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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

III. Bentham and the Early Utilitarians

§ 3. The Westminster Review

Up to this time, the utilitarian philosophy had not met with great success as an instrument of political propagandism; it had failed adequately to influence the old political parties; an organisation of its own was needed with a programme, an organ in the press and representatives in parliament. The new party came to be known as philosophical radicals. Their organ was The Westminster Review, founded by Bentham in 1824; their programme laid stress on the necessity for constitutional reform before legislative and administrative improvements could be expected; and a number of eminent politicians became the spokesmen of the party in parliament. It is not possible to assign to the philosophical radicals their exact share in bringing about the changes which gradually ensued; many other influences were working in the same direction. Their power was not due to their numbers, but to the great ability of many members of the group and to the clear and definite policy which they advocated. Bentham was the head of this party; but, perhaps, it is not too much to say that James Mill was its leading spirit. Mill, also, joined with others in giving literary assistance to Bentham; he edited, with modifications of his own, A Table of the Springs of Action (1817); he prepared, from the author’s manuscripts, an Introductory view of the Rationale of Evidence (printed, in part, in 1812, and published in the Works); and his brilliant son, John Stuart Mill, then just out of his teens, edited The Rationale of Evidence in five volumes (1827). Another prominent assistant was John Bowring, who was the first editor of The Westminster Review, wrote from the author’s dictation the Deontology (a work whose accuracy, as an expression of Bentham’s mind, was impugned by the Mills) and became Bentham’s biographer and editor of his collected Works.