Front Page Titles (by Subject) December 1847 to July 1858 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV
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December 1847 to July 1858 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV, 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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December 1847 to July 1858
The Daily News had published a series of articles on 26 Oct., and 2, 9, 25, and 29 Nov., 1847, entitled “The Literature of the Lower Orders,” by William Hepworth Dixon (1821-79), journalist, historian, and traveller. The editor of the Examiner, John Forster (1812-76), excerpted from and endorsed these articles in pieces entitled “The Moral Epidemic,” 30 Oct., pp. 690-1, and “Literature of the Lower Orders,” 6 Nov., p. 709. Mill’s response, in a letter to the editor, in which Harriet Taylor probably had a hand, is his first contribution to the Examiner since August 1842 (No. 293). It appears in the “Political Examiner,” headed as title, with the subhead, “To the Editor of the Examiner.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed J.S. in the Examiner of 11th December 1847 remonstrating against an attack on Sue’s novel of Martin l’Enfant trouvé”
(MacMinn, p. 69).
You have lately quoted with approval, and thereby given additional publicity and weight to some articles in the Daily News, which purported to give an account of “The Literature of the Lower Orders,” meaning the cheap periodicals, and publications in series. The quality of the mental food and entertainment provided for the “lower orders” (if they are really the purchasers of this cheap literature) is so important a subject, that the Daily News is to be commended for directing attention to it; but that paper has unfortunately delegated the office of examining the publications in question to a person so little worthy of the judicial trust reposed in him, as to heap all the terms of moral reprobation in his vocabulary upon works with which he seems entirely unacquainted. He has already been under the necessity of retracting the words in which he had accused one publication (the production, too, of a woman), of “looseness, warmth of colouring in criminal scenes, and a false glow cast round guilty indulgences.”1 Among the other works which he has designated by name as forming the literature which he terms “a chaos of corruption,”2 there is one characterised by him in the following words, which have been quoted in the Examiner.
Martin the Foundling, our readers already know too well as the most disgusting production of a writer who was never remarkable for his purity. In these penny numbers, largely circulated and almost universally devoured by eager female readers [the italics are the writer’s own] his most obscene and intoxicating details are reproduced with all the minute fidelity of which the English language is capable, and this very fidelity is flaunted forth as the chief recommendation of this edition. The translations current in the superior ranks are expurgated; but in spite of that necessary care for the taste and better feeling of the educated English reader, the tale is utterly disgusting.3
It is not often that a single paragraph displays such complicated unfitness in the writer of it, for having anything to do with the subject which he affects to treat of, as is shown in these sentences. So uneducated is he, as to suppose that “educated English readers” read French books in a translation. So ignorant of life and the world as not to know that the demand for M. Sue’s and all other French novels among the “superior ranks,” the “eager female readers” of the English nobility and higher classes, is so great and incessant that the libraries in Bond street cannot supply them fast enough or in quantity enough.4 And, to crown all, he has never read the book he condemns. I, having read it, doubt whether he has even looked at it. He has charged it with being what it is not, and entirely missed what it is. It does not contain “obscene and intoxicating details.” It does not describe scenes of sensuality, or introduce any licentious characters except those whom it intends in other respects to inspire disgust. Martin l’Enfant trouvé is a book which no one can read without seeing that it is written with a serious moral and even political purpose. It is a manifesto against the relation between rich and poor, such as the present institutions of society have made it. The author aims at exhibiting the moral perversion which the existing state of society engenders in a part of the rich and in a part of the poor; and this is done with something of the melodramatic exaggeration of the Mysteries of Paris,5 though in a far less degree. But he also presents, from both classes, characters of the noblest and highest principle, and the most conscientious self-control, and I do not fear to add that there are diffused through the book, and illustrated by the conduct and maxims of those characters, many principles of conduct and ideas of moral and social improvement, decidedly in advance of the age, and showing in the writer no ordinary degree of the desire and the capacity both to improve the outward condition of mankind, and to raise the tone of their minds; notwithstanding some errors, and among the rest a very decided tendency towards Communism, which in this most improving writer further reflection will probably reduce within just bounds.
I confess I feel indignant at seeing one of the very few popular imaginative writers of our time, who aim at any noble objects or inculcate any lessons but the most beaten and trivial moralities, made a byeword by people who have never read him for the extreme contrary of all that he is and desires to be. I know nothing of M. Sue except his works, but the more recent of them, and especially Martin, have given me the highest esteem for his intentions and for many of his principles,6 and I protest, with all the force I am capable of, against the calumnious representation of them which the Daily News has sent forth, and which you have, I am sure unwittingly, assisted in diffusing.
A remonstrance, addressed to the Daily News, not having been inserted, I address this protest to you.
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT IN FRANCE
The banning of the culminating banquet (planned for 22 Feb., 1848), in a series designed to promote parliamentary reform, led to demonstrations, and Louis Philippe dismissed Guizot. Troops fired on demonstrators on the 23rd, and armed insurrection resulted. On the 24th Louis Philippe (aged seventy-four) abdicated in favour of his ten-year-old grandson, the comte de Paris, and went into exile in Britain (where he died three years later); revolutionary leaders set up a provisional republican government at the Hôtel de Ville. Mill is here responding to “News of the Week,” Spectator, 11 Mar., 1848, p. 237, from which the quotations are taken. The letter, headed “To the Editor of the Spectator,” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed J.S.M. in the Spectator of 18th March 1848, on some proceedings of the Provisional Government of France”
(MacMinn, p. 69).
The opening remarks of the commentary on French affairs in your last paper recommend, in the best possible spirit, forbearance in judging and liberality in interpreting the conduct of the Provisional Government of France. I beg you to consider whether, in the detailed criticisms which immediately follow this recommendation, you have acted up to your own very proper canon. You blame the Provisional Government for “going beyond its provisional function to undertake legislation of a permanent character.” The first instance with which you support this censure is not felicitous. You say, “It was, for example, within its province to suspend the sitting of the Peers, but not to abolish the order of Peerage by abolishing titles.”1 Surely you must be aware that the French nonhereditary Peerage had nothing to do with titles: a vast majority of titled persons were not Peers, and a large proportion of the Chamber of Peers were not titled. With reference to the other acts of the Government on which you comment unfavourably, such as the reduction of the hours of labour,2 may it not be said in your own words, that “they are acting upon views and under compulsions which we cannot fully appreciate”? Yet even what we can already see of their situation may well be conceived amply to justify every act hitherto ascribed to them. Is it not their grand business as a Provisional Government to keep the peace and restore order? and was it possible to do this after such a revolution, unless on the foundation of a compromise which should afford some immediate satisfaction to the demands and expectations of the classes by whom the revolution was made? We must remember that no act of the Provisional Government is anything more than provisional. They very properly disclaim all right or power to make permanent laws;3 and they have convoked an Assembly who must necessarily reconsider all their acts, and who have power instantly to set those acts aside.4
The general colouring given by you to your description of events in France, tends (I am sure contrary to your intention) to encourage those who, wishing the Republican Government to fail, look out for every pretext to prophesy its failure. Where was the necessity for citing some idle rumour of an intended resignation of Lamartine, and acounting for it by supposing that he “probably discovers too much of the rude and sordid in the work of revolutionary politics”? Where is there the slightest sign in any public manifestation of M. De Lamartine, that he thinks any part of the work he is engaged in “rude and sordid”? and how unworthy must he be of such a position if he could think so? Again, you have given an entirely mistaken account of the admirable experiment which “a leading journal,” and it may be added a leading railway company, have organized for associating the labourers employed by them in the profits of the undertaking.5 You call it, with great exaggeration, a “community of property”; and you accuse it of “subjecting the men, who have hitherto counted on regular wages, to the vicissitudes of profit and loss.” If you had read with any care the particulars given in the daily newspapers, you would have seen that the plan does nothing of the kind. Every member of the establishment continues to receive a fixed salary as before; but, after deducting this and all other expenses, and allowing 5 per cent to the proprietors, any surplus profit is to be divided among all concerned, in the ratio of their fixed gains. It is exactly the plan successfully adopted some years ago by an individual at Paris, employing some hundreds of labourers, M. Leclaire; descriptions of which have been given in the Edinburgh Review and in Chambers’s Journal.6
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin, baronne Dudevant (1804-76), who wrote under the name “George Sand,” attacked established views of society and marriage in her novels and her life. La Réforme published on 9 Apr., 1848, p. 3, a letter to the editor from her (dated 8 Apr.), in which she objected to “Candidature de George Sand,” an article in the short-lived feminist and socialist newspaper, the Voix des Femmes (6 Apr., p. 1), by the editor Eugénie Niboyet (1797-1883), suggesting that Sand would be an ideal candidate for the National Assembly. Niboyet also read her article at a meeting of a feminist club on the same day. In her letter Sand denied knowing the people involved in the proposal, saying she did not wish to remain silent lest the “joke” might be thought to entail her acceptance of their proposal and ideas. The Voix des Femmes reprinted her letter (10 Apr., pp. 1-2), and reported that Sand’s candidature had formally been proposed at the Jacobin Club on the 9th. The MS of this undated draft letter, in Mill’s hand but undoubtedly a “joint production” with Harriet Taylor, is in the Mill-Taylor Collection, Vol. XLI, No. 2, ff. 10-12, on paper watermarked 1846. The MS of the English draft, also in Mill’s hand and undated (printed in App. D below), is ibid., ff. 18-19. As the letter was not published, it is not listed in Mill’s bibliography.
depuis longtemps admiratrice de George Sand, je fus des premiers à lui rendre honneur et justice. Lorsqu’en Angleterre tous se ruèrent sur elle comme sur un écrivain immoral et indécent, nous fûmes, moi et un cercle d’amis non sans influence, les premiers à nous récrier contre les accusations qu’alors on prodiguait à ses écrits. A tous ceux qui les condamnaient nous invoquions contre leur jugement d’alors leur jugement d’aujourd’hui, et l’événement est venu justifier notre appel. Comment donc exprimer ce que j’éprouve d’étonnement, de honte et de chagrin en apprenant que lors de la grande crise politique et sociale de l’humanité, amenée par le noble élan de Paris, Mme George Sand, au lieu d’avancer, recule—que non seulement elle ne prend aucune initiative, n’énonce aucuns principes, mais pareille à une lady timide et vulgaire, elle rejette les flateries amicales qui lui ont été faites par votre journal, et tâche d’écraser du haut de sa célébrité littéraire celles qui ont osé la prendre pour chef d’une opinion1 qu’elles étaient bien en droit de lui attribuer.
Sa protestation dans la Réforme contre l’usage que vous avez fait de son nom ne peut s’expliquer que par la crainte que son amour propre d’auteur pourrait être compromis par le soupçon d’une relation quelconque entre sa réputation faite et des réputations encore à faire. Quoiqu’il en soit, la réponse que vous avez faite à cette lettre lui est autant supérieure en dignité et en désintéressement, que la gloire littéraire de Mme Sand l’est à la vôtre. Serait-elle retombée au niveau de nos femmes-auteur anglaises, qui s’empressent toujours à déclarer qu’elles ne veulent pas soutenir l’émancipation des femmes tandis que c’est à l’émancipation partielle, conquise par des âmes plus généreuses, qu’elles sont redevables de pouvoir élever la voix, et se faire la position sociale et l’influence littéraire qu’elles craignent de compromettre en donnant la moindre aide au mouvement qui les a fait ce qu’elles sont. La littérature féminine de notre pays nous a bien habitués à ces petites bassesses, effets de la peur. Ce n’est pas ainsi que nous aurions voulu parler de G. Sand. Mais je crains qu’elle ne soit destinée à ne servir à la cause des femmes, cause inséparable de tous les grands intérêts de l’humanité, que de la manière dont toute femme éminente lui sert, l’aide par le seul fait d’être femme. Au reste je partage toute votre admiration pour son superbe talent, ses beaux romans et son merveilleux style. Mais je pense que vous tombez dans une erreur très nuisible à la cause des femmes, en la qualifiant de philosophe.2 Au point de vue philosophique rien ne me semble autant caractériser les écrits de Sand que la présence de l’imagination et du sentiment et l’absence de l’esprit logique et de principes exacts.
Permettez qu’en vous exprimant les voeux que toute femme d’un esprit élevé et d’un coeur large devrait émettre pour le succès de votre entreprise j’ajoute mon espoir que vous traiterez tout désaveu de sympathie pour cette entreprise de la part d’une femme quelle qu’elle soit, avec la pitié indulgente que réclament la faiblesse et la timidité.
ENGLAND AND IRELAND
The agitation for repeal of the union of Ireland with Great Britain, having died down in 1843, began again in late 1847. The French Revolution of February 1848 and the Chartist agitation sparked hopes of a bloodless revolution in Ireland, aided by the French; the Nation in April called for a national guard, and issued a radical creed. This letter from Mill, dated 5 May, is in response to “Repeal of the Union,” Examiner, 29 Apr., pp. 275-6 (from which the quotations are taken), by Thomas Carlyle. It signals the chasm that now separated their social and political views, as Mill, though one of Carlyle’s “earliest admirers,” now saw his views as pernicious, while Carlyle thought Mill’s valueless. (Their conflict over “The Negro Question” in 1849 may be compared; see CW, Vol. XXI, pp. 85-95.) This letter to the editor appears in the “Political Examiner” headed as title, with the subhead, “To the Editor of the Examiner.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed M on ‘England and Ireland’ in the Examiner of 13th May 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 69).
In your last week’s paper you published a dissertation by a writer whom, even if you had not named him, it would have been impossible to mistake, expressive of his judgment on the question of Irish Repeal. Will you permit one of that writer’s earliest admirers to express, through the same medium, the grounds on which he feels compelled to declare unqualified dissent from the judgment thus promulgated?
Let me premise that I am not an Irishman, but an Englishman; that I do not desire Repeal, but, on the contrary, should regard it as a misfortune to all concerned. It is good government that should be agitated for, not separate government: but separation is better than bad government; and I entirely sympathize in the indignation which an Irishman is entitled to feel at the reasons given by your correspondent for refusing it.
The doctrine of your correspondent is (to quote his own words) that “the Destinies have laid upon England a heavier, terribler job of labour than any people has been saddled with in these generations”—no other than that of “conquering Anarchy:” that this, which is “England’s work, appointed her by the so-called Destinies and Divine Providences,” cannot go on unless Ireland is either English, or in English hands; and that consequently the repeal of the Union is “flatly forbidden by the laws of the universe.”
This is a new phasis of the Hebrew prophet of these later days, the Ezekiel of England. The spirit of his prophesying is quite changed. Instead of telling of the sins and errors of England, and warning her of “wrath to come,”1 as he has been wont to do, he preaches the divine Messiahship of England, proclaims her the prime minister of Omnipotence on this earth, commissioned to reduce it all (or as much of it as is convenient to herself) into order and harmony, or at all events, under that pretext, into submission, even into “slavery,” under her own power—will it or will it not.
When an assumption of this sort is coolly made, and the already ample self-conceit of John Bull encouraged to invest itself with the imaginary dignity of an appointed minister of “the laws of the universe,” the proper answer would seem to be, simply to deny the premises. Where is the evidence that England has received any such mandate from the supreme powers? Where are her credentials? By what signs has she shown that the “conquering of anarchy” is the work specially appointed to her from above?
If the test is to be (and one cannot imagine your correspondent appealing to any other), her having given proof of the capacity to do it, it so happens that England is precisely the one country among all others, which has had the opportunity of showing, and has conclusively shown, that she has not that capacity. For five centuries, to speak within bounds, has this very corner of earth in question, this Ireland, been given over to her by the “destinies and divine providences,” as a test of what capacity she has for reducing chaos into order.2 For five centuries has she had Ireland under her absolute, resistless power, to show what she could do in the way of “conquering anarchy”—and the result is the most total, disastrous, ignominious failure yet known to history. No other nation ever had such an opportunity for so prolonged a period, and made such a use of it. The Romans were in many respects barbarians, yet the Gauls, within a century after being conquered by them, were a civilized people; and the most recalcitrant of all subjects with whom they had to deal, the people who then, as now, had the strongest natural tendency to anarchy of any in Europe, the Iberian Spaniards, in 150 years after the conquest were perfectly peaceable, and far more civilized than the Romans themselves were when they conquered them. Mahomet, one of your correspondent’s heroes,3 was a savage, and a leader of savages; he lived in one of the worst times of the world’s history, yet in a century after his death the most civilized monarchy in the western world, one which kept arts, letters, and commerce alive when they seemed to have perished everywhere else, had been founded at Grenada by the descendants of his wild Arabs. These may be called conquerors of anarchy. But England! and in Ireland! For the first four and a half of her five centuries she had not so much as the wish to do aught but oppress and trample on Ireland for her own supposed benefit. I waive penal laws4 and all controversial topics, but even in the eighteenth century she purposely and avowedly crushed the nascent manufactures of Ireland (the hopeful germ of so much that Ireland still needs), lest they should compete with her own.5 And there was not one of her statesmen who would not have thought it disgracefully unpatriotic to have acted otherwise. This is no peculiar reproach to England; it was the infernal spirit of that time—a time at which England, now the liberator of the negro slave, made wars and treaties for the sake of Assiento contracts for supplying negroes to be worked to death in Spanish America.6 It is to the honour of England that she was the first to cast off this spirit: and during the present generation, the policy of England towards Ireland has been, in point of intention, as upright and even as generous as was consistent with the inveterate English habit of making the interest of the aristocracy and of the landlords the first consideration. As between the two countries, nothing can now be more disinterested than the policy of England. It is a pity we should be obliged to add, nothing more imbecile; more devoid of plan, of purpose, of ideas, of practical resource. Omitting former times, we had, two years ago, what may prove to have been a last opportunity of regenerating Ireland. A terrible calamity quelled all active opposition to our government, and Ireland was once more a tabula rasa,7 on which we might have inscribed what we pleased. This was an occasion for English politicians to show what they had in them. Here was a field to exercise this divine gift of bringing chaos into order. Whatever ideas they had, they must have then displayed; and it proved that they had none. They spent ten millions in effecting what seemed impossible—in making Ireland worse than before.8 They demoralized and disorganized what little of rational industry the country contained; and the only permanent thing with which they endowed Ireland, was the only curse which her evil destiny seemed previously to have spared her—a bad poor law.9
The eternal laws of justice, which one might have expected that your correspondent at least would have stood champion for, will not permit that a country which has for five hundred years had the power to make what it pleased of another, and has used that power as England has done, and which has no more idea now, than it had 500 years ago, how to make any good use of the power, should now—when its unhappy dependent, weary of such government, declares that it will try what can be done by and for itself—should now say to the dependent, I am appointed to improve and civilize you, and rather than let go my hold of you, I will make you suffer “a doom that makes me shudder.” You appointed! the dependent country may well retort; then why did you not set about it before? What proof do you give that you mean to attempt it now? And even if you do, has not your capacity, both long since and down to this very hour, been weighed in the balance and found wanting?10
There might be somewhat to be said for a pretension of this sort, if made in behalf of England by a Cromwell.11 If courage and capacity of the highest order, proved through a long period of confusion, in which capacity of every sort rose to the top, had invested some eminent ruler of this island with a temporary dictatorship, thereby enabling him more effectually and speedily to clear away all obstacles to future progress, and erect on the ground thus cleared an enduring edifice of good government, and if every part of his conduct steadily manifested that such was really his purpose, I for one should have nothing to object, if such a ruler claimed it as his duty, and consequently his right, having already Ireland under his power, to do a similar good work for it also; nor is it likely that either the duty or the right would in such case be gainsaid by Ireland itself. But at present the individual in whom England is personified, and who is to regard himself as the chosen instrument of heaven for making Ireland what it ought to be, and is encouraged to carry fire and sword through Ireland if that assumption should be disputed, is—Lord John Russell!
In regard to the 150,000,000 of subjects whom your correspondent says that the English nation has to care for; it is quite true that in India, having to do, not with “anarchy” (save in some passing exceptional case, like that of the Sikhs), but with a people inured from numberless generations to submission, the English nation does contrive to govern them some degrees better than they were governed by their tyrannical or incapable native despots. And inasmuch as England was able to do this in spite of Napoleon and of united Europe, she could probably continue to do so in spite of Ireland. As for the remainder of the 150,000,000 (except the comparatively insignificant negro colonies), I am yet to learn that England does any one thing for them which they could not do better for themselves; or that her good government of them consists when at the best, in anything better than in leaving them alone. With respect to the “world just now fallen into bottomless anarchy,” and which your correspondent seems to think may expect to be helped out of it by England, is not this the case for saying, “Physician, heal thyself!”12 The quellers of anarchy among the English ruling classes will have work enough of that sort to do at home, unless the author of Past and Present is a false prophet.13 With what sort of mental furniture they are fitted out for doing it, we have had some recent specimens in the childish panic of a few days ago, the childish exultation when the panic was over, and that precious proposal from the leaders of all the parties in the state for a “Public Order Memorial”—a thing to convulse gods and men with “unextinguishable laughter.”14 These sages are hardly yet fairly in the wood, when they begin to holloa as if they were already out of it.
No, sir: rely on it, that England has no mission, just now, to keep other nations out of anarchy; but on the contrary, will have to learn, from the experience which other nations are now in a way of acquiring, the means by which alone it can henceforth be averted from herself. And your correspondent, of all persons, might have been expected to acknowledge that there is not one of the working men and women now in conference with Louis Blanc at the Luxembourg on the “organization of labour,”15 who is not a degree nearer to the overcoming of this difficulty than Lord John Russell or Sir Robert Peel; since those at least know what the problem is, and (however crude and wild their present notions are) place their hopes in attaining a rational and peaceful solution of it, while the Englishmen place theirs in nothing but in crushing it down, and preventing it from being mooted at all. Before I cease to intrude on your space, let me be permitted to express the opinion that Europe, and especially France, which are accused, and by your correspondent, of rushing headlong into anarchy, are in reality affording a proof, and a most precious and salutary one, how utterly repugnant all approach to anarchy is to the present state of the European mind. For six weeks after the revolution there was no police, no organized force, the city guard was annihilated, the troops banished, the Government had no means of making itself obeyed but by argument and persuasion; nothing apparently stood between Paris and anarchy; yet nothing worse is known to have happened than a few forced illuminations in honour of trees of liberty; and even of common offences, it is said that a smaller number were committed than in ordinary times. Most remarkable is it, that so far from being an anarchical spirit, the spirit which is now abroad is one which demands too much government; it is wholly a spirit of association, of organization; even the most extreme anti-property doctrines take the form of Communism, of Fourierism,16 of some scheme not for emancipating human life from external restraint, but for subjecting it to much more restraint than it has heretofore been subject to, or ever ought to be; and the apostles of those doctrines rely avowedly on moral force and on bringing the rest of mankind to their opinion by experiment and discussion.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
THE REFORM DEBATE
This article was prompted by the introduction by Joseph Hume on 20 June, 1848, of a Motion on National Representation, which included household franchise, the ballot, triennial parliaments, and redistribution (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 99, cols. 879-906). The debate (ibid., cols. 906-66) was continued on adjournment to Thursday, 6 July, when the motion was lost by a vote of 84 to 351 (ibid., Vol. 100, cols. 156-226). This is the first of many leading articles Mill wrote for the Daily News. Unheaded, it appears after the parliamentary report. It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the Reform Debate (1st leader) in the Daily News of 8th July 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 69).
if the condition and prospects of a great popular question may be estimated at each period by the character of the opposition to it, the reform movement has made great progress in the interval between the first debate on Mr. Hume’s motion and that of Thursday last; for the change in the complexion of the anti-reform advocacy is most perceptible. On the first occasion, the tone was that of a champion who is quite persuaded that he is safe, and only for form’s sake exchanges a few thrusts. Lord John Russell’s speech sounded like an echo of Mr. Canning in days long gone by, when nobody in parliament took reform au sérieux, and the orator well knew that what his hearers demanded from him was not reason or argument, but a colour, to put upon the vote they were predetermined to give.1 All Lord John Russell’s points were an exact repetition of Mr. Canning’s. The country did not want organic change. Our constitution was the admiration and envy of surrounding nations. In England, a man might rise from the lowest station in society to the highest. If the House of Commons were reformed, it would not be compatible with an unreformed House of Lords. All these saws Lord J. Russell had heard, twenty times from Mr. Canning, in opposition to his own motions for reform; and there was as much truth and pertinency in them then as there is now. Whether Lord John, a tardy pupil in his opponents’ school, now actually thinks that these are arguments, we do not know; but we feel sure that Mr. Canning did not, that (to use a stale metaphor) he laughed in his sleeve at them, and that if he had ever been brought to close quarters, he would have fought the battle with weapons totally different. He estimated his tory supporters very justly in supposing that they did not require anything better, and as for reformers they were not strong enough (at least he thought so) to be worth the trouble of any more ingenious sophistry.
It is possible that Lord John Russell, when he delivered his speech against reform, may have been of a somewhat similar way of thinking. It was not then many weeks since the glorious tenth of April, when the demon revolution, or at least a noisy braggart that attempted to look like him, sneaked away at the sight of a special constable’s staff; and perhaps Lord John thought that democracy had been extinguished with Mr. Cuffey.2 If so, subsequent reflection has brought wisdom, if not to him, at least to his supporters, for on Thursday there was no renewal of this old and once serviceable style of argumentation. Nobody took down from their shelves any more of Mr. Canning’s dusty instruments of warfare, or borrowed from Lord John those which he had brushed and burnished for the former occasion. The speakers on Thursday had completely altered their tactics. They no longer took their stand in defence of “things as they are.”3 They gave up the defence of their own position, and only tried to show that their assailants where as vulnerable as themselves. The series of speeches against Mr. Hume’s motion was a succession of assaults not upon reform, but upon the details of the particular plan of reform which Mr. Hume has brought forward. The burden of the complaint was that the plan is not systematic—that it rests on no definite principles, and is open, at various points, to the double question, why go so far; and, since you go so far, why not go farther?4
The assertion is only true in a sense in which it is denied by no one. Mr. Cobden accepted the charge,5 and none of Mr. Hume’s supporters repudiate it. But it comes with an ill grace from the speakers and writers who advance it. There is not one of them who does not proclaim that he also is for reform. A member of Sir Robert Peel’s cabinet congratulates the ministry on having done with finality;6 and we find, to our great edification, that all the world are reformers, each in his little way. Then, may not Mr. Hume retort on his assailants their cavilling objection against himself? Does any one of their little plans rest on any abstract principle any more than his, or contain in itself any demonstrative reason for doing exactly so much and no more? In what, then, do their schemes of reform differ from his? In that which is of more importance than anything else—that his proposition is for a great reform, theirs for a small one. If it is asked what principle is involved in Mr. Hume’s proposition, this is the principle. It is the principle of a large reform.
Whatever people may say, for the sake of success in a debate or in a leading article, every one knows that the question is not about any particular collection of details, about any six points, or four, or five. The question is that of a large alteration in our representative system. Any plan which is brought forward as a standard for a party to rally round, must be of the nature of a compromise. The new reform bill is neither more nor less so than the old one. There is probably as much variety of opinion among those who voted with Mr. Hume, as there was among those who voted with Lord Grey in 1831.7 But they are agreed in this, that they demand a large measure. There is no other principle in the matter, and there needs no other. The measure is intended to be such as all may vote for, who think that a large reform of parliament, in a democratic direction, but short of actual democracy, is desirable in itself, and suitable to the circumstances of the present time. In this respect the scheme perfectly fulfils its purpose. It draws the line with sufficient distinctness. Those who are for no change at all, or for such changes only as would make no difference in the spirit of the government, of course vote against it. All others may vote for it, reserving their ulterior opinions. It excludes all who do not come up to its mark, but admits all who go beyond it.
One lesson the consistent supporters of reform may take to themselves—a lesson which becomes more important in proportion as the contest ceases to be a mere mock fight and becomes a serious conflict of opposing reasons. Their practical conduct as politicians necessarily partakes of compromise. Their demands and systematic aims must often fall short of their principles. But let them not therefore cut down their principles to the measure of their demands. If they do, they lose far more in vigour of argument, and in the imposing influence of a sense of consistency and power, than they can possibly gain in charming away the fears of those who would, but dare not, follow them. Let them disclaim nothing which is a legitimate consequence of their principles. Let them tell the truth—when it is the truth—that their private opinion goes further than their public demands, and that if they ask less than what their principles would justify, it is not because they fear to avow, or are unable to defend, their principles, but because they think they are doing more good by uniting their efforts with those of others to attain a nearer object, and one more immediately practicable.
This unheaded leader (following the parliamentary report), which again brings French experience to bear on English reform, is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on Reform (1st leader), in the Daily News of 19th July 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 70).
the more reasonable class of the opponents of reform do not attempt to defend the present constitution of parliament by any very confident appeal to its fruits; they find little to say in recommendation of the sort of government, or the sort of governors, which our present institutions give us; but they are unable to persuade themselves that matters would be at all mended by giving a more democratic character to the popular branch of the legislature. The fault, they say, is in the country itself; in the national education; in the state of the public mind; not in the constitution of parliament. If our statesmen are without ideas and without purposes, weak, passive, opinionless; if they have neither head nor heart to face the difficulties of any great question; if they rarely aspire to leave any of the larger interests of the people they profess to govern in a better condition than they found them; this is not (in the opinion of some persons) the fault of the men, so much as of the age and country, which have not produced better men, or have produced them only as scattered, obscure individuals, quite as likely to be overlooked by a numerous constituency as by a narrow one. If the classes who now rule in parliament are so deficient in the qualities which should belong to rulers, do the masses possess them? The knowledge, the vigour of intellect, the freedom from prejudice, the judgment undivided by selfishness or partiality, which we so deeply desiderate in the rich and high-born, do we find them in the poor? That clear-sighted justice and high-minded generosity, combined with practical resource, which the times demand—without which this great transitional period in opinions and institutions may be lengthened out in fruitless oscillations—what reason have we to flatter ourselves that these endowments, which we seek vainly among our so-called educated classes, will be found in the untaught delegates of the factory and the workshop? Is it not much, and more than we can expect, if those for whom society has done nothing, prove no worse than those on whom it has lavished all its means of instruction and improvement?
This objection assumes, as the natural and intended effect of popular institutions, that the crude opinions and unguided instincts of the working classes would be the directing power in the state. We have no such expectation from any extension of the franchise. Reformers have always maintained, and the example of France is now before us to show, that views of things taken from the peculiar position of the working classes are not likely to predominate, or to have at all more than their just influence, even in a legislature chosen by universal suffrage. After a revolution made by workmen, not twenty members in an assembly of nine hundred are working men. Scarcely in our own parliament do opinions with any semblance of an anti-property character meet with a more hostile reception; and it is evident that the errors of the assembly are more likely to be on the side of conservatism than of revolution. Then what has France gained, it may be asked, or what would England gain by the admission of the working classes to the franchise? A gain beyond all price, the effects of which may not show themselves in a day, or in a year, but are calculated to spread over and elevate the future. This gain does not consist in turning the propertied classes out of the government and transferring it to the unpropertied, but in compelling the propertied classes to carry it on in a manner which they shall be capable of justifying to the unpropertied.
Grant but a democratic suffrage, and all the conditions of government are changed. Whoever may be the rulers, the interest of the great mass of the community must then stand foremost among the actuating principles in the conduct of public affairs. The legislature must from that time make both the real and the apparent interests of the most numerous classes an object of incessant solicitude; and whenever it does things which are opposed to those apparent interests, it must defend them by reasons drawn from the interests of those same classes, and appealing to their understandings. The consequences of this would be incalculable. The discussions of parliament and of the press would be, what they ought to be, a continued course of political instruction for the working classes. Let those classes be as ignorant, prejudiced, passionate as any one may choose to represent them; let them be full of all sorts of prepossessions against property and order—those who are interested in property and order would feel all the more strongly that their safety depended on enlightening that ignorance, prejudice, and passion. One of the first measures of the democratic government of France has been a bill to bestow gratuitous education, at the expense of the state, upon the whole rising generation of the French people.1 Where the poorest have votes, the richest can no longer be indifferent to the state of their mental cultivation. To educate the whole community up to the highest point attainable is not then a matter of choice but of fortunate necessity.
This, however, is only one, and the most obvious, of the benefits which would arise from making the labouring masses a great power in the state. Nothing can be imagined which would tend so much to regenerate the intellectual vigour of the classes, who are now letting the powers of government perish in their hands from mere mental feebleness. Every one who knows history or the human mind is aware, that powerful intellects and strong characters are formed by conflict, and that the times which have produced brilliant developments of mental accomplishment in public stations have been those in which great principles and important social elements have been fighting each other hand to hand—times of struggle for national independence, political freedom, or religious emancipation. The present age also is an age of struggle between conflicting principles which it is the work of this time, and perhaps of many generations more, to bring into a just relation with one another. The conflict now going on is between the instincts and immediate interests of the propertied classes and those of the unpropertied. This opposition of interests—partly real, partly only apparent—is at present the grand difficulty of government. All other questions with which governments have yet begun to occupy themselves, are difficult chiefly by their connexion with this. Now, of those two opposing forces—neither of which can be disregarded, neither of which can or ought to triumph over the other, but which it is the grand business of government to attempt to reconcile—one only is represented in the British parliament. The ministry, be it what it may, exclusively represents the propertied classes; and the two houses of parliament are unanimously on the same side of the question as itself. It has to make out a case to the satisfaction solely of its own party. The murmurs of the other party it only hears at a distance, and is under no greater necessity of attending to them than the cabinet of a despot. There are no recognised organs for that other power, no way in which it can show itself above ground, and the extent of its subterraneous working will therefore only be known when some day, as at Vienna, it explodes and blows up the whole fabric of society.2
Is it not of old one of the principal and acknowledged uses of parliament, that all which agitates and divides society should make itself felt by a corresponding agitation and division there? Ought not parliament to be the place of discussion for adverse interests and principles, the arena where opposing forces should meet and fight out their battle, that they may not find themselves reduced to fight it in a less pacific field? If so, the British parliament does not fulfil its office; for the vital question with which all Europe rings, and which fills every thinking mind, both in England and on the continent, with anxiety—the question how to make the rights of property acceptable to the unpropertied classes, is unheard of in that assembly, which it ought more than anything else to occupy; and the subjects which engross parliamentary debates, compared with the great and urgent interests of the nation, form a contrast as full of irony, as the Byzantine multitude occupying itself with the factions of the circus when Attila was at their gates.3 So it will be until the rulers of the country have to meet face to face in parliament the representatives of those interests and feelings of which they are now ignorant, or from which they superciliously turn aside. They have to learn the difficult but necessary act of looking at established institutions and opinions from the point of view of those who are not on the sunny but on the shady side of the social edifice. Defects by which other people alone suffer are seldom seen until the sufferers point them out. When the unpropertied are fairly represented in the House of Commons, their just claims will, for the first time, obtain a really impartial hearing, and their unreasonable demands will, also for the first time, be so resisted as not to leave a stinging sense of injustice behind.
This article returns to the issues of No. 373 (q.v.), with particular reference to Thomas Noon Talfourd’s Speech on National Representation (6 July), PD, Vol. 100, cols. 170-81. This unheaded second leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on Electoral Districts and against Mr. Talfourd’s speech, in the Daily News of 25th July 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 70).
the most important point in Mr. Hume’s plan of reform is the equalisation of the electoral districts. This one thing would do more towards diminishing the undue ascendancy of landed and moneyed wealth than all the other points, even of the charter,1 without it. It would reduce the nominees of the landlords in the House of Commons from about two-thirds of the whole assembly to about one-third. And by making every electoral body too numerous to be bribed, it would put an end to the obtaining seats by mere expenditure, an object for which so much virtuous zeal is so ineffectually professed by all classes of half-reformers.
This, then, being, of all the “points,” by far the most disagreeable to the present ruling powers, the opposition to it is proportionally more obstinate than to any other. But as it is not convenient to say that the real objection to the measure is its efficacy, every encouragement is held out to the invention of sentimental objections. Electoral districts are said to be mechanical, pedantic, a rule-and-square system; and all the other phrases usually employed to throw discredit on precise and business-like modes of conducting any transaction. Serjeant Talfourd, the “good poet but bad politician,”2 lent himself as an organ for this style of declamation; and clenched his first specimen with the passage, known to all readers of poetry from Coleridge’s translation of Schiller’s Wallenstein, in which the crafty Ottavio Piccolomini inculcates on his high-minded son the superiority of tortuous courses:
So, because the lightning and the cannon-ball fly straight to their mark, nothing else should. Straightforwardness and directness of aim are declared to be discreditable things, and whatever takes the straight road to its object is an agent of destruction. Let us rather say that directness and power are the same thing or always accompany each other. If the object be to destroy, the means which are most direct are the most effectual; and so they are when the object is to preserve. When a person is in the water and drowning, Mr. Talfourd would hardly quote Schiller in favour of going round about, instead of straight in to deliver him. If it is absolutely necessary to have an illustration from visible nature, the sunbeams move in straight lines as well as the lightning; indeed more so, for the lightning makes no objection to twisting and turning in order to accommodate itself to the direction of the conducting medium. A steam-ship, also, would have been a more appropriate exemplification of rectilineal movement than a cannon-ball. The poet goes on to say that the road on which blessing travels
but the very words of the quotation suggest that the illustration and the philosophy are both antiquated, and that roads, in these days, are not made on the principle which the poet patronises. Does it not occur to the admirers of crooked paths that we are living in an age of railroads; and that, now-a-days, rather than not go straight to our object, instead of winding round the hill we even tunnel through it? The spirit of the time requires that its machinery, whether for physical or for political purposes, shall be efficient. It is not reckoned a merit in machinery to imitate the pleasing irregularities of nature. Its beauty is in its accuracy: it works by straight lines and right angles, and works best when its lines are most correctly straight, its angles most exactly square.
Coleridge himself, though fond of quoting the passage which Mr. Talfourd cited from him,5 is an authority in favour of electoral districts. He recommended, we think in his Church and State, a new administrative division of the country, describing the present one as barbarous, and a great obstacle to improvement.6 Even Schiller is against Mr. Talfourd; for the fine verses put into the mouth of Piccolomini do not express Schiller’s opinions; on the contrary the whole tragedy is a demonstration, not for, but against Piccolomini’s maxims and conduct.
Electoral districts are mechanical. And why not? In whatever manner members of parliament are elected, there must be mechanical arrangement of some sort; and what these should be is not a question of poetry or the picturesque, but of means to an end. What is the right end, and by what means can it be accomplished? Is it the proper end of a House of Commons to make the landed and monied aristocracies the masters of the legislature? If so, keep the system as it is. Is it the object that no class shall predominate, but that all sections of the community shall be powerful in proportion to their numbers and their intelligence? A new division and constitution of the electoral body is then imperative; and the more nearly equal the number of electors in each constituency the more nearly is the end attained. There is a sentiment concerned in the matter, without doubt, but it is that of justice. When just ends are aimed at by just means, and means well adapted to their attainment, all other sentiment will take care of itself. Sentiment, and of the best kind, is sure to gather round all things which are large diffusers of good among the human race.
Unfortunately, reformers no more than anti-reformers have yet learned to make great principles their object, and in this lies the secret in the affairs of communities no less than in those of individuals, of ineffectual struggles and mean results. The world will rally round a truly great principle, and be as much the better for the contest as for the attainment; but the petty objects by the pursuit of which no principle is asserted, are fruitless even when attained.
This unheaded third leader, another comment on the aftermath of the February Revolution (see Nos. 370 and 374), is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on French affairs in the Daily News of 9th August 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 70).
from the day when the people of Paris expelled the ruler who had been called the monarch of the middle classes, and proclaimed a democratic republic, it has been evident that the fate of political and social improvement in Europe, for many years to come, was to be decided in France. If the revolution, after its first difficulties are over, issues in a government which at once preserves order and accelerates progress—makes the laws obeyed, and labours actively to improve them—then in England, and in all Europe, faith in improvement, and determination to effect it, will become general, and the watchword of improvement will once more be, as it was of old, the emancipation of the oppressed classes. If, on the other hand, the French people allow their republican institutions to be filched from them by artifice, or yield them up under the ascendancy of some popular chief, or under the panic caused by insurrection, or compromise them by an indefinite succession of disorders, repressed only by a succession of illegal violences on the part of the government, the tendency in this and other countries to the extension of political rights or the redress of social injustices, may be for a long time suspended. The tide will set in in a retrograde direction, and a timid conservative instinct will probably take the place of even that moderate taste for improvement which did exist in a certain portion of the influential classes of this country before February last.
The enemies of reform in England know all this, and their tactics are accommodated to it. Events in France itself are fortunately out of their power. If anything which they were able to do could make the revolution in France really a disastrous failure, it would be done. Lacking this, the most that there is any chance of accomplishing is to make it be thought a failure. And to effect this, there is hardly any exaggeration or misrepresentation which is not resorted to. Those whose notions of the state of France are taken from the leading articles of almost any English newspaper, are much worse than ignorant, they are entirely misinformed. The writers do not even preserve a decent consistency with the facts published by themselves. It has repeatedly happened, that the Paris correspondent in one column has given an authoritative denial of some slanderer’s report, which is expatiated on as an admitted truth in the same day’s editorial article.1 In other cases similar slanders, after having for several days served their purpose as texts for blackening the revolution, or some individual or party connected with it, have been contradicted in half-a-dozen words, and in a corner, a week or more after the official contradiction had gone the round of the French newspapers. Oftener still, the denial, or positive disproof, given in the French papers, has not been noticed at all, while the calmuny has continued to be assumed as an indisputable fact. Instances of all these kinds of misrepresentations have occurred (for example), with regard to the imputed atrocities of the late unsuccessful insurgents.2 There was no limit to the absurd incredibility of the things at first asserted respecting these people. The English journals eagerly circulated them all—even the nonsense about waylaying the troops and the national guard to poison them with brandy, and such cock and bull stories, which bore their absurdity on the face of them—to which nothing but the extreme of terror and exasperation combined could have made the greatest gobemouche in Paris give credit for an instant. This, and all the tales about poisoned balls and other peculiarly murderous missiles made and used by the insurgents,3 have been proved and are now admitted to be, not exaggerations, but absolute fictions, without the smallest pretence of a fact to ground them on. There is not a single imputation of cruelty or ferocity of anything like a general character which is not now given up; the only assertions of the kind as yet unrefuted are of two or three insulated acts by individuals, and it remains to be seen whether even these will stand the test of judicial inquiry. Yet the English public are still led to believe, and do believe, that the insurrection was something unheard-of for its horrible barbarity; and the journals which led them into this belief take care not to disabuse them of it. Nor are the victors in the late contest more spared by calumny than the vanquished. We are told with the coolest effrontery in leading articles about the number of persons who have been shot by order of the present French government4 —it being a notorious fact that not one person has been shot, not one life taken, by the authority of government in consequence of the insurrection, while it is expected that none will be taken even after trial. The mildness and moderation of the sincerely republican party are as conspicuous in the present head of the government and his cabinet as in the provisional government and executive commission who preceded him.
The readers of both whig and tory papers really ought to receive with distrust the statements which they find in those papers disadvantageous to France. They ought to consider how great an interest those papers have, or think they have, in putting the worst colour on French affairs. It is the only chance of preventing reform. There is no way now of discrediting reform without blackening France. The enemies of popular institutions have lost their most potent weapon, fear of the unknown. Democracy, in the popular signification of the term, exists as a fact, among our nearest neighbours. There, under our eyes, is universal suffrage, or what is usually, though improperly, called by that name; a sovereign assembly, elected by the whole male population; no aristocracy as a clog on its movements; and the motto of this government is Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Here, then, is an actual trial of the experiment; with what success depends on circumstances of which no one is yet in a condition to judge; but if the result should be a social system, which, with any amount of allowance for human imperfection, does sincerely, and in a manner not to be mistaken, aim at guiding its practice by the spirit of its motto, surely it cannot have other than a beneficial influence? Other countries will not fear anything worse for themselves from popular institutions than France suffers, or than they can be made to believe that France suffers. We may be certain, therefore, that the bad side of everything will be made the most of; that every idle or malicious rumour of mischief will be circulated as a fact, and when each particular rumour is proved to be false, the general impression made by such false assertions will be studiously kept up, and that, fairly or foully, events in France will continue to be represented in the blackest colours in which there is any hope of representing them successfully. And such is, unfortunately, the general ignorance in this country respecting foreign affairs, that a large amount of misrepresentation may as yet be ventured upon without any considerable danger of detection.
LANDED TENURE IN IRELAND
Mill was encouraged to return to his main Irish themes by the article on large and small farms in the Agricultural and Industrial Journal, I (July 1848), 147-71, by Robert John Kane (1809-90), Irish chemist and Professor of Natural Philosophy, appointed in 1845 President of the as-yet unopened Queen’s College at Cork, and a member of the commission investigating the potato blight. Mill’s quotations are from the article. This unheaded third leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on landed tenure in Ireland, in the Daily News of 12th August 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 70).
the journal of the agricultural society of ireland for last month contains an article by Sir Robert Kane, entitled, “The Large or Small Farm Question Considered,” in which he promulgates his sentiments on the economical condition of Ireland. The reputation of Sir Robert Kane, and the public position which he has held, give a sort of scientific, and at the same time official, weight to his opinions, and therefore common sense and common arithmetic, coming from him, may carry an authority which, on the wretched subject of Ireland, they seldom obtain by their intrinsic merits. The clamourers against small holdings and the division of the land may perhaps give heed to him, when he proves by figures that small farms, in the existing circumstances of Ireland, are a necessity; since on the large farm system there would be employment for no more than two-fifths of the present agricultural population, the other three-fifths becoming paupers, to be supported from the produce raised by the labour of the former. Perhaps, too, such an authority will be believed when he says that a small farm (meaning not the thirty acres of the Farmers’ Estate Bill,1 but farms of from ten to fourteen acres), “will always,” when the skill of the farmer and his appliances are equal, “produce more, acre for acre, and pay a higher rent than the large farm;” and he sees no reason why the appliances should not be equal, for there is, according to him, among the cultivating classes of Ireland, “a vast quantity of capital which would be rapidly drawn forth under a proper small-farm system.” [Pp. 165, 166.] “If the real circumstances of the small farmers of Ireland be looked into, it will be found that the investment of a capital of from 80l. to 90l. on a farm of fourteen acres” would be by no means beyond their capability. [P. 165.] “There exists,” he continues, “amongst our poorer classes a show of poverty beyond what even the reality would justify. . . . They are afraid to let it be known they have money, lest their rent should be raised; they are afraid to improve their land, lest their rent should be raised; they are afraid to wear good clothes, lest they might appear to be deriving more from the produce of their farm than the miserable means of physical existence which their landlord will allow them to retain. Hence the money hid in thatch and buried in barns. Hence the secret and illegal deposits in savings’ banks in fictitious names.” [Ibid.]
It is hardly possible, we should think, for the most exclusive admirer of English farming to read this paper, and continue to believe that the most available remedy for Irish poverty is the clearing of estates and consolidation of small farms into large ones; and if the writer is correct in his opinion that there exists in the hands of small farmers sufficient capital for carrying on “a proper small-farm system” in such a manner as to yield, acre for acre, a greater produce than that of large farms, the road to the economical regeneration of Ireland is sufficiently plain. The reader who has followed Sir Robert Kane thus far is anxious to know how, in his opinion, this “proper small-farm system” is to be arrived at. We are sorry to be obliged to tell him that, on this subject, he will get no help from Sir R. Kane. The evils Sir Robert can understand, but on the subject of remedies nothing can be more lame and impotent than his conclusion.2 The same fear which paralyses every minister, every member of parliament, and almost every public writer when the real evils of Ireland come into question, ties his tongue. Most gladly would they do anything for Ireland, only there must not be a word said of the one vital point in the constitution of society as it exists in Ireland—the tenure of land. To fill Ireland with soldiers, blockade her with ships, to seize presses, confiscate newspapers, and imprison men without trial under a Habeas Corpus Suspension Act3 —these things are easy; but to brave the clamour of the men who call even the sale of land to pay the debts of the proprietor a “confiscation of all the land of Ireland,”4 is a thing which cannot be risked even to get rid of the main source of Irish misery and Irish disaffection together. And Sir Robert Kane, although not privileged, like a minister of state, to be ignorant of his business, can propose nothing as a remedy for Ireland but to instruct the people in agriculture: as if any quantity of instruction in farming would make people improve their farms who, on his own showing, hide their money in the thatch, for fear that if their landlord knew of it he would raise the rent! Is it not a mockery to talk of doing any good to the peasantry of a country in such a state of things as this? Who can expect agricultural improvement where the rent depends on the good pleasure of the landlords, and of such landlords?
Yet Sir Robert Kane writes strongly and boldly, while confining himself to generals:
The landlord [he says] has to learn that feudalism is extinct; that Great Britain and Ireland are the only places in the world where feudal landlordism is not extinct, except where the people are still slaves, and that there is a very large and intelligent class who think that the time is close at hand for reforming landlordism here also. The landed interests of this country, shut out by their insular position, by their ignorance and their pride, from making themselves acquainted with the forces of thought that have grown up within the last half-century, and which now govern the opinion of Europe, will only endanger their legitimate influence and position if they attempt to retain for the future the feudal privileges and territorial powers which were the natural social circumstances of the ancient times. Even in Ireland, the hospital for the aged and disabled ideas of Europe, feudalism, and the divine power of land, is dying—its worn out form crushed by the iron power of the industrial spirit.
This is excellent; but, unfortunately, Sir R. Kane does not mean it in the sense in which it can be of any practical use. For the old, worn out theory which he so justly repudiates, that landlords have the duties and are entitled to the rights of governors, he would substitute the doctrine that land falls under the same rules as any other article of commerce, and that neither law nor opinion has anything to do with the mode in which the owner manages it for his own interest.
A landowner is simply a dealer in land—a capitalist who has, either by himself or by his ancestor, invested his capital or his skill in land; he hires out the use of it to certain parties, who pay him therefor, as they pay for the cloth for their clothes, or the furniture for their rooms; and not merely the right, but the plain duty of the landlord is, to get the highest possible price he can for his land, and to compel the payment of that price by law.
We will not comment on this absurd notion of “duty,” nor will we discuss the question—How many of the 8,000 Irish landlords ever did, either by themselves or their ancestors, invest any particle of “capital or skill,” in their land; because we readily allow that the right of property in land in the present day ought not to depend on the manner in which the land was acquired centuries ago. But we do say that this theory of the purely commercial character of contracts for land, wherever else it may be applicable, does not and cannot apply to a country in the exceptional situation of Ireland. The contract for rent, in Ireland, is not between the landlord and a capitalist farmer, who is able to take care of his own interest, and makes no bargain but such as he believes to be commercially advantageous to him. The Irish landlord’s contract is with a peasant labourer, who cultivates not for profit but for existence, and who, if he cannot obtain a piece of land, has no choice but beggary or the poor-rate. It is not peasant farming that is objectionable; on this point we wholly agree with Sir R. Kane; but peasant-farming in an over-peopled country, and at a rent fixed by competition, we hold to be the main cause of all Ireland’s evils. The competition of superabundant numbers makes the tenants promise, and legally bind themselves, to pay nominal rents, exceeding not merely their means of payment, but the entire capabilities of the soil. On the “commercial principle” the landlord could sweep away the last potato; and the only estates in Ireland which are exceptions to the general wretchedness are those of which the owners, abandoning the commercial principle altogether, have taken upon themselves the tenant’s side of the question as well as their own, and have considered, not what the tenant will offer, but what the landlord ought to accept. The public, therefore, is interested, and very greatly so, in the mode in which landlords manage their estates; and if it is their general practice to manage them on a system of which all that we see in Ireland is the natural result, it will not do to say, with Sir R. Kane, that “it is the simple right of an owner of land to sell or let it at the highest price the market will afford.” [P. 169.] It is time to revert to just principles, and to regulate the supposed right of an owner of land in such a manner as to make it at least consistent with the essential conditions of industry, prudence, and material comfort, in the agricultural population.
THE FRENCH LAW AGAINST THE PRESS
On 11 Aug., 1848, the National Assembly in France promulgated a law severely restricting the freedom of the press (Bull. 60, No. 621), which Mill here quotes in translation. The article, headed “[From a Correspondent.],” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “An article headed ‘from a Correspondent’ on the French law against the press, in the Spectator of 19th August 1848”
(MacMinn, p. 70).
the decree against the press, just passed almost with unanimity by the National Assembly of France, is one of the most monstrous outrages on the idea of freedom of discussion ever committed by the legislature of a country pretending to be free. It is the very law of Louis Philippe—the September law, once so indignantly denounced—with scarcely any alteration but the substitution of the word “Republic” for “Monarchy.”1
This precious specimen of Liberal legislation declares punishable by fine and imprisonment all attacks on “the rights and authority of the National Assembly—on the rights and authority which the members of the Executive derive from the decrees of the Assembly—on the Republican institutions and the Constitution—on the principle of the sovereignty of the people and of universal suffrage—on the liberty of worship, the principle of property, and the rights of family”; [Art. 1] besides which, it ordains similar punishments for “exciting hatred and contempt towards the Government of the Republic,” [Art. 4] and for “public outrage committed (in their public character) against one or more members of the National Assembly, or against a Minister of any religion paid by the State.” [Art. 5.]
This list of subjects on which discussion is prohibited, or permitted only on one side, includes all the great political and social questions of the age. If only one set of opinions is to be permitted on any matter which involves the right of property, the rights or obligations of family, the question of Republicanism, of universal suffrage, even the particular constitution which the Assembly may hereafter adopt, or the rightfulness of abolishing that constitution—what are the subjects, worth discussing, on which freedom of political discussion is to exist? “The acts of the Executive,” says the decree. “The present provision is not to affect the right of discussion and censure on the acts of the Executive and of the Ministers.” [Art. 4.] A most liberal concession, truly! The law is worse, with only this reservation in favour of freedom, than if there were no reservation at all; for the most tyrannical court of justice which could now exist in civilized Europe would reserve more than this. It is not declared that even the actions of the Legislature may be censured, but only those of the Executive; and with regard to laws or institutions, no liberty of censure is reserved at all. There was a wretched pretence by one or two of the speakers, that no restraint was intended on the “freedom of philosophical discussion”—that nothing was to be forbidden but incitements to hatred and contempt.2 But the decree says nothing of the kind. The decree prohibits “any attack.” [Art. 1.] The distinction is good for nothing, even if it were made. To say that attacks are permitted, but not incitements to hatred and contempt, would be to say that discussion shall be lawful on condition that it be cold, dry, and unimpressive; that the dull and the indifferent shall be allowed to express opinions, but that persons of genius and feeling must hold their peace. Under such laws, it has been truly said in one of the French journals, Rousseau’s discourse on Inequality never could have been published.3 Nor could any great writings of great reformers, religious or political, have seen the light if such laws had existed and had been obeyed.
How long shall we continue to see the regard for freedom of opinion, which all parties profess while they are on the oppressed side, thrown off by them all as soon as they are in the majority? How much longer must we wait for an example, anywhere in Europe, of a ruler or a ruling party who really desire fair play for any opinions contrary to their own? Is it not shameful that no sooner has a reforming party accomplished as much change in the institutions of the country as itself deems desirable, than it proceeds to decree that every person shall be fined or imprisoned, who proposes either to go a single step further or a step back? We are aware of the allowances to be made for men lately engaged in a desperate and at one time a doubtful contest against a determined attempt at insurrection;4 and we know too that this decree is avowedly a temporary measure, to be hereafter superseded by more deliberate legislation.5 But we lament to say, that in the tone assumed, and the doctrines professed by the speakers, we see no ground of assurance that the permanent measure will be at all different, in spirit and principle, from the transitional one.
It is not, however, for English Conservatives, either Whig or Tory, to indulge any self-complacent triumph over French Republicans. The new act of the French Assembly does not make the laws of France on the freedom of the press worse than those of England have always been. The freedom of the press, in England, is entirely an affair of opinion and custom, not of law. It exists because the laws are not enforced. The law of political libel, as laid down in all the books,6 is as inconsistent with free discussion as the laws of Russia. There is no censure of any established institution or constituted authority which is not an offence by law. And within these few months it has been seen how eagerly the English Parliament, under the influence of a far less degree of panic, have rushed to make the laws against what was deemed seditous speaking or writing more stringent than before.7
A government cannot be blamed for defending itself against insurrection. But it deserves the severest blame if to prevent insurrection it prevents the promulgation of opinion. If it does so, it actually justifies insurrection in those to whom it denies the use of peaceful means to make their opinions prevail. Hitherto the French Government has been altogether in the right against all attempts to overthrow it. But by what right can the Assembly now reprobate any future attempt, either by Monarchists or Socialists, to rise in arms against the Government? It denies them free discussion. It says they shall not be suffered to bring their opinions to the touchstone of the public reason and conscience. It refuses them the chance which every sincere opinion can justly claim, of triumphing in a fair field. It fights them with weapons which can as easily be used to put down the most valuable truth as the most pernicious error. It tells them that they must prevail by violence before they shall be allowed to contend by argument. Who can blame persons who are deeply convinced of the truth and importance of their opinions, for asserting them by force, when that is the only means left them of obtaining even a hearing? When their mouths are gagged, can they be reproached for using their arms?
BAIN’S ON THE APPLICATIONS OF SCIENCE TO HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Alexander Bain (1818-1903), Mill’s friend and future biographer, who had written for the Westminster and helped Mill to revise his Logic, had held several posts as lecturer in moral and natural philosophy in Scottish universities. The pamphlet here reviewed was the first of four lectures, all on the same subject, which he had given at the Edinburgh Philosophic Institution in 1847. Mill’s review, in the “Literary Examiner,” is headed “On the Applications of Science to Human Health and Well-being, being a Lecture, introductory to a Course ‘on the Application of Physics to Common Life,’ delivered at the Edinburgh Institution in June, 1847. By Alexander Bain, [London:] A.M. Taylor [in fact, John J. Griffin]. [Glasgow: Richard Griffin, 1848.]” This review is not in Mill’s bibliography, but may be confidently attributed to him on the basis of the comment by Bain: “Chadwick had the fancy that my introductory lecture to the Edinburgh Course would be a recommendation in procuring the official consent to my being appointed [to the Metropolitan Sanitary Commission]. Accordingly, I threw off a number of copies, and gave them as presents, and exposed some for sale with Griffin, the publisher. John Mill prepared a notice of the lecture in the Examiner newspaper.” (Bain, Autobiography [London: Longmans, Green, 1904], p. 197n.)
there is no more popular subject at present than the applications of physical science; and there can be none more appropriate for a popular lecturer, combining as it does an inexhaustible store of wonders with a direct influence on the most obvious and universal interests of life. Few persons are so competent to treat this class of topics usefully and attractively, as Mr. Bain. His knowledge of the leading departments of physical science is accurate and profound; and he has a happy faculty for clearly explaining and familiarly illustrating what he knows. To these he adds the still rarer attribute, of a mind which looks ever through and beyond its immediate subject; scrupulously exact in details, yet not treating them like a mere man of detail, but as materials towards building up a nobler and happier scheme of human existence.
These general ideas and aspirations naturally come most distinctly to view in the present publication, which is but an introductory lecture. The following extract is illustrative of this portion of the author’s views:
There are two great stages in the progress of the various arts and productive occupations of human life. The earliest set of devices are derived from men’s ordinary and unassisted observation of the usual course of nature. The methods of mining, building, ploughing, sowing, spinning, dyeing, metal working, carrying from place to place, navigating, and so forth, are got at after trying many different methods and implements until it is seen that some answer better than the rest, these being once approved of, are then handed down to posterity, and they may often remain unchanged for a long course of ages. In fact, unassisted reason soon comes to a stand-still; as we see in such nations as the Hindoos and Chinese, who have never reached scientific methods of acquiring a knowledge of Nature. The second stage of progress is entered on, when, by the perfection of the knowledge-seeking art, the hidden laws of things are brought to light, and a vast number of additional properties discovered in the various objects of the world; when, for instance, by looking into the composition of vegetable bodies, and into the matters making up the soil that nourishes them, we can specifically and exactly suit the one to the other, instead of depending on a vague experience of gross results. On this second stage the European world entered last century, in regard to the mechanical arts; so that, in fact, we are only beginning to develop the vast resources of our planet, and we have now to look forward to a long and unremitted series of improvements.
But I must next call your attention to the difference between the Arts of Life, and the Art of Living,—or between man’s powers in farming, building, manufacturing and trading, and his ability to apply the results of all these to his own life and well-being; for this is the final intention of such manifold labours. Because we have very much improved the Arts of Life, it does not follow that we have equally improved the Art of Living. We may increase our abundance of the things that are useful and good, without acquiring the skill to apply them in proper measure, and in well-timed arrangement to the highly complex structure and constitution of our living framework.
It is, beyond all question, desirable that each one of us should contrive our arrangements and daily ongoings so as to make the very most of life; to render our existence as rich and effective, and great and brilliant, as it can be made; to combine the choicest enjoyments with the most wide-ranging and beneficial activity. Now it is only by knowledge and skill going along with adequate force of resolution, that we can so use the resources of the world on the one hand, and so control the impulses of our own nature on the other, as to maintain the highest possible pitch of vitality, and cause a constant current of our finest emotions and activities.
The Art of Living is the method of stretching out the resources of the world to the measure of human wants, desires, and capabilities. Each person has to consider his own peculiar situation and framework, and to select from among his possessions and opportunities, what will do most to yield him a grand and beautiful existence. We have all a certain command of what supports and gratifies body and mind; we have our homes, our city, our companions, our books, our means of accomplishment and instruction, our walks and excursions, the face of nature, the inspiration of art, the ongoings of the world, and many other things capable of influencing us to our very inmost being; on the other side, we are liable to burdens and toils, to violent shocks and slow miseries, to weariness and depression, to temptations and failures; and it becomes our task to dispose all these things to the making our lives joyous rather than grievous, powerful and benignant, rather than empty and hurtful.
After showing the insufficiency of merely empirical observation, without a scientific study of the powers of nature to form an adequate basis for the regulation of life, the author continues:
That the Art of Living has not yet come to great perfection is testified by the deplorable experience of the human race. The perplexity, and discord, and difficulties of life have been the theme of complaints that ring through all the ages of men; yielding Cynic and Stoic philosophies, self-inflicted tortures and immolations, voluntary banishment from the world, gloomy speculations, suicides and crimes. It is surely worth while trying whether a better knowledge of the actual course of things, and of the beneficial agencies wrapt up in the womb of nature, may not help, among other causes, to stem such a torrent of despair, and prove the possibility of a great and harmonious existence for man.
For this end we are anxious that the Art of Living should be based, not as heretofore, upon vague experience, however extensive, but on the well-sifted and thoroughly tested experience that constitutes our Exact Sciences. And it is a satisfaction to know that several of these sciences have already yielded important contributions to this great practical object.
A brief survey follows of what has been done, and of much more which is yet to be done by the various sciences, in furnishing means to lighten the burdens and increase the enjoyments and powers of human existence; not omitting the, as yet, infant sciences of the human mind and of human society.
A brief syllabus is annexed of the course, consisting of four lectures, of which the one now published was the first. The topics treated appear to have been chiefly the application to the health and comfort of life, and of what science has ascertained respecting the laws and properties of heat, water, air, and the effects of action and repose. A portion of the second lecture is given at length, relating to the bath and its uses, which affords a favourable idea of the lecturer’s talent for popular exposition of the details of his subject.
GROTE’S HISTORY OF GREECE 
This third newspaper review of Grote’s History (see Nos. 304 and 368) is the first of two dealing with Volumes V and VI (see No. 381 for the second part). Writing to Grote in January 1849, Mill notes that he has just finished reading the two volumes (published in December 1848) with “the greatest pleasure and admiration,” adding that “Every great result which you have attempted to deduce seems to me most thoroughly made out” (LL, CW, Vol. XIV, p. 3). The review, in the “Books” section, is headed “Grote’s History of Greece,” with the heading footnoted: “History of Greece. By George Grote, Esq. Volumes V and VI. Published by Murray. [London, 1848.]” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A first notice of the 5th and 6th volumes of Grote’s History of Greece, in the Spectator of 3d March 1849” (MacMinn, p. 70). A large portion of this review was quoted by Mill when he revised “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” Edinburgh Review, XCVIII (Oct. 1853), 425-47 (a review of Vols. IX-XI), for incorporation into his Dissertations and Discussions, 1st ed. (1859), Vol. II, pp. 510-54 (CW, Vol. XI, pp. 307-37); in the variant notes, “59” indicates D&D.
in his former volumes Mr. Grote brought down the Grecian history only to the battle of Marathon and the repulse of the first Persian invasion. He had thus barely arrived at the times for which the historian possesses the advantage of detailed information derived from contemporary authorities; and the view which he was able to exhibit of early Grecian events was necessarily so general, was collected from such scattered sources, and required so much of inference and even conjecture to piece it together, that, except in the few concluding chapters, the author’s powers as a mere narrator were not brought to any decisive test. With so little of story to tell, he had nevertheless, by a skilful manner of grouping the few known or ascertainable facts, and by the high character of the personal and political interest with which he was able to invest the early stages of Grecian freedom and civilization, given earnest of what he was likely to accomplish when he reached the period during which it is given us to know, not only the great events in the life of the Hellenic states, but the steps by which these were brought about, and many of the striking incidents which marked their course.
In the present volumes, Mr. Grote has the assistance throughout of eminent contemporary historians. In the earlier chapters, he travels under the guidance of the candid and inquisitive Herodotus, whose veracity he successfully vindicates against its ancient and modern assailants: a writer now known to be as trustworthy as he is picturesque, and who is here speaking of events contemporaneous with his own childhood—events with the actors in which, in many cases, he must have familiarly conversed. Where Herodotus fails, a still higher authority, the thoughtful, experienced, and accurate Thucydides, succeeds. A consecutive and authentic narrative therefore is here possible. In these volumes the recital of events assumes for the first time a marked predominance over the investigation of obscure facts, the discussion of evidence, and political and philosophical reflection. It is at this point, therefore, that the amount of Mr. Grote’s skill as a narrator can for the first time be decisively judged of.
The result of the trial is highly satisfactory. The sixth volume, especially, is a specimen of narrative which it would be difficult to surpass, in its own kind, from the writings of any English historian. Its excellence does not consist (any more than that of some of the most successful specimens of historical narrative which English literature already possessed) in the painting of mere externals. But in the truth and vividness of his conception of the events and in their essentials, and in his power of imparting this to the reader, we should be inclined to place him at the head of all English historians; and in what may be termed historical imagination—in the power of taking into his mind, at every period, the whole of the situation, and of making the reader do the same—it would not be easy to find his superior among the historians of any country. Certainly no writer on Greece had ever manifested this power; and the consequence is, that the most unexpected new lights are continually thrown even upon familiar facts of Grecian history, not by long discussion and argument, but by merely confronting them with one another.
aNor is the narrative deficient in the commoner sources of interest. The apt selection and artistic grouping of the details of battles and sieges, Mr. Grote had found done to his hand by the consummate narrators whom he follows, and in this respect he could do no better than simply to reproduce their recital. There is much more that belongs peculiarly to himself in the series of remarkable characters whom he exhibits before us, not so much (generally speaking) in description or analysis, as in action. In the earlier period, the prominent characters are Themistocles and Aristides: Themistocles, the most sagacious, the most far-sighted, the most judiciously daring, the craftiest, and unfortunately also one of the most unprincipled of politicians; who first saved, then aggrandized, and at last would have sold his country: Aristides, the personification of public and private integrity, the one only Grecian statesman who finds grace before the somewhat pedantically rigid tribunal of the Platonic Socrates.1
bBut theb figure which most brightly illuminates cthis divisionc of Mr. Grote’s history is Pericles—“the Thunderer”—“the Olympian Zeus,” as he was called by his libellers, the comic dramatists of Athens.2 Seldom, if ever, has there been seen in a statesman of any age, such a combination of great qualities as were united in this illustrious man: unrivalled in eloquence; eminent in all the acquirements, talents, and accomplishments of his country; the associate of all those among his dcontemporariesd who were above their age, either in positive knowledge or in freedom from superstition; though an aristocrat by birth and fortune, a thorough democrat in principle and conduct, yet never stooping to even the pardonable arts of courting popularity, but acquiring and maintaining his ascendancy solely by his commanding qualities; never flattering his countrymen save on what was really admirable in them, and which it was for their good to be taught to cherish, but the determined enemy of their faults and follies; ever ready to peril his popularity by giving disagreeable advice, and when not appreciated, rising up against the injustice done him, with a scornful dignity almost amounting to defiance. Such was Pericles: and that such a man should have been practically first minister of Athens during the greatest part of a long political life, is not so much honourable to him as to the imperial people who were willing to be so led; who, though in fits of temporary irritation and disappointment, excusable in the circumstances, they several times withdrew their favour from him, always hastened to give it back; and over whom, while he lived, no person of talents and virtues inferior to his was able to obtain any mischievous degree of influence. It is impossible to estimate how great a share this one man had in making the Athenians what they weree, the greatest people who have yet appeared on this planete . A great man had, in the unbounded publicity of Athenian political life, extraordinary facilities for moulding his country after his own image; and seldom has any people, during a whole generation, enjoyed such a course of education, as forty years of listening to the lofty spirit and practical wisdom of Pericles must have been to the Athenian Demos.
As the next in this gallery of historical portraits, we quote the character of another but a far inferior Athenian statesman,3 whom Mr. Grote is, we think, the very first to appreciate correctly, and bring before us in the colours and lineaments of life.
Though Nikias, son of Nikeratus, had been for some time conspicuous in public life, and is said to have been more than once Strategus along with Perikles, this is the first occasion on which Thucydides introduces him to our notice.4 He was now one of the Strategi or generals of the commonwealth, and appears to have enjoyed, on the whole, a greater and more constant personal esteem than any citizen of Athens, from the present time down to his death. In wealth and in family, he ranked among the first class of Athenians: in political character, Aristotle placed him, together with Thucydides son of Melesias and Theramenes, above all other names in Athenian history—seemingly even above Perikles.5 Such a criticism, from Aristotle, deserves respectful attention, though the facts before us completely belie so lofty an estimate. It marks, however, the position occupied by Nikias in Athenian politics, as the principal person of what may be called the oligarchical party, succeeding Kimon6 and Thucydides, and preceding Theramenes. In looking to the conditions under which this party continued to subsist, we shall see that during the interval between Thucydides (son of Melesias) and Nikias, the democratical forms had acquired such confirmed ascendency, that it would not have suited the purpose of any politician to betray evidence of positive hostility to them, prior to the Sicilian expedition and the great embarrassment in the foreign relations of Athens which arose out of that disaster. After that change, the Athenian oligarchs became emboldened and aggressive, so that we shall find Theramenes among the chief conspirators in the revolution of the Four Hundred:7 but Nikias represents the oligarchical party in its previous state of quiescence and torpidity, accommodating itself to a sovereign democracy, and existing in the form of common sentiment rather than of common purposes. And it is a remarkable illustration of the real temper of the Athenian people, that a man of this character, known as an oligarch but not feared as such, and doing his duty sincerely to the democracy, should have remained until his death the most esteemed and influential man in the city. He was a man of a sort of even mediocrity, in intellect, in education, and in oratory: forward in his military duties, and not only personally courageous in the field, but also competent as a general under ordinary circumstances: assiduous in the discharge of all political duties at home, especially in the post of Strategus or one of the ten generals of the state, to which he was frequently chosen and rechosen. Of the many valuable qualities combined in his predecessor Perikles, the recollection of whom was yet fresh in the Athenian mind, Nikias possessed two, on which, most of all, his influence rested,—though, properly speaking, that influence belongs to the sum total of his character, and not to any special attributes in it. First, he was thoroughly incorruptible as to pecuniary gains,—a quality so rare in Grecian public men of all the cities, that when a man once became notorious for possessing it, he acquired a greater degree of trust than any superiority of intellect could have bestowed upon him: next, he adopted the Periklean view as to the necessity of a conservative or stationary foreign policy for Athens, and of avoiding new acquisitions at a distance, adventurous risks, or provocation to fresh enemies. With this important point of analogy, there were at the same time material differences between them even in regard to foreign policy. Perikles was a conservative, resolute against submitting to loss or abstraction of empire, as well as refraining from aggrandizement. Nikias was in policy faint-hearted, averse to energetic effort for any purpose whatever, and disposed not only to maintain peace, but even to purchase it by considerable sacrifices. Nevertheless, he was the leading champion of the conservative party of his day, always powerful at Athens: and as he was constantly familiar with the details and actual course of public affairs, capable of giving full effect to the cautious and prudential point of view, and enjoying unqualified credit for honest purposes—his value as a permanent counsellor was steadily recognized, even though in particular cases his counsel might not be followed.
Besides these two main points, which Nikias had in common with Perikles, he was perfect in the use of those minor and collateral modes of standing well with the people, which that great man had taken little pains to practise. While Perikles attached himself to Aspasia, whose splendid qualities did not redeem in the eyes of the public either her foreign origin or her unchastity,8 the domestic habits of Nikias appear to have been strictly conformable to the rules of Athenian decorum. Perikles was surrounded by philosophers, Nikias by prophets—whose advice was necessary both as a consolation to his temperament and as a guide to his intelligence under difficulties: one of them was constantly in his service and confidence; and his conduct appears to have been sensibly affected by the difference of character between one prophet and another, just as the government of Louis XIV and other Catholic princes has been modified by the change of confessors. To a life thus rigidly decorous and ultra-religious—both eminently acceptable to the Athenians—Nikias added the judicious employment of a large fortune with a view to popularity. Those liturgies (or expensive public duties undertaken by rich men each in his turn, throughout other cities of Greece as well as in Athens) which fell to his lot were performed with such splendour, munificence, and good taste, as to procure for him universal encomiums; and so much above his predecessors as to be long remembered and extolled. Most of these liturgies were connected with the religious service of the state; so that Nikias, by his manner of performing them, displayed his zeal for the honour of the gods at the same time that he laid up for himself a store of popularity. Moreover, the remarkable caution and timidity—not before an enemy, but in reference to his own fellow citizens—which marked his character, rendered him pre-eminently scrupulous as to giving offence or making personal enemies. While his demeanour towards the poorer citizens generally was equal and conciliating, the presents which he made were numerous, both to gain friends and to silence assailants. We are not surprised to hear that various bullies, whom the comic writers turn to scorn, made their profit out of this susceptibility, but most assuredly, Nikias as a public man, though he might occasionally be cheated out of money, was greatly assisted by the reputation which he thus acquired.
[Vol. VI, pp. 385-90.]
We have the more willingly extracted this passage, because, like many others in these volumes, it contains lessons applicable to other times and circumstances than those of Greece; Nicias being a perfect type of one large class of the favourites of public opinion, modern as well as ancient. And the view here incidentally presented of some points in the character and disposition of the Athenian Many, will afford to readers who only know Athens and Greece through the medium of writers like Mitford, some faint idea of how much they have to unlearn.a
In personal contrast as well as in political opposition to Nicias, stands the celebrated Cleon;9 usually taken as the representative of everything hateful that can be ascribed to the character of a successful demagogue, combined with all that is contemptible in political imbecility and presumption. We shall quote the first introduction of this noted character upon the scene, for this among other reasons, that we have seen Mr. Grote accused of being prejudiced in his favour;10 and as, from considerable familiarity with many of Mr. Grote’s authorities, we have in vain attempted to discover in his volumes a single instance of deviation from impartiality, it is but just to him to repel this accusation. It is true that, in his opinion, the devil is not so black as he is painted. Posterity has been unwilling to believe that Cleon could ever be in the right; the outline of his character, supplied by his political and personal enemy Thucydides,11 having been filled up by a literal adoption of the bitter jests of that buffoon of genius Aristophanes,12 although in other cases, such as that of Socrates, we possess certain evidence how remote those jests were from having even so much of truth as is contained in a caricature. The following is Mr. Grote’s discriminating and unprejudiced view of Cleon’s character.
He is described by Thucydides in general terms as a person of the most violent temper and character in Athens—as being dishonest in his calumnies, and virulent in his invective and accusation. . . . The general attributes set forth by Thucydides (apart from Aristophanes, who does not profess to write history) we may well accept—the powerful and violent invective of Kleon, often dishonest—together with his self-confidence and audacity in the public assembly. Men of the middling class, like Kleon and Hyperbolus,13 who persevered in addressing the public assembly and trying to take a leading part in it, against persons of greater family pretension than themselves, were pretty sure to be men of more than usual audacity. Had they not possessed this quality, they would never have surmounted the opposition made to them: we may well believe that they had it to a displeasing excess; and even if they had not, the same measure of self-assumption which in Alkibiades14 would be tolerated from his rank and station, would in them pass for insupportable impudence. Unhappily, we have no specimens to enable us to appreciate the invective of Kleon. We cannot determine whether it was more virulent than that of Demosthenes and Aeschines,15 seventy years afterwards; each of those eminent orators imputing to the other the grossest impudence, calumny, perjury, corruption, loud voice and revolting audacity of manner, in language which Kleon can hardly have surpassed in intensity of vituperation, though he doubtless fell immeasurably short of it in classical finish. Nor can we even tell in what degree Kleon’s denunciations of the veteran Perikles were fiercer than those memorable invectives against the old age of Sir Robert Walpole with which Lord Chatham’s political career opened.16 . . . The fact of Kleon’s great power of speech, and his capacity of handling public business in a popular manner, is better attested than anything else respecting him, because it depends upon two witnesses, both hostile to him—Thucydides and Aristophanes. The assembly and the dikastery were Kleon’s theatre and holding-ground: for the Athenian people taken collectively in their place of meeting—and the Athenian people taken individually—were not always the same person, and had not the same mode of judgment: Demos sitting in the Pnyx was a different man from Demos at home.17 The lofty combination of qualities possessed by Perikles exercised ascendancy over both one and the other; but the qualities of Kleon swayed considerably the former without standing high in the esteem of the latter.
[Vol. VI, pp. 332-4.]
The following passage characterizes the real nature of Cleon’s position in the Athenian commonwealth.
To employ terms which are not fully suitable to the Athenian democracy, but which yet bring to view the difference intended to be noted better than any others, Nikias was a Minister or Ministerial man, often actually exercising and always likely to exercise official functions: Kleon was a man of the Opposition, whose province it was to supervise and censure official men for their public conduct. We must divest these words of that sense which they are understood to carry in English political life—a standing Parliamentary majority in favour of one party: Kleon would often carry in the public assembly resolutions, which his opponents Nikias and others of like rank and position—who served in the posts of Strategus, ambassador, and other important offices designated by the general vote—were obliged against their will to execute. . . . While Nikias was thus in what may be called ministerial function, Kleon was not of sufficient importance to attain the same, but was confined to the inferior function of opposition. . . . As an opposition man, fierce and violent in temper, Kleon was extremely formidable to all acting functionaries; and from his influence in the public assembly, he was doubtless the author of many important positive measures, thus going beyond the functions belonging to what is called opposition. But though the most effective speaker in the public assembly, he was not for that reason the most influential person in the democracy: his powers of speech in fact stood out the more prominently, because they were found apart from that station and those qualities which were considered, even at Athens, all but essential to make a man a leader in political life. To understand the political condition of Athens at this time, it has been necessary to take this comparison between Nikias and Kleon, and to remark, that though the latter might be a more victorious speaker, the former was the more guiding and influential leader; the points gained by Kleon were all noisy and palpable,—sometimes, however, without doubt, of considerable moment,—but the course of affairs was much more under the direction of Nikias.
[Vol. VI, pp. 392-5.]
We cannot help adding Mr. Grote’s very instructive comment on the first and almost only oration of Cleon, the substance of which has been preserved to us.18 His remarks go deep into the inmost essence of demagogy, and may teach some persons to recognize it in forms to which it is usual to apply much more honourable names.
If we are surprised to find a man, whose whole importance resided in his tongue, denouncing so severely the licence and the undue influence of speech in the public assembly, we must recollect that Kleon had the advantage of addressing himself to the intense prevalent sentiment of the moment; that he could therefore pass off the dictates of this sentiment as plain, downright, honest sense and patriotism, while the opponents, speaking against the reigning sentiment and therefore driven to collateral argument, circumlocution, and more or less of manoeuvre, might be represented as mere clever sophists, showing their talents in making the worse appear the better reason19 —if not actually bribed, at least unprincipled and without any sincere moral conviction. As this is a mode of dealing with questions both of public concern and of private morality, not less common at present than it was in the time of the Peloponnesian war—to seize upon some strong and tolerably widespread sentiment among the public, to treat the dictates of that sentiment as plain common sense and obvious right, and then to shut out all rational estimate of coming good and evil as if it were unholy or immoral, or at best mere uncandid subtlety—we may well notice a case in which Kleon employs it to support a proposition now justly regarded as barbarous.
[Vol. VI, pp. 340-1.]
There are so many topics in Mr. Grote’s volumes which demand notice, that it is impossible to do them anything like justice in the space of a single paper: we shall return to some of them in another article.
GROTE’S HISTORY OF GREECE 
This fourth newspaper review by Mill of Grote’s History (see Nos. 304, 368, and 380) is the second of two reviews of Volumes V and VI. It appeared in the “Books” section, headed “Grote’s Greece—Volumes V and VI,” and is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A second notice of the same [i.e., Vols. V and VI of Grote], in the Spectator of 10th March 1849” (MacMinn, p. 70). Two quotations from Grote in this review are also quoted by Mill in his Edinburgh Review notice of 1853, represented by “53” in the variant notes, while one passage was incorporated into the 1859 revision of that notice for D&D, represented by “59” in the variant notes; see No. 380 for the bibliographical details.
one of the most interesting features in the sixth volume of Mr. Grote’s History is the large use which he has made of the speeches in Thucydides. This rich mine of materials had been little if at all worked by any former writer. Mr. Grote considers the substance of these speeches to be authentic, though the form and phraseology are unmistakeably those of the Attic historian. The following is, as nearly as we can translate it, the declaration of Thucydides himself as to their composition. “To remember accurately the very things which were said, was difficult both to myself (as to what I heard delivered) and to my various informants: but I have ascribed to each speaker what seemed to me most appropriate to the occasion, keeping as close as I could to the general opinion of what was said in reality.”1 From this we should conclude, that an outline supplied by memory or testimony was filled up from invention. And this opinion is confirmed by the internal evidence. But in whatever proportions the matter of these speeches must be shared between the orators and the historian, no documents which have descended from the ancients, except perhaps the Politics of Aristotle, contain so much of what was thought by the most instructed and able Greeks concerning themselves and their condition. One of the most important of these discourses is the famous Funeral Oration of Pericles; which is full of valuable remarks on the Athenian national character and institutions. Our space does not allow us to quote from the speech at any length, but we must make room for Mr. Grote’s comments on one sentence of it. The text is this—a “bOurb social march is free, not merely in regard to public affairs, but also in regard to tolerance of each other’s diversity of cdailyc pursuits. For we are not angry with our neighbour for what he dmay dod to please himself, nor do we eevere put on those sour looks, whichf, though they do no positive damage, are not the less sure to offendf .”a2 On this important testimony to the liberality and tolerance of Athenian social life, Mr. Grote observes as follows—
This portion of the speech of Perikles deserves peculiar attention, because it serves to correct an assertion, often far too indiscriminately made, respecting antiquity as contrasted with modern societies—an assertion that the ancient societies sacrificed the individual to the state, and that only in modern times has individual agency been left free to the proper extent. This is preëminently true of Sparta: it is also true in a great degree of the ideal societies depicted by Plato and Aristotle; but it is pointedly untrue of the Athenian democracy, nor can we with any confidence predicate it of the major part of the Grecian cities. . . . There is no doubt that he [Perikles] has present to his mind a comparison with the extreme narrowness and rigour of Sparta, and that therefore his assertions of the extent of positive liberty at Athens must be understood as partially qualified by such contrast. But even making allowance for this, ghtheh stress which he lays upon the liberty of thought and action at Athens, not merely from excessive restraint of law but also from practical intolerance between man and man, and tyranny of the majority3 over individual dissenters in taste and ipursuiti , deserves serious notice, and brings out one of those points in the national character upon which the intellectual development of the time mainly depended. The national temper was indulgent in a high degree to all the varieties of positive impulses: the peculiar promptings in every individual bosom were allowed to manifest themselves and bear fruit, without being suppressed by external opinion or trained into forced conformity with some assumed standard: antipathies against any of them formed no part of the habitual morality of the citizen. While much of the generating causes of human hatred was thus rendered inoperative, and while society was rendered more comfortable, more instructive and more stimulating—all its germs of productive fruitful genius, so rare everywhere, found in such an atmosphere the maximum of encouragement. Within the limits of the law, assuredly as faithfully observed at Athens as anywhere in Greece, individual impulse, taste, and even eccentricity, were accepted with indulgence, instead of being a mark as elsewhere for the intolerance of neighbours or of the public. This remarkable feature in Athenian life will help us in a future chapter to explain the striking career of Sokrates [Chap. lxviii; Vol. VIII, pp. 545-676]; and it jfurtherj presents to us, under another face, a great part of that which the censors of Athens denounced under the name of “democratical licence.” The liberty and diversity of individual life in that city were offensive to Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle4 —attached either to the monotonous drill of Sparta, or to some other ideal standard, which, though much better than the Spartan in itself, they were disposed to impress upon society with a heavy-handed uniformity. That liberty of individual action, not merely from the over-restraints of law, but from the tyranny of jealous opinion, such as Perikles depicts in Athens, belongs more naturally to a democracy, where there is no select One or Few to receive worship and set the fashion, than to any other form of government. But it is very rare even in democracies: nor can we dissemble the fact that none of the governments of modern times, democratical, aristocratical or monarchical, presents anything like the picture of generous tolerance towards social dissent, and spontaneity of individual taste, which we read in the speech of the Athenian statesman. In all of them, the intolerance of the national opinion cuts down individual character to one out of a few set types, to which every person, or every family, is constrained to adjust itself, and beyond which all exceptions meet either with hatred or with derision. To impose upon men such restraints either of law or of opinion as are requisite for the security and comfort of society, but to encourage rather than repress the free play of individual impulse subject to those limits—is an ideal, which if it was ever approached at Athens, has certainly never been attained, and has indeed comparatively been little studied or cared for, in any modern society.g
[Vol. VI, pp. 199-202.]
There have been few things lately written more worthy of being meditated on than this striking paragraph. kThe difference here pointed out between the temper of the Athenian and that of the modern mind, is most closely connected with the wonderful display of individual genius which made Athens illustrious, and with the comparative mediocrity of modern times. Originality is not always genius, but genius is always originality; and a society which looks jealously and distrustfully on original people—which imposes its common level of opinion, feeling, and conduct, on all its individual members—may have the satisfaction of thinking itself very moral and respectable, but it must do without genius. It may have persons of talent, who bring a larger than usual measure of commonplace ability into the service of the common notions of the time; but genius, in such a soil, is either fatally stunted in its growth, or if its native strength forbids this, it usually retires into itself, and dies without a sign.k
The portion of Mr. Grote’s History which we are now reviewing comprises the most brilliant period of the Athenian republic; including the last stage in the growth of her democratic constitution, and the rise, progress, and fullest development of her maritime empire. On both these subjects there were deep-rooted prejudices to be removed; prejudices long fostered by the modern enemies of popular government. Mr. Grote, without disguising the faults of the Athenian people or institutions, shows the vast superiority of the latter over all other political institutions known to the age, or which probably would have been compatible with its circumstances. The following instructive appreciation of the multitudinous dikasteries, or popular courts of justice, throws also what to most readers will be a new light on the state of society and manners in Athens and other cities of Greece.
In appreciating the practical working of these numerous dikasteries at Athens, in comparison with such justice as might have been expected from individual magistrates, we have to consider, first, that personal and pecuniary corruption seems to have been a common vice among the leading men of Athens and Sparta, when acting individually or in boards of a few members, and not uncommon even with the kings of Sparta; next, that in the Grecian cities generally, as we know even from the oligarchical Xenophon, (he particularly excepts Sparta,) the rich and great men were not only insubordinate to the magistrates, but made a parade of showing that they cared nothing about them. We know also from the same unsuspected source, that while the poorer Athenian citizens who served on shipboard were distinguished for the strictest discipline, the hoplites or middling burghers who formed the infantry were less obedient, and the rich citizens who served on horseback the most disobedient of all.5 To make rich and powerful criminals effectively amenable to justice has indeed been found so difficult everywhere, until a recent period of history, that we should be surprised if it were otherwise in Greece. When we follow the reckless demeanour of rich men like Kritias, Alkibiades, and Meidias,6 even under the full-grown democracy of Athens, we may be very sure that their predecessors under the Kleisthenean constitution would have been often too formidable to be punished or kept down by an individual archon of ordinary firmness, even assuming him to be upright and well-intentioned. Now the dikasteries established by Perikles were inaccessible both to corruption and intimidation: their number, their secret suffrage, and the impossibility of knowing beforehand what individuals would sit in any particular cause, prevented both the one and the other. And besides that the magnitude of their number, extravagant according to our ideas of judicial business, was essential to this tutelary effect, it served further to render the trial solemn and the verdict imposing on the minds of parties and spectators; as we may see by the fact, that in important causes the dikastery was doubled or tripled. Nor was it possible by any other means than numbers to give dignity to an assembly of citizens, of whom many were poor, some old, and all were despised individually by rich accused persons who were brought before them—as Aristophanes and Xenophon7 give us plainly to understand. If we except the strict and peculiar educational discipline of Sparta, these numerous dikasteries afforded the only organ which Grecian politics could devise, for getting redress against powerful criminals, public as well as private, and for obtaining a sincere and uncorrupt verdict.
Taking the general working of the dikasteries, we shall find that they are nothing but jury-trial applied on a scale broad, systematic, unaided, and uncontrolled, beyond all other historical experience; and that they therefore exhibit in exaggerated proportions both the excellences and the defects characteristic of the jury system, as compared with decision by trained and professional judges. . . . Both the direct benefits ascribed to jury-trial in insuring pure and even-handed justice, and still more its indirect benefits in improving and educating the citizens generally, might have been set forth yet more emphatically in a laudatory harangue of Perikles about the Athenian dikasteries. If it be true that an Englishman or an American counts more certainly on an impartial and uncorrupt verdict from a jury of his country than from a permanent professional judge, much more would this be the feeling of an ordinary Athenian, when he compared the dikasteries with the archon. . . . As to the effect of jury-trial in diffusing respect to the laws and constitution—in giving to every citizen a personal interest in enforcing the former and maintaining the latter—in imparting a sentiment of dignity to small and poor men through the discharge of a function exalted as well as useful—in calling forth the patriotic sympathies, and exercising the mental capacities of every individual—all these effects were produced in a still higher degree by the dikasteries at Athens; from their greater frequency, numbers, and spontaneity of mental action, without any professional judge upon whom they could throw the responsibility of deciding for them. On the other hand, the imperfections inherent in jury-trial were likewise disclosed in an exaggerated form under the Athenian system. Both juror and dikast represent the average man of the time and of the neighbourhood, exempt indeed from pecuniary corruption or personal fear,—deciding according to what he thinks justice, or to some genuine feeling of equity, mercy, religion, or patriotism, which in reference to the case before him he thinks as good as justice—but not exempt from sympathies, antipathies, and prejudices, all of which act the more powerfully because there is often no consciousness of their presence, and because they even appear essential to his idea of plain and straightforward good sense.
[Vol. V, pp. 512-25.]
Of the maritime empire of Athens Mr. Grote furnishes an unprejudiced account, and as much of a justification as the case admits of. [Ibid., pp. 390-472; Chap. xlv.] It was originally an equal alliance, growing out of the operations against Xerxes, and intended for the naval defence of Greece, against Persian domination. Of this confederacy (which consisted of the islands, and the Greek cities of the Asiatic and Thracian coasts, recently freed from the dominion of the Persian satraps) Athens was the acknowledged head, but was only primus inter pares, performing the functions of an executive; the supreme regulation of the alliance belonging to a synod of the confederates periodically meeting at Delos. Each of the states contributed either in money or in ships of war towards the common objects of the alliance; the contingent of each having been fixed by Aristides in a manner so equitable as to command universal applause. The steps by which, without any preconceived plan of usurpation on the part of Athens, her originally equal confederates sunk into the condition of dependent or subject-allies, are traced with great clearness by Mr. Grote. When this change had been consummated, each state paid a compulsory annual tribute, in consideration of which Athens undertook the military and naval defence of the tributaries against all enemies. They were not permitted to have any fortifications or ships of war of their own, and their differences with other states they were required to refer to the judicial tribunals of Athens. With their internal institutions or administration Athens did not meddle; not even to establish democracy; for though her own example tended to make democratic principles predominate within the sphere of her influence, many of the subject-allies of Athens were, and continued to be, under oligarchical government. In this the Athenian dominion differed greatly from the subsequent supremacy of Sparta, who not only subverted the democracies and established oligarchies everywhere, but appointed Spartan governors under the name of harmosts, whose yoke was always oppressive and often intolerable. The subjects of Athens had few if any practical grievances, and scarcely pretended to have them: the tribute was a cheap price for complete military and naval protection. Their complaint was, that they were degraded by being deprived of the common privilege of autonomy or city-independence, so indissolubly connected in the Greek mind with all ideas of freedom and collective dignity.
This complaint, whether judged by an abstract standard or by the ideas and sentiments of the time, was well grounded. Yet let it be remarked, that this coveted autonomy was a privilege which most of the states composing the Athenian league were entirely incapable of maintaining by their own strength. Athens found them under the dominion of Persia; when separated from Athens they fell under the far harder yoke of Sparta. Let it be considered also, that it was precisely this narrow spirit of independence, this intolerance on the part of each petty town of permanent connexion with any other, which ultimately caused the ruin of Grecian freedom by the absorption of all Greece into the Macedonian monarchy. Doubtless, the true remedy for the inherent weakness of so divided a state, would have been found in a free and equal confederation. But a federal government was of all things the most alien to Grecian habits. Even in the most pressing danger, when half Greece was overrun and occupied by the troops of Xerxes, the evidence, never before so fully brought out as by Mr. Grote, showed the radical incapacity of these little communities for acting in free voluntary concert. If there was any means by which Grecian independence and liberty could have been made a permanent thing, it would have been by the prolongation for some generations more of the organization of the larger half of Greece under the supremacy of Athens; a supremacy imposed, indeed, and upheld by force—but the mildest, the most civilizing, and, in its permanent influence on the destinies of human kind, the most brilliant and valuable, of all usurped powers known to history.
That events took another course was the fault of no one so much as of the Athenians themselves, who, intoxicated by success, and having no longer a Pericles to keep them in the path of practical wisdom, were tempted to aggressive enterprises like that on Sicily, both unjust and beyond their strength. The next volume of Mr. Grote will contain the recital of this sad disaster, one of the turning-points in universal history, and one of those portions of it which are richest in epic and dramatic interest.
It is impossible to predict what number of further volumes will be necessary for the completion of Mr. Grote’s design; but no one who reads his work can wish that it were more abridged. It is not a mere summary of events known and admitted, and requiring only to be agreeably laid before the reader. It is an exploration of the sources of Grecian history; an investigation of facts previously unknown or misrepresented; a labour performed once for all; and the book is a storehouse from which future writers may draw their materials, without repeating the same toilsome and operose researches. To be this, and to be also an attractive specimen of narrative, and, more valuable than all, a profound estimate by a philosophical politician of one of the most important periods in the political history of mankind, is a threefold achievement which it has been given to few works, whether called histories or by any other denomination, to realize.
THE ATTEMPT TO EXCLUDE UNBELIEVERS FROM PARLIAMENT
In a speech on 19 Feb., 1849 (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 102, cols. 906-17), Lord John Russell introduced “A Bill to Alter the Oaths to Be Taken by Members of the Two Houses of Parliament Not Professing the Roman Catholic Religion,” 12 Victoria (23 Feb., 1849), PP, 1849, IV, 419-24. The bill, similar to an unsuccessful one of the year before, was designed to admit Jews to Parliament. It was debated in the Commons on 19 and 23 Feb., 7 May, and 11 June, when it passed second reading, and in the Lords on 26 June, but was not enacted. On 21 Feb., 1849, Mill had written Harriet Taylor, in France for her health, pointing out that Russell, “although he is actually abolishing the old oaths & framing new, still has the meanness to reinsert the words ‘on the true faith of a Christian’ for all persons except Jews, & justifies it by saying that the Constitution ought not avowedly to admit unbelievers into Parliament.” She replied in a letter now lost, and on 17 Mar. he said: “As you suggested I wrote an article on Russell’s piece of meanness in the Jew Bill and have sent it to [Eyre Evans] Crowe [editor of the Daily News] from whom I have not yet any answer—there has been no time hitherto fit for its publication—the time will come when the subject is to come on again in Parlt. But I fear the article, even as ‘from a correspondent’ will be too strong meat for the Daily News, as it declares without mincing the matter, that infidels are perfectly proper persons to be in parliament.” (In fact it appeared as first leader, not as “from a correspondent.”) He continues: “I like the article myself. I have carefully avoided anything disrespectful to Russell personally, or any of the marks, known to me, by which my writing can be recognized.” Four days later he reported again: “Crowe’s answer was ‘I shall be but too happy to print the article. The Jews bill is put off till after Easter, but if you will allow me I will insert it immediately.’ ” Mill adds, in what is now a mysterious as well as unpleasant allusion, “There is nothing like kicking people of the D[aily] N[ews] sort it appears. I answered telling him if he thought it would be of as much use now as about the time when the bill comes on by all means to print it now. It has not yet made its appearance.” (LL, CW, Vol. XIV, pp. 13, 18, and 20.) This first leader, headed “London, Monday, Mar. 26,” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the attempt to exclude unbelievers from parliament, in the Daily News of 26th March 1849”
(MacMinn, p. 71).
the bill of lord john russell for the admission of Jews into parliament, affords by the mode it adopts of effecting that purpose, an example of the rooted aversion of our practical politicians to anything like a principle. If there is a principle which is supposed to be sacred in the eyes of a Russell, it is religious freedom. If there is a maxim in politics which whigs are understood to cherish, it is that no one should be subjected to civil disabilities on the ground of any opinions which he may entertain in matters of religion. Yet a whig and a Russell,1 finding the Jews excluded from parliament by the imposition of certain words interpreted as expressing a belief in Christianity proposes to dispense with the words, but to dispense with them for Jews only. For all who do not declare themselves to be Jews, he not only leaves the words as he found them, but actually re-enacts them. He is proposing to abolish the old oaths and to establish new, and in the oaths which he establishes he introduces de novo these very words, granting to Jews a special exemption from their use.2 He opens the door of parliament just wide enough to allow one particular class of dissenters from Christianity to slip in, and closes it, as far as depends upon him, against all others.
Why is this? If we take his own account of the matter, it is because he does not think it right to announce that sceptics and infidels ought to be admitted into parliament; therefore he declares ineligible, not only sceptics and infidels, but Hindoos, Buddhists, and Mahomedans, none of whom are commonly counted among infidels, and who compose nearly three-fourths of the population of the British dominions. But we will discuss the question as if it concerned only those whom Lord John would have it believed that he actually cares about rendering ineligible.
First, what sort of sceptics and infidels does he really suppose that his oaths will keep out of parliament? Those who take his side of the question usually profess the charitable belief that infidels are persons whom oaths will not bind. It is certain at least that an infidel who can be excluded by such words as those used, “on the true faith of a Christian,” words which rather insinuate than profess a belief in Christianity—equivocating, jesuitical words, which seem chosen on purpose to afford a loophole to the conscience—must be a person more than ordinarily under the influence of honour and moral obligation, and, therefore, more than ordinarily fit to be a member of any assembly where honest men are required; and more than usually undeserving to have any discreditable mark put upon him.
But (it will be said by Lord John Russell, or by somebody for him) the measure will not really keep anybody out. It is not meant to do so. It is only meant as a declaration that certain persons ought to be kept out. It is an admission under protest. It is a national testimony that nobody who disbelieves in Christianity can be a fit person to sit in parliament.
If it be so, it is a testimony to something which every one who has any knowledge of life knows to be not true. We say nothing about Jews, whom this very measure is intended to let in. Were Hume and Gibbon improper persons to sit in parliament?3 Conservatives, at least, will hardly be of that opinion; for they were both tories; and the sons and daughters of tories to this day get their first notions of English politics from a History written by one of them,4 and very false notions they are. Liberals, again, would deem them valuable members of parliament for different reasons. It is not possible to imagine an assembly where great questions are to be discussed and important public business transacted, in which no good use could be made of such powers of mind as these men possessed.
It is unnecessary, however, to go back to a past age. The present times are sufficient. We should like to put a question to Lord John Russell. Let him mentally reckon up (if they are not too numerous to be reckoned), among persons now in parliament or in office, or who have been so since he entered into public life, all those whom he either positively knows, or has good ground for believing, to be disbelievers in revelation—many of them in more than revelation. We put it to him as a man of the world. Many good Christians, in their innocence and inexperience, would be astonished and shocked at the supposition we are making, but Lord John must know enough of his time, and of the men of his time, to be more or less a competent judge. We wish that after revolving in his mind the various members of the present or any former House of Commons, whom he has known or believed to be what are usually termed infidels, he would ask himself whether, among all the members composing it, these, taken collectively, were the persons whom, in his sincere opinion, the House of Commons could have best spared? We do not mean that many, or perhaps any, of these persons are Humes and Gibbons, or have ever made any public attack on religion, or are at all likely to avow unbelief; if they did, they would emperil, among many other things, all their chances of re-election. The truth is, that there is generally nothing in their conduct by which they could, as a class, be distinguished from the great majority of believers. This ought not to be: a great difference in the conscientious convictions of human beings ought to make a visible difference of some kind or other in their conduct, but in point of fact it seldom does. Certain it is that neither Lord John Russell, nor any other man of the world, would trust the unbelievers less in any relation of life, or would consider them less eligible for the great majority of public functions, than the average of Christians. On this point we should not fear to take the opinion of any man who has been minister of England in the last thirty years, could we be sure that he would speak his real sentiments.
If Lord John Russell really believed that the words he proposes would exclude from parliament all the sincere unbelievers who are now or may hereafter become members of it, we are convinced that he never would have proposed them. Why, then, has he done so? Because he believes that the exclusion will not exclude, but will be a mere brutum fulmen; and, with the usual indifference of our statesmen to a bad principle, when they do not expect that it will be followed by specific bad consequences, he thinks he may as well make this sacrifice at the shrine of bigotry, if it will gain him an additional vote for letting in Mr. Rothschild.5 He has yet to learn that a legislature which either introduces or confirms a bad principle does more harm than is compensated by twenty good practical measures involving no principle: for it is by the principles contained in them that institutions educate the national mind, thus producing more effect for good or evil than “laws or kings” by their direct influence can either “cause or cure.”6 As long as the laws keep up nominal persecution on account of opinion, whether practically operative or not, the seal of bigotry will be upon us; and no letting in of one set of excluded persons after another by the backdoor of the constitution will avail much to make us otherwise.
This article responds to the report “Police. Southwark,” The Times, 6 July, 1849, p. 7 (from which the quotations are taken), concerning the case of Alexander Smith, heard on 5 July before Isaac Onslow Secker (1799-1861), barrister, magistrate at Greenwich and Woolwich. This unheaded fourth leader, the seventh jointly authored by Harriet Taylor and Mill on injustice and cruelty (for background, see No. 303), is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on corporal punishment, in the Daily News of 14th July 1849. A joint production, very little of which was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 71.)
while, in the popular discussions on criminal law, the idea of punishment is more and more sunk in that of reformatory discipline; while what were once deemed the main ends of penal infliction—retribution to the culprit, and the deterring of future offenders—are well-nigh sinking out of view, and prisons, in the opinion of many well-meaning persons, are regarded as little more than a sort of hospitals for the morally sick, where they are to be cured of their soul’s diseases by mild alternatives; while this twist of the moral sentiment in the direction of shortsighted tenderness is increasingly manifest; in the actual administration of our criminal law, the tide is setting in the contrary direction, towards a revival of the brutal and barbarous practices of the middle ages and of the East. Amidst our talk of reformatory treatment we are returning to the most demoralising, the most brutalising, because the most degrading of punishments, the bastinado. There have been other instances lately of this, but none hitherto that comes up to what we extract from a Southwark police report of Friday last:
Alexander Smith, described as a commission agent, was brought before Mr. Secker, charged with illegally pawning a gold watch, value 20 guineas, the property of James Mills, the master of a West India trader.
It appeared that the complainant formed a casual acquaintance with the prisoner, who prevailed upon him to accompany him to Astley’s to witness the horsemanship.1 Previously, however, to their entering the theatre, the prisoner suggested the propriety of the complainant leaving a valuable gold watch in the hands of the landlord of a public-house adjacent, where they had partaken of refreshment, adding, that the article would be much safer there than at the theatre. The complainant at once assented to this suggestion, and the watch was accordingly left with the landlord of the house. Before the performance was over, the prisoner made some frivolous excuse, and quitting the theatre proceeded to the public-house and got possession of the complainant’s watch, which it was subsequently ascertained he had pledged at a pawnbroker’s shop for 10l. Upon the discovery of the theft he promised to redeem the article, or pay the full value, neither of which he had since done; and the complainant, finding that there was no chance of obtaining restitution, gave the prisoner into custody on the charge of illegally pawning the watch.
The prisoner, a well-dressed middle-aged man, said that he had given the complainant his note of hand to pay at the rate of 10s. a week until the debt was paid.
Mr. Secker said that the mild term of “debt” could not be applied to such a fraudulent transaction. The prisoner had acted a most dishonest part in taking advantage of the absence of complainant to obtain possession of his watch.
The complainant admitted having taken a written guarantee from the prisoner, but said he did it for the purpose of strengthening the case against him.
The prisoner asserted that the watch was given him to pawn, which was flatly contradicted by the owner.
Mr. Secker denounced, in strong terms, the conduct of the prisoner, and sentenced him to pay a penalty of 5l. for illegally pawning the watch, besides 12l., the lowest value put upon the watch; and, in default of payment, to be committed for three months; and that, in addition to the above, if the prisoner omitted to pay the above sums within three days of the expiration of his imprisonment, he should be once publicly whipped within the precincts of the gaol.
The prisoner, who heard the latter part of the sentence with astonishment depicted on his countenance, was then removed from the bar.
Well might he be astonished; and his astonishment will be participated, we believe, by the majority of readers. We know that the office of police magistrate is one to which a man is appointed usually because he is fit for nothing else; because, being too stupid to fill any other appointment, he is thought good enough to be the dispenser of law, justice, and moral instruction to those who most need all these. But even a Mr. Secker must, we suppose, have some law to bear him out in such a decision as this. What law? and how has such a law been smuggled through parliament? a law permitting the infliction of the bastinado for a pecuniary fraud—by which, if impartially enforced, half the bankrupts in England would be publicly flogged, and a London magistrate would become a Turkish Cadi. But there is another peculiarity in the case which must be wholly Mr. Secker’s. The flogging, after all, is not to be inflicted for the offence. The punishment of that is a fine of 5l., added to another of 12l., or, “in default of payment,” to be committed for three months. But, after suffering the imprisonment, he is still “to pay the above sums within three days,” and to be flogged if he “omits” to pay them. He is to be flogged therefore, not for the fraud, but for being unable to pay 17l. This is a person to be entrusted with the power of flogging!
But the pranks of police magistrates are not the worst of the political and social vices which this case illustrates. It exemplifies the total absence of true moral feeling which pervades our criminal legislation and all the functionaries who administer it, from the judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench down to this Mr. Secker. If a brutal punishment can ever be appropriate, it is in the case of a brutal offence. Every day’s police reports contain cases of ruffianly assaults, committed in the mere wantonness of brutality, against creatures whose sole offence is to be inferior in physical strength, oftenest of all against helpless children, or the slaves called wives, whose death, by a long continuance of personal torture, has of late been so frequently brought to light, and without a single exception so leniently passed over, that this has apparently become one of the safe ways of getting rid of those incumbrances. To such ruffians as these the degradation of corporal punishment would be very suitable. It does not make them brutes, it only stamps them as what they are. A coward who beats another because he is the stronger, would perhaps even be benefited by finding himself for once in the hands of a stronger than himself, and tasting of the degradation he has inflicted. But who ever hears of corporal punishment for assault? One or two months’ imprisonment is all we hear of in the most atrocious cases; while, if property is in question—if pounds, shillings, and pence have been tampered with, years of imprisonment, with hard labour (not to mention transportation) are almost the smallest penalty. And this is not peculiarly the fault of the police magistrates, whose power of inflicting punishment for assault is very limited. It is the crime more especially of legislators and of the superior courts. They, it seems, have yet to learn that there is a thing infinitely more important than property—the freedom and sacredness of human personality; that there is an immeasurable distance in point of moral enormity between any the gravest offence which concerns property only, and an act of insulting and degrading violence perpetrated against a human being. Mankind could go on very well, have gone on in time past (as well as they have ever yet gone on), with property very insecure. But subject to blows, or the fear of blows, they can be no other than soulless, terror-stricken slaves, without virtue, without courage, without peace, with nothing they dare call their own. Yet because persons in the upper and middle ranks are not subject to personal outrage, and are subject to have their watches stolen, the punishment of blows is revived, not for those who are guilty of blows, but for middle-aged men who pawn watches. Is this to be endured?
A few weeks ago, the punishment of flogging, in the case of the young man who shot at the Queen, was omitted, it is said, at the special desire of the Queen herself.2 The forbearance was uncomplimentary to the legislatorial wisdom which had recently enacted that penalty as peculiarly fit for that particular offence: but no one can be surprised by an example of good sense, good taste, and good feeling, given by the Queen. The crime of Hamilton was not of a degraded or brutal kind, though of a wicked and grave kind, deserving, in truth, and requiring, a severer punishment than it received. To refuse so disgusting a tribute as the revival of a brutalising degradation as a punishment for offences against herself, was a worthy lesson to legislators and judges; and it was magnanimity, not like but most unlike a sovereign, to punish so serious an offence only as if it had been directed against the meanest subject. Would that her Majesty would take in hand this vast and vital question of the extinction of personal violence by the best and surest means—the illegalising of corporal punishment, domestic as well as judicial, at any age. We conscientiously believe that more large and lasting good, both present and future, to the moral and social character of the whole people, would be achieved by such an act of legislation, than fifty years of legislative efforts without it would be required to supply.
THE CZAR AND THE HUNGARIAN REFUGEES IN TURKEY 
In 1848, Hungary had revolted against the Austrian Empire, but by May of 1849 Russia had rigorously suppressed the rebellion in the name of the Holy Alliance of 1815 between herself, Austria, and Prussia. During the summer of 1849 public opinion in England rallied against Austria. A crisis arose over the demand by Russia and Austria that Turkey extradite the leaders of the revolution, Kossuth, Bem, and others. The Sultan, Abd-ul-Mejid (1823-61), refused to do so. Mill’s letter, headed as title with subhead, “To the Editor of the Daily News,” is described in his bibliography as “A letter signed J.S.M. in the Daily News of 3d October 1849 on the case of the Hungarian refugees in Turkey” (MacMinn, p. 71). (Mill’s evident wish to be identified by his initials was perhaps frustrated by the misprinting of “I.” for “J.”; however, the correct initials appeared in the second letter on the subject, No. 385.)
Many thousands in England, and millions, I will venture to say, in Europe, are waiting anxiously to see whether the noble conduct of the Sultan in refusing to deliver up the defenders of Hungarian liberty to the crowned employers of the scourgers of women, the butchers of Warsaw and Pesth, is to have the support of England or not.
We are told that our enormous naval force is and must be kept up on account of the state of the Continent. If we ever could be called upon to use that force by any occurrence on the Continent, it is now.
Wait not for the support of France. France, in a moment of insanity, has given herself up for four years to the discretion of the relative (by marriage), and servile tool of the Emperor of Russia, by whose help he hopes to be made Emperor of France.1 But France must follow, if England at once takes the lead.
The Czar ought instantly to be told that the first movement of troops across the frontiers of Turkey in this quarrel will be a signal for the blockading of all his ports in the Baltic and the Black Sea, to be followed, if needful, by the destruction of his naval arsenals.
Any trifle is thought sufficient cause for summoning a public meeting. Shall there be no meeting to save England from the infamy of standing by while men and women, who ought to be carried in triumph through every city in Europe, are torn by main force from the protection of the Mussulman prince, who dares defy a power ten times stronger and ten times more barbarous than his own, rather than deliver up fugitive victims to the slaughterer?
A month ago it would have seemed quite needless that a public demonstration should warn a liberal ministry of such a duty. But since we have a Colonial Secretary and a Prime Minister either so base, or so infantinely weak and credulous, as to be capable, the one of sanctioning, the other of defending, the conduct of More O’Ferrall,2 it is quite time that the public should rouse itself, and give strength to the only member of the government who stands between us and the Aberdeen policy, between us and a mean complicity with the new “Holy” Alliance.3
THE CZAR AND THE HUNGARIAN REFUGEES IN TURKEY 
This paragraph follows a letter headed “What Is England to Do?” and signed “A Cambridge Man,” which calls on the public to trust the Foreign Minister, Palmerston, in his very cautious and moderate support for the Hungarian refugees (for the context, see No. 384). Mill’s paragraph is introduced by this editorial comment: “Since this letter was in type, another, with the signature of J.S.M., has been forwarded to us, taking a different view of the duty of the public in reference to this question. The writer professes no faith in the conduct or courage of the Ministers (with one exception), and speaks indignantly of the affair at Malta and its recent extenuation.1 But he adds with much truth:”. The item, which appears in the “Political Examiner,” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter on the same subject and with the same signature [as No. 384] but of which a part only was printed, in the Examiner of 7th [sic] October 1849”
(MacMinn, p. 72).
but let the public also take its share of blame. If the public cannot trust the Ministers, neither can the Ministers trust the public for support in any energetic and generous course of action in foreign affairs. The Ministers think that the people care for nothing but reducing the taxes and preventing any interruption of trade. Or that if they are capable of being moved by any idea larger than this, it is by the idea of a silly, goody kind of peace. If, six months ago, we had possessed a government with spirit enough to announce as the determination of England, that neither at Rome, nor in Hungary, nor in any other place in Europe, should any foreign intervention be suffered unless England was a party to it—a declaration which, if believed, would have effectually prevented any intervention and any war—could they have expected to be supportd by the nation in assuming this attitude? Would not a junction of all the office-seeking parties against them have been suffered by the nation to expel them from power? The official people believe that, though England will bear to be overtaxed on all sorts of idle and dishonest pretexts, no cause is so sacred in her eyes that she would be willing, rather than abandon it, to add a million to the taxes. Let England come forward and declare that this is not true. Let public meetings proclaim that England will go to war with Russia rather than suffer Turkey to be bullied into giving up vanquished fugitives to the executioner; and the fugitives will be saved, and the character of England vindicated, without a chance of war.
In the course of a leading article, 29 Oct., p. 4, on the Catholic Church in French politics, the Daily News incidentally brought in accusations against Etienne Cabet as a swindler; Mill quotes from this article. Cabet, who had associated with Owen when in exile in England 1834-39, announced in 1847 the founding of a communal settlement, Icaria, in America. A group of settlers left in January 1848 and tried to establish themselves in a particularly unsuitable part of Texas, where they were joined by Cabet early in 1849. He took his followers to Nauvoo, the abandoned Mormon settlement in Illinois, a few months later, but the enterprise was a failure. By September he had been charged with defrauding his followers (see The Times, 20 Oct., p. 5). Condemned in his absence to two years in prison, on his return to France in 1851 he was acquitted. The letter is headed as title, with subhead, “To the Editor of the Daily News.” It is identified in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed D in the Daily News of 30th October 1849 on M. Cabet”
(MacMinn, p. 72).
I have seen with surprise, in your paper of to-day, a leading article which, in the course of a discussion on a totally different subject, and for the mere purpose of illustration, aims a mortal stab at the honour and character of a man now suffering under the persecution of the authorities in his native country—M. Cabet. I have sufficient confidence in your sense of justice to feel convinced that you have only joined in the hue and cry against this ill-treated man from inadvertence, and ignorance of the real facts of the case. No one is surprised that the tory press (whether calling itself liberal or the contrary) and their foreign correspondents, who must be better informed if the editors are not, should think any amount of suppressio veri quite fair, or at least not likely to be found out, when directed against a known socialist. But as you are not to be classed with writers of this description, you will be glad to be informed or reminded of that important part of the truth which has escaped your notice. The judgment against M. Cabet on the charge of escroquerie was pronounced by default, and therefore without a hearing, M. Cabet being at the time necessarily absent, living in the midst of the very people whom he is accused of having defrauded. The judgment, which in the absence of the accused the court had perhaps no alternative but to pass upon him, is of so little practical effect, that notwithstanding the sentence he has the power of returning at any time and standing his trial. But though the case, as it affects M. Cabet, on account of his absence was not tried at all, his friend and co-defendant, M. Krolikowski,1 who was present, was tried on the same charge, and acquitted, after having made in behalf of M. Cabet the following protest contained in the Démocratie Pacifique of 22nd September last:
Citizen Cabet, whose presence is indispensable in the Icarian colony of Nauvoo (United States), cannot possibly appear unless the court consents to postpone the trial to next April; but I will defend him in every manner. Our cause is common; and there has been so much calumny against the Icarians, and against citizen Cabet in particular, accusing him sometimes of proposing a chimerical undertaking, and sometimes of abandoning his associates, after having invited them to emigrate, that I think it necessary for our defence to publish the unanimous protest of the Icarians established at Nauvoo, which shall be produced before the judges.2
The following is the document alluded to; it bears 189 signatures of emigrants, male and female:
One of those great iniquities which would suffice to dishonour an age is, perhaps, about to be accomplished in France. Ignoble calumnies attempt to disgrace the name of Cabet, of the Christian philosopher who has consecrated the whole of a long life to the moral education of mankind; the regenerator, the intrepid apostle, who, abandoning country, family, and fortune, prepares, in remote climates, amidst dangers and privations, the happiness of the human race. We, the witnesses and objects of his affection and of his devotedness—we, already enjoying the fruits of his sacrifices and of our own perseverance, protest against accusations as absurd as infamous, the triumph of which would be a new stain on our unfortunate country.3
These are the feelings entertained towards this “convicted swindler” by his victims, he living in the midst of them—and this is the man whom your article, with a contemptuously pitying reservation in his favour as a sincere fanatic, declares culpable of “falsehood,” of “treachery,” and of attempting “to form a socialist republic, without sagacity, industry, honesty, or truth.” By what authority does your writer thus asperse a man of whose principles the very words he uses show that he knows nothing? The illusion of communists, so far as it is an illusion, consists, on the contrary, in flattering themselves that a socialist community can be founded on “sagacity, industry, honesty, and truth” alone, without the vulgar incentives of private interest.
It need hardly be added, that the English newspapers, which have seldom let a week pass since M. Cabet’s trial without some insulting reference to him as a convicted cheat and impostor, take care never to say that he was condemned unheard, and have carefully kept from their readers the indignant protest of those whom he is pretended to have defrauded and ruined.
André Louis Jules Lechevalier (1800-50) was an economist and journalist, an ardent follower of Victor Considérant and the school of Charles Fourier. On the strength of his experiences in the French colonies, he became Colonial Secretary (1843). His ideas on the emancipation of the blacks were proposed in his Rapport sur les questions coloniales, 2 vols. (Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1843-44). On 13 June, 1849, Lechevalier had taken part in protests against armed intervention by French troops in the siege of Rome. The government imposed martial law; the offices of the Tribune des Peuples, of which Lechevalier was then an editor, were closed, and three of his fellow editors were arrested. Lechevalier thereupon addressed a letter (21 June, 1849) to the Minister of the Interior, M. Dufaure, which effected the release of the three men but resulted in his own arrest and subsequent trial and conviction by the Court at Versailles (November-December 1849). Anticipating these consequences, Lechevalier, along with others, exiled himself to London in July. It was from London that he wrote his Déclaration on 8 Oct., 1849. Lechevalier had the Déclaration translated by a friend as Declaration of Citizen Andre-Louis-Jules Lechevalier (London: n.p., 1849), and sent copies to a number of British papers, but, for his quotations in this notice, Mill is evidently using the French version (not located) in his own translation. The notice appears, in square brackets (like the other brief notices) in the “Publications Received” column, headed “Déclaration du Citoyen André-Louis-Jules Lechevalier junior, accusé, ex-membre du Comité de la Presse et du Comité Socialiste.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A few words on M. Jules [Lechevalier’s] letter to [Dufaure] and [his Declaration]; in the Spectator of 8th December 1849”
(MacMinn, p. 72).
the manifesto of one of the condemned by default in the late political trial at Versailles; and containing a brief recital of the exertions of a life passed in labouring for the cause of philanthropy and social improvement. M. Jules Lechevalier is known to those who have attended to the course of public discussion in France, as one of the most enlightened and most reasonable of those Reformers who, with great variety of opinions and objects, are confounded under the name of Socialists. To the general public he is best known by his efforts during many years for the abolition of Negro slavery, and for replacing it by an “organization of labour”;1 for which no more favourable practical opportunity could possibly have presented itself, and which if tried in our Colonies would have had a chance of preventing their present difficulties. In this little brochure M. Lechevalier maintains, that “the protest on the 13th of June last was legitimate, legal, and constitutional; that in principle, insurrection would have been legitimate, but” (and of this, whoever has read the evidence on the trial must be already convinced) “in point of fact no insurrection took place, and none was desired or projected.”2 It is in itself almost a reductio ad absurdum of the alleged conspiracy, that one who is so essentially a man of peace as M. Jules Lechevalier should have been condemned and sentenced as of the number of its authors and contrivers.
THE CALIFORNIAN CONSTITUTION
This article quotes a letter from California announcing the results of the convention that had met at Monterey on 4 Sept., 1849, to draw up a constitution for the new state. The constitution was adopted on 13 Oct., and submitted to the people for a vote on 13 Nov. (See Constitution of the State of California 1849 [San Francisco: printed at the Office of the Alta California, 1849].) The first legislature of the new government met on 15 Dec., 1849. This unheaded first leader is described (twice, in identical terms) in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the California Constitution, in the Daily News of 2nd January 1850”
(MacMinn, p. 72).
the last mail from California has brought intelligence possessing a different kind of interest from that which attaches itself to stories of masses of gold picked up in the beds of rivers and speculations on a possible depreciation of currencies by the cheapening of their standard. The Californians have not been solely occupied with “the diggings.” They have found time also to construct a set of institutions. With the active self-help characteristic of the energetic people from whom they are an offshoot, and of whose broad federation they already form a part, this motley assemblage coming together from many quarters, united by no previous tie, and finding on their arrival no constituted government to protect them, proceeded first to organize and enforce a system of voluntary governent, with the requisite sanctions, sufficient for their protection, and then nominated a convention, after the usual American manner, to prepare a Republican Constitution. It is worthy of remark how instantaneously any body of American emigrants, as soon as they have formed a settlement, proceed to make a constitution; though European authorities of no small account in their own estimation, are never tired of assuring us that constitutions cannot be made. But while these sages are stoutly denying the possibility of motion, the Americans, one after another, like Diogenes, rise up and walk;1 and not one stumble has yet occurred to mar the completeness of the practical confutation. Whatever other faults have been found with the Anglo-American constitutions, no one has yet said that they will not work; a fate so often denounced against all constitutions except those which, like the British, “are not made but grow,”2 or, it should rather be said, come together by the fortuitous concourse of clashing forces. Perhaps the truth is, that the constitutions which will not work are those which are made for the people, while those which do work, such as the American, are made by the people; a fact which is in itself a guarantee that the ideas which they embody are such as the people are already familiar with, and attached to, and are therefore both capable and desirous of making them “work.” It is so with the constitutions which spring into existence in the North American continent at the rate of one in every three or four years, namely, whenever either a new state is added to the Union, or the population of one of the older states resolves (like that of New York recently) on a general revision of its institutions.3 All these systems of government have, as might be expected, a family resemblance, but each new one affords in some one or other of its features a significant indication of the direction in which the general mind of America is tending.
The convention at Monterey, comprising about four-fifths of new settlers with Anglo-Saxon or German names, and one-fifth of old Spanish inhabitants (which is probably not an unfair proportion to the population), has concluded its labours; and the product of its deliberations is about to be submitted for approval or rejection to the general suffrages of the inhabitants. This proposed fundamental law of the state comprises many provisions not usually classed under the department of constitutional or political law: it includes, in fact, everything which is considered too important or sacred to be entrusted to the discretion of an ordinary legislature, and which is therefore inscribed in a sort of charter of rights and liberties, not to be altered except with peculiar formalities, and by an assembly chosen for the express purpose.
On the vital question of negro slavery, this constitution is irreproachable. By an express provision, “neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in this state.” [P. 4; Art. I, Sect. 18.] California has thus the honour of being the first southern state which has constituted itself free from that curse; and if the example be followed by New Mexico and the other states which will be formed in the newly-acquired territory, the iniquity is doomed. The slave-owners are well aware of this result; they have long ago declared that the question of the extension of slavery is the question of its existence; that once hemmed in within a corner of the confederation, it cannot long survive; that the joint moral and economical effects of closing the new territories to the export of slaves, will be rapidly fatal to the institution. In this point of view, the determined rejection of slavery by the first new state constituted in the territory which was sought and conquered (it is said) mainly for the perpetuation of slavery, is the heaviest blow which that form of tyranny has received in the United States, and is thus no unimportant event in history. In the first draft of the constitution the interdiction of slavery was accompanied by the exclusion of free negroes from settling in the state; but this provision was ultimately rejected by a vote of 31 to 8. Real improvement, however, is a slow process; a considerable remnant of injustice is still left. The negro inhabitant will be free, but not equal; the right of suffrage, otherwise virtually universal, is limited to “every white male:” and though there is a provision, expressed in grudging terms (the result, it is said, of a compromise), which permits the legislature to admit to the suffrage “Indians or the descendants of Indians,” in such “special cases” as two-thirds of the legislative body “may deem just and proper,” there is no such latitude given in favour of negroes. [P. 4; Art. II, Sect. 1.]
On one subject connected with the rights and interests of women, the Californian delegates have afforded an example which legislatures of greater importance in the world must ere long imitate. They have deemed it a fit thing to be not only enacted, but to form a part of the constitution of the state, that women shall have a right to their own property. The laws of most of the American states are on this point less unjust and irrational than those of England and of other countries of Europe. “All property, both real and personal, of the wife,” say the Californians, “owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterwards by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife, in relation as well to her separate property, as to that held in common with her husband.” [P. 13; Art. XI, Sect. 14.] It must be by an oversight that the wife’s earnings are not included in the property which is to be at her separate disposal. As the words stand, she will have (if the phrase “separate property” is to be understood in its obvious sense) exclusive control over what may devolve on her by any mode of acquisition except her own labour. But even thus, how superior to the law of England4 —which on this, as on many other subjects, remains very little altered from what it was in those times of barbarism when the wife was literally the slave of the man by whom she had been appropriated. It is a proof of the ineffectual and unpractical character of the law reform movement that the law respecting the property of married women remains in the state it is: a law of which every one feels the injustice in the case of any women in whom he is himself interested; and consequently, parents or relatives who give or bequeath property to women, almost always endeavour to frustrate the law (which, however, they can only do very imperfectly) by the circuitous, expensive, and often unsafe mode of a settlement in trust. Yet, imperfect as is the protection which this contrivance affords to the woman, and serious as are the hazards incurred by it in case of dishonesty or rashness in the trustee, it never occurs to parliament to render all this in a great measure unnecessary by the simple expedient of doing common justice to the woman—by letting what is hers be hers, and not, as it is by “common law,” the husband’s.
Another highly creditable part of the Californian constitution consists of its provisions for education. A superintendent of public instruction, elected by the people, is to be one of the regular officers of the government. [P. 11; Art. IX, Sect. 1.] All lands belonging to the state, and all property of persons dying intestate and without heirs, together with a tax (to be solicited from Congress), of five per cent on all sales of land within the state, belonging to the federal government, are to be formed into a permanent fund for the support of common schools [pp. 11-12; Art. IX, Sect. 2]; and a grant of unappropriated land is to be solicited from Congress for the support of a university [p. 12; Art. IX, Sect. 4]. This is according to the laudable example of the New England States, which, of all communities existing, have made, in proportion to their population, the most munificent provision for general education:5 and of whose people it has been said, that they would as soon expect to be made to pay individually for the use of the streets, as for that of the common schools.
The Californians have taken precautions against both the burthen of a national debt, and the scandal of repudiation, by prohibiting their legislature from incurring debts or liabilities exceeding in the aggregate 300,000 dollars, “except in case of war, to repel invasion, or suppress insurrection;” or unless expressly “for some specified object or work.” [P. 11; Art. VIII.] In this last case, the law which authorises the work must provide ways and means for paying off the loans, with all interest, within twenty years; and this law must be submitted to the direct suffrages of the people, and is irrepealable until the debt is wholly paid. There will, we think, be few questioners of the justice and policy of this article of the constitution.
There are some other provisions, the policy of which is disputable—such as the entire prohibition of paper money in all its forms, and of all banks, except for the deposit of the precious metals [p. 7; Art. IV, Sect. 34]; and again, the exemption of “a certain portion of the homestead and other property of all heads of families” from “forced sale” by process of law—that is, from the claims of creditors [p. 13; Art. XI, Sect. 15]; a kind of entail, scarcely more defensible than those entails of a more ordinary description which, under the name of “perpetuities,” are prohibited by the constitution. [Ibid., Sect. 16.] By another article, whoever fights a duel, or sends or accepts a challenge, or is concerned as a second or otherwise in the transaction, is to be punished by being deprived of the suffrage, and disqualified from all public offices of profit. [Ibid., Sect. 2.] This looks like a serious intention to put down a practice which in some parts of the United States amounts to an evil of considerable magnitude: and the means used are more likely to be effectual than any others which we have heard proposed, since they attack the offence through motives of the same kind with those which generally prompt it, motives derived from the love of reputation and consideration.
The remaining provisions of the new constitution do not vary materially from the familiar features of representative democracy, as found in the older free states of the Union.
THE CASE OF MARY ANN PARSONS 
This article, the eighth on injustice and cruelty by Harriet Taylor and Mill (for the background, see No. 303), responds to “Horrible Cruelty,” The Times, 2 Feb., 1850, beginning on p. 8 and continuing in Supplement, p. 1, which describes the coroner’s inquest and subsequent examination before magistrates resulting from the brutal death of Mary Ann Parsons at the hand of Robert Curtis Bird, a farmer, and Sarah Bird, his wife; Mill’s quotations are all from p. 8. The witnesses mentioned are James Morrish, a shoe-maker, and Richard Hooper; the victim’s mother’s name was Grace Parsons. For further comment on the case, see No. 392. This unheaded third leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on a case of atrocity near Bideford, in the Daily News of 5th Febry 1850. Very little of this article was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 72.)
we would earnestly call the attention of our readers to one of the most horrible cases of brutality which have ever disgraced the superficial civilisation of our time and country: we were going to call it the most horrible, but cases approaching to it in atrocity are so incessantly recurring in the police reports, that we hesitate to pronounce even this case unrivalled in those disgraceful annals.
Mary Ann Parsons, a girl of fifteen, said by the master of the workhouse1 to have been “strong and healthy, although not particularly bright,” was hired as a servant from the workhouse of the Bideford union, by a man and woman named Bird, in September last. On the 5th of January she died, of such an accumulation of wounds, mutilations, and other horrible injuries, that we will not repeat the sickening list as given in the examinations before the magistrates. On the Friday before Christmas-day, the evidence of a man named Morrish shows that he saw her standing in the middle of the room where the prisoners and their four children were; that she was ordered “to go into the slee house, or back house;” that as she “went across the kitchen” he “saw that her neck and shoulders were covered with blood, which appeared to have flowed just before” he “came in;” that about ten minutes afterwards the man Bird “opened the slee door and ordered her to wash the blood off her neck.” Another man named Hooper saw her the day after Christmas day, when she “appeared to be very ill: she could not stand upright.” He “heard her making a horrid noise after she got up stairs: she was crying, and making a ‘wist’ or ‘moaning’ noise as she was going up.” This creature had seen her repeatedly flogged by both the man and woman, and neither he nor the former witness ever interfered even by a word of remonstrance. During the whole three months that she was in the service of these wretches, she appears to have been utterly friendless, uncared for, unenquired after. Her mother, who was an inhabitant of the same workhouse, never once saw her, and was ignorant of her fate until made aware of it by the ghastly spectacle which the body presented when in the coffin. The only person who seems to have said anything about the girl after she entered their service, was the master of the workhouse; this man, meeting the woman prisoner, who after a month’s trial had told him that she was an “honest, good, industrious girl,” and hearing on this occasion some complaint, gave his advice to “properly chastise” her. The instrument of torture is said in the report to have excited the horror of the spectators; it was “a strong stick of about a foot in length, to which were fastened eighteen stout sharp leather thongs, about two feet long. This formidable cat was capable of inflicting the most cruel laceration, as bad as the army whip, and worse than the cowhide of the American slave owner.” With this it was that the girl was reduced to the state in which her body appeared. The man Sermon, who gave the brutal recommendation to flog this girl of fifteen, and who admitted that he had “punished children in the workhouse,” though he “never served a child anything like that,” declared that in the army, where he had served, and had frequently seen sentences of flogging executed, the manner in which this poor victim had been treated would not have been considered fair flogging. With how much of this evidence before them does not appear, the coroner’s jury, under the direction of the coroner,2 found that the girl died “from congestion of the brain, caused by external injuries, but how or by what means such injuries were caused there was no evidence to shew.” Fortunately for justice, the “means,” though mysterious to this “jury of respectable (!) yeomen,” were apparent enough to others. An application having been made to a magistrate, the culprits have most properly been committed to take their trial for murder; and heartily were it to be wished that the wretch who counselled “chastisement,” and the two base slaves who looked on calmly and saw—one of them the brutality itself—both of them its consequences—could be reached as accessories to the crime. From the report it would appear that justice might have been entirely defeated and the monsters might have escaped punishment, but for the clear, distinct, and manly evidence of the surgeon, Mr. Turner.3 Too many of this gentleman’s profession, in similar cases, give their evidence in softened terms, and profess doubt, from fear of injuring themselves with the lower class of their customers.
Our law, or at least its administration, takes abundant care of property, but the most atrocious personal violence it treats with a lenity amounting to actual license: even when death follows, the offence is generally pronounced to be manslaughter, and the criminal escapes with a year or two’s imprisonment. Yet whether we look to the torments inflicted, or to the depravity indicated in the perpetrators, the crime against Mary Ann Parsons is of far deeper atrocity than that of a Rush, who fires a pistol at a man and kills him.4 Rush intended death, but they intended torture, and inflicted death by torture. What the law is, and what its administrators thought of such crimes as this poor child has been the victim of, was shown in the case of the notorious Mrs. Brownrigg, who was hanged for murder, and has remained the traditional type of the worst and most odious species of murderers.5 Brownrigg flogged two of her apprentices to death—exactly what these people have done to this unfortunate servant girl. The question in law was not whether she had premeditated their death: it was enough in law and justice that she had carried diabolical cruelty to the point which caused it.
THE CASE OF ANNE BIRD
This article is the ninth on injustice and cruelty by Harriet Taylor and Mill (for the background, see No. 303). It comments on the trial of Anne Bird (b. 1805) for the brutal beating of a two-year-old child, Ellen Welsh, held on 8 Feb. at the Marylebone Police Office, before George Long (1780-1868), magistrate and author. The case had been reported in “Police Intelligence—Friday. Marylebone,” Morning Chronicle, 9 Feb., p. 8. This unheaded third leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the state of the law respecting assault, in the Morning Chron. of 13th March 1850. Very little of this was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 73.)
much has been said and written, although as yet to very little purpose, on the effect which the progress of society in wealth, numbers, and education produces on the nature and amount of crime. Among many differences of opinion on this much-debated question, there is on one point a very general agreement. However it may be with offences against property, crimes of violence tend, it is generally believed, to diminution. There is nothing in which we seem to have so much the advantage over our fathers as in mildness of manners; and the delinquencies which prevail in the present generation are, according to common opinion, those which have their source in poverty or cupidity, but not in ferocity.
Though we do not deny the truth of this representation as it affects some classes of society and some offences, yet, as a general fact, we are sorry to say that it is not borne out by that authentic register of the manners and habits of the populace—the Police Reports. Far from exhibiting any decrease in crimes of violence, hardly a day passes in which that record does not bear frightful witness to their unabated prevalence. And the crimes which thus abound are, in point of moral turpitude, the worst order of crimes of violence—not the outbursts of offended irascibility against an equal, but the habitual abuse of brute strength, and the indulgence of wanton cruelty. Women and children, or young persons, are usually the sufferers. Cases succeed one another with hardly any intermission, in which men are proved to have killed their wives by brutal maltreatment; every such death being the termination of a series of sufferings, extending through years, against which the vital principle was at last unable longer to bear up. For every such extreme case, we may be assured there are hundreds which stop just short of the infliction of death, or in which death is inflicted, but not ascribed to its true cause. In another very numerous class of cases, a man or a woman is found to have kept an unhappy child for weeks and months in some disgusting domestic dungeon, until it is nearly dead from cold, hunger, and neglect—or to have scourged it day after day, until it is brought into a state which strikes horror when at last exhibited, and from which in many cases the child never recovers. In other instances a parish apprentice, or a young person hired as a servant from the workhouse, is the miserable victim.
Whoever has sufficiently attended to the proceedings of the Police Courts to have observed the deplorable frequency of these cases, must have been no less forcibly struck with the scandalous impunity of the culprits. Often, even when the victim has died from their maltreatment, they are not sent to trial. If tried, they are, in a majority of cases,acquitted—sometimes in the face of the clearest evidence. Even if found guilty, it is only of manslaughter, and they get off with a year or two of imprisonment. Cases short of death are very seldom tried at all, but are disposed of summarily by the police magistrate. A recent instance at the Marylebone Police-office exemplifies the sort of justice usually administered. The case was one of peculiar enormity, the victim being a child two years old. The culprit, a woman named Anne Bird, was proved to have cruelly maltreated this infant with a whip. The magistrate did what magistrates in such cases usually do; he talked of the extreme atrocity of the case—as if strong words would do away with the effect of weak acts—and then sentenced the woman to the greatest penalty he could summarily inflict—a fine of five pounds, or, in default of payment, two months’ imprisonment. If this woman, under the pressure of poverty, had stolen five shillings, the magistrate would not have failed to commit her for trial, and if found guilty she would probably have been transported. But her offence being brutal cruelty, practised on a creature utterly helpless and unoffending, he did not deem it worth while to try whether a higher court would be of opinion that a case of extraordinary atrocity deserved greater punishment than two months’ imprisonment. At the end of the two months the child, no doubt, will be given back to its torturer; unless before that time, as happened in a similar case not long ago, it dies of the injuries received.
The fault is partly in the administration of the law, but chiefly in the law itself. The whole state of the law on the subject of offences against the person urgently requires revision.1 Towards offenders against property the law until very lately was ferocious, and even now it does not err on the side of gentleness; but in case of personal violence, short of premeditated murder, it is chargeable with confounding together offences the most widely separated, both in kind and degree of criminality, and with the most excessive and unwarrantable lenity towards all but the lightest. Legislators and judges have bestowed little consideration on the amount of guilt and suffering which lie disguised under the mild and euphonious designation of “common assault.” That gentle phrase stands for nearly every sort of bodily maltreatment of which death or maiming is not obviously the result. There is but that one term to denote the whole range of acts of personal violence, from a quarrel between two strong and equally matched men, one of whom knocks the other down in a fair fight, to that habitual and wanton abuse of muscular strength against the weak and defenceless which makes life a martyrdom. Even if this confounding of the gravest moral distinctions were a mere matter of theory and classification, it would be very far from harmless in its effects on the popular mind; but, carried out as it is, to the full, in daily practice—some of the most detestable actions which one human being can perpetrate against another being punished, when punished at all, with about the amount of penalty which would be due to a simple breach of the peace—it would show a profound ignorance of the effect of moral agencies on the character not to perceive how deeply depraving must be the influence of such a lesson given from the seat of justice. It cannot be doubted that to this more than to any other single cause is to be attributed the frightful brutality which marks a very large proportion of the poorest class, and no small portion of a class much above the poorest.
Persons who are not conversant, either by their own knowledge or through the proceedings of courts of justice, with the breadth and depth of popular brutality, have very little idea of what is comprehended in the meaning of the words, “domestic tyranny.” This is now the only kind of tyranny which, in the more improved countries of the world, still exists in full vigour. Even in the worst governed countries, of any tolerable degree of civilization, it is now but rarely that Kings or public functionaries have it in their power personally to maltreat any one. The barbarities of which history is full, and which in barbarous countries flourish as rankly as ever, very few persons in a civilized country now suffer from political authorities—millions are liable to them from domestic ones. The great majority of the inhabitants of this and of every country—including nearly the whole of one sex, and all the young of both—are, either by law or by circumstances stronger than the law, subject to some one man’s arbitrary will. Every now and then the public are revolted by some disclosure of unspeakable atrocities committed against some of these helpless dependents—while, for every such case which excites notice, hundreds, most of them as bad, pass off in the police reports entirely unobserved; and for one that finds its way, even for that brief instant, into light, we may be assured that not hundreds but thousands are constantly going on in the safety of complete obscurity. If, through the accidental presence of some better-hearted person than these poor creatures are usually surrounded by, complaint is made to a magistrate, the neighbours—persons living in the same house—almost invariably testify, without either repentance or shame, that the same brutalities had gone on for years in their sight or hearing, without their stirring a finger to prevent them. The sufferers themselves are either unable to complain, from youth or ignorance, or they dare not. They know too surely the consequences of either failing or succeeding in a complaint, when the law, after inflicting just enough punishment to excite the thirst of vengeance, delivers back the victim to the tyrant.
As a matter either of justice or of humanity, these things speak so plain a language as ought to be in no need of commentary. What it is of more importance to insist upon, is their demoralizing effect. Attention has of late been much directed to the overcrowding of the labouring population as a source of moral evils.2 Let any one consider the degrading moral effect, in the midst of these crowded dwellings, of scenes of physical violence, repeated day after day—the debased, spirit-broken, down-trodden condition of the unfortunate woman, the most constant sufferer from domestic brutality in the poorer classes, unaffectedly believing herself to be out of the protection of the law—the children born and bred in this moral atmosphere—with the unchecked indulgence of the most odious passions, the tyranny of physical force in its coarsest manifestations, constantly exhibited as the most familiar facts of their daily life—can it be wondered if they grow up without any of the ideas and feelings which it is the purpose of moral education to infuse, without any sense of justice or affection, any conception of self-restraint—incapable in their turn of governing their children by any other means than blows? The law, whose utmost exertions would not be more than enough to withstand this mass of depraving influences, makes so little use of its powers and opportunities, measures out its reproofs and punishments by such a scale, that the culprits believe almost the worst of these brutalities to be venial, and all minor ones to be actually permitted—while the victims regard their suffering and debasement as the regular course of things, which the law sanctions and the world allows; and when not crushed entirely, they seek a wretched compensation by tyrannizing in their turn, when any hapless fellow-creature comes within their power.
GROTE’S HISTORY OF GREECE 
This review is Mill’s fifth and last in a newspaper of Grote’s History (for the context, see No. 304). It appears in the “Books” section, headed “Grote’s Greece—Volumes VII and VIII,” with the heading footnoted: “History of Greece. By George Grote, Esq. Volumes VII and VIII. Published by Murray.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A notice of the 7th and 8th Volumes of Grote’s History of Greece, in the Spectator of 16 March 1850” (MacMinn, p. 73). Four passages from the review were incorporated by Mill into his 1853 Edinburgh Review notice of Grote when he revised that notice for publication in the first edition of his Dissertations and Discussions (1859), represented in the variant notes as “59”; see No. 380 for bibliographical details.
the two preceding volumes of Mr. Grote’s History exhibited the Athenian empire in its ascending and stationary periods. The present publication contains the still more interesting and impressive recital of its decline and fall. Commencing at the temporary suspension of hostilities with the Peloponnesian confederacy, termed the Peace of Nicias, it comprises the tragedy of the Sicilian expedition; the wonderful exertion of energy by which Athens rallied after that unparalleled disaster, and succeeded once more in balancing the whole strength of her enemies, though aided by her revolted allies and by the treasures of the “Great King”;1 the closing years of the Peloponnesian war, varied by some remarkable passages in the internal history of the Athenian republic; the catastrophe of Aegospotami, the subjugation of Athens by Lysander,2 the annihilation of her maritime power and dissolution of the democracy. The narrative is continued through the brief despotism of the Thirty Tyrants,3 to the restoration of the Athenian democracy (but not of the Athenian empire,) by Thrasybulus and his associates, and the settlement of affairs which followed, so remarkable for its good sense and absence of reactionary violence. In the last two chapters Mr. Grote suspends the political, and takes up the intellectual movement; passing in review the dramatists, the rhetoricians, the sophists, and lastly, the memorable character and career of Socrates, to whom the closing chapter is exclusively dedicated. [Vol. VIII, pp. 434-676; Chaps. lxvii-lxviii.]
Both in stirring incident, and in topics for thought and reflection, these volumes are richer than any of their predecessors; and the execution worthily corresponds to the material. Those who have read Mr. Grote’s former volumes will have observed that he invariably rises with his subject, and is found most adequate to it where its requirements are greatest. The better acquainted any one is with Grecian history, and with the manner in which that history has heretofore been written, the higher will be his estimation of this work. Few books are more calculated to impress the instructed reader both with admiration of the thorough manner in which everything which the author attempts to do is done, and with surprise that almost everything was left for him to do. An enumeration of the points of Grecian history on which he has thrown new light, would comprise almost every one of its important phaenomena, or even of its interesting incidents. Yet there is not only no ostentation of originality, but the author’s mind is of the quality most remote from that which catches at glittering novelties and indulges an intellectual appetite for ingenious hypotheses. If there is anything which can be confidently predicated of Mr. Grote it is that he is a safe historian; one who requires, not less, but more, positive evidence than common inquirers, before adopting a conclusion. His new results are not obtained by divination or conjecture; but by more diligent study and more acute cross-examination of the authorities than had ever been applied before, and by that greater power of interpreting recorded facts which flows from the possession of broader, deeper, and more many-sided views of human affairs.
With the exception of the last two chapters, the whole of both volumes is continuous narrative; without admixture of discussion beyond what was required for criticism of the evidence, or moral appreciation of the facts. During the entire period, the historian has the benefit of the high contemporary authorities, Thucydides and Xenophon: on the general march of events there is little trustworthy information except what these writers afford. The difference between one modern historian and another, as to this period, is chiefly shown by the manner in which they supply what is not told by contemporary writers, because not required by contemporary readers—namely, that basis of permanent facts, of which the passing facts recorded by the historian stand out as it were on the mere surface. Thucydides, writing for Greeks, related the incidents which disturbed the stream of Greek life, the battles, conspiracies, and the like; but what the stream in its natural state consisted of, he did not need to tell his readers, for they knew it as well as himself. Those familiar facts, however, which to them would have been superfluous information, are what it most concerns the modern historian to know. He has to discover them from the incidental hints given by Thucydides, and from the indications scattered through the mass of Greek literature. Owing to the insufficiency of the materials, a very imperfect conception is all that can be obtained; but there is a vast difference between this imperfect conception and none at all. Now the modern historians of Greece who preceded Mr. Grote, have started with what it is scarcely injustice to call, no distinct conception whatever of the general state of things in Greece, the opinions, feelings, personal relations, and actions, habitual to the persons individual or collective, whom they are writing about; and hence, when they come to speak of any particular event, they hardly ever understand what other things it implied, or what impression it must have produced on those who saw and heard it—for want of a proper understanding of what may be termed “the situation.” To illustrate our meaning, as well as to show the extent of this deficiency in former historians of Greece: we do not believe that any one of them has made (for example) these obvious remarks—that few Greek statesmen or generals were superior to pecuniary corruption, and that there were still fewer Greeks whose heads were not turned, and their capacity of rational judgment destroyed, by brilliant success. Yet even such simple general reflections as these, in the hands of Mr. Grote, help to render many things intelligible which hitherto have been either unaccounted for or totally misunderstood. To take another and a less obvious example: the curious incident of the mutilation of the statues called Hermae,4 and the violent excitement at Athens consequent upon it, are for the first time made comprehensible by Mr. Grote, because he is the first who has mentally realized the effect of such an incident upon the religious feelings of Greeks. [Vol. VII, pp. 227ff., 267ff.] The matter had always been written about as if horror at the mere act of sacrilege had been the only religious sentiment concerned: whereas Mr. Grote points out that it was much rather a religious terror; that, according to the belief of the Athenians, such an insult to the god was certain to draw down his severest wrath upon the whole state, to the extent of utter ruin, unless they could reconcile themselves to him by detecting and rooting out all who were concerned in the impiety. This aspect of the matter both suggests a possible motive on the part of the perpetrators of an act hitherto the most enigmatical in Greek history, and explains the course of subsequent events.
Perhaps the most unmistakeable as well as the most attractive of Mr. Grote’s excellences as a narrator, consists in this ever-present and lively sense of “the situation.”ab One of the beneficial fruits of this quality is that it makes the history a philosophic one without apparent effort. There is no need of lengthened discussion to connect causes with their effects; the causes and effects are parts of the same picture, and the causes are seen in action before it appears what they are to produce. For example, the reader whose mind is filled with the greatness attained by Athens while her councils were ruled by the commanding intellect and self-restraining prudence of Pericles, might almost anticipate the coming disasters when he finds, in the early chapters of the cpresent volumesc , into the hands of what advisers Athens had already fallen. And, mark well, these evil advisers were not the demagogues, but the chiefs of the aristocracy, the richest and most highborn men in the republic—Nicias and Alcibiades. Mr. Grote had already shown grounds for believing that Cleon, and men of his stamp, had been far too severely dealt with by historians;5 not that they did not frequently deserve censure, but that they were by no means the worst misleaders of the Athenian people. The demagogues were, as he observes, essentially opposition speakers. The conduct of affairs was habitually in the hands of the rich and great, who had by far the largest share of personal influence, and on whose mismanagement there would have been hardly any check, but for the demagogues and their hostile criticism. These opinions receive ample confirmation from the course of affairs, when, there being no longer any lowborn Cleon or Hyperbolus to balance their influence, Nicias and Alcibiades had full scope to ruin the commonwealth. The contrary vices of these two men, both equally fatal, are exemplified in the crowning act of their maladministration; the one having been the principal adviser of the ill-starred expedition to Syracuse, while the other was the main cause of its ruinous failure, by his intellectual and moral incapacity.a
One of the most important results of Grecian history, as conceived and written by Mr. Grote, is the triumphant vindication, so far as historical evidence goes, of Democracy. The moral of the history, as related by most modern historians, is that democracy is a detestable kind of government, and that the case of Athens strikingly exemplifies its detestable qualities. Mr. Grote, on the contrary, shows that the Athenian government was of surpassing excellence, its time and circumstances considered; that no other form of society known to the ancients realized anything approaching to an equal measure of practical good government; and that this was mainly owing to the nearer approach which it made to democratic institutions. A democracy in the full sense of the term it of course was not, since women, slaves, and a multitude of permanent residents of all ranks and classes who were not citizens, were “unknown to the constitution.”6 But it had many important points in common with democracy. It was a government of unlimited publicity, and freedom of censure and discussion. Public officers were subject to effective responsibility. The tribunals, being multitudinous and appointed by lot, were, like modern juries, generally incorrupt. And there was no distinction in political rights and franchises between poor and rich, lowborn and highborn. That the Athenian institutions on the whole were eminently favourable to progress, is shown by the splendid development of individual intellect during the three or four generations that this form of society lasted. It was reserved for Mr. Grote to show that the conditions also of order were realized in a degree unknown in any other community of the ancient world. Nowhere else in antiquity was respect for law so deep-rooted a principle as at Athens. Constitutional forms, and the salutary checks which the wisdom of Solon, Kleisthenes, and Pericles had provided against the inconsiderate impulses of a multitudinous popular assembly, had the strongest hold on the minds of the Demos; very rarely indeed in Athenian history were those barriers overstepped, even by the most impetuous impulse of popular passion. Nowhere in Greece were life and property so secure against every kind of legal or illegal violence: even those who were not citizens were less exposed to insult and injury than in other ancient states. In all these points the Athenian people were honourably distinguished, not only from the Greek oligarchies, but from their own oligarchical party; who showed during two intervals of ascendancy, the periods of the Four Hundred7 and of the Thirty, of what enormities they were capable; and who dought always to be present to the mind, not merely asethee dark background to the picture of the Athenian republic, but as an active power in itd: for during the whole of its existence, such men as Critias and his compeers were prominent in the first ranks of public discussion, and continually filled the high offices of the state.
Among Mr. Grote’s views of Grecian history, the most startling by its apparent novelty will be, we think, his defence of the Sophists. [Vol. VIII, pp. 479-544.] If there is one opinion on Grecian affairs more accredited than another, it is that the sophists ruined the Grecian states by corrupting their morality. This opinion will appear to the reader of Mr. Grote to be one of those baseless fancies which have so long usurped the place of historical knowledge. Mr. Grote denies the fact of the corruption; and honourably acquits the sophists of any corrupting influence. It is not necessary to inform any reader of the Greek authors, that the word sophist was not used by them in its modern sense. fThat term was the common designation for speculative inquirers generally, and more particularly for instructors of youth; and was applied to Socrates and Plato, as much as to those whom they confuted. The sophists formed no school, had no common doctrines, but speculated in the most conflicting ways on physics and metaphysics; while with respect to morals, those among them who professed to prepare young men for active life, taught the current morality of the age in its best form: the apologue of the Choice of Hercules was the composition of a sophist.8 It is most unjust to the sophists to adopt, as the verdict of history upon them, the severe judgment of Plato, although from Plato’s point of view they deserved it. He judged them from the superior elevation of a great moral and social reformer: from that height he looked down contemptuously enough, not on them alone, but on statesmen, orators, artists—on the whole practical life of the period, and all its institutions, popular, oligarchical, or despotic; demanding a reconstitution of society from its foundations, and a complete renovation of the human mind. One who had these high aspirations, had naturally little esteem for men who did not see or aspire to see beyond the common ideas of their age; but, as Mr. Grote remarks, to accept his judgment of them would be like characterizing the teachers and politicians of the present time in the words applied to them by Owen or Fourier. [Vol. VIII, p. 538.] Even Plato, for the most part, puts the immoral doctrines ascribed to the sophists (such as the doctrine that might makes right) into the mouths not of sophists, but of ambitious active politicians, like Callicles.9 The sophists, in Plato, almost always express themselves not only with decorum but with good sense and feeling on the subject of social duties; though gby his Socratic dialectics heg always succeeds in puzzling them, and displaying the confusion of their ideas, or rather of the common ideas of mankind, of which they are the exponents.f
This brings us to the chapter on Socrates; which, after so much that is valuable, is in our estimation the most instructive chapter in the book. hWe have not space to giveithe briefest analysis of a dissertation so rich in matter, ori the smallest specimen of the delineation of this remarkable character, now brought into clearer light than ever before—a philosopher inculcating, under a supposed religious impulse, pure reason and a rigid discipline of the logical faculty. But we invite attention to the estimate, contained in this chapter, of the peculiarities of the Socratic teaching, and of the urgent need, at the present and at all times, of such a teacher. Socrates, in morals, is conceived by Mr. Grote as the parallel of Bacon in physics. He exposed the loose, vague, confused, and misleading character of the common notions of mankind on the most familiar subjects. By apt interrogations, forcing the interlocutors to become conscious of the want of precision in their own ideas, he showed that the words in popular use on all moral subjects (words which, because they are familiar, all persons fancy they understand) in reality answer to no distinct and well-defined ideas; and that the common notions, which those words serve to express, all require to be reconsidered. This is exactly what Bacon showed to be the case jinj respect to the phrases and notions commonly current on physical subjects. It is the fashion of the present day to decry negative dialectics; as if making men conscious of their ignorance were not the first step—and an absolutely necessary one—towards inducing them to acquire knowledge. “Opinio copiae,” says Bacon, “maxima causa inopiae est.”10 The war which Bacon made upon confused general ideas, “notiones temere a rebus abstractas,”11 was essentially negative, but it constituted the epoch from which, alone, advancement in positive knowledge became possible. It is to Bacon that we owe Newton and the modern physical science. In like manner, Socrates, by convincing men of their ignorance, and pointing out the conditions of knowledge, originated the positive movement which produced Plato and Aristotle. With them and their immediate disciples that movement ceased, and has never yet been so effectually revived as to be permanent. The common notions of the present time on moral and mental subjects are as incapable of supporting the Socratic cross-examination as those of his own age: they are, just as much, the wild fruits of the undisciplined understanding—of the “intellectus sibi permissus,”12 as Bacon phrases it; rough generalizations of first impressions, or consecrations of accidental feelings, without due analysis or mental circumscription.h As the direct antagonist of such unsifted general notions and impressions on moral subjects, Socrates occupies an unique position in history; and the work which he did requires to be done again, as the indispensable condition of that intellectual renovation, without which the grand moral and social improvements, to which mankind are now beginning to aspire, will be for ever unattainable.
THE CASE OF MARY ANN PARSONS 
See No. 389 for earlier comment on this case; the subsequent trial of the Birds had been reported in “Assize Intelligence. Western Circuit—Exeter, March 22,” Morning Chronicle, 25 Mar., p. 7, from which the quotations are taken. This is the tenth of the joint articles on injustice and cruelty by Harriet Taylor and Mill (for the background, see No. 303). This unheaded third leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the Bideford case, in the Morning Chronicle of 26th March 1850. Very little of this was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 73.)
the case of mary ann parsons, who died a cruel death from maltreatment, at Buckland, near Bideford, in January last, has terminated in a more complete frustration of public justice than, in our worst surmises, we had imagined possible. The criminals, Robert and Sarah Bird, have not been convicted of murder—nor of manslaughter—nor even of a common assault. They have escaped totally unpunished—unpunished, except by public execration, which, it is to be hoped, will cling to them the more closely that they have not expiated their guilt by the retribution which the law appoints for such malefactors, but which in this instance, as in too many others, it has failed to inflict. Let any one who reads the report of the trial which appeared in our paper of yesterday, judge whether there can be the faintest shadow of doubt as to the facts—whether the two prisoners will not carry to their graves the merited designation of acquitted murderers. The worst features of the case, as it appeared against them in the preliminary investigation, were all confirmed, and more than confirmed, by the evidence on the trial. Several witnesses swore to repeated acts of brutal maltreatment. Several others swore to admissions of such acts by the female prisoner, both as respected herself and her husband. The state in which the poor girl’s body was found was sworn to by Mr. Turner, the surgeon who made the post-mortem examination, in these clear and straightforward terms:
On the legs and thighs I saw several wounds, varying in extent, and evidently inflicted by some irregular or rough weapon. It struck me to have been by a birch. There was a bruise on the chest. The face was discoloured, and the forehead, and some abscesses were on the arms and fingers. The skin over the bowels was discoloured. On the left arm there was an abscess, and the skin immediately round it was discoloured, as if it had been bruised some time, perhaps a fortnight. The abscess had burst below the elbow. There was another abscess just forming. The nails of the little and fore finger were gone, apparently some time. The two middle finger nails were also gone, apparently more recently, and in one the bone protruded. On the right arm there was also an abscess that had also burst. On the right hip there was a large slough. On the posterior part of the hips were several wounds, apparently inflicted some time. They were covered with plaster, and appeared to be old sores. Between the shoulders were two trivial bruises. There was also a mark on the face, from the temple down to the cheek. On removing the scalp I found another bruise on the back of the head, with considerable extravasation of blood diffused between the scalp and the skull.
Then, after stating that he observed congestion of the membranes of the brain, and at the base of the brain extravasation of blood, and that he “found the cause of death in the head,” Mr. Turner continued:
In my judgment, death was the result of the external injuries. I could not form a judgment how that violence had been inflicted. I don’t think the injuries I saw in the head were produced from falls. The condition of the girl must have been extremely reduced before death, and the powers of life weakened. The injuries I observed would have produced an effect on the nervous system, which is connected with the brain.
Another medical witness, Mr. Edge, a surgeon to the hospital at Exeter, “conceives that Mr. Turner is correct in the opinion that he formed, as to the time of death, and the cause.”
After such evidence—unless the testimony was disbelieved, which it was not—it seems incredible that the Judge (Mr. Justice Talfourd) should have charged the jury for an acquittal. Every reader must be astonished at such a course, and must be anxious to know how so extraordinary a judgment came to be pronounced on such a state of facts. The explanation, however, is instructive, by the illustration which it affords of the state either of the law, or of the mind of this Judge—certainly not one of the worst of its administrators. Though there were statements and physical facts sufficient to convince the mind most recalcitrant to evidence, that the death of the girl was the work of the two prisoners, there was not, it seems, legal evidence to bring it home to them. “The case,” in the opinion of the judge, “had failed.” But when we see in what points it was considered to have failed, we cease to wonder—or rather, our astonishment changes its object, and we wonder how there should ever be legal evidence of a murder committed in the manner in which these two culprits caused the death of their victim.
The grounds of acquittal were two; and which of them is the strangest it would not be easy to decide. The first was, that although there was superabundant evidence of brutality by the prisoners sufficient to cause the frightful state of the corpse, it was not proved that anybody struck the particular blow on the head to which the congestion of the brain, said to be the immediate cause of death, was thought to be more especially owing. The second reason was, that even if the blow had been struck by one of the prisoners, there was no evidence “to fix it upon one of these parties more than the other.” But it is by no means clear that, in the opinion of the medical witnesses, the blow on the head was exclusively the fatal injury. Mr. Turner, according to our report, “found the cause of death in the head”—meaning the congestion; but he distinctly said, “In my judgment death was the result of the external injuries.” “The injuries I observed”—being those on the body generally—“would have produced an effect on the nervous system, which is connected with the brain.” The other medical witness professed an unqualifed agreement in Mr. Turner’s opinion. It would thus appear that neither of these gentlemen ascribed the cerebral congestion to any local injury to the head, but to general injuries, affecting the brain not directly, but indirectly through “the nervous system.” Even assuming, however (what, it is fair to say, some of the reports of the trial appear to bear out),1 that death was more immediately caused by that particular injury, among the many of which the sufferer bore the hideous marks—that circumstance does not abate one iota from the moral certainty of the prisoners’ guilt. They were proved to have been in the habit of inflicting, up to nearly the time of the girl’s death, cruelties quite equal to the one assumed to have caused it. There was no direct proof that either of them struck that particular blow; but there was not the smallest evidence accounting for it in any other way. It was for them to rebut the presumption raised by their other brutalities. An adequate cause had been shown for any result, however fatal, in their daily treatment of their victim. On them lay the burden of disproving the connection by proving the existence of some other cause for the catastrophe. If a man were found murdered on the highway, his body covered with wounds, some of which only were mortal, the assassins who were proved to have fallen upon him, and to have inflicted some of those wounds, would not be suffered to escape because no one could swear that the particular wounds inflicted by them were the mortal ones. It would be enough that they did wound him, that no other cause of death appeared, and that he died.
With respect to the very nice and scrupulous doubt—as to which of the two prisoners is answerable—it is easily disposed of. Both are answerable. The guilt rests on both, until one of them can get rid of it by throwing it exclusively on the other. If the atrocious acts—some one or all of which destroyed the victim—had been proved only against one of the prisoners, that one would justly have been made responsible for the catastrophe. But those acts were proved against both, and against both equally. Both, therefore, are accountable; just as is the case if a person is found with a gang of robbers at the commission of a crime—it is on himself that the burden rests of proving his non-participation in their guilt.
Under the jurisprudence of Mr. Justice Talfourd, it is virtually proclaimed to such people as Robert and Sarah Bird that there is impunity for murder, on condition of their adopting the commonest precautions. If the person to be murdered is an inmate of their house, and under their power, they must be dull indeed if they cannot effect their purpose without supplying those links of evidence for want of which the death of Mary Ann Parsons goes unpunished. It matters not though the whole neighbourhood testifies to daily cruelties more than adequate to produce death. It matters not that the corpse excites universal horror by its glaring manifestations of those cruelties. They can surely contrive that no one shall be able to swear to the particular wound inflicted on a particular day, or to prove that this wound was given by one of the murderers, that by another—and the victim, who alone knew, is not alive to tell. This is not justice. If it be law, which, in opposition to a judge’s dictum, we do not pretend to decide, it is law which cannot too soon be altered. When the law places any one—and that a person of inferior physical strength—under the power of another, who may be such a creature as these Birds, it exposes the individual to peculiar risks, and ought, therefore, to guard him by peculiar precautions. What is called the ordinary protection of law is not sufficient. The ordinary protection of law is protection to those who can help themselves—who can in general keep themselves out of harm’s way, or, at least, who can tell their own story. The victims of domestic brutality cannot protect themselves; and there is no protection for them, if, when death ensues, and violence is proved sufficient to cause death, the prosecutors are obliged to produce direct evidence connecting the death with the brutality. It is on the accused that the burden of exculpating themselves should in such cases rest. Death, and maltreatment sufficient to cause death, are the sole facts of which positive evidence ought to be required. Those to whom power over others is given, and who brutally misuse that power, should be thus far held responsible for the safety of those over whom they tyrannise. Otherwise there is no security even for the lives of any of those who have the wretched and disgracefully common lot of being in the power of a brute.2
THE CASE OF SUSAN MOIR
This article, quoting from “The Inquest on Mrs. Moir,” Morning Chronicle, 28 Mar., p. 2, is the eleventh by Harriet Taylor and Mill on injustice and cruelty (for background, see No. 303). This unheaded third leader is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article on the Coroner’s Inquest on Susan Moir, in the Morning Chronicle of 29th March 1850. A joint production.”
(MacMinn, p. 73.)
only three days have elapsed since we held up to public indignation the frightful details of the Bideford abominations, and the scandal of an acquittal, decisive of Mr. Justice Talfourd’s calibre both as a judge and as a man.1 Already another case has presented itself, fully equal in its atrocious features, and in which, unless the public look well to it, similar impunity will probably be the result.
Our yesterday’s paper contained the Coroner’s inquest on Susan Moir, wife of Alexander Moir, carrying on business as a baker at No. 24, Brydges-street, Covent-garden. “When the sheet,” says our report, “with which the remains were covered was thrown aside, an expression of horror escaped all present, the body, from head to foot, being literally covered with bruises and contused wounds of old and recent date.” The surgeon, Mr. Watkins,2 deposed—“The integuments and muscles of the head were contused in a manner I never saw before—in fact they were a perfect jelly.” The following are the statements of the other witnesses:
The first witness, Mary Ann Bryant, a cousin of the deceased, said that she
called upon her on Saturday last, about half-past one o’clock, when deceased complained of having been very much ill-used by her husband. Deceased begged witness to ask him to allow her to go to bed, as she had been up all the previous night. She said to witness, “You might say to him, let Susan go and lie down.” Witness did ask her husband, as requested, but he refused to allow her to go to bed, and said she must mind the shop. Witness remained with deceased until half-past three o’clock, and during that interval her husband frequently boxed her ears as hard as he could with his open hand, and once, when she got up to serve a customer in the shop, he kicked her behind with great force, because, as he said, she did not move quick enough. He requested witness to examine her head, remarking that he knew he had hurt her. Witness did so, and found her left ear and all that part of the head dreadfully bruised. There were also cuts upon the head, and the hair was matted with congealed blood that had issued from them. Witness told deceased’s husband how much she was injured, but he did not appear to take any notice of it.
About six the same afternoon, on returning to the house,
he asked her whether she had supplied certain customers; and she replied that she had not; upon which he swore at her, and boxed her ears as hard as he could. He then directed her to put some bread in the shop-window; and while she was in the act of doing so she fell insensible on the shop-floor. Witness ran towards her, and saw that the blood was spirting from a wound in her temple. Witness then called out, “Oh, good God, uncle; cousin is in a fit—pick her up.” He replied that he would not. Deceased presently revived a little, and walked with witness into the back parlour. While doing so, she said, “I am in a fit, and a very bad fit. Don’t leave me, for God’s sake—don’t leave me, Mary Ann.” These were the last words she ever uttered. Witness wished to put her to bed, but her husband said she should never go into a bed of his again. Deceased was then standing over a sink; and presently her strength appeared to fail, and she sank down upon the floor with her head resting on the kitchen step.
She never rallied, and died on the following Monday morning.
John Johnson, a journeyman baker in this wretch’s employment, said that on Tuesday night, soon after eleven o’clock,
he heard a great noise overhead, as of two persons quarrelling, and a cry of distress from the deceased woman. The noise was similar to that of one person dragging another across the room, and it continued up to three o’clock to such an extent that witness could not get any sleep. Witness did not hear any words distinctly, but he could tell that his master was speaking in a very ferocious manner. On the Saturday afternoon witness saw his master knock deceased about, and shortly afterwards she fell down insensible. Deceased’s cousin asked witness to assist in raising her, but his master would not allow him. He said, “D—n her, let her get up herself.”
Amelia Meredes, who had lodged in the house for the last two months,
had frequently seen deceased with black eyes in that time; and on Saturday, about five o’clock, during a dreadful noise of quarrelling, she came down stairs into the passage, and while there heard deceased scream out and cry, “Oh, oh! you’ll kill me, you’ll kill me!” Her husband replied, “Yes, I will kill you. I’ll murder you before I have done with you.” Witness also heard deceased’s little boy call out at the same time, “You’ll kill my mother, father.”
It was after such evidence as this that the Coroner’s jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter! And were the ruffian to be tried (as he has been committed) on this verdict, and not on a bill of indictment sent before the grand jury, he would be tried for manslaughter only, and not for murder! We have, however, much satisfaction in perceiving, from the result of the examination which took place at Bow-street yesterday,3 that public justice will be spared this indescribably outrageous insult; and that, despite the enormous folly and heartlessness of the fifteen “highly respectable” jurymen, the prisoner will be put on his trial for the capital offence.4
To prevent justice from being foiled in instances like these ought ever to be the primary object of all who have any power in the case. The parish officers, or any other public authority within whose competence it is to see that the most horrible crimes do not escape unpunished, are under a deep responsibility if they do not, when others fail in their duty, indict such culprits for murder. And when the case is not taken up by those who are most bound to do so, a public subscription ought to enable the relatives or friends of the unfortunate victim to take the proper means of invoking condign punishment on the murderer.
It is necessary that it should be, once for all, understood by juries that to beat a human being to death is not manslaughter, but murder. If it were otherwise, the famous Mrs. Brownrigg was hanged contrary to law.5 What she was convicted of was a series of brutalities exactly resembling this, and the Bideford case. And she would most assuredly have been acquitted had she been tried before Mr. Justice Talfourd. He would have said that there had been “chastisement of which he did not approve,” but that there was no proof that the death of the victim was caused by the “chastisement.”6
In the Brydges-street case it is in evidence that the prisoner actually, and at the very time, said to the unhappy victim that he would murder her; and though this, or any other ruffianly speech under such circumstances, does not amount to proof that the speaker meant the full import of his words, experience shows what interpretation would have been put upon them if the case had been reversed, and if the woman had been charged with killing the man. If the husband had died in circumstances similar to the case of Ann Merrett,7 and such a speech could have been proved to have been uttered by the wife—no matter under what circumstances of just exasperation—she would not have had a chance to escape a capital conviction.
Is it because juries are composed of husbands in a low rank of life, that men who kill their wives almost invariably escape—wives who kill their husbands, never? How long will such a state of things be permitted to continue?
This letter to the editor was introduced by an editorial comment: “A correspondent, in the following letter, finds fault with our strictures, under the above heading, upon an institution lately opened in Marylebone, by certain charitable ladies, for the instruction of young friendless and poor children, in needle work and other pursuits calculated to enable them to procure an honest livelihood.” The paragraph Mill quotes was headed “Questionable Charity,” Sunday Times, 5 May, p. 2. The letter was the twelfth newspaper contribution jointly authored by Harriet Taylor and Mill (for background, see No. 303), and their first to appear in the Sunday Times. Headed as title, it is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed D in the Sunday Times of 19th May 1850, commenting on a paragraph in that paper headed ‘Questionable Charity.’ A joint production.”
(MacMinn, p. 74.)
Agreeing cordially with many of the sentiments expressed in your journal of Sunday, May 5, and with much of the tone and spirit of your paper generally, I regret to see one paragraph in which, as it appears to me, you not only give blame where praise is deserved, but countenance erroneous opinions on such important subjects as the direction of charity and the employment of labour. The following is the passage:
In Marylebone, a society of ladies has formed a female school for the purpose, as they state, of instructing the poor in such branches of useful knowledge as are calculated to enable them, in after life, to gain a honest livelihood. So far, excellent. The object is laudible, but is greatly defeated by the very founders of this charitable institution, who, in order to save the money which they should otherwise pay for the making of their apparel, bring that apparel to the school, and get it made free of cost by the children. Thus in the name, and under the guise of charity, they unintentionally inflict a gross injustice, rob honest industry of its fair reward, and drive to the workhouse or to prostitution the industrious and deserving female, who is willing to toil from the rising to the setting sun, and even half the night during the whole week, for a pittance scarcely sufficient to keep body and soul together.
I know nothing of the facts, and assume them to be as here stated. What I object to is the doctrine that, whenever, in return for charitable assistance, the recipients are required to do anything useful, to perform any productive labour which any other persons might be paid to do, an injustice is done to those other persons, and a wrong to the world at large.
Your objection, if good at all, is good against every possible employment of labour. You cannot employ anybody without enabling it to be said that you prevent yourself from employing somebody else. If it is wrong to employ children, because of taking employment from needlewomen, by the same reasoning to employ one needlewoman, is taking employment from another. If it is wrong to employ children in needlework, instead of employing needlewomen, it must be wrong to teach the children needlework, for the express purpose of enabling them “in after life to gain an honest livelihood” by practising needlework, and so competing with the needlewomen.
You will, perhaps, say that, at all events, the assistance so conferred is no longer charity, but an ordinary commercial transaction. I contend, on the contrary, that charity is much more charity, because much more useful when conferred in this way. The best kind of relief or assistance is that for which, as far as the case admits, a return is required to be made in useful labour. Especially is this the case when the very object in view is to train up children to gain their living by labour. If they are to be taught needlework they must be made to do needlework, and would it be an improvement in their education that it should be useless needlework, as paupers have been employed to dig holes and fill them up again, for fear of displacing other labour?
But there is another aspect of the matter which is of still wider application. You seem to think that if you pay labourers to do nothing at all, or nothing useful, you do not take away employment from any one, but that you do so if you require a return in productive industry. The truth, I apprehend, is the very opposite. It is by what you give to one person that you diminish your means of employing others; not by the work you make him do in return; on the contrary, making him work in return is the only mode by which, while you give to him, you can still have undiminished means of employing others. If what you have given to a labourer comes back in the value of that which he produces, or, what amounts to the same thing, in the saving of an equal sum of money, which you must otherwise have expended at a shop, you have conferred the benefit on him, and yet have as much money in your possession to make purchases, or employ labourers with, as if you had not given him anything. I do not mean to say that this money will find its way to the same shops, or the same labourers, but it will be spent at other shops, or on other labourers; if there is a disadvantage to some people, there is an advantage to others, and no detriment to the labouring class on the whole.
Objections are sometimes made, on similar erroneous grounds, to the introduction of useful labour into prisons—although useful labour is the only production of good prison discipline, and of the reformation of criminals—for want of considering, that since the prisoners must at any rate be supported, whatever they cause to be withdrawn from the support of honest labour is equally withdrawn, whether the prisoners work or not; while, by making them work, the value, or part of it, is got back, and may be used in giving employment to other labourers.
This subject, sir, will amply repay a more attentive consideration than, as it seems to me, the writer of the paragraph in your last Sunday’s paper has yet given to it, and if what I have written should induce him to meditate further on things so closely connected with many of the important questions which come under the notice of journalists, I shall feel that I have been of some use.
THE LAW OF ASSAULT
This article is the thirteenth by Harriet Taylor and Mill on injustice and cruelty (for background, see No. 303). An unheaded third leader, it is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article in the Morning Chronicle of 31st May 1850 (except the second sentence) on the state of the law of assault. Very little of this article was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 75.)
we have on former occasions pointed out the defective state of the law and of its administration with respect to crimes of personal violence, and we have especially commented on the absence of protection for women and young persons, and for all those who are under the power of others, against domestic brutality. The case on which the Court of Queen’s Bench pronounced judgment yesterday,1 exceptional as it is in some material respects—more particularly as regards the apparent absence of habitual or deliberate cruelty on the part of the defendant—recalls our attention to this very important subject; and we proceed to offer some further remarks on the general question of the social and legal wrongs affecting the most helpless portion of the community.
It is evident to all who take any pains to read the indications of the feelings of the populace, that they are impressed with the belief of their having a right to inflict almost any amount of corporal violence upon their wife or their children. That any one should claim to interfere with this supposed right, causes them unaffected surprise. Is it not their wife or child? Are they not entitled to do as they will with their own?2 These phrases are not, to their apprehension, metaphorical. The shoes on their feet, or the cudgel in their hand—the horse or ass that carries their burdens, and that dies a lingering death under their cruelties—the wife and children—all are “theirs,” and all in the same sense. They have the same right, in their own opinion, over their human as over their inanimate property. Doubtless they are aware that they are not at liberty to inflict death; but when they actually do so, and find that they are to be tried for murder, they seem to receive the information with a kind of stolid astonishment; and it may well appear to them anomalous that a creature is given up to their power to be kicked or beaten, at the peril of life, as often as temper or intoxication may prompt—and yet that, on some one day when they have done no worse than they had done hundreds of times before, they are told that they are liable to be hanged. Not that they ever are hanged for these enormities, even though death ensue. If they are tried at all (which in general they are not), the jury are not convinced that they intended death, and they consequently escape with a verdict of manslaughter. This interpretation of the law had the sanction of Mr. Baron Alderson, in the recent case of Alexander Moir.3 If it be a correct interpretation, the law is, in this matter, grossly inconsistent; for many acts, venial in comparison with Moir’s, are held by law to be murder when death ensues as an unintended consequence. “If one intends,” says Blackstone, “to do another felony, and undesignedly kills a man, this is murder.” If any one kills an officer of justice, or even a private person, who is endeavouring to suppress an affray or to apprehend a felon, it is murder. “It were endless,” continues Blackstone, “to go through all the cases of homicide which have been adjudged either expressly or impliedly malicious,” and which are, therefore, legally regarded as murder.4 According to Mr. Baron Alderson, a wretch like Moir is less criminal in the eye of the law than a person who, intending only to take the property of another, undesignedly causes death. But surely a man who, though he does not intend to kill, perpetrates such ruffian-like maltreatment that death is a natural consequence, commits an offence that is at least equal in depravity to most cases of murder.
Some good would be done, if, even in this extreme case, it were felt that there is no immunity for domestic ruffianism, and that the law has as much severity for the man who kills those whom he is peculiarly bound to protect, as it has for the one whose victim had no claims on him save those inherent in humanity. But, though even this would be some improvement, much more is required. It would be but a feeble restraint on habitual brutality to make the offender responsible for an extreme consequence which may or may not happen, and which may or may not be capable of being traced to its real cause. The arm of the law should be made to reach the tyranny of bodily strength in every instance in which it comes to light. The atrocious cases now summarily disposed of by magistrates with a forty-shilling fine or two months’ imprisonment, should be tried with judicial solemnity in the courts which try other grave offences, and should be visited with a just gradation of penalties, rising to the highest secondary punishment. Whatever additional legislation is required for this purpose should be provided. Legislation is also needed to disabuse the people of false notions of their legal rights. At present it is the universal belief of the labouring class, that the law permits them to beat their wives—and the wives themselves share the general error. We assume that it is an error. We take for granted, that the old saw, which most people have heard—if it ever was law in the savage times of our ancestors—has long been obsolete.5 If there be any doubt of this, there is the more reason why there should, without delay, be an authoritative termination to the doubt. There should be a declaratory Act, distinctly setting forth that it is not lawful for a man to strike his wife, any more than to strike his brother or his father. This would be merely doing what was done by the first settlers of New England. The seventeenth century was not remarkable for the mildness of its manners, nor were the Puritans by any means moderate in their notions of family discipline and authority. Their standard of social morals was taken from the Old Testament and the Patriarchs, not from Christ and the Sermon on the Mount.6 Yet the fundamental regulations of the first Puritan colonists in New England, as we read them in the latest published history of the United States, formally abrogated that provision, or reputed provision, of the common law of England, which permitted men to beat their wives.7 We hope that it is not too much to expect from the English Legislature now, the same amount of justice and humanity which was shown by its cast-out children two hundred years ago. It seems almost inconceivable that the smallest blow from a man to a man should be by law a criminal offence, and yet that it should not be—or should not be known to be—unlawful for a man to strike a woman.
There is yet another feature in the law and in its administration, connected with this subject, which, we would fain hope, need only be pointed out to be irrevocably condemned by public opinion. At present, no amount of brutal violence, nor even of deliberate cruelty, although judicially proved, has the legal effect of depriving the criminal of the power which he has misused. A man is convicted and imprisoned for the horrible maltreatment of his wife—and yet, when his imprisonment expires, the victim is again delivered into his hands, to suffer everything which brutality infuriated by revenge, or malignity made more cautious by detection, may inflict. Any words which might be used to characterize such a state of the law could hardly strengthen the impression which ought to be made by the simple knowledge of it. Apart from all that is revolting in the fact itself, and viewing the question in the coldest manner as one of mere legislative expediency, it is impossible to expect that these domestic atrocities should ever attain judicial publicity except by accident, when such are the consequences which the sufferers have to expect from complaining. Accordingly, these cases are hardly ever made known by the injured parties themselves; and if they happen to be brought before a magistrate or a criminal court by some one who casually becomes cognizant of them, the charge continually breaks down from the impossibility of inducing the trembling victim to speak the truth with sufficient plainness to procure a conviction, or to adhere to it when it has been spoken in the first instance.
It is a dictate of common sense—recognised and acted upon by the laws of almost all countries—that legal rights may be either suspended or forfeited for a certain amount of judicially proved misuse. If this is a reasonable and proper provision with regard to legal rights generally, it is so, above all, with respect to the powers which any one is allowed to exercise over the persons of human beings. The law confers every such power on the presumption (however fallacious) that it will be exerted for the good of those over whom it is given, and it cannot be justified except on that presumption. That there should be a slavery in civilized life, from which the most savage maltreatment, judicially proved, cannot liberate the victim, would be scarcely credible, if it were not notoriously true; and such a state of things cannot, we hope, be much longer tolerated, unless existing laws are deemed more sacred than the primary ends for which all laws profess to exist.
This evil might be removed without interfering with existing institutions on any other point, or raising discussion on any more general question. All that would be requisite is a short Act of Parliament, providing that judicial conviction of gross maltreatment should free the victim from the obligation of living with the oppressor, and from all compulsory subjection to his power—leaving him under the same legal obligation as before of affording the sufferer the means of support, if the circumstances of the case require it. We earnestly recommend this subject to the attention of those philanthropists who desire to signalize themselves by an eminently useful contribution to the work of mitigating the sufferings and raising the moral condition of the poor and the dependent.
PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN
Edward Vaughan Hyde Kenealy (1819-80) was tried before Lord Campbell for assaulting his illegitimate six-year-old child, Edward Hyde, on 11 May, 1850. See “Law Intelligence. Court of Queen’s Bench—Saturday. The Queen v. Kenealy, Esq.,” Standard, 13 May, 1850, p. 7, from which the quotations are taken. Kenealy, who had acknowledged the child and taken responsibility for rearing him, was sentenced to imprisonment for only one month; the punishment was not decreed until 30 May (The Times, 31 May, p. 7). This article, the fourteenth by Harriet Taylor and Mill on injustice and cruelty (for background, see No. 303), is the seventh leader in the “Political Enquirer,” headed as title. It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article in the Sunday Times of 2nd June 1850, headed ‘Punishment of Children.’ Very little of this article was mine.”
(MacMinn, p. 75.)
the case of edward kenealy, a man holding the rank of a barrister, who has been convicted by the Court of Queen’s Bench of an assault on his illegitimate child, a boy six years old, cannot be allowed to pass without comment. The facts of the case, disgusting though they be, are such as we are accustomed to see in every day’s newspaper, and no wonder, while, not police magistrates only, but a Chief Justice, like Lord Campbell in the present case, treats ferocious personal violence as if it were the merest peccadillo—a pardonable overstepping of the strict limits of the law, hardly deserving any moral blame. We shall first quote the evidence of the surgeon:1
I saw the child on the day after it was found. I found a mark round the front and sides of the neck, but not on the back part of the neck. On the front of the throat the skin had been removed by pressure. Scabbing had taken place in some portion. Others were undergoing suppuration, that had been produced by pressure, or some substance rubbing. The whole of the back, from the shoulders to the lower part of the posteriors, was covered with bruises. They were long in form, as if inflicted by castigation, and were in different states of inflammation. From the posteriors to the ankles there were marks of the same castigation. Great violence must have been used. From the shoulders to the hands there was evidence of the same kind of treatment, and apparently by the same instrument—by a rod or cane.
The following were Lord Campbell’s remarks:
There must be a verdict of guilty against the defendant. His chastisement of the child, for some unaccountable reason, had been infinitely beyond moderation. Though there was no doubt that a parent had a right to correct a child, and that the defendant here seemed to have had the welfare of the child in view, still, after the evidence of the surgeon, it was clear that he had done what the law did not justify. It was impossible to say that this was moderate chastisement of a child six years old.
It will hardly be believed, after such evidence, and after such an opinion given by himself on the evidence, that Lord Campbell, in his address to the jury, could say—
He rejoiced that the whole truth had come out, and that no serious stain would attach to the character of Mr. Kenealy, who appeared to have taken some care of this child, which was his illegitimate child, and to have bestowed pains upon it in giving it an education. Was not the charge here made out? The defendant, though not the legitimate father of the child, was its parent by the law of nature, and was entitled, under the circumstances of its living with him, to all the authority and rights of a father. Still, in exercising those rights in the way of punishment of the child, he was bound to observe moderation. The jurors would declare whether, with a good conscience, they could say that he had done so; for if not, as immoderate punishment could not be justified in law, he must be found guilty.
Whether because the offender’s station in life was nearer than usual to his own, or from a total absence of moral sense in the mind of the judge, we know not, but his address is almost an apology to the prisoner for convicting him; and he tells the offender—he, the guardian and vindicator of the law, declares to a man who, in his own showing, has broken the law, by such treatment of a child of tender years as the surgeon’s evidence discloses, that “no serious stain would attach to his character,” and this because the poor infant said in his evidence that the prisoner kissed and gave him playthings and toys, and taught him “to spell, and read, and say his prayers,” as if the most brutal parents in anything like Mr. Kenealy’s rank of life did not do such things as these. Lord Campbell would seem to have adopted the doctrine of Mr. Whately,2 the prisoner’s counsel, who thought it “a thing to be applauded,” in the defendant, “that he did not, like many other people, leave his illegitimate child to poverty and misery.”
Why does not the unbrutal part of the public—the part which does not sympathise with cruelty, rouse itself and demand of the legislature how much longer the flogging of children shall be sanctioned by law? On the flogging of grown-up persons public opinion is made up. That practice, at last, by force of general feeling against the vehement remonstrances of those who had the power of inflicting the brutality, has been almost abolished.3 But it is assumed, and goes uncontradicted, that a punishment which is brutalising and degrading to grown men is quite fit and proper for helpless infancy; unfit to be inflicted, according to prescribed rules, by men called judges, after solemn inquiry and in the full light of publicity, but, “by the law of nature” (as Lord Campbell says), quite proper to be administered at discretion by men called fathers in the secrecy of their own houses, subject, when some peculiarly atrocious case accidentally comes to light, to a gentle admonition. It is only the other day that the House of Commons decided, after a long debate, that boys might be scourged at the discretion of two magistrates, but that men might not; the distinction, it appeared, between men and boys being the difference between thirteen years and fourteen.4 It is as possible to govern children without the aid of the lash as grown persons. It is even much easier; their bad habits, if they have been allowed to acquire any, not being deeply rooted. A parent or teacher who cannot rule without the lash shows as much incapacity as brutality. There is no difference of nature between grown persons and boys, that what is most deeply degrading to the character of the one should not be so to the other. If the boy has no consciousness of his degradation the worse for him: it is a proof that his character is irreclaimably imbued with it. Mr. Whately said that they had all—judge, jury, and counsel—been flogged in their boyhood, and were much the better for it. This merely proves that Mr. Whately’s sense of degradation depends, not on the fact, but on other people’s opinion, and that nothing is revolting to him which is legal and customary. Take any naturally sensitive boy, who has been habitually flogged, and one who has never suffered that indignity, compare them, observe the difference in self-respect, and in all that depends on self-respect, which will mark those two human beings throughout life? On a boy of a dull, hard nature, its effect is to render him ten times harder than he would be without it—to qualify and prepare him for being a bully and a tyrant. He will feel none of that respect for the personality of other human beings which has not been shown towards his own. The object of his respect will be power. He will crouch to power in others, and will have nothing in his own nature to prevent him from trampling on those whom he has power over. If he does not do so, it will be from nothing better than fear of opinion or fear of punishment.
CONSTRAINTS OF COMMUNISM
In the previous issue of the Leader, 27 July, p. 416, over the signature “Ion,” appeared “One of the Consequences Considered,” by George Jacob Holyoake, the paper’s manager. This response, which was Mill’s first contribution to the Leader, appeared in the regular “Open Council” section, which was introduced by the editorial comment: “In this department, as all opinions, however extreme, are allowed an expression, the editor necessarily holds himself responsible for none.” The letter is dated “Aug. 1, 1850,” and headed “Constraints of Communism,” though the entry in Mill’s bibliography says: “A letter signed D. and (improperly) headed ‘Restraints of Communism’ in the Leader of 3d August 1850”
(MacMinn, p. 75).
A correspondent of your last week’s paper, writing in defence of what he calls “associative views,” meaning, I suppose, the organization of industry on the communistic principle, employs himself in combating people who, he says, find fault with communism, because “the harmony and competence likely to result” are supposed to be “so overwhelming that a surfeit of enjoyment is dreaded;” and this absurdity he attributes to “a recent work” called Principles of Political Economy,1 which, he says, “foreshadowed the inanity and monotony which must supervene when the spur of animal want was conquered and withdrawn.” Your correspondent has misunderstood the argument in the Political Economy. No such notion is there to be found as that “the sharp pangs of hunger” are necessary to prevent life from being inane and monotonous. So far is this from the truth, that the drudgery to which hunger, and the fear of hunger, condemn the great mass of mankind, is the chief cause which makes their lives inane and monotonous. If communism, or what is generally called by that name, would make life a dull routine, it is not because it would make everybody comfortable. When the rich are ennuyés it is not because they are “above the fear of want,” it is generally because they are not “above the fear” of other people’s opinions. They do not cultivate and follow opinions, preferences, or tastes of their own, nor live otherwise than in the manner appointed by the world for persons of their class. Their lives are inane and monotonous because (in short) they are not free, because though able to live as pleases themselves, their minds are bent to an external yoke. Now, it is this bondage which I am afraid of in the coöperative communities. I fear that the yoke of conformity would be made heavier instead of lighter; that people would be compelled to live as it pleased others, not as it pleased themselves; that their lives would be placed under rules, the same for all, prescribed by the majority; and that there would be no escape, no independence of action left to any one, since all must be members of one or another community. It is this which, as is contended in the Political Economy, would make life monotonous; not freedom from want, which is a good in every sense of the word, and which might be ensured to all who are born, without obliging them to merge their separate as well as their working existence in a community. No order of society can be in my estimation desirable unless grounded on the maxim, that no man or woman is accountable to others for any conduct by which others are not injured or damaged.
STABILITY OF SOCIETY
Mill here comments on W. Thomas, “Speaking Out,” Leader, 13 July, 1850, pp. 374-5, from which the first set of quotations is taken. This letter to the editor, like No. 397, appeared in the “Open Council” section. It is dated 14 Aug., 1850, and headed as title. The entry in Mill’s bibliography reads: “A letter signed C. and headed ‘Stability of Society’ in the Leader of 17th August 1850”
(MacMinn, p. 75).
Your “Open Council,” I presume, is an arena for the discussion, not merely of opinions, but of modes of arguing; and few things require discussion more. Availing myself of this liberty, I will put a few questions to one of your correspondents (signing himself W. Thomas) who is a very active questioner of others, and is much dissatisfied that nobody is willing to be “plain” and “precise.” Mr. Thomas stands up for the indissolubility of the marriage contract for the following plain and precise reason: “The stability of society rests upon the permanence of the marriage tie; loosen that, and society is on a sandbank.” These he thinks threatening words, since he puts them in italics. I ask, what he intends to be understood by them. “The stability of society” is an expression I have often heard before; but I cannot say I have ever been instructed what it meant. Indeed, I have remarked that it is mostly used by people who are not in the habit of attaching any very particular meaning to what they say. If the foundations of a house give way, the house falls, and there is no longer a house. What is it that happens if society falls? And what is this thing called “society” that requires to be protected from falling? Has it anything to do with you, and me, and the remainder of the men and women in the world? Does it mean the men and women themselves? If so, what is meant by the stability of the men and women? If it does not mean the men and women, does it mean anything belonging to them? And if so, what? And what is the precise nature of the mischief to be apprehended in case this something, I know not what, should come upon a “sandbank”? When a ship comes upon a sandbank, I know what happens; the ship breaks to pieces and the passengers are drowned. I want to have it made equally clear to me what would happen if, in consequence of permitting facility of divorce, “society” should, as Mr. Thomas says it will, come upon a sandbank.
I am the more desirous to be enlightened on this matter as I cannot call to mind any great improvement in human affairs, or the eradication of any deep-rooted and long-standing evil, which was not, at the time when it happened, represented as subverting the foundations of society. The abolition of slavery; what a laying prostrate of the whole fabric of society was there! There was a time when even the boldest speculators were afraid to entertain such an idea. The destruction of the temples and altars of the old divinities, by the introduction of Christianity, was, according to the gravest people, the demolition of society altogether. The Reformation! another dreadful blow to the stability of society. The Revolution of 1688, which expelled God’s anointed and set up the people’s delegate;1 nay, the Reform Bill, and even Catholic emancipation, all made society crack and totter. Cheap newspapers, teaching the people to read; this last was a thing after which, we were told by many people, society could not much longer exist. A Turk thinks, or used to think (for even Turks are wiser now-a-days), that society would be on a sandbank if women were suffered to walk about the streets with their faces uncovered. Taught by these and many similar examples, I look upon this expression of loosening the foundations of society, unless a person tells in unambiguous terms what he means by it, as a mere bugbear to frighten imbeciles with. The utmost it can mean is, that the thing so characterized would be a great change—of some sort; which change may either be for the better or for the worse. I am one who thinks that not only divorce, but great changes in most matters are needed; and I confidently hope for many more as complete subversions of the foundations of “society” as were made by Christianity, the Reformation, and the enfranchisement of the slave.
I cannot conclude without a word or two on the naïve selfishness of another letter, in the same number of your paper and on the same question, but on the contrary side of it, in favour of Divorce. The writer shows the most unaffected unconsciousness that anybody has an interest in the matter except the man, whom he purposes to liberate from the consequences of an “act of youthful folly or inexperience.”2 Not a word of the woman, who is in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the chief sufferer, as is inevitable so long as the law gives all the power to the man; and on whose account, far more than even on that of the man, it is necessary that the yoke should be lightened. But this entire ignoring of women, as if their claim to the same rights as the other half of mankind were not even worth mentioning, stares one in the face from every report of a speech, every column of a newspaper. In your paper of the 27th ultimo, there is a long letter signed Homo, claiming the “right of the suffrage” as justly belonging to every man, while there is not one line of his argument which would not be exactly as applicable if “woman” were read instead of “man;” yet the thought never appears to occur to him.3 In a Conservative this would be intelligible—monopoly, exclusion, privilege, is his general rule; but in one who demands the suffrage on the ground of abstract right, it is an odious dereliction of principle, or an evidence of intellectual incompetence. While the majority of men are excluded, the insult to women of their exclusion as a class is less obvious. But even the present capricious distribution of the franchise has more semblance of justice and rationality than a rule admitting all men to the suffrage and denying it to all women.
The MS draft, Brotherton Library, Leeds, bears a note in Mill’s hand: “left at the office 1st Feb. 1851.” The “office” was that of the Weekly Dispatch, a Sunday paper, in which appeared the article to which Mill is objecting, “The Round of the Clerical Circle,” 26 Jan., p. 49, from which the quotations are taken. Being unpublished, the letter is not listed in Mill’s bibliography.
I cannot remain quite silent on the unjust and unfounded attacks made by the Dispatch on those whom it calls by the old-fashioned appellation of sceptics. In the first article of the number for January 26th, there is a charge against all who hold merely negative opinions on religion, of being “Epicureans” who “take the world as they find it”—of “believing in nothing,” being “earnest in nothing,” being “merely a speculative, disquisitive, logical, thinking machine.” Whoever wrote these accusations, believing them to be true, is as ignorant of life and the world, and of the opinions of instructed persons in the present age, as a Church of England parson. I affirm that nearly all the persons I have known who were, and are, eminently distinguished by a passion for the good of mankind, hold the opinions respecting religion which your article stigmatizes, that is, they think that nothing can be known on the subject. The very phrase “believing nothing” as a synonyme for believing no religious creed, as if nothing were true or false, right or wrong, except with reference to some theory of creation, is one of the calumnies of shortsighted and ignorant intolerance. But your writer, like other heretics, must have a scapegoat, to whom to pass on the slanders thrown upon themselves, and be able to say to the bigots, It is not I, it is my brother. According to him, those who pull down one positive religion, if it is to put up another, however slight and flimsy, are heroes, but if they see no sufficient evidence for any belief as to the origin and purpose of the world, and will not succumb to the vulgar by professing any, against them you indorse the accusations of the orthodox. The smallest rag of dogmatic religion is enough, in the opinion of its professors, to entitle them to call themselves infinitely higher and worthier than those who profess no dogmatic belief. But as all my own experience and observation lead me to an exactly opposite conclusion, I strenuously deny the accusation in the Dispatch, and charge the writer of it with bearing false witness against his neighbour.1
This is the fifteenth newspaper article on injustice and cruelty by Harriet Taylor Mill and J.S. Mill, who had married in April 1851; for the background, see No. 303. An unheaded second leader, it is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A leading article in the Morning Chronicle of August 28th 1851, on some cases of wife murder. This, like all my newspaper articles on similar subjects, and most of my articles on all subjects, was a joint production with my wife.”
(MacMinn, p. 76.)
in his recent charge to the grand jury at the opening of the Central Criminal Court, the Recorder said—
He was sorry that he could not congratulate them on the lightness of the calendar; for, although it did not contain any charge of murder, yet he was sorry to see that there were several charges of manslaughter, and also a great number of cases of personal violence; and it was very much to be regretted that, in a great majority of the cases, the violence was committed by men upon the persons of those whom they were bound to love and protect—namely, upon their wives.1
It is well that Mr. Wortley should have said thus much—little though it was—on this disgraceful subject; and it is to be hoped that the feelings which dictated his brief remarks will still be in operation when, in the course of the next few days, it may become his duty to pass sentence on cases of this description. But he need not have confined his observation to the present sessions; for every sessions, every assizes, afford proof of the lamentable prevalence of this class of crimes, and of the impunity, or next to impunity, with which they are passed by. Within these few days we have recorded, almost simultaneously, four cases of men tried, or committed for trial, on the charge of killing their wives; and among these the case of Edmund Curtis stood conspicuous, both in atrocity and in the flagrant inadequacy of the punishment.2 The wife, an industrious woman, had passed the day in working as a charwoman, to earn money for the husband. In the evening, according to the testimony of the woman for whom she worked, he came to the house, and the wife
spoke to him, desiring him to come home. He refused. She said his place was at home, and he said, “So is yours.” They then both left the room. He was sober. After they left the house—about three minutes after—I heard a violent shriek. I went out, and saw her lying across a low iron railing in my garden. He had hold of her over the left shoulder with his right hand, and was striking her on the head with his clenched fist. When I got out the shriek had ceased. I heard no noise after. I told him he would kill her, if he had not done so, and desired him to loose her. He did not do so. I called out William Kirkland, who pulled him from her, and she fell on her left side on the ground, apparently lifeless. I told him he had killed her. I called assistance. She was lifted up and put in a chair. She fetched three sighs and died.3
These were the facts; and now for Mr. Baron Martin and his judgment. He said that nothing could justify a man in striking a woman; that the prisoner “indulged in a very violent degree of passion,” but that he could “well believe” that he “did not mean to kill her;” that “no doubt, when this result occurred,” he was “sincerely sorry for it;” and that, “considering all the circumstances,” the “justice of the case” would be satisfied by imprisoning him for six months with hard labour!4 Such are the judgments which are to protect all the women of the country against domestic ruffianism; and such is the caprice which presides over the apportionment of penalties in English criminal justice. The day afterwards, in a case not more atrocious, the culprit was sentenced by the same judge to transportation for life.5 If Curtis had killed, in any similar manner, some other man’s wife instead of his own—instead of the woman whom, as Mr. Wortley said, he was bound to protect—there can be little doubt that he would have been indicted for murder, and probably hanged. The vow to protect thus confers a licence to kill.
Two of the cases adverted to in the Recorder’s charge have since come on for trial before Mr. Justice Wightman.6 In one, the prisoner was acquitted on the ground of insanity. In the case of Andrew Maclean also, the culprit was acquitted, to the disgrace both of the jury and of the judge. The report says,
Early in the morning of the 4th of August, the persons lodging in the next room were disturbed by the cries of the prisoner’s children, and their calling out, “Oh, father, let mother down.” They got up in consequence, and went into the prisoner’s room, where they found his wife hanging by the neck from the cupboard, and the prisoner was sitting upon the bed. The body of the unfortunate woman was quite suspended, and she was nearly black in the face. Upon the prisoner being told that he was a good-for-nothing villain for attempting to hang his wife, he replied that he would do it effectually the next time; and one of the witnesses answered that he would have done it effectually this time, if his wife had not been cut down. The prisoner was slightly intoxicated, it appeared, at the time of the occurrence. The prisoner, in his defence, asserted that his wife had hanged herself.7
The wife was not called as a witness, the reason of which appears from the previous examination before the magistrate—on which occasion the unfortunate creature, either from habitual fear or from the expectation that she would be given back into his power, exculpated the man, stating that she had spoken provokingly to him, and also that he had hanged her only in jest. Her dread of appearing against him was not surprising; for what would have been the consequence to her of having given strong evidence against him, in the event of his acquittal? But her testimony was not needed to show the state of the case, after proof of such facts as those contained in the above extract. Yet “Mr. Justice Wightman, in summing up, said that the case was undoubtedly left in some obscurity by the absence of the wife’s testimony. If she had been called, she could have proved distinctly how the matter occurred; and in the face of the prisoner’s declaration that his wife had hung herself, it was for the jury to say whether the other evidence was sufficient to justify them in convicting him of so serious an offence.”8 On this encouragement the jury returned a verdict of not guilty; and consequently the woman is again given in to the power of the man, that he may, as he threatened, “do it effectually the next time.” We scarcely believe that there is an offence in the whole criminal code of which a prisoner would have been acquitted, in the face of such evidence, except that of an attempt at wife-murder.
In default of the judges, it is for the Legislature to apply vigorous measures of repression to this growing evil. The baser part of the populace think that when a legal power is given to them over a living creature—when a person, like a thing, is suffered to be spoken of as their own—as their wife, or their child, or their dog—they are allowed to do what they please with it; and in the eye of the law—if such judgments as the preceding are to be taken as its true interpretation—they are justified in supposing that the worst they can do will be accounted but as a case of slight assault. It is the duty of the Legislature to teach them the contrary. There ought to be severer penalties for killing or ill-treating a wife or child than for killing or ill-treating, in a similar manner, any other person. A greater severity is enjoined by all the motives which ought to regulate the adaptation of punishment to crime. The crime is greater; for it is a violation of more solemn obligations—it is doing the worst injury where there is the most binding duty to cherish and protect. It is also baser—for it is committed upon one who has trusted the culprit, who is in his power, and who is generally without sufficient bodily strength to resist or retaliate. Those who are exposed to these atrocities—the wives and children of the brutal part of the population—have not the means which all other persons possess of guarding themselves against the evil. Other people are but occasionally and rarely liable to ill-treatment; but these are exposed to it at every hour and every moment of their lives. Being thus far more in need than any other persons of the protection of the law, they ought to have it in fuller measure. The domestic tyrant can perpetrate his tyrannies with the utmost facility, and need never wait for an opportunity; and a stronger motive therefore is required, where the brutality exists, to deter from its indulgence. Finally, there is no crime in the whole catalogue of offences in which the single act which incurs the penalty of the law is an index to such an amount of undetected and unpunished wickedness, and to so vast a mass of horrible suffering. Such a spectacle as the final scene of the life of Hester Curtis is unspeakably revolting; but what is the suffering of a few minutes, to the prolonged death which in every such case must have been suffered for years previously, and to the pangs of thousands of women in the power of similar miscreants, who have enough of caution just to stop short of the point which terminates the existence of their victims? There is not to be imagined a position so degraded, or so hopelessly miserable, as that of the women thus at the mercy of ruffians; and it is a deep disgrace to our Government that, in the fifteenth year of the reign of a woman, nothing has yet been done for their relief.
In this letter Mill is responding to the report of the judgment against an Italian organ player, Jean Zanezzi, by Thomas Henry (1807-76), a Bow Street magistrate: “Police Intelligence—Friday. Bow Street,” Morning Chronicle, 25 Oct., p. 7. The letter, headed as title, with subhead, “To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle,” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter headed ‘Street Organs’ and signed D in the Morning Chronicle of October 28, 1851”
(MacMinn, p. 76).
Will you allow me to draw attention to a case of great injustice, reported in Saturday’s papers. An Italian organ player was brought before Mr. Henry, the Bow-street magistrate, charged by a tradesman with having, though desired by the tradesman to leave off, continued to play on his instrument, whereupon the tradesman’s horse, left in charge of a boy, ran away with and damaged his gig.1 The Italian denied having heard the order to cease playing, and said that he had plied his instrument for six years in the streets of London, and had never before been charged with any offence—a plea which, in the case of English offenders, always carries great weight. It carried none, however, in this instance. The magistrate fined the Italian 40s., besides £10, the amount of the damage; and unless he pays this sum, which doubtless he never in his life possessed, sentenced him to a month’s imprisonment.
I would ask this magistrate—is the business of a street organ player an unlawful occupation? If so, the police are strangely neglectful of their duty in allowing it to be carried on. But if the Italian had a legal right to grind his organ in the streets, was he to leave off playing every time a carriage passed by? Has every man in a gig a right to prohibit this man from gaining his subsistence? As to frightening the horse, it must be uncertain whether this was the particular noise, among all others, at which the horse took fright. And, supposing that it was, the fault was more the owner’s than the organ player’s. Horses which cannot bear London noises ought not to be brought into London streets. If a tradesman in the pursuit of a livelihood drives a gig into the clang and crash of the streets of London, other people are not bound to cease pursuing their livelihood till he has gone by. Whether it would be right or wrong to suppress these people, they ought not to be punished by an ex post facto law. While their occupation is unprohibited, to fine and imprison them for practising it is gross injustice.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
THE RULES OF THE BOOKSELLERS’ ASSOCIATION 
John Chapman (1821-94), physician, bookseller and publisher, now proprietor and editor of the Westminster Review, undertook in January 1852 to sell imported American books at a larger discount than that permitted by the group of London publishers who controlled the Booksellers’ Association. As a consequence Chapman was excluded from the Association and undertook a campaign against their monopoly. He appealed to many authors for support, and in the Westminster for April 1852 (n.s. I, 511-54) published his article “The Commerce of Literature,” an effective attack on the Association’s policies. The Booksellers met on 8 Apr. and decided to submit their case to a committee headed by Lord Chief Justice Campbell. On 4 May, Chapman was host to a meeting of rebels, particularly authors, presided over by Charles Dickens, and including such well known writers as Francis W. Newman, Wilkie Collins, G.H. Lewes, and Herbert Spencer. Dickens read letters from some who could not attend, including Carlyle, Cobden, Gladstone, and this one from Mill. Resolutions against the monopoly were forwarded to Lord Campbell’s committee, which on 19 May voted unanimously against the Booksellers’ Association and in favour of free trade in books. Mill’s letter, dated “East India House, March 5, 1852,” is printed in A Report of the Proceedings of a Meeting (Consisting Chiefly of Authors), Held May 4th, at the House of Mr. John Chapman, 142, Strand, for the Purpose of Hastening the Removal of the Trade Restriction on the Commerce of Literature (London: Chapman, 1852), p. 8. This and No. 403 are described in Mill’s bibliography as “Two Letters on the Rules of the Booksellers’ Association, printed in two pamphlets on that subject circulated in 1852, the one by Mr. John Chapman, bookseller, the other by Messrs. Parker” (MacMinn, p. 76). The MS of Mill’s letter is in the Hollander Collection, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The text below is the printed version, which agrees in substantives with the MS. Both are dated “East India House, March 5, 1852.”
There is no case to which, in my opinion, the principles of free trade are more completely applicable than to the question in dispute between the London Booksellers’ Association, and those who claim a right to sell books at a less profit than that prescribed by the rules of the Association.
Not only in the book trade, but in all others, I conceive that the profits of distributors absorb at present a very undue proportion of the proceeds of industry; and it appears to me impossible to maintain that their contenting themselves with a lower rate of remuneration would be injurious to the producers. It is self-evident, that whatever part of the profits publishers and retailers are willing to forego, must be gained either by authors or buyers, and if by buyers it would still benefit authors by increasing the sale of books.
I am, Sir, Your obedient servant
THE RULES OF THE BOOKSELLERS’ ASSOCIATION 
On 30 Apr., 1852, John William Parker (1792-1870), Mill’s publisher from the time of his Logic, had circulated a letter “To Authors, and Others Connected with Literary Property,” which he also sent to The Times, in which, saying the publishers and booksellers had had their say, he put this question: “If a retail bookseller, of ascertained credit and respectability, applies to the publisher to purchase any book in which you may be directly or indirectly interested, on the terms at which those books are offered to the trade at large, but with the avowed intention of retailing his purchases at a smaller profit than that provided for between the wholesale rate and the selling price of single copies, do you consider the intention to sell at a low rate of profit a good and sufficient reason why the publisher should refuse to sell the books, which such retailer is ready to purchase and to keep in stock at his own risk?” He gathered the replies in The Opinions of Certain Authors on the Bookselling Question and Additional Letters on the Bookselling Question (both London: Parker, 1852). Mill’s reply (in the former) is dated “East India House, May 8th, 1852.” See No. 402 for the bibliographic entry describing this letter.
I think that there is no case in which a combination to keep up prices is more injurious than in the sale of books; and I wish success to the booksellers in their resistance to the trade regulations which restrict their liberty of selling books at a low price.
I am, yours, very truly,
THE INDIA BILL, I
The 1833 renewal of the charter of the East India Company, 3 & 4 William IV, c. 85, was due to expire in 1854. On 30 June, after four nights of debate in the Commons, the second reading was approved of “A Bill to Provide for the Government of India,” 16 Victoria (9 June, 1853), PP, 1852-53, III, 181-96 (enacted as 16 & 17 Victoria, c. 95). (For the debate see PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 128, cols. 605-74, 734-78, 814-903, and 977-1074.) The proposals had been introduced on 3 June by Sir Charles Wood, then President of the Board of Control in the Aberdeen administration (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 127, cols. 1092-1169). In his nearly five-hour-long speech Wood (see especially cols. 1147-50) had frequently cited opinions of Mill’s that resemble those here expressed. For further discussion, see No. 405. The article, headed as title (but without the “I”), with the subtitle, “[From a Correspondent],” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “An article headed ‘The India Bill—from a Correspondent’ in the Morning Chronicle of 5th July 1853”
(MacMinn, p. 79).
according to the parliamentary maxim that the second reading of a Bill implies the adoption of its principle, the assent of the House of Commons to the second reading of the India Bill has decided the continuance, in some form, of what is called the double government.1 So far as depends on the House of Commons, the government of a hundred millions of people, who, in almost every point of character and social condition, are unlike and opposed to Europeans, will not be given up to the sole administration of a Secretary of State, having no acquaintance but with European ideas, no experience but of European life, and who is both selected at first, and changed every two or three years, according to the exigencies, not of India, but of English party politics. A voice in the government, and even the decisive voice, must necessarily reside in the Minister; but, unless by the rarest accident, no Minister possesses, when he comes into office, a particle of the special knowledge without which he is unfit to carry on the administration of Indian affairs, and which it is the business of many years to acquire. There is, then, no safety but in associating with the Indian Minister a Board or Council possessing this special knowledge, and sufficiently independent of him to command his deference, and, when necessary, to resist his will.
At present, the Court of Directors is such a council, and that it shall continue to exist is the first point which the vote of the House of Commons has decided. The second is, that in maintaining its existence an attempt shall be made to improve its composition. The maintenance of the Court of Directors, and its improvement, are the leading objects of the Bill. To both, the House has now in principle assented. In what the improvement shall consist, and by what means it may be effected, remains to be considered in committee.
When two powers are required to act together, either for joint deliberation or mutual check, whatever else may be requisite, this at least is essential—that one of the two authorities shall not be appointed by the other. If it is, there are not two powers, but only one. Yet, by the present Bill, the Crown—that is, the Indian Minister—has the appointment of one-third of the co-ordinate body.2 This provision is no less inconsistent with the principle of the Bill than with Sir Charles Wood’s declared opinions, and can be defended on no principle.3 It does not go far enough, if the intention is that the Court of Directors should be simply an instrument of the Indian Minister. It goes too far, if they are intended as a check and restraint upon him. If only an instrument, all authorities should have the choice of their own instruments; the Minister should nominate, not six—not a mere fraction—but the whole eighteen or twenty-four. But if the Court of Directors are to remain, as they have hitherto been, a power in the Indian government, having an opinion and a will of their own, which the Minister may overrule, but cannot pass by—without whose initiative he cannot act, to whose reasons he is compelled to listen, and, if he does not adopt, is bound to answer and confute them—then neither the whole nor any part of the body which is to be a check to his power, ought to hold their offices by his appointment. It would not be borne that the House of Lords should appoint a third of the House of Commons. There are many bad modes of selecting a jury, but the worst of all would be that it should be nominated by the judge; yet the judge would be the fittest person to select the jury, if any man could be allowed to select those who are to check himself. In judicial matters, Englishmen so feel the necessity of a check, and so prize entire independence as the condition of its efficacy, that to make sure of it they place even the ignorance of the jury as a check upon the knowledge of the judge; but this Bill proposes that a Minister should appoint those whose knowledge is to be a check on his ignorance.
It is not Sir C. Wood, nor the Government, that need to be reminded how considerable a check, limited as their power is, the Court of Directors have hitherto been. The body who recalled Lord Ellenborough,4 who recorded an indignant condemnation of the greatest iniquity in modern Indian history—the seizure of Scinde (the joint act of their two bitterest enemies, Lord Ellenborough and Sir Charles Napier)—who were willing to go to prison rather than sign the spoliation of Oude for the benefit of a set of grasping money-lenders, and by their resistance compelled the Cabinet to investigate the case, and to retract the honestly-intended but ill-considered mandate of the then President of the Board of Control, Lord Glenelg5 —such a body is a power which no Indian Minister can despise, and whose remonstrances, in any important case, he must think twice before he disregards. These are the glorious pages in the recent history of the Court of Directors; and if actual collisions have not been frequent—if, like other checking bodies, the Directors sacrifice much to keep on harmonious terms with the stronger authority—there is the more reason against adding so great a weight to the side of obsequiousness and subservience as would probably divest the body altogether of the character of a check, and convert it into a screen.
There is no need to go further than Sir C. Wood’s speech, and his correspondence with the Directors, to find the principles which condemn the nomination clause. To the Directors he says, “We are most anxious to preserve the independence of that body, and its freedom from all undue political influence, on which we believe that its efficiency for executing the high trust reposed in it so essentially depends.”6 To the House of Commons he said that it had been suggested that the six Directors should be appointed by their colleagues, but that this was objectionable, because, thus appointed, they would be dependent on those who appointed them.7Mutato nomine de te8 —it is proposed that they be appointed by the Minister; is it intended, therefore, that they should be dependent on the Minister? What becomes, then, of the “anxiety to preserve their independence”? How explain this inconsistency between the words of the President of the Board of Control and his acts? Is it that the words express his own opinion—the acts, what he thinks the necessities of his position? There was a clamour without, which seemed formidable, and to which it was thought necessary to make concessions. It was not very obvious what was to be done—therefore what is condemned in principle is adopted in detail, by way of doing something. But it is better to make no change than a change decidedly for the worse. It were better to leave the Court of Directors as it is, than to make a change in its constitution unfitting it for its most important function.
The difficulty of framing a constitution for the Court of Directors is great and serious, and lies in the very nature of things. There is no unexceptionable organ of choice. Nomination could only be by the Minister, or his majority in Parliament; and there are no good materials for a constituency. It is impossible to find any body of electors in England whose interest is identified with the good government of India. The present electors, slightly as they are connected in personal interest with India are as much so as any other constituency which could be framed. Yet many modes of extending the franchise have been suggested, which would be admissible in principle, and might possibly be beneficial in practice. The present electors are a particular class of Indian fundholders;9 all other holders of Indian debt might be included. All who have served a certain length of time in India, and returned to England, might be added to the constituency. The suffrage might even be extended to all who have lived in India some given number of years. In any case, the choice ought to rest with persons likely to be more or less acquainted with the public repute of candidates who have served in India; and the more numerous body would be less accessible to the corrupt influences which have been so ludicrously exaggerated in speeches and pamphlets, but which, if they were twenty times greater than they are, would be worth no more, as an argument for the changes proposed, than the bribery at Parliamentary elections is worth as an argument for abolishing popular representation, and giving to the Crown the nomination of the House of Commons.
The only practical defect alleged in the present composition of the Court of Directors is, that it does not contain a sufficient number of experienced Indian functionaries; and for this reason, it is to be presumed, the nominees of the Crown are to be selected from Indians exclusively.10 It will surprise most people to be told that the real tendency of the present constitution of the Court is to make the Indian services engross it entirely. Before the last Charter, the Company was a commercial body, and naturally included among its Directors many commercial men. When its mercantile character ceased, this ceased also. Of the thirty present Directors, seventeen have been elected since 1834; and of these, all but two had served the Company many years, either in India, in China, or in the naval service—several of them being, by universal admission, among the most eminent of the public officers of their time—while no Indian of eminence who has offered himself, and has chosen to persevere, has failed to be elected. But, it is said, many have been deterred from offering themselves by the “degradation” of the canvass.11 It is a new doctrine in England that canvassing is a degradation, especially from members of the House of Commons. Will they vote for prohibiting it at elections, as the Bill proposes that it should be prohibited at the India House?12 We may take for granted that what men of such a nice sense of honour as members of Parliament claim to be, find not too insupportable to be gone through once in every few years, cannot be too shocking for the susceptibilities of men who aim at a seat in the direction. The labour and expense of the canvass (though not its degradation) do, we believe, deter some of the fittest men from the one contest as from the other; and we therefore heartily wish success (though with no confident hope) to the attempt made by the Bill to prevent canvassing altogether. If this succeeds, the evil complained of is at an end, and needs no further remedy. But if it be indeed necessary to reserve a certain number of seats for men too diffident, or too dignified, or too little desirous of the office, to stand a popular election, it would be far better that those seats should be filled by the choice of the other Directors, who have a stronger interest than anyone else in whatever sheds lustre on their body. Yet appointment even by the Directors, subject to the veto of the Minister, would be objectionable, being likely in practice to become, as the appointment of the Governor-General now is, appointment by the Minister.13
THE INDIA BILL, II
For the background, see No. 404, the argument of which is here continued. The article, headed as title, with the subhead, “[From a Correspondent],” is described in Mill’s bibliography as “An article headed ‘The India Bill No. II—from a Correspondent’ in the Morning Chronicle of July 7th 1853”
(MacMinn, p. 79).
the clause in the india bill which diminishes the total number of Directors from 24, or more properly 30, to 18, or (excluding the six Government nominees) to 12, forms no essential part of the measure, and is liable to such serious objections that its omission would not only not impair, but would greatly improve the Bill.1 A reason has been assigned for the change in the mode of appointment of a portion of the Directors; namely, that some, and, it is affirmed, even a considerable number, of those who are fittest for the office, do not find their way to it in the mode hitherto provided.2 But, granting that the expedient adopted in the Bill for correcting this defect were the best or the only one that could be invented—supposing it were a conceded, instead of a disputed point, that a certain number of Directors should derive their office from nomination by the Minister, and that these nominated Directors cannot possibly be added, but must necessarily be substituted for an equivalent number of the elected—even then no reason would have been shown for a greater diminution of the elective body than is sufficient to make room for the additional members. But the Bill does more—its destructive operation is threefold as great as its constructive. It abolishes six Directors to replace them by nominees, six to get rid of the rotation system, and six for no reason at all.
We say no reason, because the reason which the case itself would suggest is barred by the emphatic declarations of the Ministers. One who knew nothing of the objects of the Bill but what the Bill itself indicates would be at no loss in assigning a motive for this provision. He would say, The elected Directors are reduced to 12, instead of 18 or 24, in order to give greater power to the six nominees. But Sir Charles Wood, both in his own behalf and on that of his colleagues, distinctly disavows this purpose.3 It has never been professed by Ministers that the object of introducing nominees into the Court of Directors is to exercise ascendency over the body by means of them. On the contrary, this is an effect which Ministers, if they thought there was any danger of it, would earnestly deprecate; for it is impossible to affirm more distinctly than they do, that the independence of the Court of Directors, and its freedom from undue political influence, are indispensable conditions of fitness for its duties. The reason which they give for introducing a new mode of appointment, is to admit some persons—they do not say better qualified, but—as well qualified as the best of the present Directors, and who are unwilling to go through the labour and expense of an election by the proprietors. If six be the number requisite for this purpose, six will suffice for it, whether the number of the remaining Directors be twelve or twenty-four. It is not in the smallest degree necessary to the object that these six should be a third of the whole. On the contrary, as Directors appointed by a Minister are, to say the least, less independent, and more liable to political influence, than those elected by the proprietors, it must, we imagine, be the wish of the Government to attain the specific object of admitting the excluded class, with the least possible diminution of the independence of the body; and, therefore, to take no artificial means of enabling the nominees to exercise greater power in the Court than the same number of persons can do under its present constitution. It is hardly necessary to point out that the proposed diminution in the aggregate number of Directors is entirely at variance with this purpose.
Apart from any question as to the mode of appointing the Court, we are at a loss to imagine on what principle it can be expected that a diminution of its numbers will render it better adapted to its functions. If the Court of Directors, or any other public body, could be purged only of its least efficient members, retaining the most efficient, nobody can deny that it would be improved. But the proposed purgation is indiscriminate. There is no ground for supposing that, in future elections, the able will bear a larger proportion to the incompetent in the smaller than in the more numerous body. The reduction of the total number would in the end subtract as great a proportion from the best as from the inferior members; and, unfortunately, while by the one consequence much would be lost, by the other very little would be gained. If, by the abstraction of eighteen out of thirty, only three superior men should be sacrificed, it would be more than an equivalent for getting rid of fifteen mediocrities. The value of any public body is equal to that of the able men contained in it; a few more or less of the others are of little moment, for they are sure to be numerous enough to outnumber the men of eminence, were it not that, in the long run, mediocrity is always led by talent. The Court of Directors is rather remarkable among public bodies for the small number it contains of decidedly inferior men, and the more than ordinary proportion of men of ability; but those who disparage its merits ought strenuously to oppose any reduction of its numbers, for the fewer able men it habitually contains, the less it can afford to lose any of its chances of obtaining them.
All principle, in the case of a body like the Court of Directors, is in favour of maintaining at least the present number. An executive body should be small, to secure vigour and promptitude of action; but a deliberative body ought to be numerous, that it may include the needful variety of knowledge and experience. The Court of Directors is not an executive Board, but a Council, a sort of Parliament of India; and every department of the Indian services should be represented in that body. It should contain persons from Bengal, from Madras, from Bombay, the North West Provinces, and, hereafter, the Punjaub; engineer officers, military officers, naval officers; persons of fiscal, judicial, and political or diplomatic experience; persons who have administered the zemindaree system, the village system, and the ryotwar system.4 As now constituted, the Court generally does contain persons of all these classes, and more than one of each: with the reduced number, it is not likely to do so. Besides, the Court is regularly divided into three Committees, each of which superintends and controls an amount of business corresponding to that of five or six Ministerial departments and public Boards in England.5 Every despatch sent to India, except in the Secret Department, passes through one of these Committees, and there undergoes a minute examination and criticism; every act sanctioned by the Court of Directors originates in one or other of them. Seven or eight members for each Committee is not too ample a provision, allowing for illness, relaxation, and accident, and supposing the average proportion of the ineffective to be no greater than in the best constituted Board of seven or eight persons which performs any portion of the public business of England.
A RECENT MAGISTERIAL DECISION
This article reports on the trial of William Ebbs, an elderly bootmaker, for attempting to cut the throat of his wife, Matilda. Evidence was given by George Ebbs, their son. The case was heard on Friday, 3 Nov., before George Chapple Norton (1800-75), who had been M.P. for Guilford 1826-30, and a stipendiary magistrate at the Lambeth Street Police Court since 1845; however, it was on Saturday, 4 Nov., that Norton discharged the man (see 1197b-b). Mill quotes from the report “Police. Lambeth,” The Times, 6 Nov., 1854, p. 9. The letter, Mill’s only contribution to the Morning Post, is related to the series on domestic cruelty that he wrote with Harriet (see No. 303), though he does not identify it as a joint production. It is dated 6 Nov., 1854, and headed as title, with the subhead, “To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.” It is described in Mill’s bibliography as “A letter signed M. and headed ‘A recent Magisterial decision’ in the Morning Post of Nov. 8, 1854” (MacMinn, p. 88). The text below is that of the Morning Post, which has been collated with the MS draft in the Mill-Taylor Collection. In the variant notes the manuscript reading is signalled by “MS”.
Will you allow me to call your attention to the extraordinary decision of Mr. aNortona , in the case of a man named William Ebbs, on bFridayb last? This ruffian, after brutally beating his unfortunate wife (then ill of a fever, and with her baby in her arms), deliberately attempted to cut her throat with a razor, which was only prevented by the son, scarcely less brutal than the father, who advised the father not to beat his mother any more, because he had given her enough now! This son, who was himself brought to the police-court for assaulting the officer in order to rescue the father, made, to screen him, the evidently false, and, if true, frivolous excuse, that his mother had given provocation by her ill temper. The fellow, on being remanded for a week, threatened that he would do worse when he went home, or would not go home at all. At the end of the week Mr. cNortonc releases the man, gives him money (sent for his use by a “benevolent gentleman”), and warns the unfortunate woman not to make “such free use of her tongue in abuse of her husband.”
Is it thus that Parliament intended the new act for the protection of wives to be carried into effect?1 The man Ebbs, on the showing even of the son who begged him off, had been in the frequent habit of brutally ill-using his wife. After his threatening, and attempting, to cut her throat, she is again given into his power, without his being even required to give security for keeping the peace, which, from his circumstances, he probably could have given. Can it be doubted that only the most atrocious cases come to light? dAndd is it to be wondered at that even these are not at all diminished in frequency, when the perpetrators may hope for complete impunity, and the victims are entirely insecure of getting any eredress? Whilee , failing of redress, their situation, in the absolute power of a vindictive master, is frightful to contemplate.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,
THE LAW OF LUNACY
According to the provisions of 16 & 17 Victoria, cc. 96 and 97 (1853), to be committed to a lunatic asylum a person did not have to be certified by a Commission of Lunacy (which generally employed a jury) if relatives or friends applied to a magistrate for a reception order; in that case, the person could be committed on the strength of a private hearing and a certificate signed by two people, each “a physician, surgeon, or apothecary.” Mill’s letter, headed as title, with the subhead, “To the Editor of the Daily News,” is described in his bibliography as “A letter signed P. and headed ‘The Laws of Lunacy’ in the Daily News of July 31, 1858”
(MacMinn, p. 92).
It has become urgently necessary that public attention should be called to the state of the law on the subject of Lunacy, and the frightful facility with which any persons whom their heirs or connexions desire to put out of the way, may be consigned without trial to a fate more cruel and hopeless than the most rigorous imprisonment.
Recent circumstances have made it a matter of notoriety, that confinement in a madhouse is the easiest means of getting rid of, or bringing to terms, refractory wives. Your paper of Monday contained one instance, on which you have very rightly and ably commented;1 within the last fortnight the whole country has heard of another;2 and the number which never see the light does not admit of any probable estimation.
A criminal cannot be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment without the verdict of a jury, preceded by a public investigation and opportunity of defence. But a perfectly innocent person can be fraudulently kidnapped, seized, and carried off to a madhouse on the assertion of any two so-called medical men, who may have scarcely seen the victim whom they dismiss to a condition far worse than the penalty which the law inflicts for proved crime. Convicts are not delivered over to the absolute power of their gaoler; nor can be subjected to the ruffianly treatment revealed by the York inquiry. Convicts can appeal against ill treatment; but to the other unfortunates the ordinary use of speech is virtually denied; their sober statements of fact, still more their passionate protests against injustice, are held to be so many instances of insane delusion. And this fate any two medical men may secretly inflict. Any practitioner may be selected—knaves who will give every certificate desired for the sake of their fee; or weak creatures who will certify to anything affirmed by a gentleman and a man of position; or men who, knowing nothing, either practically or theoretically, about the signs of insanity, can be made to see with the eyes of their prompter. In a few days the victim perhaps succumbs, and having consented to every demand, is pronounced not mad by a different authority, and restored to real or nominal liberty, with a statement from the successful party that there has been a satisfactory arrangement. I am not speculating as to what has been, but describing what evidently may be.
The obvious remedy is to require the same guarantees before depriving a fellow-creature of liberty on one pretext as on another. The inquiry by a jury, which is now the exception, ought to be the rule; it should be an imperative preliminary to the putting an alleged lunatic in a place of confinement. A jury could be as speedily impanelled in a case of sudden madness as of sudden death; and if any restraint be necessary in the short interval, let it be in the patient’s home. Juries, in such cases, are foolish and credulous enough, and only too willing to treat any conduct as madness which is ever so little out of the common way; but at least the publicity of the inquiry is some protection, and tends to fix attention on any unavowed motive which may actuate the promoters of the proceeding. It would also apprise others of the existence of the alleged lunatic, and the place where he, or she, is confined; and would thus render somewhat more difficult the evasion which it is so easy to practise on the vigilance of the Commissioners at their annual visitation of lunatic asylums. Many other improvements in the law and procedure in these cases are urgently needed, and might easily be suggested; but my object is to indicate the importance of the subject, its growing urgency, and the large scope which it affords for the exertions of intelligent reformers in and out of Parliament. I earnestly intreat you to continue your efforts at rousing public opinion on a matter so vital to the freedom and security of the subject.
[1 ]Forster, “Literature of the Lower Orders,” Examiner, 6 Nov., 1847, p. 709, quoting Dixon, “The Literature of the Lower Orders. Batch the Second,” Daily News, 2 Nov., p. 3. The attack was on Susannah Frances Reynolds, Gretna Green; or, All for Love (London: Dicks, 1848). Dixon retracted the charge in his “Batch the Third,” Daily News, 9 Nov., 1847, p. 3.
[2 ]Examiner, 6 Nov., p. 709; Daily News, 2 Nov., p. 3.
[3 ]Forster, “The Moral Epidemic,” Examiner, 30 Oct., p. 690, quoting Dixon, “The Literature of the Lower Orders. Batch the First,” Daily News, 26 Oct., p. 3. Eugène Marie Joseph Sue (1804-57) was a popular French novelist, whose Martin, l’enfant trouvé, ou Les mémoires d’un valet de chambre, 12 vols. (Paris: Pétion, 1846-47), had appeared in English as Martin the Foundling in 1847, issued by three different publishers.
[4 ]Libraries, normally as part of a bookseller’s or publisher’s shop, were clustered in the area of Bond St.: for example, E.S. Ebers and Co., 27 Old Bond St.; John Mitchell, 33 Old Bond St.; Eliza Andrews, 167 New Bond St.; Saunders and Otley, 50 Conduit St.; Edward Bull, 19 Holles St.; and Edward Churton, 26 Holles St.
[5 ]Sue, Les mystères de Paris, 10 vols. (Paris: Gosselin, 1842-43). The first London edition, published in 1844 by Dugdale, was followed by many republications and imitations.
[6 ]The reference may include Sue’s Mathilde: Mémoires d’une jeune femme, 6 vols. (Paris: Gosselin, 1841), and Le juif errant, 10 vols. (Paris: Paulin, 1844-45). Mill refers to the latter, as well as to Martin, l’enfant trouvé, in a letter of 1848 to Sue accompanying a gift of his Principles (EL, CW, Vol. XIII, p. 736).
[7 ]To the letter is appended in square brackets a note by John Forster: “We think the charge of our contemporary much too sweeping, but we cannot admit that the imputation of licentiousness, in the instance of Martin, is groundless. There are scenes in it of wanton sensuality or grossness; but there are many other writings of Eugène Sue that we have read with unmixed admiration.—Ed. Ex.”
[1 ]By two Proclamations on 24 Feb., the Provisional Government had forbidden the Peers to meet (Moniteur, 1848, p. 499); on 29 Feb., a Decree abolished titles (ibid., p. 519).
[2 ]By a Decree on 2 Mar. (ibid., p. 529), the hours of labour were reduced by one; this decree was confirmed for Paris on 3 Mar., and as applying to women as well as men on the 9th (ibid., pp. 536 and 581).
[3 ]See Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869), writer and statesman, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Provisional Government, “Réponse à une députation de gardes du commerce réclamant au sujet du décret qui suspend la contrainte par corps” (11 Mar.), Moniteur, 1848, p. 597.
[4 ]By a Proclamation of 5 Mar. (ibid., p. 549).
[5 ]La Presse and the Great Northern Railway. See “The Republic of France,” Daily News, 3 Mar., p. 2, and “Latest from Paris,” ibid., 7 Mar. (2nd ed.), p. 3. Cf. “Revolutionized Paris,” Examiner, 11 Mar., pp. 170-1.
[6 ]Edme Jean Leclaire (1801-72), the “Father of Profit-Sharing,” a Parisian house-painter and decorator, who in 1842 began admitting his workmen to share in his profits. The reference to the Edinburgh Review is to Mill’s own article of April 1845, “The Claims of Labour” (CW, Vol. IV, pp. 363-89, esp. 382-3). The other account is “M. Leclaire of Paris,” Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal, n.s. IV (27 Sept., 1845), 193-6, which consists of translations from Leclaire’s Des améliorations qu’il serait possible d’apporter dans le sort des ouvriers peintres en bâtiments (see CW, Vol. III, p. 1123).
[7 ]To the letter is appended in square brackets a note by the editor, Robert Stephen Rintoul: “Our correspondent convicts us of two instances of carelessness, which we will not attempt to palliate. Of course we knew of the distinction between the titular nobility of France and the unhereditary Peerage; but we did not sufficiently mark it in writing. With respect to the arrangement in the office of La Presse, our correspondent describes it correctly. In the general arguments above we cannot so readily concur. We still hold that the Provisional Government has committed acts more than provisional. Every needless tampering with permanent institutions is of that character—the abolition of titles, for instance. The alienation of Crown lands and effects is more than provisional, and could not press so urgently as not to brook a month’s delay. The attempt at swamping the National Guard is another instance. Although in the strict letter the laws relating to labour are liable to repeal, it was going beyond the province of a temporary Government to interfere in them so widely and with so manifest an animus. We wish the inevitable experiment of a Republic to have fair play, and should view its success with interest; but we do not think that its leaders evince sufficient power of control to insure success.—Ed.”
[1 ]In the manuscript a phrase that appears to read “par amusement” is interlined, but the intention is unclear.
[2 ]Voix des Femmes, 10 Apr., p. 2.
[1 ]Though wrath is certainly promised in Ezekiel (see Chap. 7), the warning is directed to the “generation of vipers” in Matthew, 3:7.
[2 ]Mill is dating England’s rule of Ireland to the reign of Edward III (1312-77).
[3 ]Mahomet (570-632), the founder of Islam, was the subject of the second lecture in Carlyle’s On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (London: Fraser, 1841), first delivered in a series of lectures that Mill had attended.
[4 ]There was no penal “code” in the strict sense, but a long list of Acts, beginning with the British statute 3 William and Mary, c. 2 (1691), and continued in such Acts of the Irish parliament as 7 William III, c. 5 (1695), 10 William II, cc. 8, 13 (1698), 2 Anne, cc. 5, 6 (1703), 6 Anne, c. 6 (1707), 8 Anne, c. 3 (1709), 2 George I, c. 10 (1715), 6 George I, c. 10 (1719), 1 George II, c. 9 (1727), 9 George II, c. 3 (1735), and 15 & 16 George III, c. 21 (1776). The general intent is expressed in the title of the last cited: An Act to Prevent and Punish Tumultuous Risings of Persons within This Kingdom, and for Other Purposes Therein Mentioned.
[5 ]The many acts include 10 & 11 William III, c. 10 (1699), wool; 9 Anne, c. 12 (1710), hops; 11 George I, c. 7 (1724), drugs, rags, apples, and pictures; 5 George II, c. 21 (1732), wool again; and 19 George II, c. 12 (1746), glass, liquors, and salt.
[6 ]Assiento, a trading agreement (Spanish asiento, contract), applied to those made by Spain with other nations for the supplying of Negro slaves to America; for example and especially, the Asiento Treaty of Utrecht (1713) authorized the British to bring annually, for thirty years, 4800 slaves from her African colonies to America.
[7 ]For the origin of the term, see No. 191, n5.
[8 ]See “An Account of Loans Advanced by the Imperial Treasury for Public Works in Ireland,” PP, 1847, LIV, 91-282.
[9 ]10 Victoria, c. 31 (1847).
[10 ]Daniel, 5:27.
[11 ]Cromwell was greatly admired by Carlyle, who in 1845 edited his Letters and Speeches.
[12 ]Luke, 4:23.
[13 ]In Past and Present (London: Chapman and Hall, 1843), Carlyle made a resonant and challenging plea for leadership to heal the ever-worsening social ills of England.
[14 ]Fears aroused by the mass demonstration of Chartists at Kennington Common on 10 Apr., 1848, proved in the event to be unwarranted, although briefly beforehand London was virtually under martial law. The “Public Order Memorial” had been proposed to commemorate the work of the Special Constables in restraining the Chartists, but on 6 May, the day after Mill wrote his letter, the Committee appointed to act on the Memorial voted to drop the project. The “unextinguishable laughter” was that of the gods in Homer, Iliad, Vol. I, p. 48 (I, 599).
[15 ]Jean Joseph Charles Louis Blanc (1811-82), a socialist member of the Provisional Government, author of Organisation du travail (Paris: Prévot, ), at this time presided over the first assembly of Workers’ Delegates at the Palais du Luxembourg to inquire into the problems of labour; he was a proponent of the “ateliers nationaux” that much attracted Mill.
[16 ]The socialist movement named for its founder, François Marie Charles Fourier (1772-1837), Utopian co-operator whose “phalanstères” earlier attracted the attention of Carlyle and Mill.
[17 ]To Mill’s letter is appended in square brackets the following note by John Forster: “Mr. Carlyle’s dissertation did not exclude what is urged by ‘M.’ It did not extend to that part of the subject which is here discussed. The reader will find, below, a portion of a second communication from Mr. Carlyle which we had received before ‘M.’s’ letter reached us.—Ed. Ex.” This note is immediately followed by Carlyle’s “Legislation for Ireland” (signed “C.,” as was “Repeal of the Union”), in which the new Poor Law Act is praised as providing at least an opportunity to make the landlord active in reform. Carlyle also calls for a Special Commission to deal summarily with the problems, seeing ahead the “rapids of Niagara” that will permit of no “oaring or steering.”
[1 ]Russell spoke on 20 June in opposition to Hume’s motion (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 99, cols. 915-33). The views of George Canning that Mill found similar to Russell’s may be seen in Speech of the Right Hon. George Canning, to His Constituents at Liverpool, March 18, 1820 (London: Murray, 1820). See also No. 61, n1.
[2 ]Following the failed Chartist demonstration (see No. 372), William Cuffey (d. 1870), a London tailor, son of a West Indian slave, a leader of the Chartists, was among those arrested in August for sedition. In September he was tried and sentenced to transportation for life.
[3 ]For the phrase, see No. 73, n4.
[4 ]See, e.g., the speech on 20 June by the emerging Conservative leader, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 99, cols. 949-50.
[5 ]See Speech on National Representation (6 July, 1848), ibid., Vol. 100, col. 181, for the admission by Richard Cobden (1804-65), Manchester businessman and reforming M.P., former leading spirit in the Anti-Corn Law League.
[6 ]Sidney Herbert (1810-61), Peel’s Secretary at War, Speech on National Representation (6 July), ibid., cols. 213-17, esp. 213, where he is taunting Lord John Russell for pronouncing the reforms of 1832 “final” in his speech of 20 Nov., 1837.
[7 ]Grey was supported in bringing in the Reform Bill by Radicals such as Hobhouse, free-traders such as Thompson, moderate reformers such as Brougham, Whig aristocrats such as Palmerston and Lansdowne, and others of various political views, including even Charles Gordon Lennox, Duke of Richmond, a Tory member of Grey’s cabinet.
[1 ]Projet de décret sur l’instruction primaire (30 June), Moniteur, 1848, pp. 1537-8; it was withdrawn on 4 Jan., 1849.
[2 ]Revolutionary activity among the peasants in Austria and its territories, evident from 1846, came to a head after the February revolution in France deposed Louis Philippe. Prince Metternich (1773-1859), long a dominant force in Austrian and European diplomacy, was forced to resign office on 13 Mar., 1848, and took up exile in England; Hungary and Bohemia were promised liberal constitutions.
[3 ]Attila (ca. 406-53), “the scourge of God,” King of the Huns and conqueror of much of Europe, in 447 reached the walls of Constantinople, where he forced Theodosius II to accept a tripling of the yearly tribute. The population of Constantinople was addicted to the pleasures of the Hippodrome, the “circus” for races, sports, executions, and popular politics.
[1 ]The Chartists’ central document, The People’s Charter (London: Working Men’s Association, 1838), originally included six “points”: universal suffrage, no property qualification for M.P.s, annual parliaments, equal representation, payment of representatives, and the ballot.
[2 ]See Cobden’s speech of 6 July, col. 184.
[3 ]Mill is loosely quoting Talfourd, col. 179, who is loosely quoting Coleridge, The Piccolomini; or, The First Part of Wallenstein (London: Longman and Rees, 1800), p. 22 (I, iv, 70-3), from Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), Wallenstein, ein dramatisches Gedicht (1798-99), in Sämmtliche Werke, 2nd ed., 12 vols. (Stuttgart and Tübingen: Cotta’schen Buchhandlung, 1818-19), Vol. IX, Pt. 2.
[4 ]Coleridge, The Piccolomini, pp. 22-3 (I, iv, 77-8).
[5 ]See, e.g., Coleridge, Table Talk, ed. Henry Nelson Coleridge, 2 vols. (London: Murray, 1835), Vol. I, p. 185.
[6 ]On the Constitution of Church and State, p. 56.
[1 ]Compare the leading article on France and the Paris Correspondent’s report, “The State of the Continent,” The Times, 7 Aug., 1848, pp. 4 and 6.
[2 ]Compare “The French Republic: Termination of the Insurrection,” The Times, 28 June, pp. 5-6, and “The French Republic,” The Times, 11 July, p. 6. On 24-26 June, insurgent socialists had been defeated by more moderate republican forces under General Louis Eugène Cavaignac (1802-57) (brother of Godefroi), who on 28 June became President of the Council of Ministers under the Second Republic.
[3 ]See “The State of the Continent,” The Times, 7 Aug., p. 6.
[4 ]Leading article, The Times, 19 July, pp. 4-5.
[1 ]The figure of thirty acres is in the preamble to “A Bill for the Establishment of the ‘Farmers’ Estate Society of Ireland,’ ” 11 & 12 Victoria (25 July, 1848), PP, 1847-48, II, 397-412, enacted on 31 Aug., 1848, as 11 & 12 Victoria, c. 153 (Local Act).
[2 ]Cf. Shakespeare, Othello, II, i, 161; in The Riverside Shakespeare, p. 1213 (one of Mill’s favourite tags).
[3 ]11 & 12 Victoria, c. 95, which had been enacted on 25 July, 1848.
[4 ]See, e.g., Richard Butler (1794-1858), Earl of Glengall, Speech on Encumbered Estates (Ireland) Bill (31 July, 1848), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 100, cols. 1029-30.
[1 ]For the substituted terms, compare Arts. 1, 2, and 4 of this decree with Arts. 2-5 of Bull. 155, No. 356 (9 Sept., 1835).
[2 ]E.g., in the speeches on 10 Aug. by Jules Favre (1809-80), Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Interior in the Provisional Government, and by Albin de Berville (1788-1868), avocat général under the Provisional Government (Moniteur, 1848, both on p. 1968).
[3 ]Rousseau, Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (Amsterdam: Rey, 1755). The comment is in Réforme, 12 Aug., 1848, p. 1.
[4 ]For details, see No. 376.
[5 ]In reporting the bill on 1 Aug. to the National Assembly, Berville said that it, like its companion, the Décret relatif aux cautionnements des journaux et écrits périodiques (Bull. 60, No. 616 [9 Aug., 1848]), was “transitoire” (Moniteur, 1848, p. 1847).
[6 ]For earlier discussion, see No. 29; the law had not changed in the intervening quarter-century.
[7 ]Through much of April, debates in the British parliament had centred on “A Bill for the Better Security of the Crown and Government of the United Kingdom,” 11 Victoria (7 Apr., 1848), PP, 1847-48, II, 229-32, enacted as 11 Victoria, c. 12 (22 Apr., 1848). For the prolonged and anxious debate, see PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 98, cols. 20-58, 73-135, 152-75, 223-59, 340-87, 417-31, 453-80, 485-507, and 534-6.
[a-a]1125[quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 333-6]
[1 ]See Plato, Gorgias, p. 526 (526b).
[c-c]59 the middle period
[2 ]See Aristophanes, Acharnians (212), in Aristophanes (Greek and English), trans. Benjamin Bickley Rogers, 3 vols. (London: Heinemann, 1924), Vol. I, p. 52. Plutarch also mentions Cratinus, Telecleides, and Eupolis as making sport of Pericles (Lives, Vol. III, pp. 8 and 42).
[3 ]Nicias (d. 413), Athenian general and statesman; his career is sketched in the following quotation.
[4 ]Thucydides, Vol. II, p. 88 (III, li, 1).
[5 ]Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution (Greek and English), trans. H. Rackham (London: Heinemann, 1952), p. 84 (28, 5); Grote takes the reference from Plutarch, Lives, Vol. III, p. 212 (II, 1). Thucydides (d. ca. 420 ), son of Melesias, opposed Pericles, who defeated him in 443 , when he was ostracized. Theramenes (d. 404 ) was a conservative contributor to the Athenian constitution.
[6 ]Cimon (507-450 ), a rival of Themistocles whom he replaced as ruler of Athens, ca. 470 ; he also came into conflict with Pericles and was ostracized in 459
[7 ]An oligarchical revolution in 411 established the Council of Four Hundred, which lasted only a year; Theramenes was involved both in its establishment and its overthrow.
[8 ]Aspasia, a courtesan born either in Miletus or Megara, became Pericles’ mistress after he divorced his wife in 445 She is represented as an advisor to Pericles, a teacher of rhetoric, and an instructor of Socrates.
[9 ]Cleon (d. 422 ), Athenian statesman and a relentless enemy of Sparta, pictured by his enemies Thucydides and Aristophanes as an unprincipled demagogue—as Grote and Mill indicate—was killed at the defeat of Amphipolis.
[10 ]In the anonymous review of Grote’s Volumes V and VI, Athenaeum, 10 Feb., 1849, p. 137.
[11 ]Thucydides, Vol. II, p. 56 (III, xxxvi, 6).
[12 ]Aristophanes, The Knights, 973-96, and The Wasps, 596-7, in Aristophanes, Vol. I, pp. 220, 466.
[13 ]Hyperbolus (d. 411 ), another Athenian demagogue, banished by Nicias and Alcibiades.
[14 ]Alcibiades (ca. 450-404 ), wealthy Athenian general and politician, notorious for strange behaviour and debauchery.
[15 ]Aeschines (390-314 ), philosopher, friend of Socrates, author of orations and dialogues.
[16 ]For the invective by William Pitt, Lord Chatham, against Robert Walpole (1676-1745), 1st Earl of Orford, the Whig statesman who was in effect the first British Prime Minister, 1715-17 and 1721-42, see, e.g., Pitt’s Speech on the Motion to Remove Walpole (13 Feb., 1741), in Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, Vol. XI, cols. 1359-64.
[17 ]The Pnyx was a hill in Athens, site of the ecclesia or assembly of citizens; for the personification of the Athenian citizen as Demos, see Aristophanes, The Knights, p. 194 (752-5).
[18 ]Cleon’s Speech on the Mytilean Revolt, his only preserved speech, is reported in Thucydides, Vol. II, pp. 58-70 (III, xxxvii-xl).
[19 ]The estimate of the sophist rhetoricians’ power derives from Plato, Gorgias, p. 292 (456e-457e); the phrase describing it, from Milton, Paradise Lost (II, 111-12), in Poetical Works, p. 31.
[1 ]Mill’s translation of Thucydides, Vol. I, p. 38 (I, xxii, 1).
[a-a][quoted also in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” Edinburgh Review, XCVIII (Oct. 1853); in CW, XI, 318]
[b-b]53,Source And our
[c-c]53 tastes and
[f-f]53 are offensive, though they do no positive damage
[2 ]Ibid., pp. 322-4 (II, xxxvi, 2), quoted by Grote, Vol. VI, pp. 193-4.
[g-g]1131[quoted also in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” Edinburgh Review, XCVIII (Oct. 1853); in CW, XI, 319-20]
[3 ]Grote has picked up the term from Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique, 2 vols., 2nd ed. (Paris: Gosselin, 1835), Vol. II, p. 142. (Cf. Mill’s “Tocqueville on Democracy in America [II],” CW, Vol. XVIII, p. 156.)
[4 ]See Xenophon (ca. 430-355 ), the historian and disciple of Socrates, Memorabilia (Greek and English), trans. E.C. Marchant (London: Heinemann, 1923), pp. 196-8 (III, v, 15-17) and pp. 250-2 (III, xii, 5); Plato, Republic, Vol. II, pp. 284-90 (557b-558c); and Aristotle, Politics, p. 506 (VI, ii, 12).
[k-k][quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 320-1]
[5 ]Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaemonians (Greek and English), trans. E.C. Marchant (London: Heinemann, 1925), pp. 160-2 (VIII, 1-2), and (Pseudo-Xenophon) Xenophontis qui inscribitur libellus Athenaion politeia, ed. E. Kalinka (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1961), p. 9 (I, 18).
[6 ]Critias (ca. 460-403 ), an oligarchical politician who headed “The Thirty”; Meidias (fl. 347 ), an opponent of Demosthenes.
[7 ]Aristophanes, The Wasps, pp. 456 and 462 (515-17 and 570-2). For Xenophon, see n5.
[1 ]The name of Russell had been associated with religious and civil liberty since the time of William Russell (1639-83), “the patriot,” one of the first Whigs, who had been executed for supposed treason against the Stuarts. Lord John Russell, of the sixth generation in descent, was author of The Life of William Lord Russell (London: Longman, 1819).
[2 ]See Sect. I of the Bill for the oath, and Sect. V for the exemption of Jews.
[3 ]Both Hume and Edward Gibbon (1737-94), the historian, would have been excluded from Parliament by the terms of this Bill on the grounds of religious scepticism. Gibbon in fact served as M.P. 1774-80 and 1781-83.
[4 ]Hume, whose Tory History of England was a frequent target of Mill’s wrath (see esp. CW, Vol. VI, pp. 3-58).
[5 ]Baron Lionel Nathan Rothschild (1808-79), banker and philanthropist, elected Whig M.P. for the city of London in 1847 and repeatedly thereafter, but barred, as a Jew, from taking a seat in Parliament until 1858 after the passing in that year of 21 & 22 Victoria, c. 48.
[6 ]Samuel Johnson, “Lines Added to Oliver Goldsmith’s Traveller,” quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, 2 vols. (London: Dilly, 1791), Vol. I, p. 275.
[1 ]A very popular theatrical equestrian establishment, originally called Astley’s Royal Amphitheatre, established in 1798 by Philip Astley (1742-1814).
[2 ]A pistol (charged only with powder) was fired at Queen Victoria on 19 May, 1849, by William (or John?) Hamilton, an Irish bricklayer’s mate (b. ca. 1826), who was tried at the Central Criminal Court on 14 June, when he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for seven years. It was reported at the trial that the Queen expressly desired that he not be punished by flogging. See The Times, 21 May, p. 5, and 15 June, p. 7. For Harriet Taylor’s energetic and decided comments on this matter, in a letter of 10 July to Mill that undoubtedly prompted this article, see Hayek, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, pp. 159-60.
[1 ]Louis Napoléon (1808-73), nephew of Bonaparte, a bête noire to Mill, had become President of France in December 1848 and, after a coup d’état in December 1851, was to become Emperor in December 1852. His relationship to Czar Nicholas I of Russia was distant: Princess Mathilde, daughter of Jerome Bonaparte, had once been engaged to Louis Napoléon and served as his hostess for some years before his marriage; she was a third cousin of the Czar.
[2 ]Henry George Grey was Colonial Secretary 1846-52; the Prime Minister was Lord John Russell. The conduct of Richard More O’Ferrall (1797-1880), who in July 1849, as Governor of Malta, had refused to permit refugees to land, was sanctioned by the Colonial Office in a speech of 1 Aug., 1849, by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Benjamin Hawes (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 107, col. 1161); it was defended by Russell in a letter of 5 Sept. to Joseph Hume (printed in the Examiner, 22 Sept., p. 602), which also mentions Grey’s approbation.
[3 ]Lord Palmerston objected, in a speech of 21 July (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 107, cols. 807-15), to the proposals of George Hamilton Gordon (1784-1860), 4th Earl of Aberdeen, to renew relations with the Powers who had always been Britain’s allies and to approve Russia’s intervention as “necessary,” in a speech of 20 July (ibid., cols. 690-705). The Holy Alliance of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, formed in 1815 to ensure Christian co-operation and brotherhood and eventually joined by most of Europe except for England, had prompted the Czar’s intervention in Hungary. The prospect of a new Holy Alliance was raised in the Commons by Ralph Bernal Osborne on 21 July (ibid., col. 788).
[1 ]Mill must have repeated in the missing part of this letter the views with which he concludes No. 384 (q.v.) about Palmerston (the exception), and Grey and Russell.
[1 ]Louis Krolikowski (1807-55), Polish army officer in exile in Paris, a close friend and collaborator of Cabet and, in the latter’s absence, editor of the Populaire.
[2 ]Letter to the editor (20 Sept., 1849), Démocratie Pacifique, 22 Sept., p. 3. A Fourierist daily (1843-49) edited by Prosper Victor Considérant (1808-93), the journal signalled its rejection of violent revolution by including “Pacifique” in its title.
[3 ]“Protestation de la colonie icarienne à Nauvoo,” ibid.
[1 ]See No. 372, n15, for the source of the phrase.
[2 ]Déclaration, pp. 4-5.
[1 ]When told there was no such thing as motion, Diogenes (400-323 ), the Cynic philosopher, got up and walked about. See Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers (Greek and English), trans. R.D. Hicks, 2 vols. (London: Heinemann, 1963), Vol. II, p. 40 (VI, 39).
[2 ]A favourite allusion of Mill’s, deriving from James Mackintosh, The History of England, 10 vols. (London: Longman, et al., 1830-40), Vol. I, p. 72.
[3 ]The revision of 1846 resulted in Constitution of the State of New York, as Adopted in Convention, Oct. 9, 1846 (New York: Burnton, 1846).
[4 ]On marriage a wife became sous couverture, thus losing her legal existence independent of her husband, and consequently was inter alia unable to exercise in her own name any rights connected with property.
[5 ]See, e.g., An Act to Provide for the Support of Common Schools (Montpellier, Vt.: n.p., 1827); An Act of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1827. To Provide for the Instruction of Youth (Boston: Christian Register Office, 1828); and Public Acts Relating to Common Schools in Force in the State of Connecticut, in 1846 (New Haven: Osborn and Baldwin, 1846).
[1 ]Thomas Sermon.
[2 ]J.H. Toller, the deputy coroner for the district.
[3 ]Charles Colville Turner.
[4 ]James Blomfield Rush was hanged on 14 Apr., 1849, for the murder on 28 Nov., 1848, of Isaac Jermy (1789-1848), Recorder of Norwich, and his son.
[5 ]Elizabeth Brownrigg, a midwife in London, was hanged on 14 Sept., 1767, for the murder of an apprentice, Mary Clifford. She was known to have beaten her other two apprentices, but was tried for the death of Clifford.
[1 ]9 George IV, c. 31 (1828), made common assault for the first time a criminal misdemeanour punishable on summary conviction before a magistrate on complaint of the victim (Sect. 27); the punishment was limited to a fine of not more than £5. Only for non-payment of fine could the convicted assailant be jailed for a maximum of two months (Sect. 27). In serious cases, the Crown was permitted to proceed by indictment and a longer punishment could be imposed (Sect. 29). Prosecution resulted in the loss of other criminal or civil remedies by the plaintiff.
[2 ]E.g., “Report of G.A. à Beckett, Esq.,” in “Reports to the Poor Law Board, on the Laws of Settlement, and Removal of the Poor” (24 Oct., 1848), PP, 1850, XXVII, esp. 238, 242-3; Aubrey De Vere (1814-1902), poet and essayist, “Colonization,” Edinburgh Review, XCI (Jan. 1850), 1-62, esp. 4-6; and John Malcolm Ludlow (1821-1911), social reformer, “ ‘Labour and the Poor,’ ” Fraser’s Magazine, XLI (Jan. 1850), 1-18, esp. 3.
[1 ]I.e., Darius II of Persia (reigned 424-405 ); each of the rulers of Persia was referred to as “the Great King.”
[2 ]Lysander (d. 395 ), Spartan naval commander, destroyed the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami in 405 , and captured Athens the next year.
[3 ]A group of oligarchs, Critias being the chief member, the Thirty Tyrants gained power in Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 , but were ousted after a civil war in 403 by democrats, led by Thrasybulus, the naval commander.
[4 ]These pillars, set at street corners in Athens, with a bust of Hermes above and a phallus below, were mutilated in the night shortly before the beginning of the Sicilian expedition of 415-413
[a-a][quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 331-2]
[c-c]59 seventh volume
[5 ]For earlier comment, see No. 380.
[6 ]See Grenville, Speech on Fox’s East India Bill (21 Nov., 1783), Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, Vol. XXIII, col. 1229.
[7 ]See No. 380, n7.
[d-d][quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 327-8]
[f-f][quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 329]
[8 ]Hercules (Heracles) chose Virtue over Desire in the essay, “On Heracles,” by the Sophist, Prodicus (contemporary of Sophocles), given by Xenophon, Memorabilia, pp. 95-103 (II, i, 21-34). The importance of this choice had been early impressed on Mill by his father; see Autobiography, CW, Vol. I, p. 49.
[9 ]Callicles is portrayed by Plato in this way in Gorgias; see Lysis, Symposium, Gorgias, pp. 410-12 (491b-c).
[g-g]59 his hero Socrates
[h-h][quoted in “Grote’s History of Greece [II],” D&D, II (1859); in CW, XI, 309n-10n]
[10 ]Bacon, Novum Organum, in Works, Vol. I, p. 125.
[11 ]Ibid., p. 158 (Bk. I, Aph. 14).
[12 ]Ibid., p. 138.
[1 ]See “Spring Assizes. Western Circuit. Exeter, Friday, March 22,” The Times, 25 Mar., p. 6.
[2 ]The Birds were subsequently rearrested and charged with assault. They were convicted on 5 Aug., 1850, in the Crown Court at Exeter. (See “Summer Assizes. Western Circuit. Exeter, Monday, August 5,” The Times, 7 Aug., pp. 7-8.)
[1 ]See No. 392.
[2 ]Joshua Watkins, R.C.S. (d. 1871).
[3 ]“The Murder in Brydges-Street,” Morning Chronicle, 29 Mar., 1850, p. 7.
[4 ]After a postponement on 11 Apr. (The Times, 12 Apr., p. 7), Alexander Moir was tried at the Central Criminal Court on 9 May, 1850, convicted of aggravated manslaughter, and sentenced to transportation for life (The Times, 10 May, p. 7).
[5 ]For Mrs. Brownrigg, see No. 389, n5.
[6 ]His expressions were used in the Bird case (see No. 392), reported in “Assize Intelligence. Western Circuit,” Morning Chronicle, 25 Mar., 1850, p. 7.
[7 ]Anne Merrett (b. 1819) was convicted of poisoning her husband James with arsenic, and condemned to death (see “Central Criminal Court, March 8,” The Times, 9 Mar., 1850, p. 7).
[1 ]The letter is followed by a lengthy editorial comment expressing admiration for the “character, style, and tone” of Mill’s letter, but dissenting totally from the views of “pauper and free labour” expressed in it.
[1 ]The case of Edward Kenealy; see No. 396.
[2 ]An ironical reference to the views of Henry Clinton, Duke of Newcastle, adapted from the New Testament, for which see No. 65, n3.
[3 ]See No. 393, n4. The judge was Edward Hall Alderson (1787-1857).
[4 ]Blackstone, Commentaries, Vol. IV, p. 201.
[5 ]Mill may be referring to the commonly held belief that it was legal for a man to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.
[6 ]See Matthew, 5-8; and Luke, 6:20-49.
[7 ]Art. 79 of The Body of Liberties of the Massachusetts Colony in New England (1641) forbade such chastisement; the matter is outlined in Richard Hildreth (1807-65), The History of the United States of America from the Discovery of the Continent to the Organization of Government under the Federal Constitution, 1497-1789, 3 vols. (New York: Harper, 1849), Vol. I, p. 276.
[1 ]Stephen John Burt, M.R.C.S., of 26 Farringdon St.
[2 ]William Whately (1795-1862), barrister, Q.C. from 1841.
[3 ]See No. 307, n1.
[4 ]See the debate in PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 110, cols. 767-83 (24 Apr., 1850), on “A Bill for the Correction and Reformation of Juvenile Offenders and the Prevention of Juvenile Offences,” 13 Victoria (6 Mar., 1850), PP, 1850, III, 465-74 (not enacted).
[1 ]That is, Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (1848), of which the 2nd ed. (1849) contained a more favourable discussion of communism. (See CW, Vol. III, pp. 975-87.) Holyoake had earlier reprinted in his periodical, the Reasoner, V (1848), 50-4 and 60-9, under the title “Theories of Private Property and Communism,” portions of Book II, Chap. i, of the 1st ed. of the Principles (the chapter here in question). In the Leader of 10 Aug., p. 465, Holyoake further discussed the points raised by Mill.
[1 ]I.e., expelled James II and enthroned William III.
[2 ]“Marriage,” Leader, 13 July, 1850, p. 375.
[3 ]“Homo,” “Right of the Suffrage,” ibid., 27 July, 1850, pp. 422-3. (“Ion,” i.e., G.J. Holyoake, had answered this letter, ibid., 10 Aug., p. 465.)
[1 ]Proverbs, 25:18.
[1 ]James Archibald Stuart-Wortley (1805-81), M.P. 1835-37, 1842-59, and Recorder of London 1850-56. See “Assize Intelligence. Central Criminal Court—Monday,” Morning Chronicle, 19 Aug., 1851, p. 7.
[2 ]See in the Morning Chronicle the cases of Edmund Curtis, charged with the manslaughter of his wife Hester, and sentenced to imprisonment for six months with hard labour (“Assize Intelligence. Crown Court,” 15 Aug., 1851, pp. 7-8); of Charles Halliday, charged with the murder of his wife Elizabeth, found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to transportation for life (“Assize Intelligence. Crown Court,” 16 Aug., p. 7); of Andrew MacLean (b. ca. 1814), a journeyman tailor, charged with but acquitted of the murder of his common-law wife, Mary Ann Watson (“Central Criminal Court—Friday,” 23 Aug., pp. 7-8); and of Robert Thomas Moore, charged with the attempted murder of his wife, Mary Anne, and found not guilty by reason of insanity (ibid.).
[3 ]Testimony of Jane Anne Wilkes, Morning Chronicle, 15 Aug., p. 8.
[4 ]Samuel Martin (1801-83), Baron of the Court of Exchequer from 1850, ibid.
[5 ]Charles Halliday (see n2).
[6 ]William Wightman (1784-1863), judge at the Court of Queen’s Bench from 1841, heard the cases of Moore and MacLean (see n2).
[7 ]Morning Chronicle, 23 Aug., p. 8. There were two children, aged eight (Lizzy) and three years. The witnesses were Mary Rigg and her husband Thomas, and Ellen Mayhew.
[1 ]The tradesman was Charles Bowen; William Drinkwater failed to hold the horse.
[1 ]I.e., by the Board of Control (representing the British Government) and the Court of Directors (representing the East India Company).
[2 ]See Sects. 2, 3, 5.
[3 ]See nn6 and 7.
[4 ]Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough, Governor-General of India (1841-44), was recalled because of his high-handed policies, particularly in the annexation in 1842 of Scinde, by an army under the command of Charles Napier.
[5 ]Charles Grant, the younger (1778-1866), Baron Glenelg, was President of the Board of Control, 1830-34, when the charter of the East India Co. was altered by 3 & 4 William IV, c. 85, to vest the Company’s property in the Crown. In 1832, the Board had obtained a mandamus from the Court of King’s Bench to compel the Directors’ compliance in issuing a despatch pressuring the Government of Oude to reimburse a group of bankers. The Board did not persist in the face of the Directors’ continued opposition. For the claims on the King of Oude, see “Copy of the Correspondence between the Commissioners for the Affairs of India and the Court of Directors of the East India Company,” PP, 1834, XLIV, 101-40.
[6 ]Wood, Letter to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the East India Company (1 June, 1853), PP, 1852-53, LXIX, 84.
[7 ]Wood, speech of 3 June, cols. 1153-4.
[8 ]Horace, Satires, I, i, 69; in Satires, Epistles, Ars poetica, p. 8.
[9 ]The Directors were elected by those members of the Court of Proprietors (shareholders) who had held at least £1000 of stock for a year.
[10 ]Sect. 5 called for service of the Crown or the Company in India for ten years. (“Indian” refers to residence, not ethnicity.)
[11 ]Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks (1820-94), M.P. for Berwick-on-Tweed, Speech on the Government of India Bill (30 June, 1853), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 128, col. 1000.
[12 ]By Sect. 13.
[13 ]By the effect of Sects. 58 and 60 of 3 & 4 William IV, c. 85 (1833).
[1 ]See Sect. 2 of “A Bill to Provide for the Government of India” (9 June, 1853).
[2 ]See Charles Wood, speech of 3 June, 1853, col. 1154; and, for the modes of appointment, No. 404, nn9 and 11.
[3 ]Wood, Letter (1 June, 1853), p. 84.
[4 ]Under the first of these systems, the Zemindars collected the peasants’ rents, and paid them to the government, taking a commission. The British introduced into the North-West Provinces the village system, whereby the government made an engagement (stipulating individual amounts), with the village as a whole, which was responsible for the payments. Under the ryotwar system the tax was paid directly by the ryot, the actual occupier or tenant of the soil.
[5 ]Each of the three Committees of the Court of Directors (Finance and Home; Revenue, Judicial, and Legislative; and Political and Military) controlled a Department. The Secret Committee, which had existed since the seventeenth century to deal with sensitive political issues, was made official in 1784; composed of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and a senior director, it sent secret dispatches (some of which it originated) to India, and acted as a kind of “cabinet council.”
[a-a]MS Morton [JSM’s error]
[b-b]MS Saturday [see the headnote]
[1 ]16 & 17 Victoria, c. 30 (1853), designed to protect women and children against aggravated assaults.
[1 ]The case of Mary Jane Turner, wife of Charles Turner, official assignee in the Liverpool Court of Bankruptcy, was reported in the Daily News on 26 July, p. 3; the leader Mill refers to appeared on 28 July, p. 4. She had recently been the subject of an inquiry at York Castle before F. Barlow, one of the Masters in Lunacy. See also “Commission of Lunacy,” The Times, 27 July, p. 5, and a leader on the treatment of lunatics, ibid., 28 July, p. 9.
[2 ]Mill is referring to the notorious case of Lady Rosina Doyle Wheeler Bulwer-Lytton (1804-82), Lady Lytton, separated wife of Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Since their legal separation in 1836, she had published many attacks on him and instituted a number of legal actions against him. On 8 June, 1858, having travelled overnight from Taunton to Hertford for the purpose, she had appeared at a public meeting held to nominate Bulwer-Lytton for office and launched an embarrassing public attack on him. After withdrawing from the meeting, he proceeded to arrange for a medical examination of his wife’s mental condition. Later in the month, on 22 June, she was confined in a private asylum at Brentford; then, on 17 July, after gaining permission to leave, she departed for the continent, accompanied by her son. The London newspapers were rather slow in taking up the case from the provincial press, but once they did so, devoted a good deal of space to the scandal. For representative examples of the newspaper coverage, see The Times, 6 July, p. 9; 14 July, p. 9; 19 July, p. 12; and 19 Aug., p. 8; cf. the Daily Telegraph, 14 July, p. 4; 15 July, p. 4; and the Morning Chronicle, 13 July, p. 5.