29 APRIL 1899, Page 33


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.") SIR,—Londoners rarely notice what is going on around them, and thus miss half the advantages of living in London. How many Londoners, I wonder, have heard of the lectures on the Utilitarians which Mr. Leslie Stephen is delivering every Thursday afternoon at the Kensington Palace Hotel 1 Yet these discourses are, in their way, almost perfect ; they are the conversational monologues of a man who is at once the most skilful of biographers and the clearest of thinkers. Nothing so good of its kind has ever, I suspect, been pre- sented to a London audience since Carlyle gave his lectures on "Hero Worship." Mr. Stephen's sketch of Bentham was as humorous and effective as Carlyle's picture of Coleridge, and a great dearfairer and more reasonable ; and no one who has read "English Thought in the Eighteenth Century" can doubt that Mr. Stephen's analysis of Utilitarianism will be as subtle as his picture of the "chirpy old gentleman" who at the beginning of the century made every young Englishman of intelligence a Utilitarian is full of humour. To miss Mr. Stephen's lectures is to miss the most charming introduction to the study of philosophy ever offered to a so-called intelligent public.—I am, Sir, Jr.c., ONE OF MR. STEPHEN'S AUDIENCE.