« EelmineJätka »
"It cannot be denied without injustice and ingratitude, that Mr. Bentham has done more than any other writer to rouse the spirit of juridicial
reformation which is now gradually examining every part of law; and when further progress is facilitated by digesting the present laws, will doubtless proceed to the improvement of all. Greater praise it is given to few to earn."-SIR J. MACKINTOSH: Prelim. Dissert. to Encyc. Brit.
"Of Mr. Bentham we would at all times speak with the reverence which is due to a great original thinker, and to a sincere and ardent friend of the human race. Posterity will pronounce its calm and impartial decision: and that decision will, we firmly believe, place in the same rank with Galileo, and with Locke, the man who found jurisprudence a gibberish and left it a science."LORD MACAULAY: Edin. Review, July, 1832: Mirabeau; and his Essays.
ON SLEEPING LAWS.
were made? His enemies, that is, those whom it is his delight to treat as such, whose enemy he has thought fit to make himself, are his footstool: their insecurity is his comfort; their sufferings are his enjoyments; their abasement is his triumph.
Whence comes this pernicious and unfeeling policy? It is tyranny's last shift, among calm which has succeeded the storms of a people who begin to open their eyes in the civil war. It is her last stronghold, retained by a sort of capitulation made with good government and good sense. Common humanity would not endure such laws, were they to give signs of life: negligence, and the fear of change, suffer them to exist so long as they promise not to exist to any purpose. Sensible images govern the bulk of What the eye does not see, the heart does not rue. Fellow-citizens dragged in crowds for conscience' sake to prison, or to the gallows, though seen but for the moment, might move compassion. Silent anxiety and inward humiliation do not meet the eye, and draw little attention, though they fill up the measure of a whole life.
Of this base and malignant policy an example would scarcely be found, were it not for religious hatred, of all hatred the bitterest and the blindest. Debarred by the infidel
of the age from that most exquisite of repasts, the blood of heretics, it subsists as it can upon the idea of secret sufferings,-sad remnant of the luxury of better times.
Tyranny and anarchy are never far asunder. Dearly indeed must the laws pay for the mischief of which they are thus made the instruments. The weakness they are thus struck with does not confine itself to the peccant spot; it spreads itself over their whole frame. The tainted parts throw suspicion upon those that are yet sound. Who can say which of them the disease has gained, which of them it has spared? You open the statute-book, and look into a clause: does it belong to the sound part, or to the rotten?ity How can you say? by what token are you to know? A man is not safe in trusting to his own eyes. You may have the whole statute-book by heart, and all the while not know what ground you stand upon under the law. It pretends to fix your destiny: and after all, if you want to know your destiny, you must learn it, not from the law, but from the temper of the times. The temper of the times, did I say? you must know the temper of every individual in the nation; you must know, not only what it is at the present instant, but what it will be at every future one: all this you must know, before you can lay your hand upon your bosom, and say to yourself, I am safe. What, all this while, is the character and condition of the law? Sometimes a bugbear, at other times a snare: her threats inspire no efficient terror; her promises no confidence. The canker-worm of uncertainty, naturally the peculiar growth and plague of the unwritten law, insinuates itself thus into the body, and preys upon the vitals of the written.
All this mischief shows as nothing in the eyes of the tyrant by whom this policy is upheld and pursued, and whose blind and malignant passions it has for its cause. His appetites receive that gratification which the times allow of: and in comparison with that, what are laws, or those for whose sake laws
It is possible that, in the invention of this policy, timidity may have had some share: for between tyranny and timidity there is a near alliance. Is it probable? Hardly: the less so, as tyranny, rather than let go its hold, such is its baseness, will put on the mask of cowardice. It is possible, shall we say, that in England forty should be in dread of one: but can it be called probable, when in Ireland forty suffer nothing from fourscore?
When they who stand up in the defence of tyrannical laws on pretence of their being in a dormant state vouchsafe to say they wish not to see them in any other, is it possible they should speak true? I will not say: the bounds of possibility are wide. Is it probable? That is a question easier answered. To prevent a law from being executed, which is the most natural course to take? to keep it alive, or to repeal it? Were a man's wishes to see it executed ever so indisputable, what stronger proof could he give of his sincerity than by taking this very course, in taking which he desires to be considered as wishing the law not to be executed? When words and actions give one another the lie, is it possible to believe both? If not, which have the best title to be be
lieved? The task they give to faith and charity is rather a severe one. They speak up for laws against thieves and smugglers: they speak up for the same laws, or worse, against the worshippers according to conscience: in the first instance, you are to believe they mean to do what they do; in the other, you are to believe they mean the contrary. Their words and actions are at variance, and they declare it: they profess insincerity, and insist upon being, shall we say, or upon not being, believed. They give the same vote that was given by the authors of these laws; they act over again the part that was acted by the first persecutors: but what was persecution in those their predecessors, is in these men, it seems, moderation and benevolence. This is rather too much. To think to unite the profit of oppression with the praise of moderation is drawing rather too deep upon the credulity of mankind.
For those who insist there is no hardship in a state of insecurity there is one way of proving themselves sincere: let them change places with those they doom to it. One wish may be indulged without a breach of charity may they, and they only, be subject to proscription, in whose eyes it is no griev
Draught for the Organization of Judicial Establishments compared with the Draught by the Committee of the National Assembly of France, Tit. vi. 6.
CHARLES JAMES FOX, the famous Whig orator and statesman, second son of the first Lord Holland and the eldest daughter of Charles, Duke of Richmond, was born 1749, entered Parliament 1768, and, after a brilliant political career, died 1806. He was the author of some juvenile Greek and Latin compositions, some pieces in the New Foundling Hospital for Wits, an Essay on Wind (50 copies, privately printed), papers in The Englishman, political pamphlets, and A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second, etc., Lond., 1808, 4to, large paper, royal 4to, and 50 copies elephant folio, Speeches in the House of Commons, Lond., 1815, 6 vols. 8vo. See Characters of the late Charles James Fox, Selected and in part Written by Philopatris Varvicensis (S. Parr, D.D.), Lond., 1809, 8vo: Memoirs of the Latter Years of the Rt. Hon. C. J. Fox, by J. B. Trotter, Lond., 1811, Svo; Memorials and Correspondence of C. J. Fox, Lond., 1853-57, 4 vols. 8vo, and Life and Times of C. J. Fox, Lond., 1859, 2 vols. p. 8vo, both by Lord John [Earl] Russell.
"If I were to be asked what was the nature of
Mr. Fox's eloquence, I should answer that it was only asking me in other words what I understood plied to the transactions of British eloquence and to be the character of eloquence itself, when aplaws."-LORD CHANCELLOR ERSKINE.
Mr. Fox was an excellent classical scholar, in evidence of which see his letters to Gilbert Wakefield.
To GILBERT WAKEFIELD.
ST. ANNE'S HILL, Feb. 16, 1798. SIR, I should have been exceedingly sorry if, in all the circumstances you mention, you had given yourself the trouble of writing me your thoughts upon Homer's poetry; indeed, in no circumstances should I have been indiscreet enough to make a request so exorbitant; in the present, I should be concerned if you were to think of attending to my limited question, respecting the authenticity of the 24th Iliad, or to any thing but your own business.
I am sorry your work is to be prosecuted; because, though I have no doubt of a prosecu tion failing, yet I fear it may be very trouble. some to you. If, either by advice or other wise, I can be of any service to you, it will make me very happy; and I beg you to make no scruple about applying to me: but I do not foresee that I can, in any shape, be of any use, unless it should be in pressing others, whom you may think fit to consult, to give every degree of attention to your cause. I suppose there can be little or no difficulty in removing, as you wish it, the difficulty from the publisher to yourself. for to prosecute a printer who is willing to give up his author would be a very unusual, and certainly a very odious, measure.
I have looked at the three passages you mention, and am much pleased with them: I think "curalium,' in particular, a very happy conjecture; for neither "cæruleum" nor beryllum" can, I think, be right; and there certainly is a tinge of red in the necks of some of the dove species. After all, the Latin words for colour are very puzzling: for, not to mention "purpura," which is evidently applied to three different colours at least,-scarlet, porphyry, and what we call purple, that is, amethyst, and possibly to many others, - the chapter of Aulus Gellius to which you refer has always ap peared to me to create many more difficulties than it removes; and most especially that passage which you quote, "virides equos." I can conceive that a poet might call a horse "viridis," though I should think the term rather forced; but Aulus Gellius says that Virgil gives the appellation of "glauci," rather than "cærulei," to the virides equos, not as if it were a poetical or figurative
way of describing a certain colour of horses, but as if it were the usual and most generally intelligible term. Now, what colour usual to horses could be called viridis, is difficult to conceive; and the more so, because there are no other Latin and English words for colours, which we have such good grounds for supposing corresponding one to the other as viridis and green, on account of grass, trees, &c., &c. However, these are points which may be discussed by us, as you say, at leisure, if the system of tyranny should proceed to its maturity. Whether it will or not, I know not; but if it should, sure I am that to have so cultivated literature as to have laid up a store of consolation and amusement will be, in such an event, the greatest advantage (next to a good conscience) which one man can have over another. My judgment, as well as my wishes, leads me to think that we shall not experience such dreadful times as you suppose possible: but if we do not, what has passed in Ireland is a proof that it is not to the moderation of our governors that we shall be indebted for whatever portion of ease or liberty may be left us.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, C. J. Fox.
VICESIMUS KNOX, D.D., for thirty-three years Master of Tunbridge School, was born 1752, and died 1821. He published Essays, Moral and Literary, Lond., 1777, 12mo; Liberal Education, Lond., 1780, 8vo; Elegant Extracts in Prose, Verse, Epistles, 1783-90-92, 3 vols. 8vo, Boston, by J. G. Percival (Mass.), 6 vols. 8vo; Winter Evenings, Lond., 1788, 3 vols. 12mo; Family Lectures, Lond., 1791, 8vo; Sermons (23), Lond., 1792, 8vo; Personal Nobility, Lond., 1793, 12mo; Christian Philosophy, Lond., 1795, 2 vols. 12mo; Nature and Efficacy of the Lord's Supper, Lond., 1799, 12mo: Remarks on the Tendency of a Bill now Pending to Degrade Grammar Schools, Lond., 1821, 8vo. Works, with a Biographical Preface, Lond., 1824, 7 vols. 8vo.
"The Reverend Dr. Knox, Master of Tunbridge School, appears to have the imitari aveo of Johnson's style perpetually in his mind; and to his assiduous, though not servile, study of it, we may partly ascribe the extensive popularity of his writings."-BOSWELL: Life of Dr. Johnson.
The institution of a day devoted to rest and reflection, after six days spent in labour and dissipation, is not only wise in a political and religious view, but highly agreeable to the nature of man. The human mind is
so constituted by nature as to make greater advances by short flights, frequently repeated, than by uninterrupted progression. After the cessation of a whole day, the operations of the week are begun with fresh ardour, and acquire a degree of novelty; a quality which possesses a most powerful effect in stimulating to application. truth, no time is lost to the public by the observation of a Sabbath; for the loss of a few hours is amply compensated by the additional vigour and spirit which are given to human activity by the agreeable vicissitude. A thousand reasons might be assigned for the observation of it, supposing it wanted any, superadded to the sanction of divine authority. Among others, the long duration of this establishment is, in my opinion, an argument greatly in its favour; for human affairs, in a long course of years, settle, for the most part, like water, in their proper level and situation.
It may then be numbered among the follies of modern innovators, and pretenders to superior enlargement of mind and freedom from prejudice, that they have endeavoured to destroy the sanctity and, in course, the essential purposes of this sacred institution. They have laboured to render it a day of public and pleasurable diversion; and if they had succeeded, they would have made Sunday in no respect different from the other days of the week; for if one man was allowed to pursue pleasure at the usual public places, another, who felt the influence of avarice more than of the love of pleasure, would justly have claimed a right to pursue his lucrative labour. And, indeed, it must be owned that there would be far less harm in prosecuting the designs of honest industry, than in relaxing the nerves of the mind by a dissolute pursuit of nominal pleasures; of such pleasures as usually terminate in pain, disease, and ruin. The national spirit and strength must be impaired by national corruption. Feebleness of mind is the unavoidable effect of excessive dissipation: but how shall the political machine perform its movements with efficacy, when the minds of the people, the springs of the whole, have lost their elasticity? If you were to prohibit honest labour, and allow public pleasures, Sunday would become a day of uncontrolled debauchery and drunk
It would infallibly sink the lower classes to that degenerate state in which they appear in some neighbouring countries, and would consequently facilitate the annihilation of civil liberty.
The decent observation of Sunday is indeed to be urged by arguments of a nature greatly superior to political reasons: but a few political ones are here offered; because
with the opposers of the observation of the Sabbath, political arguments are more likely to have weight than religious. They who hold the Bible so cheap as to have confuted, in their own minds, everything it contains, without ever having looked into it, are often idolators of Magna Charta. And though it might be in vain to urge that Sunday should be decently kept for the sake of promoting the interests of the Gospel, it would probably be an inducement to pay it all due attention, if we could convince certain persons that a decent regard to it promotes such sentiments and principles among the people as have a tendency to support the Bill of Rights, and secure the Protestant succession. Every thing which promotes virtue is salutary to the mind, considered only as a medicine; as a brace, if I may so say, or a combative remedy. Now strength and vigour of mind are absolutely necessary, if we would constantly entertain an adequate idea of the blessings of liberty, and take effectual methods to defend it when it is infringed.
But, setting aside both religious and political arguments, or allowing them all their force, still it will be urged by great numbers, and those too in the higher spheres of life, that all business being prohibited on Sundays, they are really at a loss to spend their time. "Let us then," say they, "since we are forbidden to work, let us play. Let us have public diversions. There can be no harm in a polite promenade. Indeed," they insist, "if it were not for the prejudices of the canaille, it would be right to permit more places of public diversion on Sundays than on other days; obviously because we have nothing else to do but to attend to them. But English prejudices are too deeply rooted to be eradicated. On the continent the return of Sunday is delightful; but in our gloomy island it is a blank in existence, and ought to be blotted out of the calendar." The arguments indeed, such as they are, were of late presented in the best form, I presume, which they will admit, by one of those noble senators who opposed the late laudable act for the suppression of some enormities which had been introduced as the pastime of the Sabbath: and whose speech would condemn him to eternal infamy, if its extreme insignificancy did not reverse the sentence, and insure it a friendly and speedy oblivion.
Such arguments are indeed attended with their own refutation; but it is certainly true that some orders among us are distressed for methods of employing their time on a Sunday. I will therefore beg leave, from motives of compassion, to suggest some hints which may contribute to relieve them
from the very painful situation of not knowing how to pass away the lagging hours. Sunday is selected by them for travelling; and the highroads on a Sunday are crowded with coaches adorned with coronets. But to Christians there are other employments peculiar to the day, which will leave no part of it disengaged. If they are not Christians, their contempt of the Sabbath is one of the least of their errors, and before it can be removed, a belief must be produced: to attempt which does not fall within, the limits or design of this paper.
But supposing them Christians, let us endeavour to provide amusement for them during the twelve hours in every seven days in which the business of the world is precluded. If lords and dukes would condescend to go to their parish church, they might find themselves well employed from ten o'clock to twelve. To the prayers they can have no reasonable objection; and with respect to the sermon, though its diction or its sentiments may not be excellent, yet in the present times the want of merit is usually compensated by brevity. And the great man may comfort himself during its continuance with reflecting that, though he is neither pleased nor instructed by it, yet he himself is preaching in effect a most persuasive sermon by giving his attendance. His example will attract many auditors, and bad indeed must be the discourse from which the vulgar hearer cannot derive much advantage. If any charitable purpose is to be accomplished,
and there never passes a Sunday but in the metropolis many such purposes are to be accomplished,—the bare presence of a man in high life will contribute greatly to the pecuniary collection. And if a peer of the realm was as willing to give his presence at a charity sermon as at a horse-race, to contribute to the support of orphans and widows as to keep a stud and a pack of hounds, perhaps he would find himself no loser, even in the grand object of his life, the enjoyment of pleasure.
The interval between the morning and evening service may surely be spent in reading, or in improving conversation. The rest of the day even to eight o'clock, may be spent in the metropolis at church (if any one chooses it), for evening lectures abound. And though there is no obligation to attend at more than the established times, yet no man can say there are no public places of resort, when he can scarcely turn a corner without seeing a church-door open, and hearing a bell importunately inviting him to enter.
The little time which remains after the usual religious duties of the day, may certainly be spent in such a manner as to
cause no tedium, even though Carlisle-house is shut, and the rigid laws forbid us to enter Vauxhall, Ranelagh, and the theatres. A cheerful walk amidst rural scenes is capable of affording, in fine weather, a very sensible pleasure. In all seasons, at all hours, and in all weathers, conversation is capable of affording an exquisite delight; and books, of improving, exalting, refining, and captivating the human mind. He who calls in question the truth of this must allow his hearers to call in question his claim to rationality.
The subordinate classes, for I have hitherto been speaking of the higher, seldom complain that they know not what to do on a Sunday. To them it is a joyful festival. They, for the most part, are constant attendants at church; and the decency of their habits and appearance, the cleanliness which they display, the opportunity they enjoy of meeting their neighbours in the same regular and decent situation with themselves, render Sunday highly advantageous to them, exclusively of its religious advantages. They usually fill up the intervals of divine service with a rural walk, and their little indulgences at the tea-houses are highly proper and allowable. They are confined to sedentary and laborious work during the week, and a walk in the fresh air is most conducive to their health, while it affords them a very lively pleasure, such a pleasure indeed as we have all felt in Milton's famous description of it. The common people are sufficiently delighted with such enjoyments, and would really be displeased with those public diversions which our travelled reformers have desired to introduce.
Neither are they in want of disputing societies to fill up their time. There are parish-churches in abundance. After they have attended at them it is far better they should walk in the air, than be pent up in a close room and putrefying air, where their health must suffer more than even in the exercise of their handicraft trade or vocation. But that indeed is one of the least of the evils which they must endure were they allowed to attend at every turbulent assembly which either the avaricious or the discontented may convene. Weak understandings are easily led astray by weak arguments. Their own morals and happiness, and the welfare of the church and state, are greatly interested in the suppression of those houses which were lately opened under the arrogant name of the theological schools. The act which suppressed them reflects honour on the British senate. Such acts as this would indeed excite the zeal of the good and religious on the side of the legislature, and would rouse, among those
whose actions must carry weight with them because their characters are respected, such a spirit and unanimity as would enable the executive part of government to support itself with honour and tranquillity at home, and act with irresistible vigour abroad.
Why should the present race, whether high or low, stand more in need of public diversions on a Sunday than our forefathers in the last and in the beginning of the present century? No good reason can be given. It may not indeed be improbable that the true origin of this new-created want is, that the greater part of the present race, from the defect of a religious education, or from subsequent dissipation, which is found to obliterate all serious ideas, have no relish for the proper and natural methods of spending our time on a Sunday, the performance of religious duties and the exertions of benevolence.
Essays, Moral and Literary (in British
DUGALD STEWART, born in Edinburgh, 1753, was Assistant (to his father) Professor of Mathematics in the University of Edinburgh, 1774-1785, sole Professor in 1785, and from 1785 to 1810 (when he relinquished the active duties of the professorship to Dr. Thomas Brown) was Professor of Moral Philosophy in the same university; died 1828. He was the author of Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, Edin. and Lond., 1792-1814-1827, 3 vols. 4to; Outlines of Moral Philosophy, Edin., 1793, 8vo; Doctor Adam Smith's Essays on Philosophical Subjects, with an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, Lond., 1795, 4to; Account of the Life and Writings of William Robertson, Lond., 1795, 4to; Account of the Life and Writings of Thomas Reid, D.D., Edin., 1803, 8vo; Philosophical Essays, Edin., 1810, 4to; A General View of the Progress of Metaphysical, Ethical, and Political Philosophy since the Revival of Letters in Europe, prefixed to the Supplement to the Fourth and Fifth Editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, Edin., 1816, 4to, Boston, Mass., 1817, 8vo, Part II., prefixed to Supplement, etc., vol. v., Pt. I., Edin., 1821, 4to, Boston, Mass, 1822, 8vo; The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, Edin., 1828, 2 vols. 8vo; minor publications. Complete Works of Dugald Stewart, Cambridge, Mass., 1829 (again 1831), 7 vols. 8vo. Complete Collected Works, Edited, with Additions, by Sir William Hamilton, and Memoir of Stewart by John Veitch, Edin., 1854 (again 1877), Îl vols. 8vo.