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[YALE FRAGMENT] - 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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Note, to be expanded in a supplement to the biographical sketch, concerning the participation of my wife in my writings.
When two persons have their thoughts and speculations completely in common, when all subjects of intellectual or moral interest are discussed between them in daily life and probed to much greater depths than are usually or conveniently laid open in published writings, when they set out from the same principles and form their opinions together, it is of little consequence which of them holds the pen: the writings which result are the joint product of both, and it must in general be impossible to disentangle their respective parts and affirm that this belongs to one and that to the other. In this sense, not only during the years of our married life but through the many years of confidential friendship which preceded, all my published writings were our joint production, her share in them constantly increasing as years advanced. But in many cases (though but a small proportion of the whole) what belongs to her can be distinguished and specially identified. The most valuable ideas and features in these joint productions, those which have been most fruitful of important results and have contributed most to the success and reputation of the works themselves, originated with her, and were purely emanations from her mind, my part in them being no greater than in any of the thoughts which I found in previous authors and made my own only by incorporating them with my system of thought. This was oftener the case where it would be least than where it would be most expected. Some might suppose, for instance, that my strong convictions on the complete equality which ought to exist in all legal, social, political and domestic relations between men and women, were adopted or learnt from her. This was so far from being the case, that I held these convictions from early boyhood and the strength with which I held them was, as I believe, more than anything else, the originating cause of the interest she felt in me. Undoubtedly however this conviction was at that time, in my mind, little more than an abstract principle: it was through her teaching that I first perceived and understood its practical bearings; her rare knowledge of human nature, and perception and comprehension of moral and social influences, shewed me (what I should never have found out in more than a very vague way for myself) the mode in which the consequences of the inferior position of women intertwine themselves with all the evils of existing society and with the difficulties of human improvement. Without her I should probably always have held my present opinions on the question, but it would never have become to me as, with the deepest conviction, it now is, the great question of the coming time: the most urgent interest of human progress, involving the removal of a barrier which now stops the way, and renders all the improvements which can be effected while it remains, slight and superficial. I learnt from her nearly all I know of the details of the subject; the opinion itself I held as strongly, though less according to knowledge, before I had even seen her.
The first of my books in which her share was conspicuous was the Political Economy: the Logic owed little to her except in the minuter matters of composition. The chapter of the Political Economy which has had greater direct practical effect than all the rest, that on “the probable future of the labouring classes,” is entirely due to her: in the first draft of the book that chapter did not exist. She pointed out the need of such a chapter and the extreme imperfection of the book without it; she caused me to write it, and the whole of the general part of the chapter, the statement and discussion of the two theories respecting the proper condition of the labouring classes, was a mere exposition of her thoughts, often in words taken down from her lips. The purely scientific part of the Political Economy I did not learn from her: but it was chiefly her influence that gave the general tone to the book by which it was distinguished from all previous expositions of Political Economy and which has made it so useful in conciliating the minds which those previous treatises had alienated, viz. that it never treats the mere arrangements of modern society as final; the economical generalisations which depend on social arrangements, including the whole of what are called the laws of Distribution, it never deals with as more than provisional, and certain to be much altered by the progress of events. I had indeed partially learnt this view of things from other teachings and suggestions; but it was confirmed in my own mind and made predominant in the book by her promptings. This example well illustrates the general character of what she contributed to my writings. What was abstract and purely scientific was generally mine: the properly human element came from her: in all that related to the application of philosophy to the exigencies of human society and progress, I was her pupil, and that, too, equally in the boldly speculative and in the cautiously practical. For, on the one hand, she was much more courageous and farsighted than, without her, I should ever have been, in anticipations of a state of future improvement in which many of the limited generalizations now so often confounded with universal principles of human nature, will cease to be applicable. Those parts of my writings, and particularly of the Political Economy which look forward to changes in the present opinions on the limits of the right of property and which contemplate possibilities, as to the springs of human action in economical matters, which had only been affirmed by Socialists and in general fiercely denied by political economists; all this, but for her, would either have been absent from my writings or would have been suggested much more timidly and in a more qualified form. While she thus rendered me more bold in speculation on human affairs, her eminently practical turn of mind and almost unerring estimate of practical considerations repressed in me all tendencies that were really visionary and kept me both in thought and expression within the bounds of good sense. Her mind at once invested every idea in a concrete shape and framed to itself a conception of how it would actually work; and her knowledge of human feelings and conduct as they now are, was so seldom at fault that the weak point in any unworkable practical suggestion rarely escaped her.
The Liberty was more directly and literally a joint production than anything else I wrote, for there was not a sentence in it that was not several times gone over by us together, turned over in many ways, and laboriously weeded of any imperfection we could discover either in thought or in expression. But it is difficult in this case to identify any particular part or element as being more hers than all the rest. The whole mode of thinking of which the book was the expression, was emphatically hers. But I also was so thoroughly imbued with it that the same thoughts naturally occurred to us both. That I was thus imbued with it, however, I owe in a great degree to her. There was a moment in my mental progress when I might easily have fallen into a tendency towards over-government both social and political, as there was also a moment when, by reaction from a contrary tendency, I might have become less a radical and a democrat than I now am. In both these points as in numerous others, she benefitted me as much in keeping me right where I was right, as in leading me to new truths or correcting errors. My great readiness and eagerness to learn from everybody and to make room in my system of opinions for every new acquisition by adjusting the old and the new to one another might, but for her steadying influence, have seduced me into modifying my original opinions too much. She was in nothing more valuable to my development than by her just measure of the relative importance of one consideration and another, which often protected me from allowing to truths I had only recently seen, a more important place in my thoughts than was properly their due.
[End of the Yale fragment]