From John Morley 17 April 1871
Flexford House, | near Guildford.
April 17. 1871.
I am extremely gratified to find that my effort to present a faithful analysis of your views on the Moral Sense has been satisfactory to you.1
I don’t think Mr. Mill’s expressions in pp. 45 and 46 point to any fundamental difference between him and yourself. He admits that the moral faculty is capable of springing up “spontaneously” in “a certain small degree” (p. 45 of Utilitarianism), and this is as much as you want, is it not?2 Perhaps he wd. hold that the great force of Association over the principles of human nature came into effective play, at a somewhat earlier stage than you wd. be inclined to allow.3 But I see nothing in what you have written to make me suppose that you wd. deny the preponderant power of Association in shaping the social instinct, granting that to be an ultimate and insoluble fact in human nature.
I don’t know whether you are indignant or amused at writers who call you reckless for broaching new doctrines as to the moral sense, at a time when Paris is aflame, and we have republican meetings in the Old Bailey.4 Burke was no doubt in the right when he said that the consequences of assumed rights might justly be brought forward in discussing the validity of such rights, but it is a little intolerable that the consequences, or in this case the fantastically imagined consequences, shd. be brought forward as tests of the truth of scientific hypotheses.5
With many thanks for your courteous note. Believe me, my dear Sir, | Your’s very sincerely, | John Morley.
Gratified that CD approves his analysis of CD’s views of moral sense. Does not think there is a fundamental difference between J. S. Mill (Utilitarianism , p. 45) and CD.
His view of those who object to CD’s "new doctrine of the moral sense".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7691,” accessed on 24 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7691