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EDITOR’S NOTE - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XVIII - Essays on Politics and Society Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XVIII - Essays on Politics and Society Part I, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Alexander Brady (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977).
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4th ed. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1869. Reprinted from 3rd ed. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864; 2nd ed. London: Parker, 1859; and 1st ed. London: Parker, 1859. Identified in JSM’s bibliography as “ ‘On Liberty’ a small volume post 8vo, published in February, 1859” (MacMinn, 92). For an account of the composition of On Liberty and related matters, see the Textual Introduction, lxxviii-lxxxiii above.
The text below, that of the 4th edition (the last in JSM’s lifetime), has been collated with those of the 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and People’s Editions. In the footnoted variants, the 3rd edition is indicated by “64”, the 2nd by “592”, and the 1st by “591”. Substantive variants between the People’s Edition and the 4th edition are given in Appendix D.
“The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity.”
Wilhelm von Humboldt, Sphere and Duties of Government.
[Trans. Joseph Coulthard (London: Chapman, 1854), p. 65.]
To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and in part the author, of all that is best in my writings—the friend and wife whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest incitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward—I dedicate this volume. Like all that I have written for many years, it belongs as much to her as to me; but the work as it stands has had, in a very insufficient degree, the inestimable advantage of her revision; some of the most important portions having been reserved for a more careful re-examination, which they are now never destined to receive. Were I but capable of interpreting to the world one half the great thoughts and noble feelings which are buried in her grave, I should be the medium of a greater benefit to it, than is ever likely to arise from anything that I can write, unprompted and unassisted by her all but unrivalled wisdom.