Hazlitt, at the start of his essay, focuses on this drastic change.
First, he cautions against mistaking Bentham for the originator of the theory of utility; rather, "his merit is, that he has brought all the objections and arguments, more distinctly labelled and ticketed, under this one head, and made a more constant and explicit reference to it at every step of his progress, than any other writer." As Bentham's thinking gained complexity, his style, unfortunately, deteriorated.
[r]egarding the people about him no more than the flies of a summer. he is a beneficent spirit, prying into the universe ...." But Hazlitt soon qualifies his admiring tone.
Pitt", in The Eloquence of the British Senate (1807), in The Round Table (1817), and finally in Political Essays (1819). Cobbett", which first appeared in Table-Talk in 1821 and was later incorporated into The Spirit of the Age. Leon, exclaiming: "It is not merely that these novels are very well for a philosopher to have produced—they are admirable and complete in themselves, and would not lead you to suppose that the author, who is so entirely at home in human character and dramatic situation, had ever dabbled in logic or metaphysics." Next Hazlitt compares Godwin's literary method to Sir Walter Scott's in the "Waverley Novels".
Following this proclivity, toward the end of 1823 Hazlitt developed the idea of writing "a series of 'characters' of men who were typical of the age". Unlike either English edition, this one bore his name on the title page. Hazlitt devoted considerable thought to Scott's novels over several years, somewhat modifying his views about them; this is one of two discussions of them in this book, the other being in the essay on Scott.
Canning" (brought in from the 11 July 1824 issue of The Examiner, where it bore the title "Character of Mr. Bentham's eye, because he was forced to work when under it? It is rather like an inventory, than a valuation of different arguments." This is not so, "for all pleasure does not equally bear reflecting on." Even if we take Bentham's reasoning as presenting "the whole truth", human nature is incapable of acting solely upon such grounds, "needing helps and stages in its progress" to "bring it into a tolerable harmony with the universe." Hazlitt weaves into his criticism of the philosopher's ideas an account of Bentham the man. Bentham, in private life, is an amiable and exemplary character", of regular habits, and with childlike characteristics, despite his advanced age.