Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/328

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

in 1818. He was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, of which college (after taking a first class in mathematics in 1840 and gaining the university mathematical scholarship in 1842) he became fellow in 1844 and tutor and mathematical lecturer in 1845. He at once took a leading position in the mathematical teaching of the university, and published treatises on the Diferential calculus (in 1848) and the I njinitesimal calculus (4 v0ls., 18 52-1860), which for long were the recognized textbooks there. This latter work included the differential and integral calculus, the calculus of variations, the theory of attractions, and analytical mechanics. In 1853 he was appointed Sedleian professor of natural philosophy, resigning it in June 1898. His chief public activity at Oxford was in connexion with the hebdomadal council, and with the Clarendon Press, of which he was for many years secretary. He was also a curator of the Bodleian Library, an honorary fellow of Queen's College, a governor of Winchester College and a visitor of Greenwich Observatory. In 1891 he was elected Master of Pembroke College, which dignity carried with it a canonry of Gloucester Cathedral. He died on the 29th of December 1898. See Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (1899).

PRICE, BONAMY (1807-1888), English political economist, was born at St Peter Port, Guernsey, on the 22nd of May 1807. He entered at Worcester College, Oxford, in 182 5, where he took a double first in 1829. From 183O to 1850 he was an assistant master at Rugby school. He then lived for some years in London, being engaged in business and literary work, and was appointed to serve on various royal commissions. He married in 1864. In 1868 he was elected Drummond professor of political economy at Oxford, and was thrice re-elected to the post, which he held till his death. In 1883 he was elected an honorary fellow of his college. In addition to his professorial work, he was in much request as a popular lecturer on political economy. He died in London on the 8th of ffanuary 1888. His principal publication, exclusive of pamphlets, were: The Principles of Currency (1869), Currency and Banking (1876), Chapters on Practical Political Economy (1878).

PRICE, RICHARD (1723-1791), English moral and political philosopher, son of a dissenting minister, was born on the 23rd of February 172 3, at Tynton, Glamorganshire. He was educated privately and at a dissenting academy in London, and became chaplain and companion to a Mr Streatfield at Stoke Newington. By the death of Mr Streatfield and of an uncle in 1756 his circumstances were considerably improved, and in 1757 he married a Miss Sarah Blundell, originally of Belgrave in Leicestershire. In 1767 he published a volume of sermons, which gained him the acquaintance of Lord Shelburne, an event which had much influence in raising his reputation and determining the character of his subsequent pursuits. It was, however, as a writer on financial and political questions that Price became widely known. In 1769, in a letter to Dr Franklin, he wrote some observations on the expectation of lives, the increase of mankind, and the population of London, which were published in the Philosophical Transactions of that year; in May 1770 he communicated to the Royal Society a paper on the proper method of calculating the values of contingent reversions. The publication of these papers is said to have exercised a beneficial influence in drawing attention to the inadequate calculations on which many insurance and benefit societies had recently been formed. In 1769 Price received the degree of D.D. from the university of Glasgow. In 1771 he published his Appeal to the Public on the Subject of the National Debt (ed. 1772 and 1774). This pamphlet excited considerable controversy, and is supposed to have influenced Pitt in re-establishing the sinking fund for the extinction of the national debt, which had been created by Walpole in 1716 and abolished in 1733. The means, however, which Price proposed for the extinction of the debt are described by Lord Overstonel as “ a sort of hocus-pocus machinery, ” supposed to work “ without loss to any one, ” and consequently unsound.

1 Lord Overstone reprinted in 1857, for private circulation Price's and other rare tracts on the national debt and the sinking ftind. 3

Price then turned his attention to the question of the American colonies. He had from the first been strongly opposed to the war, and in 1776 he published a pamphlet entitled Observations on Civil Liberty and the Justice and Policy of the War with America. Several thousand copies of this work were sold within a few days; a cheap edition was soon issued; the pamphlet was extolled by one set of politicians and abused by another; amongst its critics were Dr Markham, archbishop of York, John Wesley, and Edmund Burke; and Price rapidly became one of the best known men in England. He was presented with the freedom of the city of London, and it is said that his pamphlet had no inconsiderable share in determining the Americans to declare their independence. A second pamphlet on the war with America, the debts of Great Britain, and kindred topics followed in the spring of 1777. His name thus became identified with the cause of American independence. He was the intimate friend of Franklin; he corresponded with Turgot; and in the winter of 1778 he was invited by Congress to go to America and assist in the financial administration of the states. This offer he refused from unwillingness to quit his own country and his family connexions. In 1781 he received the degree of D.D. from Yale College.

One of Price's most intimate friends was Dr Priestley, in spite of the fact that they took the most opposite views on morals and metaphysics. In 1778 appeared a published correspondence between these two liberal theologians on the subjects of materialism and necessity, wherein Price maintains, in opposition to Priestley, the free agency of man and the unity and immateriality of the human soul. Both Price and Priestley were what would now vaguely be called “ Unitarians, ” though they occupied respectively the extreme right and the extreme left position of that school. Indeed, Price's opinions would seem to have been rather Arian than Socinian.

The pamphlets on the American War made Price famous. He preached to crowded congregations, and, when Lord Shelburne acceded to power, not only was he offered the post of private secretary to the premier, but it is said that one of the paragraphs in the king's speech was suggested by him and even inserted in his words. In 1786 Mrs Price died. There were no children by the marriage, his own health was failing, and the remainder of his life appears to have been clouded by solitude and dejection. The progress of the French Revolution alone cheered him. On the 19th of April 1791 he died, worn out with suffering and disease.

The philosophical importance of Price is entirely in the region of ethics. The Review of the Principal Questions in Morals (1757, 3rd ed. reyised 1787) contains his whole theory. It Ethical IS divided into ten chapters, the first of which, though, nzewy a small part of the whole, completes his demonstration of ethical theory. The remaining chapters investigate details of minor importance, and are especially interesting as showing his relation to Butler and Kant (ch. iii. and ch. vii.). The work is professedly a refutation of Hutcheson, but is rather constructive than polemical. The theory he propounds is closelv allied to that of Cudworth, but is interesting mainly in comparison with the subsequent theories of Kant.

I. Right and wrong belong to actions in themselves. By this he means, not that the ethical value of actions is independent of their motive and end (see ch. vi), but rather that it is unaffected by consequences, and that it is more or less invariable for intelligent beings. ll. This ethical value is perceived by reason or understanding (which, unlike Kant, he does not distinguish), which intuitively recognizes fitness or congruity between actions, agents and total circumstances. Arguing that ethical judgment is an act of discrimination, he endeavours to invalidate the doctrine of the moral sense (see SHAFTESBURY and HUTCHESON). Yet, in denying the importance of the emotions in moral judgment, he is driven back to the admission that right actions must be “ grateful" to us; that, in fact, moral approbation includes both an act of the understanding and an emotion of the heart. Still it remains true that reason alone, in its highest development, would be a sufficient guide. In this conclusion he is in closing agreement with Kant; reason is the arbiter, and right is (I) not a matter of the emotions and (2) not relative to imperfect human nature. Price's main point of difference with Cudworth is that while Cudworth regards the moral criterion as a 1/6-»7p.a or modification of the mind, existing in germ and developed by circumstances, Price regards it as acquired from the contemplation of actions, but acquired necessarily, immediately, intuitively. In his View of disinterested action (ch. iii.) he adds