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I.: THE TEXT OF THE PRINCIPLES - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II - The Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (Books I-II) 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II - The Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (Books I-II), ed. John M. Robson, introduction by V.W. Bladen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965).
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THE TEXT OF THE PRINCIPLES
john stuart mill’sPrinciples of Political Economy, with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, went through seven Library editions (in two volumes) in his lifetime, plus a People’s edition (in one volume of difficult double-column type) which was frequently reissued. The first five editions were published by Parker; the last two Library editions and the People’s editions by Longmans.1
Mill, evidently encouraged by Parker’s willingness to publish his Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy in 1844 (consequent upon the success of his System of Logic in the preceding year), decided to write “a systematic treatise on Political Economy” as early as April, 1844,2 and as his letters to Comte in the spring of that year show, he already had his line of approach in mind. Not until the autumn of 1845, however, did he begin to write the first draft, which was completed early in March, 1847. Mill expected to finish the book in a few months,3 and probably he spent little more than a few months on it, for in this period of less than a year and a half he took a two-month holiday, revised and published the 2nd edition of his Logic, wrote two long articles for the Edinburgh Review and a notice in the Spectator, and supplied fifty-eight leaders for the Morning Chronicle, forty-three of them (5 Oct., 1846-7 Jan., 1847) on Irish affairs.4 He also, of course, continued his duties at the East India House. From the account in Alexander Bain’s John Stuart Mill (London: Longmans, Green, 1882), 84-7, we learn that “the third part” is written by February, 1846; in September of the same year (after the appearance of the 2nd edition of the Logic, and his holiday) he writes to Bain that he is “on the point of finishing the third book (‘Exchange’).” And in December he says: “I continue to carry on the Pol. Econ. as well as I can with the articles in the Chronicle.”
The rewriting, from March to December, 1847 (when the work went to press), was less interrupted, Mill publishing only five leaders, a notice, and a letter during this period. The Principles was published in April, 1848, in an edition of one thousand copies. This was sold out within a year, and a second edition, also of a thousand copies, appeared a year later (having been revised during February and March).5 The third edition, of 1200 copies, the Preface dated July, 1852,6 was the most extensively revised of all the editions. Further Library editions appeared in 1857 (4th),7 1862 (5th), 1865 (6th), and 1871 (7th). Also, in 1865, “in compliance with a wish frequently expressed to [him] by working men” (Autobiography, 195), Mill published a cheap People’s edition of the Principles which went through several reprintings.8
The early draft seems to have disappeared, along with all proof sheets, and the manuscript of the press copy contains only Volume I of the published work (Books I and II, and Chapters i-vi of Book III, with the Appendix to Volume I).
The editions vary little in length (there is a slight increase in bulk over the years, the 7th edition being eighty-three pages longer than the 1st), but a word by word collation of the Library editions reveals a huge number of variants: there are over 500 substantive variants between the MS and Volume I of the 1st edition; between the 1st and 7th editions there are nearly 3000: making about 3500 in all.9
Mill’s successive prefaces call attention to the fact of revision, but except in the major instances, do not indicate where changes will be found, and rather disguise their extent. In each preface after the first, following six paragraphs of explanation found in all editions, a brief account of the current edition is given. As these accounts supplant one another, only one is found in each edition.
The Preface to the 2nd edition says, “The additions and alterations in the present edition are generally of little moment,” except for those in the chapter on the “Socialist controversy” (II, i, “On Property”), but Mill lessens the apparent importance of the chapter and the changes by concluding: “A full appreciation of Socialism, and of the questions which it raises, can only be advantageously attempted in a separate work”—which he, of course, did not live to complete, the posthumous Chapters on Socialism being fragmentary.
The 3rd edition’s Preface, the longest, most detailed, and most important, is dignified by a separate heading. Here Mill calls attention to chapters “either materially added to or entirely re-cast,” mentioning II, i (“On Property”), II, x (“Means of Abolishing Cottier Tenantry”),10 III, xviii (“Of International Values”), and IV, vii (“On the Probable Futurity of the Labouring Classes”). An important paragraph in this Preface is devoted to each of II, i, and IV, vii.
In the 4th edition, the Preface says, as do all those from the 3rd through the 6th, that the text has been revised throughout; without detail, it mentions specially III, xii (“Influence of Credit on Prices”) and III, xxiv (“On the Regulation of a Convertible Paper Currency”). The Preface to the 5th edition mentions no specific chapters. That to the 6th calls attention to III, xxiii (“Of the Rate of Interest”), and to the help given to the author by Professor J. E. Cairnes.11 The People’s edition, published in the same year as the 6th, announces in its Preface that, except for the translation of “all extracts and most phrases in foreign languages” into English, the removal of a small number of superfluous quotations or parts of quotations, and the cancelling of the Appendix to Volume I, it “is an exact transcript from the sixth.” And finally, the 7th edition, Mill says in its Preface, “with the exception of a few verbal corrections, corresponds exactly” with the 6th and People’s editions. (He also remarks that alterations in the accounts of the Wages Fund and the land laws of Ireland are deferred by him until more trustworthy facts are available.)
Only when Mill’s text had been superseded by others, that is, when it became really a text in the history of political economy, was attention called to the presence and importance of revisions by Miriam A. Ellis, in “Variations in the Editions of J. S. Mill’s Principles of Political Economy” (Economic Journal, XVI [June, 1906], 291-302). Miss Ellis was partly interested in assessing the validity of the posthumous 8th (1878) and 9th (1886) editions,12 but her main concerns were to discuss the importance of some of the differences between the 2nd and 3rd editions, to mention those changes in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th to which Mill’s prefaces refer, and to point out the confusion caused by the unindicated gap of years between different parts of the text. As she gives no clue to her method, it may be assumed that she worked, originally at least, from Mill’s prefatory accounts. In any case, she calls attention to the chapters in which the most important changes occur, that is, those listed above in the account of Mill’s prefaces.13 In looking at these chapters, she mentions some sixty passages which were altered, of which forty-five were rewritten in the 3rd edition. Her “notes” are obviously not intended as a comprehensive account of the variants, or even as a detailed discussion of those she mentions; but actually her article had more effect than most do, for it led to W. J. Ashley’s important one-volume edition (London: Longmans, Green, 1909).
Ashley’s edition has been of great value, and has justifiably become the text for students of Mill. His introduction is illuminating and forceful, and his appendices, containing some of Mill’s opinions, expressed elsewhere, on the Wages Fund and Socialism, and opinions of later economists on a variety of topics, are very useful to students. But Professor Ashley’s greatest service was to indicate in footnotes Mill’s revisions of the text.
He made no attempt to provide a fully collated text, but tried, he says in his Introduction (xxv), to give “indications” of “all the significant changes or additions,” erring “rather in the direction of including than of excluding every apparent indication of change of opinion or even of mood.” His editorial discretion was good, and considering the short time he took to prepare the edition, with the help only of Miss Ellis’ notes, his comprehensiveness is surprising. The edition has, however, limitations, some of which will be suggested by the words indication, significant, and apparent.
As the present edition is intended to correct these limitations (without, it is hoped, revealing new ones), a few words in criticism are offered, without any intention of denigrating Ashley’s work.
From the standpoint of the textual scholar, the text is faulty in that, while purporting to be that of the 7th edition, there is in fact a slight admixture of texts, especially of that of the People’s edition, and there are a few unsupported readings. His treatment of punctuation will seem cavalier to the purist, and some erroneous readings in the 7th edition are preserved.
More serious is his indication of only some 16 per cent of the variant readings. While it is true that he calls attention to almost all of those which would be admitted to be of major importance by everyone, he does not pay heed to a large number which to many people are highly significant. There are also (inevitably?) some mistakes in wording and placing of variants and dates.
But the main fault, from the standpoint of the student of Mill, is that the text of the earlier editions, even in the most important places, cannot be reconstructed with acceptable accuracy. Constant reference to the earlier editions, which are seldom available, is necessary. The final judgment must be that Ashley’s notes are most useful as guides to the places where most of the important variants will be found, but they are not adequate as guides through the variants. In this respect, as in others, the present edition is intended to be definitive. For this reason, all substantive variants (described below) are given in a form permitting of easy reconstruction.
The full extent of the revisions is revealed only by a full collation,14 which yields the following results:
The table speaks for itself, but it should be noted that, as expected, by far the largest number of changes comes in the 3rd edition;16 it is surprising that (after the MS revisions for the 1st) the 5th is third in total number, for Mill’s preface would indicate that it, like the 7th, was little altered. Again it was to be expected that Book II should contain most altered passages, but it is surprising that Book V has such a large number of revisions, for the prefaces do not mention it at all.17 Such figures are of little help, however, until the content of the changes is considered, but it can be seen that the book containing most economic analysis, Book III, is least altered, and that the heavy revision of Book II can be related to Mill’s strong belief that the laws of distribution are more amenable to human control than those of production, and hence their description is more liable to change.
A complete account of the changes is not here possible, and opinions about them are certain to be varied, if not idiosyncratic. Such opinions properly derive only from a careful study of the collated text in the present volumes, but a few general remarks may be useful preliminaries.
First, the changes in the manuscript: almost every folio contains cancellations and interlineations, with occasional interpolations of passages on the verso of the previous folio, all of which indicate again the careful attention Mill paid to rewriting. (It should be remembered, in view of the heavy revisions, that this is undoubtedly not the first draft of the work.) Apart from the cancellations (which are discussed in Appendix F below), there are many places where the manuscript version and the 1st edition differ. In analyzing such variants, I separate them, in decreasing order of importance, into the following categories (which are also used in the subsequent discussion of alterations amongst editions): (1) alterations in opinion or fact, including major amplifications and corrections of information; (2) alterations resulting from the time between writings, including changes in statement of fact resulting from the passage of time and new publications; (3) alterations which qualify, emphasize, or give technical clarity; and (4) alterations which are purely verbal, or give semantic clarity, or result from changes in word usage.
In summary statement, it appears that more than one-half of the changes between the manuscript and the 1st edition18 are of the fourth kind, and almost all the rest are of the third (some of them quite interesting), only a very few being of the first.19 Two of these last may be mentioned: after the quotation from Babbage at I.111n, the MS has a passage praising in strong terms Dunoyer’s De la liberté du travail; the greatest alteration is the deletion of a long paragraph from Thornton’s Over-Population and its Remedy at II.997a (the whole passage was deleted in 1852).
A few of the lesser changes merit comment. In all his writings Mill limits reference to himself, but one kind of variant here shows his extreme sensitivity: at I.26c-c, where the printed text reads “upper stone”, the manuscript reads “upper millstone”; at I.28m-m, “machine” is substituted for “windmill or watermill”; and in four other cases within five pages the possible pun is deleted. (It does, of course, appear in other places in the Principles.)20 The peculiar reading of the first two editions, “approximatively” for “approximately” (II.483.11-2) is found in the manuscript. In only three cases did Mill revert to a manuscript reading which differs from that of the 1st edition where no error is involved, and in two of these he restores the manuscript reading only in 1862 (5th edition). It seems certain that he corrected the editions without reference to the earlier texts or the manuscript (the changes in punctuation discussed below support this conclusion). Of the four cases in which the 2nd edition, correcting errors in the 1st, returns to the MS reading, only one is of importance: at I.121c-c, the correct “superior” replaces “inferior”.
It would be reckless to attempt extensive inference from the changes in punctuation between the MS and the 1st edition, but some guesses may be made about them. Of 672 changes in Book I, 329 involve the addition of a comma (or two enclosing commas), and 212 the deletion of a comma (or two enclosing commas). The vast majority of these are possibly the result of printers’ decisions and of the normal transition from MS to printed page in the nineteenth century, but more than a few must reflect Mill’s dedication to precision. His attention to this sort of detail is surely seen in the return in the 2nd edition to the MS reading in thirty-seven places. Similarly, a large number of the 102 changes which suggest choice rather than printers’ practice or misreading are likely Mill’s, especially those which involve a full stop.21
Many other changes are probably caused by difficulties in reading Mill’s hand, and by printing-house practice.22 A final trivial example will indicate the amount of work that went into revision: in just over one hundred places in Books I-III, a hyphen was added in the 1st edition, almost always, I would think, by the printer (in only two cases is a hyphen removed). One conclusion is unquestionable: if most of these changes in punctuation and spelling were made by Mill, the printers had just cause for complaint—and vice versa.
Leaving the MS changes for those in the printed editions, I again choose Book I to illustrate the pattern:
When this table is compared with the former one, it is seen that Book I is fairly typical of the work as a whole, although there are relatively fewer changes in the 1857 and 1871 editions, and relatively more (nearly twice as many) in the 1865 edition. But the main point the table makes is that almost half the changes could be called stylistic. These do not here claim attention, but I append a few samples in a note.24
The alterations caused by time are easily accounted for: most of them are simple changes of tense, or of adjectives of time (I.159p-p reads “forty years”; in 1852 and 1857 it read “thirty years”; in MS, 1848, and 1849, “sixteen years”). Slightly different are those like that at I.148k-k, where “as until lately in Ireland” read “as hitherto in Ireland” in 1857, and “as in Ireland” in MS, 1848, 1849, and 1852. Such changes as the inclusion of the note to I.37 in 1849, quoting a review of the 1st edition, are not infrequent, and there are a few like that at I.65b-b, where in 1862 the words “(now called Western Australia)” were added after “the Swan River settlement”.
The changes which are most characteristic of Mill are those which I have described as alterations which qualify, emphasize, or give technical clarity. Professional interest and personal taste will determine one’s attitude towards these, and they spread (whatever one’s interests and tastes) from the territory of stylistics to that of factual interpretation. An extreme example of Mill’s worry over apparently small matters is found in his revisions of the following sentence (I.42c-c): “The stupidest hodman, who repeats from day to day the mechanical act of climbing a ladder, performs a function partly intellectual; so much so, indeed, that the most intelligent dog or elephant could not, probably, be taught to do it.” In the MS, the sentence ends, “could not be taught to do it”; in 1848 and 1849, “probably could not be taught to do it”; in 1852 and 1857, “could not, perhaps, be taught to do it”; the final reading appeared in 1862. More typical is the introduction in 1852 of the qualifying “in some degree” at I.52o-o, or the alteration on the next page, g-g and h-h, of “no labour really tends to the enrichment of society, which . . .” to “no labour tends to the permanent enrichment of society, which . . .” in 1865. Small changes presumably in the interest of technical clarity may be illustrated by the substitution in 1857 of “productive reinvestment” for “productive employment” at I.57g-g. An alteration in 1865 which would interest few (and which may even be accidental), but which I would argue reveals Mill’s adherence to part of his father’s training, is the reversing, in a persuasive context, of “stronger and clearer” to read “clearer and stronger” (I.59a-a). Another change, and a typical one, appears to me indicative of his movement away from his father’s modes of thought: at I.79e-e, the final reading, “This theorem, that to purchase produce is not to employ labour . . . ”, replaced in 1852 the original, “This truth, that purchasing produce is not employing labour . . . .” The following case is, I suppose, a factual correction, but of a very minor kind: at I.101b-b, when Mill is listing agricultural products found as one moves to the south and east in Europe, the final reading of part of the list, “silk, figs, olives”, appeared only in 1871, as a correction of “figs, olives, silk”. Another kind of change could be the result of altered opinion or simply of a desire for precision: these are typified at I.109g-g where in the sentence, “As soon as any idea of equality enters the mind of an uneducated English working man, his head is turned by it”, the reading until 1865 was “ordinary English working man”.25
The most important changes, those which I have described as alterations in opinion or fact, including major amplifications and corrections of information, occur mainly in the chapters mentioned by Mill in his prefaces, and should be studied in close detail. But the grossest changes can be briefly described. In II, i, the first major change occurs in §2 (“Statement of the Question”) in the 2nd edition. The 1st edition here contained a short account of St. Simonism, which was deleted in the 2nd, and replaced by a longer and more favourable account of all kinds of socialism; this account remained throughout all editions (with minor changes). The long preceding sentence which argued that attacks on property will necessarily increase until laws of property are made just, was cut down in the 3rd edition to a clause of no special weight. In §3 (“Examination of Communism”) only a few sentences from the 1st and 2nd editions correspond to those in later versions; parts of the section are roughly equivalent but in different order, and some parts of §6 in the edition of 1849 are here incorporated in later editions. The general tone in 1852 is more favourable to socialism, but the change is less dramatic than might be thought. In both early and late versions the emphasis is on liberty. An interesting change in 1849 is the deletion of one long and one short passage emphasizing the comparative advantages of a competitive economy. In 1852 the account of Fourierism which was added in 1849 as §5 was combined with the account of St. Simonism in §4, and a long introductory paragraph was added to point out more clearly the differences between St. Simonism and Fourierism on the one hand, and strict and theoretical Communism on the other. Also in 1852 Mill deleted his recommendation of St. Simonism as a probable stimulant to social diversity. Finally, the concluding paragraph of §4 (the last section) in 1852 replaced the end of §5 in the version of 1849, and all of §6 in the versions of 1848 and 1849.
In II, x, the eight sections of 1848 and 1849 were reduced in 1852 to three, and in 1862 to two. In 1852, §1 is a rewriting of §§1-3 in the earlier versions; in 1862, §1 is a further rewriting of §§1-7 in the 1848 and 1849 versions (§§1-2 of 1852 and 1857); the final §2 (which was further rewritten in 1865) replaces §8 of 1848 and 1849 (§3 of 1852 and 1857). This final section contained in its early versions a long footnote which was incorporated in II, vii from 1862 on.
Book III contains many alterations in sections, mostly additions to the early text. In III, xii, for example, §7 (“Are bank notes money?”) was added in 1857. In III, xviii, §6 (“The preceding theory not complete”), §7 (“International values depend not solely on the quantities demanded, but also on the means of production available in each country for the supply of foreign markets”), and §8 (“The practical result little affected by this additional element”) were added in 1852. In III, xxiii, most of §4 (“The rate of interest, how far, and in what sense connected with the value of money”) was rewritten in 1865; it was formerly entitled: “The rate of interest not really connected with the value of money, but often confounded with it.” The other chapter in Book III to which Mill calls attention, xxiv, was not altered in its sections, the rewriting being mostly of paragraphs in §§3, 4, and 6 (most of which took place in 1857, as Mill indicates, but §3 was as much altered again in 1865).
Finally, in Book IV, Chapter vii, the main changes are in the final sections: §5 (“Examples of the association of labourers with capitalists”), §6 (“Examples of the association of labourers among themselves”), and §7 (“Competition not pernicious, but useful and indispensable”); these replaced in 1852 §5 (“Examples of the association of the labourers in the profits of industrial undertakings”) and §6 (“Probable future developement of this principle”).
Other gross changes, involving new or greatly altered sections, but not mentioned by Mill in his prefaces, are in II, vi (§6 added in 1849), II, xv (§5 added in 1857), and III, xiii (§4 added in 1849 and deleted in 1862).
A few remarks should be made about changes in spelling and punctuation. The changes in spelling seem to indicate indecision rather than careless proofreading. Such changes as “recognise” (7th edition) for “recognize” occur in the 3rd, 5th, and 6th editions, the earlier form remaining in isolated places until these editions. The earlier “shews,” “shewed,” etc., are altered in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions. And “artisan(s)” is replaced by “artizan(s)” sixteen times, with the reverse change occurring once in the 2nd edition. The only other frequent change is the substitution of initial “e” for initial “i” in such words as “enclosure” and “encumbrance,” and the reverse change in such words as “inquiry” and “insure” (fifty-five words in all are altered). There is also (especially in the later editions) an increase in initial capitalization and in hyphenation. A common change, especially in the 6th edition, is from the simple adjectival or singular possessive forms to the plural possessive in such words as “days.’ ”
Concerning punctuation little need be said, and again little can be inferred, because the printers may be responsible for most of the changes. There is an increase in the number of commas (especially in the 2nd edition) until the 5th, and a decrease in the last two editions (which were published, it will be recalled, by Longmans rather than Parker). There is a tendency throughout to substitute semi-colons for colons and (less frequently) for commas. After the first two editions, the one showing most revision is the 5th; and the 7th, apart from a few comma changes, is almost free from alteration.
About one hundred sources are quoted by Mill, some of them at considerable length. The notes to these quotations are typical of nineteenth-century practice, in being often too slender for accurate identification, and not infrequently wrong in page reference. The quotations themselves are fairly accurate by nineteenth-century standards; that is, there is considerable variation in punctuation and paragraphing, occasional words are wrongly transcribed, passages are sometimes summarized or rearranged within quotation marks, and words and sentences and even paragraphs are omitted without indication. (See Appendix I below.) A few of the word errors show once more the printers’ difficulty in reading Mill’s hand; in other cases the printer has simply made an error not justified by such difficulty; in others the error is Mill’s.26 Summary and rearrangement within quotation marks, without indication, which are not common, are both found in one passage, I.168.13-4, where the interpolation “(who seems . . . all classes,)” is a summary of the note which occurs a page further on in the original (John Rae, Statement of Some New Principles . . . of Political Economy).
Omission of words, sentences, and notes is quite common, and longer omissions are not rare. For example, at I.382.19-20, after “employment,” he omits two of Adam Smith’s paragraphs, and at II.780.n2-3, he omits one of Cherbuliez’s. These omissions suggest again carelessness and also a desire for brevity, rather than suppression or distortion.27 Some but by no means all of the longer omissions actually are indicated in the MS by two or more dots which the printer ignored (e.g., I.129i, where six sentences are omitted). But occasionally an omission, or the point at which a quotation ends, suggests that bias is involved. For example, his attitude towards religion is surely evident when, in quoting (II.770) from Samuel Laing, Mill ends the praise of the Cornish miners with the word “miners”, whereas the original, after a semi-colon and quotation marks, continues:
and, finally, they are, as a class, “a religious people, leading habitually excellent and religious lives, and giving conclusive evidence of the real influence of the great doctrines of revelation on their hearts, by their equanimity under suffering and privation, and in calmness and resignation when death is known to be inevitable.” This is, by many degrees, the brightest picture we have ever met with of the condition of any considerable portion of the labouring class in England at the present day.
To this, Laing appends a note (which, of course, is also omitted by Mill), beginning: “The reasons assigned for the high moral standard among a large proportion of the Cornish Miners are ‘the ministration of the Church of England, exercised by an able and excellent body of clergy, and the persevering zeal of the Wesleyan methodists. . . . ’ ”28
The omission of one long note by Mill is as indicative of his tastes (and his sense of relevance) as the note is of its author’s: in quoting the passage from de Quincey’s Logic of Political Economy about musical snuff-boxes (II.463), Mill omits a long note concerning de Quincey’s personal acquaintance with snuff-boxes and their owners.29
One final matter merits mention: the text of the People’s edition, which has some peculiarities.30 Its Preface, after the paragraphs common to all the prefaces, reads:
The present edition is an exact transcript from the sixth, except that all extracts and most phrases in foreign languages have been translated into English, and a very small number of quotations, or parts of quotations, which appeared superfluous, have been struck out. A reprint of an old controversy with the “Quarterly Review” on the condition of landed property in France, which had been subjoined as an Appendix, has been dispensed with.
As indicated in the discussion of Ashley’s edition, this description is partly accurate: the People’s edition does translate passages from foreign languages (usually including book titles), and omits the Appendix to Volume I. A few, but only a few, quotations or parts of quotations are deleted (e.g., I.123n—People’s, 76n—where only the identification of the source remains). Many titles are italicized, as they are not in the Library editions, and the English equivalents of French measures are usually given in square brackets following the French (Ashley adopts this practice). The foreign phrases and tags in the text are occasionally translated, but Mill is erratic.31 The main point of interest, however, is that—admitting the exceptions—the description of the text as “an exact transcript from the sixth” edition is not accurate. A paragraph added (I.9w-w) in 1865 is, as Miss Ellis notes, interchanged with the following one (People’s, 5-6), and in three of the four other places where the paragraphing differs from that in the 6th edition, the relevant passage was added in or rewritten for the 6th edition. In two other cases, the paragraphing of Mill’s translations in the People’s edition differs from that of his rendering of the original in the Library editions. These differences suggest that others exist, and a check of those places in Book I where the 5th and 6th editions differ shows that the People’s edition follows the 5th rather than the 6th in fourteen of eighty-four cases.32 The destruction of Longmans’ records during the London Blitz makes explanation uncertain, but it is clear at least that the People’s edition is properly seen as intermediate between the 5th and 6th rather than as an altered version of the 6th. Certainly the People’s and the 6th editions cannot have used the same proof.
It can safely be concluded, from all the evidence above, that second versions were second nature to Mill. He could not, of course, remember the vast number of minor changes which he made as successive editions passed through his hands. New knowledge and new opponents led to important changes (though not so many as in his Logic), as did a few second and third thoughts; and these will provide the main interest in the collated text. But the rewriting as a whole should be seen as rhetorical—and that, of course, not in a pejorative sense. Isolation of analytical, descriptive, and normative approaches in social science is possible, and the twentieth century has seen a plethora of works in which persuasion towards a ‘better’ point of view is expressly excluded, although often the exclusion is specious or founded on a naive attitude towards structural analysis and statistics. But Mill in his Preface states his determination to go beyond the “theory of the subject” and “abstract speculation” in order to challenge and indeed surpass Adam Smith on his own grounds, by associating the applications of the theory with the principles. And his reference to the “improved ideas of the present age” and “the best social ideas of the present time” surely suggests that he hopes his book will be ‘better’ than Adam Smith’s not simply in an economic way. In fact, his determination to subordinate such special sciences as economics to sociology, and further to subordinate sociology to ethics, makes it impossible for him to keep theoretical, actual, and ideal models separate, and while he aims at honesty (a more valid goal than objectivity) in his account of economic phenomena, he is deeply concerned with the furthering of social justice. His attempt to be honest prevents him, for the most part, from ignoring facts and tendencies which he dislikes, but not from presenting those which he likes in the most persuasive form.
His dedication of the Principles to Harriet Taylor (quoted in full in Appendix G below) again indicates, both in tone and implication, his purpose. He praises her for her ability “to originate” and “to appreciate speculations on social improvement,” and says the Principles is an “attempt to explain and diffuse ideas many of which were first learned from herself. . . .” The implications here33 are made explicit in the Preface, where Mill states that his intention has been to write a “practical” and “popular” work, without sacrificing “strict scientific reasoning.” The Principles of Political Economy is not simply a textbook; it is also a measured polemic. As such, it was open to endless revision, always in the direction of clarity and effective persuasion, and also in response to the changing climate of opinion. The successive revisions show this, as they show in their relative density in certain parts of the work just what Mill felt most deeply about. The cumulative effects of nearly 3500 changes over a period of twenty-four years cannot be precisely assessed, but the Principles was, in its final form, undeniably a more satisfactory work. He would not, and I cannot, consider that the revisions were wasted effort.
[1 ]The printers for all editions except the 1st were Savill and Edwards, Chandos Street, Covent Garden; the 1st was printed by Harrison and Co., St. Martin’s Lane. Such trivia have some point: see Appendix G below, II.1029-30.
[2 ]The quotation is from a letter to Sterling (29/5/44), but the intention is shown in the letter to Comte mentioned in the next note. See Francis E. Mineka (ed.), The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill, in Collected Works (University of Toronto Press, 1963), XIII, 630.
[3 ]Letters to Comte (3/4/44) and Chapman (12/11/45), in Mineka, XIII, 626 and 687.
[4 ]In the Autobiography (Columbia University Press, 1924, 164-5), Mill says he took six months (rather than the actual three) from the writing of the Principles to concentrate on these leaders. Three of his long leaders on French agriculture (11, 13, and 16 Jan., 1847) appeared in modified form as the Appendix to Volume I of the Principles, and so, all unknowing, he was for a short time carrying on both tasks simultaneously. Cf. Michael St. J. Packe, Life of John Stuart Mill (London: Secker and Warburg, 1954), 296.
[5 ]See F. A. Hayek, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951), 134-48, and Appendix G below.
[6 ]Packe (359) gives March as the month of publication.
[7 ]It was being revised during Feb., 1857 (see below, II.1037), although Mill, beginning a revision of II, x, §2, says in 1862: “Thus far I had written in 1856.”
[8 ]The People’s edition sold at 7s., falling to 5s. after the first 4000. Mill resigned his usual one-half share of the net profit to lower the price, but Longmans insisted that he accept one-half profits after 10,000 copies were sold, as they were before he wrote his account in the Autobiography (195-6) in 1869-70.
[9 ]This count (like all subsequent ones, unless otherwise indicated) excludes typographical errors, variations in punctuation and spelling (including capitalization and hyphenation), alterations in the form of footnotes, and variants within quotations (which are considered separately). Perhaps no two people would agree as to the number of variants: I have counted (as many would not) changes which are entailed by other changes (e.g., changes in tense are counted each time they occur, rather than just once for a passage).
[10 ]Except here, this chapter is called throughout all editions, “Means of Abolishing Cottier Tenancy.” Here he also calls IV, vii simply “Futurity of the Labouring Classes,” in an uncharacteristic burst of confidence.
[11 ]For Cairnes’ part in the revisions for the 6th edition, see Appendix H below.
[12 ]She also points out that the edition (1891) edited by Sir John Lubbock is a bad reprint of the 2nd edition.
[13 ]She wrongly identifies III, xxiv (“On the Regulation of a Convertible Paper Currency”) as III, xiii (“Of an Inconvertible Paper Currency”).
[14 ]For a brief account of the initial collating procedures, see my “Editing J. S. Mill’s Principles of Political Economy,” University of Toronto Press Notes, III (Sept., 1961).
[16 ]Miss Ellis says (302), “the third edition forms the chief bulk of the seventh,” a misleading comment, because even with all the changes, by far the “chief bulk” of the 7th is formed by the 1st.
[17 ]A more accurate indication, if still not the most meaningful one, is seen when the length of the books is taken into account. The overall figure of 2.5 variants per page is made up of Book I, 2.3; Book II, 3.2; Book III, 1.6; Book IV, 2.8; Book V, 3.0.
[18 ]The discussion of the changes in all editions is based on Book I, which contains typical examples of all kinds; examples from other books are used exceptionally and noted.
[19 ]No obvious examples of the second kind occur, because of the short time between the completion of this MS and the appearance of the volume. A general discussion of the third and fourth kinds is reserved for the moment, as those in the MS are not unusual, and the most interesting ones occur later.
[20 ]This peculiarity was first noted by Mr. John Willoughby, to whom I am much indebted.
[21 ]I recognize the germ of circularity: Mill’s finickiness elsewhere suggests it here; his finickiness here supports the evidence for it elsewhere. Nonetheless, finick he did.
[22 ]Of the former, the most frequent, in this MS and elsewhere, are almost impossible decisions between “show” and “shew,” “where” and “when,” “everything” and “every thing.” Of the latter, four likely cases may be mentioned: MS, “premisses,” 1st edition, “premises”; MS, “plowman,” 1st edition, “ploughman”; MS, “MacCulloch,” 1st edition, “M‘Culloch”; MS, “potato,” 1st edition, “potatoe” (this last not uniform, and the MS version restored later).
[24 ]The most trivial examples are the substitution, almost always in the 2nd edition, of “though” for “although” (64 times). At I.25a-a “culinary process” is substituted for “process of cookery” in 1862. At I.54a-a “can only be a subject” is substituted for “is a subject only” in 1852. In 1862 “later” replaces “latter” at I.189t-t; “later” is the right word, and one wonders why the other appeared, until one sees that a revision of this sentence between the MS and the 1st edition removed “(compared with the former)”; Mill evidently missed the word in his intervening revisions. Included in this same category are the few cases where punctuation makes a slight difference: e.g., I.181e-e, where in 1865 “have, apparently at least,” replaced “have, apparently, at least,” which replaced “have (apparently at least)” in 1862.
[25 ]That this was less than a change of opinion is probable, for in 1852 the passage containing this sentence replaced the concluding part of a quotation from Escher, in which a contrary opinion is affirmed of the “educated English workmen.”
[26 ]Examples of the first kind: I.263.19, “heavy” should read “hung”; I.264f-f, “when” should read “where”—in both cases, in my opinion, the MS gives the correct reading, but certainly in the second case the other is possible. An example of the second kind: I.263b-b, “among” should read “amongst”. An example of the third kind: I.257.6, “two, or three” is an incorrect transcription of “two and four”.
[27 ]In quoting from his own Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, he—or the printer, as the MS is not known—three times, at II.633.n14, II.634.n6, and II.851.15, omits a sentence; in each case the omitted sentence ends with the same word as the previous sentence, an easily explained confusion.
[28 ]In these quotations I omit two referential footnotes. Laing is quoting from the Appendix to the Report of the Children’s Employment Commission in Mines and Collieries.
[29 ]It might also be noted that occasionally in the Library editions Mill translates from the French without indication (in one of these cases, I.285n, the MS note says “Translated from the”).
[30 ]The following remarks are based on partial comparison, not on complete collation.
[31 ]For example, “cæteris paribus” is rendered at I.148.31 as “other things being the same” (People’s, 93), and at II.807.6 as “on the average” (People’s, 484), but elsewhere is not translated. Similarly, “inter vivos” (II.811.26) rendered as “during life” (People’s, 487), is not translated at II.895.15 (People’s, 541).
[32 ]Two cases might be mentioned: at I.49c-c, the reading is, “as most conducive to the ends of classification; and I am still of that opinion.” In 1862 the reading was, “as the most conducive to the ends of classification, though not strictly conformable to the customs of language.” The People’s edition follows the 5th in retaining “the” after “as”, but follows the 6th in the clause following “classification”. And at I.195.4, the People’s edition follows the 6th in rejecting one sentence and its footnote (a reference to another part of the Principles), but incorporates the footnote of the 6th in its text.
[33 ]Cf. Dean Bladen’s argument in the first two sections of his Introduction above.