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The English Utilitarians   By: (1832-1904)

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THE ENGLISH UTILITARIANS

By

LESLIE STEPHEN

[Illustration]

LONDON

DUCKWORTH and CO.

3 HENRIETTA STREET, W.C.

1900

PREFACE

This book is a sequel to my History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century . The title which I then ventured to use was more comprehensive than the work itself deserved: I felt my inability to write a continuation which should at all correspond to a similar title for the nineteenth century. I thought, however, that by writing an account of the compact and energetic school of English Utilitarians I could throw some light both upon them and their contemporaries. I had the advantage for this purpose of having been myself a disciple of the school during its last period. Many accidents have delayed my completion of the task; and delayed also its publication after it was written. Two books have been published since that time, which partly cover the same ground; and I must be content with referring my readers to them for further information. They are The English Radicals , by Mr. C. B. Roylance Kent; and English Political Philosophy from Hobbes to Maine , by Professor Graham.

CONTENTS

PAGE INTRODUCTORY 1

CHAPTER I

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

I. The British Constitution 12

II. The Ruling Class 18

III. Legislation and Administration 22

IV. The Army and Navy 30

V. The Church 35

VI. The Universities 43

VII. Theory 51

CHAPTER II

THE INDUSTRIAL SPIRIT

I. The Manufacturers 57

II. The Agriculturists 69

CHAPTER III

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

I. Pauperism 87

II. The Police 99

III. Education 108

IV. The Slave Trade 113

V. The French Revolution 121

VI. Individualism 130

CHAPTER IV

PHILOSOPHY

I. John Horne Tooke 137

II. Dugald Stewart 142

CHAPTER V

BENTHAM'S LIFE

I. Early Life 169

II. First Writings 175

III. The Panopticon 193

IV. Utilitarian Propaganda 206

V. Codification 222

CHAPTER VI

BENTHAM'S DOCTRINE

I. First Principles 235

II. Springs of Action 249

III. The Sanctions 255

IV. Criminal Law 263

V. English Law 271

VI. Radicalism 282

VII. Individualism 307

NOTE ON BENTHAM'S WRITINGS 319

INTRODUCTORY

The English Utilitarians of whom I am about to give some account were a group of men who for three generations had a conspicuous influence upon English thought and political action. Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill were successively their leaders; and I shall speak of each in turn. It may be well to premise a brief indication of the method which I have adopted. I have devoted a much greater proportion of my work to biography and to consideration of political and social conditions than would be appropriate to the history of a philosophy. The reasons for such a course are very obvious in this case, inasmuch as the Utilitarian doctrines were worked out with a constant reference to practical applications. I think, indeed, that such a reference is often equally present, though not equally conspicuous, in other philosophical schools. But in any case I wish to show how I conceive the relation of my scheme to the scheme more generally adopted by historians of abstract speculation.

I am primarily concerned with the history of a school or sect, not with the history of the arguments by which it justifies itself in the court of pure reason. I must therefore consider the creed as it was actually embodied in the dominant beliefs of the adherents of the school, not as it was expounded in lecture rooms or treatises on first principles... Continue reading book >>


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