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mently condemns in others. The term ought is one of these. In the Deontology, he says”, “The talisman of arrogance, indolence and ignorance is to be found in a single word, an authoritative imposture, which in these pages it will be frequently necessary to unveil. It is the word ‘ought’— ‘ought or ought not,’ as the case may be. In deciding ‘you ought to do this'—“you ought not to do it’—is not every question of morals set at rest?” “If,” he goes on, “the use of the word be admissible at all, it ought to be banished from the vocabulary of morals.” Yet he finds it quite impossible to banish it from his own vocabulary; and not only uses it, but uses it in the way in which it is so commonly used by others, as representing a final and supreme rule, opposed, it may be, to the existing actual habits of action. Thus, in the passage on the treatment of animals just quoted: “They are not treated as well as men. True as to the fact. But ought they not ?” And he puts the word in italics to show how much he rests upon it. So in giving a description of an altercation between an ancient and a modern—he makes the former, with whom he obviously sympathizes—say, “Our business was to inquire not what people think, but what they ought to think." again italicizing the word. Numerous, almost innumerable, other examples might be producedf.
* I. 31. + So, Principles, Ch. xviii. Art. i. Classes of Offenses, Art. i. “It is necessary at the outset to make a distinction between such acts as are or may be, and such as ought to be offenses.” So, same Chap. Art. xxv. note, he would call the person benefitted by a trust, the beneficiendary, “to put it more effectually out of doubt that the party meant was the party who ought to receive the benefit, whether he actually receives it or no.” So, same Chap. Art. xxvii. text and note: “The trust is either of the number of those which ought by law to subsist... or is not.” “What articles ought to be created [property], &c.” The whole page and note swarms with oughts. So same Chap. Par. XLII. “Whether any and what modes of servitude ought to be established and kept on foot?” Again, Par. XLVI, LIX. Perhaps it may be worth while considering for a moment what may appear to be the reason for the extraordinary manner in which Bentham and the Benthamites have been in the habit of treating their opponents; for their perpetual assertions that the opponents' principles are unmeaning—are mere assumptions—perpetual beggings of the question—ipse dixits—vicious rounds of baseless reasons:—for this is their usual mode of speaking of opponents. They rarely quote them; and appear to conceive that men so extremely in error could not have injustice done them ;—that any assertion might be made about them, for their absurdity was so broad that the most random shot must hit it. This appears to be the mood in which Bentham speaks of all opposing moralists. Now you may ask, whether any probable reason can be given why he should allow himself such liberties;—why he should be so incapable of seeing any sense or reason in any previous scheme of ethics. I do not pretend to explain the matter: but I think we may go as far as this:—That his mind was so completely possessed by his own system of thought, that he could not see any sense or reason in any differing system: and that it was this want of any sense or reason apparent to him in the opinions of others which raised him into his strange mood of arrogance, his intoxication of self. complacent contempt for adverse systems and arguments, which his admiring disciples held to be so overwhelming to all opponents. I think we may go further. We may see a little nearer why it was that he found no meaning in opposite systems. It appears to me to have been thus. He had set himself to discover and lay down a general principle of human action by which all rules of action must be determined. His principle was, that we must aim at a certain easternal end:— at happiness, as it is first stated:—but happiness is plainly not altogether external; happiness depends upon the mind itself. Divest, then, the object of this condition; make it wholly external to the mind: it then becomes pleasure. Pleasure, then, must be the sole object of human action; and Pleasure variously transformed must give rise to all the virtues. If you are not satisfied with this, he cries, Show me any other external object which men either do care for or can care for. Summum Bonum, Honestum, kaxdv, why should they care for these if they give them no pleasure? And if they do, say so boldly, and have done with it. Of course the answer is, that we are so made that we do care for things on other grounds than are expressed, in any common and simple way, by saying they give us pleasure. Men's care for justice, honesty, truth, and female purity, is not expressed in any appropriate or intelligible or adequate way, by saying that these give them pleasure. Men are so constituted as to care for these things. But this idea of a constitution in man, an internal condition of morality, was quite out of Bentham's field of view. No, he said: I want you to point out the thing which men get, and try to get, by virtuous action. If you will not do this, I cannot understand you. If you do this, you must come to my standard. And this habit of mind was, I conceive, in him, not affected, but real: and after a while, broke out, as I have said, in the most boisterous ridicule of all who differed from him. In quitting these general considerations, and turning to detail, it would be unjust to Bentham not to allow that in that portion of Ethics in which his principle is really applicable, there is a great deal of felicity, and even of impressiveness, in the manner in which he follows out his doctrine. I speak of the virtues and duties which depend directly upon Benevolence. He enjoins kindness, gentleness, patience, meekness, good humour, in a manner which makes him conspicuous among the kindlier moralists. He has for instance such precepts as this: “Never do evil for mere ill desert”*, with many other like precepts (209), &c. At the same time, it must be said that a great many of the precepts which he thus gives are rather rules of good manners than rules of morality. And though he extends his injunctions to the subjects of discourse and action in a wider view, he appears to be most at home in pointing out what Civility, or, as he calls it, negative efficient Benevolence, requires us to do, and to refrain from, in the very rudest provinces of good manners; and this he traces with a gravity and a technical physiological detail which are truly astoundingf.
BENTHAM–CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENSES.
HAVE found myself obliged to speak with so much dispraise of Bentham's arrogance and unfairness, and of the narrow and erroneous basis of his moral philosophy, that you may perhaps not expect me to find in him anything which is valuable. This however is far from being the case. He laboured assiduously to reduce jurisprudence to a system : and such an attempt, if carried through with any degree of consistency, could hardly fail to lead to valuable results. In a body of knowledge so wide and various, all system-making must bring into view real connexions and relations of parts; and even if the basis of the system be wrong, the connexions and relations which it points out will admit of being translated into the terms of a truer philosophy. As Bacon says, truth emerges from error, sooner than from confusion. But Bentham's principle, of general advantage as the standard of good in actions, is really applicable to a very great extent in legislation; and covers almost the whole of the field with which the legislature is concerned. Almost, I say, not quite the whole: and even this almost applies only to the material and external limitation of advantage, to which Bentham professes and endeavours to confine himself. If we make such advantage the absolute and uncorrected standard of law, we shall find that we cannot advance to the highest point of good legislation. But still the consideration of general utility, as the object of laws, extends so far, that an arrangement of the whole field of law, formed on this principle, will not fail to be interesting and instructive in a very high degree. Accordingly, the parts of Bentham's writings where