Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1848 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part II
Return to Title Page for The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIII - The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill 1812-1848 Part II
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
1848 - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The online edition of the Collected Works is published under licence from the copyright holder, The University of Toronto Press. ©2006 The University of Toronto Press. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of The University of Toronto Press.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO AUBREY DE VERE1
February 3, 1848
My dear Sir,—
I am ashamed not to have sooner acknowledged your kind present of your book on Ireland,2 especially as I read it immediately on receiving it. Anything you write on Ireland must be well worth attending to, as no one can doubt who has read your Evidence before Lord Monteagle’s Committee3 —to say nothing of anything else. No one can sympathise more than I do in the feeling which pervades your book, that England is not entitled to throw the first stone at Ireland, being, so far as that expression can be used of a nation, guilty of all the guilt as well as of all the suffering and folly of Ireland. I have always strenuously urged the same doctrine in all I have ever written or said about Irish affairs, which is not a little in quantity at least. I agree too in most of the opinions you express, except that I look much more than you do to reclamation of waste lands and alteration of landed tenures, and less to emigration as a remedy. Perhaps also I should not let off the generality of Irish landlords quite so easily as you do, though there are among them not a few of the most meritorious landlords (probably) upon earth.
Very truly yours,
J. S. Mill
TO JOHN AUSTIN1
22d Feb. 1848
My dear Austin
The enclosed pages, of which I beg your acceptance, contain the only alterations in opinion in the 2d edition of the Logic. Whatever other alterations were made, are little more than verbal.
I do not suppose the Pol. Economy will call upon you for any changes of opinion, as I imagine you agree with me in sticking pretty closely to Ricardo on the points which he touched. I doubt if there will be a single opinion (on pure political economy) in the book, which may not be exhibited as a corollary from his doctrines.
Your approbation of the Logic is of great value to me.
Yours ever truly
J. S. Mill
TO HENRY S. CHAPMAN1
29 February, 1848.
My dear Chapman,—
I have owed you a letter for a long time, and I am now very glad that I put off writing, as it enables me to be one of the first to tell you of the extraordinary events of the last week at Paris, a second “three days” ending in the proclamation of a French Republic.2 I am hardly yet out of breath from reading and thinking about it. Nothing can possibly exceed the importance of it to the world or the immensity of the interests which are at stake on its success. I need not go through the course of the events, as you will learn all that from the newspapers, and I hardly know at what end to begin in commenting upon it. The republicans have succeeded because at last they had the good sense to raise the standard not of a republic but of something in which the middle classes could join, viz., electoral reform—then the madness of Louis Philippe and Guizot in forbidding, at the last moment, the reform banquet at Paris, stirred up the people, and after three days very like the former three, in each of which some great concession was made just too late, ending with Louis Philippe’s abdication and flight, the republicans remained masters of Paris and France, and formed a Provisional Government in which the two most powerful men are Marrast, editor of the “National,” and, who would ever have thought it—Lamartine!3 In my meditations and feelings on the whole matter, every second thought has been of Carrel—he who perhaps alone in Europe was qualified to direct such a movement, to have perished uselessly, and the very man who killed him, now a prominent reformer4 —the man who went to Louis Philippe and told him that he must abdicate! Without Carrel, or, I fear, any one comparable to him, the futurity of France and of Europe is most doubtful. Hitherto, however, nothing can be more admirable than the conduct both of the Provisional Government and of the people. It makes even base English journalists enthusiastic. The whole thing also is very well taken here. Nobody seems the least uneasy or terrified at the idea of a French republic. Indeed they do not seem half as much alarmed as there is reason to be. The dangers are, first of war: an article in the “National” to-day is, however, very rassurant, shewing so exactly the right feeling and opinions on the subject that one could not wish to alter a word. Still, the state of Italy and the certainty of an immediate rising all over Lombardy which I cannot believe that the other nations would look on and see put down, will make it hardly possible to hold back the French people from interfering. Secondly, Communism has now for the first time a deep root, and has spread widely in France, and a large part of the effective republican strength is more or less imbued with it. The Provisional Government is obliged to coquet with this, and to virtually promise work and good wages to the whole labouring class: how are they to keep their promise, and what will be the consequences of not keeping it? Meantime a National Assembly is to be called, elected no doubt by universal suffrage, in which all the sense and all the nonsense of France will be represented, and in which there is pretty sure to be at once a schism between the bourgeois and the operatives—a Gironde and a Montagne, though probably without any guillotine. What an anxious time it will be. If France succeeds in establishing a republic and reasonable republican government, all the rest of Europe, except England and Russia, will be republicanised in ten years, and England itself probably before we die. There never was a time when so great a drama was being played out in one generation. I pity those who, like you, hear of these things from the Antipodes.
But I can tell you nothing worth hearing that you will not learn from the journals. I really know nothing myself, for though I know several of the marked men I do not know whether they have in them ideas and knowledge and vigour for such a task as they have before them. In a month or two I shall be able to give you a better opinion about probabilities.
Thanks for the information you sent me about New Zealand affairs, and thanks for your beautiful set of ferns which arrived safe, in perfect condition, and gave me great pleasure. I shall wish much to hear how the colonists like the suspension of their Constitution,5 and what you in particular think of it. I have no inclination to write about any minor or personal matters at such a time as this.
I saw John Revans yesterday, who had come over on sundry matters, but in particular to push a scheme of his for a general Tax on Expenditure on which he published a very clever pamphlet.6
J. S. Mill
TO SARAH AUSTIN1
Dear Mrs. Austin—
I suppose by this time you are quite convinced that the English at Paris are not in the smallest danger,2 & that there is no likelihood of any manifestations by the English Government or press which can give umbrage to the French people. I presume the roads are now open, & passports may be had by those who desire them. It was very natural that the Provisional Govt should exert its temporary dictatorship to prevent a precipitate flight of foreigners en masse, not only because a panic always tends to spread, but because a sudden diminution of employment for the population of Paris would have been a great element of disorder. Next to the admirable conduct of the people & of the new authorities, the most striking thing in these memorable events is the evidence afforded of the complete change of times—The instantaneous & unanimous acquiescence of all France in a republic—while in this country as far as I can perceive, there is not a particle of the dread & uneasiness which there would have been a few years ago at the idea of a French republic. There is a strong, & a very friendly interest felt in the position of France, & in the new & difficult questions which the republican government will have to solve—especially those relating to labour & wages. For my part I feel the strongest confidence that what will be done or attempted on that subject will end in good. There will be doubtless a good deal of experimental legislation, some of it not very prudent, but there cannot be a better place to try such experiments in than France. I suppose that regulation of industry in behalf of the labourers must go through its various phases of abortive experiment, just as regulation of industry in behalf of the capitalist has done, before it is abandoned, or its proper limits ascertained.
Who can it be that takes Mr Austin’s name in the Times,3 & attempts to imitate his style? I am afraid the letter signed “John Austin” must have been seen by many who never saw the disavowal of it, in an obscure corner of the paper: & there were several things in it which it is very disagreeable that Mr Austin should be supposed to have written—especially the flattery of the Times, the meanest, most malicious & most hypocritical among our very low newspaper press.
Very truly yours,
J. S. Mill
TO SARAH AUSTIN1
March [?], 1848.
Dear Mrs. Austin,—
I return to you Mr. Austin’s letter. I never thought I should have differed from him so widely in feeling on any public event as it appears I do on this. But I cannot think myself unfeeling because I do not attach all the importance which (no doubt from his and your personal relations with some of those concerned) he seems to attach to the effect of the Revolution on individual interests. The monetary crisis in London last October produced quite as much suffering to individuals as has arisen, or, as far as I can see, is likely to arise, from an event which has broken the fetters of all Europe.2 If it had done no more than emancipate some millions of serfs in Hungary,3 that, in my eyes, would have been a hundredfold compensation. As for future prospects, nobody, I suppose, is so foolish as not to see that there are many unfavourable chances. But to suppose that the unfavourable chances preponderate seems to me, I confess, as much a “dream” as the contrary expectation appears to you. And my hopes rise instead of sinking as the state of things in France unfolds itself.
TO ARMAND MARRAST1
Mon cher M. Marrast,—
Je vous ai adressé un exemplaire d’un traité d’économie politique que je viens de publier,2 et dans lequel je discute quelques unes des grandes questions sociales dont le gouvernement républicain et l’assemblée nationale auront à s’occuper. Je ne puis espérer qu’au milieu des graves occupations qui vous obsèdent,3 vous ayez du temps disponible pour la lecture d’un ouvrage théorique. Mais, comme je crois pouvoir affirmer que l’esprit de ce livre est propre à lui assurer votre sympathie, je vous l’offre, afin que si vous ne le lisez pas, vous puissiez, au moins, si vous le jugez à propos, le faire lire à d’autres.
J’ai encore un autre but en vous écrivant. Je ne veux pas m’étendre en phrases générales sur la sympathie profonde que j’éprouve et dois éprouver pour l’œuvre de régénération sociale qui se poursuit maintenant en France. Il faudrait n’avoir aucun sentiment de l’avenir de l’humanité pour ne pas reconnaître que, grâce à la noble initiative prise par la France, ce qui se débat aujourd’hui sur son terrain est l’affaire du genre humain tout entier. Je voudrais ne pas me borner à une stérile admiration, je désirerais apporter à cette grande œuvre mon contingent d’idées et tout ce que j’ai d’utile dans l’intelligence, du moins, jusqu’à ce que mon propre pays, si arriéré à beaucoup d’égards comparé au vôtre, en ait besoin. Je sais que vous ne dirigez plus le National, mais votre influence y doit encore dominer; je vous demande, donc, s’il pourrait convenir à ce journal d’accepter de moi quelques articles que je ferais de temps en temps, soit sur l’état de choses en Angleterre, soit portant sur les questions de politique, générale et sociale. J’essaierais de faire en sorte qu’on pût se dispenser d’un traducteur si vous trouvez mon français assez supportable pour qu’après une révision préalable il puisse passer. Il me semble qu’en designant cette correspondance par une épigraphe particulière, comme par exemple, “Lettres d’un Anglais,”4 on mettrait suffisamment à couvert la responsibilité du journal tant à l’égard du style qu’à celui des opinions. Au reste, la correspondance serait complètement dans le sens du National, en tant qu’il s’est prononcé, jusqu’ici; je ne puis donner trop d’éloges au bon sens dont le journal a fait preuve en toute occasion depuis février. En tout cas, que mes idées se trouvassent en unisson ou en désaccord avec celles du journal, la rédaction resterait seul juge de leur opportunité. Si l’on accepte ma proposition, il va sans dire que cette collaboration sera gratuite, en ce que concerne la rétribution pécuniare.—Votre dévoué,
J. S. Mill
TO EUGÈNE SUE1
J’ai pris la liberté de vous adresser un exemplaire d’un traité que je viens de publier sur l’économie politique et sur quelques unes de ses applications à la science sociale.
Ne vous effrayez pas du nom de cet ouvrage. Je vous l’offre pour deux motifs principaux, dont l’un me regarde plus particulièrement moi-même, tandis que l’autre se rapporte à mes sentiments envers vous.
Quant au premier, j’avoue que j’ai eu envie de vous prouver qu’on peut être économiste, et même professer un grand nombre des opinions de Malthus et de Ricardo, sans être pour cela un Duriveau,2 ou un flatteur des Duriveau. Je vous dirai en outre comme fait, que quant aux Duriveau de mon pays si toutefois il y en a, ceux qui se font tous instruments, non seulement, ne professent pas les opinions de ces économistes, mais en général les puent et les conspuent, presqu’autant que vous.
Mon second motif c’est le désir de vous témoigner la vive sympathie que j’éprouve pour le noble esprit de justice et de progrès dont vos derniers romans sont pénétrés, et pour quelques idées capables dont vous vous y êtes fait l’organe. Mon livre vous prouvera que sur la grande question de l’héritage je suis absolument de l’avis du docteur Just;3 tandis que sur le mariage et sur l’entière égalité de droits entre les hommes et les femmes les opinions de l’auteur de “Martin” et du “Juif Errant”4 sont non seulement les miennes mais j’ai la conviction profonde que la liberté, la démocratie, la fraternité, ne sont nulle part si ce n’est dans ces opinions, et que l’avenir du progrès social et moral ne se trouve que là.
TO EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD1
My dear Wakefield,
I am very glad that you think the public statement in my book,2 of what is so justly due to you both as a colonizer & as a political economist, likely to be of use at this particular time. I am still more glad to hear that you are writing the book you speak of.3 I have long regretted that there does not exist a systematic treatise, in a permanent form, from your hand and with your name, in which the whole subject of Colonization is treated, as the express subject of the book—so as to become at once the authoritative book on the subject. At present people have to pick up your doctrines, both theoretical & practical. I cannot help urging you to complete the book, with as much expedition as is consistent with the care due to your health, which your life is too valuable to permit any relaxation of.
ever truly yours,
J. S. Mill
TO WILLIAM E. HICKSON1
18th August 1848
My dear Hickson
M. Desainteville2 whom you perhaps remember, has written to me to say that he wrote, as long ago as 1840, an article on the Polytechnic School3 which he offered to you, through me; which was accepted, & for which he was to have £10, & did receive £5 on account, but has never since heard anything of the other £5 or of the article. I remember something passed about an article on the Polytechnic School by Desainteville, but not what it was. You may perhaps have a more precise recollection. He says that £5 would be of consequence to him just now. He says also that if the article is not to be made use of he much wishes that it could be found & returned to him.
Very truly yours
J. S. Mill
TO WILLIAM E. HICKSON1
Monday [Aug. 21 (?), 1848]
My best plan is to send you Desainteville’s letter which contains all the information I have. From my own recollection I am unable to say anything on the subject.
D. seems to be unaware of the article’s having ever appeared in the review.2
Very truly yours
J. S. Mill
I sent the Pol. Ec. to the Journal des Economistes as I thought, i.e. I sent it to Dussard as editor. I must however inquire about it.
TO JOHN PRINGLE NICHOL1
30th September, 1848.
My dear Nichol,
You may well call Comte’s a strange book.2 I agree with you too that it is well calculated to stir the mind and create a ferment of thought, chiefly, I think, because it is the first book which has given a coherent picture of a supposed future of humanity with a look of possibility about it, and with enough of feature for the reason and imagination to lay hold of it by. To me the chief worth of the book seems to consist in, first, the systematic and earnest inculcation of the purely subordinate role of the intellect as the minister of the higher sentiments. Second, in making much clearer, than to me they ever were before, the grounds for believing that the culte del’humanité is capable of fully supplying the place of a religion, or rather (to say the truth) of being a religion—and this he has done, notwithstanding the ridiculousness which everybody must feel in his premature attempts to define in detail the practices of this culte. In most of the other doctrines of the book I wholly dissent from him. With all his science he is characteristically and resolutely ignorant of the laws of the formation of character; and he assumes the differences which he sees between women and men, philosophers and men of action, rich people and proletarians (or rather between the limited specimens of each class which come within the scanty means of knowledge of a recluse, whose knowledge even of books is purposely restricted)—all these differences he assumes as ultimate, or at least necessary facts, and he grounds universal principles of sociology on them. These principles too, when reduced to practice, would be the most contrary to human liberty of any now taught or professed; for it seems to me that he would make everybody’s way of life (or at all events after one choice) as inexorably closed against all change of destination or purpose, as he would make the marriage-contract. In all this, and most emphatically in all his doctrines about women, I think and have always thought him in a radically wrong road, and likely to go farther and farther wrong, and I think his political writings (apart from his admirable historical views) likely to be mischievous rather than useful; except quâ socialist, that is, calling for an entire renovation of social institutions and doctrines, in which respect I am entirely at one with him.
It is wretched to see the cause of legitimate Socialism thrown so far back by the spirit of reaction against that most unhappy outbreak at Paris in June.3 Still it makes one better pleased with Humanity in its present state than I ever hoped to be, to see that there are, at least in France, so many men in conspicuous station who have sincerely every noble feeling and purpose with respect to mankind, which one thought was confined to perhaps a dozen people in Europe. I believe that the principal members of the Provisional Government, and many of the party who adhere to them, most purely and disinterestedly desired (and still seek to realize) all of “liberty, equality and fraternity,” which is capable of being realized now, and to prepare the way for all which can be realized hereafter. I feel an entireness of sympathy with them which I never expected to have with any political party.
If you have not read it, read Lamartine’s beautiful Histoire des Girondins.4 I think his whole conception of the great socialist questions, so far as there stated, and especially of the question of Property, as summed up in his criticism on the measures of the Convention at the end of the fifth volume, everything that can be desired; and the whole book (which I have never read till now, indeed I have not yet finished it) exactly such as I should have expected from his consistently noble conduct since February. I also sympathise very strongly with such socialists as Louis,5 who seems to be sincere, enthusiastic, straightforward, and with a great foundation of good sense and feeling, though precipitate and raw in his practical views. He has been abominably treated about the insurrectionary movements, of which I believe him to be as innocent as you or me. Our newspaper writers, and especially those of The Times, ought to be flogged at a cart’s tail for their disguisting misrepresentations and calumnies of such men, directly in the face of the evidence they pretended to found their assertions upon; and I would very willingly help to apply the cat to any one of them.
Thanks for the pamphlet of which I have only yet read the title-page, but that proves to me that the author is in the right road.
Ever most truly yours,
J. S. Mill
TO JOHN JAY1
Permit me to return you my best thanks for your handsome present of the American edition of my “Political Economy.”2 . . .
I am obliged to you also for the North American Review containing an article on my book.3 The article is laudatory enough to satisfy an appetite for praise much stronger than mine. But the writer is one whose tone of thinking and feeling is extremely repugnant to me. He gives a totally false idea of the book and of its author when he makes me a participant in the derision with which he speaks of Socialists of all kinds and degrees. I have expressed temperately and argumentatively my objections to the particular plans proposed by Socialists for dispensing with private property; but on many other important points I agree with them, and on none do I feel towards them anything but respect, thinking, on the contrary, that they are the greatest element of improvement in the present state of mankind. If the chapter in which I mention them had been written after instead of before the late revolutions on the Continent I should have entered more fully into my opinions on Socialism and have done it much more justice.
On the population question my difference with the reviewer is fundamental, and in the incidental reference which he makes to my assertion of equality of political rights and of social position in behalf of women, the tone assumed by him is really below contempt. But I fear that a country where institutions profess to be founded on equality, and which yet maintains the slavery of black men and of all women, will be one of the last to relinquish that other servitude.
TO GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE1
7th Decr 1848
What in your note of the 22nd you ask me to do, would be to write a dissertation on morality, which at present I have not time for. But the root of my difference with you is that you appear to accept the present constitution of the family & the whole of the priestly morality founded on & connected with it—which morality in my opinion thorough deserves the epithets of “intolerant, slavish & selfish”.
It was quite unnecessary to return my notes,2 as it is a matter of complete indifference to me whom they are seen by.
J. S. Mill
TO ÉMILE LITTRÉ1
22nd December 1848
J’ai eu l’honneur de recevoir votre circulaire au sujet de M. Comte. Je vous envoie ci-joint un billet de 250 francs comme contribution mais non comme cotisation annuelle. Je vous prie de vouloir bien m’en accuser réception. Je regrette d’apprendre que la position pécuniaire de M. Comte vient d’être encore empirée.2 J’ai une très haute estime pour ses travaux en ce qui regarde la théorie de la méthode positive, mais je suis très éloigné de sa manière d’appliquer cette méthode aux questions sociales. La plupart de ses opinions sociologiques sont diamétralement opposées aux miennes.
TO THOMAS COATES1
23d January 1829
I have the honor to request that you will submit to the Committee of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the accompanying Treatise, which if thought worthy of a place in the Library of U.K. [Useful Knowledge], I beg may be considered as a gratuitous contribution to that work.
Some expressions will be found in this tract, implying the previous publication of a Treatise on Wages, which has already been submitted to the Committee by Mr Edward Strutt. Should that Treatise fail of being accepted by the Committee, it will be necessary that the present one should be materially altered, or perhaps entirely withdrawn.2
I have the honor to be