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David Hume Is Pontiff of the World: Thomas Carlyle on Epicureanism, Laissez-Faire, and Public Opinion

  • Alexander Jordan

Abstract

Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) is well known as one of the earliest and most vociferous critics of Benthamite utilitarianism. However, Carlyle understood Benthamism as the culmination of a much longer eighteenth-century tradition of Epicurean thought. Having been an enthusiastic reader of David Hume during his youth, Carlyle later turned against him, waging an increasingly violent polemic against all forms of Epicureanism. In these later works, Carlyle not only rejected the pursuit of “pleasure” as an appropriate end for the life of the individual, but also took umbrage with Epicurean accounts of sociability as the philosophical underpinnings of laissez-faire, representative democracy, and “public opinion.” For Carlyle, self-interest, no matter how “enlightened,” balanced, or channeled by institutions, could never provide a stable foundation for a political community. Carlyle's contemporaries were aware that his work was intended as an attack on the Epicurean tradition. When John Stuart Mill attempted to defend Epicureanism against Carlyle, several of the latter's disciples and sympathizers responded by extending Carlyle's earlier censures on Epicureanism.

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1 Carlyle, Thomas, “Wotton Reinfred: A Romance” (1826–1827), in The Last Words of Thomas Carlyle (Boston, 1892), 1147, at 71.

2 Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 12 March 1828, in The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, ed. Campbell, Ian, Christianson, Aileen, and Sorensen, David R., 42 vols. (Durham, 1970–), 4:339–44 (hereafter CL); Thomas Carlyle, notebook entry dated March 1832, in Two Note Books of Thomas Carlyle, ed. Norton, Charles Eliot (New York, 1898), 256–57.

3 Thomas Carlyle to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 3 February 1835, CL, 8:36–43.

4 For Carlyle's early reading of Cicero, see Thomas Carlyle to Robert Mitchell, 25 March 1815, CL, 1:41–45; Thomas Carlyle to James Johnston, 26 June 1818, CL, 1:130–35; Thomas Carlyle to Robert Mitchell, 14 July 1819, CL, 1:188–92; and Two Reminiscences of Thomas Carlyle, ed. Clubbe, John (Durham, 1974), 3233 . Carlyle received a copy of Lucretius's De rerum natura as a gift in 1822. See Catalogue of Printed Books, Autograph Letters, Literary Manuscripts … Formerly the Property of Thomas Carlyle (London, 1932), 14 .

5 Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), cited in Barbour, Reid, English Epicures and Stoics: Ancient Legacies in Early Stuart Culture (Amherst 1998), 70 . Carlyle read the work in January 1827. Carlyle, Two Note Books, 98–99. For the Temple-Swift controversy, see Steensma, Robert C., “Swift and Epicurus,” Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Languages Association 17, no. 1 (May 1964): 1012 . In December 1826, Carlyle reported having read “Sir William Temple's works.” Carlyle, Two Note Books, 84. For Carlyle's references to A Tale of a Tub, see Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, March 1821, CL, 1:332–33; Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 30 January 1822, CL, 2:23–26; and Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 11 November 1823, CL, 2:465–69.

6 Rosen, Frederick, Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill (London, 2003), 167–72.

7 Wilson, David Alec, Carlyle till Marriage (1795–1826) (London, 1923), 110 . The only attempt to develop this insight, Holmberg's, Olle David Hume in Carlyle's “Sartor Resartus” (Lund, 1934), does not extend beyond Sartor (1833–1834), is extremely dated, and does not deal with Epicureanism.

8 Doubtless due to the heavy shadow cast by Froude, James Anthony, Thomas Carlyle: A History of the First Forty Years of His Life, 1795–1835, 2 vols. (New York, 1882), in which Froude pronounced, “Of classical literature [Carlyle] knew little … He was not living in ancient Greece or Rome, but in modern Europe” (1:104). Cf. Flint, Thomas, “Carlyle as Classicist,” Classical Weekly 13, no. 7 (December 1919): 5154 .

9 To cite only the book-length studies: Fleischmann, Wolfgang Bernard, Lucretius and English Literature 1680–1740 (Paris, 1964); Jones, Howard, The Epicurean Tradition (London, 1989); Osler, Margaret J., ed., Atoms, Pneuma, and Tranquility: Epicurean and Stoic Themes in European Thought (Cambridge, 1991); Bonacina, Giovanni, Filosofia ellenistica e cultura moderna: Epicureismo, stoicismo e scetticismo da Bayle a Hegel (Florence, 1996); Force, Pierre, Self-Interest Before Adam Smith (Cambridge, 2003); Wilson, Catherine, Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity (Oxford, 2008); Leddy, Neven and Lifschitz, Avi, eds., Epicurus in the Enlightenment (Oxford, 2009). There is no discussion of Epicureanism in Jenkyns, Richard, The Victorians and Ancient Greece (Oxford, 1980); Turner, Frank M., The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (New Haven, 1981); or Vance, Norman, The Victorians and Ancient Rome (Oxford, 1997). The exceptions are Vaughn, Frederick, The Tradition of Political Hedonism From Hobbes to J. S. Mill (New York, 1982), chaps. 7; Scarre, Geoffrey, “Epicurus as a Forerunner of Utilitarianism,” Utilitas 6, no. 2 (November 1994): 219–31; and Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, chaps. 7, 10–11, all of which focus on Bentham and J. S. Mill.

10 Young, Brian, The Victorian Eighteenth Century: An Intellectual History (Oxford, 2007), 2526 .

11 Collini, Stefan, Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850–1930 (Oxford, 1991), 65 . See also 65–67, 185–89.

12 Thomas Carlyle,” North British Review 4 (February 1846): 505–36, at 506.

13 Jones, Epicurean Tradition, 55–58, 50, citation in Vaughn, Tradition of Political Hedonism, 34–37.

14 See Strauss, Leo, Natural Right and History (Chicago, 1953), 109–11; Jones, Epicurean Tradition, 62–78; and Long, A. A., “Pleasure and Utility: The Virtues of Being Epicurean,” in From Epicurus to Epictetus: Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (Oxford, 2006), 178201 .

15 See generally Vaughn, Tradition of Political Hedonism; and Jones, Epicurean Tradition.

16 See Thomas Carlyle to John Fergusson, 25 September 1819, CL, 1:196–99; Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 10 August 1824, CL, 3:120–24; and Catalogue of Printed Books, 14.

17 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690); Burnet, Remarks upon An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1697), cited in Vaughn, Tradition of Political Hedonism, 83–84, 98, 144–45.

18 On Shaftesbury's anti-Epicureanism, see Klein, Lawrence E., Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness: Moral Discourse and Cultured Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1994), 5169 ; and Rivers, Isabel, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Ethics in England, 1660–1780 (Cambridge, 2000), 2:85–152. In December 1826, Carlyle noted, “I have read Shaftesbury's Characteristics.” Carlyle, Two Note Books, 71–72.

19 Ashley-Cooper, Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, 6th ed., 3 vols. (London, 1737), 2:232, 1:97, 1:116.

20 See Hundert, E. G., The Enlightenment's Fable: Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society (Cambridge, 1994), 4551 .

21 Carlyle owned a copy of the 3rd ed. (London, 1742), as revealed in Tarr, Rodger L., “Thomas Carlyle's Libraries at Chelsea and Ecclefechan,” Studies in Bibliography, no. 27 (1974): 249–65, at 255. See also the reference to “Hutcheson” and the “moral sense” in Carlyle, “Wotton Reinfred,” 62. On Hutcheson's anti-Epicureanism, see Moore, James, “Hume and Hutcheson,” in Hume and Hume's Connections, ed. Stewart, M. A. and Wright, John P. (University Park, 1995), 2357, at 33–35; and Robertson, John, The Case for the Enlightenment: Scotland and Naples, 1680–1760 (Cambridge, 2005), 286–87.

22 Hutcheson, Francis, An Essay of the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, 3rd ed. (London, 1742), 210 . See also ibid., 13.

23 See generally Hirschman, Albert O., The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph (Princeton, 1977); Hamowy, Ronald, The Scottish Enlightenment and the Theory of Spontaneous Order (Carbondale, 1987), 3, 6, 1013 ; and Sebastiani, Silvia, “Beyond Ancient Virtues: Civil Society and Passions in the Scottish Enlightenment,” History of Political Thought 32, no. 5 (January 2011): 821–40.

24 For analyses of Hume as an Epicurean, see Alberti, Antonina, “Temi epicurei nella gnoseologia di Hume,” Annali dell'Istituto di Filosofia, Firenze, no. 5 (1983): 211–42; Belgrado, Anna Minerbi, “La ‘vecchia ipotesi epicurea’ nei Dialoghi sulla religione naturale di Hume,” Studi settecenteschi, no. 6 (1988–89): 35100 ; Moore, “Hume and Hutcheson,” 27; Force, Self-Interest, 214–15, 230–31; Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, chap. 3; Robertson, Case for the Enlightenment, 293–96, 306–8, 317–18, 353–54; and Wilson, Epicureanism, 199–200. For some qualifications, see James A. Harris, “The Epicurean in Hume,” in Epicurus in the Enlightenment, ed. Leddy and Lifschitz, 161–81; Loptson, Peter, “Hume and Ancient Philosophy,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20, no. 4 (July 2012): 741–72; and Tolonen, Mikko, Mandeville and Hume: Anatomists of Civil Society (Oxford, 2013), 6–7, 29–30, 74.

25 Carlyle noted that the “best book” he had recently read was “Hume's Essays.” Thomas Carlyle to Thomas Murray, 21 June 1815, CL, 1:52–56. He soon re-read it. Thomas Carlyle to Robert Mitchell, 16 February 1818, CL, 1:118–22.

26 Hume, David, A Treatise of Human Nature, 2 vols. (London, 1817), 1:279; Alberti, “Temi epicurei,” 211, 219–23, 242.

27 See Belgrado, “La ‘vecchia ipotesi epicurea,’” 61, 82–84.

28 Hume, Treatise, 2:300, 2:106.

29 For further discussion, see Pendelbaum, Terence, “Hume's Moral Psychology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hume, ed. Norton, David Fate (Cambridge, 1993), 117–47.

30 Hume, Treatise, 2:106.

31 Ibid., 2:205–6, 241; Moore, “Hume and Hutcheson,” 43.

32 Hume, Treatise, 2:250, 207. See also ibid., 320–21.

33 Hume, David, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (London, 1751), 33 . For further discussion, see Haakonssen, Knud, The Science of a Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith (Cambridge 1981), 15–21, 3137 ; Whelan, Frederick G., Order and Artifice in Hume's Political Philosophy (Princeton, 1985), 159–60, 171–79, 190–91, 212–18; Stewart, John B., Opinion and Reform in Hume's Political Philosophy (Princeton, 1992), 121–27, 167; and Magri, Tito, “Hume's Justice,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hume's “Treatise,” ed. Ainslie, Donald C. and Butler, Annemarie (Cambridge, 2015), 301–32.

34 Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 63–64.

35 Hume, David, “Of the First Principles of Government,” in Essays and treatises on several subjects (London, 1758), 20–22, at 20.

36 Hume, “Of the Independency of Parliaments,” in Essays and treatises, 29–32, at 30.

37 Hume, “Of Commerce,” in Essays and treatises, 149–57, at 154. On Hume's rehabilitation of luxury, see Berry, Christopher J., The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation (Cambridge, 1994), 144–50.

38 Hume, Treatise, 2:273.

39 See Sagar, Paul, “The State without Sovereignty: Authority and Obligation in Hume's Political Philosophy,” History of Political Thought 37, no. 2 (January 2016): 271305 .

40 See Forbes, Duncan, Hume's Philosophical Politics (Cambridge, 1975), 221–29; Moore, James, “Hume's Political Science and the Classical Republican Tradition,” Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique 10, no. 4 (December 1977): 809–39, at 821–22, 825; and Collini, Stefan, Winch, Donald, and Burrow, John, That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in Nineteenth-Century Intellectual History (Cambridge, 1983), 3031 .

41 Force, Self-Interest, 214–15, 230–31.

42 Balfour, James, A delineation of the nature and obligation of morality, with reflexions upon Mr Hume's book entitled An Inquiry concerning the principles of morals (Edinburgh, 1753), cited in Harris, James A., “The Early Reception of Hume's Theory of Justice,” in Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain, ed. Savage, Ruth (Oxford, 2012), 210–30, at 212.

43 On Ferguson's anti-Epicureanism, see Sher, Richard B., Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1985), 199201 ; Bonacina, Filosofia ellenistica e cultura moderna, 142–43; and McDaniel, Iain, Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Roman Past and Europe's Future (Cambridge, MA, 2013), 9, 6674 . For Carlyle's reading, see Thomas Carlyle to Jane Baillie Welsh, 18 November 1822, CL, 2:204–10; and Thomas Carlyle to Jane Baillie Welsh, 12 January 1823, CL, 2:265–70.

44 Reid, Thomas, Essays on the Active Powers of Man (Edinburgh, 1788), 458 . See also ibid., 410–11. On Reid's anti-Epicureanism, see Harris, “Epicurean in Hume,” 172–73; and Harris, “Early Reception,” 228. For Carlyle's reading, see Thomas Carlyle to Robert Mitchell, 24 May 1815, CL, 1:45–49; and Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 10 August 1824, CL, 3:120–24. For a pioneering study of Carlyle's debts to Reid, which does not, however, deal with Epicureanism, see Jessop, Ralph, Carlyle and Scottish Thought (Basingstoke, 1997).

45 Stewart, Dugald, The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, 2 vols. (Boston, 1828), 2:308, 1:217. See also ibid., 1:168–70, 210, 2:250–51, 300. On Carlyle's admiration for the works of Stewart, see Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 10 August 1824, CL, 3:120–24; Thomas Carlyle to N. H. Julius, 15 April 1827, CL, 4:206–8; and Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 25 August 1828, CL, 4:396–401. See also Carlyle, Thomas, “State of German Literature” (October 1827), in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, 7 vols. (London, 1872), 1:22–73, at 67 (hereafter CME); Carlyle, “Burns” (December 1828), in CME, 2:1–53, at 17–18; and Carlyle, “Novalis” (July 1829), in CME, 2:183–229, at 202–3.

46 Edinburgh Review (July 1808), cited in Fontana, Biancamaria, Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society: The Edinburgh Review, 1802–1832 (Cambridge, 1985), 8990 .

47 Carlyle, “Wotton Reinfred,” 71, 53–54, 23–24. See also ibid., 69–73, 102–3.

48 Ibid., 53–54.

49 Carlyle, “Characteristics” (December 1831), CME, 4:1–38, at 23–24, 27; Carlyle, “Death of Goethe” (June 1832), CME, 4:42–50, at 46.

50 Carlyle, Thomas, “Christopher North” (1868), in Reminiscences, ed. Norton, Charles Eliot (London, 1972), 366–81, at 370.

51 Cited in Schneewind, J. B., Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral Philosophy (Oxford, 1977), 7880 . See also Dixon, Thomas, “Revolting against Reid: The Philosophy of Thomas Brown,” in Scottish Philosophy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, ed. Graham, Gordon (Oxford, 2015), 2441 .

52 Fontana, Rethinking the Politics, 4, 9.

53 On the concept of “public opinion” from Hume through the Edinburgh Review, see Gunn, J. A. W., Beyond Liberty and Property: The Process of Self-Recognition in Eighteenth-Century Political Thought (Kingston, 1983), 260315 ; Burrow, J. W., Whigs and Liberals: Continuity and Change in English Political Thought (Oxford, 1988), 54–56, 71; Wahrman, Dror, Imagining the Middle Class: The Political Representation of Class in Britain, 1780–1840 (Cambridge, 1995), 190–97; idem., Public Opinion, Violence and the Limits of Constitutional Politics,” in Re-reading the Constitution: New Narratives in the Political History of England's Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Vernon, James (Cambridge, 1996), 83122 , at 90–91, 104; Hawkins, Angus, Victorian Political Culture: “Habits of Heart and Mind” (Oxford, 2015), 73–75, 91, 98; and Plasart, Anna, The Scottish Enlightenment and the French Revolution (Cambridge, 2015), 163–74.

54 On the language of “interests,” see Tuck, Richard, Philosophy and Government, 1572–1651 (Cambridge, 1993), 222–50; Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class, 90–96; and Hawkins, Victorian Political Culture, 86.

55 Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 10 August 1824, CL, 3:120–24; Carlyle, “Boswell's Life of Johnson” (May 1832), CME, 4:67–131, at 129.

56 Thomas Carlyle to John A. Carlyle, 12 March 1828, CL, 4:339–44.

57 Fontana, Rethinking the Politics, 93.

58 Carlyle, “Wotton Reinfred,” 53–54.

59 Jeremy Bentham, A Fragment on Government (1776), cited in Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, 49.

60 Cited in Everett, Charles Warren, The Limits of Jurisprudence Defined: Being Part Two of An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (New York, 1945), 116 .

61 See Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, 15–16, 48–57.

62 Thomas Carlyle to Jane Baillie Welsh, 8 January 1824, CL, 3:8–11.

63 Schofield, Philip, Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham (Oxford, 2006), 1516 .

64 Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789), cited in Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 29–30.

65 Jeremy Bentham, Codification Proposal (1822), cited in Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 34–35.

66 Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, cited in Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 33–34, and in Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, 50–51.

67 Jeremy Bentham, Deontology (1826), cited in Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 48–49.

68 See Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 141–55.

69 Jeremy Bentham, Constitutional Code (1830), cited in Schofield, Utility and Democracy, 263–64.

70 See Rosen, Frederick, “The Origin of Liberal Utilitarianism,” in Victorian Liberalism: Nineteenth-Century Political Thought and Practice, ed. Bellamy, Richard (London, 1990), 58–70, at 61, 6366 .

71 Westminster Review 8 (1827), cited in Nesbitt, George L., Benthamite Reviewing: The First Twelve Years of the Westminster Review, 1824–1836 (New York, 1934), 111 . For Carlyle's regular reading of the Westminster Review, see Thomas Carlyle to Henry Inglis, 17 June 1829, CL, 5:16–17; Thomas Carlyle to William Tait, 23 August 1830, CL, 5:147–48; and Thomas Carlyle to John Bowring, 8 February 1831, CL, 5:227–28.

72 Mackintosh, James, A General View of the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, Chiefly During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Philadelphia, 1832), 31 . Carlyle met “Macintosh” in October 1831, judging him “a whig Philosopher and Politician … our best of that sort.” Carlyle, Two Note Books, 202–3.

73 On Carlyle and the Saint-Simonians, see generally Pankhurst, R. K. P., The Saint-Simonians, Mill and Carlyle (London, 1957); Shine, Hill, Carlyle and the Saint-Simonians: The Concept of Historical Periodicity (Baltimore, 1941); and Fielding, K. J., “Carlyle and the Saint-Simonians (1830–1832): New Considerations,” in Carlyle and His Contemporaries, ed. Clubbe, John (Durham, 1976), 3559 . On the Saint-Simonians's reading of Bentham, see Spühler, Willy, Der Saint-Simonismus: Lehre und Leben von Saint-Amand Bazard (Zurich, 1926), 57–60, 123–29; Bellet, Michel, “Saint-simonisme et utilitarisme: Saint-Simon lecteur de Bentham,” in Bentham et la France: fortune et infortunes de l'utilitarisme, ed. de Champs, Emmanuelle and Cléro, Jean-Pierre (Oxford, 2009), 177–96; and de Champs, Emmanuelle, Enlightenment and Utility: Bentham in French, Bentham in France (Cambridge, 2015), 169–70.

74 Laurent, P.-M., “Caractère de notre époque. 2ème article,” L'Organisateur 36 (18 April 1830), 23 . This was a review of Carlyle's essay “Signs of the Times” (1829).

75 Carlyle, “Wotton Reinfred,” 71.

76 Carlyle, “Schiller” (March 1831), CME, 3:65–110, at 87–90.

77 Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, 167–72.

78 Thomas Carlyle to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 3 February 1835, CL, 8:36–43.

79 See Schneewind, Sidgwick's Ethics, 64–73, 75; Haakonssen, Knud, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1996), 185205 ; Harris, James A., Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy (Oxford, 2005), 183–84, 195, 219–33; and idem, Reid and Hume on the Possibility of Character,” in Character, Self, and Sociability in the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. Ahnert, Thomas and Manning, Susan (New York, 2011), 3147 , at 32–33, 41–42.

80 On Carlyle's debts to Reid and Stewart, see Schneewind, Sidgwick's Ethics, 168; and Jessop, Carlyle and Scottish Thought.

81 Carlyle, “Signs of the Times” (June 1829), CME, 2:230–52, at 236–40. See also ibid., 249–50.

82 Carlyle, Thomas, Lectures on the History of Literature (April–July 1838), ed. Greene, J. Reay (London, 1892), 204 . See also ibid., 214.

83 Carlyle, Thomas, On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841) (London, 1904), 7576 . See also Carlyle, Thomas, Sartor Resartus (1833–1834) (Oxford, 1987), 167 .

84 Carlyle, On Heroes, 172–73.

85 Carlyle, Lectures, 52, 173–75.

86 Carlyle, Thomas, Past and Present (1843) (London, 1912), 261, 274–75, 147–48, 150 (hereafter PP).

87 Carlyle, Thomas, Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) (London, 1897), 281–82 (hereafter LDP).

88 Carlyle, Lectures, 214.

89 Carlyle, “Signs of the Times,” CME, 2:245.

90 Carlyle, “Schiller” (March 1831), CME, 3:87–90. See also Carlyle, “Wotton Reinfred,” 23–24; Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, 124–25; Carlyle, Lectures, 203.

91 Thomas Carlyle to Geraldine Jewsbury, 26 April 1840, CL, 12:118; and Thomas Carlyle to Geraldine Jewsbury, 15 June 1840, CL, 12:163–66.

92 Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, 126; Carlyle, On Heroes, 75–76; Carlyle, PP, 106.

93 Carlyle, On Heroes, 57.

94 Carlyle, PP, 219, 265.

95 Many writers had begun to voice skepticism regarding “public opinion.” See Gunn, Beyond Liberty and Property, 298–99; Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class, 305; and Wahrman, “Public Opinion,” 99, 104–5.

97 Ibid., 177–78.

96 Carlyle, “Voltaire” (April 1829), CME, 2:176.

98 Mackinnon, W. A., On the Rise, Progress, and Present State of Public Opinion, in Great Britain, and Other Parts of the World (London, 1828), 218–19, 19. On the Edinburgh Review’s substitution of “public opinion” for ancient virtue, see Plasart, Scottish Enlightenment, 173–75.

99 Carlyle, “Signs of the Times” (June 1829), CME, 2:240, 249.

100 Ibid., 239, 246.

101 Entry dated 11 October 1831, Carlyle, Two Note Books, 205.

102 Hume, “Of the Independency of Parliaments,” 30.

103 James Mill, Fragment on Mackintosh (1830), cited in Collini, Winch, and Burrow, That Noble Science, 113. See also Fenn, Robert A., James Mill's Political Thought (New York, 1987), 118–27.

104 Mill had recently blocked Carlyle's appointment to the new London University. Thomas Carlyle to Anna D. B. Montagu, 17 August 1828, CL, 4:388–92.

105 Carlyle, “Characteristics” (December 1831), CME, 4:36–37.

106 Carlyle, On Heroes, 229.

107 Carlyle, PP, 25.

108 Carlyle, Lectures, 182.

109 Ibid.

110 See Vivenza, Gloria, Adam Smith and the Classics: The Classical Heritage in Adam Smith's Thought (Oxford, 2001), 54–56, 79–80, 81; Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, chap. 6; Neven Leddy, “Adam Smith's Critique of Enlightenment Epicureanism,” in Epicurus in the Enlightenment, ed. Leddy and Lifschitz, 195–201; Hont, Istvan, Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, MA, 2010), 38–40, 5051 ; and idem, Politics in Commercial Society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith (Cambridge, MA, 2015), 2932 .

111 On Carlyle's relationship with McCulloch, see Alexander Jordan, “Thomas Carlyle and Political Economy: The ‘Dismal Science’ in Context,” English Historical Review (forthcoming).

112 Marshall, M. G., “Luxury, Economic Development, and Work Motivation: David Hume, Adam Smith, and J. R. McCulloch,” History of Political Economy 32, no. 3 (Autumn 2000): 631–48, at 633; Searle, G. R., Morality and the Market in Victorian Great Britain (Oxford, 1998), 31 .

113 McCulloch, J. R., The Principles of Political Economy (Edinburgh, 1825), 54 .

114 [Thomas Perronet Thompson], “Saint-Simonism, &c.,” Westminster Review 16 (April 1832): 279–321, at 289. For Carlyle's reading, see Thomas Carlyle to John Stuart Mill, 16 October 1832, CL, 6:237–42.

115 Hancock, W. Neilson, On Laissez-faire and the Economic Resources of Ireland (Dublin, 1848), 10 . See also ibid., 3–4, 17. On Carlyle's relationship with Hancock, see Jordan, “Thomas Carlyle and Political Economy.”

116 Carlyle, PP, 161. See also Carlyle, “Chartism” (December 1839), CME, 6:109–86, at 139, 144, 152–53.

117 Carlyle, PP, 178.

118 Carlyle, LDP, 241.

119 Ibid., 266–67.

120 Carlyle, PP, 32–33. See also ibid., 179.

121 See Simpson, Dwight J., “Carlyle as a Political Theorist: Natural Law,” Midwest Journal of Political Science 3, no. 3 (August 1959): 263–76.

122 Carlyle, PP, 18. See also ibid., 147–48.

123 Ibid., 27–29.

124 Carlyle, LDP, 54.

125 Ibid., 212–13.

126 Carlyle, “Chartism,” CME, 6:135, 144.

127 Carlyle, On Heroes, 199–200.

128 Carlyle, PP, 160–61. See also ibid., 204–6.

129 Carlyle, LDP, 98.

130 Garnett, Richard, Life of Thomas Carlyle (London, 1895), 100 .

131 Carlyle, “Voltaire,” CME, 2:120. See also ibid., 131.

132 Carlyle, “Signs of the Times,” CME, 2:247; Hume, David, “The Natural History of Religion,” in Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, 2 vols. (Dublin, 1779), 2:422.

133 Carlyle, “Boswell's Life of Johnson” (May 1832), CME, 4:77, 89–90. The references to “Hume” are on 105, 119, 128, 129, and 130.

134 Carlyle, “Sir Walter Scott” (January 1838), CME, 6:40, 22–23.

135 Carlyle, On Heroes, 12, 15. As an example of a “hero,” Carlyle cited Cromwell, disagreeing with the “Hume theory” that he had been a “Fanatic-Hypocrite.” Ibid., 229.

136 Davis, James A., John Forster: A Literary Life (Leicester, 1983), 11–12, 105–7, 184–96, 295.

137 [Forster, John], “Socrates and the Sophists of Athens,” Foreign and Quarterly Review 60 (January 1843): 181202, at 187.

138 [Forster, John], “The Dialogues of Plato,” Foreign and Quarterly Review 62 (July 1843): 260–76, at 276, 273.

139 Latter-Day Pamphlets: By Thomas Carlyle,” English Review 16 (January 1852): 331–51, at 335–36.

140 Ibid., 340. On Carlyle's Stoicism, see Alexander Jordan, “Noble Just Industrialism: Saint-Simonism in the Political Thought of Thomas Carlyle” (PhD diss., European University Institute, 2015), chap. 1.

141 Carlyle's Life of Sterling,” North British Review 16 (February 1852): 359–89, at 388–89.

142 [Martineau, James], “Personal Influences on our Present Theology: Newman – Coleridge – Carlyle,” National Review 3 (1856): 449–94, at 484. On Martineau's opposition to utilitarianism, see Schneewind, Sidgwick's Ethics, 237–43.

143 See Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, chap. 10.

144 Diary entries dated 20 January 1854 and 8 April 1854, in The Letters of John Stuart Mill, ed. Elliot, H. S. R., 2 vols. (London, 1910), 2:361, 385.

145 See generally Neff, Emery, Carlyle and Mill: An Introduction to Victorian Thought, 2nd ed. (New York, 1926), 373–77; and Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism, chap. 10.

146 Mill, John Stuart, “Utilitarianism” (1863), in On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford, 1991), 143–44.

147 Ibid., 147.

148 Ibid., 148.

149 Carlyle, Thomas, “A New (Old) Review of Mill's Liberty ,” Carlyle Newsletter 6 (1985): 2327, at 24–25. See also Carlyle, “Shooting Niagara” (1867), CME, 7:200–41, at 223–24.

150 Graham, William, Idealism: An Essay, Metaphysical and Critical (London, 1872), 79 . Carlyle owned a copy. Tarr, “Thomas Carlyle's Libraries,” 255. He later provided Graham with a testimonial. William Graham to Thomas Carlyle, 20 January 1876, MS 1772/38, National Library of Scotland.

151 Lecky, W. E. H., History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne, 2 vols. (London, 1869), 1:3. See also ibid., 14, 180–86. On Lecky's “very long walks with Carlyle” and Carlyle's approval of the book, see A Memoir of the Right Hon. William Edward Hartpole Lecky … By His Wife (New York, 1909), 63, 6768 .

152 Lecky, History, 1:1, 3, 5–6, 13, 102.

153 Cited in ibid., 1:58. The quote is from Carlyle, On Heroes, 71.

154 See Forschner, Maximilian, “Die Synthese epikureischer und stoischer Elemente in John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism,” in Stoizismus in der europaeischen Philosophie, Literatur, Kunst und Politik, ed. Neymeyr, Barbara, Schmidt, Jochen, and Zimmermann, Bernhard, 2 vols. (Berlin, 2008), 2:1105–40, at 1107, 1113–14, 1119–20, 1132–33.

155 Froude, Thomas Carlyle, 2:422.

156 Grote, John, An Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy, ed. Mayor, J. B. (Cambridge, 1870), 15–16, 24, 46–47, 5253 . See also ibid., 60, 62–63, 76, 98–100, 105. Grote writes “eudaimonia” and “pleasure” in ancient Greek.

157 Wallace, Stuart, John Stuart Blackie: Scottish Scholar and Patriot (Edinburgh, 2006), 7, 84–85, 164, 220.

158 Blackie, John Stuart, Four Phases of Morals: Socrates, Aristotle, Christianity, Utilitarianism (Edinburgh, 1871), 407 .

159 Ibid., 332, 401–3, 405–6. See also 374, 382, 400.

160 Caird, Edward, “The Genius of Carlyle,” in Essays on Literature and Philosophy, (Glasgow, 1892), 2:230–67, at 266.

161 The Life of Thomas Cooper. Written by Himself (London, 1875), 347–49.

162 Catalogue of Printed Books, 40.

Keywords

David Hume Is Pontiff of the World: Thomas Carlyle on Epicureanism, Laissez-Faire, and Public Opinion

  • Alexander Jordan

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