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ADVERTISEMENT TO TRACT THE SECOND. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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ADVERTISEMENT TO TRACT THE SECOND.
The occasion, on which the paper that forms the subject of these remarks, was published, is that of the ever-memorable massacre perpetrated at Cadiz, the principal sea-port in Spain, the principal seat of commerce in that country—the city next in population to the Capital. The day on which this tragedy was acted, was the tenth of March, 1820. For its declared object it had the preservation of that state of things which, under a despotism, is designated by the words social order;—for its perpetrators, those who profit by—those whose particular and sinister interest is interwoven with—the maintenance of that order; for its instruments, perfidy and treachery.
In the great contest which, now for about half a century, has been carrying on in the field of the habitable globe—in the contest between the many and the few—this has not been one of the least conspicuous scenes. Impatience and cruelty have everywhere characterized the deportment of the ruling few, long-suffering and forbearance that of the subject many. In this contest, the object of the greatest number has, of course, all along, been that which, on pain of their extinction, it can never cease to be—the greatest happiness of the greatest number: of the ruling few, under the like impulse, the greatest happiness of the ruling few. By the greatest number—by the subject many—their object—their real object—has nowhere—has never—been disavowed: it has not been, it never can be, an object for them to be ashamed of. By no motive could they have been led to disavow it. By the most irresistible impulses, they have, everywhere and at all times, been impelled to the avowal of it: all their prospects of success have depended on the extent given to the avowal made of it. Not so the ruling few. Consistently with common decency, consistently with common prudence, consistently with any hope of advantage, consistently with any assurance of security to themselves, at no time, nor anywhere, can their object have been, or in future be, avowed: to say to the subject many, sacrifice your happiness to ours, would be to say, be fools, that we, for our own profit, and at your expense, may be knaves.
Being thus, by the very nature of their claim, precluded from the use of reason in support of it, they have been driven by necessity to lay hold on custom, as the only support that could be found for it. The government—the unbridled government—of one, being the simplest possible form of government, and that to which, in the early stages of society, each horde found itself, under pain of immediate extirpation, necessitated to submit itself during its warfare with the neighbouring hordes, of which warfare either the existence or the immediate expectation was incessant,—this was the form of government that succeeded everywhere to primeval anarchy. For a long time, if, on any occasion, power felt any such sense as that of restraint, it was only from momentary and easily assuageable dissatisfaction: not till after a long course of mutual and variously terminating struggles, could it have anywhere, as here and there it has done, found itself under the necessity of submitting to any determinate and settled limitations. In comparison with the political communities in which all such limitations remain still unknown, few are those in which any such galling shackles have had or have place. Hence it is that, subject or not subject to this or that limitation, submitted to for the purchase of the voluntary support of the sub-ruling few, everywhere has the government of one had custom for its support. Hence it is likewise that, while Monarchy and Custom have everywhere had Reason for their adversary, with exceptions to a correspondently small extent, and those of scarce any other than a recent date, they have had reasoning and reasoners for their support. Everything being to be hoped from the support given to the claims of the one and the few, nothing to be hoped, but everything to be feared, from support given to the cause of the many, and on this part of the field of discourse, the great mass of the language, as it stands, having had for its manufacturers those reasoners upon paper, who all the while have been reasoning under the yoke of this sinister influence, the language furnished by custom for the occasion, has been everywhere a tissue of fallacies, spread abroad for the support of it.
Hence, as part and parcel of that tissue, the jargon, the contents of which, on this field, Custom has engaged men to accept at one another’s hands, in lieu of reason. Over and above those fallacies, which require, each of them, a sentence, or perhaps a paragraph, to give expression to it, and of which a list in some detail has been given in another work,* —hence those still more commodious fallacies, for the propagation of which a single phrase, or even a single word, is sufficient. Witness, dignity of the crown, dignity of the throne, splendour of the crown, splendour of the throne, matchless Constitution, English institutions. Witness legitimacy, order, social order. By a custom, commenced by paid and enlisted, reinforced by gratuitous and deluded scribes, all these imaginary and verbal blessings have been placed in the catalogue of things to be cherished and maintained: to be maintained, all of them, with equally ardent devotion, and indefatigable perseverance. Of the greatest happiness of the greatest number, nowhere, till of late years in the united Anglo-American states, nowhere, without absurdity could it anywhere have been stated as belonging to the number of those things which ought to be maintained. Why it could not, will be seen as soon as mentioned: that which is nowhere established, cannot anywhere be maintained. No objection, it is true, is this to its being put upon the list of those things which ought to be established. Accordingly, now that in that only seat of established good government, it is already upon the list of those things which ought to be maintained, and now that, in some political communities, it has been put upon the list of those things which ought to be established, and which with all their energy, men are labouring to establish,—even the best paid, even the most hungry, even the most strenuous supporters of the claims of the ruling one and the sub-ruling few, see no hope of advantage from any direct denial opposed to so uncontrovertible a position, as that the greatest happiness of the greatest number ought everywhere to be established. In the diverting of men’s attention from that sole basis of good government, is their only hope; and hence it is that, from Thrones, and Houses, and Benches, the ears of the people are so indefatigably plied with the confused and senseless din, composed of matchless Constitution, English institutions, wisdom of Ancestors, dignity of the Crown, splendour of the Crown, dignity of the Throne, splendour of the Throne, balance, mixture of classes, wash (or something else) that “works well,” Holy Religion, Licentiousness, Blasphemy, Atheism, Jacobinism, Legitimacy, Order, Social Order, with et ceteras upon et ceteras.
Let Reason be fruitful, Custom barren, is among the aphorisms of Lord Bacon. In saying this, he said what he wished to see, assuredly not what he saw: in the field of government—in this field, beyond all others—Reason (and we have seen why) breeds like a shemartin; custom, like a doe-rabbit.
Finding themselves hemmed in on all sides—sure of discomfiture and overthrow, should they, on any occasion, venture to act upon the field of reason—always dissatisfied with themselves—always condemned by conscience, always beholding, in the prevalence of reason and the spread of intellectual light, the downfal of their power—the temper prevalent among the oppressing tribe has, always and everywhere, been congenial to this their situation; their conduct to their temper: their temper feverish, their conduct sanguinary and atrocious. In the many, the sacrifice of whose interest to their own has been their constant object and perpetual occupation, they could do no otherwise than behold so many constant objects of their contempt and hatred: of contempt for their actual patience, of hatred and that, notwithstanding the contempt, never altogether clear of alarm, from the unassuageable apprehension of the ultimate cessation of that patience. Makers and Masters of the laws, death and torture, in rich variety of shape, they have spread over the whole contexture of those laws, for the gratification of those angry passions, and for the maintenance of that order, to which every word from the voice of Reason, sounded in their ears as pregnant with disturbance. Hence the apparatus of gibbets, halters, axes, pillories, chains, and dungeons: hence the anxiety and abundance with which the musket and the sabre are at all times kept in store; kept in store, and, by the despatch and extent given to their operations, held in preparation to anticipate, support, and relieve the labours of the judicatory. Hence the implacable enmity to the liberty of the press: hence the indefatigable exertions for the extinction of it. Hence the Association, self-styled Constitutional, headed by the heads of factitious religion and standing armies, at the invitation, and to the emolument, of lawyers: the too real association, formed for the protection of a non-entity, by the destruction of whatever good was ever spoken of as belonging to it.
The causes have now been seen of that contrast which, since the commencement of the great contest above spoken of, has, at all times, been exhibited, between the conduct of the ruling one and sub-ruling few on the one hand, and that of the subject and suffering many on the other.
Of the two so opposite systems of political action—that which has for its object the greatest happiness of the ruling few, and that which has for its object the greatest happiness of the subject many—would you see at one view an exemplification as striking as it is instructive? Look to the now so happily independent Anglo-American States. Look back to the state of things in that country, at the period of the great contest, of which it was the scene. Note well the several systems of warfare, on which the two contending parties were prepared to act. Look first to legitimacy, and matchless constitution: mark the fate, which, in case of success to their side, they had prepared for their adversaries: strangulation for necks, amputation for heads, laceration for bowels, severance and dispersion for quarters: and, lest all this should not be sufficient for the punishment of the so-styled guilty, denial of justice for creditors, purposed indigence for untried and unaccused wives and children, purposed indigence even for indeterminately distant kindred, whether sharers in, unapprized of, or even adverse to, their designs:—for all these, in indeterminable and unheeded multitudes: for, such is the inscrutably complicated result—wire-drawn, nobody knows when, by nobody knows what King’s creatures, in the situation of ever removeable Judges, out of so short and irrelevant a phrase as corruption of blood: a phrase, invented by the corrupt in will and understanding, for a mask to the atrocity, by which, in such countless multitudes, the confessedly innocent are pierced through and through, for the chance of conveying an additional pang to the bosom of the so-styled guilty, whose proper powers of sufferance, it is thus proved, were still, after being put to the utmost stretch, insufficient for satiating the appetite of groundless vengeance: vengeance, against which it was assumed that nothing could be said—because law had been made the instrument of it, and all-comprehensiveness and perpetuity had been given to it.
Such being the system, in pursuance of which, in case of success, under the orders of the all-ruling one, the ruling few were on that occasion prepared to act, as in such contests they never have failed, nor in case of success ever can fail to act,—mark now the system of counteraction, employed in that country, by the oppressed and subject many, for their protection against those destined perpetually impending, and perpetually threatened horrors. Look in the first place to the commencement of the contest: mark well the character of the measures of resistance, organized and put in action, before the sword was as yet resorted to. To treason-law, as above described, including corruption of blood as above described, what was it they opposed? Neither more nor less than the infliction called tarring and feathering. And this tarring and feathering, what was it? The substituting, to a part of the sufferer’s usual clothing, a covering composed of feathers, made to adhere to his body by a coating of tar. Humiliation, by means of scorn and derision, was accordingly, it may well be concluded, a suffering actually sustained. But, to this mental, what corporal sufferance was added? None whatever. To the sufferance thus inflicted in the name of punishment on the person of the alleged offender, to this properly-seated punishment—what addition was made in the shape of mis-seated punishment? what punishment was purposely inflicted on those to whom no offence was so much as imputed? None whatever.
Look, in conclusion, to the termination of the contest: look to Saratoga look to York Town. What, in the eyes of the victors, were the prostrate vanquished? Not rebels, not traitors: not anything but what Englishmen have been wont to be to French victors, Frenchmen to English victors—unfortunate, yet not the less respected, enemies.
Of the manner in which, in the season of ascendancy the subject many bear their faculties, would you see another exemplification? Cast a momentary glance on Ireland.* Behold the vast majority of the people in that country, objects of inveterate oppression and legalized depredation, victims of a system of studied and inexorable misrule, carried on through centuries. Under such provocation, mark their deportment, when circumstances had placed the power of retaliation in their hands. Look, in the first place, to the five or six years’ period between the years 1778 and 1783. Compare the state of the country in that period with the state of it not only before but ever since: compare the conduct maintained there in relation to one another by those same universally contrasted parties, both of them having the contest in America, and latterly the termination of it, full in view.
Favoured by circumstances, favoured by the happy weakness of their tyrant neighbours, linked in the bands of a no less peaceful than free and voluntary confederacy, open to all whom situation permitted and affection disposed to enter into it, behold the oppressed many, rising up in arms. Scarce had they begun to show themselves, when, without a life sacrificed, without a blow struck, they saw the votaries of corruption, by the mere apprehension of what they were able to do and of what had been deserved at their hands, laid prostrate at their feet. For five years and more, by the confession of the most adverse parties, by the testimony of all journalists, of all historians—the whole power of the country was in their hands. What was the use they made of it? What use, in the zenith of their power, did these Irish Insurgents make of those English supports of legitimacy and social order—axes, and gibbets, with their et ceteras as above? What use made they even of the American instruments of self-preservation—tar and feathers? None. What, in fine, viewed in every point of view, was the true, the universally undisputed, the indisputably proper appellation of this period of Irish history? Yes: it was the golden period, the no longer fabulous—the visible golden age.† Behold now the sad reverse. Unhappily for both islands, peace was at length restored to England. The hands of English tyrants were thus set free. What was the consequence to Ireland? The golden age vanished: the age of iron returned: the age of iron, and, with it, that scene of oppression and legalized depredation—of insolence on the one hand, of ever just and ever boiling howsoever smothered indignation on the other; thereupon came that conspiracy among the few, having for its avowed object the extermination of the many.—that conspiracy, of which it is so well known to everybody that it need not be said by anybody, who the men are, who so lately were avowedly, and because not now avowedly, are not the less determinately and effectively at the head.
Thus much as to the catastrophe. Now as to the actors. The men, by whom this golden age was thus created and so long preserved—what were they? What, but the men of universal suffrage? Yes: and by them in that island, and from that island in this, within a few years after its establishment in United America, would the system of universality, secrecy, equality and annuality of suffrage have been established, and the no longer fabulous golden age have been thus extended and perpetuated, but for the unhappily restored peace above-mentioned, in conjunction with the treachery of certain of the people’s pretended friends; one of whom, in the teeth of that same five years’ fresh experience, had the effrontery to speak of universal division and consequent destruction of property, as the certain consequence of that very state of things, which, having under the eyes of all men, but in a more particular manner under his own, been so recently experienced, had produced none but the most opposite—unprecedentedly opposite effects.
Look at this moment to Portugal: behold that now magnanimous and regenerated nation, casting off at once the double yoke of a domestic and foreign despotism. Before the auspicious day arrived, think what had been the oppression on the one hand, the forbearance on the other, the wretchedness in consequence: read it in the documents of the time. Since that auspicious day, inquire what has been the vengeance: inquire ever so sharply, no such thing will you find.
Warmed by the subject, the pen has been running riot. Recollection commands it back to Cadiz.
On the 10th of March, 1820, at a moment of general festivity,—the assembled multitude being no less peaceful, no less unsuspecting, no less crowded, no less defenceless, than, in the preceding August, they had been at Manchester,—at the instigation—not of a simple Priest, but of a Bishop—a selection, carefully made from the refuse of the army, fell upon the people, and, not with cutting weapons only, but with fire-arms, commenced an equally indiscriminating slaughter. As to the number of those slain on the spot, accounts vary from three hundred to between four and five hundred; as to the wounded, they agree in estimating it at a thousand.
The triumph was not of long duration. The cause of the people finally prevailed; the authority of the law, such as in that country it is, was restored. But the law thus restored, was itself the law of tyranny. It was a system of law, which had for its end in view the same as that of matchless constitution, envy and admiration of the world: which had for its end in view, in a word, (need it be mentioned?) the establishment of the greatest happiness of the ruling one and the sub-ruling few, at the expense, and by the sacrifice of the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Amongst other tribes of the ruling few, the establishment of the greatest happiness of the lawyer-tribe,—manufacturers of an unassailable tyranny, the necessary and ever ready instrument of every other tyranny.
In Spain, as, with scarce an exception, in every other of the countries governed by Rome-bred law,—effectual care had been taken, that, in all cases, in which the sinister interest of the ruling one was concerned, the fate of the accused should be completely at the disposal of an ever-obsequious instrument of that same ruling one: a judge, nominated, and at all times removeable, by his fiat: and that, for that purpose, the proceedings in general, and the collection of the evidence in particular—of that mass of information, on the collection of which the result of every cause necessarily depends,—should, from first to last, remain covered with a veil of impenetrable secrecy. In England, only in cases where property is at stake, does this last-mentioned security, for injustice, corruption, and official depredation—this secrecy in the collection of evidence, stand as yet established: any designs formed by the head of the law upon jury trial—any such designs, howsoever intimated, not having as yet been particularized and brought forward: and though when the whole of the richest man’s property is at stake, property is thus disposed of by the instrumentality of secretly collected, or, as in bankruptcy cases, by that of uncrossexaminable evidences—still, in smaller masses, it is left to be disposed of, by a system of evidence, which, how replete soever with absurdity and inconsistency, is, upon the whole, somewhat less flagrantly and completely hostile to justice.*
[* ] See The Book of Fallacies, in vol. ii. of this collection.
[* ] See farther, with reference to Ireland and the Volunteers, “Radicalism not dangerous,” vol. v. p. 599, et seq.
[† ] See the Whig Biography of Mr Hardy, the Tory Observations on Irish affairs by Lord Sheffield, and even the Tory History of Mr Adolphus. “Let those who sneer at the Volunteer Institution, point out the days,” (says Mr Hardy, Life of Lord Charlemont, p. 197,) “not merely in the Irish, but any history, when decorous measures kept more even pace with the best charities of life, when crime found less countenance, and law more reverence.”—“Private property,” (p. 198,) “private peace, were everywhere watched over by the volunteers with a filial and pious care.”
[* ] It being the author’s intimate conviction, deduced from the consideration, as well of the universal nature of man, as of the whole compages of particular facts, that on the one hand in Radicalism there is nothing dangerous to property or general security in any shape, on the other hand, in Despotism there is that which is everlastingly and most seriously dangerous to itself, he had made considerable advance in both researches, when stopt for the present at least, by other calls of a still more urgent nature. To see both topics in other and abler hands would afford him the sincerest pleasure.