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'Tranquillized,' (he says, p. 107,) ' by the persuasion—that although, by defalcation after defalcation, very considerable reductions were made in respect of extent, still no very determinate, and distinguishable defalcation might be made from the beneficent influence of the universalinterest-comprehension principle, and by every extension obtained, the way would be smoothed to any such ulterior extension, the demand for which should, in the continued-application of that prmciple, guided by the experience of security, under the experienced degree of extension, have found its due support,—with little regret, considering the subject on a theoretical point of view, and altogether without regret, considering it with a view to conciliation, and in that in a practical point of view—thus it was that, without difficulty, I found I could accede to the extent indicated by the words househulders, or direct-taxpaying householders; due regard being at the same time paid to the arrangements prescribed by the simplification principle.'
Thus, though this radical reformer would only equalize down to the householder, it is from deference to those of his associates, who may be less radical, whilst to those who are more so, and who tell him 'this is not any universal-suffrage plan; this is not even your own virtually-universal-snffrage plan; this is but the householder plan;' he very aptly replies, 'yes to be sure in name it is but the householder plan; though where a pot constitutes a house, how much narrower soever the ground of the right is, the right itself must be admitted to be a little more extensive.'
The author proceeds to inquire, if it be possible for the government to proceed in its course with the powers it at present possesses; and asks, in his exquisite language, the following precious questions:—
'Vast as it is, and poisonous as it is vast, will you so much as pledge yourselves to be content with your existing stock of panaceas? with your universal-personal-destroying security acts? with your universal gagging acts? with your liberty-of-the-press-destroying statutes, and judge-made-ex-post-facto laws? with your universal-popular-destroying-communication acts? with your petition-rejecting and hope-extinguishing decisions, and orders, and resolutions f'&c. &c. &c.
With these terrifying interrogations left to operate upon the fears of the corruptionists, we proceed to a consideration from which, looking only to France, to Robespierre, to Danton, to Marat, and other worthies, we should have drawn conclusions somewhat different from our author; but we defer to his authority and applaud his precedents. If his system of universal-interest-comprehension principle were introduced, he contends that it would increase the interest of the aristocratic body, which he demonstrates by the following striking observations and queries, p. 118 :—
'Look to the most populous of all populous boroughs! Look to Westminster! Number of electors, even many years back, not fewer
12 than than seventeen thousand; swine not all of them indeed—the Dean and Chapter being of the number—not to speak of the Right Honourables and Honourables;—swine's flesh, however, predominate—abundantly predominate: swinish the characters of the vast majority of that vase multitude.
'Well then, look to Westminster—look first to time present—see now what you have there. See you not Lord Cochrane? What do you see there? See you not blood and property in one? Blood from ancestors—property from the source most prized, the source from whence all your oldest property sprung—enemies' blood, with plunder for the fruit of it? See you not Sir Francis Burdett? Have you not there blood enough and property enough? Look now a little back; before you had either Cochrane or Burdett had you not Charles Fox? Had you not him as long as the country had him?
'Even within this twelvemonth, when a vacancy was apprehended, what sort of a man was it that was looked to for the filling of it? Was it a man of and from the people? Was it Cobbett with his penmanship, his sixty thousand purchasers, and his ten times sixty thousand readers? Was it the Henry Hunt with his oratory? Was it not Cartioright of the Cartwrights of Northamptonshire? Was it not' (was it?) 'Brougham of Brougham?
'Look at Bristol, the next most populous city:—when a man was looked for, who should, if possible, stem the tide of corruption, that tide which so naturally flows so strong in maritime and commercial cities—who is it that was looked for? Was it the Spa Fields' orator? Did he not try and fail? Was it not Sir Samuel Iiomilly ?—And though'the blood he had came from the wrong side of the channel, and with a something in it too nearly allied to Puritanism to be relished by legitimacy, yet (not to speak of the swinish elements, which are of no value but in Utopia) blood, such as it was, there was in him—blood? Yes—and property too—though, whether then as now savouring of the reality, let others, who know, say to sanction it.
'Look to the most populous among boroughs: look to Liverpool. When the same pestilential tide was hoped to be stemmed at Liverpool, who is it that great commercial port and borough called in to stem it? Was it the Cobbett?—Was it the Spa Fields' orator? Here too was it not Brougham of Brougham?'
This tendency, however, is far from being grateful to our author's feelings. He reluctantly acquiesces in a propensity which he fears cannot be rooted out of human nature till that nature be transformed: until the transformation, he thinks we shall ' look wide of the true mark, and accept, in lieu of the only true and direct elements of ' appropriate aptitude,' those supposed circumstantially but' deceptiousty evidentiary' ones, blood, property, and, if you please, connexion.'
Our author, we firmly believe, may dismiss these apprehensions. By adopting his plans, this regretted attachment to blood, property and connexion would soon cease; and the desired transformation in
the character of our populace be accelerated; and we are further persuaded that neither the moderate reformers, (as he is pleased to consider them,) 'Cochrane and Burdett,' (the familiarity is not ours but the author's,) nor ' old Cartwright of the old Cartwrights,' nor ' Brougham of Brougham,' nor ' Sir' Samuel' of Romilly, nor 'the Sheridan of Sheridans' himself (p, cccxxii.) if he were still living, and supporting (which, so far as we know, he never did, when alive) ' annuality of parliaments, and universality of suffrage' —would have any chance in competition with the Cobbetts and the Hunts, with the Hones and the Woolers,—or with the embryo statesmen of St- Giles's or Field Lane.*
Our author traces, from the earliest dates, the right of the people of England to universal suffrage. Blackstone, indeed, thinks that those in a state of villainage, the majority of the people, Were not admitted to the county-court, and consequently had no votes; but it is needless to shew that the authority of Mr. Bentham must be greater with all true reformists than that of' Mother Blackstone.'
The right of the female sex to give their votes and the voting by ballot are justified on the practice of the East India Company. But we confess Mr. Bentham appears to us to sink into something little better than a moderate reformer, when he proposes to apply the corrupt regulations of a monopolizing corporation to the choice of representatives for the sovereign people. Much rather should we have expected him to contend that as all government which is not founded on the rule of three is an usurpation on the rights of the people governed, the suffrages of the people of India ought to be exercised in the choice of directors;—that the balloting-box should be circulated among the various castes in the Indian peninsula.
Of the utter delusiveness and inadequacy of moderate Reform,— not of any one plan of such reform only, but of all such plans put together, and carried at one sweep, our author hesitates not to pronounce his decided conviction—thus
'Sec. l6. Moderate Reform—its arrangements—their inadequacy.
'Comprized or comprizable under the denomination of moderate Reform what the arrangements which at different times have been proposed.
'The inadequacy and little less than uselessness of them, even on
* We must notice an advantage of reform which has escaped the optics of former writers. By the 'democratic ascendancy,' the cultivation of virtue will become unnecessary, since it will be spontaneously produced.'—(note, p. 29.)
'Of democracy, it is among the peculiar excellencies, that to good government in this form nothing of virtue, in so far as self-denial is an ingredient in virtue, is necessary. Such is the case where the precious plant stands alone: no Upas-tree, no clump of Manchineal-trees to overhang it. But in the spot in question (in Westminster) still live and nourish in conjunction both these emblems of misrule. Here there was, and still is, and will continue to be, a real demand for virtue} arrd here has the demand proved, as Adam Smith would say, an effectual one.'
the supposition of their being all of them brought forward together, and comprized in one proposal and carried into effect.
'Much more the inadequacy of them taken singly or in any number less than the whole.
'Such are the sub-topics destined for consideration in the present section.'—p. cclxix.
Unhappily for Mr. Bentham, (though happily enough, perhaps, for the rest of the world,) he finds a great combination of opinions and of interests arrayed against his ' radical' system;—first, the 'Tories'—secondly, the ' Whigs'—thirdly, the ' People's men'— fourthly, the ' Country Gentlemen' in a body.
'Annoying—lamentably annoying—would all these several innovations be to the Tories—little less so, would they be to the Whigs.— Sole difference the difference between possession and expectancy.'— p. cccxiii.
On this ' right-artd-left-hand-complimentive-distribution' and 'pretty-general-civility-proposition' principle, Mr. Bentham proceeds, through abundance of pages, to bow out of the ranks of reform all known classes and descriptions of mankind, till he leaves as ' radicals' no greater number than he could himself superintend (with a moderate length of lash to his whip) from the ' rotatoryround-about' of his own panopticons.
Upon the Tories, however, he wastes few more of his long-tailed compounds; well knowing that the Tories are not likely to be confounded with his flock, and to run away with any of the merit of his theories; but with regard to the Whigs, he thinks it necessary to be more particular, lest some of their sham projects of reform should blind any well-meaning persons to their real, intrinsic character, as ' renegadoes' and ' hunters of corruption.'
'Note,' says this sagacious but unrelenting expositor of whiggism, • that from their giving in the first instance the support of their votes to a proposed arrangement of reform, it follows not by any means that Honourable Gentlemen have the smallest liking to it, or any the slightest intention to continue their support of it: even from speeches, nay, even from motions—in support of it neither, can conclusions in affirmance of inward favour and intentions be drawn with any certainty; for by maturer reflection operating upon intervening experience further, and true lights shewing the falsity of the lights by which they had at first been guided—original deviations from the path of consummate wisdom lie at all times open to correction. Witness Earl Grey, and Lord Erskine, and Ma. Tierney, &c. On these occasions, as on all occasions, one object at least, if not the only object, is—to make a display of numbers, and thus strike terror into ministerial bosoms. That object accomplished or abandoned, the expedient has, well or ill, performed its office, and like a sucked orange, is ripe for being cast aside.'—p. cccxx.
In this good company, and amidst these 'humorous-reflectionexciting' remarks, we willingly take leave of Mr. Bentham;—observing only, that when he accuses the Whigs in general of' sucking' their ' Reform Orange and throwing it away,' he ought, in candour, to have acknowledged that there are not wanting some among them who have manifested a disposition to pick up their sucked orange, to blow it, if possible, into shape, and to suck it over again for the amusement of the radical reformers. Such an experiment will be highly edifying; and Mr. Bentham will no doubt be thankful for so striking an illustration of hiswhiggological theories. But enough and more than enough of Mr. Jeremy Bentham— to whom we bid farewell, in exceeding good humour with him for the 'never-to-be-sufficiently-applauded' ridicule, 'the-altogetherinvoluntarily-absurd' colouring which he has bestowed upon the cause of radical reform. It is with no ' bad-design-imputing,' no 'bad-motive-imputing,' still less with ' a bad-character-imputing' intention that we exhort him to proceed in the good works which he has so well begun. We do not indeed promise him to read any more of his productions: for we already know the Reformers pretty well; and should consider the wasting of any more time upon the elucidation of their projects and principles, as what Mr. Bentham emphatically calls ' a maximizing of barren days.'
Above all things we exhort Mr. Bentham to cultivate diligently the style which he has so judiciously employed in the discussion of these interesting matters,—a style not only ' appropriately apt,' but individually exclusive.
'Savez-vous pourqvoi Jeremie
Se lamentoit toute sa vie?
N'etoit-il farce qu'il prevoyoit
Que Pompignan le traduiroitf The modern Jeremy, though sufficiently querulous, has not the same ground of apprehension to justify his lament. He may be read, quoted, and admired; but he may defy a whole legion of Pompigiians to translate him. Genius delights in recondite analogies; and amidst all his inventions, Mr. Bentham never hit upon a happier one than that of adopting the language of Babel as the proper vehicle for the doctrines of political confusion.
Art. VI. Relation Historique du Voyage de MM. de Humboldt et Bonpland. Tome premier, Seconde Partie, contenant Jes Feuilles 45 & 81, la Table des Matieres et PErrata. 4to. Paris. 1817.
THE undisguised and candid opinion, which we ventured to pronounce on the blemishes and the excellencies of a small portion of the Baron de Humboldt's literary labours, will have been