Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1


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On the Owl Prowl at Ken Reid Conservation — Lindsay Advocate

In Mr. The method of inquiry and reasoning adopted in this essay appeared to Macaulay to be essentially wrong. He entertained a very strong conviction that the only sound foundation for a theory of Government must be laid in careful and copious historical induction; and he believed that Mr. Upon this point he felt the more earnestly, owing to his own passion for historical research, and to his devout admiration of Bacon, whose works he was at that time studying with intense attention. There can, however, be little doubt that he was also provoked by the pretensions of some members of a sect which then commonly went by the name of Benthamites, or Utilitarians.

This sect included many of his contemporaries, who had quitted Cambridge at about the same Edition: current; Page: [ x ] time with him. The members of these sects, and of many others that have succeeded, have probably long ago learned to smile at the temporary humours. But Macaulay, himself a sincere admirer of Bentham, was irritated by what he considered the unwarranted tone assumed by several of the class of Utilitarians. It would be more amusing, to be sure, and more reputable, if they would take up the old republican cant and declaim about Brutus and Timoleon, the duty of killing tyrants and the blessedness of dying for liberty.

But, on the whole, they might have chosen worse. They may as Edition: current; Page: [ xi ] well be Utilitarians as jockeys or dandies. And, though quibbling about self-interest and motives, and objects of desire, and the greatest happiness of the greatest number, is but a poor employment for a grown man, it certainly hurts the health less than hard drinking and the fortune less than high play; it is not much more laughable than phrenology, and is immeasurably more humane than cock-fighting. Macaulay inserted in the Edinburgh Review of March, , an article upon Mr. He attacked the method with much vehemence; and, to the end of his life, he never saw any ground for believing that in this he had gone too far.

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But before long he felt that he had not spoken of the author of the Essay with the respect due to so eminent a man. In , he described Mr. Almost immediately upon the appearance of the article in the Edinburgh Review, an answer was published in the Westminster Review. It was untruly attributed, in the newspapers of the day, to Mr. Bentham himself. He wrote the answer under the belief that he was answering Mr. Bentham, and was undeceived in time only to add the postscript. The author of the article in the Westminster Review had not perceived that the question raised was not as to the truth or falsehood of the result at which Mr.

Mill had Edition: current; Page: [ xii ] arrived, but as to the soundness or unsoundness of the method which he pursued; a misunderstanding at which Macaulay, while he supposed the article to be the work of Mr.

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Bentham, expressed much surprise. The controversy soon became principally a dispute as to the theory which was commonly known by the name of The Greatest Happiness Principle. Another article in the Westminster Review followed; and a surrejoinder by Macaulay in the Edinburgh Review of October, Macaulay was irritated at what he conceived to be either extreme dullness or gross unfairness on the part of his unknown antagonist, and struck as hard as he could; and he struck very hard indeed.

If, indeed, the word self-interest could with propriety be used for the gratification of every prevalent desire, he has clearly shown Edition: current; Page: [ xiii ] that this change in the signification of terms would be of no advantage to the doctrine which he controverts. It would make as many sorts of self-interest as there are appetites, and it is irreconcilably at variance with the system of association proposed by Mr. When Macaulay selected for publication certain articles of the Edinburgh Review, he resolved not to publish any of the three essays in question; for which he assigned the following reason:—.

He has however determined to omit these papers, not because he is disposed to retract a single doctrine which they contain; but because he is unwilling to offer what might be regarded as an affront to the memory of one from whose opinions he still widely dissents, but to whose talents and virtues he admits that he formerly did not do justice. Serious as are the faults of the Essay on Government, a critic, while noticing those faults, should have abstained from using contemptuous language respecting the historian of British India.

It ought to be known that Mr. Mill had the generosity, not only to forgive, but to forget the unbecoming acrimony with which he had been assailed, and was, when his valuable life closed, on terms of cordial friendship with his assailant. Under these circumstances, considerable doubt has been felt as to the propriety of republishing the three Essays in the present collection. But it has been determined, not without much hesitation, that they should appear.

It is felt that no disrespect is shown to the memory of Mr. Mill, when the publication is accompanied by so full an apology for the tone adopted towards him; and Mr. Mill himself would have been the last to wish for the suppression of opinions on the ground that they were in express antagonism to his own. The grave has now closed upon the assailant as well as the assailed.


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On the other hand, it cannot but be desirable that opinions which the author retained to the last, on important questions in politics and morals, should be before the public. Some of the poems now collected have already appeared in print: others are supplied by the recollection of friends. In the poems, as well as in the prose works, will be occasionally found thoughts and expressions which have afterwards been adopted in later productions. No alteration whatever has been made from the form in which the author left the several articles, with the exception of some changes in punctuation, and the correction of one or two obvious misprints.

It was an hour after noon. Ligarius was returning from the Campus Martius. He strolled through one of the streets which led to the forum, settling his gown, and calculating the odds on the gladiators who were to fence at the approaching Saturnalia. While thus occupied, he overtook Flaminius, who, with a heavy step and a melancholy face, was sauntering in the same direction.

The light-hearted young man plucked him by the sleeve. Your little Tarentine girl will break her heart. Catiline has the best cooks and the finest wine in Rome.

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There are charming women at his parties. But the twelve-line board and the dice-box pay for all. The Gods confound me if I did not lose two millions of sesterces last night.


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I saw several of the leading senators this morning. Strange things are whispered in the higher political circles.

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While there is a cask of Falernian in Campania, or a girl in the Suburra, I shall be too well employed to think on the subject. Otherwise, I fear, you will soon renew your acquaintance with politicians, in a manner quite as unpleasant as that to which you allude.


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There are rumours of conspiracy. The order of things established by Lucius Sylla has excited the disgust of the people, and of a large party of the nobles. Some violent convulsion is expected. I suppose that they will hardly proscribe the vintners and gladiators, or pass a law compelling every citizen to take a wife.

Catiline is supposed to be the author of the revolutionary schemes. You must have heard bold opinions at his table repeatedly. But our great men surmise that you are among those whom he has bribed so high with beauty, or entangled so deeply in distress, that they are no longer their own masters. I shall never set foot within his threshold again. I have been solemnly warned by men who understand public affairs; and I advise you to be cautious. The friends had now turned into the forum, which was thronged with the gay and elegant youth of Rome.

Flaminius pointed to a man who was pacing up and down the forum at a little distance from them. He was in the prime of manhood. His personal advantages were extremely striking, and were displayed with an extravagant but not ungraceful foppery. His gown waved in loose folds; his long dark curls were dressed with exquisite art, and shone and steamed with odours; his step and gesture exhibited an elegant and commanding figure in every posture of polite languor.

But his countenance formed a singular contrast to the general appearance of his person. The high and imperial brow, the keen aquiline features, the compressed mouth, the penetrating eye, indicated the highest degree of ability and decision. He seemed absorbed in intense meditation.

With eyes fixed on the ground, and lips working in thought, he sauntered round the area, apparently unconscious how many of the young gallants of Rome were envying the taste of his dress, and the ease of his fashionable stagger. Though he rarely addresses the Senate, he is considered as the finest speaker there, after the Consul. His influence with the multitude is immense.

We were playing at Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] the twelve lines. He laughed all the time, chatted with Valeria over his shoulder, kissed her hand between every two moves, and scarcely looked at the board. I thought that I had him. All at once I found my counters driven into the corner. Not a piece to move, by Hercules. It cost me two millions of Sesterces. All the Gods and Goddesses confound him for it!

Unfortunately old Quintus Lutatius had come back from his villa in Campania, in a whim of jealousy. He was not expected for three days. There was a fine tumult. His air of deep abstraction vanished; and he extended a hand to each of the friends. His freed-man is most seriously hurt. Poor fellow! My villa is gone already. You are not of his mind, my gallant Ligarius. Dice, Chian, and the loveliest Greek singing-girl that was ever seen. Think of that, Ligarius.

By Venus, she almost made me adore her, by telling me that I talked Greek with the most Attic accent that she had heard in Italy. He told me that pain was no evil, and flogged me as if he thought so. At last one day, in the middle of a lecture, I set fire to his enormous filthy beard, singed his face, and sent him roaring out of the house. There ended my studies.

From that time to this I have had as little to do with Greece as the wine that your poor old friend Lutatius calls his delicious Samian. I hate a Stoic.

Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1
Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1 Lesser Spots and Warbling Owls: Collected Nature Writing, Volume 1

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