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mind, what the consequences would be, were all men to reason in the same way: for the very excuse of this mind to itself is, that neither its action nor its reasoning is likely to have any consequences at all, its immediate object excepted. But suppose the mind in its sanest state. How can it possibly form a notion of the nature of an action considered as indefinitely multiplied, unless it has previously a distinct notion of the nature of the single action itself, which is the multiplicand? If I conceive a crown multiplied a hundred fold, the single crown enables me to understand what a hundred crowns are; but how can the notion hundred teach me what a crown is? For the crown substitute X. Y. or abracadabra, and my imagination may multiply it to infinity, yet remain as much at a loss as before. But if there be any means of ascertaining the action in and for itself, what further do we want? Would we give light to the sun, or look at our own fingers through a telescope? The nature of every action is determined by all its circumstances: alter the circumstances and a similar set of motions may be repeated, but they are no longer the same or a similar action. What would a surgeon say, if he were advised not to cut off a limb, because if all men were to do the same, the consequences would be dreadful? Would not his answer be-"Whoever does the same under the same circumstances, and with the same motives, will do right; but if the circumstances and motives are different, what have I to do with it?" I confess myself unable to divine any possible use, or even meaning, in this doctrine of general consequences, unless it be, that in all our actions we are bound to consider the effect of our example, and to guard as much as possible against the hazard of their being misunderstood. I will not slaughter a lamb, or drown a litter of kittens,

in the presence of my child of four years old, because the child cannot understand my action, but will understand that his father has inflicted pain upon, and taken away life from, beings that had never offended him. All this is true, and no man in his senses ever thought otherwise. But methinks it is strange to state that as a criterion of morality, which is no more than an accessory aggravation of an action bad in its own nature, or a ground of caution as to the mode and time in which we are to do or suspend what is in itself good or innocent.

The duty of setting a good example is no doubt a most important duty; but the example is good or bad, necessary or unnecessary, accordingly as the action may be, which has a chance of being imitated. I once knew a small, but (in outward circumstances at least) respectable congregation, four-fifths of whom professed that they went to church entirely for the example's sake; in other words to cheat each other and act a common lie! These rational Christians had not considered that example may increase the good or evil of an action, but can never constitute either. If it was a foolish thing to kneel when they were not inwardly praying, or to sit and listen to a discourse of which they believed little and cared nothing, they were setting a foolish example. Persons in their respectable circumstances do not think it necessary to clean shoes, that by their example they may encourage the shoe-black in continuing his occupation: and Christianity does not think so meanly of herself as to fear that the poor and afflicted will be a whit the less pious, though they should see reason to believe that those, who possessed the good things of the present life, were determined to leave all the blessings of the future for their more humble inferiors. If in this I have spoken with bitterness, let it be recollected that my subject is hypocrisy.

It is likewise fit, that in all our actions we should have considered how far they are likely to be misunderstood, and from superficial resemblances to be confounded with, and so appear to authorize, actions of a very different character. But if this caution be intended for a moral rule, the misunderstanding must be such as might be made by persons who are neither very weak nor very wicked. The apparent resemblances between the good action we were about to do and the bad one which might possibly be done in mistaken imitation of it, must be obvious; or that which makes them essentially different, must be subtle or recondite. For what is there which a wicked man blinded by his passions may not, and which a madman will not, misunderstand? It is ridiculous to frame rules of morality with a view to those who are fit objects only for the physician or the magistrate.

The question may be thus illustrated. At Florence there is an unfinished bust of Brutus, by Michel Angelo, under which a cardinal wrote the following distich:

Dum Bruti effigiem sculptor de marmore finxit,

In mentem sceleris venit, et abstinuit.

As the sculptor was forming the effigy of Brutus in marble, he recollected his act of guilt and refrained.

An English nobleman, indignant at this inscription, wrote immediately under it the following:

Brutum effinxisset sculptor, sed mente recursat
Multa viri virtus; sistit et obstupuit.

The sculptor would have framed a Brutus, but the vast and manifold virtue of the man flashed upon his thought he stopped and remained in astonished admiration.

Now which is the nobler and more moral sentiment, the Italian cardinal's, or the English nobleman's? The

cardinal would appeal to the doctrine of general consequences, and pronounce the death of Cæsar a murder, and Brutus an assassin. For (he would say) if one man may be allowed to kill another because he thinks him a tyrant, religious or political frenzy may stamp the name of tyrant on the best of kings: regicide will be justified under the pretence of tyrannicide, and Brutus be quoted as authority for the Clements and Ravailliacs.* From kings it may pass to generals and statesmen, and from these to any man whom an enemy or enthusiast may pronounce unfit to live. Thus we may have a cobbler of Messina in every city, and bravos in our streets as common as in those of Naples, with the name of Brutus on their stilettos.

The Englishman would commence his answer by commenting on the words "because he thinks him a tyrant." No! he would reply, not because the patriot thinks him a tyrant; but because he knows him to be so, and knows likewise, that the vilest of his slaves cannot deny the fact, that he has by violence raised himself above the laws of his country-because he knows that all good and wise men equally with himself abhor the fact. If there be no such state as that of being broad awake, or no means of distinguishing it when it exists; if because men sometimes dream that they are awake, it must follow that no man, when awake, can be sure that he is not dreaming; if because a hypochondriac is positive that his legs are cylinders of glass, all other men are to learn modesty, and cease to be certain that their legs are legs; what possible advantage can your criterion of general consequences possess over any other rule of direction? If

* Jacques Clement, a monk, who stabbed Henry III. of France, and François Ravailliac, an attorney, the well-known assassin of Henry IV. -Ed.

no man can be sure that what he thinks a robber with a pistol at his breast demanding his purse, may not be a good friend inquiring after his health; or that a tyrant (the son of a cobbler perhaps, who at the head of a regiment of perjured traitors, has driven the representatives of his country out of the senate at the point of the bayonet, subverted the constitution which had trusted, enriched, and honoured him, trampled on the laws which before God and man he had sworn to obey, and finally raised himself above all law) may not, in spite of his own and his neighbours' knowledge of the contrary, be a lawful king, who has received his power, however despotic it may be, from the kings his ancestors, who exercises no other power than what had been submitted to for centuries, and been acknowledged as the law of the country; on what ground can you possibly expect less fallibility, or a result more to be relied upon, in the same man's calculation of your general consequences? Would he, at least, find any difficulty in converting your criterion into an authority for his act? What should prevent a man, whose perceptions and judgments are so strangely distorted, from arguing, that nothing is more devoutly to be wished for, as a general consequence, than that every man, who by violence places himself above the laws of his country, should in all ages and nations be considered by mankind as placed by his tion of law, and be treated by them as any other noxious wild beast would be? Do you think it necessary to try adders by a jury? Do you hesitate to shoot a mad dog, because it is not in your power to have him first tried and condemned at the Old Bailey? On the other hand, what consequence can be conceived more detestable, than one which would set a bounty on the most enormous crime in human nature, and establish it as a law of religion

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