IN 1789, the French Revolution insistently recalled the attention of the English public to the political problem, which they had been neglecting for some years. The war between parties once more became active; a brilliant and violent controversy was carried on between the writers of the aristocratic faction who were supported by the vast majority of the population, and those of the Jacobin faction who were pleading the unpopular cause of the foreigner. As in 1776, it seemed to some people, to Burke, and even to Bentham, that the principle of utility was hostile to revolutionary principles. But there was this difference, since 1776, that now the republican philosophy itself was being constantly more and more invaded by the Utilitarian spirit. Even those people who were still speaking the language of the 'rights of men' did not seem any longer fully to understand the juridical and spiritualistic meaning of the expression: in the same way we still make our exchanges under a republican régime with coins bearing the effigy of fallen monarchs, without noticing it and without thinking it important. Finally, Godwin based a purely democratic political theory on a rigorous and systematic application of the principle of utility, excluding the principle of the equality of rights. Thus, side by side with Bentham and unknown to him, preparations were being made, in imperfect and Utopian forms, for the future identification of the Utilitarian with the democratic principle.
On November 4, 1789, the anniversary of the Revolution of 1688, which the dissenting churches have kept up the custom of celebrating, Doctor Price, the friend of Lord Lansdowne, delivered,