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Textual Introduction - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume X - Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume X - Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by F.E.L. Priestley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985).
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john stuart mill occupies an important place in the history of moral philosophy, and moral philosophy occupies a similarly important, indeed a central, part in Mill’s thought. He wrote, however, no ethical treatise comparable in range and depth to his Principles of Political Economy or his System of Logic; and while ethical works generally tend to be shorter than works on political economy and logic, one cannot treat Mill’s Utilitarianism, even apart from length, as commensurate with the Principles or the Logic. So, accepting Utilitarianism as his major ethical work, one must look to other essays if one wishes a comprehensive view of his ethics. In this volume, therefore, Utilitarianism is presented, for the first time, in the context of the other significant essays that establish the scope and development of Mill’s ethics, and indicate its social and religious affiliations.1
A brief glance at the provenance of these essays will, in the light of Professor Priestley’s Introduction, help explain their importance and our grouping of them. Three were issued as separate publications—Utilitarianism, Auguste Comte and Positivism, and Three Essays on Religion—but of these just the last appeared only in book form; Utilitarianism was first published in three instalments in Fraser’s Magazine, and Auguste Comte in two instalments in the Westminster Review.2 Of the others, four—the major articles on Sedgwick, Bentham, Coleridge, and Whewell—appeared in the Westminster Review and were reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions. The two remaining items in the main text are an appendix to a book not by Mill, Bulwer’s England and the English, and a review of Blakey from the Monthly Repository. (The appended items are discussed below.) It will be seen, if comparison is made with other volumes of essays in this edition, that this one contains a very high percentage of material Mill thought worthy of republication. The significance and history of the items from a textual point of view emerges best when they are grouped in the following way: essays illustrating the development of Mill’s utilitarianism; essays begun by Mill with his wife’s help in the 1850s; and Auguste Comte and Positivism.
ESSAYS ILLUSTRATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF MILL’S UTILITARIANISM
The relevant items here are the first six in the volume (the “Remarks on Bentham’s Philosophy,” and the reviews of Blakey, Sedgwick, Bentham, Coleridge, and Whewell) and the first two Appendices (the “Preface” to Dissertations and Discussions, and Mill’s obituary notice of Bentham). The basic unity here is provided by Mill’s reassessments of his Benthamite inheritance, as he moves back and forth between eulogy and disparagement, qualifying both, until his general approval is given in his comments on Whewell (and renewed in Utilitarianism).3
The obituary of Bentham (1832), which appeared anonymously in a Radical weekly, The Examiner, is appropriately eulogistic, concentrating in the main on the legal and legislative aspects of Bentham’s thought, but hints of criticisms to come are found even here when Bentham’s stature as a moralist is in question. At this time Mill was entering his most marked period of assimilation of new ideas, having met the St. Simonians and Coleridge, and formed friendships with Mrs. Taylor (later his wife), Carlyle, and John Sterling.
When, in his Appendix to Bulwer’s England and the English (1833), he made his most severe attack on Bentham, he was at the height of his reaction against his intellectual heritage. As he says in his Autobiography:
To complete the tale of my writings at this period, I may add that in 1833, at the request of Bulwer, who was just then completing his ‘England and the English’ (a work, at that time, greatly in advance of the public mind), I wrote for him a critical account of Bentham’s philosophy, a small part of which he incorporated in his text, and printed the rest (with an honourable acknowledgment), as an appendix. In this, along with the favourable, a part also of the unfavourable side of my estimation of Bentham’s doctrines, considered as a complete philosophy, was for the first time put into print.4
But he was not willing, in the early 1830s, to acknowledge these opinions as his. To Carlyle he writes (11-12/4/33): “I wish you could see something I have written lately about Bentham & Benthamism—but you can’t.” After the appearance of Bulwer’s book he writes again to Carlyle (2/8/33): “I told you in one of my letters that I had been writing something about Bentham & his philosophy; it was for Bulwer, at his request, for the purposes of this book: contrary to my expectation at that time, he has printed part of this paper ipsissimis verbis as an appendix to his book: so you will see it; but I do not acknowledge it, nor mean to do so.” And to J. P. Nichol he says (14/10/34): “It is not, and must not be, known to be mine.”5
The review of Blakey is mainly an assault on the weaknesses of Blakey’s understanding and exposition, but it has wider significance, for the basic outline of the important parallel essays on Bentham and Coleridge can be seen in Mill’s reference to “the two systems between which, and which only, almost every metaphysician, deserving the name, in all Europe, is now beginning to be convinced that it is necessary to choose,” that is, “the association-philosophy as taught by Hartley, and the metaphysics of the German school” (23). And in the last paragraph (29) the importance of secondary moral principles, a theme to which Mill returned again and again, is stressed.
This review was again anonymous, and only in the next essay here reprinted, the review of Sedgwick’s Discourse, does Mill begin to appear under his own colours. The article was signed “A,” not in itself a clear identification, but the authorship was known to a wider group than that of the former items, and the review appeared in a periodical edited by Mill, the London Review (later amalgamated with the Westminster). In his Autobiography (140-1), Mill says that this article, coming as it did in the first number of the London Review, and so helping set the tone for his new venture, gave him the opportunity of putting into practice his “scheme of conciliation between the old and the new ‘philosophic radicalism.’ ” Sedgwick’s book, he comments, featuring “an intemperate assault on analytic psychology and utilitarian ethics, in the form of an attack on Locke and Paley,” had
excited great indignation in my father and others, which I thought it fully deserved. And here, I imagined, was an opportunity of at the same time repelling an unjust attack, and inserting into my defence of Hartleianism and Utilitarianism a number of the opinions which constituted my view of those subjects, as distinguished from that of my old associates. In this I partially succeeded, though my relation to my father would have made it painful to me in any case, and impossible in a review for which he wrote, to speak out my whole mind on the subject at this time.
In the Early Draft (158) the final sentence, after “succeeded,” reads: “though I could not speak out my whole mind at this time without coming into conflict with my father.” This passage replaced a cancelled reading that brings the matter into sharper focus: “though I was obliged to omit two or three pages of comment on what I thought the mistakes of utilitarian moralists, which my father considered as an attack on Bentham & on him. I certainly thought both of them open to it but far less so than some of their followers.”
The general judgment in these remarks, dating from 1854-55, is earlier found in a letter to J. P. Nichol (26/11/34), written on completion of the review (though probably before the revisions suggested by James Mill): “I have said a number of things in it which I have never put into print before, and have represented the ‘utilitarian theory of morals,’ as [Sedgwick] calls it, I think for the first time in its true colours. At all events, I have incidentally represented my own mode of looking at ethical questions; having never yet seen in print any statement of principles on the subject to which I could subscribe.”6
That his opinion of the review was expressed differently in the Preface to Dissertations and Discussions, twenty-five years later, is probably partly because he had been obliged, by his father, “to omit two or three pages of comment” and partly because his own position was more genuinely secure in 1859. In that Preface (493-4 below) he says that his slight revisions have left the articles, in the main, as “memorials of the states of mind in which they were written”; and goes on to explain:
Where what I had written appears a fair statement of part of the truth, but defective inasmuch as there exists another part respecting which nothing, or too little, is said, I leave the deficiency to be supplied by the reader’s own thoughts; the rather, as he will, in many cases, find the balance restored in some other part of this collection. Thus, the review of Mr. Sedgwick’s Discourse, taken by itself, might give an impression of more complete adhesion to the philosophy of Locke, Bentham, and the eighteenth century, than is really the case, and of an inadequate sense of its deficiencies; but that notion will be rectified by the subsequent essays on Bentham and on Coleridge. These, again, if they stood alone, would give just as much too strong an impression of the writer’s sympathy with the reaction of the nineteenth century against the eighteenth: but this exaggeration will be corrected by the more recent defence of the ‘greatest happiness’ ethics against Dr. Whewell.
A glance at the variants in the essay on Sedgwick suggests that this is one of the two articles in Dissertations and Discussions in which Mill, aware of the “asperity of tone,” revised with a view to retaining “only as much of this strength of expression [resulting from the subject, not from “the smallest feeling of personal ill-will towards my antagonists”], as could not be foregone without weakening the force of the protest” (“Preface,” 494, below). This suggestion is supported by a letter to John Sterling of 22 April, 1840, at which time Mill was already beginning to collect articles for republication.7 “I have softened the asperity of the article on Sedgwick,” he says, “& cut out whatever seemed to take an unfair advantage against his opinions, of his deficiencies as an advocate of them.” (Earlier Letters, XIII, 429.)
We do not know just which revisions were made at what times between 1840 and the publication of Dissertations and Discussions in 1859, but the relative frequency of changes in the essays in Volume I (that is, up to and including the “Coleridge,” which was first published in March, 1840, just before the letter to Sterling quoted above), when compared with that in Volume II (made up of essays written between 1840 and 1859), suggests that the first revisions, about 1840, were much more thorough than the subsequent ones, which probably were made just before publication, after Harriet Taylor’s death.8
In any case, many of the changes indicating a softer judgment of Sedgwick’s faults were undoubtedly made at the earlier date. An illustration is to be seen at 45g-g andh: whereas in the version published in 1859 Mill says that Sedgwick “has contented himself with repeating the trivialities he found current,” in 1835 he had said that Sedgwick “has repeated the trivialities he found current, not having depth or strength of mind to see beyond them.” Other examples of this common type of change may be seen at 39y-y, z-z, 45d-d, 69b-b, and 72f-f to 73l-l. The retraction of more serious charges of moral obliquity on Sedgwick’s part is illustrated by 70n-n, where Sedgwick’s “trick of words” becomes in 1859 his “confusion of ideas” (cf. 71w-w and 72z-z).
Similarly softened judgments on the merits of Cambridge and Oxford, seen at 34j, 73l-l, and 74r, should be compared with the footnote on 35, which explains that the article was first published “before the advent of the present comparatively enlightened body of University Reformers.” A few changes reflect Mill’s logical speculations in the years between the two versions (his Logic was first published in 1843): for example, 44v, w, a-a, and 71x-x (the first three also indicate his changed estimate of the validity of James Mill’s view of the uses of history). One should also note Mill’s willingness to accept the term “utilitarian”: in 1835 the term is said to be Sedgwick’s and is given in quotation marks; in 1859 it is accepted without significant qualification (see 36n-n, 52i-i, 65d-d, f-f, and cf. the letter to Nichol of 26/11/34 quoted above). An excision of what is probably provocative irony may be seen at 64a-a, where the reading in 1835 is “God has thought fit to furnish us,” while in 1859 it is “we have been provided” (cf. 64z-z, and 70m-m; and “Bentham,” 93u-u).
Three years after his essay on Sedgwick appeared, Mill published his famous essay on Bentham. His subsequent comment on it in the Preface to Dissertations and Discussions (quoted above) is supported by his judgment in his Autobiography, where he says that in the article,
while doing full justice to the merits of Bentham, I pointed out what I thought the errors and deficiencies of his philosophy. The substance of this criticism I still think perfectly just; but I have sometimes doubted whether it was right to publish it at that time. I have often felt that Bentham’s philosophy, as an instrument of progress, has been to some extent discredied before it had done its work, and that to lend a hand towards lowering its reputation was doing more harm than service to improvement. Now, however, when a counter-action appears to be setting in towards what is good in Benthamism, I can look with more satisfaction on this criticism of its defects, especially as I have myself balanced it by vindications of the fundamental principles of Bentham’s philosophy, which are reprinted along with it in the same collection [i.e., “Sedgwick” and “Whewell” in Dissertations and Discussions].9
The most interesting variants in this essay, as the passage above would suggest, involve Mill’s more favourable appraisal of Bentham and Benthamism in the 1850s. Examples, some of them indicating attention to slight nuance, will be seen at 82b-b, 98s-s, 99w-w, 111y-y, and 112z-z, but the most significant is that at 86m-m, which is too long to be quoted here. This variant occurs in Mill’s comment on his favourite passage in Bentham, taken from the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and quoted or referred to in all Mill’s major discussions of Bentham.10 Related changes, illustrating in minor ways the development of his own ethical attitudes, will be seen at 109n-n, 110s-s, 111u-u, and especially 111v.
The roots of Mill’s comparison of Bentham and Coleridge in the opening pages of his essay on the latter, probably go back to arguments with Coleridgeans in the London Debating Society. The comparison became explicit in 1834, when, in a letter to Nichol, he says that Coleridge is “the most systematic thinker of our time, without excepting even Bentham.” Five years later, after the publication of “Bentham,” he tells Sterling that he intends to compose an article on Coleridge “as a counter-pole to the one on Bentham,” feeling that the “likeness” of Coleridge “should be taken from the same point of view as that of Bentham.”11 The linking of the two pieces, mentioned again in the Preface to Dissertations and Discussions, is also commented on in the Autobiography, where Mill says:
In the essay on Coleridge I attempted to characterize the European reaction against the negative philosophy of the eighteenth century: and here, if the effect only of this one paper were to be considered, I might be thought to have erred by giving undue prominence to the favourable side, as I had done in the case of Bentham to the unfavourable. In both cases, the impetus with which I had detached myself from what was untenable in the doctrines of Bentham and of the eighteenth century, may have carried me, though in appearance rather than in reality, too far on the contrary side. But as far as relates to the article on Coleridge, my defence is, that I was writing for Radicals and Liberals, and it was my business to dwell most on that in writers of a different school, from the knowledge of which they might derive most improvement.12
Some of the variants in “Coleridge” are evidence of his awareness that in 1840 he had given “undue prominence to the favourable side” of what he calls “the European reaction against the negative philosophy of the eighteenth century”. Like most of the other variants, they should be studied in context: see, for example, 134n-n, o-o, x-x, 137m-m, and 160m-m (and cf. “Bentham,” 90e-e, and 109l-l). Lessened “asperity of tone” is seen in the variants to 140n, and Mill’s revised assessment of Gladstone (who had moved into the Liberal camp in 1859) is noticeable at 149b-b and 150g. Also worthy of mention are the variants at 157a, where Mill’s increased sympathy for socialist criticisms of society is evident; at 130f, where the deletion of the reference to James Mill’s Analysis as “the greatest accession to abstract psychology since Hartley” is more likely a response to the publication of Bain’s The Senses and the Intellect (1855) and The Emotions and the Will (1859) than a depreciation of the Analysis (cf. 246n); and at 127p-p, where the added reference to Kant may be the result of a reading (or rereading) of Kant between 1840 and 1859 or, as is more likely, of the reading of Cousin that Mill did for his Logic.
The review of Whewell is commented on significantly by Mill only in the Preface to Dissertations and Discussions where, as already noted, he remarks that it should correct any exaggerated impression of his “sympathy with the reaction of the nineteenth century against the eighteenth”. In fact, his reassessment of Bentham and utilitarianism was virtually complete in 1852, and the comments in “Whewell” are consonant with those in the Autobiography and Utilitarianism. As a result—and as a result of the shorter time between the versions—there are fewer variants, and none calling for detailed notice here; attention might be called, however, to the passage on marriage in which 199z-z occurs, where Harriet’s influence may well be inferred (as it may also in “Bentham,” 113j-j).
Considering together the four essays reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions, one finds a total of 638 variants (including those in footnotes), which occur with decreasing frequency as the time between the first publication and the republication lessens.13 Mill did very little revision for the 2nd ed. of Dissertations and Discussions (the one here used for copy-text), only forty-three substantive variants appearing, and these of a minor nature (see, for example, “Coleridge,” 134r-r). A rough classification of the variants isolates some 6 per cent as involving a change of opinion or correction of fact (including major expansions or deletions); 3 per cent reflect the difference in time and provenance between the separate publications; 44 per cent arise from qualifications; and the remaining 47 per cent are minor verbal alterations or slight tonal changes (including the removal of italics). The most interesting kinds have already been exemplified, but reference might be made to the change of time indicated at 45n and 85k, the change in provenance indicated at 74s-s, and, of the many minor qualifications, to those at 41l-l (“all” changed to “much of”), 123q-q (“perfect” to “correct”), and 143h-h (“no” to “scarcely any”).
ESSAYS BEGUN IN THE 1850s
The relevant items here are Utilitarianism and the Three Essays on Religion. Some time after their marriage in 1851, probably towards the end of 1853 when they were together in France, Mill and Harriet drew up a list of subjects on which they wanted to publish their views. Thinking that one or both of them would not live long, Mill forecast “one large or two small posthumous volumes of Essays, with the Life at their head,” which might be ready for publication by Christmas 1855, though, he adds, “not then to be published if we are still alive to improve & enlarge them.”14 They had already composed a draft of the “Life,”15 though it was to undergo further revision, and Mill on his return to England immediately set to work on the subjects on their list. Having begun with “Nature,” he writes to Harriet on 7 Feb., 1854, that that essay is finished, and he is puzzled “what to attempt next.” He goes on to say:
I will just copy the list of subjects we made out in the confused order in which we put them down. Differences of character (nation, race, age, sex, temperament). Love. Education of tastes. Religion de l’avenir. Plato. Slander. Foundation of morals. Utility of religion. Socialism. Liberty. Doctrine that causation is will. To these I have now added from your letter, Family, & Conventional.
His own inclination was to go on with the first mentioned,16 but Harriet preferred that he turn to the “Utility of religion,” as he did (see cxxvii-cxxviii below).
This programme adumbrates, at least through suggestion, most of Mill’s later writings, but of its detailed working out in the years before Harriet’s death not a great deal is known. In her “Introductory Notice” to the Three Essays on Religion, Helen Taylor remarks that in addition to “Nature” and “The Utility of Religion,” Mill wrote three essays between “1850 and 1858 . . . on Justice, on Utility, and on Liberty. . . . Those on Justice and Utility were afterwards incorporated, with some alterations and additions, into one, and published under the name of Utilitarianism.” (371 below.) The terminus a quo being only roughly given, one need not place full reliance on the terminus ad quem; otherwise the account seems reliable. Of the subjects mentioned in the list, it seems likely that “Foundation of morals” and to a lesser extent “Religion de l’avenir” and “Education of tastes” indicate the origins of the essay on Utility that, combined with the essay on Justice, resulted in Utilitarianism. Nothing more is known of the essay on Utility,17 but the origins of the essay on Justice (not mentioned in the list in February, 1854) may be seen in Mill’s correspondence with Harriet. On 14 June, 1854, he writes from St. Malo, where he had just arrived from the Isle of Jersey, to say: “I employed the five hours of steamboat partly in conning over the subject of justice for the essay . . . ,” and the next day consoled himself, in wet weather, by saying that it would at least allow him to write. On the 16th he explains that after posting his last letter, he was able to spend, because of the rain, “a long spell at the Essay on Justice. . . .” At Guingamp, he says on the 19th, he managed an hour’s writing, the last for some days. And on the 30th, in the last reference we have, he says: “I do not find the essay on Justice goes on well. I wrote a good long piece of it at Quimper [on the 26th], but it is too metaphysical, & not what is most wanted but I must finish it now in that vein & then strike into another [essay].”
The union of the two essays, and the consequent rewriting, took place not long after Harriet’s death, as Mill indicates in his Autobiography, saying: “. . . I took from their repository a portion of the unpublished papers which I had written during the last years of our married life, and shaped them, with some additional matter, into the little work entitled ‘Utilitarianism’; which was first published, in three parts, in successive numbers of Fraser’s Magazine, and afterwards reprinted in a volume.”18 In fact he indicated to Theodor Gomperz as early as August, 1858, before Harriet’s death, his intention to publish his papers on utility as “there are not many defences extant of the ethics of utility.”19 On 15 October, 1859, Mill wrote from Avignon to Alexander Bain: “I am employing myself in working up some papers which have been lying by me, with additional matter into a little treatise on Utilitarianism.”20 And again to Bain (14/11/59): “I do not think of publishing my Utilitarianism till next winter at the earliest, though it is now finished, subject to any correction or enlargement which may suggest itself in the interval. It will be but a small book, about a fifth less than the Liberty, if I make no addition to it.”21 He wrote similarly to W. G. Ward (28/11/59) to say that he proposed to publish his “little manuscript treatise” when he had kept it “for the length of time . . . desirable & given it such further improvement” as he could.22
Bain, who knew Mill’s working habits better than anyone else but Harriet and Helen Taylor, comments that the essay was “thoroughly revised in 1860,”23 and Mill is undoubtedly referring to it in a letter to Henry Fawcett (24/12/60) when he says that since leaving London for Avignon in October, he has “two things finished, one of them a considerable volume [Considerations on Representative Government] and [has] made good progress with a third.”24 And Utilitarianism was finished in time, as he told Fawcett on 26 September, 1861, for it to appear “in the next three numbers of Fraser.”25 Mill always intended the parts to be united in book form, but there was an unexplained delay. He wrote to Charles Dupont-White on 10 January, 1862; “J’ai laissé mon éditeur le maître de décider le moment de le réimprimer en volume, mais n’ayant rien appris sur ses intentions, je présume que cette réimpression est ajournée.”26 Though the first edition in book form was being printed in February, 1863,27 as late as 21 January Mill wrote to Samuel Bailey in hesitant terms: “If I reprint them separately as I am thinking of doing I will beg your acceptance of a copy.”28 He selected a cover in March, and the volume was published by Parker in May.
Mill’s opinions were quite stable by the time Utilitarianism appeared, and though there is a decade between the periodical publication in 1861 and the appearance in 1871 of the 4th ed. (the last in Mill’s lifetime, and so used here as copy-text), there are only seventy-four substantive variants (1.35 per page of this edition). Of these, eight may be said to illustrate a change of opinion or fact, one reflects the passage of time (Bain becomes “Professor” in 246n), and twenty-two are qualifications; the rest are minor verbal changes. Of the total, twenty-one were made between the periodical version and the 1st ed. (1863), thirty-seven for the 2nd ed. (1864), eleven for the 3rd ed. (1867), and five for the 4th ed. In fact, almost one-third of the changes were made in the final chapter in the 2nd ed.; the most extensive of these occur in the passage on 244-5 concerning the etymology of the non-English terms corresponding to “Just.” Of the minor changes, one (224m-m) might be mentioned as probably illustrating the printer’s common misreading of Mill’s “&” for “or”.
Actually, one variant which does not occur is potentially more interesting than any that do, for had Mill changed the passage in question much of the subsequent criticism of Utilitarianism would have been modified. On 18 March, 1868, writing to Mill about the translations for the German edition he was preparing, Gomperz says:
Let me conclude by expressing my regret that you did not in the later editions of the Utilitarianism remove the stumbling block (to any reader and more especially to a translator) pp. 51-52 1st ed. [234 below] (audible, visible—desirable) which when pointed out to you by me [in 1863, just after the publication of the 1st ed.], you said you would remove. Your argument looks like a verbal quibble, far as it is from being one and has besides to me the serious disadvantage of being utterly untranslatable.
Mill’s reply (23 April, 1868) is unfortunately inconclusive:
With regard to the passage you mention in the Utilitarianism I have not had time regularly to rewrite the book & it had escaped my memory that you thought that argument apparently though not really fallacious which proves to me the necessity of, at least, further explanation & development. I beg that in the translation you will kindly reserve the passage to yourself, & please remove the stumbling block, by expressing the real argument in such terms as you think will express it best.29
The connection in time between Utilitarianism and the first two of the Three Essays on Religion is established by Helen Taylor in her “Introductory Notice” to the Three Essays, cited above. There, in addition to dating “Nature” and “The Utility of Religion” between 1850 and 1858, she says “Theism” was written between 1868 and 1870. The third essay cannot now be dated more accurately, but one can be more precise about “Nature” and “The Utility of Religion.” On 30 August, 1853, during their first separation since marriage, Mill writes to Harriet: “I am very much inclined to take the Essay on Nature again in hand & rewrite it as thoroughly as I did the review of Grote [for the Edinburgh Review, 98 (Oct., 1853)]—that is what it wants—it is my old way of working & I do not think I have ever done anything well which was not done in that way.”30 Again separated from Harriet, he writes on 14 January, 1854, to say that as soon as he feels well enough to start writing again he will “finish the rewriting of the paper on Nature,” which he began before they left England for the South of France. On the 19th he says: “I have been reading the Essay on Nature as I rewrote the first part of it before we left & I think it very much improved & altogether very passable. I think I could soon finish it equally well.” On the 29th, commenting on their plans for a volume or two of essays, perhaps to be published posthumously (see cxxiii above), he writes to Harriet:
The first thing to be done & which I can do immediately towards it is to finish the paper on Nature, & this I mean to set about today, after finishing this letter—being the first Sunday that I have not thought it best to employ in I.H. work [his professional labours at the India House having fallen in arrears during his leave at the end of 1853]. That paper, I mean the part of it rewritten, seems to me on reading it to contain a great deal which we want said, said quite well enough for the volume though not so well as we shall make it when we have time. I hope to be able in two or three weeks to finish it equally well & then to begin something else—but all the other subjects in our list will be much more difficult for me even to begin upon without you to prompt me.
On the 30th, before posting the comments just quoted, Mill received Harriet’s letter of the 26th (not extant), on which he remarks: “It is a pleasant coincidence that I should receive her nice say about the ‘Nature’ just after I have resumed it. I shall put those three beautiful sentences about ‘disorder’ verbatim into the essay.31 I wrote a large piece yesterday at intervals . . . & am well pleased with it. I don’t think we should make these essays very long, though the subjects are inexhaustible. We want a compact argument first, & if we live to expand it & add a larger dissertation, tant mieux: there is need of both.” On 2 February he says: “I have written at the Nature every evening since Sunday & am getting on pretty well with it. I shall not know what to attempt when that is done.” Two days later he comments: “By working an hour or two every evening at the Nature I have very nearly finished it: tonight or tomorrow will I believe do everything to it that I am at present capable of doing. There is a pleasure in seeing any fresh thing finished at least so far as to be presentable.” And on 7 February he says: “I finished the ‘Nature’ on Sunday [the 5th] as I expected.”
Being puzzled as to what to attempt next, he sent the list of subjects they had agreed on (see cxxiii above). Harriet suggested that he move on to the “Utility of religion” rather than to an essay on “Differences of character,” saying:
About the Essays dear, would not Religion, the Utility of Religion, be one of the subjects you would have most to say on—there is to account for the existence nearly universal of some religion (superstition) by the instincts of fear hope and mystery etc., and throwing over all doctrines and theories, called religion, as devices for power, to show how religion & poetry fill the same want, the craving after higher objects, the consolation of suffering, by hopes of heaven for the selfish, love of God for the tender & grateful—how all this must be superseded by morality deriving its power from sympathies and benevolence and its reward from the approbation of those we respect.
There what a long winded sentence which you would say ten times as well in words half the length.32
On 20 February Mill replied: “Your programme of an essay on the utility of religion is beautiful, but it requires you to fill it up—I can try, but a few paragraphs will bring me to the end of all I have got to say on the subject. What would be the use of my outliving you! I could write nothing worth keeping alive for except with your prompting.” On 6 March, perhaps having received Harriet’s comments, he says: “I have fairly set to at another essay, on the subject you suggested. I wrote several hours at it yesterday, after turning it over mentally many days before—but I cannot work at it here [the India House] yet, as there is another mail in today—luckily a light one.” On Sunday, 12 March, he worked on the essay “till near one,” and on 20 March he says:
I wrote a good spell at the new Essay yesterday, & hope to get a good deal done to it this week. But I have not yet got to the part of the subject which you so beautifully sketched, having begun with examining the more commonplace view of the subject, the supposed necessity of religion for social purposes as a sanction for morality. I regard the whole of what I am writing or shall write as mere raw material, in what manner & into what to be worked up to be decided between us—& I am much bent upon getting as much of this sort written as possible—but above all I am anxious about the Life, which must be the first thing we go over when we are together.33
On 3 April he reports to Harriet (referring to her, as was his custom, in the third person): “I have completed an essay on the usefulness of religion—such a one as I can write though very far inferior to what she could.” And again on the 5th, in the last known reference to the essay, he says: “I have done all I can for the subject she last gave me.”
It would appear from this evidence that the final form of the essay follows the original plan, for the first part of which Mill was himself responsible (the introductory section is also almost certainly his), while Harriet’s “long winded” and somewhat incoherent sentence served as the basis for the second part, which deals with the effects of religion on the individual. (See 418ff. below, especially 418-20, 421-2.) On such meagre evidence alone can we rely in estimating Harriet’s contributions to these “joint productions”; again she appears as the inspirer, suggesting avenues of approach, probably adding words and phrases, but not conceiving the work as a developed whole, or writing any substantial part of it.
There seems now to be no further external evidence concerning dating and the degree of collaboration, or for assessing Helen Taylor’s role as editor of the Three Essays, which appeared only posthumously, in 1874.34 At Sothebys’ sale on 29 March, 1922, the manuscripts were sold to Atkinson for £1, under the following description: “723. Mill (John Stuart) Utility of Religion, Theism, and Nature. Three Auto. MSS of Essays (3).” Nothing further is known of these, the only recorded manuscripts for any of the essays in the present volume.
The copy-text for the Three Essays, since they were published after Mill’s death, is that of the 1st ed. (1874); the 2nd (also 1874) and 3rd (1885) eds. being simply reprints. There are, consequently, no variants. The main point to be made about the quotations and references is that the former are infrequent and the latter vague. In this respect they resemble the other essays planned and in part written at the same time, such as Utilitarianism or On Liberty. It seems likely that Mill, influenced by Harriet, was aiming at a broader audience than in his more technical works and so, except for general reliance on inartistic or extrinsic evidence (to use the rhetorical terms) that would be easily accepted by his audience, put his main argumentative weight on artistic or intrinsic evidence, and consequently cultivated the appeals to ethos and pathos as well as logos.
AUGUSTE COMTE AND POSITIVISM
In his Autobiography, having earlier dealt with Comte’s influence on his logical speculations and with their correspondence, Mill devotes a full paragraph to explaining his attitude to Comte at the time he composed the two articles that make up Auguste Comte and Positivism:
After the completion of the book on Hamilton, I applied myself to a task which a variety of reasons seemed to render specially incumbent upon me; that of giving an account, and forming an estimate, of the doctrines of Auguste Comte. I had contributed more than any one else to make his speculations known in England. In consequence chiefly of what I had said of him in my Logic, he had readers and admirers among thoughtful men on this side of the Channel at a time when his name had not yet in France emerged from obscurity. So unknown and unappreciated was he at the time when my Logic was written and published, that to criticize his weak points might well appear superfluous, while it was a duty to give as much publicity as one could to the important contributions he had made to philosophic thought. At the time, however, at which I have now arrived, this state of affairs had entirely changed. His name, at least, was known almost universally, and the general character of his doctrines very widely. He had taken his place in the estimation both of friends and opponents, as one of the conspicuous figures in the thought of the age. The better parts of his speculations had made great progress in working their way into those minds, which, by their previous culture and tendencies, were fitted to receive them: under cover of those better parts those of a worse character, greatly developed and added to in his later writings, had also made some way, having obtained active and enthusiastic adherents, some of them of no inconsiderable personal merit, in England, France, and other countries. These causes not only made it desirable that some one should undertake the task of sifting what is good from what is bad in M. Comte’s speculations, but seemed to impose on myself in particular a special obligation to make the attempt. This I accordingly did in two Essays, published in successive numbers of the Westminster Review, and reprinted in a small volume under the title ‘Auguste Comte and Positivism.’35
As Mill indicates, he wrote the articles on Comte after completing his Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, but his plans go back to the early 1850s. In 1851 John Chapman, who had just taken over the Westminster Review, suggested (evidently prompted by Francis Place) an article on Comte; Mill replied tartly (29/9/51): “I have never had any intention of writing on Comte’s book [the Cours], nor do I think that a translation or an abridgement of it is likely to be either useful or successful.” Three years later, however, after the appearance of Harriet Martineau’s English redaction of the Cours, Mill took more seriously a renewed suggestion by Chapman. He wrote to Harriet (9/1/54) for her opinion:
Now about reviewing Comte: the reasons pro are evident. Those con are 1st I don’t like to have anything to do with the name or with any publication of H. Martineau. 2dly. The Westr though it will allow I dare say anything else, could not allow me to speak freely about Comte’s atheism & I do not see how it is possible to be just to him, when there is so much to attack, without giving him praise on that point of the subject. 3dly. As Chapman is the publisher he doubtless wishes, & expects, an article more laudatory on the whole, than I shd be willing to write. You dearest one will tell me what your perfect judgment & your feeling decide.
Her strong feeling (and judgment) against Harriet Martineau and Comte36 led her in a letter (not preserved, but written before Mill’s letter reached her) to advise against his proceeding with the review, and he replied (17/1/54):
As for Chapman’s request, the pro was the great desire I feel to atone for the overpraise I have given Comte & to let it be generally known to those who know me what I think on the unfavourable side about him. The reason that the objection which you feel so strongly & which my next letter afterwards [that quoted above] will have shewn that I feel too, did not completely decide the matter with me, was that Chapman did not want a review of this particular book, but of Comte, & I could have got rid of H.M.’s part in a sentence, perhaps without even naming her—I shd certainly have put Comte’s own book at the head along with hers & made all the references to it. But malgré cela I disliked the connexion & now I dislike it still more, & shall at once write to C. to refuse—putting the delay of an answer upon my long absence so that he may not think I hesitated.
And by 23 January he had written to Chapman refusing.
Not until 1863 did he take up the question again, this time himself opening the matter with Chapman (16/3/63): “M. Littré has nearly ready for publication a life of M. Comte, which would afford a very good occasion for a general estimate of M. Comte and of his philosophy. If you would like to have such an article from me, I would undertake it. I cannot say exactly how soon it could be ready, as I have more than one thing in hand which I should like to finish before commencing it. But I would promise it as early as is possible without a very inconvenient interruption of other things.”37 On 1 August, replying to Chapman’s request for an early submission, Mill is even less sanguine about a deadline, pointing out that Littré’s volume will perhaps not be published by October. Its earlier appearance, while increasing Mill’s desire to write on the subject, led him to another postponement, explained in a letter to Chapman on 6 September:
What I wish to write is an estimate of Comte’s philosophy. But the book suggests much to be said about the man himself, his character and career, the conduct of others in relation to him, and various points in the character of his country and of the age, which some of the incidents of his life illustrate. It, therefore, is worth reviewing merely as a biography, independent of the great philosophical questions raised in it; and as the attempt to combine both points of view in one article would not only run to too great a length, but would almost necessarily spoil both, two articles seem to be required, one of which, though I should not be unwilling, I have no particular wish to write, while I could not possible set about either before next year.
He suggested, therefore, that if Chapman had someone in mind who could write the biographical article sooner, he would willingly forego the task. Mill was reluctant, he explained (18/9/63), after Chapman asked him to do the biographical article, because Littré placed both Comte and the French national character in an unfavourable light, and he did not wish to add his voice to the general discrediting of them in England. At this time he intended to treat Robinet’s book with Littré’s in the first article, and to add Littré’s Paroles de philosophie positive and de Blignières’s volume to Littré’s biography for the second; both articles to be finished early in 1864, though not in time for the April number of the Westminster, he told Chapman. A week later, however, having read Robinet’s book, he felt that he must give up the biographical article:
There is so bitter a feud between those who followed Comte in the last developments of his opinions and those who only went a certain way with him, among whom was Littré; and the two parties differ so widely in their statements of fact, that there is no chance of getting at the truth: and any remarks founded on mere conjecture would be of course utterly valueless, besides the possibility that they might be unjust to one side or the other. I therefore propose to limit myself to one article, which I will set about as soon as I am free from my present occupations and in which I shall pass slightly over Comte’s personal history and character, and confine myself in the main to an estimate of his doctrines and method.38
In December he was working on Spencer’s criticism of Comte’s classification of the sciences, so presumably he was preparing the article at that time. He entered into correspondence with Spencer on the question in the spring of 1864, remarking inter alia: “I myself owe much more to Comte than you do, though, in my case also, all my principal conclusions had been reached before I saw his book. But in speculative matters (not in practical) I often agree with him where you do not, and, among other subjects, on this particular one, the Classification of the Sciences.”39 By that time, however, he had put the article aside to work on his Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, which was, as Bain remarks, his main occupation during 1863 and 1864.40 Picking up the article again in the autumn of 1864 (the Hamilton being virtually completed by the end of August), he finished the first draft, but then had to put it aside almost immediately when, early in November, he turned to revisions of his Principles of Political Economy for the 5th and People’s editions. Only in December41 was he able to give final form to his plan for treating Comte; on the 12th he wrote to Chapman to say that two articles would after all be needed, one on Comte’s Cours, and the other on his later speculations.
The first of these [he says] is all written; except two or three references which remain to be put in when I return to England [from Avignon] at the end of January. I can therefore promise it for the April number. But it is very long; sixty pages of the Westminster, if not more [sixty-six, actually]; and I see no possibility of either dividing or shortening it, consistently with its being what I meant it to be. It is for you to judge whether, under these conditions, it will suit the Review. If accepted, as I wish it to be known as mine, I should be glad, if you have no objection, to put my initials.
The second article, he feels “tolerably certain,” will be ready for the following number, if Chapman wishes it then. On 4 February, 1865, having finished the first article, he was “well advanced” with the second, and asked Chapman to have twenty copies of the first made up for him to send to friends. He added the reference to Bridges’ General View of Positivism (a translation of Comte’s “Discours préliminaire” to the Système) to the second article at this time, remarking to Chapman (9/2/65) that it “gives the pith of Comte’s later speculations free from some of their grosser absurdities, and in a form better adapted than any other of his later works for the information and edification of English readers.” By 28 February the second article was finished (though not delivered to the printers until after 10 March), and proof of the first returned to the printer with a request for a revise. The revise being returned by 6 March, Mill asked for prepublication copies of the first article so that Littré could have it translated; they were delivered on 25 March. On 11 April he had read proof of the second article, and again asked for a revise (to be sent to Avignon where he was going that evening) and twenty copies.
His interest in the reception of the articles is shown in a request that Chapman let him know of any responses, and in his immediate acceptance of the suggestion that the articles be republished in book form. “I have always contemplated reprinting the articles on Comte as soon as is consistent with the interest of the Review,” he writes to Chapman on 20 April, “and if Mr. Trübner—then publisher of the Westminster—“wishes to be the publisher, no one has so good a claim. We will therefore consider that as settled.” Having returned to England on 30 June at the insistence of the committee seeking his election to parliament for Westminster, Mill outlined to Chapman (28/7/65) his “usual conditions with [his] publishers,” half profit for a single edition, with the number of copies being left to the publisher’s discretion, and the copyright remaining with the author; he also expressed his wish to revise the articles before they were sent to the printers.42 The revision, “a very slight business,” was completed by 22 August, as he told Grote, adding: “The parallel which struck you between Comte in his old age and Plato in his, had impressed itself forcibly on my own mind.”43
The sale of all Mill’s works being greatly promoted by his candidacy and election for Westminster, the Comte sold very quickly; by November Trübner was asking about French and German translations, and by the end of the year was considering stereotyping a new edition (as Longmans was doing with the People’s editions of his Principles, On Liberty, and Representative Government). The arrangements for the 2nd ed. were completed in January, 1866 (while he was again in Avignon), Mill having asked for £70 (“the half profit on the first ed. to be paid when it is all sold & the £70 on the publication of the second”), with the price to be reduced after the sale of the second thousand.44 When in April Longmans suggested a collected edition of his works, Mill mentioned Trübner’s interest in the Comte as a reason for delaying the project, which was eventually dropped.45
Of the variants, fifty-one result from changes between the periodical version and the 1st ed., and thirty-six from changes between the 1st and 2nd eds., the majority of the more significant ones coming in the first revision of the first article. A higher percentage than usual results from the change in provenance, mainly because the two essays were combined in book form (see, for example, 265b-b, c-c, and d). The most complicated changes result from the incorporation in the text of the 1st ed. of a passage that had appeared as a long footnote in the periodical version (see 319l-l322). This passage is followed by one introducing a qualification (322n-n), contains another typical qualification (320m-m), and is expanded by a footnote containing further information (320n). An interesting example of variants resulting from printer’s errors may be seen at 352m-m, where the copy in Mill’s library (Somerville College, Oxford) shows a tentative revision not carried out. The relative infrequency of revisions (.82 per page of this edition) reflects the very short time between the separate publications.
PRINCIPLES AND METHODS
As throughout this edition, the copy-text for each item is that of the final version supervised by Mill. Details concerning these texts are given in their headnotes.
Method of Indicating Variants. All the substantive variants are governed by the principles enunciated below, except for a few special cases, in which self-explanatory notes are given in square brackets and italics. “Substantive” here means all changes of text except spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, punctuation, demonstrable typographical errors, and such printing-house concerns as type size, etc. With the exception of substitutions of “on” for “upon” (nineteen instances), “though” for “although” (four instances), “an” for “a” before “universal” (four instances; all the foregoing in the 1st ed. of Dissertations and Discussions), and “until” for “till” (two instances in the 2nd ed. of Dissertations), all substantive variants are recorded. These are of three kinds: addition of a word or words, substitution of a word or words, deletion of a word or words. The following illustrative examples are drawn from “Sedgwick.”
Addition of a word or words: see 39x-x. In the text, the passage “a true philosopher” appears as “a xtruex philosopher”; the variant note reads “x-x+59,67”. Here the plus sign indicates that the word “true” was added; the numbers following (“59,67”) indicate the editions of this particular text in which the addition appears. The editions are always indicated by the last two numbers of the year of publication: here 59=1859 (the 1st ed. of Volumes I and II of Dissertations and Discussions); 67=1867 (the 2nd ed. of these volumes). Information explaining the use of these abbreviations is given in each headnote, as required. Any added editorial information is enclosed in square brackets and italicized.
Placing this example in context, the interpretation is that when first published (1835) the reading was “a philosopher”; in 1859 this was altered to “a true philosopher”, and the altered reading was retained in 1867.
Substitution of a word or words: see 39y-y. In the text the passage “truths of that small calibre” appears as “truths of ythat small calibrey”; the variant note reads “y-y35 the calibre of the Penny Magazine”. Here the words following the edition indicator are those for which “that small calibre” was substituted; applying the same rules and putting the variant in context, the interpretation is that when first published (1835) the reading was “truths of the calibre of the Penny Magazine”; in 1859 this was altered to “truths of that small calibre”, and the reading of 1859 was retained in 1867.
In this volume there are very few examples of passages that were altered more than once: an illustrative instance is found in “Bentham” at 98q-q. The text reads “qwhich tend toq influence”; the variant note reads “q-q38 which] 59 which are liable to”. Here the different readings, in chronological order, are separated by a square bracket. The interpretation is that the original reading in 1838, “which influence”, was altered in 1859 to “which are liable to influence”, and in 1867 to “which tend to influence”.
Deletion of a word or words: see 39v. In the text, a single superscript v appears centred between “the” and “instruments”; the variant note reads “v35 mere”. Here the word following the edition indicator is the one deleted; applying the same rules and putting the variant in context, the interpretation is that when first published (1835) the reading was “the mere instruments”; in 1859 “mere” was deleted, and the reading of 1859 (as is clear in the text) was retained in 1867.
Variants in Mill’s footnotes: see 48n. To avoid four levels of text on the page, a different method has been used to indicate the few changes in the notes supplied by Mill. In the example cited, the final sentence begins “Apparently [35 Evidently] not; he. . . .” Here the interpretation is that in 1835 the sentence began “Evidently not; he. . .”; in 1859 “Apparently” was substituted for “Evidently”, and the altered reading was retained in 1867. When necessary, to prevent confusion in reading, the words before and/or after the altered passage are given (see the other variants in the same note).
Dates of footnotes: see 37n. Here the practice is to place immediately after the footnote indicator, in square brackets, the figure indicating the edition in which the footnote first appeared. In the example cited, “” indicates that the note was added in 1859 (and retained in 1867). If no such figure appears, the note is in all versions.
Punctuation and spelling. In general, changes between versions in punctuation and spelling are ignored. Those changes which occur as part of a substantive variant are included in that variant, and the superscript letters in the text are placed exactly with reference to punctuation. Changes between italic and roman type are indicated, except in foreign phrases and titles of works. (In general, italics were removed in Dissertations and Discussions; there are forty-four examples in the 1st ed. and ten in the 2nd, in the articles reprinted in this volume.)
Other textual liberties. Some of the titles of Mill’s essays have been altered for easier and shorter identification; the full titles in their various forms will be found in the headnotes. The dates added to the titles are those of first publication. The original footnotes to the titles, giving bibliographic information, have—except in the case of the second part of Auguste Comte and Positivism—been deleted, and the information given in the headnotes.
Typographical errors have been silently corrected in the text; the note below lists them.46 Because the original is retained, occasional oddities, not identifiable as typographical errors, such as “resultée” (283.1), “avénement” (287.n8), “lettrès” (352.32), and “depend” (419.8) appear in the text; to avoid annoyance, “[sic]” is silently understood in these cases. In the headnotes the quotations from Mill’s bibliography, the manuscript of which is a scribal copy, are also silently corrected twice; again, the note below gives the corrections.47 While the punctuation and spelling of each item are retained, the style has been made uniform: for example, periods are added, when necessary, after such abbreviations as Mr., Dr., and St.; square brackets have been made round; and italic punctuation after italic passages has been made roman.
Also, in accordance with modern practice, all long quotations have been reduced in size, and the quotation marks removed. In consequence, it has been necessary occasionally to add square brackets; there is little opportunity here for confusion, as my editorial insertions (except page references) are in italics. The passage from Locke on 49, although set down, as in the copy-text, includes Mill’s quotation marks to facilitate reading. Double quotation marks replace single, and titles have been italicized for works originally published separately, again in accordance with modern practice. Mill’s references to sources, and additional editorial references (in square brackets) have been normalized. Where necessary, his references have been silently corrected; a list of the corrections and alterations is given below.48
Appendices. These items are taken out of the normal chronological order and appended for special reasons. Appendix A, the “Preface” to Dissertations and Discussions, is placed here because its comment, while relevant to all the essays in those volumes, has particular reference to four of those here reprinted (the essays on Sedgwick, Bentham, Coleridge, and Whewell). Appendix B, the selection from Mill’s obituary of Bentham, although published in a newspaper, has such intimate relevance to his other writings on Bentham that it should appear in the same volume (it will be reprinted in full in the volume of newspaper writings). Appendix C, the account of Bentham in the text of Bulwer’s England and the English, is included because, as its headnote explains, it is based on material given by Mill to Bulwer. Appendix D, a long passage from “Coleridge” quoted by Mill in Book VI of his Logic, gives interesting cross-references in time and subject between the two works.
Appendix E, the Bibliographic Appendix, provides a guide to Mill’s quotations, with notes concerning the separate entries, and a list of substantive variants between his quotations and their sources. Excluding citations of statutes, there are references to over 140 publications in the essays in this volume, with quotations from sixty-eight of them. Works by six authors—Blakey, Sedgwick, Coleridge, Bentham, Whewell, and Comte—are reviewed in considerable detail. While there are many references to other moral philosophers, the non-historical nature of these essays is indicated by the infrequency of direct references to works of moral philosophy, and the rarity of quotation from any but those reviewed. As indicated above, there are hardly any direct quotations in Utilitarianism and the Three Essays onReligion; it should be added that in the latter, as would be expected from the subject, but not from this author, there are many indirect quotations from the Bible.
This Appendix serves as an index to persons, books, and statutes, so references to them are omitted from the Index proper, which has been prepared by R. I. K. Davidson.
[1 ]The student who undertakes an exhaustive study of Mill’s ethics should look carefully at his Autobiography, his Logic (especially Book VI), his Inaugural Address, and the notes to his edition of his fathers’ Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind. These are not included here because they find more legitimate places in other volumes of the edition. Many of his other writings are pertinent in lesser ways, and those engaged in detailed research are advised to consult the indexes to the various volumes. Fuller comment on the principles of inclusion and exclusion and of editing procedures in this edition will be found in the Textual Introduction to Volume IV (Essays on Economics and Society), xliii ff., and in my “Principles and Methods in the Collected Edition of John Stuart Mill,” in John M. Robson, ed., Editing Nineteenth-Century Texts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967), 96-122.
[2 ]Bibliographic details are given in the headnote to each item. These include details of publication (“not republished” means not republished by Mill in his lifetime); epistolary and biographical information relevant to attribution, dating of the text, and its publication; and the entry from Mill’s bibliography. For this last, the page references are to the edition by Ney MacMinn, J. M. McCrimmon, and J. R. Hainds, Bibliography of the Published Writings of J. S. Mill (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1945), but the readings have been corrected from the manuscript in the British Library of Political and Economic Science.
[3 ]A fuller account of his fluctuation will be found in my “John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, with some Observations on James Mill,” in M. MacLure and F. W. Watt, eds., Essays in English Literature from the Renaissance to the Victorian Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1964), 245-68. And cf. Professor Priestley’s comments in his Introduction above, passim.
[4 ]Autobiography (New York: Columbia University Press, 1924), 138-9. In the Early Draft of the Autobiography, ed. Jack Stillinger (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961), 157, the passage appears without the parenthetical comments.
[5 ]Earlier Letters, ed. Francis E. Mineka, in Collected Works, XII (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963), 152, 172, 236.
[6 ]Ibid., 238.
[7 ]This notion may well have been prompted by the publication in London early in 1840 of Carlyle’s Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (published earlier in the United States). In any case, the parallel was in Mill’s mind when he approached Parker on 6 April, 1842 (see Earlier Letters, XIII, 514), and again on 30 November, 1858, with the suggestion that resulted in the publication of Dissertations and Discussions. On the latter occasion he wrote: “I have. . . , prepared for publication, a selection of my articles published in periodicals which I should like to bring out somewhat later in the season. . . . There are enough to make, I should think, two volumes of the size & type of the early editions of Carlyle’s Miscellanies: but I have not calculated exactly, and it may extend to three.” (A.l.s., King’s College, Cambridge.) The two volumes of the 1st ed. were published in April, 1859.
[8 ]For some evidence concerning the date of the revisions of “Coleridge,” see the headnote to Appendix D, pp. 503-4 below.
[9 ]Autobiography, 152-3. This passage, revised in 1861 from its earlier version, presents some interesting variants from the Early Draft, written 1854-55. The final sentence was added (the Early Draft having been written before the publication of Dissertations and Discussions); “perfectly” was added before “just”; “much doubted since” became “sometimes doubted” and “at that time” was added; and “in a great measure discredited before it had half done its work” became “to some extent discredited before it had done its work” (Early Draft, 166).
[10 ]A discussion of Mill’s varying treatments of this crucial passage will be found in my “John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham,” 263-6. To locate the references to it in the present volume, see the Bibliographic Appendix, 000 below.
[11 ]Earlier Letters, XII, 221 (15/4/34), and XIII, 405-6 (28/9/39). Cf. ibid., XIII, 411.
[12 ]Autobiography, 153. In the Early Draft (166) “if the effect only of this one paper were to be considered, I might be thought to have erred” is simply “I erred”; “may have carried me, though in appearance rather than in reality” does not appear; and “my defence is” appears as “the excuse may be made for me”.
[13 ]There are 237 in “Sedgwick” (5.64 per page of the present text), 178 in “Bentham” (4.56 per page), 195 in “Coleridge” (4.33 per page), and 28 in “Whewell” (.80 per page).
[14 ]A.l.s. to Harriet, 29/1/54. With one exception (see n32), all the letters to Harriet here cited are in the Yale University Library.
[15 ]See Stillinger, Early Draft, 5-11.
[16 ]From the account in his Logic (Bk. VI, Chap. v) and hints elsewhere, we can be sure that Mill’s thoughts on “Differences of character (nation, race, age, sex, temperament)” were intended to make up his proposed work on “Ethology” that never materialized.
[17 ]Mill’s letter to Harriet of 31/12/54, from Sestri, contains a sentence whose wording suggests that he may have been working on a draft of Chap. ii at that time. “I think that [a corn disease similar to that which destroyed the Irish potato] should be a signal for the universal & simultaneous suicide of the whole human race, suggested by Novalis.” Cf. 214 below.
[18 ]Autobiography, 186-7. It should be noted that here Mill says that these essays were written by himself, and does not describe them as “joint productions” with Harriet.
[19 ]Lord Stamp, “New Letters of John Stuart Mill,” The Times, 29 Dec., 1938. Mill’s comment is made in connection with his essay on Whewell, republished the next year in Dissertations and Discussions, but there can be little doubt (see, e.g., the next footnote) that he was thinking also of his unpublished papers.
[20 ]Draft, British Library of Political and Economic Science. A cancelled passage in the draft substantiallyrepeats this sentence, but adds, “to be published some time or other, but whether by itself or in a volume of Essays I have not yet determined.”
[21 ]Letters of John Stuart Mill, ed. Hugh S. R. Elliot (London: Longmans, Green, 1910), I, 226 (corrected from the autograph draft). The passage continues: “But small books are so much more read than large ones that it is an advantage when one’s matter will go into a small space. I have not written it in any hostile spirit towards Xtianity, though undoubtedly both good ethics & good metaphysics will sap Xtianity if it persists in allying itself with bad.”
[22 ]Ibid., 231 (draft, Brotherton Library, Leeds).
[23 ]John Stuart Mill (London: Longmans, 1882), 112.
[24 ]A.l.s., British Library of Political and Economic Science. The “third” is probably The Subjection of Women, which was not published until 1869.
[26 ]From Avignon; a.l.s. in possession of M. Pierre-Sadi Carnot. Mill had told Dupont-White in October, 1861, while the articles were appearing in Fraser’s, that they would be published as a volume.
[27 ]See the correspondence with Spencer (cited in the Bibliographic Appendix, 557 below) concerning the note at 257-8 below, and Mill’s letter to Bain, 13/2/63 (British Library of Political and Economic Science).
[28 ]Letters, ed. Elliot, I, 276 (draft, Brotherton Library, Leeds).
[29 ]Gomperz to Mill, a.l.s. (Johns Hopkins University Library); Mill to Gomperz, draft (ibid.) See Adelaide Weinberg, Theodor Gomperz and John Stuart Mill (Geneva: Droz, 1963), 51-3. Again unfortunately, Gomperz did not change the passage; see Das Nützlichkeitsprincip in John Stuart Mill’s Gesammelte Werke, I (Leipzig: Fues’s Verlag, 1869), 166.
[30 ]When the essay was first written is not known, but an interesting parallel in thought and word to a well-known passage in “Nature” (see 402 below, and cf. 385) occurs in a letter to Walter Coulson, dated 22 November, 1850, and may suggest that the essay was in hand at that time: “the course of nature, of which so great a part is tyranny & iniquity—all the things which are punished as the most atrocious crimes when done by human creatures, being the daily doings of nature through the whole range of organic life.” (Letters, ed. Elliot, I, 156-7; corrected from autograph draft in possession of the Rt. Rev. C. L. Street.)
[31 ]Presumably these sentences are those (or the basis of those) found at 386.5-9 below, beginning: “Even the love of ‘order’. . . .”
[32 ]Pencilled a.l., 14-15/2/54, British Library of Political and Economic Science; published, with some variations in reading, in F. A. Hayek, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951), 195-6.
[33 ]A.l.s., King’s College, Cambridge.
[34 ]It would be useful to know, for example, whether the title, Three Essays on Religion, was chosen by Mill or by Helen Taylor.
[35 ]Autobiography, 194-5. Earlier discussions of Comte appear on 116-17, 146-9, 156, and 174n.
[36 ]See Michael St. J. Packe, The Life of John Stuart Mill (London: Secker and Warburg, 1954), 277-8.
[37 ]This suggestion is adumbrated by a comment to Bain (13/2/63): “Littré writes that he will very shortly publish his life of Comte which I expect will be interesting & I shall perhaps make it an occasion for writing something about Comte, though I do not like being diverted from Hamilton.” (Autograph draft, British Library of Political and Economic Science.)
[38 ]To Chapman, 25/9/63. (This and the previous letters to Chapman are all at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, except those of 29/9/51 and 1/8/63, which are in the British Library of Political and Economic Science.) Cf. Mill’s comment on his proposed essay to d’Eichthal (30/3/64): “il sera peu question de la biographie de Comte; d’autant plus que ceux qui disputent autour de son tombeau sont tellement en désaccord sur les faits, que je désespère d’arriver à la vérité.” (A.l.s. in the library of the Arsenal, Paris.)
[39 ]To Spencer, 3/4/64 (Northwestern University Library).
[40 ]John Stuart Mill, 119.
[41 ]Letter to Bain, 2/12/64 (autograph draft, Johns Hopkins).
[42 ]The letters of 12/12/64, 28/2/65, 25/3/65, and 20/4/65 are in the British Library of Political and Economic Science; the others are in Canberra.
[43 ]A.l.s., British Museum.
[44 ]A.l.s. to Trübner, 9/1/66 (British Library of Political and Economic Science).
[45 ]A.l.s. to William Longman, 28/4/66 (ibid.).
[46 ]Typographical errors in earlier versions are ignored, except when a variant results. The following are corrected (with the erroneous reading first, followed by the corrected reading in square brackets):
[47 ]In the headnote on 32 the quotation mark is added before ‘Discourse’; similarly on 204 the quotation mark is added before ‘Utilitarianism’.
[48 ]Following the page and line notation, the first reference is to JSM’s identification; the corrected identification (that which appears in the present text) follows in square brackets. There is no indication of the places where a dash has been substituted for a comma to indicate adjacent pages, where “P.” or “Pp.” replaces “p.” or “pp.” (or the reverse), or where the volume number has been added to the reference.