TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL
25 Jany. 
My dear Gustave
I will answer your questions one by one.
1. I do not think that M. Lemire could at first support himself here by giving lessons in French. I think that in two or three months he might be able to do so, if his friends and yours exert themselves. I am sorry to say that my exertions are pre-engaged in behalf of another.
2. I shall have great pleasure in dining with you tomorrow to meet Mr Crellin. I will come to you straight from the India House.
3. I will endeavour to obtain for you or Duveyrier an admission to the London Institution.
4. Most of those who receive the Globe in this country have received it only a short time, and several of them are likely to be prejudiced against you at first. Perronet Thompson, for instance, is thinking of writing against you, in the Westminster Review, of which he is one of the chief proprietors. Stephen, and Hyde Villiers, are men in office, whose whole time is occupied; and though you should, I think, throw yourself in their way if an opportunity offers, I do not think it would answer any good purpose to call upon them. Most men in this country have a strong prejudice against any attempt to talk them over as the vulgar say; to talk to them with the view of effecting any particular change in their general habits of thinking.
Of all whom you mention I think Bulwer and Empson are the only two with whom there would be any use in your having a personal interview for the present. I will give you an introduction to Bulwer whenever you please. Empson I should like to speak to on the subject before you make any attempt to see him; besides, he is seldom to be found at home except by appointment. But I could easily contrive that you should see him—& probably Perronet Thompson also.
J. S. Mill.
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL
[Jan. 28, 1832]
My dear Gustave
Mr Grote desires me to say that he will have great pleasure in cashing any bill of yours, whether signed by yourself or Duveyrier. I am also desired by him & by Mrs Grote to say that they hope very much to see you, & when you return from your journey to Paris they will ask you to fix a day for visiting them at Dulwich & not returning till the next day. Grote & I had much conversation respecting the St Simonian doctrine during the evening: he has a tolerably accurate knowledge of its general features, & I think you would not lose your time in conversing with him.
Would it be inconvenient to you to take with you to Paris some numbers of the Examiner for Marchais & for M. de Lasteyrie?
I will give you a copy of tomorrow’s Examiner (which contains some mention of St Simonism) for le père Michel Chevalier.
The missing numbers of the Globe have not yet reached me, but I suppose I shall find them here on Monday morning.
You will oblige me by making my best acknowledgments to le père Enfantin, if he retains any recollection of me, for the great pleasure and profit which I have derived and am continually deriving from his words and deeds.
J. S. Mill.
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL
[Jan. 30, 1832]
My dear Gustave
I send you a copy of the Examiner which contains my notice of the St Simonians. It is very incorrectly printed. This copy is for Chevalier; if you wish for one for yourself in addition, I will procure it for you.
I would ask you to take with you a few numbers of the Examiner for Marchais & for M. de Lasteyrie, if I had any means of sending them to you soon enough.
A friend of mine whom I hope you will soon be acquainted with, has had some conversation with Mr Sterling respecting St Simonism, and represents him as so hostile to it, that I think there would be no use whatever in my mentioning the subject to him or in your attempting to see him. Indeed from all I hear of the opinions & feelings which your doctrine is exciting in those who have but recently received the Globe, I expect that for a considerable time much obloquy will fall not only upon the St Simonians, but even on all who venture to hint the possibility of their being other than madmen or rogues. My saying as much for them in the Examiner as I have done, est déjà un acte de courage.
J. S. Mill.
TO WILLIAM JOHNSON FOX
April 3d. 1832.
My dear Sir,
I am sorry that you should think of apologizing for a proposal by which I ought to be, and am, very much flattered. There was no brusquerie on your side to be apologized for, but much dullness and incapacity of speaking intelligibly on mine: as is usual when I am taken unexpectedly and have anything to say on the spur of the moment. I learn every day by fresh instances, that only when I have a pen in my hand can I make language and manner the true image of my thoughts. This is not only a fault in itself, but an index to many other faults.
What I would say now, and would have said at the moment, but for my habitual unreadiness, is, that nothing would be more agreeable to me than to be allowed to insert in the Monthly Repository anything I might write which might be so fortunate as to be deemed fit for it; but that I would avoid, as I always do, any literary engagement, wishing to write nothing for its own sake, but always because I am led to write it by the course of my habitual pursuits, and in execution of the general purposes of my life. Most persons, if I were to say this to them, would set me down as a perfect monster of affectation and self-conceit; yet it is only putting into words what all persons ought at all times to have in their minds, as the guiding principle of their conduct. If it were my vocation, as it is probably yours, to instruct the general public, by preaching, public speaking, and popular writing, I should devote myself to it; and there is scarcely any person with whom I should be so proud to cooperate as with yourself. But this is not what I am fittest for; nor do I find that time renders me fitter for it, but rather the contrary. Times and circumstances may come in which I should probably think it my duty, however unfit, to buckle to the task, and make it, for the time, the principal aim of my life. But at present many things, far less conspicuously useful, but yet not unworthy that some one should make them his chief object of intellectual pursuit, must continue to hold the first place in my thoughts. And no one can do anything well, in this earthly pilgrimage of ours, in doing which he steps out of his way and delays his journey.
I will not, therefore, make any promise, nor should I feel justified in leading you to reckon upon my offering anything to the Monthly Repository. But what I do not undertake, it by no means follows that I shall not do; and I was even thinking at the very time when your note reached me, of writing something which might possibly suit the design of the Repository. At all events, whenever I do write anything of the kind, I can find no mode of disposing of it that would be more pleasing to me than by giving it to the world under your auspices.
With many thanks for the extremely delicate and flattering tenour of your note
Most truly yours
J. S. Mill
TO JOHN STERLING
24th May 1832.
My dear Sterling
The manner in which time passes over our heads without our perceiving it is quite frightful. It is now seven months since I wrote to you, and if I had not referred to a memorandum-book to learn the fact, I should not have thought it was three. Absence! All persons, some few excepted, are sufficiently prone to neglect the absent, not because they forget them, but because there is always something to be done for things or persons near at hand, which, it seems at the moment, will less bear to be put off. But I think this is peculiarly a fault of mine. I neglect almost every person whose daily life is not intermixed with my own. However this may be, accept my confession, and believe that, notwithstanding all appearances, you are as much and as often in my thoughts as when you were in England.—It seems to me that there is a very great significance in letter-writing, and that it differs from daily intercourse as the dramatic differs from the epic or narrative. It is the life of man, and above all the chief part of his life, his inner life, not gradually unfolded without break or sudden transition, those changes which take place insensibly being also manifested insensibly; but exhibited in a series of detached scenes, taken at considerable intervals from one another, shewing the completed change of position or feeling, without the process by which it was effected; affording a glimpse or partial view of the mighty river of life at some few points, and leaving the imagination to trace to itself such figure or scheme as it can of the course of the stream in that far larger portion of space where it winds its way through thickets or impenetrable forests and is invisible: this alone being known to us, that whatever may have been its course through the wilderness, it has had some course, & that a continuous one, & which might by human opportunity have been watched and discovered, though to us, too probably, destined to be for ever unknown. What wonder therefore if when seen at these distant intervals, the stream sometimes seems to run east, sometimes west, and its general direction remains as mysterious as that of the Niger? Yet if such glimpses are numerous, some general tendency shall predominate even in the few furlongs of water-way which they may chance to disclose, and it shall not remain doubtful towards what sea, in the long run, the waters tend to discharge themselves.
I had no idea when I began this letter, that I should yield to the habit of moralizing and poetizing which has grown upon me. But I meant to say something very simple. When you wrote to me, you promised a longer letter, which was to give me some notion of a slave colony; and glad shall I be to receive it; but after all, that will be, in itself, no more valuable to me, than any other information on the same subject from any person with equal opportunities and deserving of equal reliance: but what I can have only from you, and what would be far more valuable to me, whether resulting from a letter respecting slave colonies or from anything else, would be a knowledge of you, namely of what has passed and is passing in your own mind, and how far your views of the world and feelings towards it, and all that constitutes your individuality as a human being, are or are not the same, are or are not changed. That is the knowledge which it is the most proper object of letters, between friends, to communicate; otherwise if their separation is prolonged, they cannot help becoming more or less strangers to one another.
As for myself, I doubt not but that I have much to tell you of this kind which you, and even myself eventually, might read with interest. For I know that there never pass seven months of my existence without change, and that not inconsiderable or unimportant: and I really do not recollect what my last letter to you was about (except that part of it was about Wordsworth and Southey) or what was my state of mind when I wrote it; only I remember that I must have had much to say, since my epistle amounted to a quarto volume. It is not of much use to write to you about politics. You of course know from the newspapers and from your other friends through what a sea of troubles “the Bill” has at last been navigated in safety to within sight of land. You know the utter prostration or rather annihilation of the Tory party; how all the vitality has gone out of them; they having most unwisely chosen to make this the decisive, the final struggle; which accordingly it is. One unspeakable blessing I now believe that we shall owe to the events of the last ten days; to whatever consummation the spirit which is now in the ascendant, may conduct us, there is now a probability that we shall accomplish it through other means than anarchy & civil war. The irresistible strength of a unanimous people has been put forth, and has triumphed without bloodshed: it having therefore been proved, once for all, that the people can carry their point by pacific means, the natural and habitual reluctance of mankind to suffer and to inflict wounds and death, yet remains and may yet remain in its pristine strength, being no longer liable to be gradually worn away by the perpetual recurrence of the thought & feeling that these are the necessary though bitter means to some ardently desired end. What will come next it is quite vain to attempt to anticipate. Much grievous disappointment—some consequent moral and intellectual good, some evil;—some oversetting of evil and wrong; as yet little setting up of right; but above all a clear field to work in and a consequent duty on all whose vocation is not different, to address themselves to the work.
With regard to our common acquaintances, most of what I have to tell is, I think, favorable; many, and some from whom it was scarcely to be expected, have become “sadder and wiser men.” By sadder, I do not mean gloomier, or more desponding: nor even less susceptible of enjoyment, or even gaiety; but I mean that they look upon all things with far deeper and more serious feelings, and are far more alive to those points in human affairs, which excite an interest bordering on melancholy. Their earnestness, if not greater, is of a more solemn kind, and certainly far more unmixed with dreams of personal distinction or other reward. This is also, in a measure, the case with myself; except that, so far as respects the last point, the change had taken place long before. I have long since renounced any hankering for being happier than I am; and only since then have I enjoyed anything which can be called well-being. How few are they who have discovered the wisdom of the precept, Take no thought of the morrow; when considered as all the sayings of Christ should be, not as laws laid down with strict logical precision for regulating the details of our conduct; since such must be, like all other maxims of prudence, variable: but as the bodying forth in words of the spirit of all morality, right self-culture, the principles of which cannot change, since man’s nature changes not, though surrounding circumstances do. I do not mean by using the word self-culture, to prejudge any thing as to whether such culture can come from man himself, or must come directly from God: all I mean is that it is culture of the man’s self, of his feelings and will, fitting him to look abroad and see how he is to act, not imposing upon him by express definition, a prescribed mode of action; which it is clear to me that many of the precepts of the Gospel, were never intended to do, being manifestly unsuited to that end: witness that which I have just cited; or the great one of doing to all men as you desire that they should do to you; or of turning the left cheek &c. which last the Quakers have made themselves ridiculous by attempting to act upon a very little more literally than other people. All these would be vicious as moral statutes, binding the tribunal, but they are excellent as instruction to the judge in the forum conscientiae, in what spirit he is to look at the evidence; what posture he must assume in order that he may see clearly the moral bearings of the thing which he is looking at.
I have not seen, nor scarcely heard, of Maurice, since you left England. Can you tell me anything of him? Trench I have seen, and had some correspondence with. He seems to me to take a most gloomy view of the prospects of mankind—gloomier even than yours, in your letter to Mrs Austin who (par parenthèse) has not been very well lately, but is recovering. Carlyle passed the whole of a long winter in London; & rose in my opinion, more than I know how to express, from a nearer acquaintance. I do not think that you estimate him half highly enough; but neither did I, when I last saw you.
It was worthy of your kindness to think not only of your friend, but of your friend’s friends, and to pick up sea-shells for them on the other side of the globe because we had once done so together at Looe. It is one of the things which so few persons would have thought of besides yourself.
I hope and believe that I shall not again allow so long an interval to elapse without writing to you. I had great compunction in not writing to you when we learned the melancholy fate of poor Torrijos —and I should have done so, but that I am little fitted for comforting the afflicted, and I knew not in that case, of any comfort to administer. It was chiefly with reference to you, and to Madame Torrijos, that it seemed to me there was ground for sorrow; though the extinction of such a man, even when there was little more for him to do or to enjoy, seemed like the violent blotting out of a star from heaven.
With many kind remembrances to Mrs Sterling, believe me, affectionately yours,
J. S. Mill
TO THOMAS CARLYLE
My dear Friend,
To be moderate, I will only thank you twice: once for writing, and once for being the first to write. The good-natured excuse which you make for my silence will not serve me: I always felt that I ought to write first, and not you; but it always seemed that there would be some better time for writing than the present one. In particular, I have had an unusual number of letters to write since I saw you: and to me it appears a very weighty matter to write a letter: there is scarcely anything that we do, which requires a more complete possession of our faculties, in their greatest freshness and vigour; and all the more so, because if it is elaborate it is good for little. Besides, I knew that I was corresponding with you, in some measure, through the Examiner. All this is not intended as an excuse, but a confession; that you may see what paltry reasons sufficed with me for putting off the discharge of a duty. But it is very idle to complain of my own faults, instead of mending them; as every man can, if he will; and as I trust I yet shall, all the less slowly from having known you.
I believe I have fulfilled most of your parting injunctions; some of them, however, less soon than I might and ought. For several weeks after your departure, I waited for some time when it would be quite convenient to call upon poor Glen: till finding that no such moment arrived, I did at last what I might have done at first, disregarded convenience and did the thing out of hand: and the great joy which it seemed to give him, satisfied me not that I had done right, for I was thinking much more of you than of him; but that you had done right in instigating me to call upon him. Since that time we have seen each other frequently: and I have cultivated his acquaintance the more, because he has so few persons in London besides me who are at all able to help or encourage him. I have been much struck by the exact manner in which every opinion that you have ever expressed to me about him has been proved true by what I have since seen of him; Mrs Carlyle’s opinion in so far as it differed from yours, was, I am satisfied, entirely groundless. I am somewhat doubtful however, how far he is capable of deriving much advantage of an intellectual kind from the intercourse of others: his mind seems to be always in his own thoughts and in them only; & these not matured but extemporaneous: it seems almost time thrown away to give out thoughts to him; he seems never to lay hold of them. But if any one could teach him to make a proper use of his own materials, it would be doing to him an unspeakable service, & to others much good through his means. I do not see my way clearly to being able to assist him in this respect, but I see that our intercourse affords some sort of satisfaction to him, and therefore, probably does him some kind of good: what, and how much, will doubtless in time be made manifest. He talks of writing to you, and I am sure that it would make him extremely happy to hear from you: what he saw of you has evidently made a very deep impression upon him.—I have also called upon Fraser: only once, however; but in his case there was not the same strong inducement: I have no doubt that we shall see more of each other.
Your parting gift, the paper on Biography and on Johnson, has been more precious to me than I well know how to state. I have read it over and over till I could almost repeat it by heart; and have derived from it more edification and more comfort, than from all else that I have read for years past. I have moreover lent it to various persons, whom I thought likely to reap the same benefit from it, and have in no instance been disappointed: among others, to some in whom it has created, or increased, a most earnest desire to see and know you, and who are most worthy that this desire should be gratified; as I trust it one day will be, if possible through my means, unless an iron Necessity, insuperable by the free will of man, should hereafter, as heretofore, prevent.
Thanks for what you tell me respecting your recent occupations. I look forward with very delightful anticipations to your review of the Corn Law Rhymer, and to your paper on Göthe: it was a disappointment to me that the former did not appear in the last Edinburgh, though I knew it was scarcely possible. Taylor tells me that Southey is writing an article on the same subject, & is in communication with the author, who is a real working man, named Reuben Elliott. I have seen no review of his poems as yet, except in the Monthly Repository, the Unitarian periodical, edited by Mr Fox, whom I conjecture to be the author of this particular paper. The tone of it is very good, and there are very few persons who could have written it, but I think it misses the most striking aspect under which the poems can be looked at; viz. as works which will go down to posterity as one of the principal memorials of this age; from which a large portion of its character will be known, which is registered in little else of a permanent nature: being chiefly those melancholy features in the position of the working class towards the other classes and towards the world altogether, which have impressed upon so earnest and so loving a heart, a character of almost unrelieved gloom, bitterness, and resentment. The poet just shews enough of his natural character to render the portraiture of the artificial one which is superinduced upon it more deeply impressive. I am convinced that these poems, having, as they have, sufficient intrinsic merit to live, will hereafter be a text for annotations, explanations, and commentaries without end, & that future historians, (when such, worthy of the name, shall arise) will build largely upon it.
With respect to Göthe, there was a short obituary notice of him in the Examiner, which you would not like. I could have kept it out if I would have undertaken to write something myself, at the instant; but as I knew my own ignorance, and would not write at haphazard, the matter was put into the hands of those who thought they knew, & in reality did know, more, but yet (as seems pretty obvious) not enough. The article was made up of two fragments written by two different persons. So rare in this country is any, even the most common-place, knowledge of Germany, that none of the other papers gave any observations at all on the extinction of the greatest man then living in Europe: and Bulwer in his next number, that is in the small print, drafted his notice almost entirely from that in the Examiner. How yours in the next number, will square with it, he probably cares as little, as I dare say you do.
As you see the Examiner, you are acquainted with the greater part of what I have been busy about, since you left us. To the papers signed A.B. you must add every thing which has been written about France, except the notices of the cholera, and a review of a trumpery pamphlet. If you should happen to see the second number of Tait’s Magazine, you will see in it an article of mine, on a book which I have also reviewed in the Examiner by our acquaintance Cornewall Lewis. If you have not seen it and will let me know how I may best send you a copy, I will do so, though unless it interest you as being mine, it scarcely will otherwise. On the whole, the opinions I have put forth in these different articles are, I think, rather not inconsistent with yours, than exactly corresponding to them; & are expressed so coldly and unimpressively that I can scarcely bear to look back upon such poor stuff. I have not yet come up even with my friends the St Simonians; & it would be saying very little even if I had.
A propos of the St Simonians, they have been obliged to give up the Globe and everything else which they had in hand. The immediate causes of their stoppage are certain legal obstructions which have been thrown in their way by some of the seceding members, & a demand of 130000 francs by the Government (very insidiously allowed to reach that amount before it was brought forward) for arrears of stamps, & penalties for infraction of the stamp laws. In the later numbers of the Globe, there was, I think, on the whole some evidence of improvement in their views and feelings—Enfantin and about fifty more, among whom are our two friends d’Eichthal and Duveyrier, have now retired to a place called Ménilmontant at a short distance out of Paris, where they are all living together, and are employed, as they assert, in training themselves to preach to the world by their example, which, they are beginning to find out, is after all the most impressive and in every way profitable aspect of the life even of those whose vocation it is to be the Speakers of the Word. This is decidedly un progrès, as they would say; & if you believe them, their present state, like every thing else which has happened to them or to any son of Adam, is for the best; that is, for the greatest ultimate success of the St Simonian faith. It is difficult to conjecture how far this optimism of theirs is itself a faith, or a mere trick of self-deluding vanity, determined to put the best face upon every thing both to themselves and others. I do not know many of the particulars of their life at Ménilmontant; but it appears that one feature of it is to do without domestic servants, which they consider a vestige of slavery: & they take their turns to perform all menial offices for one another. I do not know how they reconcile this with their maxim, à chacun selon sa capacité, but I suppose they have some salve or other for it. Their adoration for Enfantin seems to be on the increase rather than on the wane; & it is well to reverence the best man they know, but I wish they had a better still.
With regard to politics, their aspect of things has somewhat changed since you wrote, and the momentary check sustained by radicalism has been converted into a triumph, far more complete than could have been achieved otherwise. The Tory party, at least the present Tory party, is now utterly annihilated. Peace be with it. All its elevated character had long gone out of it, and instead of a Falkland it had but a Croker, instead of a Johnson nothing better than a Philpotts. Wellington himself found that if he meant to be minister he must be a Whig; and the rest of his party though in the main Whigs already, did not chuse that particular phasis of Whiggery & determined to be nothing at all; & truly they had no very great step to make into absolute non-entity. There is now nothing definite and determinate in politics except radicalism; & we shall have nothing but radicals and whigs for a long time to come, until society shall have worked itself into some new shape, not to be exactly foreseen and described now.
Mrs. Austin has been very far from well of late, but is nearly recovered. She often talks of Mrs Carlyle and you. Austin began lecturing immediately after your departure, and part of my occupation since you went away has been in attending his lectures. Buller is now here and in good health: he has written a very pleasant article in the Foreign Quarterly Review on Prince Pückler’s book, which I think you would like to read.
On the very day on which you went away, Taylor wrote to me to propose that we should call upon you together. He is very well, and as usual, very busy governing the West Indies: a difficult work, of which he more than all other persons is the workman.
I am in no immediate want of the three little volumes; therefore they may wait any convenient opportunity.
I do not think I have any more facts to tell you; and I have filled my letter with nothing else. Another time I shall not wait for such an accumulation of what, after all, is very secondary material for a letter—especially between you and me, so little of whose conversation used ever to turn upon mere incidents. Make my heartiest remembrances to Mrs Carlyle and believe me
Most truly yours (and hers)
J. S. Mill
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL AND CHARLES DUVEYRIER
30th May 1832
My dear d’Eichthal and Duveyrier
Nothing but the pressure of a variety of occupations has hindered me for so long a period from writing to you; not to tell you anything, for I have nothing to tell; but to ask for news of you and all that you do, as I no longer have regular intelligence of you through the Globe.
I am unable to be with you on the first of June, as I had previously engaged myself to pass the short vacation which this house allows me, in a different place and in a different manner. And I should prefer visiting Paris, and you, at any other time. To attend such a summons as that which was issued in the last number of the Globe, to those who have placed their avenir in St Simon, would be to associate and identify myself with the St Simonians: now this would be an act of religious dévouement, and highly meritorious, in any person who was completely associated with you par les sentiments; but in me, it would be nothing of the kind; and would even give a false idea of the feelings I entertain towards your society. I did not go to Weimar to attend the funeral of Göthe, nor to Birmingham to join the Political Union, nor to Warsaw to encourage the Poles; yet my sympathies were with all three, just as they are with you.
For the same & various other reasons, I did not, as Duveyrier suggested, write a series of letters on St Simonism for the Morning Chronicle. St Simonism is all in all to you, St Simonians; but to me it is only one among a variety of interesting and important features in the time we live in, & there are other subjects & other occupations which have as great a claim upon me as it has, in themselves, & a much greater from being, just now, more in season. St Simonism therefore must wait its time, & you may rely that it shall have justice done to it, as far as that is possible from my point of view, on the first favorable opportunity.
I have been extremely pleased with the later numbers of the Globe. The seceders from your society certainly had excellent remplaçans: Cavel, Delaporte, and Lagarmitte are anything but ordinary men. Now when I have mentioned names, I beg that when you write, you will send me the names of all the St Simonians who have retired to Ménilmontant or who remain in the Rue Monsigny. I shall treasure up their names, and should like much to be acquainted with them all. Tell me all you can about each of them in particular.
Tell me also what are your pursuits, your thoughts & projects, where you now are. I have some knowledge of the mere exterior of your lives from Duveyrier’s letter to Mrs Crellin, but I want to know what you are meditating, what are your studies, & travaux d’élaboration, now that you are not propagating your ideas among the public. This temporary secession might be for you the occasion of un grand progrès. I suppose that a St Simonian can learn only from his own thoughts or those of other St Simonians; but I who am not a St Simonian, though I greatly admire the St Simonians, & think that they are in many respects far ahead of all Europe, am yet firmly convinced that you have yet much to learn, in political economy from the English economists (inferior as they are to you in many points) and in the philosophy of history, literature and the arts, from the Germans. Certainly I think you have far surpassed all these people in some things, but have fallen far short of them in others: & that a more diligent study of them would change some of your opinions, and suggest to you many positive thoughts of great value, which would bring down some of your generalities & abstractions into detail.
I did as d’Eichthal wished in regard to Father Enfantin’s parting address: after ascertaining that Black would print it, I translated it for him & it appeared in the Morning Chronicle (it was however very incorrectly printed). With regard to the delay in my letter which appeared in the Globe, you are, I suppose, aware that Desprat kept it for a fortnight or three weeks, in expectation of an opportunity. It was very well translated, though with some omissions & abbreviations which made it rather more St Simonian than I intended.
I wrote two letters to Adolphe d’Eichthal during our crise politique, which contained all I had to say on that subject. I shall write to him a longer letter very shortly, & request him to shew it to Gustave.
All your friends here, whom I know, are very well. I have seen Mrs Crellin twice; elle est très intéressante. Write soon & often, now you have leisure. Ever yours
J. S. Mill.
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL
My dear Gustave
The object of my present letter is not to tell you news, for I have none to tell; nor to discuss, for I have not time. It is merely to thank you for your letter; to say how glad I always am to hear from you, and how much I wish that the exalted destiny which you still believe to await you, may be realized; to send you two numbers of the Examiner in continuation of those which I hope you have already received through Desprat; & to beg you to ask of Duveyrier the two following questions;
1st. What he did with the ticket to the library of the London Institution: William Prescott to whom it belongs, has asked me for it.
2dly. Whether he has done with my Examiners for 1831 and the beginning of 1832.
The gentleman who takes this letter will bring any thing back. He will be at Paris for a week or two, and his address is, Mr Rowland Mackenzie, chez M. Roy, Route de Choisy, Barrière d’Italie.
Many remembrances to Duveyrier, and to all friends. In your letter you say that you send me the list of the inhabitants of your retreat at Ménilmontant, but it has not reached me.
Most truly yours
J. S. Mill.
TO THOMAS CARLYLE
London, 17th July 1832
My dear friend
Many thanks for your little note. I hope this letter will find all your perplexities at an end, and the paper on Göthe proceeding smoothly, or perhaps long since finished and sent off. I recognise in your account of what was passing in your mind, a very perfect picture of what I often experience in mine; especially if I attempt to give a general view of any great subject, when I feel bound not merely to say something true, but to omit nothing which is material to the truth. I also participate in what you call your superstition, about never turning back when one has begun. Were it not that imperfect and dim light is yet better than total darkness, there would be little encouragement to attempt enlightening either oneself or the world. But the real encouragement is, that he who does the best he can, always does some good, even when in his direct aim he totally fails. For although the task which we undertake is, to speak a certain portion of precious Truth, and instead of speaking any Truth at all, it is possible our light may be nothing but a feu follet, and we may leave ourselves and others no wiser than we found them; still, that any one sincere mind, doing all it can to gain insight into a thing, and endeavouring to declare truthfully all it sees, declares this (be it what it may), is itself a truth; no inconsiderable one; which at least it depends upon ourselves to be fully assured of, and which is often not less, sometimes perhaps more, profitable to the hearer or reader, than much sounder doctrine delivered without intensity of conviction. And this is one eternal and inestimable preeminence (even in the productions of pure Intellect) which the doings of an honest heart possess over those men of the strongest and most cultivated powers of mind when directed to any other end in preference to, or even in conjunction with, Truth. He who paints a thing as he actually saw it, though it were only by an optical illusion, teaches us, if nothing else, at least the nature of Sight, and of spectra and phantasms: but if somebody has not seen, or even believed that he saw, anything at all, but has merely thrown together objects and colours at random or to gain some point, it is all false and hollow, and nobody is the wiser or better, or ever can be so, from what has been done, but may be greatly the more ignorant, more confused, and worse.
I have read your little paper on Göthe in Bulwer’s Magazine. There was little in it which I had not already heard from your lips, otherwise there are passages which would if they had been entirely new to me, have excited me to much thought, and may therefore do that service to any other mind which is prepared for them. I do not myself, as yet, sufficiently know Göthe, to feel certain that he is the great High Priest and Pontiff you describe him; I know him as yet only as one of the wisest men, and men of greatest genius, whom the world has yet produced; but if he be not all that you say he is, certainly no other man has arisen in our times, who can even for a moment be suspected of being so. In him alone, of all the celebrated men of this and the last age, does a more familiar knowledge, and the growth of our own faculties, discover more and more to be admired and less and less to be rejected or even doubted of. Who shall succeed him? or when shall he find even an unworthy successor. There is need that the “march of mind” should raise up new spiritual notabilities; for it seems as though all the old ones with one accord were departing out of the world together. In a few days or weeks the world has lost the three greatest men in it, in their several departments; Göthe, Bentham, and Cuvier; & during the same period what a mortality among those second-rate great men, who are generally in their own time much more celebrated than the first, because they take pains to be so; such men as Casimir Périer, or Mackintosh, or Sir William Grant, or General Lamarque, or the last of Scotch judges, John Clerk of Eldin, or even (to descend low indeed) Charles Butler. And here is Sir Walter Scott about to follow. I sometimes think that instead of mountains and valleys, the domain of Intellect is about to become a dead flat, nothing greatly above the general level, nothing very far below it. It is curious that this particular time, in which there are fewer great intellects above ground and in their vigour, than can be remembered for many ages back, should be the precise time at which every body is cackling about the progress of intelligence and the spread of knowledge. I do believe that intelligence and knowledge are less valued just now, except for purposes of money-making, than at any other period since the Norman Conquest, or possibly since the invasion of the Romans. I mean, in our own country. But even in Germany, the great men seem to have died out, though much of their spirit remains after them, and is, we will hope, permanently fixed in the national character.
I have not been idle since my last letter, but have rather read, than either meditated or written: all that I have written you must have seen in the Examiner; it consists of sundry papers on French politics and two long articles on Pledges, which are in very bad odour with some of our radicals. It is a proof of the honest and brave character of Fonblanque, that he wished to have these articles: every thing he ever prints that does not chime in with common-place radicalism, costs him money; his paper is in a perpetual alternation of slowly working its way upwards by its liveliness and ability and then tumbling plump down all at once by some act of honesty. I do not know that this has happened in the present case, but I have little doubt of it.
I am about to make a short ramble in the country just now, after which I shall return to work, and I hope with more solid and valuable results than I have hitherto done: that so I may produce something worthy of the title you give me, and in which I rejoice, that of one of your scholars. You also call me one of your teachers; but if I am this, it is as yet only in the sense in which a schoolmaster might speak of his teachers, meaning those who teach under him. I certainly could not now write, and perhaps shall never be able to write, any thing from which any person can derive so much edification as I, and several others, have derived in particular from your paper on Johnson. My vocation, as far as I yet see, lies in a humbler sphere; I am rather fitted to be a logical expounder than an artist. You I look upon as an artist, and perhaps the only genuine one now living in this country: the highest destiny of all, lies in that direction; for it is the artist alone in whose hands Truth becomes impressive, and a living principle of action. Yet it is something not inconsiderable (in an age in which the understanding is more cultivated and developed than any of the other faculties, & is the only faculty which men do not habitually distrust) if one could address them through the understanding, & ostensibly with little besides mere logical apparatus, yet in a spirit higher than was ever inspired by mere logic, and in such sort that their understandings shall at least have to be reconciled to those truths, which even then will not be felt until they shall have been breathed upon by the breath of the artist. For, as far as I have observed, the majority even of those who are capable of receiving Truth into their minds, must have the logical side of it turned first towards them; then it must be quite turned round before them, that they may see it to be the same Truth in its poetic that it is in its metaphysical aspect. Now this is what I seem to myself qualified for, if for any thing, or at least capable of qualifying myself for; and it is thus that I may be, and therefore ought to be, not useless as an auxiliary even to you, though I am sensible that I can never give back to you the value of what I receive from you.
I have no news worth telling you; scarcely any news of any kind. Mrs. Austin is quite recovered. Charles Buller is now in Cornwall; he was a little indisposed when he set out, but is now I trust in good health. Pray make my most friendly remembrances to Mrs. Carlyle, and let me hear from you in due season.
Yours ever faithfully,
J. S. Mill.
Glen bids me tell you that he has heard from your brother, who is at Naples, very well, and comfortable. I told Glen that you had made affectionate mention of him in your letter, at which he seemed much gratified.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR
Benie soit la main qui a tracé ces caractères! Elle m’a écrit—il suffit; bien que je ne me dissimule pas que c’est pour me dire un éternel adieu.
Cette adieu, qu’elle ne croie pas que je l’accepte jamais. Sa route et la mienne sont séparées, elle l’a dit: mais elles peuvent, elles doivent, se rencontrer. A quelqu’époque, dans quelqu’endroit, que ce puisse être, elle me trouvera toujours ce que j’ai été, ce que je suis encore.
Elle sera obéie: mes lettres n’iront plus troubler sa tranquillité, ou verser une goutte de plus dans la coupe de ses chagrins. Elle sera obéie, par les motifs qu’elle donne,—elle le serait quand même elle se serait bornée à me communiquer ses volontés. Lui obéir est pour moi une nécessité.
Elle ne refusera pas, j’espère, l’offrande de ces petites fleurs, que j’ai apportées pour elle du fond de la Nouvelle-Forêt. Donnez-les lui s’il le faut, de votre part.
TO JOHN TAYLOR
Saturday [Sept. 1, 1832]
My dear Sir
Two acquaintances of mine, MM. Jules Bastide and Hippolyte Dussard, distinguished members of the republican party in France, have been compelled to fly their country for a time in consequence of the affair of the fifth & sixth of June. They were not conspirators, for there was no conspiracy, but when they found the troops and the people at blows, they took the side of the people. Now I am extremely desirous to render their stay here as little disagreeable as possible, and to enable them to profit by it, and to return with a knowledge of England and with those favourable sentiments towards our English hommes du mouvement which it is of so much importance that they and their friends should entertain. I am particularly desirous of bringing them in contact with the better members of the Political Union, that they may not suppose our men of action to be all of them like the Revells and the Murphys whom they saw and heard on Wednesday last. Yourself and Mr. Fox are [the] persons I should most wish them to see. But I do not like to give them a letter of introduction to you without first ascertaining whether it would be agreeable to yourself. Will you therefore oblige me with a line to say, if possible, that you will allow me to tell them to call upon you, or otherwise to say that you would rather not. I have not mentioned the matter to them, nor shall I do so until I have the pleasure of hearing from you.
Ever truly yours
J. S. Mill
TO SARAH AUSTIN
13th September, 1832
My dear Mutterlein
How could you so far misunderstand me as to suppose that it could be a question with me whether I would sacrifice two days to you? I thought that it would be sacrificing two days of you. That was one reason among others why I wished you to be consulted.
The letter I have received this morning from Polvellen, & which informs me of the cause which will unfortunately keep you there for some time longer, decides the question, & I shall not set out from this place till Thursday next. I do not expect to be at Devonport before Saturday, as I shall probably take Bath in my way & bring on Roebuck along with me.
But remember that whatever may happen, I stay at Polvellen no longer than you do. So you must either stay there to the end of my time or be punished for suspecting me by knowing that you carry me off prematurely.
The letters which accompany this have been here (one of them at least) some time in expectation of some opportunity for conveying them. But I believe there was no urgency. I have sent to Tait’s Magazine (for the number which will appear on the 1st of next month) a notice of Mr. Austin’s book, which though it is but short you will I think be pleased with—& what I value much more, you will be pleased with me for writing it.
J. S. Mill
TO THOMAS CARLYLE
17th September 1832
My dear Carlyle
You did me but justice in supposing that I had for some time been in hopes of a letter from you before I received your last. When it arrived, it found me in a state of as impatient expectation as one should be in for an event which does not depend upon oneself. I plead guilty to having neglected the biographical department, having nothing to relate which seemed important to myself, and forgetting that all news is important to those who can see nothing and have few opportunities even of hearing. To begin therefore with myself, not only as the person whom I see oftenest and with whom I am most intimate, but as almost the only person (known to you) whom I have seen for the last two months, all others having long been absent from this Babylon, or at least Babel, of ours.—Your letter found me still in London, where I still am, but where I hope to be no longer after Thursday next. I had not promised to pass more than a fortnight of my holydays with the Bullers, & not wishing to lose entirely the benefit of the long summer days, I made a walking tour for a previous fortnight about the end of July, & then returned to allow others to be absent; and have been kept in town ever since. During this interval of from five to six weeks, I have worked if not harder, yet with more obvious fruits than I have done during any period of equal length for years past, having begun and finished three several papers on subjects extremely various. The first & longest is a political and moral dissertation on the rights and duties of the state with regard to endowments for public purposes, or what you call in Scotland mortifications, including the estates of ecclesiastical & other corporations, universities, &c. This will appear in the Jurist, a quarterly journal or review of Legislation & Jurisprudence, carried on by several friends of mine, radical-utilitarians of a better than the ordinary sort, of whom I think sufficiently well to be able to cooperate with them in their own field of usefulness, though perhaps they would not always join me in mine. The second & shortest of my three articles, I have sent to Tait; it is a short review of Mr Austin’s book on Jurisprudence, & was chiefly intended as a recommendation of that work, though there is besides, some “doctrinal matter” as Napier I suppose would call it, & a good deal of critical matter. Finally, I have written a rambling kind of article, in which many, I will not say great, but big things are said on a small occasion, namely in the form of strictures on a well-meaning but flimsy article which recently appeared in the Monthly Repository. Touching this Monthly Repository let me here say two or three words, as you probably do not know what it is. Till lately it was conducted by a Committee of Unitarian ministers & was a sectarian publication, the “Evangelical Magazine” of the Unitarians. Not long since, it was placed under the editorship, & soon after became the property of Mr. Fox, the same who has figured in the Political Union in London, and who, though no Göthe or Jean-Paul, is fit for better things than to be either a Unitarian preacher or a radical orator. Since the M.R. has been under his management, it has gradually divested itself of its sectarian character, and is much improved in all respects, though the editor & his writers are very far from seeing to the bottom of things yet. They are but Unitarians & liberals, unsectarianized, & with a larger & more tolerant spirit than common. Into my first parcel of books I will put some numbers of this periodical, which will, I think, like Bulwer’s, acquaint you with a new phasis of mind: at least I know nothing that is exactly like it, & among the persons whom Mr Fox most frequents I have met with several men & women who are decidedly characters, realizing an idea of their own & free from halfness of all sorts. I am not sure, indeed that much of this individuality appears in the Monthly Repository. When you next come to town I think you would like to know some of these people, as they also would to know you, for they are mostly great admirers of your writings, which however I am very doubtful whether they would find so much to their liking if they understood them thoroughly. As for this article of mine, those who best know me will see more character in it than in anything I have ever published; other people will never guess it to be mine. You, I hope, will find all the three articles true, the only praise I covet, & certainly rarer than any other in our times. But in this last you will find many things which I never saw, or never saw clearly till they were shewn to me by you, nor even for some time after. I think that the M.R. is read by persons with open improvable minds, & that ideas thrown among them will find soil in which to germinate; especially as they read their own magazines for doctrine, & others only for amusement. You see I adhere to my system, which is to be as particular in the choice of my vehicles, as you are indiscriminate, & I think we are both right. Do not buy any of these things; I will send them to you, with the exception perhaps of the no. of Tait, which in order to send I must first buy, & which would be a sorry half-crown’s worth either to you or me; and which moreover will not like claret improve by travelling, nor be taken in gratis as ballast.
Every man’s work is the chief part of his life, and since my return to town it has been the whole of mine, except some little reading, which is also in some sort work. Among things read “during the period under review,” as we at this house say in our despatches, are to be numbered your two articles on the Corn Law Rhymer and on Göthe. The former I found true: the latter I believe to be so, rather on your authority & from such knowledge as I myself have of Göthe than from what is said of him in the article: it does not, I think, carry so much of its own evidence with it as might have been wished: whether more might have been done is a question on which I can only express a doubt. In the meantime, I think I can perceive that your writings are making some way; awakening, though but partially, some minds. At least I find more people than before, or certainly more than I knew of, who do not dismiss them at once as “mysticism”, “raving”, &c. &c. &c.
The Austins are still at Polvellen, where Mr. Austin has had two successive attacks of illness, from the last of which he had not completely recovered when I last heard. Mrs Austin was busy translating Falk’s memoir of Göthe; & Charles Buller was writing an article for the Foreign Quarterly, on I know not what subject, which he had delayed beginning till they were obliged to shut him up for some hours a day for the express purpose: so at least says Mrs Buller. I have seen Glen but twice since I came to town, once for a moment only. He did not, it seems, write anything about Fanny Kemble. The paper therefore to which you allude must be the work of Diabolus. I think he (Glennus not Diabolus) seemed less uneasy in mind than formerly; this might be accidental: in other respects he is much the same. It always seems to please him much when he hears that you continue to take interest in him.
You will have learnt from an article of mine in the Examiner, the only one I have written for the last two months, that our friends the St Simonians have been tried. Enfantin, Chevalier & Duveyrier have been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment & a fine: Barrault & Rodrigues only to a trifling fine. They were convicted on the charge of forming a society for the discussion of political & religious subjects without leave of the government, & also on a charge of preaching immoral doctrines, a charge founded on the theory of la femme libre. There were other charges on which they were acquitted. Duveyrier is said to have made a very striking defence: Enfantin’s seems to have made little impression except that of the ludicrous. There was much in the conduct of them all, which really one cannot help suspecting of quackery. In the witness-box, none of them would take the oath without Enfantin’s permission: this he refused, on the ground that the name of God is not mentioned in the form of the oath. In defending himself, he several times made a long pause pour attendre des inspirations, & he gave strange looks at various people, to shew as he said the power of a look. The St Simonians all wear beards, and a peculiar costume, & marched to the place of trial in a body, singing if I recollect right, a succession of hymns, written and set to music by themselves. Enfantin claimed to have two women as his counsel, one of whom was Cecile Fournel, who you may remember protested so vehemently against the immorality of his doctrines, but who has since, with her husband, returned into the bosom of his church. When one remembers Irving, one believes that all this may be sincere. Yet surely there is an admixture of charlatanerie in it, I mean on the part of the Supreme Father.
Adolphe d’Eichthal has been here; I saw him for a few minutes only: he has had the cholera, & looked in very indifferent health.
Now as to books. I have not either Dumont or Babbage, but I expect to have the former very soon; when I do I will send it. My own collection of books is a very strange one: it consists partly of books collected when I was writing on some particular subject; these are chiefly on the French Revolution, & French political history from Louis 14th downwards: & partly of books which I bought because they were not to be found in my father’s library: which accounts for my having scarcely any standard English or French prose books. I am richest in the minor & the very recent French writers. I have most of the standard German & Italian books; the former you do not want, nor probably the latter. I have various classics, chiefly the poets, as my father cares less about them. For the same reason, I have many of the later English poets, whom my father despises. I am rich in no other department nor can I give any general idea of my other books.
I have not yet received the books you took with you, but as I have not particularly wanted them I have not enquired at Longman’s, & I will give them a fortnight’s grace till I return. I have not yet hit upon any arrangement that would do, for sending you the Examiner, but I hope to find the means when I return to town. The only copy I have of my own, I keep for reference, and cannot well do without: the only inconvenience of sending it, would be that it must be sent back, but that is a sufficiently considerable one to induce me to seek for some other expedient before I resort to this, which may remain in reserve, as a last resort.
Fonblanque is better, but not yet strong or well. He is at present in the country. He goes on writing with his usual fertility, but I think he feels himself a little at fault in the altered situation of politics, & it is creditable to him that he is conscious of it. If coincidence were proof of causation, I should say that the pledge-mania had been abated by the tone which his paper has taken respecting it. What may be true is, that the Examiner has furnished arguments to those who were not disposed to give pledges, & has shewn that a person may refuse them without being a Tory & all that is wicked, a tax-eater & what not. I finish this letter in the presence of my friend John Wilson, who offers to be the bearer of it as far as Edinburgh, but as he is not going nearer to you I prefer availing myself of a Government frank which I can generally have for the asking. With best remembrances to Mrs Carlyle, believe me
Yours ever faithfully
J. S. Mill.
TO WILLIAM JOHNSON FOX
My dear Sir
My friend André Marchais, who pays me the compliment of making me the depository and instrument of all the plans he forms for bringing about a good understanding between the patriotic party in France and the best of the English radicals, has suggested something which appears to me highly important and to which, if you think well of it, you have it in your power to be mainly instrumental.
You are aware of the virulent and unceasing persecution which Louis-Philippe keeps up against the liberal press, insomuch that the Tribune has been prosecuted between sixty & seventy times. Out of the first sixty prosecutions, resulted even against this violent paper only five verdicts: but though the prosecutors succeed only in one case out of twelve, the Court imposes such heavy fines that the liberal press cannot long exist under such oppression and the editors are almost always in prison. An association has therefore been formed at Paris, of which my excellent friend Marchais is the secretary, for the purpose generally of promoting the liberty of the press, and specially of raising subscriptions to pay the fines. You will find the prospectus of the Association in the third page of the enclosed Courrier Français.
Now those among the French patriots who know enough of the English radicals to desire their cooperation & sympathy are anxious to obtain subscribers in England for this association, and above all they wish that the Political Unions should bear some public testimony of sympathy and fraternity on this important occasion. No one can do more than you can to bring both these things about, and no one can judge more soundly what would be the best mode of doing it.
The more you see & converse with French people, the more importance you will attach to things of this kind. Every such mark of sympathy produces a great momentary effect; but they require to be, again & again, repeated: for so few Frenchmen ever come here, that they do not learn, except from such public occurrences, that the English people, all but the Tories, esteem, and wish well to, the French. Bastide, for example, came over as he confesses, full of prejudice against the English, but is already quite an altered man & is most eager to convince those of his countrymen who have never been here, that the English are not as many Frenchmen think, aristocrats at heart even to a man, & full of jealousy & selfish animosity against France.
I am anxious to say many things to you about this & other matters connected with it, & particularly to engage most earnestly your good offices in favour of Dussard & Bastide; to give the one all the consolations possible in his exile, & the other every means of knowing England, as he has begun a most interesting correspondence with the French journals which from his high standing in the republican party will carry weight. But of this hereafter as of much else which ought to be in common between us two.
Ever faithfully yours
J. S. Mill
TO [WILLIAM BRIDGES ADAMS]
20th October 1832
My dear friend
I should have returned the Preface immediately after receiving your note; but I had it not at this house, & all yesterday I was too much engaged to be able to write to you. Now, however, I send the MS. with the very few pencil marks which you will find on it. I am glad that you want it, as I suppose I may conclude that the work itself is nearly or quite finished.
I am as desirous as you can possibly be, that we should meet & converse frequently at some length, and I had declined a very pressing & agreeable invitation for Friday rather than put you off again—do not be angry with me—it was not from “punctilious ceremony” which I should never think of observing with a friend; but because I feared that you would think I was indifferent to your repeated invitation, & that I did not feel the value of friendship like yours. However the obstacle this time came from your side & I consequently was able to accept the other invitation, therefore do not regret that you happened to be engaged.
What you say respecting myself in your note I know you feel, and it is therefore very precious to me. We two possess what, next to community of purpose, is the greatest source of friendship between minds of any capacity; this is, not equality, for nothing can be so little interesting to a man as his own double; but, reciprocal superiority. Each of us knows many things which the other knows not, & can do many things which the other values but cannot himself do, or not so well. There is also just that difference of character between us which renders us highly valuable to each other in another way for I require to be warmed, you perhaps occasionally to be calmed. We are almost as much the natural complement of one another as man and woman are: we are far stronger together than separately, & whatever both of us agree in, has a very good chance, I think, of being true. We are therefore made to encourage and assist one another. Our intimacy is its own reward, & we have only to consider in what way it may be made most useful to both of us.
Never express any regret at taking up my time with any of your productions. I will not, (because I know you would not wish it) postpone to them, anything which is really of more immediate urgency: I say more immediate, because no employment of my time can be in itself better or more useful. I know of no one man now living who, take him for all in all, has a larger share of the qualifications (opportunity being included) for effecting unspeakable good, than you have; at the same time I feel that this good may be unboundedly increased by association & collision with other minds, & that for this advantage you are thrown principally on me, because your incognito cuts you off from so many others from whom you might derive much of the same benefit. Although I agree with you in thinking that on the whole the reasons predominate in favor of your remaining unknown, I often regret that you are cut off by it from any certain knowledge how many more persons there are than you are aware of, who are qualified morally & intellectually to think, act, and feel with you. In your loathing of the very idea of being patronized I can fully sympathize—but you are in no danger of that; because you are not a littérateur who administers to people’s amusement, but a thinker & writer whose doings affect their substantial interests, & who therefore when you are not valued & esteemed, will be disliked & feared, but at least always treated de puissance en puissance. Moore or Campbell might be patronized, but Place or Cobbett never could, because nobody ever gives himself airs with persons who have power of their own, independent of, & for some purposes paramount to his.
Yours ever faithfully
J. S. Mill
TO THOMAS CARLYLE
22d October 1832
My dear Carlyle
When I received your last, I was on the point of writing to you, for the special purpose (in addition to all general ones) of giving you intimation of the existence of a person who is willing to undertake for the punctual transmission of the Examiner by Monday’s post on the condition on which such things are frequently done, namely that he and you shall each pay half the subscription. You have therefore this resource in case of need, and though I have no experience by which to judge of the punctuality of the person in question, I will undertake to rebuke him for every breach of it which may be notified to me from you. As you surmise, I have written nothing in the Examiner lately, except a little article relating among other things to the trial of the St Simonians. I write nothing regularly for the Examiner except the articles on French affairs: everything else is the exception, not the rule; and even of those little notices of France in the middle of the paper, there has been a suspension since July last, owing partly to my two absences from town, & partly to the uninteresting nature of all the passing events in that country. The same post however which brings you this letter, will bring an article of mine on the Doctrinaires & the new French Ministry, & from this time you may expect to see these notices resumed. As for other newspaper-writing, it has been suspended by the more serious work mentioned in my last letter to you, which being over, other things will now have once more their turn.
What you say of Fonblanque is partly true, or rather it is all true, but not the whole truth. It is only accident that makes him attach himself to Politics, but the bent & character of his mind renders war against the False his vocation instead of effort towards the True. He is essentially a commentator on sophistry, hypocrisy, and folly. Under other circumstances he might have been a writer on manners or morals, not politics, but it would always have been in the same way: he used to write such things in the London Magazine & other periodicals formerly. He has no systematic or solid acquirements, & now unfortunately has no leisure to supply that want. To no one would it be more important to “have leave to sit wholly silent for some three years from this date, till he shall have got to the bottom of many things.” But, as you too truly say, jacta est alea; he must toil day and night to gain a subsistence by giving out what is in him, never stopping to take in more; even that problem is a hard enough one, determined as he is to have nothing to do with Lying in any form, and having other mouths to feed besides his own, with, I greatly fear, little prudence in pecuniary matters to keep his course which is impeded by so many unavoidable obstacles, clear of any avoidable ones.
I will immediately send you Thiers’s History of the French Revolution with perhaps some other French books, and some numbers of the Fox periodical. What you say of Unitarians is true of them as a class, but not of every individual among them. They seem to me to be a conceited sect, who think that God has given them a book for their guidance and that yet they are so wise that they can set the book itself right when it tells them anything different from what they could have found out of themselves. Fox, however, is not a half-man, but three quarters of a man at least: I do not know him sufficiently to be able to affirm more, but what I do know, makes me feel sure that a time will come when he will part company with Unitarianism and Unitarian preaching. I am satisfied that he would have done it long ago but that a Unitarian preacher may preach almost anything he pleases. It is the sort of necessity he is under of addressing himself to a set of Pharisaical formalists and word-mongers twice every Sunday when he could find fitter audience elsewhere, that will ultimately disgust him with his present ostensible calling. As for his political speeches, I only know them as you do by bad reports, very bad indeed, for they make the speeches feeble, when all who ever heard them concur in saying that they are very powerful & effective. But his politics are but a small part of himself, & few people so well qualified to have influence over others in that walk, overvalue its importance so little. Him among others you should know personally, & the first time you are in London this among many other good works of the same sort do I reserve for myself to bring about. I do not think he writes much in his own Magazine. One paper “An Autumn in London” I know to be his; it is very unlike his usual manner, but shews greater powers of a certain sort than I think he commonly evinces. The articles on Goethe are by Crabbe Robinson, you therefore know all that is in them. A curious sort of man, Talfourd the barrister, who wrote the paper on Hazlitt in the Examiner (interesting but hollow & unsatisfactory) told me the other day that Goethe must be an impostor because Robinson praises him so highly. N.B. Talfourd admires Schiller exceedingly in Coleridge’s translation.
The Westminster Reviewer whom you are curious about is Lieutenant-Colonel T. Perronet Thompson, author of various pamphlets on Political Economy, part proprietor & now almost sole writer of the Westminster Review. He is a man of very extensive acquirements, besides having seen much of the world. Among other things he is a considerable mathematician, & has written what I believe to be the only good systematic book ever written on the physical principles of Music. That book is the only work of his I ever saw which shews him to be capable of looking at more than one single aspect of each individual thing. He has an understanding like a pin, going very far into a thing, but never covering a larger portion of it than the area of a pin’s point. He is a singular man, very clever in his way, & possessed of a rare faculty of familiarly illustrating & pushing into every corner of a large & complicated subject the one idea which is all he ever has thereon. From his writings you would judge him to be much of a coxcomb, from his conversation & demeanour one of the most modest of men. He is the most unalloyed of Radicals past, present, & to come, in every acceptation of that title whether among men or gods.
Tait, I am inclined to think, will succeed: narrow as it is, there is more heartiness and resolvedness about that magazine than about Bulwer’s, or any other so-called Liberal periodical now going. Then it is radical, which the others are not, & so far better adapted to the inclinations of the mass. There is besides I think, a possibility of improvement in those writers: they have nothing or but little to give up, only to take in a wider range. I know none of them personally except one, that one however has written most of their best articles; he is an early & valued friend of mine, whom I once thought incurably narrow, but who has made such advances within the last eighteen months that I have the greatest hopes of him: Roebuck, who has lately made so much noise at Bath. If No 3 of Tait, & the number for this month (October) should fall in your way, it may be interesting to you to run through his two articles on Rousseau. Though you will desiderate much that is not there, yet if you know our Benthamic Utilitarians, you will acknowledge that it requires much vigour of intellect in one trained in that school, to be capable of writing those articles they are so unlike all that he can have learned from his instructors. I shall be much surprised if he do not turn out to be one of the very few men whom we have any chance of seeing in politics for an indefinite period. He has a strength of will which has had no parallel in that field since Napoleon. Would not a Napoleon-idéologue be an odd combination?
On the whole there are scarcely any left of the old narrow school of Utilitarians; what now distinguishes those who were so, (besides that as you say they were the reoriginators of any belief among us) is that they are decidedly less narrow than almost any other persons who aspire to the character of Thinkers in this country. The character of the school if such it could be termed, was to see clearly what they did see, though it was but little. This quality I have hopes that they will retain, as their views expand. You say that young minds do not end as they began; but besides this, the young minds have already far larger views than the old. Among those whom I know, the older a man is, the more of his belief is negative, & the less he thinks it worth while for him to throw his mind into that of any other man, or look at Truth from any other man’s position. None however of them all has become so unlike what he once was as I myself, who originally was the narrowest of them all, having been brought up more exclusively under the influence of a peculiar kind of impressions than any other person ever was. Fortunately however I was not crammed; my own thinking faculties were called into strong though but partial play; & by their means I have been enabled to remake all my opinions.
Charles Buller is not only sure of Liskeard, but is at this time one of the most popular and important men in the Eastern Division of Cornwall; he speaks at all the meetings where the radical candidates face their constituents, & always makes the best speech of the day. Unhappily his health continues delicate & uncertain; & he has not acquired what was chiefly deficient in him, the power of continued & persevering application to business. I almost despair of his ever doing anything considerable, for want of this one quality. All the members for the Eastern Division of Cornwall, both county & towns, will be radicals, with perhaps one exception. It is a good genial kind of radicalism, that of the Cornish people, not mere hunger speaking out its cravings in maxims of politics. The rest of the Buller family are in their usual condition of mind, & body, & estate.
Austin was very ill for a time in Cornwall but recovered, & was completely set up in health & spirits by a little tour to the Land’s End in which I accompanied him & Mrs Austin.Her silence therefore cannot be occasioned by any untoward circumstance, but probably by her translation of Falk, about which she is very busy. I go there tonight to help resolve some doubts about a metaphysical chapter. I must resolve them in my own head first for it is a chapter which I was able to make nothing of when I tried it at Polvellen. I doubt not that she will speedily write; you & Mrs Carlyle are perpetually in her thoughts & frequently on her lips. I have not seen Glen since my return, but will very speedily call on him if he does not on me. I will also call on Fraser whom I have not seen at all this summer.—Tell me when you go to Edinburgh, & where to address you there. We must as you say, see Edinburgh together one day, & (I will add) soon. If it be in summer, that will be a more convenient mode to me of passing a vacation in your company than visiting you at Craigenputtoch. There are several reasons for this.
Ever yours affectionately
J. S. Mill.
I understand from Napier’s son that the books were sent, the neglect therefore is at Longman’s & the remedy is in my own hands.—The St Simonians are not yet in prison, having appealed to the Court of Cassation: more of them hereafter. They have in the press (or by this time out of it) a full account of their trial: They will doubtless send it to me, & so will I to you. The article on them in the Westminster Review is as you surmise by the man I told you of, Col. Thompson. I look forward with great interest to your paper on Diderot: I have long wished for such a paper from you. Buller has written a paper for the same review (it is out by this time) on the reign of Louis 18th. I have not yet seen “The Tale.”
Assure Mrs Carlyle of my best regards.
TO WILLIAM TAIT
My dear Sir
I am highly gratified by what you say of my paper on Currency, and no less so at the notes you propose to add as from yourself, as I agree with you so decidedly and so warmly on both points that if we could have known each other’s minds before I wrote the article, I would gladly have touched upon those collateral questions in the text.
As to the excellence of the Scottish system of banking I have no doubt of it, nor that the issue of notes down to £1, where the solvency of the issues is as well provided for as it is under that system, should be subject to no restriction except convertibility, into cash or into the notes of some Government Bank. I rejoice much at the view your Magazine has taken of this question, because many of our most enlightened radicals and political economists in this part of the world are of a contrary, and therefore in my view a wrong, opinion upon this point.
Then as to the National Debt, I agree with you and with Jefferson in thinking that no generation is entitled to mortgage the fruits of the labours of posterity: on us who have only our earnings (I mean myself for example) the National Debt is not, I admit, a sacred obligation: but it is so, on all who have inherited property from the generation which borrowed the money, for no one has a moral right to take his father’s property and leave his father’s debts unpaid. But we cannot distinguish between inherited and acquired property after so many years, and therefore, agreeing with you that it is a question of choice between one injustice and another, I hold that the least injustice would be done by paying off the debt at once by a tax on all actually acquired and accumulated property; viz. the funds themselves, the land, and all capital, but not laying any part of the burthen upon income not derived from property.
If [it] was possible to leave the debt unpaid and throw the interest of it upon property exclusively, I should consider that still better; but it would not do, since it would be a penalty on future accumulation, taxing those who save, and letting the prodigal go free.
I shall be happy to hear whether you agree with me in these opinions. At all events you have a right to add any notes you please, as from yourself. Believe me, my dear Sir
Very truly yours
J. S. Mill
I will write to Mr Nichol very soon; in the mean while, accept my thanks for the introduction.
TO WILLIAM TAIT
29th November 1832
My dear Sir,
Finding it impossible to recast the article, or find any place at which the matter you require could be inserted without breaking the thread of the argument, I have thrown the whole into a note, which may be annexed at the end, or may, if you prefer it, form a Supplement to the article. But on the whole, I think it should rather be a note, as that will excuse the very general and summary mode in which the questions are disposed of.
I think the hints I have thrown out respecting the National Debt will at least afford a subject of reflexion to thinking men—I should like much to learn from you what is thought of them by any of the persons whom you consider as authorities on this class of subjects.
I am much gratified by what you say of the success of the Magazine; which deserves it so well that I am not surprised it should obtain it.
My dear Sir
Most truly yours
J. S. Mill.
TO THOMAS CARLYLE
India House, 27th December 1832
My dear Carlyle
In your last letter, received now upwards of a month, you said, “you will write soon again”—ill have I responded to this call; having been hindered therefrom by various occupations and thoughts, some of a pleasant, but more of a disagreeable kind, whereof the last alone are entitled to be received as any even the poorest excuse for this negligence. My conscience, however, now speaks to me in so reproachful a voice that I can no longer resist its commands.
During the interval you will have received my packet of books; of each and all of them save one I have spoken to you: that one is “The English in France” a sketchy kind of book, composed of essays & tales, all intended to throw light upon France, painting it & all it contains en beau, a view of the matter which is entitled to be attended to, were it only because of its rarity: there is also much truth in the book, though not much depth, and on the whole it is as worth your reading as any other book in that parcel. A propos of writings about France, that article in the last number of the Foreign Quarterly was not Buller’s; his was on the reign of Louis 18th & has not yet appeared, it will doubtless appear in the next number along with your Diderot which I am very anxious to see. Cochrane seems to me much what you describe him; a man he seems too who has a great love of fairness, and is above all an enemy of extremes—and who proves himself an impartial arbitrater between conflicting opinions by letting each in its turn speak through his pages, in as softened a voice as may be, whereby in truth his Review the better fulfils its mission, by representing the more correctly the attitude which English minds of all parties and sorts have taken up towards foreign nations. All reviews are hotch-potches with no definite object or presiding principle—but this kind of review can perhaps be so with less incongruity and absurdity than any of the others: so that if you & the Right Hon. T. P. Courtenay appear side by side in it, we must not be shocked at the proximity.—As for myself, I have not written much since you last heard from me: except one or two articles in the Examiner, among which may be mentioned one on the French & English newspapers & one last Sunday on Corn Laws & Tithes, besides one not yet published, on Taxation: also an article which will appear in Tait’s January number, on Currency & the National Debt, & a paper for Fox’s January number. This last attempts something much higher, and intrinsically more valuable, than all these writings on politics, but with far less success: it is not nearly so good of its kind, because I am not so well versed in the subject. It embodies some loose thoughts, which had long been floating in my mind, about Poetry and Art, but the result is not satisfactory to me and will probably be far less so to you—but you will tell me to what extent you think me wrong, or shallow. I wrote the paper from conviction (else it had never been written) but not from that strong conviction which forces to write: rather because I wished to write something for Fox, and thought there was a clearer field open for him in that direction than in the political one. This number of Fox shall be sent to you in the next parcel. The periodicals which I send you are given, you will recollect; not to be returned. I have also to send you, when I have done reading it, a printed copy which I have received of the trial of the St Simonians. Of the speeches I have read Duveyrier’s alone appears to me to have any other merit than that of a strong conviction. I have heard, but not from themselves, that Duveyrier and Eichthal have given up St Simonism. This as the newspapers say “needs confirmation,” & if true, will excite in you as in me, great curiosity to know how it took place and what they are to be henceforth. I have been reading with considerable interest some numbers of the Revue Encyclopédique, which is conducted by a body of seceded St Simonians: I am on the whole much pleased with them: they have retained almost all the good which ever was in St Simonism, & are not become sceptics but rather prophets of a religion to come—they see that St Simon though a man far beyond his generation, was but a false Christ, and they appear to be expecting the true. Jules Lechevalier and Abel Transon have taken up with the system of M. Charles Fourier, a man who has been writing for many years large and obscure books shewing how the world is to be saved. From an account of part of his system given by Transon in an article in the Revue Encyclopédique, I gather that the moving force which is to change the world is to be “l’attraction passionée,” mankind are to be made to Love le travail by various contrivances, which are to end in making them masters and controllers of physical nature: the sea I believe is ultimately to consist not of salt water but lemonade; I understand this is no joke, but the serious persuasion of M. Fourier.—Tell me if you have yet seen Dumont’s Mirabeau or Babbage’s books; if not I will endeavour to put them also into the next parcel.—The books you sent were never received at Longman’s; they were sent by Mr Napier to Black’s: so that the fault lies either with the last-named bookseller or with the carriers of whatever description. Napier’s son, who is here, has written to his father about it, & traced the matter thus far: if it can be traced further, it will be, so give yourself no trouble about it.
So the Elections are over. Almost all the candidates in whose success I took any personal interest, have succeeded. Among them are three men who, I expect, will do something: these are, Grote, Roebuck, & John Romilly: to these, if his inapplication will let him, we shall both be happy to add Charles Buller. All the rest will talk, & not do: nor will anything worth doing be really done for a while to come. One of the most likely doers among the young men, the only one among the official young men, has departed from us: poor Hyde Villiers. He was an earnest workman, who would have plied his trade of politics honestly, and if not with first rate talents, yet with such as well used had been sufficient to do much. Take him for all in all we shall not soon find his equal among that class of men.—I suspect that I shall have to dip my pen in politics oftener and deeper than in proportion to the value I attach to it compared with other things; for it is the only subject to which, just at present, anybody will listen; and now that my friends have buckled to that work I must not desert them, but give such help as lies in me. Fonblanque still labours on, in his unsatisfactory, yet not wholly unprofitable vocation. You will have seen that he has gained an accession of power, that is of circulation, by the purchase of a rival radical paper. —Austin is in tolerably good spirits, lecturing to a very small but really select class, and getting daily a clearer insight into his subject, as well as into other subjects still more important. But of him you will have heard at full length, for two days ago I saw at his house a letter to Mrs Carlyle from Mrs Austin, ready folded up and sealed.—For various reasons I did not make use of your note to Leigh Hunt as an introduction to him, though hereafter I shall be very happy to have another such opportunity: the note, however, went to him; the address (as I learnt at Moxon’s) was correct. Does the Examiner now reach you regularly? You will see in it very soon a paper of Charles Buller’s on certain Election matters —it will be either a letter or an article. His health I am sorry to say is still precarious—very slight causes are enough to derange it. I called on Glen a short time after my return from Cornwall, but found he had left his lodgings and gone into Scotland, where I suppose you have seen him. He must be back by this time, but whether to the same place I have not yet enquired, for which I have no excuse to make but the poor one I made for my delay in writing to you. I have seen, I believe, no one else in whom you take an interest. I shall send this letter to Messrs Bell & Bradfute, as it is probable you will be at Edinburgh or on your way thither before this reaches you: do not punish my sins of omission by delaying to write to me, but write soon and at length. I trust you will soon hear from me again—I say I trust when if I really trusted in myself, I should say I am sure.
Yours ever faithfully
J. S. Mill
Kindest remembrances to Mrs Carlyle, who I hope still thinks of me sometimes.