Fayette’s authority, several interesting anecdotes connected with the American Revolution:—
“A few days after the surrender of Burgoyne, General Gates, greeting his prisoner, of whom he had already made a friend, held out his hand, and shaking that of Burgoyne, exclaimed, with his usual characteristic warmth and frankness—‘I am very glad to see you, General.’ ‘I do not doubt you are,’ returned B.; ‘but I call God to witness, that I did all in my power to prevent your having the pleasure.’ ”
“When the news came to Europe of Howe’s entrance into Philadelphia, an Englishman said to Dr Franklin—‘Well, Doctor, Howe has taken Philadelphia.’ ‘I beg your pardon, Sir, Philadelphia has taken Howe.’ This was well verified, when Howe was shut up there for the winter.”
“While Franklin was negotiating in Paris, he sometimes went into a café to play at chess. A crowd usually assembled, of course to see the man rather than the play. Upon one occasion, Franklin lost in the middle of the game, when composedly taking the king from the board, he put him in his pocket, and continued to move. The antagonist looked up. The face of Franklin was so grave, and his gesture so much in earnest, that he began with an expostulatory, ‘Sir.’ ‘Yes, Sir, continue,’ said Franklin, ‘and we shall soon see that the party without a king will win the game.’ ”
A curious fact, connected with French politics, is mentioned in one of her letters. “We went yesterday, for the first time, to the Chamber of Deputies, and saw the entrance of the new ministers drawn from the ultra benches. The ultras have had a hard fight for the victory. There has been, for the last three weeks, a most amusing union of votes between the extrême droite and extrême gauche. Indeed, all parties seemed agreed in flouting the ministers, however different their ground of quarrel. The king, finding it impossible to carry anything—his speech censured by the Chamber, and his bills thrown out, struck his colours three days since, and gave to Monsieur the nomination of the ministers; upon which occasion he is reported to have said, ‘Je ne suis pas faché de cette occasion assez curieuse de voir de mon vivant comme les choses se passeront après ma mort.’ ”
“When the present Beotian race of ministers made their first bow to the king, after some gracious speeches, (which the cunning old gentleman can always say to those he dislikes,) he nodded his head, and cried macte animi. ‘Le Roi nous a très bien reçû,’ said one of the party as they left the presence. ‘Comment bien reçû!’ exclaimed the Duc de Bellune. ‘Marchez animaux! Je ne trouve rien de bien poli là.’ ”
When Carlisle was imprisoned, Bentham wrote to him a letter with a subscription, in which he says:—
Bentham to Richard Carlisle.
“In consequence of your advertisement in the Traveller, of the 10th or 11th October, 1821, I write this to desire your acceptance of £ NA, as a contribution towards your support under persecution: and as a testimony of my respect for your persevering intrepidity and self-sacrifice, in the cause of what, in your eyes, is useful truth.
“At the same time, it is my desire, not to be understood as meaning to express any opinion for, any more than against, any of the opinions, whatever they may be, to which you have given expression in any of your works: whatever they may be, had they been opposite to what they are, my weak endeavours towards your support, under the oppression you are enduring, would not have been otherwise than they are. Your cause is, in my eyes, the cause of all dissenters of every denomination, from the corruptive and demoralizing, and stupifying tyranny of every established and persecuting church. Nor should I regard with less sympathy and indignation, any persecution for opinions directly opposite to mine in every point, than for opinions directly coincident with my own in every point: nor do I understand how any Christian dissenter, of any denomination or profession, can, with any pretension to consistency, complain of any hardship, which, in that character, it may happen to him to labour under, and at the same time regard, without still stronger emotion, those afflictions and hardships which have been heaped up upon you, under which you have been so long and so manfully standing up.
“These sentiments, which, as long as I can remember anything, have been always mine, it is no small satisfaction to find concurred in, as I have found in numerous instances, by men of distinguished piety, and whose belief in that system of opinions against which your writings are directed, has ever been unquestioned. One I will mention without difficulty, he having been for some time out of the reach of all injurious antipathies. It is the late Reverend Dr Lindsay. I know not, nor do I wish to know, whether the opinions which you advocate, are of that sort which denominate a man an atheist. If they are, you may number among these, in whose eyes any prosecution instituted against you on that account, would have been no less odious than they are in mine—that amiable and universally beloved divine. This part of his sentiments, is, I believe, in print, under his name. Be this as it may, that they were his, and that he made no secret of them, is what I am assured by the assurances given me by some of the most intimate of his friends. The philanthropy, in which is necessarily included the horror of intolerance on the score of opinion, forms a bond of union and sympathy, the strength of which is greater than that of any principle of disunion that can be produced by particular opinions however opposite, on points however important. It is to these I ascribe an effusion of sympathies, which that excellent man produced in a blank leaf of a richly bound volume of his sermons with which he presented me not long before his death.
“I mention atheism, as being the strongest case, and as affording to persecution its most plausible pretence. As prosecutions on this account, and every other endeavour to suppress or cramp the circulation of that or any other opinion, on a subject of such prime importance in religion, have experienced the most decided disapprobation from the men preëminent in piety, according to the Christian system—so among those who have taken the most furious and most conspicuous part in such prosecutions, have been those in whose instance atheism, professed in the most violent and offensive manner, has been notorious.
“In my eyes, not only is any such persecution an act of immorality in one of its most mischievous shapes, but a sort of confession or presumptive evidence of non-belief in the very opinions which the persecutor thus professes to support.
“No man is so lost to shame, as to maintain, that, in any other part of the field of thought and action, it can be subservient to justice, it can be otherwise than subversive of justice, to suppress any relevant argument on either side, while those on the other side are free; how that which is unfavourable to the establishment of truth for determining the conduct of a Jury, can be less unfavourable to the discovery of truth, for the purpose of determining the conduct of a Judge, or every other person, in matters of religion, is what I am unable to perceive.”
In 1821, I was engaged with Bentham in a controversy on the reëligibility of representatives. By the Spanish constitution of 1812, no deputy was reeligible. Bentham attacked this provision. “As soon as the man has learnt his trade,”—he argued—“You say he shall not carry it on.” But it appeared to me that the quantity of intellectual aptitude which he gained by experience was more than counterbalanced by the amount of moral aptitude which he lost by the possession of power. Bentham wished me to tell him some of the grounds of my opinions. I wrote to him from Madrid, December 9, 1821:—
John Bowring to Bentham.
“I have seriously thought of it—and I mean to attack you—to attack you in your very tower of strength. I mean to justify the ‘non-reëligibility clause.’ I have been weighing reasons for days: I have been weighing them in your balance, and I fancy I see my way clear through them.
“You are curious to see the something which is to be said. Now, what greater security can you have for the subject many, than to make the permanent interests of the ruling few those of the subject many; and how is this to be done? By making every man, through the greater part of his life, and in the great mass of his interests, one of the many, you will induce him to take care of their interests, because they will be his interests while he is one of the few. He who knows (for instance) that he is to be 39 years of life one of the governed, and only one year one of the governors, has the motives of 39 years, which will weigh in favour of the many, and the motives of only one year to weigh in favour of the few.
“Again, is the possession of political power that which best fits us for its exercise? I should think not. I never knew the man who was not injured or spoiled by it. I never knew the man who did not think his reasons better for being authoritative. I never knew the man whose reasoning did not become more authoritative when it acquired factitious influence. Is your experience with mine?
“You will say—they won’t reëlect the man who is injured or spoiled—but, I imagine, the contrary is the experience of almost everybody: is it not better to elect one, the freshness of whose public virtue the mildew of political power has not yet invaded?
“I remember to have heard the most intelligent American I ever met with say, that, in the U.S., even with that minor portion of political power they confer, there had been no instance of a man being undeteriorated by it: that Jefferson withstood its influence longer than any other man; but after five-years’ possession of power, he was changed, and felt it, and owned it. My friend added, that one year sitting in the legislature, unfitted ninety-nine out of a hundred for legislation: and he had been, and is in habits of intercourse with almost everybody of public or extensive reputation. I have now special opportunities of marking the corrosive influence of power on my old friends of the Cortes: and I say—give me what I have here—Universal Suffrage—and I would not have one of them reëlected—No—not Toreno? Heaven forbid! Nor Puigblanch?—no—Nor Quiroga?—worse than either.
“There is not a man among them what he was in 1819. There is not a man among them who is not looking forward to a reëlection two years hence—and he will be linked meantime to the ruling few by some thread, or some chain.
“Now, suppose a majority of the present deputies reëlected: they would be worse next session than they have been this. Their blunderings would lead to other blunderings, and our friend Toreno’s ‘principle of stability’ (that’s the secret; and did you see that he made no account of any of your objections, but that one, in which he saw—self-concernment?) would be the stability of sinister interest—of interests of the privileged few, as against the unprotected many.
“But how (you say) is the honest Deputy to be rewarded—the dishonest punished? Matter of reward enough—and of punishment too, the people have in their power. A sheet of paper, like this, with a thousand—ten thousand, approving names to it; would not that be a reward? A letter, such a one as was written at Lisbon on the 24th of April, would not that be an encouragement?—and reprobation does not want its varieties.
“Now, is the knowledge of the Tactique of public assemblies of higher importance than the security of moral aptitude? What do our men learn at St Stephen’s? The sound of their cat-call! Nothing more, that I see. Need a man be a member of the House of Commons, to be a wise and honest legislator? I know a place—not the House of Commons, but not far from it, which would be a better school; and were I a priest, or an inquisitor, I would extort from you the confession, that had you passed your life among those whose trade is law-making, you would not have understood the art and mystery so well as you do.
“Yet more: I look over the lists here, and if there are any, better than the rest, they are those who sit for the first time. Is it not too, something to send every year back among the many—those who know the wicked tricks of the few—to spread through society some hundreds of individuals, capable of scattering the wisdom or the virtue they have learnt among the few? Should not every one of them be a most desirable check on the one hand, and a most desirable encouragement on the other—for the man who should follow him, and for all the rest?”
I had the satisfaction, by these and other arguments, of convincing Bentham. He agreed, that the non-reeligibility clause was wisely devised; but to give to deliberative assemblies the advantages of continual and acquired experience, he proposed, that a Continuation Committee should be left at the end of a Session, to carry on the work of Legislation into the Session that followed it.
Notes in Bentham’s Memorandum-Book, 1821.
“Pride and power are sorry companions: pride and weakness still worse.”
“The title of Chevalier sans peur and sans reproche has been given by the French to their countryman, the Chevalier Bayard. The title of Statesman sans peur and sans reproche, remains as yet unoccupied. My hope is, that at my death I may be found to be not altogether without a claim to it.”
“Avoid conceiving and expressing useless resentment.”
“If suspicion and accusation of bad conduct attach to you in a determinate shape; in so far as it is in your power to disprove it, do not fly into a passion, but give disproofs: to fly into a passion is a guilty man’s sole, and, therefore, natural resource: disproofs are the only means of distinguishing your case from that of a guilty man.”
“When you observe marks of stupidity, beware of asperity in your observations. Only so far as negligence is the cause, can they be of any use. Suppose negligence out of the question, the effect of any asperity is to give purely useless pain, and to excite resentment towards yourself on the score of injustice and cruelty.”
“Duelling.—The man who values himself on his personal courage, independently of the application made of it, values himself on that which is possessed in a higher degree by a dog, especially when he is mad.”
“Liberty of conscience, liberty of the press, liberty of opinion at large—all these are in one place or another established. The last that remains to be established, and which yet, in its whole extent, is scarcely so much as advocated, is liberty of taste.”
“Solitary Confinement.—To think that by vacancy of mind mental improvement can be assured! It is by well filling it, not by leaving it unfilled, that I (in Panopticon) should have operated.”
“Delusion representing benevolent beneficence as an attribute of power and wealth. Whatever little good the man of wealth and power does, or suffers to be done, is attributed to himself: whatever evil, is attributed to his agents.”
“Packed Juries.—From a jury of corruptionists, what justice can be expected in favour of a denouncer of corruption?”
“Condolencies, as well as mournings, are bad things. Men, and more especially women, give actual increase to their grief while, under the notion of duty and even of merit, they make display of it. If all mournings were altogether out of use, a vast mass of suffering would be prevented from coming into existence. Some savage or barbarous nations make merry at funerals. They are wiser in this respect than polished ones.
“Instead of offering condolence to your friend, if you cannot persuade him to take any amusement, contrive that business shall in some shape or other make an irresistible demand on his attention.”
“Wondered formerly by J. B., why governments could not join in reducing their military establishments? Wonder now no longer: they are kept up against—not one another, so much as against the people.”
“How absurd to ascribe superhuman virtues to a monarch to whom the law has left no motives to ordinary human virtues!”
“Constitutional Law.—Corruptionists and place-hunters favour the hypothesis of the two species of minds—the black and the white; and of the existence or denouement on the part of the white for the convenience of ultra eulogizing those partisans of theirs from whom they have expectations. So likewise the system of balance of power in the Constitutional system; that, in addition to the power of the people, by whom no overpaid places will be tolerated, much less any needless or useless places or sinecures, there may be a king to bestow all these good things, and a set of lords to support him in doing so.”
“Every act of support to a constitution, in which corruption is the instrument of Government, is an act of accessaryship to every instance of obsequiousness to corruptive influence.”
“Abstain from imagining possible evils not preventible. Example—by anticipating diseases—stone—blindness, &c. So when preventible, after the means of prevention have been settled.”
“The appetite for power increases with the exercise of it: every exercise produces resistance: every act of resistance applies a fresh stimulus.”
“On first entrance into the possession of power, a man can scarcely suspect to what a pitch his appetite for it will swell.”
“Nations are bandied from foot to foot, like balls, for the sport of monarchs.”
“Civil Code should give no power of restricting enjoyment of persons in esse, for the sake of persons not in esse: no tyranny of the dead over the living.”
“Has human life more in it of pain than of pleasure? By no means. Why? For this plain reason: because it is in so high a degree in our power to embrace pleasure, and to keep pain at a distance.
“On this point several philosophers have fallen into a notion—a conception happily as erroneous as it is melancholy. Locke, for example, takes for the cause of everything that we do uneasiness: uneasiness is a modification of pain—of suffering. If this were correct, the state of every man would be, at all times, a state of uneasiness, of pain, of suffering.
“Maupertuis, in the outset of an essay of his, has fallen into the same erroneous mode of expression, and thence as it should seem of conception. This expression, conveyed in the form of a definition, is not now remembered, except that it is still more determinate, and thence more decidedly erroneous and melancholy.
“A man who is in the actual enjoyment of one pleasure, may be thinking, at the same time, of a thousand others, receiving from each of them the pleasure of an expectation.”
“John Hunt—The tried, undaunted, persevering, intelligent, and upright defender of the people’s liberties, at his post of honour, the Coldbath Fields’ prison. From Jeremy Bentham, 14th May, 1822.”
“If you wish a man to do a thing, to save him the pain of a refusal, put it to him as slightly as may be. Perhaps you will do so and so.”
“Complication is the nursery of frand.”
“Intemperate language is strife upon paper.”
“Algebra, as distinguished from arithmetic, is nothing more than a particular mode of giving conciseness and compactness to expression.”
“Scorn should be repaid with scorn: oppression with resistance: sham-rulers should receive sham-obedience.”
“In exemplification of the prodigious utility of general urbanity to self-regarding interest, bring to view Eldon, Sidmouth, Castlereagh, Canning, &c. Urbanity does what Scripture says is done by charity. By this virtue on the small scale, vice in its most mischievous and efficient forms on the largest scale, to what a degree may it not be covered from opprobrium!”
“A circumstance that increases the ratio of the power of punishment to that of reward is the man’s less sensibility to pleasure than pain.
“A circumstance that diminishes it is the greater latitude a man has in respect of the application: the less the responsibility: for every man who has it may scatter it almost at pleasure.”
“If you find a man out in any design against you that he would be ashamed of, act accordingly: but do not let him know of your discovery; for, the more ashamed he is, the more intensely will he be your enemy.
“If, while contriving for his own advantage, a scheme by which you would not be benefited, but more injured, he tells you your benefit is the only object he has in view: contradict him not, but thank him.”
“Extra ornaments of the soldiery belong to the toy-shop, kept up for the amusement of the great baby, whose cradle is on the pinnacle of power, and who is, of necessity, always a spoiled child.
“They form part of the capital stock composed of the instruments of corruption and delusive influence.”
“For sanction of their murder, the Manchester murderers had power: but so has every other murderer had, or the murder he committed would not have been committed.
“The sinecure depredator has power to commit his depredations: but so has every highwayman had, who has ever taken a purse, or he would not have taken it.”
“If, in conversing with a man, you find him imbued with opinions which to you seem mischievously erroneous, if there be a probability of converting him, make the attempt, giving him as little uneasiness as may be. But if there be no such probability, do no such thing: as where there is no probability of your seeing him often enough. You wound his feelings, and you draw upon yourself his displeasure.”
“General observations should not precede the simple or particular statements of which they are the inference. Having the particular already in his own mind, the writer is apt to forget that this is not the case with his readers, and thus falls into obscurity.
“Exceptions—When the general observations are already familiar to most readers: and these are not among the novelties a man means to teach, but among the concessa which he brings forward for the purpose of procuring reception for the novelties.”
“Compared with that of which the seat is in the highest places, the most flagrant depravity, which has seat in the lowest places, sinks into insignificance.”
“Customariness is, to the unthinking, conclusive evidence of aptitude: under a corrupt government it is quite the reverse.”
“If it be through the happiness of another, or others, in whatsoever number, that man pursues his own happiness, still the direct, and immediate, and nearest object of pursuit is not the less his own happiness: the happiness of others is but a means to that relatively universal end.”
“One of the most foolish couplets that was ever written—if written with knowledge; for Pope was merely the satellite of Bolingbroke.”
Bentham’s services to humanity, in distributing the seeds of useful and beautiful plants, have already been mentioned. He took some pains to get the Mangel root introduced into Norway. In a letter to Mr Sibbald (9th January, 1822) he says:—
“Norway is a country that, by various ties, has of late taken possession of my sympathy. On reading your letter, considering the climate of Labrador, and the facilities which, according to your account, the plant has of enduring severe frost, it has occurred to me that if Norway could be put in possession of it, the plant might, to that cold and poor country, be a most important blessing. It might be—but it belongs much rather to you than to me, to say whether it might or might not be to Norway, what the potato is to Ireland.”
It was an invariable injunction laid on his travelling friends to send home the seeds of all esculent vegetables which fell in their way; and he was never happier than when planning the best means for their advantageous distribution.
Bentham to Henry Brougham.
“13th May, 1822.
“Get together a gang, and bring them to the Hermitage, to devour such eatables and drinkables as are to be found in it.
“I. From Honourable House:—
“1. Brougham, Henry.
“3. Hume, Joseph.
“4. Mackintosh, James.
“5. Ricardo, David.
“II. From Lincoln’s Inn Fields:—
“6. Whishaw, James.
“III. From India House:—
“7. Mill, James.
“Hour of attack, half after six.
“Hour of commencement of plunderage, seven.
“Hour of expulsion, with the aid of the adjacent Police-office if necessary, quarter before eleven.
“Day of attack to be determined by Universal Suffrage.
“N.B.—To be performed with advantage, all plunderage must be regulated.
“Witness matchless Constitution.”
Bentham to Richard Rush.
“Q. S. P.,Westminster,
That just resentment which could not fail to be excited, has been excited by this attempt to tyrannize. On one condition alone forgiveness may be hoped for. From Saturday to Thursday you are disengaged: you cannot deny it: name any one of those days. Of that which could be said in Baker Street, there is not anything that cannot as well be said at Q. S. P. You are a very bombardinian, and want to see the world pulverized into chaos, which you know would be the infallible consequence of my breaking that vow which you have thus been endeavouring to make me break. I have lately refused two of your brother diplomatists: they would neither of them have had the audacity to make such a proposal, had they known half as much of me as you do. Is it that any acquaintance of yours has that idle curiosity which some people have, who, when they hear said of a man that he has something out of the way about him, feel an itch to look at him? If so, the proposal is not only tyrannical, but insidious. The honest way would have been to have offered sixpence. I could produce those who would give a shilling, provided a dinner was to be had into the bargain, which, indeed, would be a condition implied. If there is really anything of this sort in the wind, I am ready to hear anything you may have to say to me on the subject. As for you, you have no vow to plead, nor so much as a habit; refusal on your part would be not only without justification, but without excuse. I have really several things which I could wish to say to you, and hear from you, provided always that so just a resentment as mine can so far be mastered.
“I am not quite sure whether it was from you or from Mr Adam Smith that, several months ago, I received a copy of the New York Constitution printed on one side of half a sheet of a newspaper. That Europe might have the benefit of it, I gave it to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle, who promised insertion, which he has never given it. At present, now that I have a pressing need for it, the rascal says he cannot find it. Could love, money, or crime obtain the loan of another copy for a time to be limited? I would give bond for its never being, during any part of the time, physically speaking, out of my reach.
“Six has never been my hour, but it shall be now, since you have named it. You are, therefore, now completely nailed.
“Dear Sir,—You see what one of my naughty boys has been scribbling, as if from me, while I was washing. Come any one of the days you and he have mentioned, and you shall hear me disavow whatsoever requires to be disavowed.—Being ever most truly yours.”
In October, 1822, I was arrested by the French government. Bentham immediately addressed Mr Canning, and obtained his instant intervention in my favour. I am persuaded he felt more distress from my imprisonment than I experienced myself. On my release, he seized me, and pressing me several times to his bosom—“As the hart panteth for the water brooks, so panted my heart for thee, my son!”
Bentham wrote in 1822, of Lord Eldon:—
“It was reserved for these days to produce a man who, being at the head of what is called justice, could sit in quiet, and make a speech to any such effect as this:—‘For the office which I occupy, my inaptitude is complete: it has ever been so: I, notwithstanding, climbed into it: remove me out of it who can.’ ”
Bentham to his Brother, Sir Samuel.
“January, 10, 1823.
“You have your gimcracks, now for one of mine. Mirza Mohammed Khan, a young Persian not thirty, him I want to come in contact with, and, in the meantime, that you should. What I have heard concerning him, I have just heard from Hassuna D’Ghies, ambassador at this court from Tripoli.* You would be as jealous as a dragon, if you knew half the esteem and affection I have for this young man, of whom I have been making a study for these five or six months.
“Mohammed, a most intimate friend of his, is a real object of compassion, and, by favour of Providence, capable of being in various ways made of essential use. His uncle, whose property he has inherited, was a man of opulence of the mercantile class, who had accounts to settle with the despot of Persia. Upon his death, the despot seized hold of this young man, and, by the most horrible tortures, extracted from him a sum of £70,000. The remains of his property have, however, been sufficient to place him in a state of opulence. The uncle had had large dealings with British India. £2,400 a-year, which he has in the funds of that country, constitute but a part of it.
“Somehow or other he got out of Persia, and has for some time resided at Bordeaux, under the protection of the English Consul there, to whose care any letters must be addressed. He is a young man of a most amiable disposition, and, for that country, cultivated mind; but from the sufferings he underwent in his torturings, his mind is not yet recovered. His desire had been to come and settle in this country; but was terrified from it by our bugbear the Alien Act, fearing that our people here would give him up to the tyrant. Against this I have assured our friend, they neither would nor could do any such thing: they could compel him to quit the country, but the place he went to would be of his own choice. My friend and I are very desirous of having him here. A considerable part of his fortune he would be glad to devote to the service of mankind.”
When the Greek Revolution broke out, Bentham wrote to Dr Parr, of date the 17th February:—
Bentham to Dr Parr.
“Worthy Friend of olden Time,—Can you sing, Ille ego qui quondam? Can you sing it in Greek. I want a little batch of good Greek for a useful purpose; and if not in your bakehouse, in what other can it be looked for with any reasonable hope? In the days of your youth, you received instruction from Greece in no small quantity. Lo! I will put you in the way to make some return for it. On the 13th-25th of January twelvemonth, the Greeks promulgated at Epidaurus, under the name of Organic, a temporary Constitutional Code: a French translation I have before me. It is in a work of M. C. D. Raffenel, intituled, ‘Histoire des événemens de la Grèce,’ pages from 429 to 440. An accredited agent sent from that country to this, writes to me a letter, desiring my observations on that Code, together with any other such assistance, in the way of legislation, as I may be disposed to give to them. In a preface to his edition of Aristotle’s Politics—a copy of which he sent me, forming the thirteenth volume of his Ellenic Bibliotheca, Paris, 1821—Doctor Corai, a renowned literary leader of the Greeks, a sojourner in Paris for the last thirty years, recommends it to his country to translate the works of Bentham, in preference to all others, on Legislation. Having other intelligent disciples in that country, I have some reason to think something in that way has for some time been going on.
“In a case such as this, there is always no small danger of suppression. If they find it suit their personal views, the ruling few, who apply to you for your ideas, give publicity to them; if not, they stifle them. I give the man in question to understand, that, in the present instance, if I do anything for them, this must not, shall not be. I require from him the assurance, that in his opinion, whether it happens to suit their views or not, if I send them anything, they will give fair publicity to it: at any rate, that they will oppose no obstruction to the divulgation of it; and that he will employ such influence as he possesses in the endeavour to secure this treatment to it. I give him at the same time to understand, that our correspondence on this subject is destined for publication; and that to do what depends upon myself towards securing my farthing candle from being kept under the bushel till the time for its being of use is at an end, I shall light up a gas-light from it in this country, and send it off to Greece, where it shall render itself visible to all eyes.
“Being but a bad scholar in Rhetoric, when I get into a metaphor, or an allegory, I get into a scrape: the sooner I am out of it the better. It is high time for me to return to my theme, and prefer in plain English my petition for some good Greek. If I go on as I have already begun, I shall, in no long time, and no large space, give them, in addition to observations on this their Constitutional Code or Proposed Code, a ditto of my own, with Reasons for every Article and distinguishable part of an Article: the whole as much compressed as possible. If they come up to my terms, as above, I shall finish, or at least endeavour to finish, what, in a very few days, I have already made very considerable progress in, and in the original English, print and publish it here. Moreover, if you will furnish me with a correspondent portion of Parrian Greek to put by the side of it, English and Greek shall be printed column-wise, and thus we will descend to posterity together, hand-in-hand, cheek-by-jowl, till old Time is tired of carrying us.
“My good fortune has just now brought me a disciple, able, I have every reason to believe, as well as willing—willing to a degree of enthusiasm—to do what is requisite to the completing for the press those papers of mine on the Rationale of Evidence, of the fragment of which, containing the first 140 pages, you have had a copy, I believe, almost ever since it was printed. It had in those days the good fortune to find favour in your sight: should that same favour, or any moderate portion of it, abide still, this will be not unacceptable news to you.
“A third edition of my Fragment on Government, (for a second was printed in Dublin in the days of piracy,) is to come out (so the bookseller informs me) in the course of this week: Item, a second edition of my Introduction to Morals and Legislation: this last, not in one volume 4to, as before, but in two volumes 8vo, in which is a portrait which they made me sit for. It seems well engraved: I have seen it; and people say it is like. Both these are booksellers’ jobs of their own proposal. I get nothing: I lose nothing: I desire nothing better; and so everybody’s satisfied.
“The first of March, or the first of April, comes out a number of the European Magazine, with another portrait of me by another hand.* Considerable expectations are entertained of this likewise. When you see a copy of a print of ‘the House of Lords at the time of the Queen’s Trial,’ in hand by Bowyer, and expected to come out in a month or two, you will, if Bowyer does not deceive me, see the phiz of your old friend among the spectators: and these, how small soever elsewhere, will, in this print, forasmuch as their station is in the foreground, be greater than Lords. Oddly enough made up the group will be. Before me, he had got an old acquaintance of mine of former days, Sir Humphrey Davy. He and I might have stood arm-in-arm; but then came the servile poet and novelist, Sir Walter Scott: and then the ultra-servile sack guzzler, Southey. Next to him, the old Radical—what an assortment! But this wholesale print manufacturer is famed, I understand, for the sort of knowledge, called knowledge of the world. His object was, to get something to meet everybody’s taste. No fewer than five times, within little more than a year, have I been plagued with people, to waste in this way, so many portions of the scanty remnant of a time, which, if employed to any good, would otherwise have been employed to a so-much-better purpose. At first, I was wise and negative: I entered upon the career of folly; and, by some means or other, was led on, step by step, to the point just mentioned: the two attempts which cost me most time, I considered as having failed. When I rose up to walk and preach this letter, could I have thought that the preachment would have drawled on to so enormous a length? If I could, I should have assuredly spared by much the largest portion of your time, as well as my own, and not kept codification so long at a stand, by it. But I have an excuse in a cough and cold, which has kept me in a state of confinement for these ten days or a fortnight, and which, producing comparative indolence, renders the labour of the hand fatiguing to me. In the midst of all this labour, or rather by means of it, I am full as gay as ever I was: more so, I believe, than when you first saw me in I know not what ill-directed attempt to be fine, and accused me, in your own mind, (I dare say not without sufficient ground,) of coxcombry. May this effusion find you impregnated with equal and corresponding gaiety. But, whatever you write—and I flatter myself you will not leave all this gossip completely unanswered—employ some hand other than your own, if your wish be, that it be read by anybody: otherwise, what you write, might as well be in the language of the moon, as in that which to you seems English. A luminary such as you, cannot but be surrounded by satellites in abundance: one you may have for English: the same, or another, for Greek. Do by me as you have been done by; and what you write, will be no less easy to read, than worthy of being read.
“I thought to have enclosed for your amusement, a single sheet, containing a printed copy of a poem in modern Greek, and, alas! in rhyme, on the Greek insurrection. I have looked for it where it used to be, and lo! it has vanished.
“I have just learnt that the Greek agent expects to set out on his return on Monday next. You see, therefore, how important it is that I should have an answer from you as soon as possible.”
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“Hatton,February 20th, 1823.
“Dear and excellent Mr Bentham,—
The wisdom of your preachment, and its importance, would have been more than ample compensation for what you call the length: and I shall apply to it a very pertinent line.
“ ‘Non sunt longa quibus nihil est quod demere possis.’
You sent the first part of the Law of Evidence. I declare to you that I seem to hear my own voice. I have told Denman that I never learned any principles from Gilbert, or from the much better book of Philips. Your book will tell me what no other man yet knows, and what ought to be known by every man of virtue and reflection. I hope the Fragment on Government is to be enlarged. I shall get your Introduction to Morals and Legislation. I must look after a portrait. I shall laugh heartily to see your figure in the neighbourhood of those reptiles, Walter Scott and Southey. You have acted with great discretion and great dignity in your negotiations. Most assuredly your works will find their way through Europe, and most assuredly impostors and tyrants will feel the effects of them. Dr Corai is a scholar of the highest class: I have two of his works, which I read with great delight. His sagacity is worthy of his erudition, and his authority is very great among all men of letters. Give yourself little trouble about the modern Greek verses, they are of little worth in the judgment of scholars.
“But we must encourage all their virtues whatsoever. Mr Bentham, upon jurisprudence your wisdom sets you above all writers, ancient and modern. Your fame will be immortal; and your memory will be followed, not only by the admiration, but the gratitude of all civilized nations and all ages. To my mind you are a sort of apostle, and I almost worship you. Pray let me know the issue of your negotiation. I must have your Codification Circular. I want not only to read, but to study all that falls from your pen. Don’t talk of your gas-light. Posterity will say of Jeremiah Bentham, what Lucretius said of Epicurus,—
“I have been obliged to dismiss my male amanuensis, and the neighbourhood will supply no successor. My female scribe does pretty well in Latin, when I set the book before her, or when I direct her to make a previous copy of what I dictate orally. But the process is very troublesome to both parties. If you were to offer me a mitre, I could make no progress in Greek; and if I had an auxiliary, I should really be at a loss for topics. Well, you will send me the original English. Be it so. But my Greek would not recommend your English. Depend upon it, that which you write will soon be translated into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. In two or three years it will find its way to Germany. The difficulty is in finding a douce and intelligent disciple, who, without marring your unparalleled good sense, can prepare a translation in modern Greek. Yet, when the fame of your book reaches Greece, the best informed men will be anxious to give it publicity among their countrymen. Mr Bentham, I continue to think and to speak of you with regard, with respect, with admiration, and with confidence, and with thankfulness. Believe me, most sincerely, your friend.
“P.S.—I shall read again and again, and I shall carefully preserve your inestimable letter. God bless you!”
Major Cartwright to Bentham.
“8th March, 1823.
“John to Jeremy,—Although thou art so unaccountable a being as to prefer sitting in thine own study, writing for mankind, to attending a political meeting to hear men talk for two or three hours, thou wilt, nevertheless, receive a card of invitation to such a meeting for the 12th; when, if it so please thee, instead of attending the said meeting, to write a few lines that may be useful in forwarding the object in pursuit, why, be it according to thy perverse humour. Thine,
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“March 19, 1823.
“Dear and excellent Mr Bentham,—
I never can write legibly. I am no scribe. I am hardly able to pen. I am wholly unfit for business, or correspondence, from the sudden death of my dearest and most conscientious friend. If I were summoned before a Parliamentary Committee, or standing in the witness-box of a court of justice, or conversing in a private room, I should readily answer any questions about my Prebend. No crime has been perpetrated by the petitioner himself—no injury is done to individuals—no plunder is committed on public property. I do not know precisely the bearing of Mr Hume’s intended motion: it probably will not be pleasing to the generality of Churchmen. But if I understood and approved of it, yet, as an ecclesiastic, I should be unwilling to take any part. I am quite sure, that in the tenure of my Prebend property, he would find little to censure. You cannot, yourself, be a more warm, or a more grateful admirer of Mr Hume, than I am. His diligence, firmness, exactness, and integrity, are most praiseworthy. He truly stands aloof from party connexions. What is it to him, whether he be or be not slighted by the Outs, or slandered by the Ins. He draws after him public esteem, and public praise. But you should advise him to be more correct in detailing minor circumstances. But what right has Brougham to warm him? Have we forgotten his rudeness, when he was concocting such a meritorious plan for the regulation of abuses in schools? Mr Hume is a great public benefactor; and to me it is wonderful, that, with so little help from the Whigs, and so much insult from the Tories, he never gives utterance to contemptuous or virulent language.—I am truly your admirer, and afflicted friend,” &c.
Extracts of a Letter from Bentham to the Greeks.
“November 24, 1823.
Some there are among you who say,—Give yourselves to a king! Give yourselves to a king? Know that, if you do so, you give yourselves to an enemy—to an enemy, and that an irresistible and perpetual, an irresistible and implacable one. Yes—diametrically opposite in everything is his interest to yours: and what worse can be said of the worst enemy? It is your interest to keep, every one of you, the fruits of his own industry for his own use. It would be your king’s interest to get from each of you the last penny, to lavish upon his own lusts, his instruments, and his favourites, to satiate what is insatiable—his own rapacity, and that of his instruments and favourites.
“Be the object what it may, when the will and the power are both in the same hand, the effect takes place. The will, to engross to itself all the objects of human desire, is in every human breast: to the will, a king adds the power: can the consequence be doubtful? He will not take everything from you to-day, seeing that, if he did, when that was gone, there would be nothing for him to take to-morrow. No slave-holder starves his slaves, seeing, that to work, a slave must live. Your king would not take everything from you; but what he would leave to you would be, at all times, as little as possible. It is so everywhere: under the Turks, you were, in no small proportion, free from the presence of an enemy; you paid tribute;—your condition could not be bettered—but it was not made worse. Not a family in which he (a king) will not have a spy. For where the archplunderer is a king, where is the family in which there will not be some one looking for a share in the plunder?
“Nay, but, say the Royalists, your betrayers,—our monarch shall be a limited one. Grecians, believe them not. Limited? yes, for a moment; and till the chains, which from the very first moment will be intolerable to him, can be thrown off. Would you see how easily all such chains can be thrown off? Look to Spain: look to Portugal. All monarchs are ready to lend all their hands. Chains imposed in these times on monarchs, are snapped asunder in a moment. Look at Mexico. There started up a new emperor. There, too, there were a few chains for show,—like those which are worn by the hero of a tragedy, light and polished as art can make them: he snapped them as if they had been piecrust: and this comes by oppression and depredation without a bridle and without stint.
“And these securities in the shape of chains, who are they that are to keep them on? A set of expectants, whom he will have, with so many mouths to feed, and all at your expense. To keep them in subserviency your burden will be doubled: and this is the sort of security you will get,—with your nominal limitations.
“Look to France: look to the great charter: eight years have not elapsed since it was granted, and what is the value of it now?
“In Spain, the fourth part of what the people were made to pay in taxes for the expense of government, was every year devoured by the monarch: thus much was known and avowed: what was secretly added by debts contracted, and secret pillage, was incalculable. Thus stood the matter in 1787: and from that time to that of the hapless Revolution, it grew worse and worse.
“The worst will not come at first. To lull you into acquiescence there must be the outside of security. But though the day cannot be calculated, the worst will come one day, so sure as the bad is submitted to the first day. Power, money, mischievous lustre, vengeance, nothing can a monarch ever get, that does not serve him as an instrument for getting more. The more he wastes, the more thoroughly are all under him corrupted and deluded.
“Waste, corruption, and delusion, go on hand in hand, and increase together, till every thing absorbable is absorbed.
“Now, for what is it that any man can propose to you to put yourselves under an irresistible plunderer, but for the assurance of sharing in the plunder,—but that the plunder may be shared in by himself?
“In England, one lawyer has £23,000 a-year, which he keeps; besides several times as much which he must give, indeed, but which he gives to whom he pleases: and there is a bishop who has as much again. Not long ago, there was a parish priest who, for doing nothing, received £12,000 a-year, and his delight was in driving stage-coaches.
“In a republic, they will tell you, there is no security. No security in a republic? say, rather, no security anywhere else. Look to the Anglo-American republic: what security, what prosperity, what constantly-increasing prosperity, was ever comparable to theirs? so it has been these forty years; and every year brings a vast increase.
“Of all other governments, the least bad is that of England. Yet, under England, six millions and a half of Irishmen groan in irremediable distress, under unrelenting tyranny. They are kept hungry and naked by priests, and other creatures of monarchy, who fatten on their spoils.
“So sure as you have a king, so sure has the Holy Alliance another member. And what is the Holy Alliance, but an alliance of all kings, against all those who are not kings. Were there no such alliance, remedy, under the most grievous tyranny, would be but too difficult: under the Holy Alliance, all remedy would be impossible. When there was no Holy Alliance, in each State, oppression, though under a monarchy, might, for a time, be more or less mitigated by a revolution in that State. It was so in England in 1688. But now, under the Holy Alliance, there can be no mitigation in revolution in any one State, without a revolution in every other.
“In England, the king is not yet what he is in Spain. But from whence is it that he is not? Is it for want of desire to be so? Ask those whose language is the known creature of his will: the journalists who watch his every thought, and whose daily productions accompany his daily bread to his table.”
The President of the Portuguese Cortes wrote to Bentham, in 1823, a letter full of admiration, requesting he would look through all the articles of the Portuguese Constitution, and suggest any amendments for the consideration of the Assembly. These were days of boundless happiness to Bentham, when, from every side, testimonials of respect and affection were flowing towards him, and when all events seemed concurring in advancing the great interest to which he was devoted.
[* ] Works, vol. iv. p. 407.
[* ] He wrote the notice of Bentham which appeared in the “Biographie des Hommes vivans.”
[† ] See Bentham’s “Letters to Toreno,” Works, vol. viii. p. 487 et seq.
[* ] See above, p. 123.
[* ] See the Three Tracts on Spanish and Portuguese Affairs, Works, vol. viii. p. 461.
[* ] Examples of clouds, cloaks, and foul spots covered by them:—
[† ] For examples, give a list of states of things, with their true causes, and the obstacles, and uninfluencing circumstances erroneously assigned as causes of them.
[* ] For a notice of D’Ghies, see Works, vol. viii. p. 555.
[* ] The European Magazine, of April 1823, contains a short memoir of Bentham; accompanied with a portrait. The portrait is not a successful one. That by Pickeragill, of all the pictures painted, is incomparably the best. It is distinguished, indeed, by every sort of excellence. Of busts of Bentham, that by David of Angers is admirable.