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gentlemanly education, within the department of classical literature, was attained.
But a knowledge of languages, followed by a knowledge of that which men have written in these languages, does not supply a knowledge of subjects. The ethics of Aristotle, the politics of Plato, and the philosophy of Socrates, afford admirable matter for study and for examination; but, like the varied flowers of the garden and of the field, they do not present us with the precious element; for acquiring this we still have to perform the office of the bee. The strong words, "Truth - Use," have still to be applied. On the great occasion under consideration, Lord Brougham called upon the men of classical education to come forward and occupy the arena of useful practical knowledge; to show, in this arena, in what manner their classical education supplied light for guiding them through the many and intricate courses of social and political economy. He appeared on this highest stage of British legislation with the intellectual balance, for the purpose of weighing acquirements and character. In one scale he placed the names of Adam Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Macculloch, Huskisson, Thornton, Horner, and other men, both foreigners and Englishmen; and to the authority supplied by these men, he added the weight of his own judgment on which he confidently rested. In the other scale, he placed the strong array of members of the House of Lords. He then declared the result to be that in this scale there was very little knowledge of the subjects, no scientific substance, no weight, nothing that could command consideration.
Unhappily, in those two royal and national seats of learning, where, chiefly, the members of the House of Lords had acquired their education, a notion had been anciently raised, encouraged, and most obstinately maintained, that all special inquiry into those great and pressing subjects of the time
and indeed of all times, to which the Chancellor was calling their attention, was to be discouraged, and even suppressed; so that, under this unhappy and faith-denying notion, the leaders of these schools had neglected to turn to good and useful account the talents intrusted to them, and also the advantages that were placed before them. Confining their powers to the attainment of a mere knowledge of languages, together with that which men in past ages had thought, discovered, and communicated; and without exerting the high faculties and the noble principles given to them, in discriminating the good from the bad the useful from the useless the sustaining from the destructive the true from the false-which these thoughts, discoveries, and communications of the men of past generations, contained; or going themselves forward into the beautiful and boundless domain of nature and of science, it followed that the men who were educated at these defective schools schools so devoid of true and substantial faith were unable to think or to speak with sufficiency and success on those important and pressing subjects to which the great leader of the Edinburgh school of Economists had awakened their attention.
In the emergency of mental darkness and confusion, it was easy for Lord Brougham to make it appear that his fellow Peers whom he addressed were so far behind the age in knowledge and in the requirements of the time, that it was necessary for them to surrender up their ancient prejudices, their time-devoured ideas and principles, and their unenlightened opinions- the opinions and convictions which they held--and, in place of them, to accept and trust to the informed and enlightened ideas, principles, and convictions, which had been announced and delivered to the world by that new school of Political Economists of whom the members of the House of Lords knew so little, but of whom he
and other enlightened men of the world, both scientific men and statesmen, knew so much.
The House of Lords, astounded and overcome by the splendid array of talent, of discovery, of knowledge, and of assumed science, which Lord Brougham had marshalled before them, and not having one illustrious economist on their own side to bring forward against the host of illustrious men up to whom Lord Brougham had urged them to look, tacitly, though reluctantly, yielded assent. Thus the unknown became to them the magnificent, and that merely because they were unknown. The delusion then worked and fixed, prevails to the present day.
By this, and by many other scenes of a similar character, some enacted in the House of Commons, some in the House of Lords, some in Academic Theatres, and some in the wider arena afforded by public hustings and by meetings of the people in various parts of the country, it has come to pass that Parliament, and almost the whole of the people, have, without any due or masterly examination, and without mental effort worthy of any consideration, admitted the doctrines of the Scotch school of Political Economy to possess soundness, virtue, truth, and general utility.
Such, then, has been the manner in which scenic performances, under the names of Science, Philosophy, and enlightened Politics, have been exhibited on the social and political stage. It is by these means that the great delusion has been fixed on the mental vision of the nation. Men, as of old, have permitted themselves to be deluded, first into an admiration, and next into a worship, of names, mere names.
The character of that scientific matter which has been advanced by the writers, of whom the prevailing school of Political Economy is composed, having now been sufficiently examined and explained, it becomes necessary, in the next place,
to examine and explain the manner in which our modern statesmen have received the doctrines of the Political Economy school, for the great purpose of applying them to the general interests, or the social circumstances, of the nation.
It will have to be shown that the result of the evidence which is supplied by the school of modern statesmen, is of a character analogous with that result which has just been established in the case of the scientific reasoners and writers; so that, as was indeed inevitable, the writers and the statesmen will be seen to meet and to rest on the same ground. The evidence which has next to be adduced will, like that which has been already adduced, destroy in a very large degree the quality of that high term which Lord Brougham, with so much satisfaction and delight, conferred on the host of great men with whom, as he has declared, it had been his happiness, and his advantage to have been associated; and who, either in shadow or in substance, he placed before the bewildered vision of the members of the House of Lords. The high term alluded to is "illustrious." The evidence which has to be brought forward, examined, and applied, will unhappily, when the power of correct reasoning or of truth is directed to it, destroy so large an amount of lustre, as will render it very unpleasant for an honourable and impartial critic to declare what that is to be called which will remain after the evidence supplied has been duly examined, and a just judgment pronounced upon it.
On bringing this first part of the examination of the quality of the reasonings and doctrines extant in the field of political science to a close, it may be useful to have the mind directed, in a more particular manner, to a steady contemplation of the last part of it; that is, the judgment delivered by Lord Brougham. Matter deserving the most serious reflection is here presented. The utmost astonishment has to be felt that
a man of such surpassing ability, and endowed with a spirit so unfettered by those particular worldly considerations which so commonly prevail, should have put the seal of his approbation on the evidence and reasoning to which reference has been made. The subject-matter involved, as every reader will have discerned, is of the highest human concernment. Thus there is, on the one hand, the law of the procreation of the human species, the natural law affixed by the Creator to the diffusion of human life; on the other hand, there is the law affixed by the Creator to the supply of that matter by which human life is ordained to be sustained. Both Creation and Providence are thus involved. How surpassingly important, then, are the subjects! What care is required in receiving, in examining, and in deciding on, the quality and the appropriateness of the evidence that is brought together, and brought to bear! What an immense responsibility that man assumes who undertakes to consider and give judgment on the subjects, and on the train of evidence and the courses of reasoning with which they are treated! This Lord Brougham has done, and that by means of the reasonings, opinions, and judgment of other men, without having duly exerted the powers of his own mind, and satisfied his own judgment. The substance of the great case was prepared FOR him, not by him. As is the custom in the instance of human law, or the practice in human courts of legal inquiry, the evidence was collected and placed on a record. The record so prepared was delivered into his hands. He adopted this record. He received his instructions. In accordance with the instructions furnished, he argued the great case. Such as was the evidence prepared; such as were the inductions worked; such as were the conclusions assumed; for these, Lord Brougham demanded at the bar of National Legislation the award of truth. Content with the large amount of superficial and inappropriate