Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1850 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIV - The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873 Part I
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1850 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIV - The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873 Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIV - The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873 Part I, ed. Francis E. Mineka and Dwight N. Lindley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972).
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TO DR. JOHN FORBES ROYLE1
Dear Dr Royle—
I am very sorry to hear of your feverish attack. I suspect there is something in the state of the air very favorable to such attacks where other causes cooperate such as those which have been affecting you. Many thanks for the trouble you have taken about Webb.2 It will be fortunate for me if Mr Wilson Saunders3 has soon done with it.
I have made a few pencil marks on this (rather important) sheet but they are of a very trifling character.
J. S. Mill
TO DR. JOHN FORBES ROYLE1
on arriving this morning I found quite unexpectedly the volume of Webb2 —for which I am extremely obliged to you. It will be of great use to me & I only wish there were more of it. I am on the whole glad that I have not had it until I had gone through the families contained in it, as one ought to use such books to verify rather than to supersede the regular mode of determining plants.
I hope you continue improving & that you will soon be about again. The interruption to all that you were engaged in was most vexatious—but this illness, brought on by overwork, must be used as an additional reason for making a stand against your present position
ever truly yours
J. S. Mill
TO DR. JOHN FORBES ROYLE1
I am very sorry that you are not yet recovered from your attack. You will see on this sheet some queries of mine in pencil & some alterations by Prideaux2 in ink—but as I have told him, I think his alteration in p. 450 proceeds on a misconception of your meaning—which however will be of use as shewing some want of clearness in the expression.3 What he has inserted, too, is very much to the purpose, though what I think you meant, is still more so.
Yours (in haste)
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
Thanks dearest dearest angel for the note—what it contained was a really important addition to the letter2 & I have put it in nearly in your words, which as your impromptu words almost always are, were a hundred times better than any I could find by study. What a perfect orator you would make—& what changes might be made in the world by such a one, with such opportunities as thousands of male dunces have. But you are to me, & would be to any one who knew you, the type of Intellect—because you have all the faculties in equal perfection—you can both think, & impress the thought on others—& can both judge what ought to be done, & do it. As for me, nothing but the division of labour could make me useful—if there were not others with the capacities of intellect which I have not, where would be the use of them I have—I am but fit to be one wheel in an engine not to be the self moving engine itself—a real majestic intellect, not to say moral nature, like yours, I can only look up to & admire—but while you can love me as you so sweetly & so beautifully shewed in that hour yesterday, I have all I care for or desire for myself—& wish for nothing except not to disappoint you—& to be so happy as to be some good to you (who are all good to me) before I die. This is a graver note than I thought it would be when I began it—for the influence of that dear little hour has kept me in spirits ever since—thanks to my one only source of good.
TO EDWARD HERFORD1
I have to acknowledge your communication of January 9th inclosing a statement of the principles & objects of a proposed Association, which you do me the honour of wishing that I should join, & inviting me to communicate any observations which the paper suggests to me.
In some of the objects of the Address, & in some of the doctrines laid down in it, there is much that I agree with. But the question is, I think, more complicated than the writer seems to consider it. The present mode of legal relief to the destitute2 was not adopted on any such absurd ground as that “it is better that the unemployed should be idle than usefully employed,” or better that the funds expended in supporting them should be consumed without a return, than with a return. The “principle” acted on was that by selecting employment for paupers with reference to its suitableness as a test for destitution, rather than to its productiveness, it was possible to make the conditions of relief sufficiently undesirable, to prevent its acceptance by any who could find private employment. But if the state, or the parish, provides ordinary work at ordinary wages for all the unemployed, the work so provided cannot be made less desirable, & can scarcely be prevented from being more desirable, than any other employment. It would therefore become necessary either that the state should arbitrarily limit its operations (in which case no material advantage would arise from their having been commenced) or that it should be willing to take the whole productive industry of the country under the direction of its own officers.
You will perhaps say that these consequences could only arise if the work required in exchange for public pay were (as it usually has been) merely nominal; & that you rely, for preventing such a consummation, on the principle on which you justly lay so much stress, that of payment proportionate to the work done. I confess I have no confidence that this principle could be so applied as to have the effect intended. It was tried (as I have understood) in the Irish Relief Works3 & in the Ateliers Nationaux4 at Paris, & with the result which might be expected—viz. that if the rate of payment by the piece was sufficiently liberal not to overtask the feeble and unskilful, it enabled the strong & experienced workman to earn so much with perfect ease, that all other employment was rapidly deserted for that held out by the public.
My own opinion is that when productive employment can be claimed by every one from the public as a right, it can only be rendered undesirable by being made virtually slave labour; & I therefore deprecate the enforcement of such a right, until society is prepared to adopt the other side of the alternative, that of making the production & distribution of wealth a public concern. I think it probable that to this, in some form (though I would not undertake to say in what) the world will come, but not without other great changes—certainly not in a society composed like the present, of rich & poor; in which the direction of industry by a public authority would be only substituting a combination of rich men, armed with coercive power, for the competition of individual capitalists.
At present I expect very little from any plans which aim at improving even the economical state of the people by purely economical or political means. We have come, I think, to a period, when progress, even of a political kind, is coming to a halt, by reason of the low intellectual & moral state of all classes: of the rich as much as of the poorer classes. Great improvements in Education (among the first of which I reckon, dissevering it from bad religion) are the only thing to which I should look for permanent good. For example, the objects of your Association, & those of the promoters of Emigration, even if they could be successful in putting an end to indigence, would do no more than push off to another generation the necessity of adopting a sounder morality on the subject of overpopulation—which sounder morality, even if it were not necessary to prevent the evils of poverty, would equally be requisite in order to put an end to the slavery to which the existing state of things condemns women; a greater object, in my estimation, both in itself & in its tendencies, than the mere physical existence either of women or men. I am sorry to see in your Circular the ignorant & immoral doctrine that the “separation”5 enforced in the workhouse is among the sources of “degradation” & diminished “self-respect” for the pauper. I consider it an essential part of the moral training, which, in many ways (but in none more important) the reception of public relief affords an opportunity of administering: & the improvement of which would be a reform in Poor Law management, better worth aiming at, I think, than that which you propose.
I am Sir yr obt Servt
J. S. Mill
Edw. Herford Esq
TO EDWARD HERFORD1
1st Feby 1850
I am sensible of the compliment paid to me by the promoters of the “Poor Law Reform Association” in their willingness to make some modifications in the terms of their Address if I should thus be enabled to concur in it. But my differences from them are too wide to admit of cooperation. My objection is not founded on any mischief which I expect from the practical recommendations in the Address, but on what seems to me the merely superficial character of everything that it professes or contemplates. The plan will, I conceive, have no effect at all on the permanent & hereditary paupers, who form the great mass of the pauperism of the country. Manufacturing operatives are, as you say, often thrown out of employment in great numbers at once, by the vicissitudes of trade, & to find the means during such intervals, of employing them so as to reproduce their subsistence, would be a useful thing doubtless, but I cannot think that it would amount to any social reform; it seems to me more the concern of the ratepayers than of any one else. Of course I make no objection to considering & discussing the means of doing this, but it is not a thing in which I feel called upon to take a part.
It is not necessary that I should comment on the many things in your letter with which I entirely disagree; I will merely observe on a matter of fact, that though I am aware that piece work was not the original principle either of the Irish relief works or of the ateliers nationaux,2 I have a most distinct recollection that in one or other, & I believe in both, it was had recourse to on failure of the original plans, & with the effects which I mentioned.
I am Sir