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(which, as we have already said, are those of the Black Dwarf and the Examiner) are elucidated by every line of his correspondence. If he were not too vain for advice, a salutary lesson might be pointed out to him in the effects of his own excursion. His violent prejudices in favour of America, he confesses, have been shaken or removed. May it not be worth his while to consider, whether those more violent ones which he entertains against his own Country have a more sure foundation, than the former ?--- Whether, if he would look for information from other sources than those to which he has so unhappily for his credit confined his studies, there might not be a chance of his discovering that neither civil nor religious liberty was so abridged in this country as to force a conscientious person to flee for a fuller enjoyment of them to a land of misrule and impiety? Truth is mighty, and will force a way through stronger obstacles than Mr. Fearon is ever likely to oppose to it. We cannot give a more striking proof of our assertion than the following passage, which, while it appositely closes our remarks, will come doubly recommended to our author when he hears that it is extracted from the last work of that 'celebrated man' to whose political wisdom he bows with admiration.
ENGLAND has been very happy and free; her greatness and renown have been surpassed by those of no nation in the world; her wise, just, and merciful laws form the basis of that freedom which we here enjoy; she has been fertile beyond all rivalship in men of learning, and men devoted to the cause of freedom and humanity; her people, though proud and domineering, yield to no people in the world in frankness, good faith, şincerity and benevolence: and I cannot but know, that this state of things has existed, and that this people has been formed, under a government of KING, LORDS, and COMMONS.
ART. VIII. Church-of-Englandism and its Catechism examined; preceded by Strictures on the Exclusionary System, us pursued in the National Society's Schools: interspersed with parallel views of the English and Scottish Established and Non-established Churches and concluding with Remedies Proposed for Abuses Indicated: and an Examination of the Parliamentary System of Church Reform lately pursued, and still pursuing: including the proposed New Churches. By Jeremy Bentham, Esq. Bencher of Lincoln's-im, and late of Queen's-college, Oxford, M. A.
FEW persons have derived more advantage from the choice of an almost open subject than Mr. Bentham. Before him scarcely
any one had aspired to write methodically on legislation, and by treating it systematically to raise it to the rank of a science. The works of Montesquieu and Beccaria, replete as they are with the profoundest original thinking, and deep insight into the frame of human society, are, in fact, only collections of discursive and unconnected essays; and though they furnish a rich mine of materials for such an undertaking, yet they do not aim at a complete elucidation of those principles on which political institutions are founded, and on which all legislative enactments should proceed. Mr. Bentham, however, made this attempt, and being possessed of unwearied industry, considerable ingenuity, and no small confidence in his own powers, he erected a system which was to comprize within its limits the whole of human nature, and to be applicable to every case that could arise upon the surface of the earth. There was something imposing in the vastness of the design, as well as in the bold pretensions of the redacteur; and as there existed no acknowledged standard with which to compare his principles, many of those who shunned the fatigue of thinking for themselves have been in the habit of looking to the Traités de Législation, and the Théorie des Peines et des Récompenses as the only depositories of the principles of human government.
But if these boasted works be examined, they will be found to contain very little to justify the opinion entertained of them by the author and his admirers. They are encumbered throughout with many tedious classifications, which, even when they are correct, are utterly unimportant, with mere verbal distinctions, and truisms laboriously demonstrated. Mr. Bentham's fondness for system, and his taste for subtle disputation, often decoy him from matters of real importance to frivolous refinements; and when a good thought occurs, he generally renders it ridiculous by overstretching it, and injudiciously applying it where it is not suitable.
Mr. Bentham has also some other defects, which preclude him from being very useful in the department which he has chosen. He has not that knowledge of human nature, or that sympathy with it, on which moral philosophy must be founded. He is, as he tells us, a recluse, who forms no part of society,' one who lives as if he were immured in a cell;' and thus separated from his fellow-creatures, he is not conscious of, and cannot comprehend many of the feelings that reside in the human heart. Judging of mankind only from books, and from his own systems, he has formed a very low, and a very erroneous opinion of it. He seems to have hardly any conception of disinterested virtue, but refers every action to sordid self-interest, or to some other equally gross and palpable motive, and rejecting all those that are less obvious, and more difficult to
be weighed, he fancies that the conduct of a man may be reduced to calculation like the movement of a machine. Measuring morality by utility, and the utility of every thing by the quantity of pleasure, which, according to his own estimate, it produces, he thinks he can discriminate to a nicety the shades of right and wrong. And when he is thus led to results directly contrary to universal feeling, he is not induced to entertain any doubts of the perfection of the process by which he has arrived at them, but without hesitation announces that he alone is right, and that the moral feelings of the rest of mankind are perverted.
The restless ambition of Mr. Bentham has prompted him to attempt, in succession, to become the governor of a prison, the enlightener of the world, the legislator of despotic Russia, of republican America, and lastly the head of a chrestomathic school. In these very various pursuits he has met with several repulses. No I nation has yet trusted its guidance to him; and though he has been most liberal of his offers, and hawked his wares about wherever there was any chance of a market, he has not yet had an order for a single code of laws. The English government has not persevered in his prison-scheme; and the pecuniary recompense, which he received for his services in that department, was but scanty compared to the golden hopes in which he once indulged. These mortifications, particularly the last, have apparently thrown a misanthropical gloom over his temper, and hurried him from general speculations to smaller matters, and to attacks on individual persons and institutions. He has found that to teach abstract principles alone, has not been sufficient to remove all the evil that unfortunately exists in the world. It is necessary to furnish also a practical comment; he has therefore descended to particulars, and has lately employed himself in the publication of works having for their immediate object the thorough reform of the civil and religious establishments of his own country. Its government and its systems of education he has already treated of, and in the present volume he gives us his ideas of its national church.
The work opens with a short correspondence commenced by our author with Mr. W. Smith, on the subject of a bill, which that gentleman brought into Parliament a few years ago, to relieve Unitarian dissenters from some antiquated and unexecuted penal statutes. This useless though harmless measure, it will be remembered, ultimately passed into a law: but, it seems, from Mr. Smith's statement that, during the discussion of it in the Upper House, some objections were taken by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice to the form in which it was first introduced. At their suggestion it was negatived, and a new bill to the same effect with
some formal difference was prepared, and received the sanction of the legislature is the same session. Mr. Bentham, who was in search for some criminating matter, is rather disappointed that no marks of bigotry or intolerance could be found in the conduct of the Archbishop of Canterbury throughout the transaction; but so explicit is Mr. Smith's declaration of the uniform frankness and liberality' of his Grace, that our author, notwithstanding all his ingenuity in the detection of latent bad motives, is not able to impeach it. He consoles himself, however, by indulging his vituperative propensities upon the two learned lords who effected the alteration in the bill, and very philosophically conjectures that they threw out the first bill for the sake of some additional fees that might be payable on the introduction of the second. After thus displaying his knowledge of the springs of action,' he steps aside to mention Lord Ellenborough's act, by which, in the true Draco style, a bounty is given upon murder;' and to hint at the causes that make our statute law so voluminous and so bad. All legislation, he says, is done * under the direction of those whose interest it is that it should be as badly done as possible. Uncognoscibility being the end, indistinctness, voluminousness, confusion, uncertainty, are so many means." He next renews his attacks on his old enemy, sham law, commonly called common law,' and tries to convince his correspondent, that though he has removed the statutes so obnoxious to Socinians, he has still no security for the toleration of his religious tenets, that he is still kept in hot water,' and is likely to be persecuted, and ground to powder' by the piety of the common law.' Know you not, sir, in a word, that wheresoever common law reigns, security--whether it be for life, liberty, property, or any thing else is an empty name?' If our author has not somewhat exaggerated the terrors of the law, it is surprising that he should have contrived to preserve his life from its ravages so long, and still more surprising that he should subject himself to it any longer than he can help.
Mr. Bentham now enters upon the consideration of the Church Catechism, which is here termed a sub-substitute for the Bible.' A great many pages are devoted to a particular discussion of its demerits. We shall not disgust our readers with any specimens of the wretched and impious sophistry with which its expressions and doctrines are criticized. The faults which Mr. Bentham has detected in it, he classes, with his usual regularity, under five general heads, and shews that, besides the minor offences of bad grammar and bad logic, this pestiferous compound' inculcates the practice of hypocrisy, lying, imposition, sin and vice in every other shape.' And he calls upon the rulers of the Church of England' to give
it up, and to cease acting in the character of suborners of juvenile mendacity.'
Unfortunately, however, our clergy have a strong attachment to this formulary, and insist upon teaching it in the schools over which they preside, partly, it seems, because they find it an able assistant in the propagation of insincerity, their darling vice, and partly because it is of service in the hostilities which our author as discovered they have long meditated and are now carrying on against the Bible. To keep the Bible as much as may be out of sight, is a policy, which, as far as circumstances have admitted, has ever been pursued in common, by Church of Romanism and Church of Englandism.'—p. 55.
In the hands of Lancaster, with or without intention, the Bible, put into action by the instrument invented by Dr. Bell, worked as a battering-ram against the Established Church.—What was to be done? The Bible suited not the purposes of the Church of Rome: they forbade the use of it. As little did it or does it suit the purposes of the present rulers of the Church of England. What then was to be done?-Forbid the use of it they could not. What, in the same view, they could and did was-to teach, in the new way, the old thing which they found already in use-the Catechism :-the Catechism, which, having so long ago been taken in substance from the Church of Rome, was now seen to be so commodiously suited to those same purposes. The Bible was taught by Lancaster: the Church of England Catechism was not taught by him. Should the system of Lancaster spread, and become universal, -the Bible might prevail over the Catechism, and the Church of England might thus be brought to an end.--Dr. Bell was taken up,-and, with the Catechism in his hand, employed to defend the Church against the Bible.
The war thus secretly carried on against the Bible, common prudence forbade to become an open one. Appearances required that some use should appear to be made of it. Selected and cooked up in the manner which was judged a proper one, the Parables, the Miracles, the Discourses of Jesus,―sooner or later, (for, in the accounts published, times are throughout kept, as will be seen, in a state of the most convenient darkness)-sooner or later, some of each, at any rate, were professed at least to be taught.-Taught—but how? Taught by being caused to be repeated? Oh, no: that was a privilege, reserved (as in Part I. § 4, as hath been seen) for compositions of superior worth and use: for the Graces, the Collects, the Prayers, the Catechism,--the Catechism" entire and broken"—of the Church of England. Under the impossibility of suppressing it altogether, the shortness of one short dis-' course-the Lord's Prayer, saved it from exclusion, so resolutely put upon every thing else that was ever said by him.'—pp. 55, 56.
Thus arose the National Society, intended by its patrons as a mode of attack on the Bible, and it appears that in this extraordi