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cided impulse to the human mind.' He cannot be looked upon in the light of a discoverer in legislation or morals. He has not struck out any great leading principle or parent-truth, from which a number of others might be deduced; nor has he enriched the common and established stock of intelligence with original observations, like pearls thrown into wine. One truth discovered is immortal, and entitles its åuthor to be so: for, like a new substance in nature, it cannot be destroyed. But Mr. Bentham's forte is arrangement; and the form of truth, though not its essence, varies with time and circumstance. He has methodised, collated, and condensed all the materials prepared to his hand on the subjects for which he treats, in a masterly and scientific manner ; but we should find a difficulty in adducing from his different works (however elaborate or closely reasoned) any new element of thought, or even a new factor illustration. His writings are, therefore, chiefly valuable as books of reference, as bringing down the account of intellectual inquiry to the present period, and disposing the results in a compendious, connected, and tangible shape ; but books of reference are chiefly serviceable for facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, and are constantly liable to be superseded and to grow out of fashion with its progress, as the scaffolding is thrown down as soon as the building is completed. Mr. Bentham is not the first writer (by a great many) who has assumed the principle of utility as the foundation of just laws, and of all moral and political reasoning :-his merit is, that he has applied this principle more closely and literally; that he has brought all the objections and arguments, more distinctly labelled and ticketed, under this one head, and made a more constant and explicit reference to it at every step of his progress, than any other writer. Perhaps the weak side of his conclusions also is, that he has carried this single view of his subject too far, and not made sufficient allowance for the varieties of human nature, and the caprices and irregularities of the human will. “ He has not allowed for the wind.” It is not that you can be said to see his favourite doctrine of Utility glittering every where through his system, like a vein of rich, shining ore (that is not the nature of the material) - but it might be plausibly objected, that he had struck the whole mass of fancy, prejudice, passion, sense, wbim, with his petrific, leaden mace, that he had “bound volatile Hermes," and reduced the theory and practice of human life to a caput mortuum of reason, and dull, plodding, technical calculation, The gentleman is himself a capital logician; and he has been led by this circumstance to consider man as a logical animal. We fear this view of the matter will hardly hold water. If we attend to the moral man, the constitution of his mind will scarcely be found to be built up of pure reason and a regard to consequences : if we consider the criminal man (with whom the legislature has chiefly to do it will be found to be still less so.
• Mr. Bentham's method of reasoning, though comprehensive and exact, labours under the defect of most systems-it is too topical. It includes every thing; but it includes every thing alike. It is rå. ther like an inventory than a valuation of different arguments. Every possible suggestion finds a place, so that the mind is distracted as much as enlightened by this perplexing accuracy. The exceptions seem as important as the rule.....His view of the human mind resembles a map, rather than a picture: the outline, the disposition is correct, but it wants colouring and relief. His style is unpopular, not to say unintelligible. He writes a language of his own, that darkens knowledge. His works have been translated into Frenchthey ought to be translated into English. People wonder that Mr. Bentham has not been prosecuted for the boldness and severity of some of his invectives. He might wrap up high treason in one of his inextricable periods, and it would never find its way into Westminster Hall. He is a kind of manuscript author-he writes a cipher
a hand, which the vulgar have no key to. The construction of his sentences is a curious frame-work with pegs and hooks to hang his thoughts upon for his own use and guidance, but almost out of the reach of every body else. It is a barbarous, philosophical jargon, with all the repetitions, parentheses, formalities, uncouth nomenclature and verbiage of Law-Latin ; and what makes it worse, it is not mere verbiage, but has a great deal of acuteness and meaning in it, which you would be glad to pick out if you could.
• Mr. Bentham, in private life, is an amiable and exemplary character. He is a little romantic, or so; and has dissipated part of a handsome fortune in practical speculations. He lends an ear to plausible projectors; and, if he cannot prove them to be wrong in their premises or their conclusions, thinks himself bound in reason to stake his money on the venture. Strict logicians are licensed visionaries. Mr. Bentham is half-brother to the late Mr. Speaker Abbott -Proh Pudor! He was educated at Eton, and still takes our novices to task about a passage in Homer or a metre in Virgil. He was afterwards at the University. Mr. Bentham relieves his mind sometimes, after the fatigue of study, by playing on a fire old organ, and has a relish for Hogarth's prints. He turns wooden utensils in a lathe for exercise, and fancies he can turn men in the same manner. He has no great fondness for poetry, and can hardly extract a moral out of Shakspeare. His house is warmed and lighted by steam. He is one of those who prefer the artificial to the natural in most things, and think the mind of man omnipotent. He has a great contempt for out-of-door
fields and trees, and is for refer. ing every thing to Utility. There is a little narrowness in this ; for, if all the sources of satisfaction are taken away, what is to become of utility itself? It is, indeed, the great fault of this able and extraordinary man, that he has concentrated his faculties and feelings too entirely on one subject and pursuit, and has not “ looked enough abroad into universality." ;
We have repeatedly been asked, Pray who is Jeremy Bentham? That question is now set at rest, and our readers may say that they have seen him. One circumstance, however, this sketch of his character leaves unexplained and unaccount
able,-namely, the ascendancy which this person has obtained over men of intellect superior to his own, and the extent of his intellectual dominion. A sovereign is often, we know, indebted for all his éclat to his prime minister and his cabinet : we suspect that this is the case with Mr. Bentham. Forty years ago, he published a work on Usury, which is his best written work, and exhibits his characteristic acuteness, but which would never have brought its author into notice, had he possessed no other claim to notoriety. To M. Dumont and the Edinburgh Review, he is indebted for all the celebrity he has derived from what is called his great work. We know not how far a change in the cabinet may account for the imbecillity of his later productions. Assuredly, his criticism on the Church Catechism bears no marks of either a clear head or a sound judgement. He may be a logician: he is a poor reasoner. He has an excellent knack at sorting and ticketing other men's ideas-as if his brain was fitted up with pigeonholes; but he is after all a mechanic, rather than a philosopher.
The character of Mr. Godwin is evidently drawn by an intimate acquaintance and a friend : it is too long, too much laboured, but it has the interest of a memoir. The same may be said of the portrait of Coleridge, which is far more biographical than the Author's own “ Biographia Literaria.”
• If Mr. Coleridge had not been the most impressive talker of his age, it is remarked, he would probably have been the finest writer; but he lays down his pen to make sure of an auditor, and mortgages the admiration of posterity for the stare of an idler. All that he has done of moment, he had done twenty years ago : since then, he may be said to have lived on the sound of his own voice.
• No two persons can be conceived more opposite in character or genius, than the subject of the present and of the preceding sketch. Mr. Godwin, with less natural capacity, and with fewer acquired advantages, by concentrating his mind on some given object, and doing what he had to do with all his might, has accomplished , much, and will leave more than one monument of a powerful intellect behind him. Mr. Coleridge, by dissipating his, and dallying with every subject by turns, has done little or nothing to justify to the world or posterity, the high opinion which all who have ever heard him converse, or known him intimately, with one accord entertain of him. Mr. Godwin's faculties have kept house, and plied their task in the work-shop of the brain diligently and effectually. Mr. Cole-. , ridge's have gossipped away their time, and gadded about from house , to house, as if life's business were, to melt the hours in listless talk. Mr. Godwin is intent on a subject, only as it concerns himself and his reputation ; he works it out as a matter of duty, and discards from his mind whatever does not forward his main object, as impertinent and vain. Mr. Coleridge, on the other hand, delights in nothing but
episodes and digressions, neglects whatever he undertakes to perform, and can act only on spontaneous impulses, without object or method. “ He cannot be constrained by mastery." While he should be occupied with a given pursuit, he is thinking of a thousand other things ; a thousand tastes, a thousand objects tempt him, and distract his mind, which keeps open house, and entertains all comers, Mr. Godwin, on the contrary, is somewhat exclusive and unsocial in his habits of mind, entertains no company but what he gives his whole time and attention to, and wisely writes over the doors of his understanding, his fancy, and his senses" No admittance except on busi
He sets about his task, whatever it may be, and goes through it with spirit and fortitude. He has the happiness to think an author the greatest character in the world, and himself the greatest author in it.'
Coleridge is a fine subject for this character-painter; he is afterwards contrasted with Sir James Mackintosh
Wordsworth is highly eulogised, but the impression left on the mind of the reader is less pleasing than the Writer seems to aim at producing. We suspect that he has been induced to affect a higher admiration of Wordsworth's poetry, than he really feels; and it is plain that he is somewhat puzzled by bis subject: In fact, there is much more gossip than discriminating criticism in this ‘portrait.' Mr. Wordsworth, we are told, • has a great dislike to Gray, and a fondness for Thomson and • Collins. Milton is his great idol, and he sometimes dares to compare himself with him. It is mortifying to hear him speak
of Pope and Dryden ;' and with Shakspeare' he has little * cordial sympathy.' Among our prose writers, he approves of Walton's Angler, Paley, and Robinson Crusoe! All which it was scarcely worth while to tell the public, but, if it be true, it amounts to this; that Mr. Wordsworth is a bigot in taste, a cynic in criticism, a man of contracted views and slender infərmation, and an exquisite egotist.
As we are among the Lakers, we pass on to the Author's portrait of Southey, painted, like the others, from the life. It is evident that the Writer has had the opportunities of personal intimacy; and there is a kindly feeling, which we are glad to
r notice, in his attempt to delineate the most paradoxical man of
• Mr. Southey, as we formerly remember to have seen him, had a hectic flush upon his cheek, a roving fire in his eye, a falcon glance, a look at once aspiring and dejected – it was the look that had been impressed upon his face by the events that marked the outset of his life: it was the dawn of liberty that still tinged his cheek, a smile betwixt hope and sadness that still played upon his quivering lip, Mr. Southey's mind is essentially sanguine, even to over-weeningness.
It is prophetic of good; it cordially embraces it; it casts a longing, lingering look after it, even when it is gone for ever.
He cannot bear to give up the thought of happiness, his confidence in his fellow-man, when all else despair. While he supposed it possible that a better form of society could be introduced than any that had hitherto existed, while the light of the French Revolution beamed into his soul; (and long after, it was seen reflected on his brow, like the light of setting suns on the peak of some high mountains or lonely range of clouds floating in purer ether;) while he had this hope, this faith in man left, he cherished it with child-like simplicity, he clung to it with the fondness of a lover ; he was an enthusiast, a fanatic, a leveller ; he stuck at nothing that he thought would banish all pain and misery from the world. In his impatience of the smallest error or injustice, he would have sacrificed himself and the existing generation (a holocaust) to his devotion to the right cause. But when he once believed, after many staggering doubts and painful struggles, that this was no longer possible, -- when his chimeras and golden dreams of human perfectibility vanished from him,-he turned sud. denly round, and maintained that “whatever is, is right.” Mr. Southey has not fortitude of mind, has not patience to think that evil is in separable from the nature of things. His irritable sense rejects the alternative altogether, as a weak stomach rejects the food that is dis. tasteful to it. He hopes on against hope, he believes in all unbelief. He must either repose on actual or on imaginary good. He missed his way in Ulopia, he has found it at Old Sarum
“ His generous ardour no cold medium knows :"> his eagerness admits of no doubt or delay. He is ever in extremes, and ever in the wrong!
• The reason is, that not truth, but self-opinion is the ruling principle of Mr. Southey's mind. The charm of novelty, the applause of the multitude, the sanction of power, the venerableness of antiquity, pique, resentment, the spirit of contradiction, have a good deal to do with his preferences. His inquiries are partial and hasty; his conclusions raw and unconcocted, and with a considerable infusion of whim and humour and a monkish spleen. His opinions are like certain wines, warm and generous when new ; but they will not keep, and soon turn Alat or sour, for want of a stronger spirit of the understanding to give a body to them. He wooed Liberty as a youthful lover, but it was perhaps more as a mistress than a bride; and he has since wedded with an elderly and not very reputable lady, called Legitimacy. A wilful man, according to the Scotch proverb, must hade his way.
If it were the cause to which he was sincerely attached, he would adhere to it through good report and evil report ; but it is himself to whom he does homage, and would have others do so; and he therefore changes sides, rather than submit to apparent defeat or temporary mortification. Abstract principle has no rule but the understood distinction between right and wrong: the indulgence of vanity, of caprice, or prejudice is regulated by the convenience or bias of the moment. The temperament of our politician's