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[EARLY DRAFT] - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume I - Autobiography and Literary Essays 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume I - Autobiography and Literary Essays, ed. John M. Robson and Jack Stillinger, introduction by Lord Robbins (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).
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ait seems proper that I should prefix to the following biographical sketch, some mention of the reasons which have made me think it desirable that I should leave behind me such a memorial of so uneventful a life as mine. I do not for a moment imagine that any part of what I have to relate, can be interesting to the public as a narrative, or as being connected with myself. But I have thought, that in an age in which education, and its improvement, are the subject of more if not of profounder study than at any former period in English history, it may be useful that there should be some record of an education which was unusual and remarkable, and which, whatever else it may have done, has proved how much more than is commonly supposed may be taught, and taught thoroughly, in those early years which, in the common modes of instruction, are little better than wasted. It has also seemed to me that in an age of transition in opinions, there may be somewhat both of interest and of benefit in noting the successive phases of a mind which was always pressing forward, equally ready to learn and to unlearn either from its own thoughts or from those of others. The reader whom these things do not interest, has only himself to blame if he reads farther, and I do not desire any other indulgence from him than that of bearing in mind, that for him these pages were not written.a
I was born in London, on the 20th of May 1806, and was the eldest son of James Mill, the author of The History of British India. My father, the son of a petty tradesman and (I believe) small farmer, at Northwater Bridge, in the county of Angus, was, when a boy, recommended by his abilities to the notice of Sir John Stuart, of Fettercairn, one of the Barons of the Exchequer in Scotland, and was in consequence, sent to the University of Edinburgh at the expense of a fund established by Lady Jane Stuart (the wife of Sir John Stuart) and some other ladies for educating young men for the Scottish Church. He there went through the usual course of study, and was licensed as a Preacher, but never followed the profession; having satisfied himself that he could not believe the doctrines of that or of any other church. For a few years he was a private tutor in various families in Scotland; but ended by going to London, and devoting himself to authorship; nor had he any other means of support until 1819, when he obtained an appointment in the India House.
In this period of my father’s life there are two things which it is impossible not to be struck with: one of them, unfortunately, a very common circumstance, the other a most uncommon one. The first is, that in his position, with no resource but the precarious one of writing in periodicals, he married and had a large family: conduct, than which nothing could be more opposed, both in point of good sense and of morality, to the opinions which, at least at a later period of life, he strenuously upheld; and to which he had not, and never could have supposed that he had, the inducements of kindred intellect, tastes, or pursuits. The other circumstance, is the extraordinary energy which was required to lead the life he did, with the disadvantages under which he laboured from the first, and with those which he brought upon himself by his marriage. It would have been no small thing, had he done no more than to support himself and his family during so many years by writing, without ever being in debt or in any pecuniary difficulty; holding as he did, opinions of extreme democracy, and what is called infidelity, in a generation during which those opinions were more odious to all persons of influence, and to the common run of prosperous Englishmen, than either before or since: and being a man whom not only nothing would have induced to write against his convictions, but who invariably threw into everything he wrote, as much of his convictions as he thought the circumstances would in any way admit of: being, it must also be said, one who never did anything negligently; never undertook any task, literary or other, on which he did not conscientiously bestow all the labour necessary for performing it adequately. But he, with these burthens on him, planned, commenced, and completed the History of India; and this in the course of about ten years, a shorter time than has been occupied (even by writers who had no other employment) in the production of almost any other historical work of equal bulk and of anything approaching to the same amount of reading and research. And to this is to be added that during the whole period, a considerable part of almost every day was employed in the instruction of his children;b in the case of one of whom, myself, whatever may be thought of his success, he exerted an amount of labour, care and perseverance rarely if ever employed for a similar purpose, in endeavouring to give according to his own conception the highest order of intellectual education.
A man who in his own practice so vigorously acted up to the principle of losing no time, was likely to adhere to the same rule in the instruction of his pupil. I chave no remembrance ofc the time when I began to learn Greek. I have been told that it was when I was three years old. My earliest recollection on the subject is of learning what my father termed Vocables, being lists of common Greek words, with their signification in English, which he wrote on cards and gave me to learn by heart. Of grammar I learnt, until some years later, nothing except the inflexions of the nouns and verbs but after a course of vocables, proceeded at once to translation; and I can faintly remember going through Æsop’s Fables, the first Greek book which I read. The Anabasis was the second I learnt no Latin until my eighth year. Before that time I had read a number of Greek prose authors, among whom I remember the whole of Herodotus, Xenophon’s Cyropædia and Memorials of Socrates, some of the lives of the philosophers by Diogenes Laertius, part of Lucian, a little of Isocrates, and I think part of Thucydides; I also read in 1813 the first six dialogues of Plato (in the common arrangement) from the Euthyphron to the Theætetus inclusive, which last dialogue had been better omitted, as it was utterly impossible I should understand it. But my father, in all his teaching, demanded and expected of me not only the utmost that I could do, but much that I could by no possibility have done. What he was himself willing to undergo for the sake of my instruction may be judged from dthe fact, that I went through the whole process of preparing my Greek lessons in the same room and at the same table at which he was writing, andd as in those days Greek and English Lexicons were not, and I could make no more use of a Greek and Latin Lexicon than could be made without having begun to learn Latin, I was forced to have recourse to him for the meaning of every word which I did not know: and this incessant interruption he, one of the most impatient of mankind, submitted to, and wrote under that interruption several volumes of his History and all else that he had to write during those years.
The only thing besides Greek that I learnt as a lesson during those years was arithmetic: this also my father taught me: it was the work of the evenings and I well remember its irksomeness. But the lessons were enot the most important part of the instruction I was receiving. Muche of it consisted in the books I read by myself and in my father’s discourses to me, chiefly during our walks. From 1810 to the end of 1813 we were living at Newington Green, then an almost rustic neighbourhood. My father’s health required considerable and constant exercise and he walked habitually before breakfast, generally in the green lanes towards Hornsey. In these walks I always accompanied him, and what I chiefly remember of them (except the bouquets of wild flowers which I used to bring in) is the account I used to give him daily of what I had read the previous day. fI made notes on slips of paper while readingf , and from these I used in the morning walks to tell the story to him. I say the story, for the books were chiefly histories, of which I read in this manner a great number: Robertson’s histories, Hume, Gibbon; but my greatest delight, then and for long afterwards, was Watson’s Philip Second and Third. The heroic defence of the Knights of Malta against the Turks, and of the Dutch revolted provinces against Spain, excited in me an intense and lasting interest. Next to Watson my favorite book of the historical sort was Hooke’s History of Rome. Of Greece I had seen at that time no regular history, except school abridgments and the last two or three volumes of a translation of Rollin’s Ancient History, from Philip of Macedon to the end. But I read with great delight, Langhorne’s translation of Plutarch; and I had Greek history in my daily Greek lessons. For English history beyond the time at which Hume leaves off, I remember reading Burnet’s History of His Own Time, though I cared little for anything in it except the wars and battles—and the historical part of the Annual Register from the beginning to about 1788 where the volumes my father borrowed for me from Mr. Bentham left off. I felt a lively interest in Frederic of Prussia during his difficulties and in Paoli, the Corsican patriot—but when I came to the American War of independence I took my part like a child as I was, on the wrong side because it was called the English side; until gset right by my fatherg . In these frequent talks about the books I read, he used as opportunity offered to give me explanations and ideas respecting civilization, society, government, morality, mental cultivation, which he required me afterwards to hrestate to him in my own wordsh . He also made me read, and give him a verbal account of, many books which would not have interested me sufficiently to induce me to read them of myself: I particularly remember Millar’s Historical View of the English Government, a book of great merit for its time, and which he much valued: also Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, McCrie’s Life of Knox, and even Sewell’s and Rutty’s histories of the Quakers. Of voyages and travels I remember as part of my constant reading Anson’s Voyage which is so delightful to most young persons, and a Collection in four octavo volumes (Hawkesworth’s I believe it was) of Voyages round the World, from Drake to Cook and Bougainvillei . I read few books of amusement properly so called: of children’s books, any more than of playthings, I had scarcely any, except an occasional gift from a relation or acquaintance—among those I had, Robinson Crusoe was preeminent and continued to delight me through all my boyhood. It was no part however of my father’s system to exclude books of amusement: though he allowed them very sparingly. Of such books he possessed, at that time, next to none, but an early friend and companion of his, Dr. Thomson the chemist, had many, and some of those he borrowed purposely for me—those which I remember are the Arabian Nights, Cazotte’s Arabian Tales, Don Quixote, and a book of some reputation in its day, Brooke’s Fool of Quality.
j In my eighth year I commenced learning Latin by means of teaching it to a younger sister, who afterwards repeated the lessons to my father. From this time other sisters and brothers being successively added as pupils, a considerable part of my day’s work consisted of this preparatory teaching; and it was a part which I especially disliked. The principal advantage which, as far as I am aware, arose from it, was that I myself learnt more thoroughly and retained more lastingly the things which I had to teach as well as learn; perhaps too, the practice it afforded in explaining difficulties to others, may even at that age have been usefulk . In other respects the experience of my boyhood is not favorable to the plan of teaching children by means of one another. The teaching, I am sure, is very inefficient as teaching, and I well know that the relation between teacher and taughtl is a most unfavourable moral discipline to both. I went through the grammar and part of Cornelius Nepos and Cæsar’s Commentariesmin this manner, but afterwards added to the superintendance of thesem lessons, much longer ones of my own which I repeated to my father in the usual manner.
In the same year in which I began Latin I made my first commencement in the Greek poets with the Iliad. After I had made some progress in this, my father put Pope’s translation into my hands: it was the first English verse I had cared to read, and became one of the books in which for many years I most delighted: I think I must have read it from twenty to thirty times through. I should not have thought it worth while to mention a taste apparently so natural to boyhood if I had not, as I think, observed that the keen enjoyment of this brilliant specimen of narrative and versification, is not so universal with boys as I should have expected both a priori and from my individual experience. Soon after this time I commenced Euclid, and somewhat later, algebra, still under my father’s tuition.
From my eighth to my twelfth year the Latin books which I remember reading were the Bucolics of Virgil, and the first six books of the Æneid; all Horace; the fables of Phædrus; the first five books of Livy (to which from my love of the subject I voluntarily added at my leisure, the remainder of the first decad); all Sallust; a considerable part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; some plays of Terence; two or three books of Lucretius; some of the orations of Cicero and of his writings on oratory; also his letters to Atticus, my father taking the trouble to translate to me from the French the historical explanations in Mongault’s notes. Tacitus I do not think I meddled with till my thirteenth yearn . In Greek I read the Iliad and Odyssey through; one or two plays of Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, but by these I profited little; all Thucydides; Xenophon’s Hellenics;oa great part of Demostheneso , Æschines and Lysias; Theocritus; Anacreon; part of the Anthology; a little of Dionysius; the first two or three books of Polybius; and lastly, Aristotle’s Rhetoric, which as the first expressly scientific treatise on any moral or psychological subject which I had read and containing, besides, many of the best observations of the ancients on human nature and human affairs, my father made me study with peculiar care and throw the matter of it into synoptic tablesp . During the same years I learnt elementary geometry and algebra thoroughly; the differential calculus and other portions of the higher mathematics not thoroughlyq ; for my father not having kept up this part of his early acquired knowledge, could not spare time to qualify himself for removing my difficulties and left me to deal with them with little other aid than that of books; at the same time continually calling on me, with authority and indignation, to solve difficult problems for which he did not see that I had not the necessary previous knowledge.
As to my private reading, I can only speak of what I remember. History continued to be my strongest predilection. Mitford’s Greece I used to be continually readingr . My father had put me on my guard against the Tory prejudices of this writer, and his perversions of facts for the glorification of despots and discredit of popular institutions. These points he used to discourse upon, exemplifying them from the Greek orators and historianss with such effect that in reading Mitford my sympathies always were on the contrary side to those of the author, and I could, to some extent, have argued the point against him; yet this did not diminish the ever new pleasure with which I read the book. Ferguson’s Roman history was also a favorite. Another book which notwithstanding what is called the dryness of the stile I took great pleasure in was the Ancient Universal History: through the incessant reading of which I had my head full of details of the history of the obscurest ancient people, while in modern history with the exception of tdetached passages such as the Dutch war of independence I was at this time little interestedt . A voluntary exercise to which I was throughout my boyhood much addicted, was what I called writing histories: of course in imitation of my father—who used to give me the manuscript of part of his history of India to read. Almost as soon as I could hold a pen I must needs write a history of India too: this was soon abandoned, but what I called a Roman history, picked out of Hooke, I continued for a long time to employ myself in writing: after this an abridgment of the Ancient Universal History: then a History of Holland, compiled from my favorite Watson and from an anonymous history which somebody who knew my liking for the subject, picked up at a book stall and gave to me. But in my eleventh and twelfth year I occupied myself with writing what I flattered myself was something serious, and might be made fit to be published; this was no less than a history of the Roman Government, compiled (with the assistance of Hooke) from Livy and Dionysius: of which I wrote as much as would have made an octavo volume, extending to the epoch of the Licinian laws. It was in fact an account of the struggles between the patricians and plebeians, which now engrossed all the interest in my mind that I had previously felt in the mere wars and conquests of the Romans. I discussed all the constitutional points as they arose, vindicated the Agrarian law on the evidence of Livy (though quite ignorant of Niebuhr’s researches) and upheld to the best of my capacity the Roman democratic party. A few years later in my contempt of my childish efforts I destroyed all these papers, not then anticipating that I could ever have any curiosity about my first attempts at writing or reasoning. My father encouraged me in this useful amusement, though, as I think judiciously, he never asked to see what I wrote, so that I never felt that in writing it I was accountable to any one, nor had the chilling sensation of being under a critical eye.
But though these histories were never a compulsory lesson, there was another kind of composition which was so, namely writing verses and it was one of the most irksome of my tasks. Greek or Latin verses I never wrote, nor learnt the prosody of those languages. My father, thinking this not worth the time it required, was contented with making me read aloud to him and correcting false quantities. I never composed at all in Greek, even in prose, and but little in Latin. But I wrote many English verses; beginning from the time of my first reading Pope’s Homer, when I ambitiously attempted to write something of the same kind, and achieved as much as one book of a continuation of the Iliad.uThe exercise, begun by choice, was continued by commandu . Conformably to my father’s usual custom of explaining to me the reasons for what he required me to do, he gave me, for this, two reasons which were highly characteristic of him. One was that some things could be expressed better and more forcibly in verse than in prose: this he said was a real advantage: the other was, that people in general attached more value to verse than it deserved, and the power of writing it was therefore useful and worth acquiring. He generally left me to choose my own subjects which as far as I remember were mostly odes to some mythological personage or allegorical abstraction: but he made me translate into English verse many of Horace’s shorter poems. I remember his giving me Thomson’s “Winter” to read, and afterwards making me attempt to write something myself on the same subject. I had read very little English poetry at this time. Shakespeare my father had put into my hands, at first for the sake of the historical plays, from which however I went on to the othersv . My father was never a great admirer of Shakespeare the English idolatry of whom, he used to attack in unmeasured terms. wHe had little value for any English poetry except Milton, Goldsmith, Burns, and Gray’s “Bard,” which he preferred to his Elegy: perhaps I may also add Beattiew . I remember his reading to me (unlike his usual practice of making me read to him) the first book of The Fairie Queene: but I took little pleasure in it. The poetry of the present century he set no value on—and I hardly saw any of it till I was grown up to manhood, except Walter Scott’s metrical romances, which he borrowed for me and which I was much delighted with—as I always was with all animated narrative. Dryden’s Poems were among my father’s books and many of these he made me read, though I never cared for any of them except Alexander’s Feast, which like the songs in Walter Scott I used to sing internally, to a music of my own. Cowper’s short poems I read with some pleasure but never got far into the longer ones—and nothing in the two volumes interested me like the little prose account of his three hares. In my thirteenth year I met with the poems of Campbell, among which “Lochiel,” “Hohenlinden,” “The Exile of Erin” and some others gave me sensations I had never before received from poetry. Here too I made nothing of the longer poems, except the opening of “Gertrude of Wyoming,” which appeared to me the perfection of pathos.
During this part of my childhood one of my greatest amusements was experimental science; not however trying experiments, a kind of discipline which I have often regretted not having had—but merely reading about the experiments of others. I never remember being so wrapt up in any book as I was in Joyce’s Scientific Dialogues, and I devoured treatises on chemistry, especially Dr. Thomson’s, for years before I ever attended a lecture or saw an experiment.x
From about the age of twelve I entered into yanother and more advanced stage in my course of instruction—y in which the main object was no longer the aids and appliances of thought, but the thoughts themselves. This commenced with Logic, in which I began at once with the Organon and read it to the Analytics inclusive, but profited little by the Posterior Analytics, which belong to a branch of speculation I was not yet ripe for. Contemporaneously with the Organon my father made me read the whole or parts of several of the Latin treatises on the scholastic logic; giving each day to him, in our walks, a minute account of the portion I had read and answering his numerous and searching questions. After this I went through in the same manner the “Computatio sive Logica” of Hobbes, a work of a much higher order of thought than the books of the school logicians and which he estimated very highly; in my opinion beyond its merits great as these are. It was his invariable practice, whatever studies he exacted from me, to make me as far as possible understand and feel the utility of them: and this he deemed peculiarly fitting in the case of the syllogistic logic, its usefulness having been impugned by so many writers of authority. Accordingly I well remember how, in his usual manner, he first attempted by questions to make me think on the subject, and frame some conception of what constituted the utility of the syllogistic logic, and when I had failed in this, to make me understand it by explanations. I do not believe that the explanations made the matter at all clear to me at the time; but they were not therefore useless; they remained as a nucleus for my observations and reflexions to crystallize upon: his general remarks being interpreted to me by the particular instances which occurred to myself afterwards. My own consciousness and experience ultimately led me to appreciate quite as highly as he did the value of an early practical familiarity with the school logic. I know of nothing, in my education, to which I think myself more indebted for whatever capacity of thinking I have attained. The first intellectual operation in which I arrived at any skill was dissecting a bad argument and finding in what part the fallacy lay: and though whatever success I had in this I owed entirely to the fact that it was an intellectual exercise in which I was most perseveringly drilled by my father; yet it is also true that the school logic, and the mental habits acquired in studying it, were among the principal instruments of this drilling. I am persuaded that nothing, in modern education, tends so much when properly used, to form exact thinkers, who attach a definite meaning to words and propositions, and are not imposed on by vague, loose, or ambiguous terms. It is also a study peculiarly adapted to an early stage in the education of students in philosophy, since it does not presuppose the slow process of acquiring by experience and reflection, valuable thoughts of their own. They may become capable of seeing through confused and self contradictory thinking before their own thinking powers are much advanced; zto the great benefit of those powers in their subsequent developementz .
During this time the Latin and Greek books which I continued to read with my father were chiefly such as were worth studying not merely for the language, but for the thoughts. This included much of the orators and the whole of Demosthenes, some of whose principal orations I read several times over, and wrote out, by way of exercise, an analysis of them. My father’s comments on these orations when I read them to him were very instructive to me: he not only drew my attention to the knowledge they afforded of Athenian institutions, and to the principles of legislation and government which they illustrated, but pointed out the skill and art of the orator—how everything important to his purpose was said exactly at the moment when he had brought the minds of his hearers into the state best fitted to receive it; how he made steal into their minds, gradually and by insinuation, thoughts which if expressed directly would have roused their opposition. Most of these reflexions were abeyond my capacity of full comprehension at the time,a but they left seed behind. I also read through Tacitus, and Quintilian. The latter, owing to his obscure stile and to the scholastic details of which many parts of his treatise are made up, is little read and seldom sufficiently appreciated. His book is a kind of encyclopædia of the thoughts of the ancients on education and culture: and I have retained through life many valuable ideas which I can trace to my reading of it, even at that age. I read, too, at this time, some of the most important dialogues of Plato, especially the Gorgias, the Protagoras, and the Republic. There is no author to whom my father thought himself more indebted for his own mental culture, than Plato, and I can say the same of mine. The Socratic method, of which the Platonic dialogues are the chief example, is unsurpassed as a discipline for abstract thought on the most difficult subjects. Nothing in modern life and education, in the smallest degree supplies its place. The close, searching elenchus by which the man of vague generalities is absolutely compelled either to express his meaning to himself in definite terms, or to confess that he does not know what he is talking about—the perpetual testing of all general statements by particular instances—the siege in form which is laid to the meaning of large abstract terms, by laying hold of some much larger class-name which includes that and more, and dividing downb to the thing sought, marking out its limits and definition by a series of accurately drawn distinctions between it and each of the cognate objects which are successively severed from it—all this even at that age took such hold on me that it became part of my own mind; and I have ever felt myself, beyond any modern that I know of except my father and perhaps beyond even him, a pupil of Plato, and cast in the mould of his dialectics.c
In going through Demosthenes and Plato, as I could now read these authors as far as the language was concerned with perfect ease, I was not required to construe them sentence by sentence but to read them aloud to my father, answering questions when asked: but the particular attention which he paid to elocution (in which his own excellence was remarkable) made this reading aloud to him da most painful taskd . Of all things which he required me to do, there was none which I did so constantly ill, or in which he so perpetually lost his temper with me. He had thought much on the principles of the art of reading, especially the part of it which relates to the inflexions of the voice, or modulation as writers on elocution call it (in contrast with articulation on the one side, and expression on the other), and had reduced it to rules, grounded on the logical analysis of a sentence. These rules he constantly impressed upon me, and severely took me to task for every violation of them: but I even then remarked (though I did not venture to make the remark to him) that though he reproached me when I read a sentence ill, and told me how I ought to have read it, he never shewed me: he often mockingly caricatured my bad reading of the sentence, but did not, by reading it himself, instruct me how it ought to be read. It was a defect running through his modes of instruction as it did through his modes of thinking that he trusted too much to the intelligibleness of the abstract when not embodied in the concrete. It was at a much later time of life when practising elocution by myself or with companions of my own age, that I for the first time thoroughly understood his rules and saw the psychological grounds of them; and at that time I and others followed out the subject into its ramifications and could have composed a very useful treatise grounded on my father’s principles. He himself left those principles and rules unwritten, and unwritten they still remain.
eMy private exercises in composition during my thirteenth and fourteenth year changed from historical to dramatic; though indeed they were historical still, for my dramatic attempts were on historical subjects. Like most youthful writers I wrote tragedies: the first was on the Roman emperor Otho, the attraction to me not being the character or fortunes of the hero, but the movement and bustle of that portion of Roman history, as related by Tacitus. I wrotefa playf on the story of the Danaides, and began two more, one on a subject from Tacitus, another from Thucydides. What kindled my dramatic aspirations was not so much Shakespeare as the plays of Joanna Baillie, among which Constantine Paleologus appeared to me one of the most glorious of human compositions. I have read it since and I still think it one of the best dramas of the last two centuries.e
A book which contributed very much to my education was my father’s History of India. It was published in the beginning of 1818. During the year previous it was passing through the press, and I used to read the proofsheets to him; or rather, to read the manuscript to him while he corrected the proofs. The number of new ideas which I received from this remarkable book, and the impulse and stimulus as well as guidance given to my thoughts by its criticisms and disquisitions on society and civilization in the Hindoo part, on institutions and the acts of governments in the English part—made my early familiarity with this book eminently useful to my subsequent progress. And though I can perceive deficiencies in it now as compared with a perfect standard, I still think it the most instructive history ever yet written, and one of the books from which most benefit may be derived by a mind in the course of making up its opinions.
The Preface to the History, one of the most characteristic of my father’s writings, as well as one of the richest in materials for thought, gives a picture entirely to be depended on, of the sentiments and expectations with which he wrote the book. Saturated as the book is with the principles and modes of judgment of a democratic radicalism then regarded as extreme; and treating with a severity then most unusual the English constitution, the English law, and all parties and classes who possessed at that time any influence in this country, he may have expected reputation but certainly not advancement in life from its publication, nor could he have supposed that it would raise up anything but enemies for him in powerful quarters, least of all could he have expected favour from the East India Company, on the acts of whose government he had made so many severe comments: though in various parts of his book he bore a testimony in their favour, which he felt to be their due, viz. that if the acts of any other government had the light of publicity as completely let in upon them, they would probably still less bear scrutiny; and that no government on record had on the whole given so much proof (to the extent of its lights) of good intention towards its subjects.
On learning however in the spring of 1819, about a year after the publication of his History, that the East India Directors desired to strengthen that part of their establishment which was employed in carrying on the correspondence with India, my father declared himself a candidate for that employment, and to the credit of the Directors, successfully. He was appointed one of the Assistants of the Examiner of Indian Correspondence; officers whose duty it is to prepare drafts of despatches to India in the principal departments of administration. In this office and in that of Examiner which he subsequently attained, the influence which his talents, his reputation, and his decision of character gave him, enabled him to a great extent to throw into his drafts of despatches, and to carry through the ordeal of the Court of Directors and Board of Control without having their force much weakened, his real opinions on Indian subjects. Those despatches, in conjunction with his History, did more than had ever been done before to promote the improvement of India, and teach Indian officials to understand their business. If a selection of them were published, they would, I am convinced, place his character as a practical statesman quite on a level with his reputation as a speculative writer.
This new gemploymentg caused no relaxation in his attention to my education. It was in this same year 1819 that he went through with me a course of political economy. His loved and intimate friend, Ricardo, had shortly before published the hbook which made so great an epoch in political economy; a book whichh would never have been published or written, but for the earnest entreaty and strong encouragement of my father; for Ricardo, the most modest of men, though firmly convinced of the truth of his doctrines, believed himself so incapable of doing them justice in point of exposition and expression, that he shrank from the idea of publicity. The same friendly encouragement induced Ricardo, a year or two later, to become a member of the House of Commons, where during the few remaining years of his life, unhappily cut short in the full vigour of his intellect, he rendered so much service to his and my father’s opinions both in political economy and on other subjects.
Though Ricardo’s great work was already in print, no didactic treatise embodying its doctrines, in a manner fit for learners, had yet appeared. My father therefore instructed me on the subject by a sort of lectures,i which he delivered to me in our walks. He expounded to me each day a part of the subject, and I gave him next day a written account of it which he made me write over and over again until it was clear, precise and tolerably complete. In this manner I went through the whole subject; and the written outline of it which jresulted from my daily compte renduj , served him afterwards as notes from which to write his Elements of Political Economy. After this I went through Ricardo, giving an account daily of what I read, and discussing in the best manner I could, the collateral points which were raised as we went on. On money, as the most intricate part of the subject, he made me read in a similar manner Ricardo’s admirable pamphlets, published during what was called the Bullion controversy. I afterwards went through Adam Smith, and in this reading it was one of my father’s main objects to make me apply to Smith’s more superficial view of political economy the superior lights of Ricardo, and detect with logical exactness what was fallacious in Smith’s arguments or erroneous in his conclusions. Such a system of instruction was excellently suited to form a thinker; but it required to be worked by a thinker, as close and vigorous as my father. The path was a thorny one even to him, and I am sure it was so to me, though I took the strongest interest in the subject. He was continually provoked by my failures kboth where success could, and where it could not,k have been expected: but in the main his method was right, and it succeeded. I do not believe that any scientific teaching ever was more thorough, or better calculated for training the faculties, than the mode in which logic and political economy were taught to me by my father. He not only gave me an accurate knowledge of both subjects but made me a thinker on both; who thought for myself almost from the first, and occasionally thought differently from him, though for a long time only on minor points, and making his opinion the ultimate standard. If I could not convince him that I was right I always supposed I must be wrong, but it sometimes happened that I did convince him, and that he altered his opinion on points in the detail of political economy which he had not much considered from representations and arguments of mine. I state this to his honor, not my own; it at once exemplifies his perfect candour and the real worth of his method of teaching.
At this point concluded what can properly be called my lessons. When I was about fourteen I left England for more than a year and after my return though my studies went on under my father’s general direction he was no longer my schoolmaster. I shall therefore pause here and turn back to matters of a more general nature connected with the part of my life and education included in the preceding reminiscences.
In the education which I have partially retraced, the point most superficially apparent is the great effort to give, during the years of childhood, lan amount of knowledgel in what are considered the higher branches of education, which is seldom acquired (if acquired at all) until the age of manhood. The experiment shews them ease with which this may be done, and places in a strong light the wretched waste of so many precious years as are spent in acquiring the modicum of Latin and Greek commonly taught to schoolboys—a waste, which has led so many of the reformers of education to propose discarding those languages altogether from general education. If I had been by nature extremely quick of apprehension, or had possessed a very accurate and retentive memory, or were of a remarkably active and energetic character, the trial would not be decisive: but nin all these natural gifts I am rather below than above parn . What I could do, could assuredly be done by any boy or girl of average capacity and healthy physical constitution: and oit is most encouraging to the hopes of improvement for the human race, that education can do so much for persons ofpnot more than the ordinaryp natural gifts.
There is one cardinal point in my education which more than anything else, was the cause of whatever good it effectedo. Most boys or youths who have had much knowledge drilled into them, have their mental faculties not strengthened but overlaid by it. They are crammed with mere facts and with the opinions or phrases of others, and these are accepted as a substitute for the power to form opinions of their own. And thus the sons of eminent fathers, who have spared no pains in their education, grow up mere parroters of what they have learnt, incapable of any effort of original or independent thought. Mine, however, was not an education of cram. My father never permitted anything which I learnt, to degenerate into a mere exercise of memory. He strove to make the understanding not only go along with every step of the teaching but if possible precede it. His custom was, in the case of everything which could be found out by thinking, to make me strive and struggle to find it out for myself, giving me no more help than was positively indispensable. As far as I can trust my remembrance, I acquitted myself very lamely in this department; my recollection of such matters is almost wholly of failures, hardly ever of successes. It is true, the failures were often in things in which success was almost impossible. I remember at some time in my twelfth or thirteenth year, q his indignation at my using the common expression that something was true in theory but required correction in practice: and how, after making me vainly strive to define the word theory, he explained its meaning and shewed the fallacy of the form of speech which places practice and theory in opposition: leaving me fully persuaded that in being unable to give a definition of Theory, and in speaking of it as something which might be opposed to practice I had shewn unparalleled ignorance. In this he seems, and perhaps was, very unreasonable; but I think, only in rbeing angryr at my failure. A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded which he cannot do, never does all he can.
One of the evils most liable to attend on any sort of early proficiency, and which often fatally blights its promise, my father most sedulously guarded against. This was self conceit. He kept me, with extreme vigilance, out of the way of hearing myself praised, or of being led to make self complimentary comparisons between myself and others. From his own intercourse with me I could derive none but a very humble opinion of myself; and the standard of comparison he always held up to me, was not what other people did, but what could and ought to be done. He completely succeeded in preserving me from the sort of influences he so much dreaded. sI was not at alls aware that my attainments were anything unusual at my age. If as unavoidably happened I occasionally had my attention drawn to the fact that some other boy knew less than myself, I supposed, not that I knew much, but that he for some reason or other knew little: or rather that the things he knew were differentt . My state of mind was no more arrogance than it was humility. I never thought of saying to myself, I am, or I can do, so and so. I neither estimated myself highly nor lowly: I did not think of estimating myself at all. uI was sometimes thought to be self conceited, probably because I was disputatious, and did not scruple to give direct contradictions to what was said. I suppose I acquired this manner fromu having been encouraged in an unusual degree to talk on matters beyond my age, and with grown persons, while I never had inculcated on me the usual respect for them. My father did not correct this ill breeding and impertinence, probably from not seeing it, for I was always too much in awe of him to be otherwise than extremely subdued and quiet in his presence. v Yet with all this I had no notion of any superiority in myself. I remember the very place in Hyde Park where, in my fourteenth year, on the eve of my leaving my father’s house for a year’s absence, he told me, that I should find, as I got acquainted with new people, that I had been taught many things which youths of my age did not commonly know; and that many people would be disposed to talk to me of this, and to flatter me about itw . What other things he said on this topic I remember xvery imperfectlyx ; but he wound up by saying, that whatever I did know more than others, could not be ascribed to any merit in me, but to the very unusual advantage which had fallen to my lot, of having a father who was able to teach me, and willing to sacrifice the necessary trouble and time; that it was no matter of praise to me, to know more than those who had not had a similar advantage, but the utmost disgrace to me if I did not. I have a distinct remembrance, that the suggestion thus for the first time made to me that I knew more than other youths who were considered well educated, was to me a piece of information; to which as to all other things which my father told me, I gave implicit credence, but which did not at all impress me as a personal matter. I felt no disposition to glorify myself upon the circumstance that there were other persons who did not know what I knew, nor had I been accustomed to flatter myself that my acquirements, whatever they were, were any merit of mine: but now when my attention was called to the subject, I felt that what my father had said respecting my peculiar advantages was exactly the truth and common sense of the matter, and it fixed my opinion and feeling from that time forward.y
In my, as in all other education, the moral influences, which are so much more important than all others, are at the same time the most complicated, and the most difficult to specify with any approach to exactnessa. I shall not attempt to enter into the detail of the circumstances by which in this respect my character may have been shaped. I shall confine myself to a few leading points, which are essential to a correct account of my educationa .
I was brought up from the first without any religious belief, in the ordinary meaning of the term. My father, educated in the creed of Scotch presbyterianism, had by his own studies and reflections been early led to reject not only all revealed religion but the belief in a supreme governor of the world. I have heard him say that the turning point of his mind on this subject was his reading Butler’s Analogy. That work, of which he always continued to speak with respect, kept him, as he said, a believer in Christianity for (if I remember right) a whole year; by shewing him that whatever are the difficulties in believing that the Old and New Testaments proceeded from a perfectly wise and good being, there are the same, and even greater difficulties in conceiving that a wise and good being could have been the maker of the universe. He considered Butler’s argument conclusive against the only opponents for whom it was intended, those who, rejecting revelation, adhere to what is called Natural Religion. Those who admit an omnipotent and allbenevolent maker and ruler of such a world as this, can say blittleb against Christianity but what can bec retorted against themselves. Finding, therefore, no halting place in Deism, he remained in a state of perplexity, until, doubtless after many struggles, he yielded to the conviction, that of the origin of things nothing whatever can be known. These particulars are important, because they shew that my father’s rejection of all religious belief was not, as many might suppose, primarily a matter of logic and evidence; the grounds of it were moral, still more than intellectual. He found it impossible to believe that a world so full of evil was made by a being of perfect goodness. His intellect spurned the subtleties by which men attempt to elude this open contradiction. His aversion to religion was like that of Lucretius: dhe regarded it with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion but to a greatd moral evil. He looked upon religion as the greatest enemy of morality: first, by setting up factitious excellencies, belief in creeds, devotional feelings and ceremonies, not connected with the good of human kind and causing them to be accepted as substitutes for real virtues: but above all by radically vitiating the standard of morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being on whom it lavishes ethe most servilee phrases of adulation but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful. I have a hundred times heard him say, that all ages and nations have represented their gods as wicked, in an increasing progression; that mankind have gone on adding trait after trait till they reached the most perfect conception of wickedness which the human mind could devise, and called this God and prostrated themselves before it. This fne plus ultraf he considered to be embodied in the idea of God as represented in the Christian creed. Think (he used to say) of a being who would make a Hell—who would create the human race with the infallible foreknowledge and therefore with the intention that the great majority of them were to be consigned to infinite torment. gThe time, I too believe, is not very far distant when all persons with any sense of moral good and evil will regard this horrible conception of an object of worship with the same indignation with which my father regarded it. That they have not done so hitherto, is owing to the infantine state of the general intellect of mankind, under the wretched cultivation which it has received. Such howeverg is the facility with which mankind believe at one and the same time contradictory things; and so few are those who draw from what they receive as truths, any consequences but those recommended to them by their feelings; that multitudes have held the belief in an omnipotent author of Hell, and have nevertheless identified that Being with the best conception they knew how to form of perfect goodness. Their worship was not paid to the demon which such a Being as they imagined would really be, but to their own ideal of excellence. The evil is, that such a belief keeps the ideal wretchedly low; and crushes all thought which has any tendency to raise it. Believers shrink from every train of thought which would lead to a clear conception and an elevated standard of excellence, because they feel (even when they do not distinctly see) that any such would conflict with many of the dispensations of nature, and with many doctrines of the Christian creed. And thus morality continues a matter of blind tradition, with no consistent principle or feeling to guide it.
It would have been totally inconsistent with my father’s ideas of duty, to allow me to imbibe notions contrary to his convictions and feelings respecting religion: and he himpressed upon me from the firsth that the manner in which the world came into existence was a subject on which nothing was known; that the question “Who made me?” cannot be answered, because we have no experience from which to answer it; and that any answer only throws the difficulty a step further back,i since the question immediately presents itself, Who made God? He at the same time took care that I should be acquainted with what had been thought by mankind on these impenetrable problems. It has been seen how early he made me a reader of ecclesiastical history: and he taught me to take the strongest interest in the Reformation, as the great and decisive contest against priestly tyranny and for liberty of thought.
I am thus one of the very few examples, in this country, of one who has, not thrown off religious belief, but never had it. I grew up in a negative state with relation to it. I looked upon the modern exactly as I did upon the Greek religion, as something which in no way concerned me. It did not seem to me more strange that English people should believe what I did not believe, than that the men whom I read about in Herodotus should have done so.j History had made the variety of opinions among mankind a fact familiar to me, and this was but a prolongation of that fact. This point in my early education, however, had incidentally one bad consequence deserving notice. In giving me an opinion contrary to that of the world, my father thought it necessary to give it as one which could not prudently be avowed to the world. This lesson of keeping my thoughts to myself at that early age, could not but be morally prejudicial; though my limited intercourse with strangers, especially such as were likely to speak to me on religion, prevented me from being placed in the alternative of avowal or hypocrisy. I remember two occasions in my boyhood on which I felt placed in this alternative and in both cases I avowed my disbelief and defended it. My opponents in both cases were boys, considerably older than myself; one of them I certainly staggered at the time, but the subject was never renewed between us; the other, who seemed surprised and somewhat shocked, did his best to convince me, but it is hardly necessary to say, without effect.
kThe great advance in liberty of discussion which is one of the points of difference between the present time and that of my childhood, has greatly altered the moralities of this question; and I think that few men of my father’s intellect and public spirit, holding with such intensity of moral conviction as he did, unpopular opinions on religion or on any other of the great subjects of thought, would now either practise or inculcate the withholding of them from the world; unless in those cases, becoming rarer every day, in which frankness on these subjects would risk the loss of means of subsistence. On religion in particular it appears to me to have now become a duty for all who being qualified in point of knowledge, have on mature consideration satisfied themselves that the current opinions are not only false but hurtful, to make their dissent known. At least those are bound to do so whose station, or reputation, gives their opinion a chance of being attended to. Such an avowal would put an end, at once and for ever, to the vulgar prejudice that what is called, very improperly, unbelief, is connected with any bad qualities either of mind or heart. The world would be astonished if it knew how great a proportion of its brightest ornaments, of those most distinguished both for wisdom and virtue, are complete sceptics in religion; many of theml refraining from avowal, less from personal considerations, than from a conscientious though in my opinion a most mistaken apprehension lest by speaking out what would tend to weaken existing beliefs they should do harm instead of good.
Of unbelievers (so called) as well as of believers, there are many species, including almost every variety of moral type. But the best among them, as no one who has opportunities of knowing will hesitate to say (believers rarely have that opportunity), are more genuinely religious, in the best sense of the word religion, than those who exclusively arrogate to themselves the title. Though they may think the proofs insufficient that the universe is a work of design, and assuredly believe that it cannot have a Creator and Governor who is perfect both in power and in goodness,m they nhave that which constitutes the principal worth of all religions whatever, an ideal conception of a perfect character which they take as the guide of their consciencen ; and this ideal oof goodo is usually far nearer to perfection than the objective Deity of those, who think themselves obliged to find perfection in the author of a world so crowded with suffering and so deformed by injustice.k
pMy father’s moral convictions, entirely dissevered from religion, were very much of the character of those of the Greek philosophers: and were delivered with the force and decision which characterized all that came from him. Even at the very early age at which I read with him the Memorabilia of Xenophon, I imbibed from that book and from his comments a deep respect for the character of Socrates; who stood in my mind as a model of ideal excellence: and I remember how, at the same time of life, my father impressed on me the lesson of the “Choice of Hercules.” At a later period the lofty moral standard exhibited in the writings of Plato, took great effect on me. My father’s moral inculcations were at all times mainly those of the “Socratici viri”: justice, temperance, veracity, perseverance; readiness to brave pain and especially labour; regard for the public good; estimation of persons according to their merits, and of things according to their intrinsic usefulness; a life of exertion, in contradistinction to one of self indulgent indolence. These and other moralities were mostly conveyed by brief sentences, uttered as occasion arose, of stern reprobation or contempt.p
But though direct moral teaching does much, indirect does more; and the effect my father had on my character, did not depend merely on what he said or did with that direct object, but also, and still more, on what manner of man he was.
In his views of life he partook of the character of the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Cynic. In his personal character the Stoic predominated: his standard of morals was Epicurean, in so far as that it was utilitarian, taking as the sole test of right and wrong, the tendency of actions to produce pleasure or pain. But he had (and this was the Cynic element) scarcely any belief in pleasure; at least in his later years, of which alone on this subject I can speak confidently. He deemed very few pleasures worth the price which at all events in the present state of society, must be paid for them. The greatest miscarriages in life he considered attributable to the overvaluing of pleasures. Accordingly, temperance in the large sense intended by the Greek philosophers—stopping short at the point of moderation in all indulgences—was with him as with them, almost the cardinal point of moral precept. His inculcations of this virtue fill a large place in my childish recollectionsq . He thought rhuman life a poor thing at best,r after the freshness of youth and of unsatisfied curiosity had gone by. This was a topic on which he did not often speak, especially, it may be supposed, in the presence of young persons: but when he did, it was with an air of profound and habitual conviction. He would sometimes say that if life were made what it might be, by good government and good education, it would then be worth having: but he never spoke with anything like enthusiasm even of that possibility. He never varied in rating intellectual enjoyments above all others, even in their value as pleasures, independently of ulterior consequences. The pleasures of the benevolent affections he placed high in the scale; and used to say, that he had never known a happy old man, except those who were able to live over again in the pleasures of the young. For passionate emotions of all sorts, and for everything which has been said or written in exaltation of them, he professed the greatest contempt: he regarded them as a form of madness; “the intense” was with him a bye-word of scornful disapprobation. He regarded as an aberration of the moral standard of modern times, compared with that of the ancients, the great stress laid upon feeling. Feelings, as such, he considered to be no proper subjects of praise or blame; Right and wrong, good and bad, he regarded as terms having reference only to conduct; to acts and omissions; there being no feeling which may not lead, and does not frequently lead, either to good or to bad actions: even conscience, even the desire to act right, often leading people to act wrong. Consistently carrying out the doctrine, that the object of praise and blame should be the discouragement of wrong conduct and the encouragement of right, he refused to let his praise or blame be influenced by the motive of the agent. He blamed as severely what he thought bad actions when the motive was a sense of duty as if the agents had been consciously evil doers. sHe would not have accepted as a plea in mitigation for inquisitors, that they conscientiously believed burning heretics to be a sacred duty. But though he did not allow sincerity of purpose to soften his disapprobation of actions, it had its full effect on his estimation of characters;s no one prized conscientiousness and rectitude of intention more highly, or was more incapable of valuing any person in whom he did not feel assured of it. But he disliked people quite as much for any other deficiency, provided he thought it equally likely to make them act ill. He disliked, for instance, a fanatic in any bad cause, as much or more than one who adopted the same cause from self interest, because he thought him still more likely to be practically mischievous.[*] And thus his aversion to many intellectual errors, or what he regarded as such, partook, in a certain sense, of the character of a moral feeling.t This sentiment, though persons who do not care about opinions may confound it with intolerance, is inevitable to any earnest mind. Those who, holding opinions which they deem immensely important and their contraries prodigiously hurtful, have any strong feeling of care for the general good, will necessarily dislike those who think wrong what they think right, and right what they think wrong. uThey will not, or at least they ought not, to desire to punish them for their sincere opinions, and this forbearance, flowing not from indifference but from a conscientious sense of the importance to mankind of freedom of opinion, is the only kind of tolerance which is commendable. I grant that an earnest person may dislike others on account of opinions which do not merit dislike. But if he neither himself does them any ill office, nor connives at its being done by others, he is not intolerant; nor does he err because he judges them by his own standard, but because his own standard is wholly or partially wrong; and because his antagonism to the opinions he dislikes is a stronger principle than his desire to enlarge and rectify his own doctrines.u
vPersonally I believe my father to have had much greater capacities of feeling than were ever developed in him. He resembled almost all Englishmen in being ashamed of the signs of feeling, and by the absence of demonstration, starving the feelings themselves. In an atmosphere of tenderness and affection he would have been tender and affectionate; but his ill assorted marriage and his asperities of temper disabled him from making such an atmosphere. It was one of the most unfavourable of the moral agencies which acted on me in my boyhood, that mine was not an education of love but of fear. I do not mean, for I do not believe, that boys can be induced to apply themselves with vigour, and what is so much more difficult, perseverance, to dry and irksome studies, by the sole force of persuasion and soft words. Much must be done and much must be learnt by children, for which rigid discipline and known liability to punishment are indispensable as means. It is no doubt a very laudable effort, in the improved methods of modern teaching, to render as much as possible of what the young are required to learn, easy and interesting to them. But when this principle is pushed to the length of not requiring them to learn anything but what has been made easy and interesting, one of the chief objects of education is sacrificed. I rejoice in the decline of the old brutal and tyrannical system of teaching, which however did enforce habits of application; but the new, as it seems to me, is training up a race of men incapable of doing anything which is disagreeable to them. I do not believe that fear, as an element in education, can be dispensed with; but I am sure that it ought not to be the predominant element; and when it is carried so far as to preclude love or confidence on the part of the child to those who should be the unreservedly trusted advisers of after years, and perhaps to seal up altogether the fountains of frank and spontaneous communicativeness in the child’s character, it is an evil for which a large abatement must be made from the benefits, moral and intellectual, which may flow from any other part of the education.
During this first period of my life, the habitual frequenters of my father’s house were limited to a very few persons, mostly little known, but whom personal worth, and more or less of congeniality with his opinions (not so frequently to be met with then as since) disposed him to cultivate; and his conversations with them I listened to with interest and instruction. My being an habitual inmate of my father’s study, made me acquainted with the most intimate and valued of his friends, David Ricardo, who by his benevolent countenance and kindliness of manner was very attractive to young persons, and who after I became a student of political economy, sometimes invited me to breakfast and walk with him in order to converse on the subject.v I was a more frequent visitor (from about 1817 or 1818) to Mr. Hume, who, born in the same part of Scotland as my father, and having been, I rather think, a younger schoolfellow or college companion of his, had after his return from India renewed their old acquaintance, and who coming like many others greatly under the influence of his intellect and energy of character, was induced partly by that influence to go into Parliament, and there to adopt the line of conduct by which he has earned an honorable place in the history of his country. Of Mr. Bentham I saw much more, owing to the wclose intimacy which subsisted between him and my fatherw . I do not know at what time they became first acquainted. But my father was the earliest Englishman of any great mark who thoroughly understood and in the main adopted Bentham’s general views of ethics, government, and law: and Bentham accordingly valued his society highly and xthey became intimate companionsx in a period of Bentham’s life during which he admitted much fewer visitors than was the case subsequently. yAt this time Mr. Bentham passed some part of every year at Barrow Green House, in a beautiful part of the Surrey hills, a few miles from Godstone, and there I each summer accompanied my father on a long visit. In 1813 Mr. Bentham, my father and I made an excursion, which included Oxford, Bath and Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, and Portsmouthy . In this journey I saw many things which werez instructive to me, and acquired my first taste for natural scenery, in the elementary form of fondness for a “view.” aIn the following winter we left Newington Green, and moved into a house which my father rented of Mr. Bentham, in Queen Square, Westminstera From 1814 to 1817 Mr. Bentham lived during half of each year at Ford Abbey, in Somersetshire (or rather in a parish of Devonshire surrounded by Somersetshire), and bthese intervals I had the advantage of passing at that placeb . This sojourn was, I think, an important circumstance in my education. Nothing contributes more to nourish elevation of sentiments in a people, than the large and free character of their habitations. The middle age architecture, the baronial hall and the spacious and lofty rooms of this fine old place, so unlike the mean and cramped externals of English middle class life, gave the feeling of a larger and freer existence, and were to me a sort of poetic culture, aided also by the character of the grounds in which the Abbey stood; which cwere riant and secluded, umbrageous, and full of the sound of falling waters.c
dI owed another of the fortunate circumstances in my education, a year’s residence in France, to Mr. Bentham’s brother, General Sir Samuel Bentham. I had seen Sir Samuel Bentham and his family at their house near Gosport at the time of the tour before mentioned (he being then Superintendant of the Dockyard at Portsmouth) and also during a stay of a few days which they made at Ford Abbey shortly after the peace, before going to live on the Continent. In 1820 they invited me for a six months visit to them in the South of France, ultimately prolonged to nearly a twelvemonthd . Sir Samuel Bentham, though of a character of mind very different from his illustrious brother, was a man of considerable attainments and general mental powers, with a decided geniuse for mechanical art. His wife, a daughter of the celebrated chemist Dr. Fordyce, was a woman of strong will and determined character, much general knowledge, and great practical good sense in the Edgeworth stile: she was the ruling spirit of the household, which she was well qualified to be. Their family consisted of one son (the eminent botanist) and three daughters, the youngest about two years my senior. fI am indebted to them for much instruction, and for an almost parental interest in my improvementf . When I first joined them, in May 1820, they occupied the Chateau of Pompignan (still belonging to a descendant of Voltaire’s enemy) on the heights overlooking the plain of the Garonne between Montauban and Toulouse.g I accompanied them on an excursion to the Pyrenees, including a stay of some duration at Bagnères de Bigorre, a journey to Pau, Bayonne, and Bagnères de Luchon, and an ascent of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. In October we proceeded by the beautiful mountain route of Castres and St. Pons from Toulouse to Montpellier, in which last neighbourhood (a few miles north of Montpellier) they had just bought the estate of Restinclière, which they set about vigorously to improve.h During this sojourn in France I acquired a familiar knowledge of the French language and considerable acquaintance with French books; I took lessons in various bodily exercises, in none of which however I made any proficiency; and at Montpellier I attended the excellent winter courses of lectures at the Faculté des Sciences of the University, those of M. Anglada on chemistry, of M. Provençal on zoology, and of M. Gergonne, on logic, under the name of Philosophy of the Sciences. I also went through a course of the higher branches of mathematics under the able private tuition of M. Lenthéric, a professor at the Lycée of Montpellieri . But the greatest advantage which I derived from this episode in my life was that of having breathed for a whole year the free and genial atmosphere of Continental life. This advantage I could not then judge and appreciate, nor even consciously feel, but it was not the less real. Having so little experience of English life, and the few people I knew being mostly such as had at heart public objects of a large and personally disinterested kind, I was then ignorant of the low moral tone of English society generally; the habit of, not indeed professing, but taking for granted in all modes of implication, that conduct is of course always directed towards low and petty objects; the absence of high feelings which manifests itself by sneering depreciation of all demonstrations of them, and by general abstinence (except among the more fanatical religionists) from professing any high principles of action at all, except in those preordained cases in which such profession is put on as part of the costume or formalities of the occasion. I could not then know or estimate the difference between this manière d’être and that of a people like the French with whom elevated sentiments are the current coin of human intercourse both in writing and in private life; and though doubtlessj often evaporating in profession, are yet, in the nation at large, kept alive by constant exercise, and stimulated by sympathy so as to form an active and living part of the existence of multitudes of persons and to be recognized and understood by all. Neither could I then appreciate that general culture of the understanding which results from the habitual exercise of the feelings and which is thus carried down into the most uneducated classes of the Continent to a degree not equalled in England among the so called educated. I did not know how, among the English, the absence of interest in things of an unselfish kind, except sometimes in a special thing here and there, and the habit of not speaking to others, nor much even to themselves, about the things in which they are interested, makes both their feelings and their intellectual faculties remain undeveloped, or develope themselves only in some single and very limited direction, and reduces them to a kind of negative existence. All this I did not perceive till long afterwards: but I even then felt, though without stating it clearly to myself, the contrast between the frank sociability and amiability of French personal intercourse, and the English mode of existence in which everybody acts as if everybody else (with perhaps a few individual exceptions) was either an enemy or a bore. In France, it is true, the bad as well as the good points of individual character come more to the surface and break out more fearlessly in ordinary intercourse, than in England, but the general manner of the people is to shew, as well as to expect, friendly feeling wherever there is not some positive cause for its opposite. In England it is only of the best bred people (either in the upper or middle ranks) that as much can be saidk .
In my way through Paris to the South I stayed some days and in my return lseverall weeks in the house of M. Say, the political economist, who was a correspondent of my father, having become acquainted with him on a visit to England a year or two after the peace. I remembered M. Say as a visitor to Ford Abbey. He was a man of the later period of the French Revolution, a fine specimen of the best kind of old French republican, one of those who had never bent the knee to Bonaparte though courted by him; a thoroughly upright and brave man. He lived a quiet and studious life, made, I should think, happy by warm affections, public and private. He was acquainted with many of the chiefs of the Liberal party: but the only one of them whom I remember seeing at that time was M. Ternaux, the manufacturer, who then lived at the beautiful place formerly Necker’s at St. Ouen. The other persons of note whom I saw were M. Destutt-Tracy; M. Dunoyer; M. Duméril the zoologist; M. Clement-Desormes, the chemist; a more eminent chemist Berthollet, who was a friend of Sir S. Bentham but not of M. Say, being on the opposite side in politics; and I have pleasure in the recollection of having once seen Saint Simon, not then known as the founder either of a philosophy or of a religion but considered only as a clever original.mThe chief fruit which I carried away from the society I saw, wasm a strong interest in Continental Liberalism, of which I always afterwards kept myself au courant as much as of English politics. After passing a few weeks at Caen with an nearlyn friend of my father’s, I returned to England in July 1821.
For the next year or so I continued my old studies, with the addition of some new ones. When I returned my father was just finishing for the press his Elements of Political Economy, and he made me perform as an exercise on the manuscript, what Mr. Bentham practised on all his own writings, namely, making what he called “marginal contents”; a short abstract of every paragraph, to enable the writer more easily to judge of, and improve, the order of the ideas, and the general character of the exposition. Shortly after this, my father put into my hands Condillac’s Traité des Sensations, and the alogical and metaphysicala volumes of his Cours d’Etudes;bthe first (notwithstanding the superficial resemblance between Condillac’s psychological system and my father’s own theory) rather as a warning than as an exampleb . I am not sure whether it was in this winter or the next that I first read a history of the French Revolution. I learnt with astonishment that the principles of democracy then apparently in so insignificant and hopeless a minority everywhere in Europe, had borne down everything before them in France thirty years earlier, and had been the creed of the nation. As may be supposed from this, I had previously had a very vague idea of that great commotion. I knew nothing about it except that the French had thrown off the absolute monarchy of Louis 14th and 15th, had put the king and queen to death, guillotined many persons, one of whom was Lavoisier, and had ultimately fallen under the despotism of Bonaparte. But from this time the subject took an immense hold of my feelings. It allied itself with all my juvenile aspirations to the character of a democratic champion. What had happened so lately, seemed as if it might easily happen again: and the greatest glory I was capable of conceiving was that of figuring, successful or unsuccessful, as a Girondist in an English Convention.
In the course of the winter of 1821/2 Mr. Austin, with whom at the time when I went to France my father had but lately become acquainted, allowed me to read Roman law with him. At this time my father, notwithstanding his abhorrence of the chaos of barbarism called English law, had turned his thoughts towards the bar as on the whole less ineligible for me than any other profession: and these readings of Roman law with Mr. Austin, who had made cBentham’s bestc ideas his own and added many others to them, were not only a valuable introduction to legal studies but an important branch of general education. With Mr. Austin I went through Heineccius on the Institutes, his Roman Antiquities, and part of his exposition of the Pandects; with the addition of a considerable part of Blackstone. It was on this occasion that my father, as a needful accompaniment to these studies, put into my hands Bentham’s principal speculations, as interpreted to the Continental world and indeed to the world in general by Dumont, in the Traité de Législation. The reading of this book was an event in my life; one of the turning points of my mental history.
My previous education had been, in a great measure, a course of Benthamism. The Benthamic standard of “the greatest happiness” was that which I had always been taught to apply; I was even familiar with an abstract discussion of it contained in a manuscript dialogue on government, written by my father on the Platonic modeld . Yet in the first few pages of Bentham it burst on me with all the force of novelty. What thus impressed me was the chapter in which Bentham examined the common modes of reasoning on morals and legislation, deduced from phrases like “law of nature,” “right reason,” “the moral sense,” “natural rectitude,” and the like, and characterized them as dogmatism in disguise, imposing its own sentiments upon other people by the aid of sounding phrases which convey no reason for the sentiment but set up the sentiment as its own reason. This struck me at once as truee. The feeling rushed upon me that all previous moralists were superseded, ande that here indeed was the commencement of a new era in thought. This impression was strengthened by the manner in which Bentham gave a scientific form to the application of the happiness principle to the morality of actions, by analysing the various classes and orders of consequences. But what most of all impressed me was the Classification of Offences; which is much more clear, compact, and imposing in Dumont’s redaction than in the original work of Bentham from which it was taken. Logic and the Dialogues of Plato, which had formed so large a part of my intellectual training, had given me a great relish for accurate classification; this taste had been strengthened and enlightened by the study of botany, on the principles of the so called Natural Method which I had taken up with great zealf during my stay in France: and when I found scientific classification applied to the large and complex subject of Punishable Acts, under the guidance of the ethical principle of Pleasurable and Painful Consequences followed out in the method of detail introduced into these subjects by Bentham, I felt taken up to an eminence from which I could survey a vast mental domain and see stretching out in the distance, intellectual results beyond all computation. As I proceeded farther, to this intellectual clearness there seemed to be added the most inspiring prospects of practical improvement in human affairs. To Bentham’s general views of the construction of a body of law I was not altogether a stranger, having read with attention that admirable compendium, my father’s article “Jurisprudence”: but I had read it with little profit, and almost without interest, no doubt on account of its extremely general and abstract character, and also because it concerned the form more than the substance of the corpus juris, the logic rather than the ethics of law. But Bentham’s subject was Legislation, of which Jurisprudence is only the formal part; and at every page he seemed to open a clearer and larger conception of what human opinions and institutions ought to be, how far removed from it they were, and how they might be made what they ought to be. When I laid down the last volume of the Traité I was a different being. The “principle of utility,” understood as Bentham understood it, and applied in the manner in which he applied it through these three volumes, fell exactly into its place as the keystone which held together the detached and fragmentary portions of my knowledge and beliefs. It gave unity to my conceptions of things. I now had opinions; a creed, a doctrine, a philosophy; in one (and the best) sense of the word, a religion; the inculcation and diffusion of which could be made the principal outward aim of a life. And I had a grand conception laid before me of changes to be made in the condition of mankind by that doctrine. The Traité de Législation winds up with what was to me a most impressive picture of human life as it would be made by such opinions and such laws as are recommended in the book. The anticipations of practicable improvement are studiously moderate, deprecating and discountenancing as reveries of vague enthusiasm much which will one day be so natural to human beings that they will be apt to ascribe intellectual and even moral obliquity to those who could ever think such prospects chimerical. But in my state of mind this apparent superiority to illusions added to the effect of Bentham’s doctrines on me, by heightening the impression of mental power. And the vista of improvement which he did open was large enough, and brilliant enough, to light up my life, as well as to give definiteness to my aspirations.
After this I read from time to time the most important of the other works of Bentham which had at that time been published, either as written by himself or as edited by Dumont. This I did for my own satisfaction: while under my father’s direction my studies were carried into the higher branches of analytic psychology. I read Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding and wrote out an account of it, consisting of a full abstract of every chapter, with such remarks as occurred to me: this was read by, or (I think) to, my father, and discussed throughout. I went through the same processg, of my own motion, with Helvetius De l’Esprit; a book which I greatly admiredg . This writing of abstracts, subject as it was to my father’s censorship, was a most valuable exercise, by compelling precision in conceiving and expressing philosophical doctrines, whether received as truths or merely as the opinions of writers. After Helvetius, my father made me study what he deemed the really master-production in the philosophy of mind, Hartley. This book, though it did not constitute an era in my existence, like the Traité de Législation, made a very similar impression on me in regard to its immediate subject. Hartley’s explanation, incomplete as in many parts it is, of the more complex mental phenomena by the law of association, commended itself to me as a real analysis, and made me feel by contrast the insufficiency of the mere verbal generalizations of Condillac, and even of the instructive gropings and feelings-about for psychological explanations, of Locke. It was at this very time that my father commenced writing his Analysis of the Mind, which carried Hartley’s mode of explaining the phenomena to so much greater length and depth. He could only command the concentration of thought necessary for this work during the complete leisure of his annual holiday of a month or six weeks and he commenced it in the summer of 1822, the first holiday he passed at Dorking; in which neighbourhood from that time to the end of his life, with the exception of two years, he lived h(as far as his official duties permitted) for six months of every yearh . He worked at the Analysis during several successive holidays, and allowed me to read the manuscript portion by portion as it advancedi . The first instalment of it I read in this same summerj . The other principal English writers on mental philosophy I read afterwards as I felt inclined, particularly Berkeley, Hume’s Essays, Dugald Stewart, Reid, and Brown on Cause and Effect. Brown’s Lectures I did not read till two or three years later, nor at that time had my father himself read them.
Among the things read in the course of this year which contributed materially to my developement I should mention a book, written on the foundation of some manuscripts of Bentham and published under the pseudonyme of Philip Beauchamp, entitled Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind. This was an examination not of the truth, but of the usefulness of religious belief, in the most general sense, apart from any supposed special revelation; which, of all the portions of the discussion respecting religion, is the most important in this age, in which real belief in any religious doctrine is feeble, but the opinion of its necessity for moral and social purposes almost universal; and when those who reject revelation very generally take refuge in an optimistic deism, a worship of the order of Nature or of Providence at least as full of contradictions, and as perverting to the moral sentiments, as any of the received forms of Christianity; for if the world has a ruler, and but one ruler, kthat one is certainly far less deserving of worship thank the author of the Sermon on the Mount.[*] Yet very little of a philosophical character has been written by sceptics against the usefulness of the belief in this Being. The volume bearing the name of Philip Beauchamp, which was shewn to my father in manuscript and by him given to me to read and make a marginal analysis of, as I had done of the Elements of Political Economy, made a great impression on mel, and gave me much instruction both on its express subject and on many collateral topics. On reading it lately after an interval of many years, I find it to have the defects as well as the merits of the Benthamic modes of thought, and to contain many weak arguments, but with a great overbalance of sound ones, and much good material for a more philosophic and conclusive treatment of the subjectl .
I have now, I believe, mentioned all the books which had any considerable effect on my early mental developement. From this point I began to carry on my own mental cultivation by writing still more than by reading. In the summer of 1822 I wrote my first argumentative essay: I remember very little about it except that it was an attack on what I regarded as the aristocratic prejudice that the rich were, or were likely to be, superior in moral excellence to the poor. I set about this task unprompted, except by emulation of a little manuscript essay of Mr. Grote. I recollect that my performance was entirely argumentative, without any of the declamation which the subject would admit of, and might be expected to suggest to a young writer. In that department however I was and remained very inapt. Dry argument was the only thing I could manage, or willingly attempted: though passively I was very susceptible to the effect of all composition, whether in the form of poetry or oratory, which appealed to the feelings on any basis of reason. My father was well satisfied with this essay, and as I learnt from others, even much pleased with it; but, perhaps from a desire to promote the exercise of other mental faculties than the argumentative, he advised me to make my next exercise in composition one of the oratorical kind; and accordingly availing myself of my familiarity with Greek history and ideas and with the Athenian orators, I wrote two speeches, one an accusation, the other a defence of Pericles on a supposed impeachment for not marching out to fight the Lacedæmonians on their invasion of Attica. My next essay, suggested by my father, was a reply to Paley’s Natural Theology:[*] and after this I went on writing papers often on subjects very much beyond mme, but with great benefit both from the exercise itself, and from the discussions with my father to which it ledm .
I had now also begun to converse on terms of equality, with the instructed men with whom I came in contact: and the opportunities of such contact naturally became more numerous. The two friends of my father from whom I derived most, nand with whom I most associatedn , were Mr. Grote and Mr. Austin. The acquaintance of both with him was recent, but had ripened rapidly into intimacy. Mr. Grote was introduced to my father by Ricardo, I believe in 1819 (being then about twenty-five years old), and sought assiduously his society and conversation. Already a highly instructed man, he was yet, by the side of my father, a tyro on the great subjects of human opinion; but he rapidly seized on my father’s best ideas, and made them his own: and in the department of political opinion he signalized himself as early as 1820 by a pamphlet in defence of Radical Reform, in reply to a celebrated article by Sir James Mackintosh, then lately published in the Edinburgh Review. Mr. Grote’s father, the old banker, was I believe a thorough Tory and his mother intensely Evangelical, so that for his liberal opinions he was in no way indebted to home influences. But, unlike most persons who have the prospect of being rich by inheritance, he had, though actively engaged in business as a banker, devoted a great portion of time to philosophic studies, and his intimacy with my father decided the character of his subsequent mental progress. Him I often visited, and my conversations with him on politics, ethics, religion and philosophy, gave me, in addition to much instruction, some useful practice in expressing myself and carrying on discussion by word of mouth.
Mr. Austin, a man four or five years older than Mr. Grote, was the eldest son of a retired miller in Suffolk who had made money by contracts during the war and who I othink must have beeno a man of remarkable qualities, from the fact that all his sons are of more than common ability and all eminently gentlemen. At least I can affirm this of three out of the four, and have reason to believe the same of the remaining one with whom as he went early to live abroad I was never much acquainted. The one of whom I am now speaking was for some time an officer in the army, and served in Sicily under Lord William Bentinck. After the peace he sold his commission and studied for the bar, to which he had been called and was endeavouring to get into practice at the time when my father became acquainted with him. He pcould not, like Mr. Grote, be calledp a disciple of my father, but had already formed by reading or thought, many of the same opinions, modified however by his own individual character. He was a man of great intellectual powers, which in conversation appeared still greater: from the energy and richness of expression with which, under the excitement of discussion, he was accustomed to assert and to defend some view or other of most subjects; qand from an appearance ofq not only strong but deliberate and collected will; tinged with a certain bitterness, partly derived from temperament, partly perhaps from personal circumstances, and partly from the general course of his feelings and reflexions. The dissatisfaction with life and the world, felt more or less in the present state of society by every discerning and conscientious mind, was in his case, I think, combined with habitual dissatisfaction with himself, giving a generally melancholy cast to the character, very natural to those whose passive moral susceptibilities are much more than proportioned to their active energies. For it must be said, that the strength of will of which his manner seemed to give such strong assurance, expended itself in manner, and appeared to bear little active fruits except bitterness of expression. With great zeal for human improvement, a strong sense of duty, and habitual precision both in speech and in action, he hardly ever completed any intellectual task of magnitude. He had so high a standard of what ought to be done, so exaggerated a sense of deficiencies in his own performances and was so unable to content himself with the degree of elaboration which the occasion and the purpose required, that he not only spoiled much of his work by overlabouring it, but spent so much time and exertion in superfluous study and thought that when his task ought to have been completed he had generally worked himself into an illness without having half finished what he undertook. From this mental infirmity combined with liability to frequent attacks of disabling though not dangerous ill health, he accomplished through life very little compared with what he seemed capable of; though like Coleridge he might plead as a set off that he had exercised, through his conversation, a highly improving influence on many persons, both as to intellect and sentiments. On me his influence was most salutary. It was moral in the best sense. He took a sincere and kind interest in me, far beyond what was to be expected towards a mere youth from a man of his age, standing, and what seemed austerity of character. There was in his conversation and demeanour a tone of what I have since called high-mindedness, which did not shew itself so much, if the quality existed as much, in any of the other persons with whom at that time I associatedr . My intercourse with him was the more beneficial to me owing to his being of a different mental type from any of the other intellectual men whom I frequented, and his influence was exerted against many of the prejudices and narrownesses which are almost sure to be found in a young man formed by a particular school or a particular set.
His younger brother, Charles Austin, of whom at this time sand for the next year or two I saw muchs , had also a great effect on me though of a different kind. He was but six years older than myself, and at that time had just left the University of Cambridge where he had shone with great éclat as a man of intellect and especially of brilliancy both as an orator and as a converser. His influence among his Cambridge contemporaries deserves to be regarded as an historical event; for to it may in no small degree be traced the tendency towards Liberalism in general, and towards the Benthamic and politico-economic form of Liberalism, which shewed itself among a portion of the more active minded young men of the higher classes, from this time to 1830. The Union Debating Society, then at the height of its reputation, was an arena where what were then thought extreme opinions, in politics and philosophy, were weekly asserted, face to face with their opposites, before audiences consisting of the élite of the Cambridge youth: and though many persons afterwards of more or less note (Mr. Macaulay perhaps the most conspicuous) gained their first oratorical laurels in these debates, the really influential mind among these intellectual gladiators was Charles Austin. He continued after leaving the University to be by his conversation and personal ascendancy a leader among the same class of young men who had been his associates there; and he attached me among others to his car. Through him I became acquainted with Macaulay, Hyde and Charles Villiers, Strutt, and various other young men who afterwards became known in literature or in politics, and among whom I heard discussions on many topics to a certain degree new to me. None of them however had any effect on my developement except Austin: whose influence over me tdiffered from that of the persons whom I have hitherto mentioned, in being not that of a man over a boy but of an older contemporary. Itt was through him that I first felt myself not a pupil with teachers but a man among menu . He was the first person of intellect whom I met on a ground of equality, though obviously and confessedly my superior on that common ground. He was a man who never failed to make a great impression on those with whom he came in contact, even when their opinions were the very opposite of his. The impression which he gave was that of unbounded strength, together with talents which, combined with such apparent force of will and character, seemed made to dominate the world. Those who knew him, whether friendly to him or not, always anticipated that he would play a conspicuous part in public life. It is seldom that men produce so great an immediate effect by speech unless they in some degree lay themselves out for it, and he did so in no ordinary degree. He loved to strike, and even to startle. He knew that decision is the greatest element of effect and he uttered his opinions with all the decision he could throw into them, never so well pleased as when he could astonish any one by their audacity. Very unlike his brother, who made war on the narrower interpretations and applications of the principles they both professed, he on the contrary presented the Benthamic doctrines in the most startling form of which they were susceptible, exaggerating everything in them which tended to consequences offensive to any one’s preconceived feelings. All which, he defended with such verve and vivacity, and carried off by a manner so agreeable as well as forcible, that he always came off victor, or divided the honours of the field with any, however formidable antagonist. It is my belief that much of the popular notion of the tenets and sentiments of what are called Benthamites or Utilitarians, had its foundation in paradoxes thrown out by Charles Austin. It is but fair to add, however, that his example was followed, haud passibus æquis, by younger proselytes, and that to outrer whatever was by anybody considered offensive in the doctrines and maxims of Benthamism, became at one time the badge of a certain, not very numerous, coterie of youths. All of them however who had anything in them, myself among others, quickly outgrew this boyish vanity; and those who had not, became tired of differing from other people, and left off both the good and the bad of the heterodox opinions they for some time professed.
It was in this winter of 1822/23 that I formed the plan of a little society, to be composed of young men agreeing on fundamental principles—that is, acknowledging utility as their first principle in ethics and politics, and a certain number of the principal corollaries drawn from it in the philosophy I had accepted; and meeting once a fortnight to read essays and discuss questions comformably to the premises thus agreed on. This fact would be hardly worth mentioning but for the circumstance, that the name I gave to the little society I had planned was the Utilitarian Society. It was the first time that any one had taken the title of Utilitarian, and the word made its way into the language from this humble source. I did not invent the word, but found it in one of Galt’s novels, the Annals of the Parishv . In one sentence of this book (if my remembrance is correct) the Scotch clergyman of whom it is the supposed autobiography, finding heretical doctrines creeping into his parish about the time of the French Revolution, warns some parishioner not to leave the gospel and become an utilitarian. With a boy’s fondness for a name and a banner I seized on the word, and for some years called myself and others by it as a sectarian appellation: and it came to be a little used (though never very much) by some others holding the opinions which it was intended to designate. As those opinions attracted more notice the term came to be repeated by strangers and opponents, and got into rather common use just about the time when those who had originally assumed it laid down that along with other sectarian characteristics. The society so called consisted at first of only three members, one of whom being Mr. Bentham’s amanuensis we obtained permission to hold our meetings in his house. The number never I think reached ten and the society was broken up in 1826. It had thus an existence of about three years and a half. The chief effect of it as regards myself, over and above practice in woral discussionw , was its bringing me in contact with young men less advanced than myself, among whom, as they professed the same opinions, I became a sort of leader or chief, either directing for the time, or much influencing, their mental progress. Any young man of education who fell in my way, whose opinions were not incompatible with those of the society, I endeavoured to press into its service: and several others I probably should never have known had they not joined it. Those of the members who became my intimate companions were William Eyton Tooke, the eldest son of the eminent political economist, a young man of singular worth both moral and intellectual, lost to the world by an early death; his friend William Ellis, now known by his apostolic exertions for the improvement of education; George Graham, now an official assignee of the Bankruptcy Court: and (from the time when he came to England to study for the bar, in 1824 or 1825) a man who has made considerably more noise in the world, John Arthur Roebuck.
In May 1823 my professional occupation and status were decided by my father’s obtaining for me an appointment from the East India Company, in the office of the Examiner of Indian Correspondence, immediately under himself. I was appointed in the usual manner at the bottom of the list of Clerks, to rise by seniority; but with the understanding that I should be employed from the first in preparing drafts of despatches; and be thus trained up as a successor to those who then filled the higher departments of the office. My drafts of course required at first much revision from my immediate superiors, but I soon became well acquainted with the business, and by my father’s instructions and the general progress of my own powers I was in two or three years qualified to be, and practically was, the chief conductor of the correspondence with India in one of the leading departments, that of the Native States: xand thisx has continued to be my official duty up to the present time. I know no occupation among those by which a subsistence is now gained more suitable than such as this to any one who, not being pecuniarily independent, desires to devote a part of the twenty-four hours to intellectual pursuits. The attempt to earn a living by writing for the press, can be recommended to no one qualified to accomplish anything in the higher departments of literature or speculation: for (not to speak of the uncertainty of such a means of livelihood, especially if the writer has a conscience and will not consent to serve any opinions but his own) it is evident that the writings by which one can live are not the writings which themselves live, or those in which the writer does his best. The books which are to form future thinkers take too much time to write, and when written come in general too slowly into notice and repute to be a resource for subsistence. Those who have to support themselves by literature must depend on literary drudgery, or at best on writings addressed to the multitude, and can employ in the pursuits of their choice only such time as they can spare from those of necessity; generally less than the leisure allowed by office occupations, while the effect on the mind is far more enervating and fatiguing. For my own part I have through life found office duties an actual rest from the occupations which I have carried on simultaneously with them.y They were sufficiently intellectual not to be an onerous drudgery, without being such as to cause any strain upon the mental powers of a person used to abstract thought or even to the labour of careful literary composition. The drawbacks, for every mode of life has its drawbacks, were not, however, unfelt by me. The absence of the chances of riches and honours held out by some professions, particularly the bar (which had been as I said the profession thought of for me) affected me little. But I was not indifferent to exclusion from Parliament and public life: and I felt very sensibly the more immediate unpleasantness of confinement to London, the holiday allowed by India-house practice not exceeding a month in the year, while my taste was strong for a country life and my year in France had left behind it an ardent desire for travelling. But though these tastes could not be freely indulged, they were at no time entirely sacrificed. zI passed most Sundays throughout the year in the country, often in long walksz . The month’s holiday was for a few years spent at my father’s house in the country: afterwards a part or the whole was passed in tours, chiefly pedestrian, with some one or more of the young men who were my companions: and from 1830 onwards the greater part of it was in most years employed in visits to friends whose acquaintance I made in that year, or in journeys or excursions in which I accompanied them.a France, Belgium, and Rhenish Germany have been within easy reach of the annual holiday: and two longer absences, one of three, the other of six months, under medical advice, added Switzerland, the Tyrol, and Italyb to my list. Fortunately also both these journeys occurred rather early, so as to give the benefit and charm of the remembrance to a large portion of life.
The occupation of so much of my time by office work did not relax my attention to my own pursuits, which were never carried on more vigorouslya . It was about this time that I began to write in newspapers. The first writings of mine which got into print were two letters published towards the end of 1822 in the Traveller evening newspaper, on I forget what abstract point of political economy. The Traveller (which soon after grew into the Globe and Traveller by the purchase and incorporation of the Globe) was then the property of the well known political economist Colonel Torrens, and under the editorship of an able man, Mr. Walter Coulson (who after being an amanuensis of Bentham, became a reporter, then an editor, next a barrister and conveyancer, and is now counsel to the Home Office), had become one of the most important newspaper organs of liberal politics. Col. Torrens himself wrote much of the political economy of his paper, and had at this time made an attack on some opinion of Ricardo and my father to which at my father’s instigation I wrote an answer and Coulson out of consideration for my father and good will to me, inserted it. There was a reply by Torrens to which I again rejoined. I soon after attemptedb something more ambitious. The prosecutions of Richard Carlile and his wife and sister for publishing books hostile to Christianity, were then exciting much attention, and nowhere more than among the people I frequented. Freedom of discussion even in politics, much more in religion, was at that time far from being, even in theory, the conceded point which it at least seems to be now; and it was necessary for the holders of obnoxious opinions to be always ready to argue and reargue for liberty to express them. I wrote a series of five letters, under the signature of Wickliffe, going over the whole length and breadth of the question of free publication of all opinions on religion, and offered them to the Morning Chronicle. The first three were published in January and February 1823; the others contained things too outspoken for that journal and never appeared at all. But a paper which I wrote some time after on the same subject, a propos of a debate in the House of Commons, was inserted as a leading article: and during the whole of this year, 1823. I sent a considerable number of contributions to the Chronicle and Traveller, sometimes notices of books, but oftener letters commenting on some nonsense talked in parliament, or some defect of the law or misdoings of the magistracy or the courts of justice. In this last department the Chronicle was now rendering signal service. After the death of Mr. Perry, the whole editorship and management of the paper had fallen into the hands of Mr. John Black, long a reporter on its establishment, a man of most extensive reading and information, great honesty and simplicity of mind: a particular friend of my father, imbued with many of his and Bentham’s best ideas, which as a writer he reproduced together with many other valuable thoughts, with great facility and skill. From this time the Chronicle ceased to be the merely Whig organ it was before, and became to a very considerable extent, for the next ten years, a vehicle of the opinions of the utilitarian radicals. This was mainly by Black’s own articles, with some assistance from Fonblanque, who first shewed his eminent qualities as a writer by articles and jeux d’esprit in the Chronicle. The defects of the law and of the administration of justice were the subject on which that paper rendered most service to improvement. Up to that time hardly a word had been said, except by Bentham and my father, against that most peccant part of English institutions and of their administration. It was the almost universal creed of Englishmen, that the law of England, the judicature of England, the unpaid magistracy of England, were models of excellence. I express my sober conviction when I say that after Bentham who supplied the whole materials, the greatest share of the glory of breaking down this miserable superstition belongs to Black, as editor of the Morning Chronicle. He kept up an incessant fire against it, exposing the absurdities and vices of the law and the courts of justice, paid and unpaid, until he forced some sense of them into people’s minds. On many other important questions he became the organ of opinions much in advance of any which had ever before found regular advocacy in the newspaper press; only avoiding any direct radical confession of faith which would have brought the paper into a collision with all who called themselves Whigs, fatal to its prosperity and influence. Black was a frequent visitor of my father,c and Mr. Grote used to say that he always knew by the Monday morning’s article, whether Black had been with my father on the Sunday. Black was one of the most influential of the many channels through which my father’s conversation and personal influence made his opinions tell on the world; cooperating with the effect of his own writings in making him a power in the country such as no individual has since exercised, in a private station, by mere force of intellect and character; and a power which was often acting the most efficiently when it was least seen or suspected. I have already noticed how much of what was done by Ricardo, Hume, and Grote was done at his prompting and persuasion; he was the good genius by the side of Brougham in all he ever did for the public, either on education, law reform, or any other subject. And his influence flowed in minor streams too numerous to be specified. This influence now received a great extension by the foundation of the Westminster Review.
Contrary to what might be supposed, my father was in no degree a party to the setting up of the Westminster Reviewd . The need of a Radical review to make head against the Edinburgh and Quarterly (then in the period of their greatest reputation and influence) had been a topic of conversation between him and Mr. Bentham many years earlier, and it had then been part of their chateau en Espagne that my father should be the editore, but the idea had never assumed a practical shapee . fIn 1823 however Mr. Bentham determined to establish the review at his own cost, and offered the editorship to my father, who declined it, as being incompatible with his India House appointment. It was then entrusted to Mr. Bowring, at that time engaged in mercantile businessf . Mr. Bowring had for two or three years previous been an assiduous frequenter of Bentham, to whom he was recommended by many personal good qualities, by an ardent admiration for Bentham, a zealous adoption of many though not all of his opinions, and not least by an extensive acquaintanceship and correspondence with Liberals of all countries, which seemed to qualify him for being a powerful agent in spreading Bentham’s fame and doctrines through all quarters of the world. My father had seen little of Bowring, but knew enough of him to be convinced that he was a man of an entirely different type from what my father deemed suitable for conducting a political and philosophical review: and he augured so ill of the enterprise that he regretted it altogether, feeling persuaded not only that Bentham would lose his money, but that discredit would be brought upon radical principles. gSince however it was to be attempted, he could not refuse to write for itg . He consented therefore to write an article for the first number: and as it had been part of the plan formerly talked of between him and Bentham that a portion of the work should be devoted to reviewing the other Reviews, this article of my father’s was a general review of the Edinburgh. Before he began writing it he hput my services in requisition, toh read through all the numbers of the Edinburgh Review from its commencement, or at least as much of them as seemed important (this was not then so onerous a task as it would be now, the review having only lasted twenty years of the fifty and upwards which it now reckons), making notes for him of the articles which I thought he would wish to examine, either on account of their good or their bad qualities. The article is I think one of the most striking of all his writings, both in conception and in execution. He began with an analysis of the tendencies of periodical literature in general; pointing out that since it cannot, like a book, wait for success, but must succeed immediately or not at all, it is almost certain to profess and inculcate the opinions already held by the public to which it addresses itself, instead of attempting to rectify them. He next, by way of characterizing the position of the Edinburgh Review as a political organ, entered into a complete analysis of the British Constitution. He commented on its thoroughly aristocratic composition; the nomination of a majority of the House of Commons by a few hundred families; the different classes which this narrow oligarchy was obliged to admit to a share of power; and finally, what he called its two props, the Church, and the legal profession. He then pointed out the natural tendency of an aristocratic body of this composition, to group itself into two parties, one of them in possession of the executive, the other seeking to become so, and endeavouring to supplant the former and become the predominant section by the aid of public opinion. He described the course likely to be pursued, and the political ground occupied, by an aristocratical party in opposition, coquetting with popular principles for the sake of popular support. He shewed how this idea was realized in the conduct of the Whig party, and of the Edinburgh Review, as the chief literary organ of that party. He noted as their principal characteristic what he termed “seesaw”; writing alternately on both sides of every question which touched the power or interest of the governing classes: sometimes in different articles, sometimes in different parts of the same article. And this he illustrated by copious specimens. So formidable an attack on the Whig party and policy had never before been made; nor had so great a blow ever been struck, in this country, for radicalism: and there was not, I believe, any person living who could have written that article except my father.*
In the meantime the nascent review had formed a junction with another project, of a purely literary periodical to be edited by Mr. Henry Southern, afterwards known as a diplomatist, then a literary man by professionj . The two editors agreed to unite their corps and to divide the editorship, Bowring taking the political, Southern the literary department. Southern’s review was to have been published by Longman, and that firm, though part proprietors of the Edinburgh, were willing to be the publishers of the new journal. But when all the arrangements had been made, and the prospectuses sent out, the Longmans saw my father’s attack on the Edinburgh and drew back. My father was now appealed to for his interest with his own publisher, Baldwin; to whom he spoke accordingly with a successful result. And so, amidst anything but hope on my father’s part, and that of most of those who afterwards aided in carrying on the review, the first number made its appearance.
That number was an agreeable surprise to us. The average of the articles was of much better quality than had been expected. The literary and artistic department had rested chiefly on Mr. Bingham, a barrister on the Western Circuit (subsequently a Police Magistrate) who had been some years a frequenter of Bentham, was a friend of both the Austins, and had adopted with great ardour Mr. Bentham’s philosophical opinions. Partly I believe from accident, there were in the first number no less than five articles by Bingham; and we were extremely pleased with them. I well remember the mixed feeling I myself had about the Review; the joy at finding, what we did not at all expect, that it was sufficiently good to be capable of being made a creditable organ of those who held the opinions it professed; and extreme vexation, since it was so good in the main, at what we thought the blemishes of it: there were two articles in particular which I individually took extremely to heart.[*] When however, in addition to our favourable opinion of it on the whole, we found that it had an extraordinarily large sale for a first number, and that the appearance of a Radical Review of pretensions equal to those of the established organs of parties had excited considerable attention, there was no room for hesitation, and we all became eager in exerting ourselves as much as possible to strengthen and improve it.
k My father continued to write occasionally. First the Quarterly Review received its exposure, as a sequel to that of the Edinburgh: of his other contributions the most important were an attack on Southey’s Book of the Church in the fifth number, and a political article in the twelfth. Mr. Austin only contributed one article, but one of great merit, an argument against primogeniture, in reply to an article then lately published in the Edinburgh Review by McCulloch. Grote also was a contributor only once, all the time he could spare being already taken up by his History of Greece, which he had commenced at my father’s instigation. The article he wrote was on his own subject, and was a very complete exposure and castigation of Mitford. Bingham and Charles Austin continued to write for some numbers; Fonblanque was a frequent contributor from the third number. Of my particular set, Ellis was a regular writer up to the ninth number and about the time when he left off others of the set began: Eyton Tooke, Graham, and Roebuck. I myself was the most frequent writer of all, having contributed from the second number to the eighteenth, thirteen articlesl; chieflyl reviews of books on history and political economy, or discussions on special political topics, as corn laws, game laws, law of libel. Occasional articles of merit came in from other macquaintancesm of my father’s, and in time, of mine; and some of Dr. Bowring’s writers turned out well. On the whole however, the conduct of the review was never satisfactory to any of the persons strongly interested in its principles with whom I came in contact. Hardly ever did a number come out which did not contain several things extremely offensive to us, either in point of opinions, or of taste, or by mere want of ability. The unfavourable judgments passed by my father, Grote, the two Austins and others, were reechoed with exaggeration by us younger people: and as our nyouthful zealn rendered us by no means backward in making complaints, we led the two editors a sad life. From my remembrance of what I then was, I have no manner of doubt that we were at least as often wrong as right; and I am very certain that if the review had been carried on according to our notions (I mean those of the juniors) it would have been no better, perhaps not even so good as it was. But it is a fact of some interest in the history of English radicalism, that its chief philosophical organ was from the beginning extremely unsatisfactory to those, whose opinions it was supposed especially to represent.
In the meanwhile however the review made a considerable noise in the world, and gave a recognized status in the arena of opinion and discussion to the Benthamic type of radicalism quite out of proportion to theo number of its adherents and to the personal merits or abilities, at that time, of any but some three or four of them. It was a time, as is well known, of rapidly rising Liberalism. When the fears and animosities accompanying the war against France were ended, and people had room in their minds for thoughts on home politics, the tide began to set towards reform. The renewed oppression of the Continent by the old reigning families, the countenance given by the English Government to the conspiracy against liberty called the Holy Alliance, and the enormous weight of the national debt and of taxation occasioned by so long and costly a war, rendered the government and the parliament very unpopular: and Radicalism, under the lead of the Burdetts and Cobbetts, had assumed a character which seriously alarmed the Administration. Their apprehensions had scarcely been temporarily allayed by the Six Acts, when the trial of Queen Caroline excited a still wider and deeper feeling of hatred: and though the outward signs of this hatred passed away with its exciting cause, there arose on all sides a spirit which had never shewn itself before, of opposition to abuses in detail. Mr. Hume’s persevering scrutiny of the public expenditure, forcing the House of Commons to a division on every objectionable item in the estimates, had begun to tell with great force on public opinion. Political economy had asserted itself with great vigour in public affairs, by the Petition of the Merchants of London for Free Trade drawn up in 1820 by Mr. Tooke and presented by Mr. Baring; and by the noble exertions of Ricardo during the few years of his parliamentary life. His writings, following up the impulse given by the Bullion Controversy, and followed up in their turn by the expositions and comments of my father and McCulloch, had drawn general attention to the subject, making converts, partially at least, even among the ministers; and Huskisson, backed by Canning, had already commenced that gradual demolition of the protective system, which one of their colleagues virtually completed in 1846. pMr. Peelp , then Home Secretary, was entering, though very cautiously, into the untrodden and peculiarly Benthamic path of Law Reform. At this time, when Liberalism seemed to be becoming the tone of the times, when improvement of institutions was preached from the highest places, and a complete change of the constitution of parliament was loudly demanded from the lowest, it is not wonderful that attention was roused by the regular appearance in controversy of what seemed a new school of writers, claiming to be the philosophers and legislators of this new tendency. The air of strong persuasionq with which they wrote, while scarcely any one else seemed to have as strong faith in as definite a creed; the boldness with which they ran full tilt against the very front of both the existing political parties; their uncompromising profession of opposition to many of the most generally received opinions; the talent and verve of at least my father’s articles, and the appearance of a corps behind him sufficient to carry on a review: and finally the fact that the review sold and was read,r made the so called Bentham school in philosophy and politics fill a greater place in the public mind than it ever had done before or has done since. As I was in the head quarters of it, knew of what it was composed, and as one of the most active of its very small number might even say, quorum pars magna fui, it belongs to me more than to most others, to give some account of it.
This supposed school, then, shad no other existence than was constituted bys a considerable amount of my father’s influence: for example, Black (as before mentioned) and Fonblanque: but most of these we accounted only partial allies. Fonblanque for instance was widely divergent from us on many important points. But indeed there was by no means complete unanimity among any portion of us nor had any of usv adopted implicitly all my father’s opinions. For example, the paragraph in his Essay on Government,w in which he maintained that women might without compromising good government be excluded from the suffrage because their interest is the same with that of men—from this I and all those who formed my chosen associates, most positively dissented. It is due to my father to say that he always denied having intended to say that women should be excluded, any more than men under the age of forty, concerning whom he maintained in the very next paragraph an exactly similar thesis. He was, as he truly said, not discussing whether the suffrage ought to be restricted to less than all, but (assuming that it is to be restricted) what is the utmost limit of restriction which does not involve a sacrifice of the securities for good government. But I thought then, as I have always thought since, that even the opinion which he acknowledged was as great an error as any of those which his Essay combated; that the interest of women is exactly as much and no more involved in that of men, as the interest of subjects is involved in that of kings, and that every reason which exists for giving the suffrage to anybody, imperatively requires that it be given to women. This was also the general opinion of the younger proselytes: and it is pleasant to be able to say that Bentham on this most important point, was wholly with us.
But though none of us, probably, agreed in everything with my father, yet as I said before, his opinions gave the general character and colour to the band, or set, or whatever else it may be called; which was not characterized by Benthamism, in any sense which has relation to Bentham as a guide, but rather by a combination of Bentham’s point of view with that of the modern political economy, and with that of the Hartleian metaphysics. Malthus’s population principle was quite as much a banner, and point of union among us, as any opinion specially belonging to Bentham. This doctrine, originally brought forward as an argument against the indefinite improvability of human affairs, we took up with great zeal in the contrary sense, as indicating the sole means of realizing that improvability, by securing full employment at high wages to the whole labouring population through a restriction of the increase of their numbers. The other leading characteristics of our creed, as mainly derived from my father, may be stated as follows.
In politics, xan almost unboundedx confidence in the efficacy of two things: representative government, and complete freedom of discussion. So great was my father’s reliance on the influence of reason upon the minds of mankind, whenever it was allowed to reach them, that he felt as if all would be gained if the people could be universally taught to read, if all sorts of opinions were allowed to be preached to them by word and writing, and if through the suffrage they could nominate a legislature to give effect to their opinion when formed. He thought that if the legislature no longer represented a class interest it would mostly aim at the general interest with adequate wisdom, as the people would be sufficiently under the guidance of educated intelligence to make in general a good choice of representatives and to leave a liberal discretion to those whom they had chosen. Accordingly aristocratic government, the government of the Few in any of its shapes, was the object of his sternest disapprobation, and a democratic suffrage the principal article of his political creed, not on the ground of “rights of man,” “liberty” or any of the phrases more or less significant by which up to that time democracy had usually been defended, but as the most essential of “securities for good government.” In this too he held fast only to what he deemed essentials: he was comparatively indifferent to monarchical or republican forms, far more so than Bentham, to whom a king, in the character of “corrupter general,” appeared necessarily very noxious. Next to aristocracy, an established church, or corporation of priests, was the object of his strongest detestation; though he disliked no clergyman personally who did not deserve it, and was on terms of sincere friendship with several. I have already spoken of his rejection of both Christianity and Deism, both of which he regarded not only as false but as morally mischievous. In ethics his standard was utility or the general happiness; and his moral feelings were energetic and rigid on all points which he deemed important to human well being, while he was supremely indifferent to all those doctrines of the common morality which he thought had no foundation but in asceticism and priestcraft. He looked forward for example to a great increase of freedom in the relations between the sexes; and he anticipated as one of the beneficial effects of that freedom, that the imagination would no longer dwell upon the physical relation and its adjuncts, and swell this into one of the principal objects of life, which perversion of the imagination and feelings he regarded as one of the deepest seated and most pervading evils in the human mindy . In psychology his fundamental doctrine was the formation of all human character by circumstances, through the principle of association, and the consequent unlimited possibility of improving the moral and intellectual attributes of mankind by education. Of all his doctrines none was more valuable than this, or needs more to be insisted on: unfortunately there is none which is more in contradiction to the prevailing tendency of speculation both in his time and at present.
These various opinions were seized on with youthful fanaticism by the little knot of young men of whom I was one; and we threw into them a sectarian spirit from which, in intention at least, my father was free. What we (or rather a phantom substituted in the place of us) were by a ridiculous exaggeration called by others, namely a “school,” we for some time really hoped and aspired to be. In the first two or three years of the Westminster Review, the French philosophes of the eighteenth century were the example we sought to imitate and we hoped to accomplish as much as they did. I even proposed to myself to chronicle our doings, from that early period, on the model of Grimm’s Correspondence,[*] and actually for some time kept a journal with that intention. Charles Austin had a project of a Philosophical Dictionary, suggested by Voltaire’s, in which everything was to be spoken out freely; I entered eagerly into it and sent three or four articles (the only ones, I believe, ever written) towards a commencement of it. My particular companions and Charles Austin’s however did not much associate with one another: an attempt we made to bring them together periodically at his lodgings was soon given up, and he and I did not long travel in the same direction. The head quarters of me and my zassociatesz was not my father’s house but Grote’s, which I very much frequented. Every new proselyte and every one whom I hoped to make a proselyte, I took there to be indoctrinated. Grote’s opinions were at that time very much the same both in their strong and their weak points as those of us younger people, but he was of course very much more formed, and incomparably the superior of all of us in knowledge and present abilities.
All this however is properly the outside of our existence; or at least the intellectual part alone, and only one side of that. In attempting to penetrate inward, and to shew what we really were as human beings, I shall at present speak only of myself, of whom alone I can speak from sufficient knowledge.
I conceive, then, that for these two or three years of my life the description commonly given of a Benthamite, as a dry, hard logical machine, was as much applicable to me, as it can well be applicable to any one just entering into life; to whom the common objects of desire must in general have at least the attraction of novelty. aAmbitiona and desire of distinction I had in abundance; and zeal for what I thought the good of mankind was my most predominant sentiment, mixing with and colouring all other wishes and feelings. But this zeal, at that period of my life, was as yet little else than zeal for speculative opinions. It did not proceed from genuine benevolence or sympathy with mankind; though those qualities held btheir dueb place in my moral creed. Nor was it connected with any high enthusiasm for ideal nobleness. yet of this feeling I was imaginatively very susceptible; but there was at that time an intermission in me of what is its natural source, poetical culture; while there was a superabundance of the discipline antagonistic to it, that of mere logic and analysis. Add to this that the tendency of my father’s teachings was to the undervaluing of feeling. It was not that he was himself hard hearted or insensible; I believe it was rather from the contrary quality; he thought that feeling could take care of itself, and that there was sure to be enough of it if actions were properly cared about. Offended by the frequency with which in ethical and philosophical controversy, feeling is made the ultimate reason and justification of conduct, instead of being itself called on for a justification; while in practice, actions, the effect of which on human happiness is mischievous, are defended as being required by feeling, and the character of a person of feeling receives a credit for desert which he thought only due to actions, he had a real impatience of the attributing praise to feeling or of any but the most sparing reference to it either in the estimation of persons or in the discussion of things. In addition to the influence which this characteristic in him had on me and others, we found all our principal opinions constantly attacked on the ground of feeling. Utility was denounced as cold calculation; political economy as hard hearted; anti-population doctrines as repulsive to the natural feelings of mankind. We retorted by the word “sentimentality” which along with “declamation” and “vague generalities” served us as common terms of opprobrium. Although we were generally right as against those who were opposed to us, the effect was that the cultivation of feeling (except, indeed, the feelings of public and private duty) had very little place in the thoughts of most of us, myself in particular.c All we thought of was to alter people’s opinions; to make them believe according to evidence, and know what was their real interest, which if they knew, they would by “public opinion” enforce a regard to it from one another. While fully recognizing the superior excellence of unselfish benevolence and love of justice, we expected the regeneration of mankind not from any direct action on those sentiments but from educated intellect enlightening the selfish feelings. Although this last is an important means of improvement in the hands of those who are themselves impelled by nobler principles of action, I do not believe that any one person known to me now relies mainly upon it for the regeneration of human life.
From this neglect both in theory and practice of the cultivation of feeling, naturally resulted among other things an undervaluing of poetry, and of Imagination generally as an element of human nature. It is or was part of the common notion of Benthamites that they are enemies to poetry: this was partly true of Bentham; he used to say “all poetry is misrepresentation”: but in the sense in which he meant it, the same thing might be said of all impressive speech, of all representation or inculcation more oratorical in its character than a sum in arithmetic. An article of Bingham’s in the first number of the Westminster, in which he gave as an explanation of some things which he disliked in Moore that “Mr. Moore is a poet and therefore is not a reasoner,” did a good deal to attach the notion of hating poetry to the writers in the review. But the truth was that (to speak only of poetry in the narrowest, the purely literary sense) many of us, and Bingham himself, were great readers of poetry, and as for myself, who at that time was not so, the correct statement would be (and the same thing might be said of my father) that I was speculatively indifferent to poetry, not hostile to it. I disliked any sentiments in poetry which I should have disliked in prose, and that included a great deal. And I was wholly blind to its place in human culture as dad means of educating the feelings. Bute I was always personally very susceptible to some kinds of it. In the most sectarian period of my Benthamism I happened to look into Pope’s Essay on Man, and though every opinion in it was contrary to mine I well remember how much I was struck with the poem. I do not know whether at that time poetical composition of any higher type than eloquent discussion in verse, would have produced a similar effect on me.
This however was a mere passing state. Long before I outgrew the narrowness of my taught opinions, or enlarged in any considerable degree the basis of my intellectual creed, I had obtained in the natural course of my mental progress, poetic culture of the most valuable kind, by means of reverential admiration for the lives and characters of heroic persons; especially the heroes of philosophy. The same animating effect which so many remarkable persons have left on record that they had experienced from Plutarch’s Lives, was produced on me by Plato’s pictures of Socrates, and by some modern biographies, but chiefly by Condorcet’s Life of Turgot; a book well calculated to excite the best sort of enthusiasm, since it contains one of the noblest and wisest of lives, described by one of the noblest and wisest of men. The heroic virtue of these admirable representatives of the opinions with which I sympathized, deeply affected me, and I perpetually recurred to them as others do to a favourite poet, when needing to be carried up into the more elevated regions of feeling and thought. I may observe by the way that this book also cured me of my sectarian tastes. The two or three pages beginning “Il regardait toute secte comme nuisible,” and explaining why Turgot always kept himself distinct from the Encyclopedists, sank deeply into mef . I left off designating myself and others as Utilitarians, or by the pronoun “we,” or any other collective denomination: I ceased to afficher sectarianism: but my real, inward sectarianism I got rid of later and much more gradually.
About the end of 1824 or beginning of 1825, Mr. Bentham, having lately got back his papers on Evidence from M. Dumont (whose Traité de Preuves Judiciaires, grounded on them, was then first completed and published), resolved to have them printed in the original and bethought himself of me as capable of preparing them for the press; in the same manner as his Book of Fallacies had been recently edited by Bingham. I undertook this task, and it occupied nearly all my leisure for about a year, exclusive of the time afterwards spent in seeing the five large volumes through the press. Bentham had begun the book three times, at considerable intervals, each time in a different manner, and each time without reference to the preceding: two of the three times he had gone over nearly the whole field. These three masses of papers I had to condense into a single treatise: adopting the one last written as the groundwork, and inserting into it as much of the two others as it had not completely superseded. I had also to unroll such of Bentham’s involved and parenthetical sentences as seemed to me to overpass in obscurity what readers were likely to take the pains to understand. Further, it was Bentham’s particular desire that I should endeavour to supply, from myself, any lacunæ which he had left: and I read at his instance Phillipps on the Law of Evidence and part of Starkie[*] and wrote gcommentsg on those few among the defective points in the English rules of evidence which had escaped Bentham’s notice. I added replies to the objections which had been made to some of Bentham’s doctrines by reviewers of the Traité des Preuves, and a few supplementary remarks on some of the more abstract parts of the subject, such as the theory of improbability and impossibility. The tone of these additions, or at least of the controversial part of them, was hmore assuming than becameh one so young and inexperienced as I was: but indeed I had never contemplated coming forward in my own person; and, as an anonymous editor of Bentham, I fell into the tone of my author, not thinking that tone unsuitable to him or to the subject however it might be so to me. My name as editor was put to the book after it was printed, at Bentham’s positive desire, which I in vain attempted to persuade him to forego.
The time occupied in this editorial work was extremely well employed for my own improvement. The Rationale of Judicial Evidence is one of the richest in matter of all Bentham’s writings. The theory of evidence being itself one of the most important of his subjects, and ramifying into most of the others, the book contains a great proportion of all his best thoughts: while, among more special things, it comprises the most elaborate exposure of the vices of English law which he ever made, including not the law of evidence only, but by way of illustrative episode, the whole procedure or practice of the courts of justice. The direct knowledge, therefore, which I obtained from the book and which was imprinted on me much more thoroughly than it could have been by mere reading, was itself no inconsiderable acquisition. But this ioccupationi also did for me what might seem less to be expected: it gave a great start to my powers of composition. Everything which I wrote after this editorial work was markedly superior to anything I had written before it.j Bentham’s later style as is well known, was heavy and cumbersome, from the excess of a good quality, the love of precision, which made him introduce clause within clause into the heart of every sentence, that the reader might take into his mind all the qualifications simultaneously with the main proposition: and the habit grew on him until his sentences became, to those not accustomed to them, most laborious reading. But his earlier stile, that of the Fragment on Government, Plan of a Judicial Establishment, &c., is a model of liveliness and ease combined with fulness of matter scarcely ever surpassed: and of this earlier stile there were many striking specimens in the Manuscripts on Evidence, all of which I endeavoured to preserve. So long a course of this admirable writing had a great effect on my own; and I increased that effect by the assiduous reading of other styles, both French and English, which combined ease with force, such as Fielding, Goldsmith, Pascal, Voltaire, kand Courierk . Through these influences my writing lost the jejuneness of my early compositions: the bones and cartilages began to clothe themselves with flesh and the stile became, at times, lively and almost light.
This improvement was first shewn in a new field. Mr. Marshall, of Leeds, father of the present generation of Marshalls, an earnest parliamentary reformer, and a man of large fortune of which he made a liberal use, had been much struck with Bentham’s Book of Fallacies: and the thought occurred to him that it would be useful to publish annually the Parliamentary Debates, not in chronological order as in Hansard, but classified according to subjects, and accompanied by a commentary pointing out the fallacies of the speakers. With this intention he very naturally addressed himself to the editor of The Book of Fallacies; and Bingham, with the assistance of Charles Austin, undertook the editorship. The work was called Parliamentary History and Review. Its sale was not sufficient to keep it in existence, and it only lasted three yearsl . It excited however some attention among parliamentary and political people. The best strength of the party was put forth in it; and its execution did them much more credit than that of the Westminster had ever done. Bingham and Charles Austin wrote much in it; so did Strutt, Romilly and some other mliberal lawyersm . My father wrote one very able article; the elder Austin another. Coulson wrote one of great merit. I myself was selected to lead off the first number by an article on the principal topic of the session (1825), the Catholic Association and the Catholic disabilities.n In the second number I wrote an elaborate essay on the Commercial Crisis of 1825 and the Currency Debates. In the third I wrote two articles, one on a minor subject, the other on the Reciprocity principle in commerce, a propos of a celebrated diplomatic correspondence between Canning and Gallatino . These articles were no longer mere reproductions and applications of what I had been taught: they were original thinking, as far as that name can be applied to old ideas in new forms and relations: and there was a maturity and a well-digested character about them which pthere had not been in any of my previous performancesp . In execution therefore they were not at all juvenile; but their subjects have been so much better treated since, that they are entirely superseded, and should remain buried in the same oblivion with my contributions to the first dynasty of the Westminster Review.
During several years of this period of my life the social studies of myself and several of my companions assumed a shape which contributed very much to my mental development. The idea occurred to us of carrying on by reading and conversation, a joint study of several of the branches of science which we wished to be masters of. We assembled to the number of a dozen or more. Grote lent a room of his house in Threadneedle Street for the purpose, and his partner Prescott, one of the three original members of the Utilitarian Society, took an active part as one of our number. We met two mornings in every week, from half past eight till ten, at which time most of us were called off to our daily occupations. The subject we began with was Political Economy. We chose some systematic treatise as our text-book; my father’s Elements being our first choice. One of us (by turns) read aloud a chapter, or some smaller portion, of the book. The discussion was then opened, and any one who had an objection or other remark to make, made it. Our rule was to discuss every point, great or small, which was raised, until all who took part were satisfied with the conclusion they had arrived at; and to follow up every topic of collateral speculation which the chapter or the discussion suggested, never leaving it till we had untied every knot which we found in it. We repeatedly kept up the discussion of some single point for several weeks, thinking intently on it during the intervals of our meetings and contriving solutions of the new difficulties which had risen up in the last morning’s discussion. When we had finished in this way my father’s Elements, we went through in the same manner Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy; and afterwards, Bailey’s Dissertation on Value. These discussions were not only instructive to those who took part in them, but brought out new views of some topics of abstract Political Economy. The theory of International Values qwhich I afterwards publishedq emanated from these conversations, as did also the modified form of Ricardo’s theory of Profits, laid down in my essay on Profits and Interest. Those among us from whom, generally speaking, any new speculations originated, were Ellis, Graham and I: though others gave valuable aid to the discussions, more especially Prescott and Roebuck; the one by his knowledge, the other by his dialectical acuteness. The theories of International Values and of Profits, were excogitated and worked out in about equal proportions by myself and Grahamr, and we at one time had thoughtsr of publishing these theories, with some other matters, in a volume of Essays bearing our joint names: but when my expositions of them came to be written I found I had so much overestimated my agreement with him, and he differed so much from the most original of the two essays, that on International Values, that I was obliged to consider the theory as now exclusively mine, and it came out as such when it was published many years after.s I may mention that tamong the alterations made by my father in revising his Elements for the third edition, several were grounded on criticisms elicited by these Conversationst , and in particular, he modified his opinions (though not to the extent of our new doctrines) on both the points which I have just touched upon.
When we had enough of political economy we took up the scholastic logic in the same manner, Grote now joining us. Our first text book was Aldrich, but being disgusted with its superficiality, we reprinted by subscription one of the most finished among the many manuals of the school logic, which my father, a great collector of such books, possessed, the Manuductio ad Logicam of the Jesuit Du Trieu. After finishing this we took up Whately’s Logic (then first republished from the Encyclopedia Metropolitana) and finally, I think, the “Computatio sive Logica” of Hobbes. These books, gone through in our manner, afforded large scope for original metaphysical speculation: and most of what has been done in the First Book of my System of Logic to rationalize and correct the principles and distinctions of the school logic and to improve the theory of the Import of Propositions, had its origin in these discussions; Graham and I as before originating most of the novelties, while Grote and others furnished an excellent tribunal or test. From this time I formed the project of writing a book on Logic, though on a much humbler scale than the one I ultimately executed.
Having done with Logic we launched into analytic psychology: and having chosen Hartley for our text book, we raised Priestley’s edition to an extravagant price by searching through London to furnish each of us with a copy. When we had finished Hartley we suspended our meetings; but my father’s Analysis being published soon after, we reassembled for the purpose of reading it. With this our exercises ended. I have always dated from these conversations my own real inauguration as an original and independent thinker. It was also through them that I acquired, or very much strengthened, a mental habit to which I attribute all that I have ever done, or ever shall do, in speculation; the habit of never receiving half-solutions of difficulties as complete; never abandoning a puzzle, but returning again and again to it till it was resolved; never allowing obscure corners of a subject to remain unexplored, because they did not seem important; nor ever thinking that I perfectly understood any part of a subject until I understood every part. It became a mental necessity with me, to require for my own complete conviction what Moliere calls “des clartés de tout,”[*] and this qualified me to make things clear to others, which is probably what I have best succeeded in as an expository writer.
Various other studies and exercises were carried on during this period by some of the same people in the same social manner. We formed a class of five or six to learn German in the Hamiltonian manner; and we held weekly evening meetings for a considerable timeu to study the theory and practice of elocution. Roebuck here stepped into the first rank; I contributed the rules I had learnt from my father, and among us we thought out a set of principles on the subject.
Our doings from 1825 to 1830 in the way of public speaking filled a considerable place in my life during those years, and had important effects on my developement.
There was for some time in existence a society of Owenites, under the name of the Cooperative Society, which held weekly public discussions. In the early part of 1825 accident brought Roebuck in contact with several of its members and led to his attending one or two of the meetings and taking part in the debate, in opposition to Owenism. Some one of us started the notion of going there in a body and having a general battle, and it fell out that Charles Austin and some of his friends entered into the project. It was carried into effect by concert with the principal members of the Society, themselves nothing loth, as they naturally preferred a controversy with opponents to a tame discussion among their own body. The question of population was proposed as the subject of debate: Charles Austin led the case on our side with a brilliant speech, and the fight was kept up by adjournment for five or six weekly meetings before crowded auditories, including along with the members of the Society and their friends, many hearers and some speakers from the Inns of Courtv . When this debate was ended another was commenced on the general merits of Owen’s system: and the contest altogether lasted about three months. It was a lutte corps à corps between Owenites and political economists, whom the Owenites regarded as their most inveterate opponents: but it was a perfectly friendly dispute. We who represented political economy had the same objects in view which they had, and took pains to shew it, and the principal champion on their side was a very estimable man with whom I was well acquainted, Mr. William Thompson of Cork, author of a book on the Distribution of Wealth, and of an Appeal in behalf of women against the passage relating to them in my father’s Essay on Government. I myself spoke oftener than any one else on our side, there being no rule against speaking wseveral times in the same debatew . Ellis and Roebuck took a prominent part, and among those from the Inns of Court who joined in the debate I remember Charles Villiers. The other side obtained also, on the population question, very efficient support from without. The well known Gale Jones, then an elderly man, made one of his florid speeches; but the speaker by whom I was most impressed although I dissented from every argument he used and from almost every opinion he expressed, was Thirlwall, the historian, since bishop of St. David’s, then a Chancery Barrister unknown, except (as I found on enquiry) by a reputation for eloquence acquired at the Cambridge Union before the era of Austin and Macaulay. His speech was in answer to one of mine. Before he had uttered ten sentences I set him down as the best speaker I had ever heard, and I do not think I have since heard a better. I made an elaborate reply to him at the next meeting,[*] but he was not there to hear it; and except a few words interchanged between us as soon as he had done speaking, of admiration on my side, and politeness on his, we remained strangers to each other until I met him at dinner at M. Guizot’s in 1840.
During or about the time when these discussions were going on, McCulloch the political economist who was then temporarily in London to deliver the “Ricardo Lectures” on political economy, threw out the idea one day to my father and me, that a society was wanted in London similar to the Speculative Society of Edinburgh in which Brougham, Horner and others first cultivated public speaking. The discussions at the Cooperative Society had put me in a frame of mind to catch at the suggestion. I liked the kind of thing in itself, and those debates seemed to give cause for being sanguine as to the sort of men who might be brought together for such a purpose in London. McCulloch mentioned the matter to several young men of influence to whom he was then giving private lessons in political economy. Some of these entered warmly into the project, particularly George Villiers (now Earl of Clarendon)x . He and his two brothers, Hyde and Charles; Romilly, Charles Austin, and I, with some others, met and completed the plan; a larger meeting was then held to constitute the Society. We determined to meet once a fortnight from November to June, at the Freemason’s Tavern, and we had soon a splendid list of members, containing, along with several members of parliament, nearly all the great speakers of the Cambridge Union and of the United Debating Society at Oxford. It is curiously illustrative of the tendencies of the time that our principal difficulty in recruiting for the society was to find a sufficient number of Tory speakers. Almost all whom we could press into the service were Liberals, of different orders and degrees. We had Charles Austin, Macaulay, Thirlwall, Praed, Samuel Wilberforce (now Bishop of Oxford), Lord Howick, Charles Poulett Thomson (afterwards Lord Sydenham), Fonblanque, Edward and Henry Lytton Bulwer, and many others whom I cannot now recollect, who made themselves afterwards more or less conspicuous in public life. Nothing could seem more promising. But when the time for action drew near and it was necessary to fix on a President and to find somebody to open the first debate, none of our celebrities would consent to perform either office. Of the many who were pressed on the subject, the only one who could be prevailed on was a man of whom I knew very little but who had taken high honours at Oxford, and was said to have acquired a great oratorical reputation there; who some time after became a Tory member of parliament. He accordingly was fixed on both for filling the President’s chair and for making the first speech. The important day arrived: the benches were crowded: all our great speakers were present to judge of but not to help our efforts. The Oxford orator’s speech was an utter failure. This threw a damp on the whole concern: the speakers who followed were few, and none of them did their besty . The affair was a complete fiasco: and the oratorical celebrities we had counted on went away never to return, giving to me at least a lesson in knowledge of the world. Not one of the notabilities whom I have just enumerated except Praed (and he only once or twice) ever opened their lips in the society. This unexpected break-down completely altered my relation to the project. I had not anticipated taking personally a prominent part, or speaking much or often, especially at first; but I now saw that the success of the scheme depended on the new men, and I put my shoulder to the wheel. I opened the second question and from that time spoke in nearly every debate. The three Villiers’ and Romilly stuck to the scheme for some time longer, and took their part well in several debates. Robert Hildyard, a clever and vehement speaker from the Cambridge Union, then a violent radical Benthamite, since a Tory and Protectionist writer in the Morning Post and now a silent Derbyite member of Parliament, spoke two or three times well, and some new men, among others Henry Taylorz , Vernon Smith and his brother Leveson, occasionally took part. But in the main the debates during the whole season rested on me and Roebuck: and very uphill work it was in the latter part of it, even the Villiers’ and other founders of the society having ceased to attend. In the season following, 1826/27, we had acquired two excellent Tory speakers, Hayward, and Shee (now Serjeant Shee): the radical side was reinforced by Charles Buller, Cockburn, and others of the second generation of Cambridge Benthamites: and with such occasional aid and the two Tories as well as Roebuck and me for regular speakers, almost every debate was a bataille rangée between the philosophic radicalsa and the Tory lawyers, until our conflicts came to be talked about, and many persons of note and consideration came to hear us. This happened still more in the subsequent seasons, 1828 and 1829, when another set of speakers, of whom hereafter, had joined the society. Some of our debates were really worth hearing; not for oratory, but as good specimens of polemical discussion on the great questions of politics. Radicalism of the type of the Westminster and Parliamentary Reviews, was then a recognized power in politics and literature: it was the only attempt which had been made to give principles and philosophy to the Liberalism which was growing into importance, while the temporary vogue of political economy had so far encroached upon the ordinary English antipathy to theory, as to give a prestige to any pretension to treat politics scientifically. Now, some of our speeches were really better expositions than could be heard anywhere else, of our principal doctrines: and as the side of existing opinions and institutions was very ably defended by Shee with rhetoric, by Hayward with sophistry, our doctrines were fairly pitted against their opposites. At least our debates were very different from those of common debating societies, for they habitually consisted of the strongest arguments and most philosophic principles which either side was able to produce, thrown often into close and serré confutations of one another. For my own part, nothing I ever wrote was more carefully elaborated both in matter and expression than some of those speeches. My delivery was and remained bad; but I could make myself listened to; and I even acquired a certain readiness of extemporary speaking, on questions of pure argument, and could reply offhand, with some effect, to the speech of an opponent: but whenever I had an exposition to make in which from the feelings involved or from the nature of the ideas to be developed, expression seemed important, I always most carefully wrote the speech and committed it to memory, and I did this even with my replies, when an opportunity was afforded by an adjourned debate. Therefore bmanyb of my speeches were of some worth as compositions, to be set against a bad and ungraceful manner. I believe that this practice greatly increased my power of effective writing. The habit of composing speeches for delivery gave me not only an ear for smoothness and rhythm but a practical sense for telling sentences and an immediate criterion of their telling property, by their effect on a mixed audience.
The Society and the preparation for it, together with the preparation for the morning conversationsc which were going on simultaneously, occupied the greater part of my leisure; and made me feel it personally a relief when, in the spring of 1828, I ceased to write for the Westminster Review. The review had fallen into difficulties. Though the sale of the first number had been encouraging, the permanent sale was never, I believe, sufficient to pay the expenses on the scale on which the review was carried on. Those expenses had been considerably, but not sufficiently, reduced. One of the editors, Southern, had resigned; and some of the writers, including my father and me, who had been paid like other contributors for our earlier articles, had latterly written without payment. Nevertheless the original funds contributed by Bentham were nearly or quite exhausted, and if the review was to be continued some new arrangement for carrying it on became indispensable. My father and I had several conferences with Bowring on the subject. We were willing to do our utmost for maintaining the review as an organ of our opinions, but not under Bowring’s editorship: while the impossibility of its any longer supporting a paid editor, afforded a ground on which, without affront to him, we could propose to dispense with his services. We and some of our friends were prepared to carry on the review as unpaid writers, either finding among ourselves an unpaid editor, or dividing the editorship among us. But while this negociation was proceeding, with Bowring’s apparent acquiescence, he was carrying on another, in a different quarter (as it afterwards appeared, with Colonel Perronet Thompson),d of which we received the first intimation in a letter from Bowring as editor saying that an arrangement had been made and proposing to us to write for the next number, with promise of payment. We thought the concealment which he had practised on us, while seemingly entering into our own project, an affront; and even had we not thought so, we were indisposed to take any further trouble for the review under his management. Accordingly my father excused himself from writing (though two or three years later he did write one political article, being strongly urged). As for me, I absolutely refused. And thus ended my connexion with the original Westminster. The last article which I wrote in it had cost me more time and trouble than any previous; but it was a labour of love, being a defence of the early French revolutionists against the Tory misrepresentations of Sir Walter Scott in his Life of Napoleon. For this the number of books which I read, making notes and extracts, even the number which I bought (for in those days there was no epublic or subscriptione Library from which books of reference could be taken home), far exceeded the worth of the immediate object; but I had a half formed intention of writing a History of the French Revolution: and though I never executed it, my collections afterwards served Carlyle for a similar purpose.
For some years after this I wrote very little, and nothing regularly, for publication: and great were the advantages I derived from the intermission. It was of immense importance to me at this period, to be able to digest and mature my thoughts with a view to my own mind only, without any immediate call for giving them out in print.a Had I gone on writing it would have much disturbed the important transformation in my opinions and character which took place during these years. The origin of this transformation, or at least the process by which I was prepared for it, can only be explained by turning some distance back.
From the winter of 1821, when I first read Bentham, and especially from the commencement of the Westminster Review, I had what might truly be called an object in life; to be a reformer of the world. My conception of happiness was entirely identified with this object: the personal sympathies I wished for were those of fellow labourers in this enterprise; I picked up as many flowers as I could by the way, but as a serious and permanent personal satisfaction to rest upon, my whole reliance was placed on this: and I was accustomed to felicitate myself on the certainty of a happy life which I enjoyed by placing my happiness in something durable and distant, in which some progress might be always making, but which could never be exhausted by complete attainment. This did very well for several years, during which the general improvement going on in the world, and the idea of myself as engaged with others in struggling to promote itb , seemed enough to fill up an interesting and animated existence. But the time came when I awakened from this as from a dream. It was in the autumn of 1826. I wasc in a dull state of nerves, such as everybody is occasionally liable to, unsusceptible to enjoyment or pleasurable excitement: one of those moods in which what is pleasure at other times, becomes dinsipid and indifferentd . In this frame of mind it occurred to me to put the question distinctly to myself, “Suppose that all your objects in life were realized, that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant; would this be a great joy and happiness to you?” and an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered “No!” At this my heart sank within me; the whole foundation on which my life was constructed fell down. All my happiness was to have been found in the continual pursuit of this end. The end had ceased to charm, and how could there ever again be excitement in the means? I had nothing left to live for.
At first I ehopede that the cloud would pass away of itself: but it did not. A night’s sleep, the sovereign remedy for the smaller vexations of life, had no effect on it. I awoke to a renewed consciousness of the woful fact. I carried it with me into all companies, into all occupations. Hardly anything had power to cause me even a few minutes oblivion of it. fFor some months thef cloud seemed to grow thicker and thicker. The lines in Coleridge’s poem “Dejection” exactly describe my case:
In vain I sought relief from my favourite books, those memorials of past nobleness and greatness from which I had always hitherto drawn strength and animation. I read them now without feeling, or with the accustomed feeling minus all its charm; and I gbecame persuadedg that my love of mankind and of excellence for their own sake, had worn itself out. I sought no relief by speaking to others of what I felt. If I had loved any one sufficiently to make the confiding to them of my griefs a necessity, I should not have been in the condition I was. I was conscious too that mine was not an interesting or in any way respectable distress. There was nothing in it to attract sympathy. Advice if I had known where to seek it would have been most precious. The words of Macbeth to the physician often recurred to my thoughts. But there was no one on whom I could build the faintest hope of such assistance. My father, to whom I should most naturally have had recourse as an adviser in any practical difficulties, was the last person to whom in such a case as this I looked for help. Everything convinced me that he had no knowledge of any such mental state as I was suffering from, and that even if he could be made to understand it he was not the physician who could heal it. My education, which was wholly his work, had been conducted without any regard to the possibility of its ending in this result; and I saw no use in endeavouring to prove to him that his plans had failed, when the failure was probably irremediable and at all events beyond the power of his remedies. Of other friends I had at that time none to whom I had any hope of making my condition intelligible. It was however abundantly intelligible to myself; and the more I dwelt upon it, the more hopeless it appeared.
hMy course of study had led me to believeh that all mental and moral feelings and qualities, whether of a good or a bad kind, were the results of association; that we love one thing and hate another, have pleasure in one sort of action or contemplation and pain in another sort, through the clinging of pleasurable and painful ideas to those things from the effect of education or of experience. As a iconsequence of this, I had always heard it maintained by my father, and was myselfi convinced, that the object of education should be to form the strongest possible associations of the salutary class; associations of pleasure with all things beneficial to the great whole, and of pain with all things hurtful to it. All this appeared inexpugnable, but it now seemed to me on retrospect, that my teachers had occupied themselves but superficially with the means of forming and keeping up these salutary associations. They seemed to have trusted altogether to the old familiar instruments, praise and blame, reward and punishment. Now I did not doubt that by these means, begun early and applied vigilantly, intense associations of pain and pleasure might be raised up, especially of pain, and might produce desires and aversions capable of lasting undiminished to the end of life. But there must always be something artificial and casual in associations thus generated: the pains and pleasures thus forcibly associated with things, are not connected with them by any natural tie; and it is therefore, I thought, essential to the durability of these associations, that they should have become so intense and inveterate as to be practically indissoluble before the habitual exercise of the power of analysis had commenced. For I now saw, or thought I saw, what I had always before received with incredulity—that the habit of analysis has a tendency to wear away the feelings. This is a commonplace, but it is true, and only errs in being but a half-truth. The habit of analysis has really this tendency when no other mental habit is cultivated, and the analysing tendency remains without its natural complements and correctives. At this time I did not see what these complements and correctives are. The very excellence of analysis (I argued) is that it tends to weaken and undermine whatever is prejudice; that it enables us mentally to separate ideas which have only casually clung together, and no associations whatever could ultimately resist its dissolving force, were it not that we owe to analysis our clearest knowledge of the permanent sequences in nature; the real connexions between things, quite independent of our will and feelings; natural laws by which, in many cases, one thing is inseparable from another, and which laws, in proportion as they are clearly perceived and imaginatively realized, cause the ideas of things which always accompany one another in fact, to cohere more and more closely in conception. Analytic habits may thus even strengthen the associations between causes and effects but tend to weaken all those which are, to speak familiarly, a mere matter of feeling. They are, therefore (I thought), favourable to prudence and clearsightedness, but a perpetual worm at the root both of the passions and of the virtues: and above all, fearfully undermine all desires and all pleasures which are the result of association, that is, according to the theory I held, all except the purely physical and organic: of the entire insufficiency of which, to make life desirable, no one had a stronger conviction than I had. These were the laws of human nature by which, as it seemed to me, I had been brought to my present state. jAll those to whom I looked up, were of opinionj that the pleasures of sympathy with human beings, and the feelings which made the good of others and especially of mankind on a large scale the object of existence, were the greatest and surest source of happiness. I was well convinced of this, but to know that a feeling would make me happy if I had it, did not create the feeling. My education had failed, as I thought, to give me these feelings in sufficient strength to resist the dissolving influence of analysis, while the whole course of my intellectual cultivation had made precocious and premature analysis the inveterate habit of my mind. I was thus, as I said to myself, left stranded at the commencement of my voyage, with a well equipped ship and a rudder but no sail; without any real desire for the ends which I had been so carefully fitted to labour for: no delight in virtue or the general good, but also just as little in anything else. The ksourcesk of vanity and ambition seemed to have dried up within me, as completely as those of benevolence. I had had (as I reflected) some gratification of vanity at too early an age; I had obtained some distinction and felt myself to be of some importance before the desire of distinction and of importance had grown into a passion; and little as it was which I had attained, yet having been attained so early, like all pleasures enjoyed too soon, it had made me blasé and indifferent to the pursuit. Thus neither selfish nor unselfish pleasures were pleasures to me. And there seemed no power in nature sufficient to begin the formation of my character afresh and create in a mind now irrevocably analytic, fresh associations of pleasure with any of the objects of human desire.
These were the thoughts which mingled with the dry heavy dejection of the melancholy winter of 1826-7. During this time I was not incapable of my usual occupations; I went on with them mechanically, by the mere force of habit. I had been so drilled in a certain sort of mental exercise that I could carry it on when all the spirit had gone out of it. I even composed and spoke several speeches at the debating society; how, or with what degree of worth I know not. Of four years continual speaking at that society, this is the only year of which I remember next to nothing. Two lines of Coleridge, in whom alone of all writers I have found a true description of what I felt, were often in my thoughts, not at this time, but in a later period of the same mental malady.
I often asked myself, if I could, or was bound, to live on, when life must be passed in this manner. I generally answered to myself, that I did not think I could possibly bear it beyond a year. When however not more than half that length of time had passed, a small ray of light broke in upon my gloom. I was reading, accidentally, Marmontel’s Memoirs, and came to the passage where he relates his father’s death, the distressed position of his family, and how he, then a mere boy, by a sudden inspiration, felt and made them feel that he would be everything, would supply the place of everything to them. A vivid conception of lthis scenel came over me, and I was moved to tears. From this moment my burthen grew lighter. The oppression of the thought that all feeling was dead within me, was gone. I was no longer hopeless. I was not a stock or a stone. I had still, it seemed, some of the material out of which all worth of character and all capacity of happiness are made. Relieved from my ever present sense of wretchedness, I gradually found that the ordinary incidents of life could again give some pleasure; that I could again find enjoyment in sunshine and sky, in books, in conversation, in public affairs, not intense, but sufficient for cheerfulness; and that there was once more, excitement though but of a moderate kind, in exerting myself for my opinions and for the public good. Thus the cloud gradually drew off, and I again enjoyed life; and though mbefore the gloom entirely passed awaym I had several relapses, some of which lasted many months, I never again was as miserable as I had been.
The experiences of this period had two very decided effects on my opinions and character. In the first place, they led me to adopt a theory of life very unlike that on which I had before acted, and having much in common with what at that time I had never heard of, the anti-self-consciousness theory of Carlyle. I never indeed varied in the conviction that happiness is the test of all rules of conduct, and the end of life. But I now thought that this end was only to be attained by not making it the direct aim. Those only are happy (I thought) who have their attention fixed on something other than their own happiness: on the happiness of others, either individually or collectively; on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or favorite pursuit followed not as a means but as an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way. The enjoyments of life (such was now my theory) are sufficient to make life pleasant when they are taken en passant, without being made a principal object. Once make them so however and they are immediately felt to be insufficient. They will not bear a scrutinizing examination: ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat not happiness but some end external to it, as the object of life. Let your self consciousness, your scrutiny, your self interrogation exhaust themselves on that, and if otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination or putting it to flight by fatal self questioning. This theory now became the basis of my philosophy of life. And I still hold to it as the best theory for those who have but a moderate degree of sensibility and of capacity for enjoyment, that is, for the great majority of mankind.
The other great change which my opinions at this time underwent, was that I now for the first time gave its proper place among the prime necessities of human well being, to the internal culture of the individual. I ceased to attach almost exclusive importance to the ordering of outward circumstances, and to the training of the human being for knowledge and for action. I now knew by experience that the passive susceptibilities needed to be cultivated as well as the active capacities, and required to be nourished and enriched as well as guided. I never for an instant lost sight of or undervalued, that part of the truth which I saw before: I never turned recreant to intellectual culture, or ceased to value the power and habit of analysis as essential both to individual and to social improvement. But I thought that it had consequences which required to be corrected by joining other sorts of cultivation with it: and the maintenance of a due balance among the faculties, now seemed to me of primary importance. The cultivation of the feelings now became one of the cardinal points in my ethical and philosophical creed. And my thoughts and inclinations turned more and more towards whatever I thought capable of being instrumental to that object.
nI nown began to find meaning in the things which I had read or heard said about the importance of poetry and art as instruments of culture. But it was some time longer before I began to know this by personal experience. The only one of the imaginative arts in which I had from childhood taken great pleasure was music: the best effect of which (and in this it surpasses perhaps every other art) consists in exciting enthusiasm; in winding up to a high pitch those feelings of an elevated kind which are already in the character, but to which this excitement gives a glow and a fervour which though transitory in its utmost height, is precious for sustaining them at other times. This effect of music I had often experienced: but like all my better susceptibilities it was suspended during my gloomy period. I had sought relief again and again from this quarter, but found none. After the tide had turned, indeed, and I was in process of recovery, I had been helped forward by music, but in a much less elevated manner. I at this time first became acquainted with Weber’s Oberon, and the extreme pleasure which I drew from its delicious melodies did me good by shewing me a source of pleasure to which I was as susceptible as ever: this good however being much impaired by the thought that the pleasure of music (as is quite true of such pleasure as this was, that of mere tune) fades with familiarity, and requires to be fed by continual novelty. And it is very characteristic both of my then state and of my general mental character at that time, that I was seriously tormented by the thought of the exhaustibility of musical combinations. The five tones and two semitones of the octave can be put together only in a limited number of ways; of these only a small proportion are beautiful; most of these must have been already discovered and there could not be room for a long succession of Mozarts and Webers to strike out as they had done entirely new and surpassingly rich veins of musical beauty. This source of anxiety may appear perhaps to resemble that of the philosophers of Laputa who feared lest the sun should be burnt out. It was however connected with the best point of my character, the only good point indeed to be found in my very unromantic and in no way honorable distress. For though my dejection honestly looked at, cannot be called other than egotistical, produced by the ruin as I thought of my fabric of happiness; yet the condition of mankind in general was ever in my thoughts, and could not be separated from my own; I felt that the evil in my life must be an evil in life itself; that the question was whether if the reformers of society and government could succeed in their objects and every person living were free and in physical comfort, the pleasures of life, being no longer kept up by privation and struggle would cease to be pleasures: and I felt that unless I could see my way to some better hope than this for the general happiness of mankind, my dejection must continue; but that if I could, I should then look on the world with pleasure, content with any fair share of the general lot.
This state of my thoughts and feelings made the fact of my first reading Wordsworth (in the autumn of 1828) an important event of my life. I took up the collection of his poems from curiosity, with no expectation of mental relief from it, though I had before resorted to poetry with that hope. In the worst period of my mental depression I had read through the whole of Byron (then new to me) to try whether a poet whose peculiar department was supposed to be that of the intenser feelings, could rouse any feeling in me. As might be expected, I got no good from this reading but the reverse. The poet’s state of mind was too like my own. His was the lament of a man who had worn out all pleasures and who seemed to think that life to all who possessed the good things of it, must necessarily be the vapid uninteresting thing which I found it. His Harold and Manfred had the same burthen on them which I had; and I was not in a frame of mind to derive any comfort from the vehement sensual passion of his Giaours or the sulkiness of his Laras. But while Byron was exactly what did not suit my condition, Wordsworth was exactly what did. I had looked into The Excursion two or three years before and found little or nothing in it; and should probably have found as little had I read it now. But the miscellaneous poems, in the two-volume edition of 1815 o(to which little valuable was added in any of the subsequent editions)o , proved to be the precise thing for my mental wants at that particular time.
In the first place, these poems addressed themselves powerfully to one of the strongest of my pleasurable susceptibilities, the love of rural objects and of natural scenery; to which I had been indebted not only for much of the pleasure of my life, but quite recently for relief from one of my longest relapses into depression.p In this power of rural beauty over me there was a foundation laid for taking pleasure in Wordsworth’s poetry; the more so, as his scenery is mostly among mountains, which owing to my early Pyrenean excursion were my ideal of natural beauty. But Wordsworth would never have had any great effect on me if he had merely placed before me beautiful pictures of natural scenery. A collection of very second rate landscapes does this more effectually than any books. What made Wordsworth’s poems qaq medicine for my state of mind was that they expressed, not outward beauty but states of feeling, and of thought coloured by feeling, under the excitement of beauty. They seemed to be the very culture of the feelings which I was in quest of. By their means I seemed to draw from a source of inward joy, of sympathetic and imaginative pleasure, which could be shared in by all human beings, which had no connexion with struggle or imperfection, but would be made richer by every improvement in the physical or social condition of mankind. I seemed to learn from them what would be the perennial sources of happiness when all the greater evils of life should be removed. And I felt myself at once better and happier as I came under their influence. At present my estimate of Wordsworth as a poet is very far indeed below that which I then formed; but poetry of deeper and loftier feeling could not have done for me at that time what this did. I wanted to be made to feel that there was happiness in tranquil contemplation. Wordsworth taught me this and not only without turning away from, but with a greatly increased interest in, the common feelings and common destiny of human beings. And ther delight which these poems gave me, proved to me that with culture of this sort there was nothing to dread from the most confirmed habit of analysis. At the end of the poems came the famous “Ode,” falsely called Platonic; in which, along with more than his usual sweetness of rhythm and melody, and along with the two passages of fine description but bad philosophy so often quoted, I founds that he too had had similar experience to mine; that he had felt that the first freshness of youthful enjoyment of life was not lasting; but that he had sought for compensation, and found it, in the way in which he was now teaching me to find it.t The consequence of all these things was that I gradually but completely emerged from my habitual depression and was never again subject to it. uI long continued to value Wordsworth less according to his intrinsic merits than to what he had done for meu . My present judgment of him is, that he is the poet of unpoetical natures, when accompanied by quiet and contemplative tastes. But it must be remembered that unpoetical natures are precisely those which require poetic cultivation. This cultivation Wordsworth is more fitted to give them, than poets incomparably his superiors.
It so happened that the merits of Wordsworth were the occasion of my first public declaration of my new way of thinking, andv separation from those of my habitual companions who had not undergone a similar change. The person with whom at that time I was most in the habit of comparing notes was Roebuck; and I induced him to read Wordsworth, in whom he also at first seemed to find much to admire: but I like most Wordsworthians threw myself into strong antagonism to Byron, both as a poet and in respect to his effect on the character. Roebuck, all whose instincts were those of action and struggle, had on the contrary a strong relish and admiration of Byron, whose writings he regarded as the poetry of real life while Wordsworth’s according to him were that of flowers and butterflies. We agreed to have the fight out at our Debating Society, where we accordingly discussed for two evenings the comparative merits of Byron and Wordsworth, wpropounding, and illustrating by long recitations,w our respective theories of poetry. This was the first debate on any weighty subject on which Roebuck and I were on opposite sides. The schism between us widened more and more from this time and though for some years we continued to be companions our differences of opinion on life and philosophy became so strongly pronounced that we ceased to be allies either in opinion or in action except as to the immediate objects of radicalism.
I suppose that of the set of young men with whom I had associated, Roebuck would have been and was generally regarded as the most complete type of what was considered narrow Benthamism. This however is only an example of the extreme inaccuracy of that common conception. Roebuck was in many things totally opposite to the vulgar notion of a Benthamite. He was a lover of poetry and of almost all the fine arts. He took great pleasure in music, in dramatic performances, especially in painting, and himself drew and designed landscapes with great facility and beauty. Instead of being, as Benthamites are supposed to be, unfeeling, he had very quick and susceptible feelings: and his feelings towards persons, favourable and hostile, have greatly influenced his course all through life. No description of a class would exactly fit Roebuck; he had a decided character of his own, and took only that portion of any creed which was in harmony with his character. Of this, pugnacity was one of the principal elements. Nine years of his boyhood and youth had been passed in the back woods of Canada; and his character had a great tinge of the backwoodsman: formed to self help, to self assertion, and to be ever ready for conflict; with the reservation, that as the small and weakly brother among a family of giants, mental and not bodily weapons were those with which his battles had been fought and his victories gained. These early circumstances gave him the audacity and self reliance which most distinguished him from the common run of Englishmen, in whom those qualities become every day more rare. On the other hand, his mother (a daughter of Tickell, and of the sister of the first Mrs. Sheridan), by whom chiefly he was educated and of whom he always spoke with great admiration and affection, had cultivated in him a polish of manners not at all American which he always manifested towards friends, though not always towards opponents.x Roebuck was a Radical in Canadian politics though his stepfather,[*] on whom at that time he was entirely dependent, was a placeman. He came to England to qualify for the bar, and finding that he could maintain himself by writing, remained there. On his arrival he almost immediately fell in with me and my set, and had Bentham’s and my father’s writings presented to him as the philosophy of radicalism. He seized on this political creed with great and sincere zeal. Naturally quick of perception and comprehension, though not inventive or original, he was qualified to become a reasoner rather than a thinker; and his intellectual type, in all matters of speculation, continued to be one of ratiocination rather than of insight, as Carlyle calls it, or (to describe it more precisely) induction and analysis. He arrived at his conclusions by deduction from the principles of his creed, never anxious to enlarge the basis of the creed itself by perpetual examination of the specialities of the questions to which he was called on to apply it. This deficiency I used to account for to myself,y by the deep rooted pugnacity of his character. When any proposition came before him as that of an opponent, he rushed eagerly to demonstrate its falsity, without taking any pains to discover and appropriate the portion of truth which there might be in it. This mental type, very natural to persons of impetuosity of character and which I saw in a less extreme degree in my father, became more and more alien to my tastes and feelings. I had now taken a most decided bent in the opposite direction, that of eclecticism; looking out for the truth which is generally to be found in errors when they are anything more than mere paralogisms, or logical blunders. My disputes with Roebuck in the early part of our discussions turned mainly on the culture of the feelings; and in these he who had certainly the quickest feelings took the unfeeling side. But this, instead of a paradox, is the explanation of the whole matter. Like most Englishmen who have feelings, he found his feelings stand very much in his way: he was much more susceptible to the painful sympathies than to the pleasurable, and looking for his happiness elsewhere, wished that his feelings should be deadened rather than quickened. And in truth the English character and English social circumstances make it so seldom possible to derive happiness from the exercise of the sympathies that it is not wonderful they should count for very little in an Englishman’s scheme of life. In all other countries the paramount importance of the sympathies as a constituent of happiness is an axiom, taken for granted rather than needing any formal statement; but most English thinkers seem to regard them as necessary evils, required to keep men’s actions benevolent and compassionate. Roebuck was this sort of Englishman, or seemed to be so; he saw little good in the cultivation of the feelings, and none in their cultivation through the imagination, which he thought was only cultivating illusions. It was in vain I urged on him that the imaginative emotion which an idea when vividly conceived excites in us, is not an illusion but a fact, as real as any of the other qualities of objects; and far from implying anything erroneous and delusive in our mental apprehension of the object, is quite consistent with the most accurate knowledge and practical recognition of all its physical and intellectual laws and relations. The intensest feeling of the beauty of a cloud lighted by the setting sun, is no hindrance to my knowing that the cloud is the vapour of water, subject to all the laws of vapours in a state of suspension; and I am just as likely to allow for, and act on, these physical laws whenever there is occasion to do so, as if I were incapable of perceiving any distinction between beauty and ugliness. To conclude here my notice of Roebuck; when three years afterwards he under almost every disadvantage of fortune and position took his seat in the House of Commons, he fulfilled my expectation and prediction at the time, viz. that he would fail, apparently irretrievably, half a dozen times and succeed at last. He escaped the imputation which almost all persons in his position are subject to, of being an adventurer. Nobody ever suspected him of wishing to be bought off. His ambition was not of this low kind: and his very faults, his asperity and the needless offensiveness of his attacks, protected him from the suspicion. Notwithstanding his many defects of judgment, he succeeded by perseverance and by really having something to say, in acquiring the ear of the house. He conquered all external obstacles, and if he ceased rising it was because he had got to the end of his tether. He made considerable exertions for radicalism during some years in the House of Commons, and was the vigorous champion of two great questions; national education, which he reoriginated in parliament (the first unsuccessful move had been made by Mr. Brougham twelve years before), and responsible government in the colonies, of which Roebuck was in this country altogether the originator, both in the press and in parliament, and remained up to the period of Lord Durham’s mission the principal pillar. It ought to be recorded among the most honorable points in his career, that he braved his own supporters and lost his seat at Bath by his vigorous opposition to the bills for the puritanical observance of Sunday.[*] But he did not labour to master the special questions of legislation which were brought or which he might usefully have brought before parliament; and his voice, at last, was heard almost solely on personal questions, or on such as he was able to make personal. He made no progress in general principles; like the Parliamentary Radicals generally, made no addition to his original stock of ideas; and when the mental movement of Europe outstripped him even in politics, as was manifested in February 1848, he zturned against the movement of Europez . Even on English matters, when he had succeeded in being somebody, and above all when he had married and become involved in the petty vanities and entanglements of what is called society, he gradually ceased to be the champion of any important progress; he became a panegyrist of England and things English, a conformist to the Church,a and in short merged in the common herd of Conservative Liberals.
But to return to the point of separation between his course and mine. I have mentioned that the difference of our philosophy first declared itself in the debate on Wordsworth, at the Society we had founded and in which, in addition to the Tory party with whom we had hitherto been combating, we were now face to face with another set of adversaries of far greater intrinsic worth, the Coleridgians, represented in the society by Frederick Maurice and John Sterling: both subsequently well known, the former by his writings, the latter through the two biographies by Hare and Carlyle. Of these two friends, Maurice was the thinker, Sterling the orator, and impassioned expositor of thoughts which were, at this time, almost entirely formed for him by Maurice. With Maurice I had been for some time acquainted through Eyton Tooke, who had known him at Cambridge, and although my discussions with him were almost always disputes, I had carried away from them much that helped to build up my new fabric of thought; in the same way as I was deriving much from Coleridge, and from writings of Goethe and other Germans which I read during these yearsb . I have always thought that there was more intellectual power misapplied and wasted in Maurice than in any other of my cotemporaries. Great power of generalization, rare ingenuity and subtlety and a wide perception of important and unobvious truth, served him not for putting something better into the place of the worthless heap of received opinions in spiritual matters but for proving that the Church of England had known everything from the first, and that all the truths on the ground of which the Church and orthodoxy have been attacked, are not only consistent with the Thirty-nine articles but are better understood and expressed in those articles than by any one who rejects them. Such was the perverting effect on what would otherwise have been a fine intellect, of the combination of a timid character and conscience with an originally highly sensitive temperament. In this he resembled Coleridge, to whom, in merely intellectual powers, apart from poetical genius, I think him decidedly superior. At this time however he might be described as a disciple of Coleridge, and Sterling as a disciple of Coleridge and of him. In our Debating Society they made their appearance as a second Liberal and even Radical party, on totally different grounds from Benthamism and vehemently opposed to it; and they brought into their discussions the general doctrines and modes of thought of the European reaction against the philosophy of the eighteenth century: thus adding a third and very important belligerent party to our discussions, which were now no bad exponent of the movement of opinion among the most cultivated of the new generation. The modifications which were taking place in my old opinions naturally gave me some points of contact with them; and both Maurice and Sterling were of considerable use to my developement. In after conversations with Sterling he told me how he and others had been accustomed to look upon me as a “made” or manufactured man, having had a certain impress of opinion stamped upon me which I could only reproduce; and what a change took place in his feelings when he found, in the discussion on Wordsworth and Byron (in which as might be expected he made a brilliant speech), that Wordsworth and all that is implied in Wordsworth “belonged to” me as much as to him and his friends. But if I agreed with them much more than with Bentham on poetry and general culture, I was as much opposed to them as ever on religion, political philosophy, ethics and metaphysics, and as long as we continued our debating practice we were almost always on contrary sides. One vehement encounter between Sterling and me, he making what I thought a violent and unfair attack on the political philosophy I professed, to which I responded as sharply, fixed itself particularly in my memory because it was immediately followed by two things: one was, Sterling’s withdrawing from the society; the other, that he and I sought one another privately much more than before, and became very intimate. His frank, cordial, affectionate and expansive character made him very attractive to me as he was to every one who knew him. The failure of his health soon scattered all his plans of life and compelled him to live at a distance from London, and I living almost constantly in it, we after the first year or two of our acquaintance only saw each other at distant intervals. He never became, in the proper sense of the word, a thinker; but his open mind and heart, and the moral courage in which he was greatly superior to Maurice, made him soon outgrow the dominion over his intellect of Maurice and of Coleridge. Except in that short and passing phasis of his life, during which he made thec mistake of becoming a clergyman, his mind was ever progressive; the advance he always seemed to have made when I saw him again after an interval, made me apply to him what Goethe said of Schiller’s “fürchtliche Fortschreitung.” He and I started from intellectual points almost as wide apart as the poles, but the distance between us was always growing less: if I made steps towards some of his opinions, he, during his short life, was constantly approximating more and more to mine: and if he had lived and had health and vigour to prosecute his ever assiduous self culture I have little doubt that his mental emancipation on all the leading points of opinion would have become complete.
After 1829 I withdrew from attendance on the Debating Society. I had had enough of speech making, and was glad to carry on my private studies and meditations without any immediate call for outward assertion of their results. I found the fabric of my old and taught opinions giving way in many fresh places, and I never allowed it to fall to pieces, but was incessantly occupied in weaving it anew: I never, in the course of my transition, suffered myself to remain confused and unsettled. When I had taken in any new idea I could not rest till I had adjusted its relation to all my old opinions, and ascertained exactly how far its effect ought to extend in modifying or superseding them.d
The conflicts which I had so often had to carry on in defence of the theory of government laid down in Bentham’s and my father’s writings, and the acquaintance I had obtained with other modes of political thinking, had made me aware of many things which that doctrine, professing to be a theory of government in general, ought to have made room for, and did not. But these things as yet remained with me rather as corrections to be made in applying the theory to practice, than as defects in the theory. I felt that politics could not be a science of specific experience; that the accusations against the Benthamic theory of being a theory, of proceeding a priori, by way of general reasoning instead of Baconian experiment, shewed complete ignorance of Bacon’s principles, and of the necessary conditions of political investigation. At this juncture appeared Macaulay’s famous attack, in the Edinburgh Review, on my father’s Essay on Government. This gave me much to think about. I saw that Macaulay’s conception of political reasoning was wrong; that he stood up for the empirical mode of treating political phenomena against the philosophical. At the same time I could not help feeling that there was truth in several of his strictures on my father’s treatment of the subject; that my father’s premises were really too narrow, and included but a small part of the general truths on which, in politics, the important consequences depend. Identity of interest, in any practical sense which can be attached to the term, between the governing body and the community at large, is not the only thing on which good government depends; neither can this identity of interest be secured by the mere conditions of election: I was not at all satisfied with the mode in which my father met the criticisms of Macaulay. He did not, as I thought he ought to have done, justify himself by saying “I was not writing a scientific treatise on politics. I was writing an argument for parliamentary reform.” He treated Macaulay’s argument as simply irrational; as an attack on the reasoning faculty; an example of the remark of Hobbes that when reason is against a man, a man will be against reason. This made me think that there was really something more fundamentally erroneous in my father’s conception of philosophical Method, as applicable to politics, than I had hitherto supposed there was. But I did not at first see clearly what the error might be. At last however it flashed upon me all at once in the course of my reflexions on another subject. I had begun in the early part of 1830 to put on paper the ideas on Logic (chiefly on the distinctions among Terms, and the import of Propositions) which had been suggested and in part worked out in the morning conversations ealready spoken ofe . Having secured these thoughts by putting them into writing, I pushed on into the other parts of the subject, to try whether I could do anything further to clear up the theory of Logic generally. I attempted at once to grapple with the problem of Induction, postponing that of Reasoning on the ground that it is necessary to obtain premisses before we can reason from them. Now Induction is mainly finding the causes of effects; and in endeavouring to give an account of the manner of tracing causes and effects in the physical sciences, I soon saw that in the more perfect of those sciences we ascend, by generalization from particular instances to the tendencies of causes considered singly, and then reason downward from those separate tendencies, to determine the action of the same causes when combined. I then asked myself, what is the ultimate analysis of this deductive process? the common theory of the syllogism evidently throwing no light upon it. Myf practice being to study abstract principles in the best concrete instances I could find, the Composition of Forces, in dynamics, occurred to me as the most complete example of the logical process I was investigating. On examining what the mind does when it applies the principle of the Composition of Forces, I found that it performs a simple act of addition. It adds the separate effect of the one cause to the separate effect of the other, and puts down the sum of the separate effects as the joint effect. But is this a legitimate process? In dynamics and in the other branches of mathematical physics it is; but in some other cases, as in chemistry it is not; and I then recollected that this was pointed out as one of the distinctions between chemical phenomena and those of natural philosophy, in the introduction to that favorite book of my boyhood, Thomson’s Chemistry. This distinction cleared up what was perplexing me in respect to the philosophy of politics. I saw that a science is deductive or experimental according as the effects of its causes when conjoined are or are not the sums of the effects of the same causes when separate; which, in the moral and political sciences, they may on the whole be said to be. Hence it appeared that both Macaulay and my father were wrong; the one in assimilating the method of philosophizing in politics to the purely experimental method of chemistry; while the other, though right in adopting an a priori method, had made a wrong selection of one, having taken, not the appropriate method, that of the deductive branches of natural philosophy, but the inappropriate method of pure geometry, which not being a science of causation at all, did not require or admit of the summation of effects. A foundation was thus laid in my thoughts for the principal chapters of what I afterwards published on the “Logic of the Moral Sciences”; and my position in respect to my old political creed was now to my own mind quite cleared up.g
If I am asked what other system of political philosophy I substituted for that which, as a philosophy, I had abandoned, my answer is, no system: merely a conviction, that the true system was something much more complex and many sided than I had hitherto had any idea of, and that its office was to supply, not a set of model institutions, but principles from which the institutions suitable to any given circumstances might be deduced. The influences of European, that is to say, Continental thought, and especially those of the reaction of the nineteenth century against the eighteenth, were now showering in upon me. They came from various quarters; partly from the writings of Coleridge, which I had begun to read with interest even before the change in my opinionsh; partly fromh the Coleridgians with whom I was in personal contact: partly from what I had read of Goethe; partly from Carlyle’s early articles in the Edinburgh and Foreign Reviews, though for a long time I saw nothing in these (as my father saw nothing in them to the last) but insane rhapsodies. From all these, and from the acquaintance I kept up with the French writers of the time, I derived, among other ideas, which the general turning upside down of the opinions of European thinkers had brought uppermost, these in particular: that the human mind has a certain order of possible progress in which some things must precede others, an order which governments and public instructors can alter to some extent, but not to an unlimited extent: that all questions of institutions are relative, not absolute, and that different stages of human progress not only will have (which must always have been evident), but ought to have, different institutions; that government is always either in the hands, or passing into the hands, of whatever is the strongest power in society, and that what this power is, does not depend on institutions, but institutions on it: that any general theory or philosophy of politics supposes a previous theory of human progress, in other words a philosophy of history. These opinions, true in the main, were held in an exaggerated and violent manner by ithe thinkers with whom I was now becoming acquainted, andi who, in the true spirit of a reaction, ignored that half of the truth which the thinkers of the eighteenth century saw. I never went along with them in this, but kept as firm a hold of one side of the truth as I took of the other. The fight between the nineteenth century and the eighteenth always reminded me of the battle about the shield, one side of which was black and the other white. I marvelled at the blind rage with which the combatants rushed against one another. I applied to them, and to Coleridge among the rest, many of the sayings of Coleridge himself about half truths; and Goethe’s device, “manysidedness,” was much in my thoughts.
The writers by whom more than by any others a new mode of political thinking was brought home to me, were those of the St. Simonian school in France. In 1829 and 1830 I became acquainted with some of their writings. They were then only in the earlier stages of their speculations: they had not yet dressed up their philosophy as a religion, nor had they organized their scheme of Socialism. They were just beginning to question the principle of hereditary property. I was by no means prepared to go with them even this length; but I was greatly struck with the connected view which they for the first time presented to me, of the natural order of human progress; and especially with their division of history into organic periods and critical periods. During the organic periods (they said) mankind accept with firm conviction some positive creed, containing more or less of truth and of adaptation to the needs of humanity. Under its influence they first make all the progress compatible with that creed, and then finally outgrow it: and a period follows of criticism and negation, in which mankind lose their old convictions without acquiring any new ones except the conviction that the old are false. The period of Greek and Roman polytheism, so long as really believed in by instructed Greeks and Romans, was an organic period, followed by the critical or sceptical period of the Greek philosophers. Another organic period came in with Christianity; the corresponding critical period began with the Reformation, has lasted ever since, and cannot altogether cease until a new organic period has been inaugurated by the triumph of a still more advanced creed. These ideas, I knew, were nowise peculiar to the St. Simonians; they were the general property of Europe, or at least of Germany and France; but they had never to my knowledge been so completely systematized as by these writers, nor the distinguishing characters of a critical period so powerfully set forth. In Carlyle indeed I found bitter denunciations of the evils of an “age of unbelief” and of the present age as such, which I and most other people at that time supposed to be intended as passionate protests in favour of the old belief. But all that was true in these denunciations I thought that I found more calmly and philosophically stated by the St. Simonians. Among their publications too there was one which seemed to me far superior to the rest, and in which the general idea was matured into something much more definite and instructive. This was an early writing of Auguste Comte, who then called himself, and even announced himself in the title page as, an élève of Saint-Simon. In this tract M. Comte first enunciated the doctrine which he afterwards so copiously illustrated, of the natural succession of three stages in every department of inquiry; first the theological, second the metaphysical, and third, the positive stage; and contended that social science must be subject to the same law; that the feudal and Catholic system was the last phasis of the theological state of the social science, Protestantism the commencement and the doctrines of the French Revolution the consummation of its metaphysical, and that its positive state was yet to come. This doctrine harmonized very well with my existing notions. I already regarded the methods of physical science as the proper models for political. But the chief service which I received at this time from the trains of thought suggested by the St. Simonians and by Comte, was that I obtained a much clearer conception than before of the peculiarities of an age of transition in opinion, and ceased to mistake the moral and intellectual characteristics of such an age, for the normal attributes of humanity. I looked forward, through the present age of loud disputes but generally weak convictions, to a future which will unite the best qualities of the critical with the best of the organic periods; unchecked liberty of thought, perfect freedom of individual action in things not hurtful to others; but along with this, firm convictions as to right and wrong, useful and pernicious, deeply engraven on the feelings by early education and general unanimity of sentiment, and so well grounded in reason and in the real exigencies of life, that they shall not, like all former and present creeds, religious, ethical and political, require to be periodically thrown off and replaced by others.
M. Comte soon left the St. Simonians, and I lost sight of him and his writings for a number of years. But the Saint Simonians I continued cultivating. I was kept au courant of their progress by one of their most enthusiastic disciples, Gustave d’Eichthal, who about that time passed a considerable period in England. I was introduced to their chiefs, Bazard and Enfantin, in 1830; and as long as their public teachings and proselytism continued, I read nearly everything they wrote. Their criticisms on the common doctrines of liberalism seemed to me full of important truth; and it was partly by their writings that my eyes were opened to the very limited and temporary value of the old political economy, which assumes private property and inheritance as indefeasible facts, and freedom of production and exchange as the dernier mot of social improvement. The scheme gradually unfolder by the St. Simonians, by which the labour and capital of the community would be managed for the general account, every individual being required to take a share of labour either as thinker, teacher, artist or producer, and all being classed according to their capacity and rewarded according to their works, appeared to me a far superior kind of Socialism to Owen’s; their aim seemed to me perfectly rational, however their means might be inefficacious; and though I neither believed in the practicability nor in the beneficial operation of their social machinery, I felt that the proclamation of such an ideal of human society could not but be calculated to give a beneficial direction to the efforts of others to bring society, as at present constituted, nearer to that ideal standard. I honoured them above all for the boldness and freedom from prejudice with which they treated the subject of family, the most important of any, and needing more fundamental alterations than any other, but which scarcely any reformer has the courage to touch. In proclaiming the perfect equality of men and women, and an entirely new order of things in regard to their relations with one another, the St. Simonians in common with Owen and Fourier have entitled themselves to the grateful remembrance of all future generations.j
In giving an account of this period of my life, I have only specified such of my new impressions as appeared to me both at the time and since to be a kind of turning points, marking a definite progress in my modes of thought. But these few selected points give a very insufficient idea of the quantity of thinking which I carried on respecting a host of subjects during these years of transition. It is true much of the thinking consisted in rediscovering things known to all the world, which I had previously disbelieved, or disregarded. But even then the rediscovery usually placed these truths in some new light by which they were reconciled with, and served to confirm even while they modified, the truths not generally known which kwere contained in my early opinionsk and in no essential part of which I at any time wavered. All my thinking only rendered the foundation of these deeper and stronger, while it often removed misunderstandings and confusion of ideas which had perverted their effect. For example; during the later returns of my dejection, the doctrine of what is called Philosophical Necessity weighed like an incubus on my existence. I felt as if I was the helpless slave of antecedent circumstances; as if lthe character of all persons had been formed for them by agencies beyond their control, and was wholly out of theirl power. I often said to myself what a relief it would be if I could disbelieve the doctrine of the formation of character by circumstances; and remembering the wish of Fox respecting the doctrine of resistance to governments, that it might never be forgotten by kings, nor remembered by subjects, I said in like manner that it would be a blessing if the doctrine of necessity could be believed by all in respect to the characters of others and disbelieved in respect of their own. I pondered on the subject till gradually I saw light through it; I saw that the word necessity as a name for the doctrine of cause and effect applied to human action, carries with it a misleading association; and that this association is the main cause of the depressing and paralysing influence which I had experienced. I perceived that though character ism formed by circumstances, our own desires can influence those circumstances; and that what is really inspiriting and ennobling in the doctrine of free will, is the conviction that our will has real power over the formation of our character; that our will, by influencing some of our circumstances, can modify our future habits or capacities of willing. This was perfectly consistent with the doctrine of circumstances or rather was that doctrine itself properly understood. From that time I drew in my own mind a clear distinction between the doctrine of circumstances and fatalism, discarding altogether the misleading term necessity. The theory, which I now for the first time rightly apprehended, ceased to be discouraging: and I no longer suffered under the burthen, so heavy to one who aims at being a reformer in opinions, of thinking one doctrine true and the contrary doctrine morally beneficial. The train of thought which had extricated me from this dilemma seemed to me fitted to render a similar service to others, and it now forms the chapter on Liberty and Necessity in the concluding book of my System of Logic.
In like manner in politics, though I no longer accepted the doctrine of the Essay on Government as a scientific theory; though I ceased to consider representative democracy as an absolute principle and regarded it as a question of time, place, and circumstance; though I now looked on the choice of political institutions as a moral and educational question rather than a question of material interest, and thought it should be decided mainly by considering what great improvement in life and culture stood next in order for the people concerned, as the condition of their further progress, and what institutions were most likely to promote that; nevertheless this change in the premisses of my political philosophy did not alter my practical political creed as to the requirements of my own time and country. I was as much as ever a radical and democrat for Europe and especially for England. I thought the predominance of the aristocracy and the rich in the English Constitution an evil worth any struggle to get rid of: not on account of taxes or any such comparatively trifling inconvenience but as the great demoralizing influence in the country. Demoralizing, first, because it made the conduct of the government an example of a gross public immorality—the predominance of private over public interest—the abuse of the powers of legislation for the advantage of nseparate classesn Secondly, and above all, because the respect of the multitude always attaches itself principally to that which is the principal passport to power; for which reason under the English institutions where riches, hereditary or acquired, were the almost exclusive source of political importance, riches and the signs of riches were almost the only things really respected, and to the pursuit of these the life of the people was mainly devoted. Further, I thought that while the higher and richer classes held the power of government, the instruction and improvement of the mass of the people was contrary to the self interest of those classes, because necessarily tending to raise up dissatisfaction with their monopoly: but if the democracy obtained a share in the supreme power, and still more if they obtained the predominant share, it would become the interest of the opulent classes to promote their education, in order to guard them from really mischievous errors and especially to ward off unjust violations of property. For these reasons I was not only as ardent as ever for democratic institutions, but earnestly hoped that Owenite, St. Simonian, and all other anti-property opinions might spread widely among the poorer classes, not that I thought those doctrines true but in order that the higher classes might be led to see that they had more to fear from the poor when uneducated, than from the poor when educated.
In this frame of mind the French Revolution of July found me. It roused my utmost enthusiasm, and gave me as it were a new existence. I went at once to Pariso , was introduced to Lafayette, and got acquainted with several of the active chiefs of the popular partyp . After my return I entered warmly, as a writer, into the politics of the time, which soon became still more exciting by the coming in of Lord Grey’s ministry, and the proposing of the Reform Bill. For the next few years I wrote largely in newspapers. It was just about this time that Fonblanque, who had for some time previous written the political articles in the Examiner, became the proprietor and editor of the paper. It is not forgotten with what verve and talent he carried it on, during the whole period of Lord Grey’s ministry, and what importance it assumed as the principal representative of radical opinions in the newspaper press. qAt least three fourths of the original writing in the paper was his own; but of the remaining fourthq I contributed during the first years a considerable share. I wrote nearly all the articles on French subjects, including a weekly summary of French politics often extending to considerable length. I also wrote many leading articles on general politics, on commercial and financial legislation, and any miscellaneous subjects suitable to the paper in which I felt interested, besides occasional reviews of books. In mere newspaper articles on the occurrences and questions of the moment there was little room for the developement of any general mode of thought; but I attempted in the beginning of 1831, to embody in a series of articles, under the heading of “The Spirit of the Age” some of my new opinions and especially to point out in the character of the present age the anomalies and evils characteristic of the transition from one system of opinions which had worn out, to another only in process of formation. These articles were I believe lumbering in style, and not lively and striking enough to be acceptable to newspaper readers at any time; but had they been much more attractive, still at that particular time, when great political changes were impending, and occupied all minds, these discussions were ill timed, and missed fire altogether*sThe only effect which I know to have been produced by them iss that Carlyle, then living in a secluded part of Scotland, read them in his solitude, and saying to himself (as he afterwards told me) “here is a new Mystic,” enquired on coming to London that autumn, concerning their authorship, an enquiry which was the immediate cause of our becoming personally acquainted.
I have mentioned Carlyle’s earlier writings as one of the channels through which the influences reached me, which had enlarged my early narrow creed: but I do not think that those writings by themselves would ever have had any effect on my opinions. What truths they contained were presented in a form and vesture less suited than any other to give them access to a mind trained as mine had been. They seemed a haze of poetry and German metaphysics, in which the only clear thing was a strong animosity to most of the opinions which were the basis of my mode of thought, religious scepticism, utilitarianism, the doctrine of circumstances, and the attaching any importance to democracy or logic or political economy. Instead of being taught anything in the first instance by Carlyle, it was only in proportion as I came to see the same truths through media more suited to my mental constitution that I recognized them in his writings. Even afterwards the chief good they did me was not as philosophy to instruct but as poetry to animate. In this respect they ultimately became, and long continued, very valuable and delightful to me. Even at the time when our acquaintance began I was not sufficiently advanced in my new modes of thought to appreciate him fully; a proof of which is that when he shewed me the manuscript of Sartor Resartus, his best and greatest work, which he had then just finished,t it made hardly any impression on me: though I read his article on Johnson, published a few months later in Fraser’s Magazine,[*] with uenthusiastic admirationu , and when Sartor came out in the same periodical in 1833 or 1834, I read that with equal enthusiasm.v I did not seek and cultivate Carlyle less on account of the fundamental differences in our philosophy. He soon found out that I was not “another mystic,” and when I wrote to him for the sake of my own integrity a distinct profession of all those of my opinions which I knew he most disliked, he replied that the chief difference between us was that I “was as yet consciously nothing of a mystic”: but he continued for a long time to think that I was destined to become one. I need hardly say that in this expectation he was disappointed, and that although both his and my opinions underwent in subsequent years various changes, we never approached much nearer to each other’s modes of thought than we were in the first years of our wacquaintancew . But I did not consider myself a competent judge of Carlyle. I felt that he was a poet and that I was not, that he was a man of intuition, which I was not; and that as such he not only saw many things long before me which I could only, when they were pointed out to me, hobble after and prove, but that it was possible he could see many things which were not visible to me even when pointed out. I knew that I could not see round him, and could never be quite sure that I saw over him; and xI neveryformedy a definitive judgment of him until he was interpreted to me by one far the superior of us both—who was more a poet than he, and more a thinker than I—whose own mind and nature included all his and infinitely morex.
zAmong the persons of intellect whom I had known of old, the one with whom I had now most points of agreement was the elder Austin. I have mentioned that he always set himself in opposition to our early sectarianism; and latterly he had, like myself, come under new influences. Having been appointed Professor of Jurisprudence in the London University (now University College) then just founded, he had lived for some time at Bonn to study for his lectures, and the influences of German literature and of the German character and state of society had made a very perceptible change in his views of life. His personal disposition was much softened; he was less militant and polemic; his tastes were greatly turned to the poetic and contemplative. He now attached much less importance than formerly to outward changes, unless accompanied by higher cultivation of the inward nature. He had a strong distaste for the meanness of English life, the absence of enlarged thoughts and unselfish desires, the low objects on which the faculties of all classes of the English are intent. Even the kind of public interests which Englishmen care for he held in very little estimation. He thought that there was more practical good government, and infinitely more care for the education and improvement of the people of all ranks under the Prussian monarchy than under the English representative government: and he held, with the French Economistes, that the real security for good government is not popular institutions but “un peuple éclairé.” Though he approved the Reform Bill he predicted what in fact occurred, that it would not produce the great immediate improvements in government which many expected from it. The men, he said, do not exist in the country. There were many points of sympathy between him and me both in the new opinions he had adopted and in the old ones he retained. Like me he never ceased to be a utilitarian, and with all his love of the Germans, never became in the smallest degree reconciled to the innate-principle metaphysics. He however cultivated more and more a kind of German religion, more comfortable though assuredly less virtuous than the bitter opposition to the order of the universe which had formerly distinguished him; and in politics he acquired an indifference, bordering on contempt, for the progress of popular institutions, though he rejoiced in that of socialism as the most effectual means of compelling the powerful classes to educate the people and to point out to them the real road to an improvement of their material condition, that of a limitation of their numbers. Neither was he fundamentally opposed to socialism in itself, as an ultimate result of improvement. He professed great disrespect for the “universal principles of human nature of the political economists,” and insisted on the evidence which history and daily experience afford, of the “extraordinary pliability of human nature.”
His wife, who was then first beginning to be known by her translations,[*] took the principal conduct of the active and practical part of their life: for he, though he always felt like a gentleman and judged like a man of the world, in the good sense of both those terms, retired as far as he could from all business or contact with worldly affairs. She laid herself out for drawing round her as many persons of consideration or promise of consideration, as she could get, and succeeded in getting many foreigners, some literary men and a good many young men of various descriptions, and many who came for her remained for him. Having known me from a boy, she made great profession of a kind of maternal interest in me. But I never for an instant supposed that she really cared for me; anor perhaps for anybody beyond the surfacea ; I mean as to real feeling, not that she was not quite ready to be friendly or serviceableb . She professed Benthamic opinions when Mr. Austin professed the same, and German opinions when he turned in that direction; but in truth, though she had considerable reading and acquirements, she never appeared to me to have anything deserving the name of opinions. If at that time she had anything capable of being so called, and coming from her own mind, it consisted of prudential maxims for the conduct of life. Under the influence of these she slid into the opinions agreeable to the well-to-do classes, as soon as she saw a possibility of making any way for herself among a few people of consequence. She cultivated blandness of manner and the ways which put people at their ease; and while she was quite ready to listen, she had always plenty to say, though chiefly in the form of narrative and that mainly of what had been said to her by other people. She made herself agreeable to young men by encouraging them with professions of sympathy to talk about themselves; but I do not think the impression thus made lasted long with them, though she often succeeded in retaining that degree of good will which is obtained by an appearance of good nature. The good nature, in the sense in which that quality can be ascribed to a person of so little feeling, was I dare say, to a certain extent genuine; but it was not inconsistent with her having, at times, a very mischievous tongue, which sowed médisance far and wide by expressions so guarded as almost to elude responsibility for any distinct statement.z
c My father’s tone of thought and feeling I now felt myself at a great distance from: much greater than a full and calm explanation and reconsideration on both sides, would have shewn to exist in reality. But my father was not one with whom calm and full explanations on fundamental points of doctrine could be expected, dat leastd by one whom he might consider a deserter from his standard. Fortunately we were almost always in strong agreement on the political questions of the day, which engrossed a large part of his interest and of his conversation. On those matters of opinion on which we differed, we talked little. He knew that the habit of thinking for myself, which he had given me, sometimes led me to opinions different from his, and he perceived from time to time that I did not always tell him how different. I expected no good, but only pain to both of us, from discussing our differences, and I never expressed them but when he gave utterance to some opinion or feeling very repugnant to mine, in a manner which would have made it disingenuousness on my part to remain silent. At such times we used to have a short sharp contest, never leading to any result.
During the years of which I am now speaking, I did a not inconsiderable quantity of writing over and above my contributions to newspapers. In 1830 and 1831 I wrote the five Essays since published as Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy almost as they now stand, except that in 1833 I partially rewrote the fifth essay. I wrote them with no immediate purpose of publication, and only sent them to press in 1844 in consequence of the success of the Logic. I also resumed my speculations on this last subject, and puzzled myself (like others before me, but with, I hope, more of useful result) with the great paradox of the discovery of new truth by general reasoning. As to the fact there could be no doubt; as little could it be doubted, that all reasoning was resolvable into syllogisms and that in every syllogism the conclusion is actually contained and implied in the premisses. How being so contained and implied, it could be new truth, and how the theorems of geometry, so different to all appearance from the definitions and axioms, could be all contained in them, was a difficulty which no one, I thought, had sufficiently felt, and which at all events no one had succeeded in clearing up. The attempts at explanation by Whately and others seemed rather explainings away; and though they might give a temporary satisfaction, always left a mist still hanging over the subject. At last, whene reading for the fsecond or thirdf time the chapters on Reasoning in the second volume of Dugald Stewart, interrogating myself on every point and following out the various topics of thought which the book suggested, I came to an idea of his about the use of axioms in ratiocination, which I did not remember to have noticed before, but which now in meditating on it seemed to me to be not only true of axioms but of all general propositions whatever, and to lead to the true solution of my perplexity. From this germ grew the theory of the syllogism propounded in the second book of the Logic; which I immediately made safe by writing it out. And now with greatly increased hope of being able to produce a book of some originality on Logic, I proceeded to write the First Book, from the rough and imperfect draft I had previously made. What I now wrote became the basis of that part of the subsequent Treatise; except that it did not contain the theory of Kinds, which was a much later addition. At this point I made a halt, which lasted five years. I had come to the end of my tether: I could make nothing satisfactory of Induction at this time. I continued to read any book which promised light on the subject,g and to appropriate as well as I could the results, but for a long time I found nothing which opened to me any very instructive vein of meditation.
In 1832 I wrote several papers for the first series of Tait’s Magazine, and one for a quarterly periodical called the Jurist, which had been founded and was for a short time carried on by a set of reforming lawyers with several of whom I was acquainted. This paper, entitled “On Corporation and Church Property,” I still think a very complete discussion of the rights of the state over Foundations. It shewed both sides of my opinions; asserting as firmly as I should ever have done, the doctrine that endowments are national property which the government may and ought to control, but not, as I should formerly have done, condemning endowments in themselves and proposing that they should be taken to pay off the national debt. On the contrary I urged strongly the importance of having a provision for education, not dependent on the mere demand of the market, that is, on the knowledge and discernment of ordinary parents, but calculated to establish and keep up a higher standard of instruction than is likely to be spontaneously demanded by the buyers of the article. This essay which was little read would be better worth reprinting than most of the short things I have written.h
It was at the period of my mental progress which I have now reached, that I formed the friendship which has been the honour and blessing of my existence, as well as the source of a great part of all that I have attempted to do, or hope to effect hereafter for human improvement. My first introduction to the lady who, after a friendship of twenty years, consented to become my wife, was in 1830, when I was in my twenty-fifth and she in her twenty-third year. With her husband’s family it was a renewal of an old acquaintanceship. His grandfather lived in the next house to my father’s in Newington Green and I had sometimes when a boy been invited to play in the old gentleman’s garden. He was a fine specimen of the old Scotch puritan; stern, severe and powerful, but very kind to children, on whom such men make a lasting impression. Although it was years after my introduction to Mrs. Taylor before my acquaintance with her became at all intimate or confidential, I very soon felt her to be the most admirable person I had ever known. It is not to be supposed that she was, or that any one, at the age at which I first saw her, could be all that she afterwards became. Least of all could this be true of her, with whom self-improvement, progress in the highest and in all senses, was a law of her nature; a necessity equally from the ardour with which she sought it, and from the spontaneous tendency of faculties which could not receive an impression or an experience without making it the source or the occasion of an accession of wisdom. Up to the time when I knew her, her rich and powerful nature had chiefly unfolded itself according to the received type of feminine genius. To her outer circle she was a beauty and a wit, with an air of natural distinction, felt by all who approached her: to the inner, a woman of deep and strong feeling, of penetrating and intuitive intelligence, and of a most meditative and poetic nature. Married at a very early age, to a most upright, brave, and honorable man, of liberal opinions and good education, but without the intellectual or artistic tastes which would have made him a companion for her—though a steady and affectionate friend, for whom she had true esteem and the strongest affection through life and whom she most deeply lamented when dead; shut out by the social disabilities of women from any adequate exercise of her highest faculties in action on the world without; her life was one of inward meditation, varied by familiar intercourse with a small circle of friends, of whom one only was a person of genius, or of capacities of feeling or intellect kindred with her own, but all had more or less of alliance with her in sentiments and opinions. Into this circle I had the good fortune to be admitted, and I soon perceived that she possessed in combination the qualities which in all other persons whom I had known I had been only too happy to find singly. In her, complete emancipation from every kind of superstition, and an earnest protest both against society as at present constituted and against the pretended perfection of the order of nature and the universe, resulted not from the hard intellect but from strength of noble and elevated feeling, and coexisted with a highly reverential nature. In general spiritual characteristics as well as in temperament and organization I have often compared her, as she was at this time, to Shelley, but in thought and intellect Shelley, so far as his powers were developed in his short life, was but a child to her. Alike in the highest regions of philosophy and in the smallest practical concerns of daily life, her mind is the same perfect instrument, going down to the very heart and marrow of the matter—always seizing the essential idea or principle. The same exactness and rapidity of operation pervading her sensitive as well as her mental faculties, would with her gifts of feeling and imagination have fitted her to be a consummate artist, as her fiery and tender soul and her vigorous eloquence might have made her a great orator, and her profound knowledge of human nature and discernment and sagacity in practical life would in the times when such a carrière was open to women, have made her eminent among the rulers of mankind. Her intellectual gifts did but minister to a moral character at once the noblest and the best balanced which I have ever met with in life. Her unselfishness was not that of a taught system of duties but of a heart which thoroughly identified itself with the feelings of others and even imaginatively invested them with the intensity of its own. The passion of justice might have been thought to be her strongest feeling but for her boundless generosity and a lovingness ever ready to pour itself forth upon any or all human beings who were capable of giving the smallest feeling in return. All the rest of her moral characteristics were such as naturally accompany these qualities of mind and heart: the most genuine modesty combined with the loftiest pride; a simplicity and sincerity which was absolute towards all who were fit to receive it; the utmost scorn of everything mean and cowardly, and indignation at everything brutal or tyrannical, faithless or dishonorable in conduct and character; while making the broadest distinction between mala in se and mere mala prohibita—between acts giving evidence of intrinsic badness of feeling and character, and those which are only violations of conventions either good or bad, and which whether in themselves right or wrong, are capable of being done by persons otherwise loveable or admirable.
To be admitted into any degree of personal intercourse with a being of these qualities, could not but have a most beneficial influence on my development. The benefit I received was far greater than any which I could hope to give; except that, to her, who had reached her opinions by the moral intuition of a character of strong feeling, there was doubtless help as well as encouragement to be derived from one who had arrived at many of the same results by study and reasoning: and in the rapidity of her intellectual growth, her mental activity which converted everything into knowledge, doubtless drew from me, as well as from other sources, many of its materials. What I owe to her intellectually, is that without which all I possessed before is of little value. With those who, like all the wisest and best of mankind, are dissatisfied with human life as it is and whose feelings are wholly identified with its radical amendment, there are two main regions of thought: one is the region of ultimate aims; the constituents of the highest realizable ideal of human life; the other is that of the immediately useful and practically attainable. In both of these departments aI have learnt more from her than from all other persons taken togethera . And to say truth, it is in these two extremes that the only real certainty lies. My own strength lay wholly in the uncertain and slippery intermediate region, that of theory, or moral and political science: respecting the conclusions of which in any of the forms in which I have received or originated them, whether as political economy, analytic psychology, logic, philosophy of history, or anything else, it is not the least of my intellectual obligations to her that I have derived from her a wise scepticism; which, while it has not hindered me from following out the honest exercise of my thinking faculties to whatever conclusions might result from it, has prevented me, I hope, from holding or announcing those conclusions with a confidence which the nature of such speculations does not warrant, and has kept my mind always open to admit clearer perceptions and better evidence.
b During the first years of our acquaintance the principal effect of her nature upon mine was to enlarge and exalt my conceptions of the highest worth of a human being. The poetic elements of her character, which were at that time the most ripened, were naturally those which impressed me first, and those years were, in respect of my own development, mainly years of poetic culture. My faculties became more attuned to the beautiful and elevated, in all kinds, and especially in human feeling and character, and more capable of vibrating in unison with it; and I required, in all those in whom I could take interest, a strong taste for elevated and poetic feeling, if not the feeling itself. This however did not check, but gave additional animation to my activity in all the modes of exertion for public objects to which I had been accustomed. I retained unabated interest in radical politics, kept up my connexion with such of the rising or promising politicians on the radical side, as I was previously acquainted with, and even became more involved than before in political as well as literary relations.
In the autumn of 1832 occurred the election of the first Reformed Parliament, which included several of the most notable of my Radical friends and acquaintances; Grote, Roebuck, Charles Buller, Sir William Molesworth (with whom through Buller I had lately become acquainted), John and Edward Romilly and several others; besides Strutt and others who were in parliament already. Those who thought themselves, and were called by their friends, the philosophic radicals, had now a fair opportunity, in a more advantageous position than they had ever before occupied, of shewing what was in them; and I as well as my father founded great hopes on them. Those hopes were destined to be disappointed. The men were honest, and faithful to their opinions, as far as votes were concerned; often in spite of much discouragement. But they did very little to promote any opinions. One or two of the youngest did as much, perhaps, as could reasonably have been expected from them individually. What Roebuck did has already been mentioned: Buller and Molesworth also by degrees did something. But those from whom most was expected did least. They had no enterprise, no activity; they left the lead of the radical portion of the House to the old hands, to Hume and O’Connell. Nobody disappointed my father and me more than Grote, because no one else had so much in his power. We had long known him fainthearted, ever despairing of success, thinking all obstacles giganticc; butc the Reform Bill excitement seemed for a time to make a new man of him: he had grown hopeful, and seemed as if he could almost become energetic. When brought face to face however with an audience opposed to his opinions, when called on to beat up against the stream, he dwas found wantingd . The years which he withdrew from his History and spent in the House of Commons were almost wasted. Except an annual motion for the ballot[*] (to which he continued to stick after the change of times had made it no longer desirable) and an honorable stand made now and then against a bad measure, such as the Irish and Canada Coercion Bills,[*] Mr. Grote was almost an inactive member of parliament. If his courage and energy had been equal to the circumstances, or to his knowledge and abilities, the history of those ten years of relapse into Toryism might have been very different. His standing and social position would have enabled him to create a real Radical party, for which the materials then existed; he could have put heart into the many younger men who would have been ready to join him—could have made them available to the extent of their talents in bringing advanced ideas before the public—could have used the House of Commons as a rostra or a teacher’s chair for instructing and impelling the public mind, and would either have forced the Whigs to take their measures from him, or taken the lead of the Reform party out of their hands. All this would eprobablye have happened if my father had been in Parliament. For want of such a man the instructed Radicals sank into a mere côté gauche of the Whig party. With a keen sense of the fgreatf possibilities which were open to the Radicals if they made even ordinary exertion for their opinions, I laboured from this time till 1839 both by personal influence with some of them, and by writings, to put ideas into their heads and purpose into their hearts. gI did some good with Charles Buller, and some with Sir W. Molesworth;g but on the whole the attempt was vain. To have had a chance of succeeding in it, required a different position from mine. It was a task only for one who being himself in parliament, could have mixed with the radical members in daily consultation, and instead of saying to others “Lead,” could himself have led, and incited them to follow.
During the year 1833 I continued working in the Examiner with Fonblanque, who at that time was zealous in keeping up the fight for radicalism against the Whigs, though after 1834 he sank into little better than their supporter and panegyrist. During the session of 1834 I wrote comments on passing events, under the title “Notes on the Newspapers,” in the Monthly Repository, a magazine conducted by Mr. Fox (with whom I had lately become acquainted) and which I wrote for, chiefly on his account. I contributed several other articles to this periodical, some of them (especially two on the theory of poetry) containing a considerable amount of thought. Altogether, the writings (independently of those in newspapers) which I published from 1832 to 1834, amount to a large volume. This however includes abstracts of several of Plato’s Dialogues, with introductory remarks, which though not published until 1834, had been written several years earlier; and which I afterwards on various occasions found to have been read, and their authorship known, by more people than were aware of anything else which I had written up to that time. To complete the tale of my writings I may add that in 1833, at the request of Bulwer, who was just then completing his England and the English, 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 as an Appendix. In this, along with the favorable, 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.
As the “philosophic radical” party fell off my endeavours to put life into it were redoubled. Among the possibilities which had been much talked of between my father and me, and some of the parliamentary and other radicals who frequented his house, was the foundation of a periodical organ of philosophic radicalism, to take the place which the Westminster had been intended to fill; and the scheme went so far as to bring under discussion the pecuniary contributions which could be looked for, and even the choice of an editor. The project however seemed to have fallen to the ground, when in the summer of 1834 Sir W. Molesworth, himself a laborious student, and one of the most hzealous at that timeh of the Parliamentary Radicals, of himself proposed to establish a Review, provided I would consent to be the real, if not the nominal, editor. Such an offer was not to be refused; and the review was founded, under my direction, though under the ostensible editorship of Roebuck’s brother in law, Falconer.i In the years between 1834 and 1840 the conduct of this review occupied the greater part of my spare time. It came out in April 1835 under the name of the London Review, and four numbers were published with that title, after which Molesworth bought the Westminster Review from its proprietor Colonel Thompson and the two were united under the name of the London and Westminster Review. In the beginning the review did not, as a whole, by any means represent my opinions. I was under the necessity of conceding much to my inevitable associates. The review was established to be the representative of the “philosophic radicals,” with most of whom I was at issue on many essential points and among whom I could not even claim to be the most important individualj . My father’s cooperation as a writer we all deemed indispensable, and he wrote largely in it until prevented by illness. The subjects of his articles and the strength and decision with which his opinions were expressed in them, made the review at first derive its colour and tone from him much more than fromk any of the other writers. I could not exercise editorial control over his articles and I was even obliged to sacrifice to him portions of mine. The old Westminster Review opinions, little modified, thus formed the staple of the review, but I hoped by the side of these to introduce other ideas and another tone, and to give to my opinions a fair representation in the review along with those of other members of the party. For this purpose chiefly I made it one of the peculiarities of the review that every article should bear an initial or some other signature and be held to express only the opinions of the writer, the editor being only responsible for its being worth publishing, and not conflicting with the objects for which the review was set on foot. I had an opportunity of putting in practice my scheme of conciliation between the old and the new “philosophic radicalism” by the choice of a subject for my own first contribution. Mr. Sedgwick had then lately published his Discourse on the Studies of Cambridge, a tract of which the most prominent feature was an abusive assault on analytic psychology and on utilitarian ethics, in the form of an attack on Locke and Paley. This had excited great indignation in my father and others, which I thought was fully deserved. And here, I conceived, 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 I lcould not speak out my whole mind at this time without coming into conflict with my fatherl . There are things however which incline me to believe that my father was not so much opposed as he seemed, to the modes of thought in which I supposed myself to differ from him; that mhe did injustice to his own opinions bym the unconscious exaggerations of a pugnacious and polemical intellect, and that when thinking without an adversary en présence he was ready to make room for a great portion of the truths he seemed to deny. His Fragment on Mackintosh, which he wrote and published about this time, although I greatly admired some parts of it, was as a whole very repulsive to me; yet on reading it againn, long after,n I found very little in the opinions it contains but what I think in the main just; and I can even sympathize in his disgust at the verbiage of Mackintosh though his asperity went beyond not only what was judicious but what was even fair. One thing which I thought at the time of good augury, was the very favourable reception he gave to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. It is true he said and thought much more about what Tocqueville said in favour of Democracy than about what he said against it. Still, his high appreciation of a book which was at any rate an example of a mode of treating the question of government almost the reverse of his—wholly inductive and analytical instead of purely ratiocinative—gave me great encouragement. He also approved of an article which I published in the first number following the junction of the two reviews, under the heading “Civilization,” into which I threw many of my new opinions and criticized rather emphatically the mental tendencies of the time on grounds and in a manner which I certainly had not learnt from him.
All speculation however on the possible future developments of my father’s opinions and on the probabilities of successful cooperation between him and me in the promulgation of our thoughts, was doomed to be cut short. During the whole of 1835 his health had been declining; his symptoms became unequivocally those of pulmonary consumption and after lingering to the last stage of debility he died on the 23d of June 1836. Until the last few days of his life there was no apparent abatement of intellectual vigour; his interest in all things and persons that had interested him through life, was unabated; nor did the approach of death cause the smallest wavering (as in so strong a mind it was impossible that it should) in his anti-religious convictions. His chief satisfaction, after he knew that his end was near, seemed to be the thought of what he had done to make the world better than he found it; and his chief regret in not living longer, that he had not had time to do more.
His place is an eminent one in the literary and even the political history of this country; and it is far from honorable to the generation which has benefitted by his worth, that he is so seldom mentioned and so little remembered. Probably the chief cause of the neglect of his memory, is that, notwithstanding the great number of his opinions which have now been generally adopted, there was a marked opposition between his spirit and that of the present time. As Brutus was the last of the Romans, so was he the last of the eighteenth century: he continued its tone of thought and sentiment into the nineteenth (though with great additions and improvements), partaking neither in the good nor in the bad influences of the reaction against the eighteenth century which is the great characteristic of the first half of the nineteenth. The eighteenth century was a great age, an age of stronger and braver men than the nineteenth, and he waso a fit companion for its strongest and bravest. By his writings and his personal influence, he was a great centre of light to his generation. During the latter years of his life he was quite as much the head and leader of the intellectual radicals in England as ever Voltaire was of the philosophers of France. It is only one of his minor merits that he was the originator of all sound statesmanship in regard to the subject of his largest work, India. He wrote on no subject which he did not enrich with valuable thought: and if we except the Political Economy, very useful when written but which has now for some time finished its work, it will be long before any of his books will be wholly superseded, or will cease to be instructive reading to students of their subjects. In the power of influencing by mere force of mind and character, the convictions and purposes of others, and in the strenuous exertion of that power to promote freedom and progress, he has left no equal among men—and but one among women.
Though acutely sensible of my own inferiority in the qualities by which he acquired his personal ascendancy, I had now to try pwhat it might be possible for me to accomplish without himp ; and the review was the instrument on which I built my chief hopes of establishing a useful influence over the liberal and democratic portion of the public mind. Deprived now of my father’s aid, I was also exempted from the restraints and retinences by which that aid was purchased: I did not feel that there was any other radical writer or politician to whom I was bound to defer further than consisted with my own opinions: and having the complete confidence of Molesworth, I resolved from henceforth to give full scope to my own opinions and modes of thought and to open the review widely to all writers who were in sympathy with Progress as I understood it, even though I should lose by it the support of my former associates. Carlyle from this time became a frequent writer in the review; Sterling, soon after, an occasional one; and though each individual article continued to be the expression of the private sentiments of its writer, the general tone conformed in some tolerable degree to my opinions. This was not effected without parting company with the nominal editor, Falconer, who, after holding on for some time in spite of differences of opinion, at last resignedq . I supplied his place by a young Scotchman of the name of Robertson, who had some ability and information, much industry, and an active scheming head, full of devices for making the review more saleable, and on whose capacity in that particular I founded a good deal of hope: insomuch that when Molesworth, in the beginning of 1837, became tired of carrying on the review at a loss, and desirous of getting rid of it. I, very imprudently for my own pecuniary interest, and very much from reliance on Robertson’s devices, determined to continue it at my own risk until his plans should have had a fair trial. The devices were good in their way, but I do not believe that any devices would have made a radical and democratic review pay its expenses, including a liberal payment to writers. I myself and several frequent contributors gave our labour gratuitously, as we had done for Molesworth, but the paid contributors continued to be paid at the usual rate of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews: and this could not be done from the proceeds of the sale.
In the same year, 1837, and in the midst of these occupations, I resumed the Logic. I had now done nothing to it for five years, having been stopped, and brought to a pause, on the threshold of Induction. I had gradually discovered that what was mainly wanting to overcome the difficulties of that subject was a comprehensive and at the same time accurate view of the whole circle of physical science, which I feared it would take a long course of study to acquire, since I knew not of any book or other guide that would display before me the generalities and processes and believed that I should have no choice but to extract them for myself, if I could, from the details of the sciences. Happily for me, Dr. Whewell, early in this year, published his History of the Inductive Sciences. I read it with eagerness and found in it a considerable approximation to what I wanted. Much if not most of his philosophy appeared to me erroneous; but the materials were there, for my own thoughts to work upon, and the author had given to those materials that first degree of elaboration which so greatly abridges and facilitates the subsequent labour. I felt that I had now got what I had been waiting for. Under the impulse given me by the thoughts excited by Whewell I read again Herschel’s Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, which I had read (and even reviewed) several years before, but had found little help in it. I now found much. I then set vigorously to work out the subject in thought and in writing. I had just two months to spare in the intervals of writing for the review. In those two months I wrote (in the first draft) about a third, the most difficult third, of the book. What I had before written I estimated at another third, so that only a third remained. What I wrote at this time consisted of the remainder of the doctrine of Reasoning (the theory of Trains of Reasoning, and Deductive Science) and the greater part of the Third Book, on Induction. I had now, as it seemed to me, untied all the really hard knots, and the completion of the book had become only a question of time. When I had got thus far I had to leave off in order to write two articles for the next number of the review. When these were written I returned to the subject and now for the first time fell in with Comte’s Cours de Philosophie Positive or rather with the two volumes of it which were then all that had been published. My theory of Induction was substantially completed before I knew of Comte’s book and it is perhaps well that I came to it by ar different road from his, since the consequence has been that my treatise contains what his certainly does not, a reduction of the inductive process to strict rules and to a scientific test, such as the Syllogism is for ratiocination. Comte is always profound on the methods of investigation but he does not even attempt any exact definition of the conditions of proof: and his own writings shew that he has no just conception of them. This however was specifically the problem which, in treating of Induction, I had proposed to myself. Nevertheless I gained much from Comte with which to enrich my chapters in the subsequent rewriting, and his book was of essential service to me in the parts which still remained to be thought out. After completing the study of his two volumes I wrote three more chapters in the autumn of 1837 after which I did not return to the subject until the middle of the next year: the review engrossing all the time I could devote to authorship, or to thinking with authorship in view.
In the conduct of the review I had two principal objects. One was to free radical opinions from the reproach of narrow Benthamism. I desired, while retaining the precision of expression, the definiteness of meaning, the aversion to declamatory phrases and vague generalities which were so honorably characteristic of Bentham, and my father, to give a wider basis and a freer and more genial character to radical speculations; to shew that there was a radical philosophy better and more complete than Bentham’s, though recognizing and incorporating all of Bentham’s which is permanently valuable. In this first object I to a certain extent succeeded. The other thing I attempted was to stir up the educated radicals in and out of parliament to exertion, and induce them to make themselves what I thought they might by taking the proper means have become, a powerful party, capable of taking the government of the country, or at least of dictating the terms on which they should share it with the Whigs. This attempt totally failed, partly because the time was unfavourable; the Reform fervour being then in its period of ebb, and the old Tory influences powerfully rallying; but far more, because, as Austin so truly said, “the country did not contain the men.” Among the Radicals in Parliament there were two or three qualified to be useful members of an enlightened Radical party, but none capable of forming or leading such a partys . The exhortations of the review found no response. One occasion did present itself when there seemed to be room for a bold and successful stroke for radicalism. Lord Durham had left the ministry, as was thought, because they were not sufficiently liberal: he afterwards accepted from them the task of removing the causes of rebellion in Canada: he had shewn a disposition to surround himself at his outset with radical advisers; one of his earliest measures, a good measure both in intention and in effect, having been disapproved and reversed by the government at home, he had resigned his post and placed himself openly in a position of quarrel with the ministers. Here was a possible chief for a radical party, in the person of a man of importance who was hated by the Tories, and had just been injured by the Whigs. It was an opportunity to be seizedt . Lord Durham was bitterly attacked from all sides; he appeared to be returning a defeated and discredited man, and those who would willingly have defended him did not know what to say. I had followed the course of Canadian events from the beginning; I had been one of the prompters of his prompters; his policy was almost exactly what mine would have been, and I was in a position to defend it. I wrote and published a manifesto in the form of a review article in which I claimed for him not mere acquittal but praise and honour. I believe that there was a portion of truth in what Lord Durham afterwards with polite exaggeration said to me, that to this article might be attributed the almost triumphal reception which he met with on his arrival in England. I believe it to have been the word in season which at a critical moment decides the result; the touch which determines whether a stone set in motion at the top of a hill shall roll down on the north or on the south side. All hopes connected with Lord Durham as a politician soon vanished; but with regard to Canadian and generally to colonial policy, the cause was gained: Lord Durham’s report, written by Charles Buller under the inspiration of Wakefield, began a new era; its recommendations extending to complete internal self government were in full operation in Canada within two or three years, and are becoming rapidly extended to all the other colonies which have as yet any existence as considerable communities: and I may say that in successfully upholding the reputation of Lord Durham and of his advisers at the most important moment, I contributed materially to this result.
There was one other case during my conduct of the review which similarly illustrated the effect of taking a decided initiative. I believe that the early success and reputation of Carlyle’s French Revolution were very materially promoted by what I wrote about it in the review. Immediately after its publication, and before the commonplace critics, all whose rules and modes of judgment it set at defiance, had time to preoccupy the public with their disapproval of it, I wrote and published a review of the book hailing it as one of those productions of genius which are above all rules and are a law to themselves. Neither in this case nor in Lord Durham’s do I ascribe the impression which I think was produced by what I wrote, to any particular merit of execution; and indeed, in at least one of the two cases (Carlyle’s) I do not think the execution was good. I believe that anybody in a position to be read, who had expressed the same opinion at the same precise time and had made any tolerable statement of the just grounds for it, would have produced exactly the same effect. But after the complete failure of my plans for putting a new life into radical politics by means of the review I am glad to look back on these two instances of success in an honest attempt to do immediate service to things and persons that deserved it.
After the last hope of the formation of a Radical party had disappeared, it was time for me to stop the heavy expenditure of time and money which the review cost me. It had to some extent answered my purpose as a vehicle for my opinions: It had enabled me to express in print much of my then present mode of thought and to distinguish it in a marked manner from the narrower Benthamism of my early writings. This was done by the general tone of all I wrote, including various literary articles (among which the one which contained most thought was on Alfred de Vigny),[*] but especially by two articles which attempted a philosophical estimate of Bentham and of Coleridge. In the first of these, 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 just, but I have much doubted since whether it was right to publish it. I have often felt that Bentham’s philosophy as an instrument of progress has been in a great measure discredited before it had half done its work and that lending a hand to pull down its reputation was doing more harm than service to improvement. In the article on Coleridge I attempted to characterize the European reaction against the negative philosophy of the eighteenth century: and here I 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 carried me too far to the opposite side; but so far as relates to the article on Coleridge the excuse may be made for me that I was writing for radicals and liberals and had therefore an inducement to dwell most on that in writers of a different school, from the knowledge of which they might derive most benefit.
The number of the review which contained the article on Coleridge was the last which was published under my proprietorship. In the spring of 1840 I made over the review to Mr. Hickson, who had been a very useful unpaid contributor to the London and Westminster, only stipulating that the change should be marked by a resumption of the old name, the Westminster Review. Under this name he carried it on for ten years, on the plan of dividing among contributors only the net proceeds of the review (giving his own labour as a writer and editor gratuitously). Under the difficulty in obtaining writers which arose from this low scale of remuneration, it is highly creditable to him that he was able to maintain in some tolerable degree the character of the review as an organ of radicalism and progress. For my own part, though I still occasionally wrote in newspapers and in the Westminster and Edinburgh Reviews when I had anything to say for which they appeared to be suitable vehicles, I henceforth employed my writing faculties mainly on things of a less temporary nature.
The first use which I made of the leisure I gained by disconnecting myself with the review, was to finish the Logic.a In July and August 1838 I had found an interval in which to complete the first draft of the third book. In working out the logical theory of those laws of nature which are not laws of causation, or corollaries from such laws, I was led to recognize Kinds as realities and not mere distinctions for convenience, a light which I had not yet obtained when the first Book was originally written and in consequence of which I now modified and enlarged the corresponding portion of that Book. The book on Language and Classification, and the Chapter on the Classification of Fallacies, were drafted in the autumn of the same year; the remainder of the work in the summer and autumn of 1840. From April following to the end of 1841 my spare time was devoted to a complete rewriting of the book from its commencement. During this operation Dr. Whewell’s Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences made its appearance; a fortunate circumstance for me, as it gave me what I very much needed, an antagonist, and enabled me to present my ideas with greater clearness and emphasis as well as fuller and more various development, in defending them against definite objections, and confronting them distinctly with an opposite theory. The controversies with Whewell as well as much matter derived from Comte were first introduced into the book in the present rewriting.
At the end of 1841, the book being ready for press, I offered it to Murray, who kept it until too late for publication that season and then refused it for reasons which could just as well have been given at first. I next offered it to Parker, and in the spring of 1843 it was published. My expectations of success were extremely moderate. A book on such a subject could not be popular; it could only be a book for students, and students on such subjects in England are not only few, but are mostly in the present generation addicted to the opposite school of metaphysics, the ontological and “innate principle” school. I therefore did not expect that the book would have many readers, or approvers; and would gladly have compounded for a sale sufficient to prevent the publisher from losing by it. What hopes I had of its exciting attention were mainly grounded on the polemical propensities of Dr. Whewell; who I thought would have replied, and that promptly, to the attack on his opinions. He did reply, but not till 1850, just in time for me to answer him in the third edition. How the book came to have, for a work of the kind, so much success and what sort of persons compose the bulk of those who have bought, I will not venture to say read it, I have never thoroughly understood; and I bhave never indulged the illusion that it had made any considerable impressionb on philosophic opinion. The German, or ontological view of human knowledge and of the knowing faculties, still predominates and will probably long predominate (though it may be hoped in a diminishing degree) among those who occupy themselves with such enquiries either here or on the Continent. But the System of Logic supplies what was much wanted, a text book of the opposite doctrine, that which derives all knowledge from experience, and all moral and intellectual qualities principally from the direction given to the associations. And in this consists, I think, the chief worth of the book as a contribution to human improvement. I make as humble an estimate as anybody of what either an analysis of logical processes, or any possible canons of evidence, can do, taken by themselves, to guide or rectify the operations of the understanding. But whether the direct practical use of a true philosophy on these matters be great or little, it is difficult to exaggerate the mischief of a false one. The doctrine that truths external to the mind may be known by intuition or consciousness, independently of observation and experiment, is, I am persuaded, in these times the great intellectual support for false doctrines and bad institutions. By the aid of this philosophy every inveterate belief and every strong feeling, of which the artificial origin is not remembered, is dispensed from the obligation of justifying itself by evidence or reason, and is erected into its own sufficient justification. There never was such an instrument devised for consecrating all deepseated prejudices. It is the main doctrinal pillar of all the errors which impede human improvement. And the chief strength of this false philosophy in the departments of morals and religion lies in the appeal which it is accustomed to make to the evidence of mathematics and of the cognate branches of physical science. To expel it from these is to attack it in its stronghold: and because this had not been effectually done, the intuition school, even after what my father had written in his Analysis, had, at least in appearance, and as far as published writings were concerned, on the whole the best of the argument. In attempting to clear up the real nature of the evidence of mathematical and physical truths, the System of Logic met the intuition doctrine as it had never before been met; and gave its own explanation, from experience and association, of that peculiar character of what are called necessary truths which is adduced as proof that they cannot be derived from experience. Whether this has been done effectually, is still sub judice; and even if so, merely to deprive a mode of thought so strongly rooted in human prejudices and partialities of its speculative support, goes but a little way towards conquering it: but cthough this is but one step, that step is indispensable; for since, after all, prejudice can only be successfully combated by philosophy, no way can be effectually made against it until it has been shewn not to have philosophy on its sidec .
d Being now released from any active concern in temporary politics and from any literary occupation involving personal communication with contributors and others, I was enabled to indulge the inclination, natural to thinking persons when the age of boyish vanity is once past, for limiting my own society to a very few persons. General society as now carried on, at least in England, is so thoroughly insipid an affair, even to the very persons who make it what it is, that it is kept up for any reason rather than the pleasure it affords. All serious discussion on matters on which opinions differ, being considered ill bred, and the national deficiency in liveliness and sociability having prevented the cultivation of the art of talking agreeably on trifles, in which the French of the last century so much excelled, the sole attraction of what is called society to those who are not at the top of the tree, is the hope of climbing a little higher on it, while to those who are already at the top it is chiefly a compliance with custom and with the supposed requirements of their station. To a person of any but the commonest order in thought or feeling, such society must unless he has personal objects to serve by means of it, be supremely unattractive: and most people, in the present day, of any really high class of intellect, make their contact with it so slight and at such long intervals as to be almost considered as retiring from it altogether. Those persons of any real mental superiority who act otherwise, are almost without exception, greatly deteriorated by it. Not to mention loss of time, the tone of their feelings is always lowered: they become less in earnest about those of their opinions about which they feel that they must remain silent in the society they frequent; they come to think their more elevated objects unpractical, or at least too remote from realization to be more than a vision or a theory; or even if, more fortunate than most, they retain their higher principles unimpaired, yet with regard to the persons and affairs of the present they insensibly adopt the modes of feeling and judgment of the company they keep. A person of high intellect should never go into unintellectual society unless he can enter it as an apostle. And all persons of even intellectual aspirations had much better, if they can, make their habitual associates of at least their equals, and as far as possible, their superiors in knowledge, intellect, and elevation of sentiment.e Further, if their character is formed and their minds made up on the few cardinal points in human opinion, agreement of opinion and feeling on those, has been felt in all times to be an essential requisite of anything worthy the name of friendship, in a really earnest mind. All these circumstances united made necessarily, in England (it might not have been so much so in some countries of the Continent), the number very small of those whose society, and still more whose intimacy, I ever voluntarily sought.
Among these, by far the principal was the incomparable friend of whom I have already spoken. At this period of her life she lived mostly, with one young daughter, in a quiet part of the country,f and only occasionally in town, with her first husband, Mr. Taylor. I visited her equally in both places, and was greatly indebted to the strength of character which enabled her to disregard the false interpretations liable to be put on the frequency of my visits to her while living ggenerallyg apart from Mr. Taylor, and on our occasionally travelling together, though in all other respects our conduct, during these years, gave not the slightest ground for any other supposition than the true one, that our relation to each other was one of strong affection and confidential intimacy honlyh . For though we did not consider the ordinances of society ibinding on a subject so entirely personal, we did feel bound that our conduct should be such as in no degree to bring discredit on her husband, nor therefore on herself; andi we disdained, as every person not a slave of his animal appetites must do, the abject notion that the strongest and tenderest friendship cannot exist between a man and a woman without a sensual jrelation, or that any impulses of that lower characterj cannot be put aside when regard for the feelings of others, or even when only prudence and personal dignity require it.k
In this (as it may be termed) third period of my mental progress, which still continues and which now went hand in hand with hers, my opinions gained equally in breadth and depth. I understood more things, and those which I had understood before I understood more thoroughly. I had many new opinions, and the old which I retained I now saw much more deeply into the grounds of. One of the earliest changes which occurred in this stage of my progress was that I turned back from what there had been of excess in my reaction against Benthamism. I had, at the height of that reaction, certainly become much more indulgent to the common opinions of society and the world, and more willing to be content with seconding the superficial improvement which had begun to take place in those common opinions, than became one whose own convictions differed fundamentally from them. I was much more inclined, than I can now approve, to put in abeyance the most decidedly heretical part of my opinions, which I now look upon as almost the only ones the assertion of which tends in any way to regenerate society. But in addition to this, our opinions were now far more heretical than mine had been in the days of my most extreme Benthamism. In those days I had seen little further than the old school of political economists into the possibilities of future improvement in social arrangements. Private property as at present understood, and inheritance, appeared to me as to them, the dernier mot of legislation: and I looked no further than to mitigating the inequalities consequent on these institutions, by abolishing primogeniture and entails. The notion that it was possible to get rid in any considerable degree of the flagrant injustice involved in the fact that some are born to riches and the vast majority to poverty, I reckoned chimerical; and only hoped that by universal education, leading to voluntary restraint on population, the portion of the poor might be made more tolerable. In short, I was a democrat but not the least of a Socialist. We were now less democrats than I had formerly been, because we dreaded more the ignorance and especially the selfishness and brutality of the mass: but our ideal of future improvement was such as would class us decidedly under the general designation of Socialists. While we repudiated with the greatest energy the tyranny of society over the individual, we yet looked forward to a time when society should no longer be divided into the idle and the industrious,[*] when the rule that they who do not work shall not eat, should be applied not to the pauper merely, but impartially to all; when the division of the produce of labour, instead of being dependent as in so great a degree it is, on the accident of birth, should be made by concert, on an acknowledged principle of justice, and when it should no longer either be, or be thought to be, impossible for human beings to exert themselves strenuously for benefits which were not to be exclusively their own, but to be shared with the society they belong to. The social problem of the future we considered to be, how to unite the greatest individual liberty of action with an equal ownership of all in the raw material of the globe and an equal participation of all in the benefits of combined labour. We knew that to render any such social transformation practicable an equivalent change of character must take place both in the uncultivated herd who now compose the labouring masses, and lin the immensel majority of their employers. Both these classes must learn by practice to labour and contrive for generous, or at all events for public and social purposes, and not as hitherto solely for self interested ones. But the capacity for this has always existed in mankind, and is not, nor is ever likely to be, extinct. Education and habit will make a common man dig or weave for the public as well as fight for the public. Interest in the common good is at present so weak a motive in the generality, only because the mind is not accustomed to dwell on it as it dwells from morning to night on things which tend only to personal good. When called into activity as only self interest now is, by the daily course of life, and spurred from behind by the love of distinction and the fear of shame, it is adequate to produce even in common men the most strenuous exertions as well as the most heroic sacrifices. Doubtless it requires a long course of training to alter the deeprooted selfishness which the whole course of existing institutions tends to generate; and modern institutions still more than ancient, since the occasions on which the individual is called on to act for the public without receiving its pay, are far less frequent in modern life, than in the smaller commonwealths of antiquity. mBut in this direction lies assuredly the course of future progressm .
In the Principles of Political Economy these opinions are promulgated; less clearly and fully in the first edition, rather more so in the second, and quite unequivocally in the third. The difference arose partly from the change of times, the first edition having been written and sent to press before the French Revolution of 1848 when the public mind was far less open to the reception of novelties in opinion, especially those of a socialistic character, than it became after that great event.n In the first edition the difficulties of Socialism were stated so stronglyo that the tone was on the whole that of opposition to it. In the year or two which followed, much time was given to the study of the best Socialist writers on the Continent, and to meditation and discussionp on the whole range of topics involved in the controversy: and the result was that most of what had been written on the subject in the first edition was cancelled, and replaced by arguments and reflexions of a decidedly socialistic tendency.
The Political Economy was far more rapidly executed than the Logic, or indeed than anything of importance which I had yet written. It was commenced in the autumn of 1845 and completed before the end of 1847. In this period of little more than two years there was an interval of six months during which it was suspended, in order to write articles in the Morning Chronicle (which unexpectedly entered warmly into my purpose) urging the formation of peasant properties on the waste lands of Ireland. This was during the winter of 1846/47, the period of the famine, when the stern necessities of the time seemed to afford a chance of attracting attention to what appeared to me the only mode of combining relief to the immediate destitution with a permanent improvement of the social and economical condition of the Irish people. But the novelty and strangeness, in England, of the idea of peasant proprietors, one of the striking examples of the extreme ignorance of English politicians and the English public concerning all social phenomena not generally met with in England (however common elsewhere), made these efforts ineffectual. Instead of a great operation on the waste lands and the conversion of cottiers into proprietors, Parliament passed a Poor Law for maintaining them as paupers: and if the English Government has not since found itself in inextricable difficulties from the joint operation of the old evils and the quackish remedy, it has to thank not its own foresight, but that most unexpected and surprising fact, the depopulation of Ireland, commenced by famine and continued by voluntary emigration.
The rapid success of the Political Economy shews that the public wanted and were prepared for such a book. Published early in 1848, an edition of a thousand copies was sold in less than a year. Another similar edition was published in the spring of 1849: and a third of 1250 copies early in 1852. It was from the first continually cited and referred to as an authority: because like the Wealth of Nations it was not a book merely of abstract science, but of application. It treated Political Economy not as a thing by itself, butq as a fragment of a greater whole, a mere department of Social Philosophy, and so interlinked with all the other branches that its conclusions, even in its own peculiar province, that of Wealth, are only true conditionally, subject to interference and counteraction from causes not directly within its domain: while to the character of a practical guide it has rnor pretension, apart from other classes of considerations.s Political Economy has never, in reality, pretended to advise with no lights but its own, though some persons who knew nothing but political economy (and therefore knew that ill) may have done so. But the numerous sentimental enemies of political economy, and its still more numerous interested enemies in sentimental guise, have been very successful in gaining belief for this among other unmerited imputations upon it. The Principles having, in spite of the freedom of many of its opinions on social matters, become for the present the most popular exposition of the subject, has helped to disarm these enemies of so important a study, while I venture to think that it has both widened the basis of the science itself and made many useful applications of its truths in conjunction with others, to the improvement of human practice, moral, political, and social.
Since this time I have published no work of magnitude, though I have written or commenced much, for publication at some future time. I have not to relate any further changes in my opinions, though I hope there has been a continued progress in my mental development. I have seen, in the last twenty years, many of the opinions of my youth obtain general recognition, and many of the reforms in institutions, for which I had through life contended, either effected or in course of being so. But these changes have been attended with much less benefit to human well being than I should formerly have anticipated, because they have produced very little improvement in that on which depends all real amelioration in the lot of mankind, their intellectual and moral state: it may even be questioned whether the causes of deterioration which have been at work in the meanwhile, have not more than counterbalanced the tendencies to improvement. I have learnt from experience that many false opinions may be exchanged for true ones, without in the least altering the habits of mind of which false opinions are the result. The English mind, for example, is quite as raw and undiscerning on subjects of political economy since the nation was converted to free trade, as it was before; although whoever really understands the theory of free trade, must necessarily understand much else, the grounds of that doctrine going very deep into the foundations of the whole philosophy of the production and distribution of wealth. Still further is the public mind from having acquired better habits of thought and feeling or being in any way better fortified against error on subjects of a more elevated nature. I am now convinced that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought. The old opinions in religion, morals, and politics are so much discredited in the more intellectual minds as to have lost the greater part of their efficacy for good, while they have still vitality enough left to be an effectual obstacle to the rising up of better opinions on the same subjects. When the philosophic minds of the world can no longer believe its religion, a transitional period of weak convictions, paralysed intellects and growing laxity of principle commences, which can never cease but when a renovation has been effected in the bases of belief, leading to the evolution of another faith, whether religious or not, which they can believe. Therefore I hold that all thinking or writing, which does not directly tend towards this renovation, is at present of very little value beyond the moment.
The last considerable event in my own life, and the latest of which I shall make mention here, is my marriage, in April 1851, to the lady whose incomparable worth had made her friendship the greatest source to me both of happiness and of improvement, during many years in which we never expected to be in any closer relation to one another. Ardently as I should have aspired to this complete union of our lives at any time in the course of my existence at which it had been practicable, I, no less than even my wife, would far rather have foregone that blessing for ever, than have owed it to the premature death of one for whom I had the sincerest respect, and she the strongest affection. That event however having taken place in July 1849, it was granted to me to derive my own greatest good from that evil, by adding to the partnership of thought, feeling, and even writing which had long existed, a partnership of our entire existence. Before as well as since, I have owed the best part of what I was and did to her inspirations and often to her direct assistance: and so long as any of my writings subsequent to the Logic are read or remembered, I hope it will be borne in mind that to her intellect and character they are mainly indebted for whatever in them deserves remembrance.
[End of the Early Draft]
[a-a][This paragraph is a later addition written on a separate sheet.]
[b][Cancelled text:] none of whom, until they were almost grown up, had any other teacher: and
[c-c][Earlier version:] cannot remember the time when I could not read, nor
[d-d][Earlier version:] what I am about to relate. I must first mention, that I learned Greek in the common manner, he set me a portion of a Greek author to make out, as I best could, the meaning, and afterwards construe it verbally to him. Now I not only went through the whole operation of making out the lesson in the same room and at the same table at which he was writing, but
[e-e][Earlier version:] but a part and scarcely even the principal part of the instruction I received from my fourth to my eighth year. The rest
[f-f][Earlier version:] Passing my time in the room in which he wrote, I had fallen into an imitation of many of his ways and as in reading for his history he made notes on slips of paper of the main facts which he found in his authorities, I made, as I fancied, similar notes on all the books I read
[g-g][Earlier version:] my father taught me or at least told me better
[h-h][Earlier version:] give him an account of, in order to shew whether I had understood what he had told me and to ensure my remembering it
[i][Cancelled text:] . and I have a faint remembrance of some folio collection in which I read an account of the first circumnavigation of the globe, by Magellan [Mill may be referring to the account in John Hamilton Moore, A New and Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, 2 vols. (London Hogg, [1780?]), Vol. I, pp. 13-15.]
[j][Cancelled text:] I continue the, as it were, mechanical detail of my course of instruction in order to finish it before entering on the influences of a more general kind under which I was placed in my early years
[k][Cancelled text:] , though of this I am not sure, because I am not certain that I did remove any difficulties
[l][Cancelled text:] (the teacher also being without any real authority) [deleted first by HTM]
[m-m][Earlier version:] with my sister but afterwards added to the superintendance of her [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[n][Cancelled text:] ; as well as part of Juvenal, and a great part of Quintilian
[o-o][Earlier version:] all Demosthenes (except the private orations, which I read later)
[p][Cancelled text:] like those in some of the treatises on the scholastic logic and metaphysics
[q][Cancelled text:] , but very much the reverse
[r][Cancelled text:] . no book ever delighted me more
[s][Cancelled text:] which I read as my daily lessons: and he did this
[t-t][Earlier version:] a few detached passages such as the Dutch war of independence I was very far from being similarly well informed [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[u-u][Earlier version:] For some years after, my father made me keep up the practice of writing verses
[v][Cancelled text:]: I was of course like all persons young or old, pleased and interested with them
[w-w][Earlier version:] Milton’s poetry he did admire but did not think me of an age to comprehend
[x][Cancelled text:] This was a very easy and pleasant part of my mental education and by no means the least valuable part of it
[y-y][Earlier version:] what may be called the third of the stages into which my course of instruction may be divided—that
[z-z][Earlier version:] and nothing can more aid development by clearing the path of the thinker from the mists of vague and sophistical language
[a-a][Earlier version:] of course lost on me
[b][Cancelled text:] (if I may so speak)
[c][At this point in the draft Mill wrote and deleted a new paragraph that begins:] The strong moral impressions yielded by the writings of Plato also took great effect on me, nor was their inculcation neglected by my father. Even at the very early age at which I read with him the Memorabilia of Xenophon. . . . [This continues with substantially the same text as the second, fourth, and fifth sentences of the paragraph beginning below at 48.3, where Mill recopied it when he decided that the moral impressions of Plato took effect “at a later period”.]
[d-d][Earlier version:] the supplice of every day
[e-e][This paragraph is a later addition written at left.]
[f-f][Earlier version:] another tragedy
[g-g][Earlier version:] occupation, relieving him from the necessity of writing for subsistence,
[h-h][Earlier version:] great work which gave to political economy so new and improved a form and foundation. This book, it may be remarked incidentally,
[i][Cancelled text:] if they may be so called,
[j-j][Earlier version:] he had made me draw up
[k-k][Earlier version:] where success could not
[l-l][An incomplete version deleted three lines earlier in the draft reads:] a large amount of book knowledge
[m][Cancelled text:] great
[n-n][Earlier version:] I am, as all are aware who have intimately and closely observed me, not only not above par, but decidedly and greatly below it [In an intermediate version, the corresponding text of R19/20r—“But in every one of these natural gifts, as all are aware who have intimately or closely observed me, I am, to say the least, rather below than above par”—HTM altered “every one of” to read “all”, and deleted “as all are . . . observed me” and “to say the least”. See App. G, p. 610-11 below, for an additional passage, subsequently discarded, in R19/20.]
[o-o][Earlier version:] I am satisfied also that it could be done without the very considerable drawbacks with which in my case it was accompanied and which have pursued me through life. [paragraph] One drawback, which if it had existed would have rendered the whole of the intellectual education worthless, did not exist in my case [The last sentence is marked with a line in the margin by HTM.]
[p-p][Revised version, subsequently discarded, in R19/20v:] no considerable
[q][Cancelled text:] when I happened to use the word idea, he asked me what an idea was: and with much displeasure at my ineffective attempts to define the word, at last gave me a definition which, allowing it to be correct, had never been given by any metaphysician except Hartley, viz. that an idea is the type or remembrance of a sensation. A little before or after the same time I recollect [deleted first by HTM]
[r-r][Earlier version:] his vehement [altered by HTM and then Mill to read: the vehemence of his] demonstrations of anger
[s-s][Earlier version:] Through my whole boyhood I never was in the smallest degree
[t][Cancelled text:] , for I was always conscious that I could not do many things which others could. There is nothing for which I am more indebted to my father than for thus effectually preventing the growth of self conceit; for I affirm with confidence that I had not, at this period of life, the smallest vestige of it [The first fifteen words, to the end of the sentence, are marked with a line in the margin by HTM. The next three sentences in the text are written at left, originally as an addition to this cancelled passage.]
[u-u][Written at left (over several lines in HTM’s hand now erased and largely illegible) and interlined to replace Mill’s original continuation of the cancelled passage given in the preceding note:] I have, however, since found that those who knew me in my early boyhood thought me greatly and most disagreeably self-concerted, the reason of which was, that I was disputatious, and made no scruple to give direct contradictions to what was said on things which I knew nothing whatever about How I came by this detestable [altered to read: offensive] habit, I do not know Probably from being on the one hand, accustomed to lay down the law to my younger sisters, and having no other companions to withstand me, and on the other hand [HTM deleted “on things which I knew nothing whatever about” and the beginning of the last sentence, and with several words written at left, now erased, probably supplied Mill with the new beginning of the sentence in the present text (“I suppose . . . from”).]
[v][Cancelled text:] My mother did tax me with it, but for her remonstrances I never had the slightest regard. [deleted first by HTM]
[w][Cancelled text in R23r (see the description in App. G, p. 608 below):]: and he then represented the folly it would be to let myself be puffed up and made vain by such flattery
[x-x][Earlier version, subsequently altered to final reading, in R23r.] too imperfectly to risk writing them down
[y][See App. G. pp. 608-10 below, for two additional paragraphs following the text at this point in R23v-25v.]
[a-a][Earlier version in R25v:]: but what I can I will do towards describing the circumstances under which in this respect I grew up from childhood, both as to direct teaching, and the indirect operation of the moral atmosphere in which I lived
[b-b][Earlier version:] nothing [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[c][Cancelled text:] triumphantly [deleted first by HTM]
[d-d][Earlier version:] it was odious to him, not as an intellectual inconsistency or absurdity but as a
[e-e][Earlier version:] all [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[f-f][Earlier versions:] God of Christianity [altered currently to read:] consummation of wickedness
[g-g][Earlier version:] Human imagination, he said, never formed an idea of wickedness comparable to this Assuredly this is a conception worthy of all the indignation with which he regarded it. But (it is just to add) such
[h-h][Earlier version:] indoctrinated me from the first with the opinion
[i][Cancelled text:] without at all diminishing it,
[j][Cancelled text:] It never occurred to me to look down upon them for it: [deleted first by HTM]
[k-k]48 [These two paragraphs are a later addition written on a separate sheet.]
[l][Cancelled text:] , it should be said to their credit,
[m][Cancelled text:] or the world would not be what it is,
[n-n][Earlier version:] pay a truly religious homage to an ideally perfect Being, to whose approbation they habitually refer every thought and action [“whose approbation” altered by HTM to read: which]
[o-o][Earlier version:] God [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[p-p][This paragraph originally followed the paragraph ending at 46.3 (see 46k-kabove). The substance of it was first written and cancelled several pages earlier (see 24cabove).]
[q][Cancelled text:] ; applied, as in childhood they necessarily were, chiefly to over indulgence in amusement
[r-r][Earlier version:] the most fortunate human life very little worth having,
[s-s][Earlier version in R31r (see App. G, p. 611 below):] Such considerations, however, though he did not suffer them to influence his praise or blame in particular instances, influenced his general estimation of persons. [At left HTM pencilled a question mark and several words, now erased, of which “of them influenced his dislike of particular persons” can be made out. Just above these, opposite the ending of the preceding sentence in R31r (“as if the agents had been consciously evil-doers”), she wrote “Inquisitors”.]
[[*] ]In R31r Mill’s wife commented at left, beginning opposite this point in the draft text: “It is indeed generally true that knaves do less mischief in the world than fools. A dishonest man stops when he has got what he wanted a fool carries on his foolishness thro him on to his descendants.”
[i][Cancelled text in R31r:] In this surely he was fundamentally right
[u-u][Earlier version in R31:] We must try actions and characters by our own standard, not by that of the person we judge of. If our standard is right, we ought to like or dislike others according to its dictates. If persons err in their judgments by following this rule, or rather obeying this necessity, it can only be because their own standard is wholly or partially wrong: and because they do not strive to enlarge and rectify their standard by appropriating what of good there may be in those of others. [The last twenty-four words (“and because they . . .”) are written at left to replace: an inquisitor judges a heretic to deserve the fire in this world and damnation in the next. When my father erred it was where his standard was too narrow, and omitted some of the elements of right judgment which might have been found scattered among the judgments of those whom he condemned.]
[v-v]54[For an earlier version of this passage in R31v-34r, see App. G, pp. 611-14 below.]
[w-w][Earlier version in R34v:] greater closeness of my father’s connexion with him [HTM underscored and queried “connexion” and then wrote at left the version that Mill copied into the present text.]
[x-x][Earlier version in R34v:] made an intimate companion of him [altered by HTM to read, they became very intimate companions]
[y-y]56[Earlier version in R34v-35r:] When we lived in Newington Green my father used to dine with Mr. Bentham (at the very considerable distance of Queen Square Place) every Tuesday. During each of seven or eight years Mr. Bentham passed some part of the year in the country, and my father with the whole or part of his family (I being always one) used to accompany him. At first the time occupied by these annual excursions was from one to three months, and the place was Barrow Green House, in a beautiful part of the Surrey Hills a few miles from Godstone. In 1813 part of the time usually passed at Barrow Green was devoted to a three weeks tour in which my father and I accompanied Mr. Bentham and which included Oxford, Bath and Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, and Portsmouth [deleted and altered by HTM to produce the two sentences that Mill copied into the present text]
[z][Additional text in R35r.] even then [deleted by HTM]
[a-a][Earlier version in R35:] In the next following winter, we left Newington Green and moved into the house, No. 1 Queen Square, looking into Mr. Bentham’s garden and rented by him, which he allowed my father to occupy at the rent he himself paid for it. In this house we lived until 1831. My father paid the rent direct to the head landlord, so that Mr. Bentham’s participation was simply equivalent to being security for the rent. I am particular in mentioning these circumstances because statements have been made exaggerating greatly my father’s personal obligations to Mr. Bentham. The only obligation, in money or money’s worth, which he ever, to the best of my knowledge and belief, received from Mr. Bentham, consisted of the visits to the country which I have mentioned, and these visits were of no remarkable length until the four years subsequent to 1813 [HTM pencilled “by Dr. Bowring” in the margin opposite “statements have been made” (in the fourth sentence), and “maliciously” opposite the next word (“exaggerating”), and then deleted and altered the text to produce the single sentence that Mill copied into the present text.]
[b-b][Earlier version in R35v:] during those months my father and the whole family were domiciled with him [altered by HTM to read: each summer I passed in the beautiful scenery of this place]
[c-c][Earlier version in R36r:] though not picturesque, were riant and secluded, and full of the sound of falling waters.(a) [This is altered by HTM to produce the version that Mill copied into the present text. There follows in R36 a note, which HTM first altered in several places, then deleted entirely and marked “omit”:] (a) Note. The mode of life at Ford Abbey was the following. Mr. Bentham and my father studied and wrote in the same large room (a different room however in summer and in winter). My father commenced at about seven, summer and winter: and as Mr. Bentham did not make his appearance till some time after nine, I and the other children worked at our lessons in the same room during those two hours. The general hour of breakfast was nine, but Mr. Bentham always breakfasted at one oclock among his books and papers, his breakfast being laid early in the morning on his study table. The party at the general breakfast consisted of my father and mother, Mr. Bentham’s amanuensis for the time being, and the visitors, if, as not unfrequently happened, any were staying in the house. Before his one oclock breakfast Mr. Bentham regularly went out for the same invariable walk, a circuit of about half an hour, in which my father almost always joined him. The interval between breakfast and this walk my father employed in hearing lessons, which, when weather permitted, was always done in walking about the grounds. The hours from one to six my father passed in study and this was the time regularly allotted to us children for learning lessons. Six was the dinner hour, and the remainder of the evening Mr. Bentham passed in social enjoyment, of which he had a keen relish. I was never present on these evenings except a few times when Mr. Bentham goodnaturedly sent for me to teach me to play at chess. (End of Note). [Bentham’s amanuensis at that time was John Flowerdew Colls.]
[d-d]58[Earlier version in R37r:] It was to Mr. Bentham’s interest in me that I was indebted for another of the fortunate circumstances in my education, a year’s residence in France. For it could only be on Mr. Bentham’s account that his brother, General Sir Samuel Bentham, invited me, at the age of fourteen, for a six months visit to him in the South of France, ultimately prolonged to nearly a twelvemonth: Sir Samuel and his family being only slightly acquainted with my father, and having seen me only twice, the first time at their house near Gosport, in the three weeks tour before mentioned (Sir Samuel being then Superintendant of the Dockyard at Portsmouth): the second time on a visit of a few days which they paid to Ford Abbey shortly after the peace, before going to live in France [HTM deleted the first sentence, and altered the rest to produce (except in minor particulars and the order of the sentences) the second and third sentences of the paragraph in the present text.]
[e][Cancelled text in R37r:] (if such a word may be so used)
[f-f][Earlier version in R37v:] They treated me in every respect like a child of the family, and did all that advice and admonition could do to correct many of my various deficiencies and render me fitter for the ordinary purposes and intercourse of life. I wish that their judicious kindness had had all the effect which it deserved and which they had reason to expect [Before deleting the whole of this passage, HTM altered the first sentence to read: They did all that advice and admonition could do to correct my various deficiencies.]
[g][Additional text in R37v:] After a few weeks they removed to Toulouse, taking me with them, and early in August [all but the last three words deleted by HTM]
[h][Cancelled text.] Their headquarters however during the whole time of my stay with them were at Montpellier, where I remained with them until the middle of April. [deleted first by HTM]
[i][Cancelled text.] and a most excellent teacher
[j][Cancelled text:] much oftener professed than felt, and when felt, [deleted first by HTM]
[k][Cancelled text:] , and only so far as such feeling and demeanour can be maintained by a few, among a multitude incapable of making suitable response [marked with a line in the margin by HTM]
[l-l][Earlier version:] as much as three [altered to final reading first by HTM]
[m-m][Earlier version:] Inexperienced as I was, I carried away little from the society I saw, except [the first four words, “little”, and “except” all underscored by HTM]
[n-n][Earlier version:] old college
[a-a][Earlier version:] first four (the logical and metaphysical)
[b-b][Earlier versions:] M. Gergonne’s lectures had already given me Condillac’s view of the analysis of the mind. I read these books in a useless, ineffectual way, not seeing any fallacy in them, but not gaining from them any grasp or command of the subject. When my father afterwards questioned me and made me give him an account of Condillac’s system he shewed me that Condillac’s seeming analyses of all mental phenomena into sensation amounted to nothing, that he paid himself in words, and that I had proved myself quite willing to be paid in words. I remember the impression which this phrase, which was then new to me, of paying in words, made on me [altered to read:] I was not then capable of perceiving, until it was explained to me, the superficiality and fallacy of Condillac’s psychological theory; so radically inferior to Hartley’s, notwithstanding the apparent resemblance. My father pointed out to me, that Condillac’s seeming analyses of all mental phenomena into sensation, amounted to nothing, and that he paid himself and endeavoured to pay others in words [In both of these discarded versions HTM attempted alterations, and in the second she underscored “until it was explained to me” and “My father pointed out to me, that”.]
[c-c][Earlier version:] all Bentham’s
[d][Cancelled text:] , which I had diligently studied
[e-e][Earlier version:] . and I immediately conceived a sovereign contempt for all previous moralists; and felt
[f][Cancelled text:] as a mere amusement [deleted first by HTM]
[g-g][Earlier version:] with Helvetius De l’Esprit; in which case I remember that my own strong wish to read the book was the moving impulse [marked with a line in the margin by HTM]
[h-h][Earlier version:] for about six months of every year, as much as circumstances permitted, namely passing from the Saturday or oftener the Friday afternoon to the Monday morning of each week, and the whole of the annual holiday
[i][Cancelled text:] , so that I was cognizant of these speculations not merely when complete, but in the process of their formation
[j][Cancelled text:] (the last which I passed in the country)
[k-k][Earlier version:] the character of that one must be atrocious, and the worship of such a Being more morally degrading, if not more intellectually contemptible, than almost any adoration which is capable of being directed to
[[*] ]Matthew, 5-7.
[l-l][Earlier version:]: It is now many years since I have read it, but it remains in my memory as a most searching and substantial piece of argument, far superior to any other discussion of the subject which I have seen, and abounding in incidental instruction on important collateral topics
[[*] ]William Paley, Natural Theology (London: Faulder, 1802).
[m-m][Earlier version:] my knowledge and capacity but which led to discussions with my father that shewed me when my ideas were confused, and helped to clear them up [marked with a line in the margin by HTM]
[n-n][Earlier version:] who were his most frequent visitors, and whose houses I most frequented [the last six words deleted first by HTM]
[o-o][Earlier version:] am sure must have been (for though he is, I believe, still alive I never saw him)
[p-p][Earlier versions:] was not, like Mr. Grote, in some measure [altered to read:] was not, like Mr. Grote, what might almost be called
[q-q][Earlier version:] and from a manner of delivery which as in others of this remarkable family conveyed an impression of immense strength of will. In him it appeared [HTM deleted the first twenty-two words (the original ending of this sentence) and struck through “it” in the beginning of the new sentence.]
[r][Cancelled text:], not even in my father; although my father was as high principled as Mr. Austin and had a stronger will; but Mr. Austin was both a prouder man, and more a man of feeling than my father [deleted first by HTM]
[s-s][Earlier version:] I saw much, and who indeed made a sort of companion of me, to a certain extent, for the next year or two [marked in the margin by HTM]
[t-t][Earlier version:] was not that of a man over a boy but of an older contemporary, and had an equality in it combined with its superiority, which rendered it highly stimulating to me. Indeed it
[u][Cancelled text:] , forming and defending my own opinions
[v][Cancelled text:] a book, by the way, much admired by my father as a picture of Scotch village life [deleted first by HTM]
[w-w][Earlier version:] speech-making (for our discussions were in the form of speeches)
[x-x][Earlier version:] which in the successive characters of Clerk and Assistant Examiner [deleted and altered to final reading first by HTM]
[y][Cancelled text.] While they precluded all uneasiness about the means of subsistence, they occupied fewer hours of the day than almost any business or profession, they had nothing in them to produce anxiety, or to keep the mind intent on them at any time but when directly engaged in them [deleted first by HTM]
[z-z][Earlier version:] I continued during the summer half of every year to pass the Saturday afternoon and Sunday in the country, returning to town with my father on Monday morning: generally in one of the most beautiful districts of England, the neighbourhood of Dorking, in the finest part of which (the vale of Mickleham near the foot of Box Hill) my father after some years occupied a cottage permanently. During the last months of winter and the first of spring I used every Sunday when weather permitted to make a walking excursion with some of the young men who were my companions, generally walking out ten or twelve miles to breakfast, and making a circuit of fourteen or fifteen more before getting back to town [the first sentence marked with a line in the margin by HTM]
[a][Cancelled text:] The northern half of [underscored by HTM]
[b][Cancelled text:] as far as Pæstum, [deleted first by HTM]
[a][Cancelled text:] than during the next few years [HTM underscored “few”, and Mill pencilled a query, now erased, at left, “meaning of this mark?”]
[b][Cancelled text:] of my own accord [deleted first by HTM]
[c][Cancelled text:] often going to Mickleham on Saturday (the weekly holiday of the editors of morning newspapers) and returning to town on Sunday afternoon, in time for the editorial duties of Monday’s paper: [deleted first by HTM]
[d][Cancelled text:] , nor was his opinion asked on the subject
[e-e][Earlier version:] ; this was before his appointment to the India House
[f-f][Earlier version:] Some time in the summer of 1823 when as still frequently happened my father was dining with Mr. Bentham, or when as often happened Mr. Bentham had stepped across his garden to speak to my father at his study window, he reminded my father of this old project and announced to him “the money is found.” About the source of it he said nothing, and my father was never told, though he never had any doubt of the fact, that the money was Bentham’s. He was never asked for an opinion, but only for cooperation. The editorship was offered to him, but he declined it as being incompatible with his India house appointment. On his refusal he was asked to write for the review, and was informed that Mr. Bowring was to be the editor [In the first sentence Mill deleted “when as still frequently . . . window, he” and interlined “I do not know on what occasion, Bentham”. HTM marked the second sentence (“About . . . Bentham’s.”) with a line in the margin, and opposite the last seven words of the last sentence wrote at left, “the editorship was entrusted to Mr. Bowring at that time engaged in”.]
[g-g][Earlier version:] Since however not only no desire was shewn for his advice, but such a mere secret de la comédie as where the money was to come from, was not confided to him, he doubtless felt that it would be an impertinence in him to obtrude his opinion. Probably also he saw that it would be of no use. At the same time, the terms he was on with Bentham made it impossible for him to refuse to write for the review [The first two sentences are marked for deletion by HTM. In the last, for “refuse” Mill originally wrote “mortify him by refusing”.]
[h-h][Earlier versions:] made me [altered to read:] asked me to
[* ]iThe continuation of this article, in the second number of the review, was written by me under my father’s eye, and (except as practice in composition, in which respect it was, to myself, very useful) was of little or no value.i
[j][Cancelled text:], and editor of the Retrospective Review
[[*] ]Mill is most likely referring to William Johnson Fox, “Men and Things in 1823,” and Thomas Southwood Smith, “Education,” Westminster Review, I (Jan., 1824), 1-18, and 43-79.
[k][Cancelled text:] My first contribution to the review was in the second number. In my father’s article the detailed shew-up of the Edinburgh Review had been left unfinished, and he wished me to attempt to finish it. I had one qualification for doing so, a strong indignation at many of the articles which I had read in my course of reading and notetaking for my father’s use. But I can now see that there was something ridiculous in this pretension of a youth, not yet eighteen, to sit in judgment on some of the principal writers of the time. The thing however was written and published, and what seems strange, many if not most of its readers did not suspect that the continuation was by a different hand from the first article. So incapable are most people, when the fond of the thoughts is the same, and the manner imitated, to distinguish the borrowed from the original. The article of course was not, and could not be, anything more than a theme written on the ideas which had been instilled into me by my teachers. The stile was bony and wiry, very unlike the writing of a young person, but with a certain degree of vigour and of polish. No one but myself wrote any part of it, or even corrected it, but it went through an incredible amount of elaboration from myself under my father’s eye, he giving it back to me repeatedly part by part to be amended, or cancelled and begun again, either to throw in more and better thoughts or to bring them out more pointedly in the expression. I suppose there are few sentences that were not rewritten with great pains and effort nearly a dozen times. The article was worth little enough in any other respect but to me it was very valuable as practice in composition. [paragraph] In the same number of the review there were also articles by Charles Austin and Ellis; and gradually most of the writing radicals of my father’s or my acquaintance were brought into play [In the second sentence, for “wished me to attempt to” Mill first wrote (and HTM underscored, and pencilled “wished” opposite) “determined to see whether I could”. At the beginning of the fourth sentence, for “But I can now see” (apparently supplied by HTM) Mill first wrote and HTM underscored. “In every other respect the subject was so much above me”. In the same sentence, “youth, not yet eighteen,” was interlined in pencil by HTM and written over in ink by Mill to replace the original word “boy”. In the sixth sentence HTM deleted “and the manner imitated,” and “the borrowed from the original”, and she marked the seventh sentence with a line in the margin. In the ninth she deleted “or even corrected it;” and then marked the whole of it and the next sentence (“No one but myself . . . dozen times,”) with a line in the margin, apparently as an alternate to them or as a trial replacement for some part of them, Mill wrote and deleted at left: It was wholly my own writing, but was written under my father’s eye. See the second note above (94i-i).]
[l-l][Earlier version:]: These were on subjects much more level than my first with my acquirements and experience:
[m-m][Earlier version:] friends
[n-n][Earlier version:] zeal (I am speaking of the juniors and especially myself)
[o][Cancelled text:] very small
[p-p][Earlier version:] That same colleague [marked with a line in the margin by HTM, who interlined “Sir R. Peel”]
[q][Cancelled text:] , amounting to arrogance.
[r][Cancelled text:] and continued to support itself, these things [the five words before the semicolon deleted first by HTM]
[s-s][Earlier version:] never had any unity, concert, or any existence at all beyond
[v][Cancelled text:], even myself.
[w][Cancelled text:] the worst in point of tendency he ever wrote, that
[x-x][Earlier version:] a most exaggerated
[y][Cancelled text:] , particularly in the modern form of it [deleted first by HTM]
[[*] ]Friedrich Melchior von Grimm, Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique, ed. J. Michaud, F. Chéron, et al., 17 vols. (Paris: Longchamps, et al., 1812-14).
[z-z][Earlier version:] friends
[a-a][Earlier version:] As for myself most of those common objects were quite sufficiently attractive to me. Money, indeed, having no expensive tastes, I only wished for as a means of independence and of promoting public objects, but ambition [all but the last word marked for deletion by HTM]
[b-b][Earlier version:] a high
[c][Cancelled text.] And therefore we had at this time no idea of real culture. In our schemes for improving human affairs we overlooked human beings. [This passage and most of the next sentence in the text are marked with a line in the margin by HTM, who pencilled half a dozen words, now erased and illegible, at left.]
[d-d][Earlier version:] the great
[e][Cancelled text:] its effect on me when I did read it was always great
[f][Cancelled text:] , and, combined with passing remarks now and then thrown out by my father, made me feel how injurious it is to the progress of new opinions for the holders of them to band themselves together as a sect, call themselves by a name, and encourage the world to hold them jointly and severally responsible for one another
[[*] ]Samuel March Phillipps, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (London: Butterworth, 1814), and Thomas Starkie, A Practical Treatise of the Law of Evidence, 3 vols. (London: Clarke, 1824). Mill also cites in the Rationale, and so presumably read, Samuel Bealey Harrison, Evidence: Forming a Title of the Code of Legal Proceedings (London: Butterworth, 1825).
[g-g][Earlier version:] such comments as I could
[h-h][Earlier version:] assuming, even to arrogance, and unbecoming
[i-i][Earlier versions:] day’s work [altered to read:] year’s work
[j][Cancelled text:] This was the effectof the familiarity I gained with Bentham’s style as a writer.
[k-k][Earlier version:] Courier (whom as a writer my father placed almost at the head of modern literature) and others
[l][Cancelled text:] ; in the third of which the Review appeared without any History
[m-m][Earlier version:] of the legal friends of the editors
[n][Cancelled text:] This article was much complimented in the Edinburgh Review by Brougham (who was attacked in it), although to my annoyance, Bingham had struck out, or obliged me to modify, many of what I thought the most piquant passages, among which I remember was a piece of ridicule (which my father thought successful) of the Duke of York’s famous declaration against Catholic Emancipation. [See Brougham, “Parliamentary History,” Edinburgh Review, XLIV (Sept., 1826), 470. The concluding reference is to the Duke of York’s speech, Parliamentary Debates, n.s., Vol. 13, cols. 138-42 (25 Apr., 1825).]
[o][Cancelled text:] respecting the trade with the West India Colonies
[p-p][Earlier version:] made them fully equal to the best things which had been written on the same class of subjects
[q-q][Earlier version:], afterwards explained in one of my published Essays and in my larger treatise, [i.e., Principles of Political Economy, 2 vols. (London: Parker, 1848), in CW, Vols. II-III (Toronto University of Toronto Press, 1965).]
[r-r][Earlier version:] As the discussions proceeded we got out of the depth of the others Accordingly he and I had at one time a project
[s][Cancelled text:] It remains true however that the speculation was partly his, though repudiated by him.
[t-t][Earlier version:] my father, in preparing the third edition of the Elements, made a considerable number of alterations grounded on criticisms elicited by these Conversations, which had reached him through me
[[*] ]Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière, Les femmes savantes (Paris: Promé, 1672), p. 10 (I, iii, 4).
[u][Cancelled text:] in chambers which Graham and Roebuck jointly occupied in Gray’s Inn (they then and for long after lived together)
[v][Cancelled text:] , whose curiosity had been excited through Austin
[w-w][Earlier version:] twice: I believe I made two long and elaborate speeches on the first question and either one or two, I believe two, on the second
[[*] ]See p. 127n.
[x][Cancelled text:] with whom I was not then acquainted
[v][Cancelled text:] : a short sensible speech by Romilly was the only creditable performance
[z][Cancelled text:] (with whom I then first became acquainted)
[a][Cancelled text:] (as we thought ourselves)
[b-b][Earlier version:] most
[c][Cancelled text:] at Grote’s
[d][Cancelled text:] of a kind more agreeable to him; and
[e-e][Earlier version:] institution like the London
[a][Cancelled text:] A passage of Herder on this subject, quoted in Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, often occurred to me as applicable to my own case [See Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, 2 vols. in 1 (London: Rest Fenner, 1817), Vol. I, pp. 233-4, quoting Johann Gottfried von Herder, Briefe, das Studium der Theologie betreffend, 4 vols. (Frankfurt and Leipzig: n.p., 1790), Vol. II, p. 371.]
[b][Cancelled text:] by spreading enlightened opinions and urging practical reforms
[c][Cancelled text:] , probably from physical causes (connected perhaps merely with the time of year)
[d-d][Earlier version:] indifferent or disgusting
[e-e][Earlier versions:] cherished a hope [altered to read:] clung to a hope
[f-f][Earlier version:] This state continued for some months without any improvement. The
[g-g][Earlier version:] said in my own mind,
[h-h][Earlier version:] I had been taught and was thoroughly persuaded
[i-i][Earlier version:] corollary from this I had been taught and had always been
[j-j][Earlier version:] I had been taught
[k-k][Earlier version:] pleasures
[l-l][Earlier version:] his and their feelings
[m-m][Earlier version:] during the next few years
[n-n][Earlier version:] It was a natural consequence of this, that I
[o-o][Earlier version:] , comprising nearly everything good which he ever wrote [deleted by HTM]
[p][Cancelled text:] About Midsummer of that same year 1828 I set out on a short walking tour: for months before I had been in my old state of gloomy dejection, though as I have already mentioned not so intense as at first; this continued the greater part of the first day, but the walk by the side of the Thames from Reading to Pangbourne, in one of the loveliest of summer evenings with the western sky in its most splendid colouring before me, and the calm river, rich meadows and wooded hills encompassing me, insensibly changed my state, and except a short interval two days later I had no return of depression during that excursion nor for several months afterwards. [See the entry for 3 July, 1828, in Mill’s Journal of a Walking Tour of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey.]
[q-q][Earlier version:] so exactly the
[r][Cancelled text:] unfading, or rather the increasing
[s][Canceiled text:] what was much more to my purpose, namely
[t][Cancelled text:] This moral of the whole, so different from Byron’s, was valuable to me, but I did not need it, as I had already drawn the same from the previous poems.
[u-u][Earlier version:] All these things being considered it is not strange that I rated very high the merit and value of Wordsworth
[v][Cancelled text:] apparent
[w-w][Earlier version:] each bringing forward the merits of the poet he preferred, vehemently attacking the other, and propounding
[x][Cancelled text:] An ambitious young man with his fortune to make is naturally a Radical:
[[*] ]John Simpson.
[y][Cancelled text:] probably truly,
[[*] ]See, e.g., Roebuck’s speech, Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., Vol. 38, cols. 1229-34 (7 June, 1837), against Sir Andrew Agnew’s “Bill to Promote the Observance of the Lord’s Day,” 7 William IV (4 May, 1837), Parliamentary Papers, 1837, III, 351-60.
[z-z][Earlier version:] was found [altered to read: became] a reactionary
[a][Cancelled text (Mill did not complete the clause before deleting):] and is now no longer worth counting as an element in
[b][Cancelled text:] either in the original or in translations
[c][Cancelled text.] great
[d][Cancelled text:] In this part of my life at least, whatever may have been the case at others, I had a really active mind [marked with a question mark by HTM]
[e-e][Earlier version:] at Grote’s
[f][Cancelled text:] constant
[g][Cancelled text:] I did not at this time push my logical speculations any further. [paragraph] This was not the only modification which was taking place in my old opinions in the political department of things. The early writings of the St. Simonian school, with which I had now become acquainted, were gradually opening my eyes to the very limited and temporary value of the old political economy, which assumes individual hereditary property as a necessary fact, and freedom of production and exchange as the dernier mot of social improvement [This paragraph continues with three sentences substantially the same as the third and fourth sentences and part of the fifth sentence of the second paragraph below (“They were then . . . even this length”—170.9-13). For the rest of this earlier version, continued on R105-6, see App. G, pp. 614-16 below.]
[h-h][Earlier version:] , and of which I was now a frequent reader: partly from Sterling, Maurice, and
[i-i][Earlier version:] my new instructors,
[j][Cancelled text:] This however is anticipating; for at the time of which I am now writing the St. Simonians had not yet developed the practical parts of their system. The effect they had on me at this time was solely by their philosophy of history
[k-k][Earlier version:] I had had the good fortune to be taught
[l-l]176[Earlier version:] my character had been formed for me by agencies beyond my control, and was now out of my
[m][Cancelled text:] entirely
[n-n][Earlier version:] a whole host of separate small classes at the expense of the community
[o][Cancelled text:] (with Charles Buller, Roebuck and others)
[p][Cancelled text:] , an acquaintance which I afterwards extended to others of their number
[q-q][Earlier version:] Nine parts in ten of the original writing in the paper was his own, but of the remaining tenth
[* ]rThis was an error I frequently committed: for example, in the summer of 1832, when the country was preparing for the first elections after the passing of the Reform Bill, I wrote several articles in the Examiner in strong opposition to the exaction of pledges from representatives. [“Pledges,” Examiner, 1 July, 1832, pp. 417-18, and 15 July, 1832, pp. 449-51.] The doctrine of these articles was right in itself, and very suitable to democratic institutions when firmly established and rooted in the habits of the people, then no doubt it would be wise in the electors to look out for the most honest and most instructed men whom they could induce to undertake the office of legislators, and refrain from binding them beforehand to any definite measures: but I did not sufficiently consider that the transition from bad to good institutions was only commencing. Like many other persons at the time. I thought that we had had our revolution; that the way was now smooth for the advance of democracy, that precautions were henceforth chiefly required against the evils which might come from the popular side; and I little anticipated that the coming years would require a long continuance of struggle to give democracy even its due influence.r
[s-s][Earlier version (originally a continuation of the text now in Mill’s footnote—see the preceding note):] If my advice had been taken the democracy would have laid down its weapons after a mere partial success. The Examiner, I believe, lost near two hundred of its subscribers by those articles, and I much doubt whether it ever gained as many by everything else that I wrote for it. The papers called “The Spirit of the Age” did no similar damage, nor had any effect at all that I know of, except
[t][Cancelled text in R113r (see App. G, p. 616 below).] and had come to town to find a publisher for,
[[*] ]Carlyle, “Boswell’s Life of Johnson,” Fraser’s Magazine, V (May, 1832), 379-413.
[u-u][Earlier version, subsequently altered to final reading, in R113r:] an enthusiastic admiration I had seldom felt for any cotemporary writing
[v][Additional text in R113r:] In this part of my life I was in such a state of reaction against sectarianism of thought or feeling, that those in whom I recognized any kind of superiority I did not judge or criticize at all; I estimated them by that side of their qualities or achievements by which they were admirable and valuable to me, while whatever I saw that seemed criticizable was not a per contra to be deducted, but was simply uncounted and disregarded. Therefore [marked for deletion by HTM]
[w-w][Earlier version, subsequently altered to final reading first by HTM and then by Mill, in R113v:] intimacy [In R113v the next two and a half sentences—substantially the same as the present text through “formed a definitive judgment”—are marked with a line in the margin by HTM, Mill struck through them and the rest of the paragraph, and wrote a condensed version, subsequently discarded, at left. But I never felt sure that I was a competent judge of Carlyle, and I never formed a definitive judgment . . . etc. as in the present text.]
[x-x][Deleted in R109v (see App. G, p. 616 below), and replaced at left by the following, which Mill subsequently discarded in the final recopying of the passage in the draft.] of those with whom this was the case, I never had the presumption to think that I was yet capable of forming a final judgment
[y-y][Earlier version in R113v:] presumed to form [altered by HTM to the single word that Mill copied into the revision described in the second note above(182w-w)]
[z-z]186[Originally these two paragraphs on the Austins followed the paragraph ending at 188.15 (see App. G, p. 616).]
[[*] ]E.g., Victor Cousin, Report on the State of Public Instruction in Prussia, trans. Sarah Austin (London: Wilson, 1834); for a list of her translations, see the Bibliographic Index, p. 635 below.
[a-a][Earlier version:] indeed the idea of her caring for anybody beyond the surface was not one which naturally suggested itself
[b][Cancelled text:] on occasion
[c][Cancelled text:] At the time of which I am now speaking there was no one with whom I was in any complete or even general sympathy of opinion [This and the next seven sentences in the text (the rest of the paragraph) originally followed the paragraph ending at 182.29 See 184z-zabove.]
[d-d][Earlier version:] especially
[e][Cancelled text:] sitting in the garden at Mickleham
[f-f][Earlier version:] third or fourth
[g][Cancelled text:] when it fell in my way,
[h][At this point Mill initially wrote the two paragraphs on the Parliament of 1832 and his writings of 1832-34 (202.1-206.12), and part of the next paragraph on the founding of the London and Westminster Review (206.13-25), with which he brought to a close the original Part I of the draft. Variants from this discarded text are given or referred to in 202c-cand 206ibelow. The remainder of the present text of the draft represents a rewritten form of the original Part II (see App. G. pp. 616-24).]
[a-a][Earlier version:] she has been my main instructor
[b][Cancelled text:] These effects, however, on my mental development, were produced gradually, and proceeded pari passu with her own intellectual growth.
[c-c][Earlier version (in the cancelled text referred to at 190habove):], and seldom able to summon up energy and spirit to carry him into and through any real contest for his opinions. But
[d-d][Earlier version in R119r (see App. G, p. 616 below):] proved that he was one of those who can see what is good but cannot do it
[[*] ]For his first such motion, see Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., Vol. 17, cols. 608-29 (25 Apr., 1833); the others are listed in the Bibliographic Index, p. 667 below.
[[*] ]See Grote’s speeches in Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., Vol. 15, cols. 1241-6 (27 Feb., 1833), on Ireland; and ibid., Vol. 40, cols. 59-65 (16 Jan., 1838), and cols. 633-7 (29 Jan., 1838), on Canada.
[e-e][Earlier version, subsequently altered to final reading, in R119v:] infallibly
[f-f][Earlier version in R119v:] glorious
[g-g][Not in R119v, in which HTM pencilled at left opposite the preceding sentence. “mention Buller and your efforts with him”.]
[h-h][Earlier version in R120v:] sincere and convinced [marked with a question mark by HTM]
[i][For the ending of the original Part I at this point, see App. G, p. 616 below.]
[j][Cancelled text:] , especially while my father lived
[k][Cancelled text:] me or
[l-l][Earlier version:] 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 and on him. I certainly thought both of them in some degree open to it but far less so than some of their followers
[m-m][Earlier version:] the lengths to which he allowed himself to go in his denunciations of opinions, which I regarded as merely the other half of the truths one half alone was seen by him, were in a great measure
[n-n][Earlier version:] lately
[o][Cancelled text:] both in thought and action
[p-p][Earlier version:] how far I might be capable of supplying his place
[q][Cancelled text:] rather on account of an article of Carlyle’s [“Memoirs of Mirabeau,” London and Westminster Review, IV & XXVI (Jan., 1837), 382-439.]
[r][Cancelled text:] totally
[s][Cancelled text:] , and not one who was fit to go forward by his single strength and fight to any great purpose for advanced opinions
[t][Cancelled text:] , and I seized it
[[*] ]“Poems and Romances of Alfred de Vigny,” London and Westminster Review, VII & XXIX (Apr., 1838), 1-44 (reprinted in D&D, Vol. I, pp. 287-329, and at pp. 463-501 below).
[a][Cancelled text:] After what I had done in 1837 its completion was only a question of time.
[b-b]232[Earlier version:] see no signs of its having had at all a proportional influence
[c-c]234[A preliminary version, written and cancelled earlier on the same page of the draft, reads:] however little the refutation may amount to, nothing could be done to weaken the roots of the greatest existing mischiefs without it
[d][Cancelled text:] The success of the Logic led to the publication in 1844 of the Political Economy Essays, written as I have already mentioned in 1830 and 1831. With this terminates what may be termed the second period of my writings; reckoning the old Westminster Review period as the first. The Principles of Political Economy and all subsequent writings belong to a third and different stage of my mental progress, [the rest of the paragraph is marked with a line in the margin by HTM] which was essentially characterized by the predominating influence of my wife’s intellect and character. Up to this time I have spoken of my writings and opinions in the first person singular because the writings, though (after we became intimate) mostly revised by her, and freed by her judgment from much that was faulty, as well as enriched by her suggestions, were not, like the subsequent ones, largely and in their most important features the direct product of her own mind, and the opinions, though in a state of continued growth, were not generically different from those which I had gradually wrought out on emerging from the narrowness of my original Benthamism. But in the great advance which I have since made in opinion I was wholly her pupil. Her bolder and more powerful [continued on RII.20r (see App. G, pp. 616-17 below):] mind arrived before mine at every conclusion which was derived from a more thorough comprehension of the present and insight into the future: and but for her intellect and her high moral feelings leading me on, it is doubtful if I should ever have advanced much further than the point I had now reached. [RII.20r then continues with a new paragraph that opens with what is now the second sentence of the next paragraph below: “At this period . . .” (236.8). The new paragraph in the present text (“Being now released . . .”) begins on a new leaf.]
[e][Cancelled text:] This became more and more my practice.
[f][Cancelled text in RII.20r:] though at no great distance from London;
[g-g][Earlier version in RII.20r:] habitually
[h-h][Earlier version in RII.20r:] , entirely apart from sensuality [deleted and altered by HTM to produce the version that Mill copied into the present text]
[i-i][Earlier version in RII.20r:] on a subject so entirely personal, in the smallest degree binding on us in conscience, [altered and expanded by HTM to produce the version that Mill copied into the present text]
[j-j][Earlier version in RII.20r:] tie; or that sensuality [altered by HTM to read: relation, or that the feelings alluded to]
[k][Additional text in RII.20v:] Certain it is that our life, during those years, would have borne the strictest scrutiny, and though for the sake of others we not only made this sacrifice but the much greater one of not living together, we did not feel under an obligation of sacrificing that intimate friendship and frequent companionship which was the chief good of life and the principal object in it, to me, and, conscious as I am how little worthy I was of such regard, I may say also to her
[[*] ]Opposite this last clause Mill’s wife pencilled at left in the draft MS: “The voice of Society on the great fundamental questions of social and political morals should be the voice of all.”
[l-l][Earlier version:] even in the grasping, money getting [all but “in the” deleted by HTM]
[m-m][Earlier version:] The remedy for this is voluntary association for cooperative industry, which, commenced as it naturally is by those among the industrious classes who are morally the best prepared for it, tends at every step to strengthen where they exist and create where they do not exist, the habits and dispositions requisite for its own success [marked with an X and a line in the margin by HTM]
[n][Cancelled text:] But it would be a mistake to imagine that we kept back in the first edition opinions as decided as those which appear in the third. Our own opinions had made a great advance in the interval between the two publications. [marked with a line in the margin by HTM]
[o][Cancelled text:] and its advantages so weakly, [deleted first by HTM]
[p][Cancelled text:] between ourselves [marked in the margin, apparently with a question mark, by HTM]
[q][Cancelled text:] in the only way in which it can rationally be treated.
[r-r][Earlier version in RII.24r (see App. G, p. 617 below).] not the slightest [altered by HTM to the single word that Mill copied into the present text]
[s][In RII.24r, the original Part II ended at this point with a sentence deleted by HTM:] It is but the minister and servant of a larger and higher philosophy collecting and handing up to its master the materials which lie near it, to be wrought up with others into a fabric fit for use.
[* ]iThe continuation of this article, in the second number of the review, was written by me under my father’s eye, and (except as practice in composition, in which respect it was, to myself, very useful) was of little or no value.i
[* ]rThis was an error I frequently committed: for example, in the summer of 1832, when the country was preparing for the first elections after the passing of the Reform Bill, I wrote several articles in the Examiner in strong opposition to the exaction of pledges from representatives. [“Pledges,” Examiner, 1 July, 1832, pp. 417-18, and 15 July, 1832, pp. 449-51.] The doctrine of these articles was right in itself, and very suitable to democratic institutions when firmly established and rooted in the habits of the people, then no doubt it would be wise in the electors to look out for the most honest and most instructed men whom they could induce to undertake the office of legislators, and refrain from binding them beforehand to any definite measures: but I did not sufficiently consider that the transition from bad to good institutions was only commencing. Like many other persons at the time. I thought that we had had our revolution; that the way was now smooth for the advance of democracy, that precautions were henceforth chiefly required against the evils which might come from the popular side; and I little anticipated that the coming years would require a long continuance of struggle to give democracy even its due influence.r
[iThe continuation of this article, in the second number of the review, was written by me under my father’s eye, and (except as practice in composition, in which respect it was, to myself, very useful) was of little or no value.i][Mill added this note at left after deleting the passage given in the second note below (96k).]
[rThis was an error I frequently committed: for example, in the summer of 1832, when the country was preparing for the first elections after the passing of the Reform Bill, I wrote several articles in the Examiner in strong opposition to the exaction of pledges from representatives. [“Pledges,” Examiner, 1 July, 1832, pp. 417-18, and 15 July, 1832, pp. 449-51.] The doctrine of these articles was right in itself, and very suitable to democratic institutions when firmly established and rooted in the habits of the people, then no doubt it would be wise in the electors to look out for the most honest and most instructed men whom they could induce to undertake the office of legislators, and refrain from binding them beforehand to any definite measures: but I did not sufficiently consider that the transition from bad to good institutions was only commencing. Like many other persons at the time. I thought that we had had our revolution; that the way was now smooth for the advance of democracy, that precautions were henceforth chiefly required against the evils which might come from the popular side; and I little anticipated that the coming years would require a long continuance of struggle to give democracy even its due influence.r][This note was originally a part of the main text. Mill subsequently marked it off with lines and added “Note.” and “End of Note.” at left.]