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sions upon, the opinions of others, has induced many an incipient reader to throw down volumes in which the author so unfairly en, deavours to stultify or beknave all his predecessors. There is in Mr. Austin's remarks on this most hackneyed subject of self-love, evidence of his having digested the subject for himself; and it is probable that his thoughts are altogether self-derived; his manner is too original for a mere borrower: for such a one is sure to betray, by his very diction and the cast of his sentences, his want of native reflection. Satisfied as we are of the independence of Mr. Austin's convictions, we can permit ourselves to observe, that a triumphant assailant of the “selfish system” appeared many years ago in the person of the late gifted and eccentric William Hazlitt, whose Essay on the Principles of Human Action, and subsequent dialogues on Self-love and Benevolence (both anonymously published), overthrew the sophisms of Mandeville and Rochefocault so completely, that another able refutation was rather a welcome superfluity than an absolute want in the intellectual world, even though every argument used by the later writer differed in conception and expression from each that had been advanced to the same purpose by his predecessor. After again informing our readers that Mr. Austin introduces this topic only to disclaim it as necessarily belonging to the Utilitarian theory, he remarks another error, which both its advocates and opponents frequently fall into : i.e., that of confounding the motives which ought to determine our conduct with the proximate measure or test to which our conduct should conform and by which our conduct should be tried. After reasoning, at length, upon the reality of this distinction, he repeats the proposition in a more popular form, and annexes illustrations which have all the clearness that belongs to his other explanations, with more than usual vivacity. We must again quote :
The principle of general utility does not demand of us that we shall al. ways or habitually intend the general good, though the principle of general utility does demand of us that we shall never pursue our own peculiar good by means which are inconsistent with that paramount object.
For example : The man who delves or spins, delves or spins to put money in his purse, and not with the purpose or thought of promoting the general well-being. But, by delving or spinning, he adds to the sum of commodities; and he therefore promotes that general well-being which is not, and ought not to be, his practical end. General utility is not his motive to action : but his action conforms to utility, considered as the standard of conduct; and, when tried by utility considered as the test of conduct, his action deserves approbation.
Again : Of all pleasures, bodily or mental, the pleasures of mutual love, cemented by mutual esteem, are the most enduring and varied. They there- ; fore contribute largely to swell the sum of well-being, or they form an im- } portant item in the account of human happiness; and, for that reason, the well-wisher of the general good, or the adherent of the principle of utility, must, in that character, consider them with much complacency. But, , though he approves of love because it accords with his principle, he is far from maintaining that the general good ought to be the motive of the lover. It was never contended or conceited by a sound, orthodox utilitarian, that the lover should kiss his mistress with an eye to the common weal. pp. 117, 118.
This last instance would exclude the late Mr. Holcroft from the ranks of genuine Utilitarians; for, in one of his philosophic novels, he makes the lady of his tale, who is the model of wisdom, choose between the several candidates for her hand upon the very principle which is implicitly disclaimed at the conclusion of the above quotation-for she gives her hand to the suitor with whom her marriage will “ most conduce to the general good.”
The fact that such puerilities have been brought forward, accounts for the contemptuous rejection of the principle by many open-minded students in ethics; no one, however, is entitled to bear the character of a philosophic inquirer who does not seek and weigh the strongest arguments that have been advanced by the ablest advocate of every extant opinion. We do not affirm that Mr. Austin's reasonings on the theory of morals have made con verts of us, but we can truly say that his discriminating and cogent remarks have led us to “ponder well ” the reasons for his ethic creed. The distinction between general utility considered as the measure or test, and as the motive or inducement to action (p. 119), is worthy of the most deliberate consideration ; but, after giving due attention to the sage qualifications with which his statements are accompanied, we ask ourselves whether such admissions are not fatal to the system? In an admirable passage he states the value of calculation as a guide to the moral sentiments :
To think that the theory of utility would substitute calculation for sentiment, is a gross and flagrant error: the error of a shallow, precipitate understanding. He who opposes calculation and sentiment, opposes the rudder to the sail, or to the breeze which swells the sail. Calculation is the guide, and not the antagonist, of sentiment. Sentiment without calcu. lation were blind and capricious; but calculation without sentiment were inert.
To crush the moral sentiments, is not the scope or purpose of the true theory of utility. It seeks to impress those sentiments with a just or beneficent direction: to free us of groundless likings, and from the tyranny of senseless antipathies; to fix our love upon the useful, our hate upon the pernicious.—pp. 52, 53. · This is every way deserving of laudatory assent; more truth could not have been better clothed in the same number of words : but we could bring, if it were desirable, hundreds of passages from the writings of professed Utilitarians, in which calculation is opposed to sentiment in the very way that is here shown to be absurd. What but verbal peculiarities belong, then, to the sys. tem, when its distinguishing characteristics are abandoned by its ablest recent advocate? A system of morals in which the calculations are made inclusive of sentiment, ought not to have the same name as any one which is exclusive of it. Having, in the previous lectures, considered and determined upon the characters or distinguishing marks of the divine laws, he proceeds, in the fifth, to determine the distinguishing marks of positive moral rules : that is to say, such of the laws or rules, set by men to men, as are not armed with legal sanctions; or such of those laws or rules as are not positive laws (i. e., not appropriate matter for general or particular jurisprudence); these are again divided into the imperative and those which are imposed by general opinion. In the course of this lecture a long quotation is made from that now much neglected work, Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding : Mr. Austin truly says of his chapter on “Relation,” that it evinces “ that matchless power of precise and just thinking, with that religious regard for general utility and truth, which marked that incomparable man.”
The last and longest lecture treats of positive laws, and of the difference between them, and the rules with which they are frequently confounded. The exposition will be studied entire by those who are interested in the subject ; and it would not be possible to give an analysis that would be satisfactory or intelligible, inasmuch as the matter is condensed by the author as closely as was practicable; we must even desist citing any more separable passages that are replete with important instruction : but we cannot refrain from indicating some of the happiest final portions of the volume, although we have already occupied so much of our space by remarks upon, and specimens of, the merits of its previous parts. The vulgar and mischievous sophism, that “ might is right," receives a blow which we hope will be a deadly one (p. 305). The affirmation of Hobbes, that “ no law can be unjust," is most ingeniously explained (276), in a sense that is both sage and innocent:. but, at best, it is a sacrifice of his (Hobbes's) reputation for skill in the use of language to his character for wisdom. The philosopher of Malmsbury again (pp. 296—300) receives the honour of citation, comment, and vindication.
Algernon Sidney is laid under contribution (p. 295); and a pearl of wisdom is extracted from his political writings, which may give most salutary and needful instruction to many of our cotemporaries who use his name somewhat unwarrantably. The philologist as well as the political student may learn something from the manylanguaged exposition of the word “ Right” (p. 306); and he who bears a philanthropic hatred to the system which sacrifices the happiness of many human beings, by making them mere live tools for the production of wealth, will gladly avail himself of Mr. Austin's weighty authority, and cite his proofs, that the wealth of the community is not necessarily the weal of the community.
ART. VIII.- Treatise on Happiness ; consisting of Observations
on Health, Property, the Mind, and the Passions ; with the Virtues and Vices, the Defects and Excellences, of Human Life. In 2 vols. 8vo. London: Longman, Rees, and Co. 1833.
The title of this work scarcely imparts any description of the extent and variety of its contents ; for it may be regarded as a very large collection of arguments and facts, arranged and digested in such a manner as to serve to illustrate some of the principles which govern men in the ordinary transactions of life. A production executed upon such a plan as this, cannot fail to excite, wherever it is read, a conviction of its utility ; because, in developing as it does the nice shades of human character, in penetrating and defining the latent springs of human action, it exposes to the most common capacity the surest means whereby a fault in conduct may be overcome, or a virtue be acquired. But the advantage of such a resource for the mind as this, does not consist merely in the good which it may enable us to do ourselves, but it is also highly calculated for the office of a great moral benefactor of the society in which we may happen to be cast. We have in these volumes a great multiplicity of examples, good and bad; the estimation of the history of which must prove immensely profitable to those who will take the trouble, and who have also the ability, to apply the circumstances of such cases to the familiar occasions of private life. These general remarks on the nature of the work, and of the account to which its contents may be turned, we shall illustrate in the course of the following pages.
After a chapter of preliminary remarks, in which the author comes to the conclusion, that a tolerably good portion of health, a moderate income, a cultivated mind, and well regulated passions, are the chief constituents, in general, of earthly happiness, he proceeds to develop in detail the circumstances which are comprehended within those general constituents. He begins with an account of the nature of the human body. In the chapter on this subject, he considers its popular anatomical and physiological relations, and dwells on the beautiful proofs which its mechanical construction exhibits of the providential adaptation of means to their end. From the consideration of the mere individual, man, the writer extends his remarks to man in the aggregate, and contemplates him in his distribution over the globe, and the varieties in his race, which are to be attributed to the influence of diversity of climate.
The preservation of health forms, by a natural transition, the subject of the ensuing chapter after that upon man; and here we have an elaborate and carefully written review of the nature of food in ancient and modern times. The substances used for food, the proper quantity under different circumstances, and many other
ticulacasions in een devotede perfect, accomines of the presente silk,
. points connected with the preservation of health, form the themes of a very important chapter, highly worthy of attention for its practical hints. The same observation applies to the next chapter, that on clothing. With respect to the latter practice, we are altogether disposed to adopt implicitly the opinions of the author upon the rules recommended to be employed in the choice and change of clothes. But there is no part of his advice which we are more inclined to inculcate, than that respecting the very impolitic indulgence which some persons allow themselves in clothing. James, Duke of Ormond, we are told, had ten different kinds of clothing for every day's wear ; they consisted of woollen and silk, and these were either simple or quilted, so as to present every gradation of thickness. During the changes of the weather, he was in the habit of endeavouring to accommodate his garments to the state of the day: but it is perfectly evident that the whole of his time must have been devoted to the task, provided that he succeeded on all occasions in having on the garments that were suited to the particular state of the atmosphere to which he was exposed. But a still more whimsical case was that of Cosmo II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who, thinking that the only preservative of health was the equal temperature of the head, kept in his chamber a quantity of night caps, which he put on or off, according as the thermometer, which he constantly watched, indicated a rise or a fall of the mercury.
We pass over the chapters on Air, Temperance and Intemperance, Exercise, and Sleep; not that much which may be deemed useful and important is not to be found in these chapters, but because their contents are comparatively better known than those of the portions of the volumes which we have yet to consider. The chapter on Dreaming contains nothing in the way of novelty : it is, indeed, an exhausted subject, and may be very well described as being incapable of any further elucidation. In the chapter on Wealth, there are some very judicious observations on the qualifications which must be associated with industry, so as to make the latter successful. The industrious man, in order that he may go through his undertakings with the desired effect, must be punctual, prudent, and economical ; and it is the presence or absence of these three, or one of them, which makes one man prosperous and another unfortunate. If a person be engaged in any calling, and pleased with it, he should pursue it steadily; he should not be elated to-day and downcast to-morrow; nor should he be indifferent to his present advantages, but anxiously looking for success in future. Of all things, our author recommends that a speculative castle-building disposition should be avoided. They who cultivate a taste for speculation seldom prosper, as they of course never can make use of that essential instrument of profit, perseverance. We entirely concur with our author in the following remarks :