Front Page Titles (by Subject) 110.: WHATELY'S INTRODUCTORY LECTURES ON POLITICAL ECONOMY EXAMINER, 12 JUNE, 1831, P. 373 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I
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110.: WHATELY’S INTRODUCTORY LECTURES ON POLITICAL ECONOMY EXAMINER, 12 JUNE, 1831, P. 373 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I, ed. Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson, Introduction by Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).
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WHATELY’S INTRODUCTORY LECTURES ON POLITICAL ECONOMY
This is Mill’s first notice of an author he often referred to, Richard Whately (1787-1863), cleric and prolific writer on religion, philosophy, and political economy, who was Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford from 1829 until he became Archbishop of Dublin from 1831 until his death. The review, which appears in the “Literary Examiner,” is headed “Introductory Lectures on Political Economy: being part of a Course delivered in Easter Term, 1831. By Richard Whately, D.D., Principal of St. Alban’s Hall, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Oxford. [London: Fellowes, 1831.] 7s.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A review of Whately’s Introductory Lectures on Political Economy; in the Examiner of the same date [as No. 109]” (MacMinn, p. 16), and is similarly listed (without the “A”) and enclosed in square brackets in the Somerville College set.
by the statute relative to the Professorship of Political Economy endowed by Mr. Henry Drummond, it is prescribed, that the Professor shall hold his office only for five years; and that he shall annually publish at least one of his lectures.1 By virtue of the first provision, the late able and excellent Professor, Mr. Senior, has resigned the chair, and has been replaced by Dr. Whately; who now, in compliance with the second injunction of the founder, lays before the general public not one lecture merely, with which scanty measure he might have contented himself, but the first eight discourses, comprising the introductory division of his course.
If the English Church, and its Universities, possessed many such members as Dr. Whately; or if the few whom it does possess, exercised the influence which such men might be expected to exercise, over the general spirit of the body; the prospects of the Church in this era of general reformation would be very different from what they are. And of this no one seems better aware than Dr. Whately himself. An author who writes in earnest, if he writes much, cannot help betraying, to an intelligent reader, the predominant feeling of his own mind. Now, in Dr. Whately, the predominant feeling evidently is a consciousness and regret, that nearly all the most important branches of useful knowledge are possessed, in the present age, by various other persons indeed, but not by that profession which is set apart and paid for the purpose, or under the pretext, of civilizing and cultivating the human mind. And he is deeply anxious that these persons, whose duty and vocation it is to teach, should be prevailed upon to learn; in order that they may be at least upon a level with those who are under no peculiar or professional obligation of possessing knowledge. To impress upon them, both the propriety and the prudence of thus bestirring themselves, is the purpose which, more than any other, his labours, as an author, always seem to have in view. And a highly laudable purpose it is: though it might have been somewhat less prominent, without any loss to the general reader, who has neither a rectory nor a fellowship to preserve, and who desires knowledge for its own sake, and not on the score that it has become indispensable to the safety of tithes.
In all other respects, this production is excellent. We know of no existing work to which we can refer our readers for so clear, cogent, and analytical a refutation of the fallacies, and exposure of the perverse feelings, which disincline many weak, and some intelligent persons, from the study of a branch of knowledge pre-eminently important to all the best interests of mankind. We do not assert that the author has exhausted the subject; nor can it ever be exhausted. We even think that he has left unsaid several matters of importance, in order to have room for others which his lay readers, at least, could have better dispensed with. For example: he contends at great length against what he terms the false and dangerous impression, that Political Economy is unfavourable to religion. But where, we ask, was such an impression ever entertained, except at Oxford? and who would have suspected that it was entertained even there, if the Professor had not betrayed the secret? But, since he assures us that such is the fact, we are compelled to give credit to him; and to believe, that, in that ancient seat of learning, the race of theologians still survives, who condemned the discoveries of Galileo,2 inoculation, and the emetic, and who are firmly persuaded that God never intended mankind to know any thing more than what they know, on any subject whatsoever, moral or physical.
We have no where seen the good qualities of Dr. Whately’s manner of writing displayed to greater advantage than in this work. Among these we may mention, as the most valuable, first, that he is pre-eminently clear; and, secondly, that we may almost always learn from his writings much more than what we sought for in them. The first excellency he possesses, because he is perfectly master of all the steps in his own deductions. The second he owes to habits of general observation and reflection, by which (whatever be the subject on which he writes) he is supplied with materials, applicable indeed to his immediate purpose, but also covering a much larger extent of ground than that on which he happens to be building. It is by this test, more than by any other, that we distinguish the mind of general culture from that which is merely cultivated at one or two points. Every one must have known men and writers, who, if they confine themselves to what they are fit for, accomplish it excellently well, but without either using in the construction, or dropping by the way, one single idea which could possibly be of use for any purpose in rerum naturâ save that one. Dr. Whately is a man of a different description; and, consequently, all his works, even those with the most unpromising titles, are valuable.
[1 ]Henry Drummond founded in 1825 a chair of Political Economy at Oxford; the third of his stipulations sets the five-year limit (though re-election was possible after two years out of office), and the fourth requires the publication of at least one of a minimum of nine lectures delivered each year (broadsheet, dated 25 Apr., 1825, from the Delegates’ Room, Bodleian Library G.A. Oxon c. 41 ).
[2 ]Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Italian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, condemned by the Catholic Church for his observations confirming the Copernican theory.