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1841 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part II 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part II, ed. Francis E. Mineka, Introduction by F.A. Hayek (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963).
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TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE1
Dear Mrs Carlyle
I was prevented by want of time from writing to you yesterday as I said I would—but I believe it comes to the same thing.
Of all Balzac’s things the Medecin de Campagne is the best, at least it is that which exhibits him in the best light: the Scenes Parisiennes are the very worst. But the Scenes de la Vie Privée, 5 vols. & Scenes de la Vie de Province, 4 vols. are a fair specimen of all he has done, & whoever has read them can judge of him. I would add to these, “Un grand homme de province à Paris” which is a continuation of a story in the Vie de Province, & “Le Lys dans la Vallée.”
As for Sand I believe you know all she has written: those I like best are Valentine, the Lettres d’un Voyageur & the new one “Le Compagnon du Tour de France.”
so now goodbye & a pleasant journey to you.
TO JOHN STERLING1
5 Jan. 1841.
My dear Sterling
Thanks for Twesten2 which I will certainly read. I am now reading an older book, Lambert’s Neues Organon,3 of which Austin4 speaks favorably & which is certainly an able book though I do not know whether I shall find much in it that I had not found out myself or obtained from other sources.
I am glad you have been able to work, & glad you have left off working at least in the way which gave you a fever. I am glad too that it is a Tragedy. By the bye I never told you how very good I thought your lines in the Times on Acre & Napoleon.5 I think I have seen nothing of yours yet, in a versified form at least, that seems to me equal to them.
About the war matters, I suspect we shall not make much of our discussion till we can carry it on by word of mouth. When I spoke of binding France,6 I meant engaging her as a party in a general compact of European powers, which she could not afterwards have ventured to infringe. And the aggressions I meant are the proceedings by which we are gradually conquering all Asia, from Pekin to Herat—I did not mean that they were either aggressions in any bad sense, or provoking to France in themselves, but I do think it provoking that France should see England & Russia adding every year on a large scale to their territory & dependent alliances in the East & then crying out at the suspicion of her wishing to do something of the same kind as if it were an enormity never before heard of among the nations of Europe. But you must not think I defend France or would even excuse or palliate her conduct except so far as attacked by people themselves liable to the same accusations in all respects, except (so far as Thiers is concerned) that of duplicity.
I have had a letter from Tocqueville7 which I put under this cover as you may like to see what he has to say for the part he has taken in this matter & how he connects it with his philosophic ideas. I have written to him a long letter8 in reply to which I rather expect from him a long & controversial answer.9 At all events I thought it right to try the chance of doing some good with him by speaking out with entire frankness, which his personally kind feelings towards me & his knowledge of my sentiments about France both in itself & in relation to England, gave me the power of doing without offence. If he sends me an answer I will send that also to you. Please return this when you next write. You will see also how pleased he is with my review of him which considering how much of controversy there is in it, is an honour to him; & how complimentary he is upon it, which is an honour to me.
I need hardly say how earnestly I feel with you about the Corn Laws10 & I therefore think the Anti Corn Law League right at Walsall.11 To let in for a manufacturing town any man not an out & out opponent of the Corn Laws would I think have been a folly & something worse.
That you were able to bear this weather even at Torquay is very satisfactory &, no doubt, made it right for you to return to Clifton. Tell me how Mrs Sterling & your children are & give my kind remembrances to her.
ever yours faithfully
J. S. Mill
I had a long walk with Carlyle on Xmas day—he is as usual—Austin, I think, rather better than usual. I have not heard lately of Calvert.
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
My dear Sir,
Excuse my breaking in upon you at such a time as this,2 but I think it best to write while the impression is fresh. Of course I do not expect any answer. I have read your MS. which I think very well done, & likely when finished & finally revised to be quite suitable to the Edinburgh.3 You have not however yet convinced me that the line between poetry, & passionate writing of any kind, is best drawn where metre ends & prose begins. The distinction between the artistic expression of feeling for feeling’s sake & the artistic expression of feeling for the sake of compassing an end, or as I have phrased it between poetry & eloquence, appears to me to run through all art; & I am averse to saying that nothing is poetry which is not in words, as well as to saying that all passionate writing in verse is poetry. At the same time I allow that there is a natural, not an arbitrary relation between metre & what I call poetry. This is one of the truths I had not arrived at when I wrote those papers in the Repository4 but what afterwards occurred to me on the matter I put (in a very condensed form) into the concluding part of an article in the L. & W. on Alfred de Vigny.5 I wish you would look at that same when you have time, (I will shew it to you) & tell me whether what I have said there exhausts the meaning of what you say about the organic character of metre, or whether there is still something further which I have to take into my theory.
I will carefully read your papers a second time and note down anything I have to remark, in the manner you suggested.
And now without any more on these rather untimely matters let me conclude by wishing you as I do most cordially all possible prosperity & happiness in your new condition, which all I have heard of the lady inclines me to regard as an enviable one.
J. S. Mill
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL1
23d February 1841
My dear d’Eichthal
I should not have delayed so long replying to your two letters if I had not been hoping every day that the pamphlets would arrive—but neither the two which you sent by the ambassador nor the six through the booksellers have reached me. I have always found that things sent through Paris booksellers were delayed for months & that it was of no use enquiring about them & that things sent by the ambassador generally came sooner or later without being enquired for & as it is very inconvenient to me to go or send to Manchester Square I have not hitherto done it, but if the packet does not arrive I must do so. The Journal des Débats reached me & gave me great pleasure. The idea of your pamphlet2 is so appropriate to the present time that it could not fail to excite attention. The Quarterly Review not long ago made a suggestion of a similar tendency for securing religious liberty &c at Jerusalem by placing it under the protection of Austria3 (a not uninteresting rapprochement with your view of the mission of that power in “Les Deux Mondes.”)4 But the time is not yet come when the public mind can be drawn to the settlement of Syria nor will that time come until the apprehension of a European war is at an end, & that apprehension is now, in England, much more serious than it has ever yet been. The fortifications, & the arming, appear to most people here impossible to be accounted for except by aggressive designs on the part of France; it is in vain to say as those who know the state of the French mind do, that the purpose is merely defensive, because to every Englishman the idea that there is the least disposition anywhere to commit aggression against France appears so utterly senseless that no one can believe such an idea to be sincerely entertained in France. There is something exceedingly strange & lamentable in the utter incapacity of our two nations to understand or believe the real character & springs of action of each other. I am tempted to write a pamphlet or a review article on that very subject, but that I fear it would produce no effect. There will be much to discuss between you & me on that subject as well as on so many others when we meet.
Thanks my dear friend to you & Adolphe for your kind propositions respecting my visit to Paris. I have a very serious intention of going there, but there are things that may prevent me from doing so this next summer & if I do it will probably be under engagements which will prevent me from being able to make use of your kind & friendly offers to the extent I otherwise might—but neither those engagements nor anything else could or should prevent me if your & Adolphe’s engagements do not, from seeing I hope very much of both of you & renewing our former intimate intercourse. I doubt not from what you say that you will by that time be married & though that is not likely to be the case with me I can yet very heartily congratulate you, more heartily than I generally can venture to congratulate an Englishman on a similar event which in nine cases out of ten changes a man of any superiority very much for the worse without making him happy. I do not believe that this is commonly the case in France & I would attempt to shew why, if the considerations entering into the question were not far more complicated than most people have reflected upon. Excuse this poor letter—I will write again & I hope better when I have read your pamphlet.
J. S. Mill
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
1st March 1841
My dear Lewes
I suspect the difference between us is a difference of classification chiefly. I accept all your inferences from my definition & am willing to stand by them. I do not think that epos quâ epos, that is, quâ narrative, is poetry, nor that the drama quâ drama is so. I think Homer & Aeschylus poets only by virtue of that in them which might as well be lyrical. At the same time you have just as much right to use the word Poetry in a different extension & as synonymous with “Art by the instrument of words” as music is Art by the instrument of rhythmic sounds, & painting, Art by the instrument of colours on canvas. Taking Poetry in this sense I admit that metre is of the essence of it or at least necessary to the higher kinds of it. In that case I claim the privilege of drawing within this large circle a smaller inner circle which shall represent poetry κατ’ ἐξοχήν2 or poet’s poetry as opposed to everybody’s poetry & of that I think mine the right definition. But “I speak as to the wise, judge ye what I say.”
I return your Ms. with a good deal of pencil scratching at the back, for I have been, & intended to be, hypercritical. I have studied to find fault insomuch that you are to assume that I like & admire whatever I have not directly or by obvious implication objected to.
Your notion of the essentially religious nature of poetry seems to me to need a world of explanation. I think it will give entirely false ideas to English readers, & is only true in any degree if we, more Germanico, call every idea a religious idea which either grows out of or leads to, feelings of infinity & mysteriousness. If we do this, then religious ideas are the most poetical of all, an inmost circle within my inner circle; but surely not the only poetical, especially if your other definition of poetry be right.
I am afraid Mrs. Lewes will by this time find out that instead of being the boree on the subject of an unfinished article I have a strong vocation for being the borer in respect of it. By the way, will you kindly make my acknowledgements to her for an invitation I have been favoured with, & the spirit of which I most cordially accept (I never go to evening parties in the flesh) and believe me ever yours (and hers too)
J. S. Mill
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL1
My dear Gustave
I have received your letter of the 2d of March & also the second packet (but not the first) of two copies of “l’Unité Européenne” one of which I have sent to Carlyle. I will get the six copies from Messrs Belizard. Certainly the article in the Débats2 could give no idea of the comprehensive & decided views taken in the pamphlet & altogether it does not seem to me, any more than the article in the Univers,3 worthy of the subject. I am not surprised that such a paper as this should have given you le caractère politique for it is admirably suited to the moment & nothing could be better calculated to do good in France. It is much to be hoped & is in itself probable that the French Government will propose to itself as an object to reenter into the association of European nations & reassert its just influence in their deliberations by some such means as you suggest. The danger, I am sorry to say, is that our Government will not be prompt to seize this mode of reestablishing friendship & calming irritated susceptibilities. By most stupid & grossier mismanagement our Government has got itself committed to treating the affair of Syria as a mere question between a sovereign & a rebel governor, & has made all manner of unnecessary declarations, which will preclude it from entering, I fear into any proposition for superseding the authority of the Porte in what is absurdly called our territory. Wait a little & the Porte will get into such terrible embarrassments & will prove itself so utterly incapable of bringing the country into order and tranquillity that the necessity of a joint intervention of the European powers will become apparent to everybody, & then France will be able if she chuses to gain the well merited credit of intervening on a basis of enlightened philanthropy & enlarged views of futurity instead of leaving all to the other powers who would certainly continue to drag in the ornières of the old notions of government & international relations.
What you say on the character of the present state of feeling in France is most powerfully & vividly conceived & recommends itself to me as conformable to all that I in a more confused manner thought of it. But in this country everybody imagines that the French are far more warlike than they were in the time of M. Thiers, & it is of no use telling people the contrary. It must be left to time & events to correct the error. I have always thought that the events which have so deplorably resuscitated the old feelings of alienation between the two nations would produce an effect less sudden & violent on our people than on yours but more deeply rooted & more durable.
I have bought Salvador’s last book & ordered the previous one.4 I have not yet read either. I wish I had time to write to you a whole volume on the unheard of travail d’esprit which is pervading all branches of society & shades of opinion among us. We are in a curious time of the world.
J. S. Mill
There is nothing recent about the Red Sea & the Euphrates.
TO ROBERT BARCLAY FOX1
My dear friend
I feel somewhat ashamed of having allowed two months to elapse since your last letter especially when I consider the inclosure which it contained, respecting which however I sent you a message by one of my sisters (a verbal message which she doubtless transmuted into a written one) which a little lightens the weight on my conscience. As there is a good side to everything bad (& not solely to the misfortunes of one’s friends as La Rochefoucault would have it)2 this tardiness on my part has had one good effect, viz. that on reading your little poem once more after a considerable interval I am able to say with greater deliberation than I could have said at the time, that I think your verses not only good, but so good, that it is no small credit to have done so well on so extremely hacknied a subject—the great simple elemental powers & constituents of the universe have however inexhaustible capabilities when any one is sufficiently fitted by nature & cultivation for poetry to have felt them as realities, that which a poet alone does habitually or frequently, which the majority of mankind never do at all & which we of the middle rank perhaps have the amazement of being able to do at some rare instants when all familiar things stand before us like spectres from another world—not however like phantoms but like the real things of which the phantoms alone are present to us or appear so in our common everyday state. That is truly a revelation of the seen, not of the unseen—& fills one with what Wordsworth must have been feeling when he wrote the line “filled with the joy of troubled thoughts.”3
I cannot undertake to criticise your poem for I have no turn for that species of criticism, but there seems to me enough of melody in it, to justify your writing in verse, which I think nobody should do who has not music in his ear as well as “soul.” Therefore if it were at all necessary I would add my exhortation to that which you have no doubt received from much more competent & equally friendly judges, Sterling for instance, to persevere. You have got over the mechanical difficulties which are the great hindrance to those who have feelings & ideas from writing good poetry—therefore go on & prosper.
I congratulate you on having Dr Calvert with you. Sterling you may or may not have for I had a letter from him yesterday dated at Clifton, on Thursday, & he had said if he went at all it would be on Wednesday. It would be a pleasure to us all to think of him as in the midst of you.
I have been doing nothing worth telling you for a long time for I cannot count among such things the rather tiresome business of reading German books of logic. It is true I have diversified that occupation by reading Euripides about whom there would be much to say if one had time & room. Have you ever read any of the great Athenian Dramatists? I had read but little of them before now & that little at long intervals so that I had no very just & nothing like a complete impression of them—yet nothing upon earth can be more interesting than to form to oneself a correct & living picture of the sentiments, the mode of taking life & of viewing it, of that most accomplished people. To me that is the chief interest of Greek poetic literature, for to suppose that any modern mind can be satisfied with it as a literature or that it can, in an equal degree with much inferior modern works of art (provided these be really genuine emanations from sincere minds), satisfy the requiremen[ts]4 of the more deeply feeling, more introspective, & (above even that) more genial character which Christianity & chivalry & many things in addition to these have impressed upon the nations of Europe, it is if I may judge from myself quite out of the question. Still, we have immeasurably much to win back as well as many hitherto undreamed of conquests to make & the twentieth & thirtieth centuries may be indebted for something to the third century before Christ as well as to the three immediately after him—
Here is a long letter full of nothing but the next shall be better. With kindest regards to your delightful circle—
J. S. Mill.
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
24 April 1841
My dear Lewes
I have read the article2 once but I should like to keep it, if you will permit me, long enough to read it again.
I see nothing fundamental in it that requires alteration though I would recommend a careful revision of the details, chiefly for the purpose of weeding out quaintnesses of expression, which find less favour in Edinburgh eyes than anywhere else—& perhaps I may add that the article strikes me, on a first reading, as being a little rambling. I do not know how the Edinburgh will like such severe diatribes against English criticism, which fall heavier on the Ed. itself than on anything else, but if it were my own case & I were sending such matter to the editor of the Edinburgh I should feel as if I were civilly giving him a thump on the face. In revising, it might be well to make it look as little German as possible—& I recommend, as you are so long in coming to Hegel & say so little about him, that you should stick a few titles of other books also at the beginning of the article.
You have come a little way to meet me, I see, & I believe I have come about as far, meanwhile, to meet you. As one hint among many towards a definition of poetry that has occurred to me, what do you think of this—“feeling expressing itself in the forms of thought.” (That serves for written poetry, grammatical language being the form of thought not feeling) & it denotes that oh! & ah! are not poetry though Körner’s3 battle songs are. Then for the poetry of painting, sculpture &c. we have “feeling expressing itself in symbols” a definition which though often given for all poetry really serves very ill for the poetry of written or spoken language.
That article in the Edin. is not mine but Palgrave’s,4 & not the thing. I am too busy finishing my book to write articles. Anything I can do for you with Kemble I shall be glad of. Can you give me, that is him, any idea of the shape into which you will throw the subject?5
Vive, vale, et scribe.
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
There need no more titles.2 I had overlooked the fact that there were already several, but I would not call it an article on Hegel. I have marked quaintnesses with crosses, & made a few other remarks.
I like it better & better. But I fear the Ed. will find it too German. Still it ought to go there.
I did not give that phrase as a definition,3 but as a contribution towards one. In turning over the thing to be defined, one feature after another turns up—& from the whole, a definition will one day or other emerge.
Should not your historical article4 be on some one particular book? Editors are rather shy of such comprehensive plans of articles, especially with new contributors.
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL1
[Early May (?), 1841]2
. . . to procure them for you.
I am truly glad that you & that M. Guizot expect from the fortifications a result so much the contrary of what everybody out of France expects from them. Englishmen of all parties, thinking it entirely frantic to suppose that any power whatever has, or is likely to have, a design of invading France, will be very long before they can be persuaded to look upon these measures of defence as proceeding from any other spirit than one of offence. I agree with you that the discussions3 do honour to France, but I say so only because there were so many good speeches against a measure which had the popular cry in its favour. As to the speeches for it at least those of Thiers & his friends I only express the universal opinion here when I say that there has been no public exhibition for many years so discreditable to the country producing it.
As for us, we are entering into a new epoch: the proposition of our ministry respecting the tariff4 & especially the corn laws, coming after many smaller measures of internal improvement, will rally the whole liberal party to the present ministry & will keep them in office for a long time to come.5 Except our Chartists all the radicals will now be one with the Whigs, & I expect & believe that out of this crisis will arise a situation of things which will render the Whig Ministry what they have never been before, real mediators between the new & the old ideas & interests, and real preparers & softeners of the change to a new & better social organization. But I will write to you more at length about these matters soon. Meanwhile, adieu—With kind regards—
J. S. Mill.
I can tell you nothing certain yet about my own movements—
TO EDWIN CHADWICK1
Monday [May, 1841]
Can you in any way help my cousin Harriet Burrow, a sister of Mr. Burrow who is a clerk in your office, to obtain the situation of matron to the Union Workhouse of Saffron Walden? It is a kind of thing which of course she would not seek if she had found it possible to do anything better for herself but for which she is more than qualified by experience & character, although only 25 years of age which I fear would be a presumption against her.
I inclose the advertisement.
J. S. Mill
TO ROBERT BARCLAY FOX1
6th May 1841
My dear friend—
I will be more prompt this time in contributing my part towards keeping the thread of our correspondence unbroken.
I am glad that you do not write only poetry—for in these days one composes in verse (I don’t mean I do for I don’t write verses at all) for oneself rather than for the public—as is generally the case in an age chiefly characterized by earnest practical endeavour. There is a deep rooted tendency almost everywhere, but above all in this England of ours, to fancy that what is written in verse is not meant in earnest, nor should be understood as serious at all (for really the common talk about being moral & so forth means only that poetry is to treat with respect whatever people are used to profess respect for, & amounts to no more than a parallel precept not to play at any indecent or irreverent games.) Prose is after all the language of business, & therefore is the language to do good by in an age when men’s minds are forcibly drawn to external effort—when they feel called to what my friends the St Simonians not blasphemously call “continuing the work of Creation” i.e. cooperating as instruments of Providence in bringing order out of disorder. True, this is only a part of the mission of mankind & the time will come again when its due rank will be assigned to Contemplation, & the calm culture of reverence and love. Then Poetry will resume her equality with prose, an equality like every healthy equality, resolvable into reciprocal superiority. But that time is not yet, & the crowning glory of Wordsworth is that he has borne witness to it & kept alive its traditions in an age which but for him would have lost sight of it entirely & even poetical minds would with us have gone off into the heresy of the poetical critics of the present day in France who hold that poetry is above all & preeminently a social thing.
You ask my opinion on the punishment of death. I am afraid I cannot quite go with you as to the abstract right—for if your unqualified denial of that right were true, would it not be criminal to slay a human being even in the strictest self defence—if he were attempting to kill or subject to the most deadly outrages yourself or those dearest to you? I do not know whether the principles of your Society go this length: mine do not; & therefore I do hold that society has or rather than Man has a right to take away life when without doing so he cannot protect rights of his own as sacred as the “divine right to live.” But I would confine the right of inflicting death to cases in which it was certain that no other punishment or means of prevention would have the effect of protecting the innocent against atrocious crimes, & I very much doubt whether any such cases exist. I have therefore always been favorable to the entire abolition of capital punishment though I confess I do not attach much importance to it in the case of the worst criminals of all, towards whom the nature of the punishment hardly ever operates on juries or prosecutors as a motive to forbearance.
Perhaps this view will afford you matter to confute in your essay—but indeed it is so trite that you have no doubt anticipated it.
There is nothing of mine in the Edinburgh this time—nor is it likely there will be till I have finished my book—the big book I mean, the Logic. I think I told you that the first draught was finished last autumn. I have now got to work on the rewriting & have just completed, tolerably to my own satisfaction, the first of the Six Books into which it will be divided. I don’t suppose many people will read anything so scholastic, especially as I do not profess to upset the schools but to rebuild them—& unluckily everybody who cares about such subjects nowadays is of a different school from me. But that is the concern of a higher power than mine: my concern is to bring out of me what is in me, although the world should not find even after many days that what is cast on the waters is wholesome bread—nay even although (worst of all) it may happen to be, in reality, only bread made of sawdust.
So you are really to have Sterling always with you.2 I congratulate you heartily—there is no place where I would rather wish him—except with me.—Carlyle is in the country roaming about, at least I have not heard of his being yet returned.3 I quite agree with you as to his Lectures.4 That little book contains almost all his best ideas in a particularly attractive shape, & with many explanations which he has not given elsewhere or has given only by way of allusion.
We have not heard from George for more than a fortnight—up to that time all was well with him & we shall soon have him with us again.5
Clara & Harriet will write soon—for aught I know they are writing to-day.
With kindest regards to Mr & Mrs Fox & your sisters & to all relations whom I have the good fortune to know (except those at Perran whom I trust soon to see), believe me, ever yours
(in no merely polite sense)
J. S. Mill.
TO JOHN MITCHELL KEMBLE1
7th May 1841
My dear Sir
A young friend of mine, by name Lewes, would like to write an article for your review2 on the modern French Historians,3 a propos of Buchez’ Introduction à la science de l’histoire4 or Michelet, Introduction à l’Histoire Universelle.5 He is willing to take the risk of your not liking his article, but he is not willing to take, in addition, that of the subject’s not suiting you. What say you?
He is rather a good writer, has ideas (even in the Coleridgian sense) & much reading, & altogether I think he is a contributor worth having. You may have seen some papers of his in the Monthly Chronicle6 & an article on the French Drama in the Westminster.7
J. S. Mill
TO JAMES MARTINEAU1
May 21, 1841
[When Dr. Martineau was in 1840 appointed Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political Economy in Manchester New College, he sent to Mr. Mill a copy of his Introductory Lecture and the Syllabus of his Course. On the 21st of May, 1841, Mill in acknowledging the volume, indulged “the happiest forebodings” of the work of the institution, from the soundness of its fundamental principles and the qualifications of its professors. He offered to ensure insertion in the “Westminster Review” for any article which Mr. Martineau might write in exposition and vindication of the principle of free teaching and free learning, of which Manchester New College was the unique representative.]
I had not been an uninterested observer of the affiliation of Manchester New College with the University of London; but I was not aware till I read your letter that the plan of instruction was founded upon the principle which I have always most earnestly contended for as the only one on which a University suitable to an age of unsettled creeds can stand, namely, that of leaving each Professor unfettered as to his premisses and conclusions, without regard to what may be taught by the rest. Besides all the other important recommendations of this principle, it is the only one which in our time allows such professorships to be filled by men of real superiority, whose speculations have the power of exciting interest in the subject. Such men can less and less endure to be told what they are to teach.
[After referring to the near approaching completion of his own important work on “Logic,” Mr. Mill, in a passage which Dr. Martineau has in part reproduced in the preface to the “Types of Ethical Theory,” expresses his desire that his friend, if satisfied with the “Logic,” would himself take up, systematically, some other part of the great subject of philosophy.]
As a Professor, you will, I know, take up the whole; but I do not want to have to wait for your Lectures, which, like Brown’s,2 will no doubt be published some day; but before that time I may very likely be studying them in another state of existence. I have been very much interested by your Introductory Lecture and Syllabus. I shall never forget the time when I was myself under that awful shadow3 you speak of, nor how I got from under it, but it is all written down in my book.4 Are not your general metaphysical opinions a shade or two more German than they used to be?
TO JOHN HAMILTON THOM?1
21st May 1841
My dear Sir
Permit me to thank you for so promptly communicating to me the intelligence of our poor friend’s death.2 The accounts I had received of his condition from various friends during the last two or three years had led me to expect an earlier dissolution but I was not aware that his sufferings had been so severe.
Is there any prospect of a biography? It would be a most interesting life to write and most valuable to read—& so noble a spirit ought not to pass away from us & leave no record of what it was.
ever yours truly
J. S. Mill
TO ALBANY FONBLANQUE1
My dear Fonblanque
I understand from Chadwick that he has said something to you about the probability of my being disposed to write on the free trade measures & that you were kind enough to say you should like to have an article from me on the subject. The fact however is that I am very hard at work finishing a book2 of considerable labour and magnitude which unless I stick to it I cannot be sure of getting ready for the next publishing season, & it is therefore very inconvenient for me to allow any other subjects to divert me from that. Unless the call upon me were such as to make it worth while to throw aside every other pursuit & devote my whole thoughts & exertions to the cause for the next two or three months I should lose more than the cause would gain by any merely occasional assistance that I could give it: & I have not hitherto seen any necessity or opportunity for such a decided step. In the meantime I have been doing my part, like other people, in my own neighbourhood. The Kensington petition, printed in the Chronicle today,3 is of my writing, & I had a great share in getting up the public meeting, which, though in a very unpromising neighbourhood, was a very striking demonstration.
As I am writing to you I will not omit, what I have never had a good opportunity of doing before, namely to express the great admiration I have felt for the writing and conduct of the Examiner during the last year & especially on the Eastern question on which it alone resisted an almost universal madness, & did so with an ability & in a spirit which seemed to me quite perfect.
I believe there is nothing of any importance in practical politics on which we now differ for I am quite as warm a supporter of the present government as you are. Except Lord Palmerston’s Syrian folly,4 I have seen nothing in their conduct since the last remodelling of the ministry two years ago, but what is highly meritorious; & now after this great act5 a radical, unless he be a chartist, must be worse than mad if he does not go all lengths with them for men who are capable of doing what they have done on this occasion, & of supporting it moreover by speeches shewing so thorough a knowledge of the principles of the subject, will certainly bring forward any other great improvements which the time is or becomes ripe for. The moderate radical party, & moderate radical ministry, which I so much wished for & of which I wished that poor Lord Durham6 would have made himself the leader, were merely a party & a ministry to do such things as they are doing, & in the same manner. They have conformed to my programme, they have come up to my terms, so it is no wonder that I am heart & soul with them.
J. S. Mill.
TO MACVEY NAPIER1
23d July 1841
My dear Sir
A friend of mine who formerly wrote an article for your Supplement to the Encyclopedia, Mr. Weir,2 is inclined to offer his services to you for the Edinburgh if they would be acceptable. He is an able & instructed man & a good writer, & could write valuable articles on many subjects but there are two kinds of subjects which he has chiefly in view: namely, the recent historical labours of the Germans, with which he is extensively & accurately acquainted; & Geography, of which he has made a systematic study, with a view to produce an elaborate work which from unforeseen circumstances it is probable will not be gone on with. You know how much of the reputation & popularity of the Quarterly has been owing to its articles of this sort & it strikes me as being a department which, in the Edin. is not systematically occupied. I think you would have every reason to be satisfied with what Mr. Weir would supply to you. If you are inclined to look favorably upon the project he would propose to furnish an article on Röppel’s3 Travels in Abyssinia, lately published in Germany & not at all known here. He says they are very interesting & important—& you might perhaps get the start of the Quarterly.
We are soundly thrashed in the Elections—but it is perhaps better so, for the ultimate interests of the party. It is the nature of Liberalism to require to be often reunited in opposition: liberalism always loses ground when in power, because in the first place it has to bear the brunt of that resistance to the pressure from without, the responsibility of which both when right & when wrong, should naturally fall upon Conservatism, & also because the impression of weakness is always given by the purely defensive position of a liberal government unable to carry its own liberal measures.
The 290 liberals in the new parliament, united as they have never been before, will be much more powerful, as well as more respectable, than a majority not exceeding 330 or 335.
ever yours truly
J. S. Mill
TO ROBERT BARCLAY FOX1
24th July 1841
My dear friend
Have you not thought that I was dead, or gone mad, or had “left my home” like the “unfortunate gentlemen” who are advertised (or as Dickens expresses it, ’tized) in every day’s newspaper—for none of my friends have heard of me for months past; not even Sterling, who of all men living had the strongest claim not to be so treated. But I meditate an ample reparation to him so far as a long letter can be so—& in the mean time I steal a moment to pay to you a small instalment of the debt which is due to you.
I suppose the most interesting subject to you as to most other people at this particular moment, is politics,—& in the first place I must say that your (or let me venture to say our) Falmouth is a noble little place for having turned out its Tory & elected two Liberals at the very time when it had received from the liberal government so severe a blow as the removal of the packets. If there had been many more such places the Tories would not have been, for another ten years, where they will be in half as many weeks. I cannot say however that the result of the elections has disappointed me. The remarkable thing is that the Corn Law question, as such, should have told for so little, either one way or the other. I expected that it would give us all the manufacturing places, instead of which we have lost ground, even there! while it has not prevented us from turning out Tories from many small & purely agricultural towns. Now the only explanation which is possible of these facts, is one which reflects some light on the causes of the general result. The people of Leeds, Wigan, &c. cannot be indifferent to the Corn question; Tory or Liberal, it is a matter of life & death to them, & they know it. If they had thought that question depended on the result of the present elections, they must have returned Liberals. But their feeling was, that the Whigs cannot carry the Corn question, & that it will be as easily, if not more easily extorted from the Tories. And the agriculturists think the same[;] most likely we should have lost as many counties at the next general election even if the Corn question had not been stirred.
The truth is, & everybody I meet with who knows the country says so; the people had ceased to hope anything from the Whigs; & the general feeling among reformers was either indifference, or desire for a change. If they had not proposed, even at the last moment, these measures they would have been in a miserable minority in the new parliament. As it is, their conduct has to some extent reanimated radical feeling, which will now again resume its upward movement & the Whigs having put themselves really at the head of the popular party, will have an opportunity, which there seems considerable probability that they will use, of making themselves again popular. For my part they have quite converted me to them; not only by the courage & determination they have shewn (though somewhat too late) but by the thorough understanding they have shown of so great a subject. Their speeches in the great debates were really the speeches of philosophers.
I most entirely agree with you about the sugar question, & I was delighted to see that the anti slavery party in the country generally did not follow the aberrations of their parliamentary leaders. This part of the subject is admirably argued in an article in the Ed. Rev. just published.2
Have you yet resumed your speculations on capital punishment? As for me I have been quite absorbed in my Logic, which indeed it is necessary I should lose no time about, on pain of missing the next publishing season—when I hope to publish that & my reprint too.
With kindest regards to all your family (& apologies for so meagre a letter) believe me
J. S. Mill.
My mother & sisters are at Guildford, some of them rather unwell with colds—George not being an exception.
TO JOHN BLACK1
Dear Mr. Black
I have just been reading again that poem I told you of and I liked it so much that I could not help sitting down and scribbling off a hurried notice of it for you. Do with it as you please—I shall be glad to see either that or any other notice of the book in the Chronicle.2
J. S. Mill
TO MACVEY NAPIER1
Friday [July 30, 1841]
My dear Sir
Mr Weir will immediately set about the article on Rüppell2 (as I now find the name should be spelt) and send it to be disposed of at your pleasure & in your own time.
Though he has lived for some time in Germany a few years ago, neither his opinions nor his stile are at all of the Germanic order, & you need be under no apprehension of any unsuitableness on that score. I told him of your caveat, & he said there was perhaps more danger of a few Scotticisms.
Fletcher3 is pretty well again & has been long busy on his article, which I think you will have before long—but he is so slow a workman that it is hazardous to make any promises in his behalf.
I think the present number of the Edinburgh the best you have published for some time, & altogether an admirable one—both solid & brilliant. The three articles by Stephen,4 Mangles,5 & Senior,6 seem to me almost perfect, each in its way—& they are three men exactly suited to take a leading part in the literary & philosophical organ of the Liberal party being three of the most distinguished men of our time for an ardent spirit of improvement combined with good sense, & for the capacity of moulding philosophical truths into practical shapes. It is from such men that the party ought to take its tone & I am really proud of being enrolled in the same corps with them.
We are entering upon times in which the progress of liberal opinions will again, as formerly, depend upon what is said & written, & no longer upon what is done, by their avowed friends. Many things are often occurring to me which seem at the time, to be worth saying, respecting the modes in which a review like yours might, in the peculiar circumstances of the present time, forward this progress—but the thoughts generally die or remain dormant for want of an opportunity of discussing them. If I were living near you I dare say I should often teaze you with more suggestions than you have any need of. But at this distance I am obliged to keep my wisdom to myself, for like some kinds of wine it is not of quality to bear so long a journey.
ever yours truly
J. S. Mill
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
My dear Lewes,
There is little use in detailed remarks on an unfinished article2 —and in the absence of the extracts it is difficult to judge of the effect of the paper on the whole. There are a great number of good things in it, & I have no doubt of its ripening into a good article. Its deficiencies, as is usually the case with an ébauche, are chiefly in the introductory part. I think you should dwell much more, & in a more explanatory manner on the idée mêre of Nisard & of the article, the necessity of considering literature not as a thing per se, but as an emanation of the civilization of the period. The idea is one which it is of great importance to impress upon people. A writer in Blackwood this month,3 on German literature, has said some things on the subject, not badly.
The concluding part, also, from the first mention of Lucan, seems too slight.
There is nothing Germanic in the style, but an occasional Gallicism or so.
The reviews generally give their extracts from foreign books translated—no doubt the editor would get that done, but woe betide the reviewer whose passages from a French or German xotbetic writer are translated by an English or Scotch hack.
TO GEORGE HENRY LEWES1
My dear Lewes,
The differences of opinion I alluded to chiefly related to the character of the Romans. In the matter of “beauty, religion, form, or art” I objected to the assertion as too sweeping—you would not be understood if you said that there was no beauty in Lucan—& beauty altogether means with you only a part of poetic merit, while it would be understood as meaning the whole. Then the word form which in that sense is not English, & I think scarcely deserves to be so, would have suggested no idea to an editor but that of Germanism. But of all this, more another time.
I will make no more crusty tea for the incarnate solecism if she calls me a w— but I will not write the atrocious word. No one is that but from consciousness of being hated by women & deserving to be so.
TO JOHN ROBERTSON1
September 7, 1841
I am doing and thinking of nothing but my Logic, which I shall soon have re-written the first half of, ready for press.
TO EDWIN CHADWICK1
I go out of town this afternoon & do not return till Monday, when I will endeavour to call upon you on my way home, as I am very busy in the evenings on my Logic & do not like to interrupt it. However it is very possible I may be unable to call upon you on Monday, & if so I will try Tuesday.
J. S. Mill
TO SARAH AUSTIN1
4th October 1841
Dear Mrs Austin
I ought to have written to you & Mr Austin long ago, but I never felt myself so little inclined to write a single line that could possibly be put off, for ever since you left England every moment almost that I could spare for writing has been employed upon my Logic which I am determined to finish in time for next publishing season. I find the rewriting harder work still than I had anticipated. I knew that the whole business of arranging it & of making it readable was yet to come, but the thoughts themselves I find were much more crude & imperfect than I fancied, & those only who have tried to write a systematic treatise on anything, know what the difficulty is of keeping the whole of a subject before one at once. However I believe I have now broken the neck of the thing—about half of it, & the most difficult half, being finished, some parts of which I have had to rewrite three or four times.
I have watched constantly for American news but have seen nothing either good or bad worth writing about. You no doubt either saw or heard of what was stated by the American correspondent of one of the English papers in the very week you set out—that both the rival parties in Mississippi had put up candidates for the approaching election of Governor, who had voted for the measure which the present Governor refused to pass.2 I have never had much apprehension about that matter ultimately going right. What do you mean by “this last blow”? Surely not anything still more recent than those which you told me of in London? And yet when I remember that you did not then think it impossible that you might return to England this winter—I am afraid.
As for politics, free trade & so forth, which you ask me about, things appear to me to be going on as well as can be expected. Peel gives every indication that his own inclinations are towards liberal measures both in commerce & in many other things, & next spring will most likely see him either bring forward some considerable improvement in the corn laws or quarrel with his party & resign, in which case the victory in a year or two will be still more complete, for the Peel Tories & the Liberals together can carry any thing. The serious part of the matter is that every year of delay does permanent mischief by its effect on the policy & feelings of other countries, & there is danger that free trade like Catholic emancipation & other Tory concessions will come too late for some of the good effects expected from it. The Tory writers here affect to think the ministry very strong but there is evidently a terrible storm brewing against them which they could, no doubt, succeed in weathering if they were not likely to fall to pieces in the attempt.
I have not taken any holidays this year, & do not intend. They are however, I hope, only postponed, not lost, as I shall claim a longer leave of absence some other year in consequence.
Mrs Taylor bids me tell you how one fine day (it was really not more than a week) she suddenly & with hardly any warning lost the use of her legs almost entirely—this was in June, & since, the little power of moving them that was left has become still less, in spite of all manner of remedies.3 If the present system of treatment continued through the winter is ineffectual, she talks of trying Franzensbad (near Eger I think) next spring. Do you know anything of that place, or of the medical personages there?
I hope you will let me know immediately if there is anything I can do for you here which would not be better done by some of the many others who would be glad to make themselves of use, though few would be so glad as I should.
TO ALEXANDER BAIN1
Have you ever looked into Comte’s Cours de Philosophie Positive? He makes some mistakes, but on the whole, I think it very nearly the grandest work of this age.
TO GUSTAVE D’EICHTHAL1
8th Novr 1841
My dear d’Eichthal
I have long been a letter in your debt, & have remained so because I have not had a moment of leisure lately to think on the different matters on which I should wish to write to you. I do not think I have written once since I finished reading Salvador’s two works,2 & I certainly have not time to write at present the long letter which I felt a desire to write to you while I was reading them.
I cannot however longer delay telling you that I received the fifth volume of M. Michelet’s History of France & that it appears to me worthy of those which preceded it. Pray, when you see him, give him my very sincere thanks for it & say that as soon as I have finished a book which I have in hand & which is now very nearly ready for the press I will not only write to him but I will endeavour to write something to the public concerning him.3
I have not been in very good health lately, although my complaints are not serious—& the little time & thought that I had to spare from my occupations have been taken up by various cares. I hope my friends at Paris will consider these excuses sufficient for my apparent neglect of them. Next year I hope to be both in better health & with less work on my hands.
As for the state of public affairs here, I can make no prediction about it, except that I am fully satisfied it will go well. In what manner the good results will be brought about I cannot tell, but every contingency which can [occur?] appears to me to be the [bearer?] of good in some very important shape.4 I rather think this is also the case with affairs in France & that you will agree with me. The only serious mischief which I am at all apprehensive of is foreign intervention in Spain & of that I trust there is very little chance.
With kind regards to Adolphe & all friends
ever yours affectionately
J. S. Mill.
TO AUGUSTE COMTE1
8 Novembre 1841.
Je ne sais, Monsieur, s’il est permis à un homme qui vous est totalement inconnu, d’occuper quelques moments d’un temps aussi précieux que le vôtre en vous entretenant de lui et des grandes obligations intellectuelles dont il vous est redevable; mais encouragé par mon ami M. Marrast,2 et pensant que peut-être au milieu de vos grands travaux philosophiques il ne vous serait pas complètement indifférent de recevoir d’un pays étranger des témoignages de sympathie et d’adhésion, j’ose espérer que vous ne trouverez pas déplacée ma démarche actuelle.
C’est dans l’année 1828,3 Monsieur, que j’ai lu pour la première fois votre petit Traité de Politique Positive; et cette lecture a donné à toutes mes idées une forte secousse, qui avec d’autres causes mais beaucoup plus qu’elles, a déterminé ma sortie définitive de la section benthamiste de l’école révolutionnaire, dans laquelle je fus élevé, et même je puis presque dire dans laquelle je naquis. Quoique le Benthamisme soit resté, sans doute, très loin du véritable esprit de la méthode positive, cette doctrine me paraît encore à présent la meilleure préparation qui existe aujourd’hui à la vraie positivité, appliquée aux doctrines sociales: soit par sa logique serrée, et par le soin qu’elle a de toujours se comprendre elle même, soit surtout par son opposition systématique à toute tentative d’explication de phénomènes quelconques au moyen des ridicu[les]4 entités métaphysiques, dont elle m’a appris dès ma première jeunesse à sentir la nullité essentielle.
Depuis l’époque où j’ai pris connaissance de la première ébauche de vos idées sociologiques, je crois pouvoir dire que les semences jetées par cet opuscule ne sont pas restées stériles dans mon esprit. Ce n’est pourtant qu’en 18375 que j’ai connu les deux premiers volumes de votre Cours, à l’appréciation duquel j’étais heureusement assez bien préparé, n’étant resté totalement étranger à aucune des sciences fondamentales, dans chacune desquelles au reste j’avais toujours surtout recherché les idées de méthode qu’elle pouvait fournir. Depuis l’heureuse époque où ces deux volumes me sont connus, j’attends toujours chaque volume nouveau avec une vive impatience et je le lis et le relis avec une véritable passion intellectuelle. Je puis dire que j’étais déjà entré dans une voie assez voisine de la vôtre, surtout par l’impulsion que m’avait donnée votre ouvrage précédent; mais j’avais encore à apprendre de vous bien des choses de la première importance, et j’espère vous donner à quelque temps d’ici la preuve que je les ai bien apprises. Il reste quelques questions d’un ordre secondaire sur lesquelles mes opinions ne sont pas d’accord avec les vôtres; un jour peut être ce désaccord pourra disparaître; au moins je ne pense pas trop me flatter en croyant qu’il n’y a pas chez moi d’opinion mal fondée qui soit assiz enracinée pour résister à une discussion approfondie, telle qu’elle pourrait peut être se trouver dans le cas de subir si vous ne me refusez pas la permission de vous soumettre quelquefois mes idées et de vous demander des explications sur les vôtres.
Vous savez, Monsieur, que les opinions religieuses ont jusqu’ici plus de racine chez nous que dans les autres pays de l’Europe, quoiqu’elles aient perdu depuis longtemps, ici comme ailleurs, leur ancienne valeur civilisatrice: et il est, je crois, à regretter pour nous que la philosophie révolutionnaire qui était encore en pleine activité il y a une douzaine d’années soit aujourd’hui tombée en décrépitude avant d’avoir fini sa tâche. Il est d’autant plus urgent pour nous de la remplacer en entrant à pleine voie dans la philosophie positive: et, c’est avec grand plaisir que je vous le dis, malgré l’esprit ouvertement anti-religieux de votre ouvrage, ce grand monument de la vraie philosophie moderne commence à se faire jour parmi nous, moins pourtant parmi les théoriciens politique que parmi les différentes classes de savants. Il se montre d’ailleurs depuis quelque temps, pour la premiére fois chez nous, dans les cultivateurs des sciences physiques, une tendance assez prononcée vers les généralités scientifiques, qui me paraît de très heureux augure, et qui porte à croire qu’il y a aujourd’hui pour nous plus à espérer de leur part que de la part des hommes politiques soit de spéculation soit d’action. Ceux-ci, en effet, sont tombés dans un affaissement pareil à celui qui s’est si fortement déclaré en France depuis 1830, et chacun voit qu’on ne pourra faire des choses nouvelles que par une doctrine nouvelle; seulement la plupart ne croient pas à l’avènement d’une telle doctrine et restent par conséquent dans un scepticisme de plus en plus énervant et décourageant.
Veuillez, Monsieur, me pardonner cette tentative un peu présomptueuse de me mettre en relation intellectuelle immédiate avec celui des grands esprits de notre temps que je regarde avec le plus d’estime et d’admiration—et croyez que la réalisation de ce vœu serait pour moi d’un prix immense.
J. S. Mill
TO JOHN MITCHELL KEMBLE1
My dear Sir
Mr. Weir, a friend of mine, of whom both as a man & as a thinker & writer I can speak very highly, has written me a note of which I inclose a portion. Would you be kind enough to send a line either to himself or to me, to say whether the article he proposes to undertake would suit you.
J. S. Mill
Mr. Weir has been for sometime engaged in extensive & accurate geographical researches.
TO AUGUSTE COMTE1
18 Décembre, 1841
Mon cher Monsieur Comte—
Je suis vraiment honteux en me rappelant le temps qui s’est écoulé depuis que j’ai reçu la réponse, aussi bienveillante qu’honorable pour moi, que vous avez bien voulu faire à ma première lettre. Mais si j’ai paru montrer peu d’empressement à profiter d’une relation que j’ai si vivement désirée, cela n’a tenu qu’à des occupations urgentes, et dont la principale était précisément de nature à établir entre nous deux plus promptement que par toute autre voie, l’échange d’idées philosophiques dans lequel je compte trouver pour tout le reste de ma vie une si précieuse source soit d’instruction soit de stimulation intellectuelle. Je viens dans ces derniers jours d’achever un ouvrage assez volumineux qui va être livré à l’impression pour paraître, je crois, au printemps prochain. Si après sa publication vous daignez en prendre connaissance, ce que le prix que vous avez bien voulu mettre à la sympathie si fortement prononcée entre nos tendances intellectuelles, me permet seul d’espérer, l’exposition détaillée que j’y ai donnée d’un nombre assez considérable de mes idées vous indiquera jusqu’à un certain point les questions sur lesquelles il n’y a plus lieu à aucune discussion entre nous, et celles où je puis encore profiter de la maturité plus complette de vos conceptions philosophiques. Je vous soumettrai cet ouvrage avec d’autant plus de crainte, que le but même vous en sera certainement suspect, puisque c’est enfin un traité de logique, ou de méthode philosophique. Je suis certainement bien loin d’être insensible aux motifs qui vous ont porté à nier la possibilité, au moins dans la phase scientifique actuelle, d’une théorie de méthode, abstraction faite de la doctrine; même en se conformant à la condition à laquelle je me suis toujours fidèlement soumis de ne puiser la méthode que dans la doctrine même. Aussi je n’attribue nullement au travail que j’ai fait un caractère philosophique permanent, mais tout au plus une valeur transitoire, que je crois pourtant réelle, du moins pour l’Angleterre. Quant aux divergences partielles qui existent jusqu’ici entre ma manière de concevoir certaines questions philosophiques et la vôtre, je crains surtout que si vous en jugez par l’écrit en question vous ne soyez exposé à les croire plus grandes qu’elles ne sont, en ne faisant pas suffisamment la part des concessions que je me suis cru forcé de faire à l’esprit dominant de mon pays. Vous n’ignorez pas sans doute que chez nous l’écrivain qui avouerait hautement des opinions anti réligieuses, ou même anti-chétiennes, compromettrait non seulement sa position sociale, que je me crois capable de sacrifier à un but suffisamment élevé, mais aussi, ce qui serait plus grave, ses chances d’être lu. Je risque déjà beaucoup en mettant soigneusement de côté, dès le commencement, le point de vue religieuse, et en m’abstenant des éloges déclamatoires de la sagesse providentielle, généralement usités parmi les philosophes, même incrédules, de mon pays. Je fais rarement allusion à cet ordre d’idées, et, tout en tâchant de ne pas éveiller, chez le vulgaire des lecteurs, des antipathies religieuses, je crois avoir écrit de manière à ce que nul penseur, soit chrétien soit incrédule, ne puisse se méprendre sur le caractère véritable de mes opinions: me fiant un peu, je l’avoue, à la prudence mondaine, qui chez nous empêche en général les écrivains religieux de proclamer sans nécessité l’irréligion d’un esprit d’une valeur scientifique quelconque.
Un même motif, quoique moins fort, m’a fait quelquefois conserver (ce que je n’aurais probablement pas fait en France) certaines expressions d’origine métaphysique, en m’efforçant toujours d’y attacher un sens positif, et en éliminant autant que possible toutes les formules qui ne paraissent pas susceptibles aujourd’hui d’être envisagées seulement comme les noms abstraits des phénomènes. Je dois m’avouer, en même temps, suspect à vos yeux de tendances métaphysiques, en tant que je crois à la possibilité d’une psychologie positive, qui ne serait certainement ni celle de Condillac, ni celle de Cousin, ni même celle de l’école Ecossaise, et que je crois toute comprise dans cette analyse de nos facultés intellectuelles et affectives qui entre dans votre système comme destinée à servir de vérification à la physiologie phrénologique, et qui a pour but essentiel de séparer les facultés vraiment primordiales de celles qui ne sont que les conséquences nécessaires des autres, produites par voie de combinaison et d’action mutuelle.
Je vois que mon ami M. Marrast vous a donné sur mon compte quelques renseignements qui ne sont pas d’une exactitude complète. D’abord, je ne suis pas chargé des travaux statistiques de la Compagnie des Indes, mais bien d’une partie de l’administration politique de l’Inde, surtout en ce qui regarde les relations extérieures, y compris le contrôle général des nombreux rois ou roitelets indigènes qui sont dans notre dépendance, et dont la civilisation peu avancée nous donne souvent des embarras. Ensuite je dois vous dire que mon abstinence de la vie parlementaire ne peut pas être pour moi un titre de louanges, ayant toujours été nécessitée par l’incompatibilité de cette vie avec l’emploi dont je retire mes moyens de vie. Je puis d’autant moins vous laisser dans l’erreur à cet égard, que des occasions ont existé où si ma position personnelle ne m’avait pas interdit l’action politique directe, je crois que je m’y serais lais[sé]2 entraîner. Les motifs auxquels j’aurais crû obéir eûssent été d’abord la difficulté, beaucoup plus grande ici qu’en France (vû la moindre activité spéculative de mes compatriotes) d’attirer l’attention même d’un public d’élite sur les idées théoriques d’un homme qui n’aurait pas fait ses preuves dans la vie active; et ensuite la considération, certainement bien fondée, que la véritable émancipation des spéculations sociologiques soit de l’empirisme, soit de la tutelle théologique ne saurait avoir lieu chez nous, tant que nous n’avons pas encore fait notre 1789, ce qu’il devient tous les jours plus difficile de faire au nom et par les moyens de la doctrine purement négative; et je crois même qu’une réaction durable ne tarderait pas à se déclarer en faveur des doctrines rétrogrades, sans l’influence des divers intérèts personnels qui se trouvent aujourd’hui froissés par les institutions que ces doctrines tendent à consacrer: intérêts qui pourtant seront bientôt frappés d’impuissance, même dans le sens subversif, s’ils ne trouvent quelques part, et même dans la vie politique, un point de ralliement spéculatif tel que les doctrines simplement révolutionnaires ne sont plus capable aujourd’hui d’offrir. Sentant au reste comme je le fais très sincèrement, jusqu’à quel point on est porté à se faire des illusions sur tout ce qui peut intéresser, même médiocrement la vanité personnelle, je dois probablement me féliciter de ce que la direction spéciale de mon activité a été principalement déterminée jusqu’ici par des causes indépendantes de ma propre sagesse.
J’attends avec impatience la publication du volume qui complètera votre grand ouvrage, et celle ensuite du traité spécial de politique qui doit le suivre, et où je compte trouver des éclaircissements sur bien des questions posées dans les 4me et 5me volumes et qui n’ont fait jusqu’ici qu’éveiller chez moi des besoins intellectuels sans y satisfaire complètement mais sur tout cela je compte à vous entretenir plus au long dans mes lettres à venir.
Votre bien dévoué
J. S. Mill.
TO JOHN MURRAY1
20th Dec 1841
My dear Sir
I have just finished preparing for the press a book of which I enclose the Preface and Table of Contents.2 It will make two good-sized octavo volumes. I should like it to have the benefit of being published by you, but it does not suit me if I can do otherwise, to print it at my own risk, and I cannot tell whether it will suit you to do so at yours. I however request your consideration of the subject, and should be much obliged by an early determination, as I should wish at all events that it should be published in the approaching season.
Very truly yours
J. S. Mill
The whole or any part of the manuscript shall be sent for your inspection whenever you may require it, or at least as soon as I have finished reading it through and making the few final corrections.
[1. ]MS at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. The approximate date is established by the reference to George Sand’s “new one,” Le Compagnon du Tour de France, published late in 1840.
[1. ]Part published in Elliot, I, 120-21. MS at Leeds. In answer to unpublished letter of Jan. 4, 1841, by Sterling; MS at King’s.
[2. ]August D. C. Twesten, Die Logik, insbesondere die Analytik (Schleswig, 1825).
[3. ]Johann Heinrich Lambert, Neues Organon, oder Gedanken über die Erforschung und Bezeichnung des Wahren . . . (Leipzig, 1764).
[4. ]John Austin.
[5. ]“The Egyptian Vision,” The Times, Dec. 9, 1840, p. 5.
[6. ]In Letter 303. Sterling in his letter of Jan. 4 had disagreed with JSM: “Your argument on the Egyptian question I am sorry to say does not convince me. France had I think no right to insist on the independence of Egypt if that was likely to derange the actual relations of the European nations to each other & I do not perceive to what you allude when you say that we might bind France not to avail for her own advantage—the only way I can conceive of binding her or indeed any nation in such a matter is by making the intended step impossible which is what we have done. . . . What the aggressions are which you say naturally provoke France I do not know. We have done nothing at least since the peace at all resembling the conquest of Algiers & its occupation.”
[7. ]Of Dec. 18, 1840; in Mayer, pp. 329-31.
[8. ]Letter 306.
[9. ]Answer dated March 18, 1841; in Mayer, pp. 334-36.
[10. ]Sterling had written: “The iniquity of those Corn Laws & their widespread mischievousness made me rage. . . . Is there any chance of getting rid of them?”
[11. ]At Walsall on Dec. 30, 1840, one Spencer Lyttleton, after refusing to pledge his support for immediate repeal of the Corn Laws, had withdrawn his candidacy for Parliament. The Anti-Corn-Law League sought pledges from parliamentary candidates. For details on the Walsall election, see Archibald Prentice, History of the Anti-Corn-Law League (2 vols., London, 1853), I, 176-84.
[1. ]Published in Kitchel, pp. 30-31. MS at Yale.
[2. ]I.e., that of his marriage, on Feb. 18, 1841, to Agnes Jervis (1822-1902), daughter of Swinfen Jervis (1798-1867), MP for Bridport.
[3. ]The article, “The Philosophy of Art: Hegel’s Æsthetics,” eventually appeared, not in the Edinburgh, but in the BFR for Oct., 1842 (XIII, 1-49).
[4. ]See Letter 301, n. 3.
[5. ]LWR, XXIX (April, 1838), 1-44, and reprinted in Dissertations, I, 312-54.
[1. ]Published in part in D’Eichthal Corresp., pp. 188-90, and in Cosmopolis, IX, 375-76. MS at Arsenal.
[2. ]De l’Unité européenne (Paris, 1840, 35 pp.). See Letter 312. D’Eichthal had sent JSM a copy of the Journal des Débats for Jan. 18, 1841, which carried an article on the pamphlet.
[3. ]In an article on “Foreign Policy,” LXVII (Dec., 1840), 301.
[4. ]See Letters 197, n. 2, and 215.
[1. ]Published in Kitchel, pp. 31-32. MS at Yale.
[2. ]Par excellence.
[1. ]Published in D’Eichthal Corresp., pp. 191-93, and in Cosmopolis, IX, 376-78. MS at Arsenal.
[2. ]See Letter 310, n. 2.
[3. ]Not located.
[4. ]Joseph Salvador, Jésus-Christ et sa doctrine. Histoire de la naissance de l’Eglise, de son organisation et de ses progrès pendant le premier siècle (2 vols., Paris, 1838); and l’Histoire des Institutions de Moïse et du peuple hébreu (3 vols., Paris, 1828).
[1. ]Addressed: R. Barclay Fox Esq. / Falmouth. Published by Pym, II, 321-23. MS in the possession of Mr. W. H. Browning.
[2. ]“Dans l’adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous déplaît pas.” Reflexions, Sentences et Maximes morales de La Rochefoucauld (Paris, 1853), p. 260.
[3. ]Inaccurately quoted? Presumably, in view of the context, the reference is to the “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”: “And I have felt / A presence that disturbs me with the joy / Of elevated thoughts.”
[4. ]Page torn.
[1. ]Published in Kitchel, pp. 34-35. MS at Yale.
[2. ]See Letter 309, n. 3.
[3. ]Karl Theodor Körner (1791-1813), German poet, best known for his patriotic lyrics, Leier und Schwert (Berlin, 1814).
[4. ]Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861), historian. The article referred to was “Progress of Historical Enquiry in France,” ER, LXXIII (April, 1841), 84-120, reprinted in The Collected Historical Works of Sir Francis Palgrave, K.H., ed. Sir R. H. Inglis Palgrave, F.R.S. (10 vols., Cambridge, 1919-22), X, 1-40.
[5. ]See Letter 319.
[1. ]Undated fragment, but must refer to preceding letter. Published in Kitchel, p. 35. MS at Yale.
[2. ]See last sentence of second paragraph of preceding letter.
[3. ]See third paragraph of preceding letter.
[4. ]Probably his article “Modern French Historians,” a review of Augustin Thierry’s Récits des temps mérovingiens (3 vols., Bruxelles, 1840), in WR, XXXVI (Oct., 1841), 273-308.
[1. ]Published in D’Eichthal Corresp., pp. 194-95, and in Cosmopolis, IX, 378-79. MS at Arsenal. The beginning of the letter has been lost.
[2. ]Eugène d’Eichthal dates the letter 1841. The May date would seem to be justified by the reference in the second paragraph to the Melbourne government’s espousal of a lowering of the duties imposed by the Corn Laws. Melbourne announced his change of policy on May 3, 1841.
[3. ]The debate on the fortification of Paris took place in the Chamber of Deputies in Jan., 1841, and in the Chamber of Peers in March.
[4. ]See n. 2 above.
[5. ]JSM’s prophecy proved false. On June 4 the Whig government lost on a vote of no confidence; in the ensuing election in the summer the Tories were returned to power under Sir Robert Peel.
[1. ]Endorsed in another hand: “J. S. Mill / May / 41 / . Assistance of Mr. C. requested to obtain his cousin an appt as School Mistress of a W.H.” MS at UCL.
[1. ]Addressed: R. Barclay Fox Esq. / Falmouth. Postmark: 6 MAY 1841. Published with omissions in Pym, II, 323-26. MS in the possession of Mr. W. H. Browning.
[2. ]Sterling moved his family from Clifton to Falmouth in June, 1841, where they lived until the spring of 1843.
[3. ]He returned from Scotland on the day of this letter.
[4. ]On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, delivered in 1840 (the Foxes had attended some of them), and published in 1841.
[5. ]George Mill had probably spent the winter at Torquay for reasons of health. See Letter 300, n. 7.
[1. ]Addressed: J. M. Kemble Esq. MS in the possession of Professor Ney MacMinn.
[2. ]The British and Foreign Review, of which Kemble was editor.
[3. ]See Letter 315, n. 4.
[4. ]P. J. B. Buchez, Introduction à la science de l’histoire, ou science du développement de l’humanité (Paris, 1833).
[5. ]Jules Michelet, Introduction à l’histoire universelle (Paris, 1831).
[6. ]Not identified.
[7. ]WR, XXXIV (Sept., 1840), 287-324.
[1. ]Excerpts published by James Drummond and C. B. Upton, Life and Letters of James Martineau (2 vols., London, 1902), II, 276-77. MS not located. The passages in brackets are the editors’ summaries of parts of the letter, I, 111-12, and II, 276-77.
[2. ]Thomas Brown.
[3. ]The editors point out that this refers to the following sentence in Martineau’s Introductory Lecture: “It is probable that in the secret history of every noble and inquisitive mind there is a passage darkened by the awful shadow of the conception of Necessity; and it is certain that in the open conflict of debate, there is no question which has so long served to train and sharpen the weapons of dialectic skill.”
[4. ]Book VI, chap. 2 (“Of Liberty and Necessity”), A System of Logic (London, 1843).
[1. ]MS in Liverpool University Library. The MS bears no indication of the person addressed, but the ascription of it to Thom seems plausible since he had previously communicated with JSM about White (see Letter 241). Thom did publish a life of White.
[2. ]Joseph Blanco White died on May 20, 1841.
[1. ]MS in 1961 in the possession of Major General E. B. de Fonblanque, The Cottage, Bank, Lyndhurst, Hants. Transcript supplied by Mr. William E. S. Thomas. Last paragraph published in Life and Labours of Albany Fonblanque, ed. E. B. de Fonblanque (London, 1874), p. 32.
[2. ]The Logic.
[3. ]Morning Chronicle, June 17, 1841, p. 6. The Kensington petition for free trade was adopted at a public meeting of the inhabitants of Kensington at the King’s Arms on Tuesday, June 15. William Prescott presided.
[4. ]See Letters 297, 298, 300, and 303-306.
[5. ]The Whig ministry’s move in May, 1841, to lower the duties on grain. See Letter 316.
[6. ]Lord Durham had died on July 28, 1840.
[1. ]MS in Brit. Mus.
[2. ]William Weir (1802-1858), journalist, editor (1854-58) of the Daily News.
[3. ]In Letter 326 JSM spells the name correctly as Rüppell.
[1. ]Published with omissions in Pym, II, 326-28. MS in the possession of Mr. W. H. Browning.
[2. ]“Grounds and Objects of the Budget” [by Nassau Senior], ER, LXXIII (July, 1841), 502-59. See F. W. Fetter, “The Authorship of Economic Articles in the Edinburgh Review, 1802-47,” Journal of Political Economy, LXI (June, 1953), 257.
[1. ]Addressed: John Black. Esq. MS in the possession of Professor Jacob Viner, Princeton University.
[2. ]JSM’s review of Sterling’s poem The Election appeared in the Morning Chronicle on July 29, 1841.
[1. ]In another hand on the verso: John S. Mills Esq / July 30th / 1841. MS in Brit. Mus.
[2. ]Weir’s review of Eduard Rüppell’s Reise in Abyssinien (2 vols., Frankfurt am Main, 1838-40) appeared in ER, LXXIV (Jan., 1842), 307-28.
[3. ]George Fletcher.
[4. ]Sir James Stephen’s “The Port-Royalists” was the leading article in the July, 1841, ER, LXXIII, 309-65.
[5. ]Ross Donnelly Mangles (1801-1877), expert on Indian affairs; liberal MP for Guildford, 1841-58; chairman of the East India Company, 1857-58. His article in the July ER, LXXIII, 425-60, was on “Administration of Justice in India.”
[6. ]See Letter 324, n. 2.
[1. ]Published in Kitchel, pp. 37-38. MS at Columbia University.
[2. ]This may have been an early version of “The State of Criticism in France,” eventually published in the BFR, XVI (Dec., 1844), 327-62.
[3. ]“Traits and Tendencies of German Literature,” Blackwood’s, L (Aug., 1841), 143-60.
[1. ]Published in Kitchel, p. 38. MS at Yale.
[1. ]Excerpt published in Alexander Bain, Autobiography (London, 1904), p. 111. MS not located.
[1. ]Endorsed in another hand: “J. S. Mill / Sept 21 / 41.” MS at UCL.
[1. ]Addressed: A Madame / Madame Austin / Poste Restante / à Dresden. Postmarks: PAID / OC 4 / 1841 and POST / 11 OCT / U. MS at King’s.
[2. ]JSM and the Austins, like many in England at this time, were concerned over the possible loss of their investments in American State bonds because of repudiation movements in some of the states. JSM’s information about the situation in Mississippi was not wholly accurate, and his optimism proved unfounded. The retiring Governor, Alexander G. McNutt; the successful Democratic candidate, Tilghman M. Tucker; and the Whig candidate, David O. Shattuck, were all in favour of the repudiation of the Mississippi Union Bank bonds, and on Feb. 26, 1842, the bonds were finally repudiated by the State. See “Banking and Repudiation in Mississippi,” Bankers’ Magazine (N.Y.), XVIII NS (Aug., 1863), 89-109; and R. C. McGrane, Foreign Bondholders and American State Debts (New York, 1935), chap. x.
[3. ]Mrs. Taylor eventually recovered from the paralysis, but her health thereafter was usually precarious.
[1. ]Excerpt published in Bain, Autobiography, p. 112. MS not located.
[1. ]Addressed: Monsieur / M. Gustave d’Eichthal / 14 Rue Lepelletier / à Paris. Postmark: LONDON / [8?] NOV / 1841. MS at Arsenal.
[2. ]See Letter 312, n. 4.
[3. ]A promise eventually fulfilled in 1844 with the publication of his review of the first five volumes of Michelet’s Histoire de France. See Letter 285, n. 3.
[4. ]Brackets in this sentence indicate where page is torn.
[1. ]Addressed: Monsieur / M. Auguste Comte / à l’Ecole Polytechnique / à Paris. Postmark: LONDON / 8 NOV / 1841 / FBO. Published in Lévy-Bruhl, pp. 1-4; Comte’s answer of Nov. 20, 1841, ibid., pp. 4-11. All the MSS of JSM’s letters to Comte are at Johns Hopkins.
[2. ]Armand Marrast (1801-1852), journalist and politician: editor of the Tribune until 1834; when the paper was suppressed and he was imprisoned in 1835 he escaped and fled to England; upon return to France he became editor of the National; after the Revolution of 1848, he became President of the Assemblée Constituante.
[3. ]Actually it appears that he first read Comte in 1829. See Letters 26 and 27.
[4. ]MS torn.
[5. ]See Letter 228.
[1. ]MS owned by Professor Ney MacMinn.
[1. ]Addressed: A Monsieur / M. Auguste Comte / 10 Rue Monneur le Prince / près l’Odéon / à Paris. Postmark: LONDON / 18 DEC / 1841. MS at Johns Hopkins. Published in Lévy-Bruhl, pp. 11-15; in reply to Comte’s letter of Nov. 20, 1841, ibid., pp. 4-11.
[2. ]MS torn.
[1. ]MS in the possession of Sir John Murray.
[2. ]The Logic. JSM’s friend John Sterling had written Murray on Dec. 16, 1841, reporting the completion of the book and describing it as “the labour of many years of a singularly subtle, patient, and comprehensive mind. It will be our chief speculative monument of this age.” (Samuel Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends [2 vols., London, 1891], II, 499.)