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Preface - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part I, ed. Francis E. Mineka, Introduction by F.A. Hayek (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963).
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The Collected Edition of the works of John Stuart Mill has been planned and is being directed by an editorial committee appointed from the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto, and from the University of Toronto Press. The primary aim of the edition is to present fully collated texts of those works which exist in a number of versions, both printed and manuscript, and to provide accurate texts of works previously unpublished or which have become relatively inaccessible.
f. e. l. priestley,General Editor
j. m. robson,Associate Editor
v. w. bladen, alexander brady, j. b. conacher
w. line, r. f. mcrae, a. s. p. woodhouse
marsh jeanneret, francess halpenny
to the members of
THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY CLASS OF 1916
credit for the conception of this edition belongs to Professor F. A. Hayek, who while a member of the faculty of the London School of Economics nearly twenty years ago began an organized effort to assemble the widely scattered early letters of John Stuart Mill. At that time the only collected edition of Mill’s correspondence was the one edited by Hugh S. R. Elliot which was published in 1910. It contained 268 letters, largely from the last twenty-five years of Mill’s life; only fifty-two of the letters were from the period covered by the present edition. A considerable number of the early letters had been published elsewhere, but in no one place could one find the correspondence for the period of Mill’s life to which approximately three-fourths of his Autobiography is devoted.
Professor Hayek’s decision to assemble as complete a collection as possible through the year 1848 was wholly sound. In that year, with the publication of Principles of Political Economy, Mill became a widely recognized public figure, and his correspondence thereafter often took on much more of a public character as his advice and his opinions were sought by correspondents from all over the civilized world. By 1848, also, were virtually completed most of the correspondences with the friends and intimates of his youth and early manhood, with Thomas Carlyle, John Sterling, J. P. Nichol, Robert Barclay Fox, W. J. Fox, Gustave d’Eichthal, Auguste Comte, Alexis de Tocqueville, and John and Sarah Austin. These series of letters constitute the best supplement to the most interesting and moving sections of Mill’s Autobiography, for they reveal many sides of Mill’s intellectual and emotional development during the formative and most productive years of his life.
These were the years of which he later said, in commenting on his early reaction against orthodox Benthamism, “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.” The new strands in the fabric were by no means wholly of British origin, though Mill acknowledged the importance of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle in the reshaping of many of his views. The imported strands came in part from Germany (usually somewhat transmuted in the writings of Carlyle, Coleridge, and Coleridge’s disciple, John Sterling), but more significantly from France. Most important were the strands emanating from the Saint-Simonians (as seen in the correspondence with D’Eichthal) and from the positivism of Comte and the critical views of democracy held by Tocqueville.
Mill was not engaged solely in reweaving the fabric of his opinions during these years, however; he was also busily engaged in trying to influence the opinions of others. For five years he edited a radical quarterly, the London and Westminster Review, and during that same time he worked behind the scenes to force the Radicals in Parliament into concerted action. The letters between 1835 and 1840 present the best picture available of his activities as an editor and of his hopes and frustrations as a thwarted politician.
Little will be found in the present edition, however, to throw more light upon one of the major influences in Mill’s life between 1831 and 1848—that of Mrs. Taylor. I have included the two letters of this period by Mill to Mrs. Taylor which Professor Hayek first published in his John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage (1951), but no additional letters to Mrs. Taylor before 1849 have been found.
The 534 letters and excerpts of letters published herein comprise all the personal letters that I have been able to find, except that I have excluded a small number of undated and undatable short notes of little significance. No effort has been made to include the letters written for publication in newspapers, which are listed in the Bibliography of the Published Writings of John Stuart Mill edited by Ney MacMinn, J. R. Hainds, and James McNab McCrimmon (1945), nor to include official letters written by Mill in carrying out his duties at the East India Company.
All fifty-two of the letters before 1849 published by Elliot, including eighteen to Carlyle, eighteen to John Sterling, and six to Edward Lytton Bulwer, have been re-collated wherever possible and for the first time annotated. Included also are some other series of Mill’s early letters that had been published before the appearance of Elliot’s edition: twenty to Gustave d’Eichthal, edited by Eugène d’Eichthal; twelve to John Pringle Nichol, edited by William Knight; twenty-one to John Robertson, edited by Mrs. G. D. M. Towers; forty-four to Auguste Comte, edited by Lucien Lévy-Bruhl; fifteen to Robert Barclay Fox, edited by H. N. Pym; nine to Macvey Napier edited by the latter’s son; and eighteen letters and excerpts from letters, largely to Mill’s family, included by Alexander Bain in his life of Mill.
Several other series were published after Elliot’s edition appeared: thirteen letters to W. J. Fox in Richard Garnett’s life of Fox; nine to George Henry Lewes in Anna T. Kitchel’s George Lewes and George Eliot; and fourteen to Alexis de Tocqueville edited by J.-P. Mayer in his collected edition of Tocqueville’s work. All have been re-collated wherever the originals have been available.
Mill’s letters to John Pringle Nichol have not been found, and the text of these is that published by William Knight. The text of the letters to Tocqueville is reproduced from J.-P. Mayer’s edition of the works of Tocqueville and has not been re-collated, though additional annotation has been provided. Even very brief published excerpts from otherwise unlocated letters have been included, in the hope that they may provide clues to the eventual finding of the originals.
It has been possible to add a good many as yet unpublished letters to the various series published by Elliot and others—notably letters to Carlyle, D’Eichthal, R. B. Fox, W. J. Fox, and Napier. A number of additional series, of which hitherto either none or only a scattered few had been published, appear in print for the first time: letters to Edwin Chadwick, Albany Fonblanque, John and Sarah Austin, Joseph Blanco White, William Tait, Aristide Guilbert, Henry S. Chapman, John Mitchel Kemble, Henry Cole, and Sir John F. W. Herschel. In all, this edition contains 238 hitherto unpublished letters and 72 letters which have previously unpublished passages.
While Professor Hayek was chiefly responsible for the assembling of the letters, the work of editing and annotating has been mine. The method I have followed in preparing the text has been to reproduce the original as closely as possible, and I have rarely yielded to the temptation to insert a bracketed sic. I have silently transferred in a relatively small number of letters dates and addresses from the end to the heading of the letter. In rare instances only has punctuation been inserted and then the insertion has been noted. Mill’s letters in French are presented as they were written; errors have not been corrected and obsolete spellings have not been modernized. The text of his letters to Comte has been collated with the originals in the Library of the Johns Hopkins University; the text of Lévy-Bruhl’s edition differs in paragraphing, punctuation, and spelling from that of the original letters, though in other respects it is very accurate.
The first note to each letter provides the following information: the location of the manuscript when it is known (some transcribed by Professor Hayek as early as 1943 cannot now be located); addresses and postmarks where they have been available; the place of publication of previously published letters. If no printed source is indicated, the letter, to the best of my knowledge, has hitherto been unpublished. Except for several letters published in full by Michael Packe in his biography of Mill, no mention has been made of excerpts published by him, since he had full access to Professor Hayek’s collection. The editor has located over sixty additional letters since the publication of Mr. Packe’s biography.
A good deal of effort has been expended upon dating as accurately as possible letters not dated by Mill. Sometimes it has been possible to do such dating by means of external evidence that is corroborative of details in the letter (e.g., Letters 11 and 382); at other times I have had to depend solely on internal evidence. In some instances previously published letters (e.g., Letters 47 and 96) were incorrectly dated, and corrections have had to be made.
Recipients of letters and names of persons mentioned have normally been identified only on the occasion of their first appearance in the letters. To avoid the necessity of an over-abundance of cross-references, an extensive name and subject index is provided. The page reference set in bold type after an indexed name indicates the location of the identifying note. Authors of books mentioned in the letters usually have not been otherwise identified.
While I have made some successful efforts to enlarge Professor Hayek’s original collection, I am by no means assured that additional early letters may not yet make their appearance. In fact, I hope that the publication of this edition will bring to light many more. Efforts to trace many once in the possession, for instance, of Alexander Bain, the first biographer of Mill, have proved thus far unavailing. I should appreciate receiving information of any uncollected Mill letters, since I am planning, in collaboration with Professor Dwight N. Lindley of Hamilton College, an edition of the later (1849-1873) letters. If additional early letters come out of hiding, it may be possible to include them in an appendix to the later letters.
There remains the pleasant task of acknowledging generous help from many persons and institutions. Professor Hayek in his Introduction to this edition has acknowledged some of his indebtednesses during the period when he was collecting the letters. Since he has turned over to me all his extensive correspondence relating to the collecting, it is incumbent upon me to acknowledge on his behalf—and my own—major contributions during that period by the following persons: W. H. Browning, W. C. Dickinson, the late Mrs. Vera Eichelbaum, Miss Philippa G. Fawcett, J. L. Harlan, the late Norman E. Himes, the late Lord Keynes, J. A. La Nauze, Ney MacMinn, J. M. McCrimmon, Emery Neff, A. M. Carr Saunders, Hill Shine, the Right Rev. Charles L. Street, Jacob Viner, and Gordon Waterfield. In addition many individuals, too numerous to mention here, generously answered queries and offered useful suggestions.
My own debts incurred since I took over in 1953 the task of editing the letters have likewise been many. In efforts to enlarge Professor Hayek’s collection I have been aided by H. L. Beales, Joseph Hamburger, Peter M. Jackson, Cecil Lang, J.-P. Mayer, Anna J. Mill, James M. Osborn, John M. Robson, Henry Siegel, Jack Stillinger, and William E. S. Thomas. Alice Kaminsky, Dwight N. Lindley, Emily Morrison, and Robert Scholes have provided me at various times with valuable research and editorial assistance. Among my colleagues at Cornell I have received generous help in spotting allusions and tracing quotations from M. H. Abrams, Robert M. Adams, Harry Caplan, David Davis, J.-J. Demorest, Ephim G. Fogel, and Gordon Kirkwood, and from a former colleague, Luitpold Wallach. Professor John M. Robson of the University of Toronto by his critical reading of the manuscript at a late stage gave me the benefit of his extensive knowledge of Mill, thereby considerably improving the edition. A former graduate student of mine, Dr. Eileen Curran, collated some letters for me and supplied useful information from her detailed knowledge of the history of English periodicals. George H. Healey and Felix Reichmann of the Cornell University Library staff have been unfailingly helpful. Mertie Decker and Eleanor Rosica have typed what must have seemed to them endless numbers of pages of manuscript. Among British librarians I have been chiefly indebted to Mr. G. Woledge and Mr. C. G. Allen of the British Library of Political and Economic Science of the London School of Economics, to Mr. A. N. L. Munby of the Library of King’s College, Cambridge, and to J. S. Ritchie of the National Library of Scotland. J.-P. Mayer and his publishers (the Librairie Gallimard) have granted me permission to reprint the letters of Mill in the copyrighted edition of the works of Alexis de Tocqueville. Indebtedness to the many libraries which possess the originals of these letters is recorded in the notes to the letters, but I should like to express here in particular my thanks to the four libraries which have by far the largest holdings: those of The Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, the National Library of Scotland, and Yale University. I acknowledge also with gratitude a Faculty Research Grant from Cornell University and funds for travel and research from the endowment provided by the Cornell Class of 1916 for the Professorship which I have the honour to hold.
Professor Hayek at the close of his Introduction implies that in this project the fun was all his, but the hard work, mine. I can only say that I have deeply appreciated the opportunity he gave me to do the work. I have had fun too.
Francis E. Mineka
September 1, 1962
The hope expressed in the foregoing Preface that more of Mill’s earlier letters can still be located has been in small part fulfilled by the addition of three letters that have come to light while this edition was in process. Since pagination was already completed at this point, the three letters have been added at the end of the second volume (Volume XIII of the Collected Works) and assigned numbers appropriate to their place in the sequence. References to these additional letters have been included in the Index.
May 15, 1963