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capacity, by which, independent of their immediate or calculable consequences, he can discriminate or feel the distinction between right or wrong, vice or virtue. Both originally equal candidates for his favour, until virtue blesses him with its advantages, he cannot possibly detect her presence. In case an individual should be found in whom crime does not produce unhappiness as its attendant, to address to him any other consideration, with the view of deterring him from its commission, would be treating him like a fool.

In examining the truth of this philosophy, this must be steadily kept in view. Virtue and human happiness harmonize; duty and self-interest, benevolence and utility are coincident; therefore the former are to be pursued, but solely for this reason. This is to be the test whether a proposed act is virtuous or vicious. Before you act, calculate, and take the result of that calculation as your guide.

Thus, our moral approbation and our moral disapprobation are only the decisions of our reason upon moral questions. They cannot fairly be called moral feelings, for they are the results, the conclusions of intellectual ratiocination-they are truths just as intellectual as their premises-they are affirmations of the mind that such an act is useful-such an one is not. Just as you pronounce upon an invented machine, that it is a means useful for its design, or the contrary, and then approve or disapprove it-so do you pronounce upon an action as an engine for attaining personal happiness, or for undermining it. If it does the first, it is morally right—it is virtue; if it does the second, it is morally wrong-it is crime. And every man is to be the judge of what is his happiness, and what is not; therefore, of what is useful, and what is not; and if he concludes that intoxication, treachery, theft, is for his well-being, he is justified--he is morally right, in their perpetration. What is pleasure, and what is pain? Does every man form the same estimate? Far 'from it. That is pleasure which a man's judgment, aided by his memory, recommends and recognises to his feelings as 'pleasure. No man can allow another to decide for him as to 'what is pleasure, or what is the balance or the amount of plea'sure. And hence a necessary consequence, that every man of ripe age and sound mind ought on this subject to be left to judge and act for himself; and that the attempts to give a 'direction to his conduct inconsistent with his views of his own ' interest, is no better than folly and impertinence.'


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Morality, therefore, is a purely rational science; it is the rigid arithmetic of life; its conclusions the balance-sheet; pains and pleasures the opposed elements of calculation. That this theory generalizes all our pains and pleasures under one head, and concedes nothing peculiar or specific to our moral ones, is one most obvious and most important objection. If vice and virtue have no essential, a priori distinctions; if the one only differ from the other, by being agencies to promote our well-being or our illbeing as good instruments differ from bad instruments in relation to a piece of workmanship--the feelings with which they are employed must be likewise analogous. There must be exactly the same happiness, as the tradesman feels when he makes such arrangements for his traffic as succeed; and the same pain or chagrin as he feels when he incurs failure. And, with perfect consistency, Mr Bentham does thus generalize all our pains and pleasures; he scorns the idea of any other satisfaction being derived from virtue, except from its results. Among these results, internal approbation, or the testimony of a good conscience, is not one. The mens conscia recti, in his view, is not a subject, in itself, of congratulation. According to his classification, all our felicitous and all our unhappy feelings emanate from the following sources:—

1st, The pathological, which include the physical and psychological, or the pleasures and pains of a corporeal character.

2d, The social or sympathetic, which grow immediately out of a man's domestic and social relations.

3d, The moral or popular, which are the expression of public opinion.

4th, The political, which comprise the legal and administrative; the whole of which belong to jurisprudential rather than moral ethics. 5th, The religious sanctions, which belong to the ecclesiastical teacher.' *

Now, to none of these can we trace that pleasure or that pain, of which the mind is conscious, when, long before it can ascertain what will be the results of a particular action, it sensibly feels an internal approbation or disapprobation. Such approbation and disapprobation are neither corporeal, nor sympathetic, nor popu lar, nor political, nor ecclesiastical, in their relations; for all these suppose results to have already occurred. At the time whilst the balance of consequences is unknown, whilst the mind is in suspense whether its act will bring it a surplus of pleasure

* Deontology, vol. ii. p. 3.

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or of pain-even then, we assert that virtue and vice, per se, are sources of satisfaction or of grief. Mr Bentham, true to his principles, must look at such an assertion with contempt; must consider it nothing less than the language of dogmatism,--as an excuse for indolence. Accordingly, in a most gross and indecorous comparison in his first volume, Mr Bentham imagines a sufferer upon his bed, torn with anguish from the most appalling diseases which flesh is heir to,'-and, for the sake of argument, supposing him in possession of this moral approbation of past acts of virtue, with contemptible levity adds, much good may it do you.' In this case, the appeal must be to the great body of mankind-the ultimate umpires in controversy concerning a fact in human nature. As we would prove the existence of the five senses by begging persons to tax their consciousnessso would we prove the existence of a moral faculty, a moral sense. If such language-in itself so monstrously in defiance of the truth asserted by the last hours of thousands, whose minds with absolute pleasure rise superior to their corporeal sufferings-and contradicted too by the last hours of thousands whose minds forget those sufferings in the infinitely more acute ones of self-condemnation, we say, if such language does not convince our readers of at least the ignorance of human nature, and indifference to human conduct, involved in Utilitarianism, as held and taught by Mr Bentham, no additional arguments will be likely to bring conviction. It must be a singular kind of religion, to which the doctrine of utility thus represented, is alleged in the present work to be a handmaid.

We willingly escape from any further discussion of such revolting statements, in consequence of the disposition shown by the more intelligent of Mr Bentham's followers to qualify this part of their master's theory.* With those who admit that we have moral feelings,' distinct from all other feelings of pain and pleasure, the remaining questions on this part of the case would be, whether those moral feelings are complex or simple, original or acquired? In such an enquiry, assuming that they are complex,-let us ask, of what original feelings can they be compounded? Take, for instance, the moral approbation which we feel towards veracity. There may be associated with it the remembrance of our having been heretofore benefited by a friend's constancy to truth,-and the association may be pleasing; and this may be one element in the composition of this approbation. There may be the pleasure of feeling superior to the cowardice

*Deontology, vol. ii. p. 6.

of a falsehood, and that self-congratulation may be a second element. But these are only so many estimates of the utility of truth, and if, from our previous argument, it appears that such considerations, however many or however few, can only give ordinary pleasure,-moral pleasure will not, cannot result from their complexity. If, in a prismatic division of colours, it be supposed that one is wanting, their reunion cannot constitute light. The case is still stronger, where the thing which is wanting is precisely that which gives its specific and distinctive character to the whole. There is nothing in the transition from a lower utility to a higher, or from one kind of utility to another, to bring out, in the class of cases, called and felt to be moral cases, the characteristic quality of conscience-that of a sanction and a law. This quality may not, on the assumed supposition, be directly excluded; but it seems that there is neither place nor opportunity left for it to grow up; whereas Mr Bentham's theory is a positive exclusion; and were it not so in terms, his emphatical assertion, that we have no business to look to motives, but only to consequences, is to confound two branches of moral enquiry, which are essentially distinct.


In a moral agent, the origin and nature of moral principle are one thing, the tendency of actions is another. Notwithstanding what we have said on the first point, we are prepared to go to the fullest extent with Mr Bentham in asserting the harmony between virtue and utility-between duty and self-interest. do believe that the science of morality is the science of human happiness; that, either immediately or remotely, every virtuous act must increase, and every vicious act must diminish, the wellbeing of the agent. And so understood, we have no objection to call utility,' in those instances in which it can be used and considered in its largest sense (as Plato would have considered it, or even Samuel Johnson, and Soame Jenyns), a correct philosophical criterion of morality. But we are solemnly at issue with him when he affirms it to be so far a practical principle as that any man's individual opinion on his own individual interest can be the test by which he should judge of morals, or the rule by which he should regulate his personal behaviour.

In a candid enquiry, whether it is that test of virtue which we should employ, we must, as we have observed before, carefully disabuse our minds of every other moral distinction, which calcu lation or prejudice may have implanted. We must regard all actions à priori as indifferent. We must look upon temperance and intoxication, chastity and licentiousness, envy and contentment, honesty and theft, truth and falsehood, as abstractions equally moral. It is only their relation to man individually, and

man socially, that makes the one worthy of approbation, the other worthy of disapprobation. That the first class promotes the greatest happiness, that the second class entails the greatest evil upon society is the sole reason why we ought to cultivate the one, why we ought to shun the other. And, in selecting that line of conduct which he ought to follow, a man is not to appeal to any moral sense, to any conscience within him; but must ask, which will, either at the present moment, or in the sum total of his existence, be most useful to himself and to society? The question, with regard to the happiness of society, arises only on the supposition, that, under the particular circumstances, either as a means or as an end, it is identical with his own.

Now, is it possible for any man's mind to use the test? Has he power adequate to the effort? For, if he has,—since we allow the coincidence between virtue and utility,-it will follow that his discoveries concerning the character of actions will be true. But what power is necessary for the effort? If we are called upon to decide upon the character of actions, the results of which are to terminate in ourselves, it will not be sufficient to enquire, will their immediate effects be beneficial or injurious? Perhaps their final consequences will be remote. Perhaps, mean while, our station-our feelings-our character will have so varied, as very seriously to modify those consequences. What might have been advantageous, in case these relations of our being had continued the same, may, because of their alteration, be decidedly detrimental. What the principle of utility, upon the first supposition, would have recommended, may incur her interdict upon the second. Now, have we the power to make any correct calculation of these changes?

But we may be called upon to deliberate on actions which will not terminate in ourselves, but which, if committed, must seriously affect the well-being of society, either in increasing or diminishing the public happiness. Have we the power which is necessary for that calculation? Do we know exactly the characters whom these actions will affect; the extent to which their different dispositions will modify the impressions those actions make; at what specific moment, and amid what associations, they will begin to operate; and when and where their agency will be expended?

If the lives of all men proceeded upon laws as calculable as those which govern the revolutions of the seasons, then indeed it would be only necessary to keep in sight the history of one man, and by a comparison of his experience with utility, to draw our conclusions. And if society moved onward with impulses as defined as those which govern the mutual influences of the pla

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