Front Page Titles (by Subject) 9.: Population: Reply to Thirlwall 1825 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVI - Journals and Debating Speeches Part I
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9.: Population: Reply to Thirlwall 1825 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVI - Journals and Debating Speeches Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVI - Journals and Debating Speeches Part I, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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Population: Reply to Thirlwall
Two MSS, Mill-Taylor Collection, II/1/2. Two typescripts, Fabian Society. (The typescripts conform to the two MSS.) Edited by Harold J. Laski with No. 8 above as the second of “Two Speeches on Population by John Stuart Mill,” Journal of Adult Education, IV (Oct. 1929), 48-61. The first manuscript is headed in Mill’s hand, “Reply”; the second has, again in his hand, on f. 6v, “In Answer to Thirlwall / Second speech on population at the Cooperative Society” (“Second speech” originally read “Two speeches”). The first manuscript ends, “Experience proves”; the second, the initial folios of which are cancelled, has at the bottom of the last cancelled folio, “Experience proves [cancelled that]”; the next folio begins “and proves fully that” (see 305.17). The implication is that the first manuscript is a revision (or fair copy) of a draft of the first part of the speech, while the second manuscript (giving the rest of the speech) was used by Mill without revision. As unpublished in Mill’s lifetime, the speech does not appear in his bibliography.
the gentleman who opened the debate1 having been unavoidably absent upon the two last adjourned discussions, and feeling himself incapable of replying to arguments which he has not heard, has requested me to take upon myself a task, which he has only the alternative of imperfectly performing, or of declining altogether. I regret the more deeply that unfortunate necessity which has thrown the business of reply upon one so very ill qualified for it as I am, because the difficulties of that business, difficulties at all times so great, have been rendered unusually so at present by the unrivalled talents of one, at least, of the gentlemen by whom the contrary side of the question has been maintained.2 That gentleman, Sir, might fairly have expected that the person who should be selected to attempt the arduous task of effacing the impression which he has made, should be, not perhaps his equal, for that would be too much to expect, but that he should at least approach to an equality—he might have expected that his opponents, if they could not have found an antagonist worthy to contend with him, would at least have selected the most worthy whom they could find, and not, as they have done, the most unworthy. But to whatever degree I may regret that the task should have fallen on me; on me, unfortunately, it has fallen, and though I am unable of my utter incapacity to perform it as it ought to be performed,—though I well know how little I can do; that little which I can do shall be done.3
aI have observed with no small satisfaction on this and the last evening, that some of the most intelligent members of this society, have not denied, or rather have tacitly acknowledged, the principle of population, and have made it their chief object to prove that this principle is not in any respect at variance with the doctrines on which Mr. Owen’s system is founded. To what extent this opinion is correct, and to what extent it is incorrect, I shall have other opportunities of attempting to shew. In the mean time these gentlemen will excuse me if I confine myself to the question which is more immediately before the society,—whether the principle of population be true or false.a Several of the speakers have maintained that it is false.
The most eloquent of these were the gentleman who closed the debate on the second evening, and the gentleman who closed the debate on the third evening.4 I have mentioned these gentlemen together, because it is against what they have advanced that the few remarks which I have to submit will chiefly be directed; but I owe an apology to one of the gentlemen, for confounding under the same name an eloquence of pomp, and glare, and tinsel, and frippery, and meretricious ornament, with an eloquence which, in plain, but powerful language, addresses itself to the understanding; for confounding one who treats his audience like children, to be dazzled by a gaudy brilliancy of colouring, with one who treats them like men, and I may add, like women, of judgment and sense,—for confounding a dealer in tropes and figures with a dealer in facts and arguments, even though the facts be irrelevant, and the arguments sophistical. I am sure that I meant no disrespect by the comparison, and I can with perfect sincerity assure the two gentlemen concerned, that I know how to estimate them both at their just value.
Before I reply to what has been said on the merits of the question, it is necessary that I should take some notice of what has been said about the question itself: because advantage has been taken of an inaccuracy in the wording of the question, to stigmatize all which has been said on one side of it as irrelevant. The tendency, it was said, of population to increase faster than the means of subsistence, (if indeed there be any such tendency) must be a law of nature: and it was pronounced to be a gross absurdity to say, that in so far as human misery is referable to social causes, it is referable, not to a social, but to a natural cause. When a question is framed, as this was, upon the spur of the moment, it is exceedingly difficult to preserve strict accuracy in the language, and I doubt not that it will be in the recollection of many who are now present, that the resolution was originally worded in a still more objectionable manner than it now is. The framer of the resolution when he entered the room, was not aware that he would be called upon to propose a question: he had no time to consult with his friends, no time even to consult with his own thoughts, but was compelled to write down the resolution in the first terms which occurred to him, with all those inaccuracies which at the moment were unavoidable, but which five minutes’ notice would have prevented. It does not however follow because the wording of the question was inaccurate, that all which has been said upon it is irrelevant, and perhaps we did not the less speak to the question in dispute because we did not speak to the question as it stood upon the paper. Had I been consulted, I should most likely have proposed to word the resolution as follows: That the condition of the great mass of mankind can be permanently improved by no other means than by limiting their numbers. The evils which may or may not have already arisen from excess of population, I should have put entirely out of the question. I should have said nothing of social causes, and the cavils for which this word has given room would never have been raised or would have been seen at once to be irrelevant. The word however, although it may have been superfluous, was not altogether without a meaning; nor was it introduced solely for the purpose of rounding a sentence. The meaning which the proposer of the question evidently intended to express, was that whatever quantity of human misery may be referable to social causes, a still greater quantity of misery is referable to the principle of population and that the evils occasioned by the principle of population are of such a nature as no social arrangement however perfect, can cure.
In my former speech,5 I advanced two propositions: that population has a tendency to increase in a uniform ratio; and that subsistence, after a certain point, can only be made to increase, in a constantly decreasing ratio. If these propositions be made out, it inevitably follows that after a certain point, any farther increase of population must be detrimental. I took it for granted that the first of these propositions,—the tendency of population to increase, would not be disputed. I have rarely, if ever, heard it disputed. The other proposition I have often heard disputed. I have often heard it maintained, that with whatever rapidity population may increase, subsistence can be made to increase as fast. It was therefore to the refutation of this, the most common objection, that my arguments were chiefly directed: and in the attainment of this object I have had more success than I anticipated.6
bAlmost all the gentlemen who have spoken on the other side, have tacitly abandoned this fallacy. One gentleman7 indeed did come forward with something like it, though he did not seem to be altogether conscious what he was saying. The opinion of this gentleman seemed to be, that we should trust to the chapter of accidents. Some island might be thrown up from the bottom of the sea. Some great agricultural improvement might be introduced, which should effect as great a revolution in the present modes of cultivation, as was created by the introduction of the plough. I think Mr. Owen somewhere says, that the time may come when instead of growing corn, we might be able to make it—in which there might be no limit to population except the want of elbowroom:8 and the gentleman seems to think that something of this kind may possibly happen: to which I answer, possibly it may. The sky may fall, and we may catch larks, but I should have a mean opinion of the prudence of him who should trust to a contingency of this kind for his supper. I certainly am not disposed to deny that an island may rise fom the sea but without being very sceptical I think I may be permitted to doubt whether it is quite sure to do so—and we might chance to find ourselves in rather an unpleasant predicament, if we were to people the island before we had it, and if after that it were never to come at all. It will be quite time enough to people the island when we have got it. In the mean time, there is no occasion for our starving ourselves, by having a greater population than we can maintain. To live beyond the means which we have, in consideration of those which the gentleman thinks we may possibly have, at some distant period, as it would be bad policy in a circle or a triangle, so I am apt to think it could not be very good policy in a parallelogram.9b
I consider then the first10 of my two propositions as made out. I have heard, however, to my surprise, a denial of the other proposition, the tendency of population to increase, from the lips of both the gentlemen to whom I am principally replying. I consider it a great triumph, Sir, to have driven these gentlemen to this, which in my opinion is precisely the most untenable ground upon which their doctrines can possibly be put. I hope without much difficulty to make manifest to all who are now present, that this my opinion is well founded.
In the first place, we were treated with an argument drawn from the depths of natural philosophy. There is a necessary limit, we were told, to the increase of population, because there is only a certain quantity of life in the universe. As this is a mere assumption; as no proof was offered, and as we were not even told where the proof is to be found; as the gentleman who advanced it,11 rested it on his sole authority; I might be permitted to dismiss it at once. No one can be required to argue against a bare assertion: if I shew that it is a bare assertion, I have surely done all that can be required. We were assured indeed with great confidence, that it was a genuine deduction from all that was known of chemistry and of natural philosophy. Of these sciences the gentleman did not profess to know much; in which respect, his modesty did him injustice: since he appears to have dived into the arcana of nature with a boldness and success little short of miraculous: and whether by long and patient enquiry, or by the mere force of his own natural genius I cannot say, but he seems to have solved the great problem which has engrossed the attention of chemists and physiologists for centuries. We know, Sir, that philosophers, almost from the very beginning of philosophy, have been engaged in the attempt to determine what life is, and whether there be really such a thing as a vital principle at all. But this gentleman has untied the Gordian knot; he is not only perfectly familiar with that principle of life which has hitherto remained imperceptible to all eyes save his own, but he can measure it by the foot and by the yard—he can weigh it by the pound and by the ounce: he knows exactly how much of it exists in the universe; and no doubt, if properly solicited, he could inform us of its precise colour, its shape, and its dimensions. The gentleman however seems to be scarcely aware of the originality of his views. He referred us to the writings of chemists and of natural philosophers. I do not know the extent of the gentleman’s reading in chemistry and natural philosophy, and as I have not the gift of divination, I cannot be supposed to know who those philosophers are, by whose authority he wishes, though it is scarcely necessary, to corroborate his own. But I too have paid some attention to chemistry and natural philosophy. I do not indeed lay claim to so much knowledge as the gentleman possesses. I have stuck to experiment—I have not meddled with mysteries—Nature has told me none of her secrets. But I have read, and I trust not altogether without profit. I cannot say however that in the course of my reading I ever met with this magnificent discovery; it was reserved for the genius and penetration of Mr. Gale Jones. So new and so important a truth ought not to be lost to the world. It ought not to be confined within the walls of the Cooperative Society. I trust that we shall shortly see it at full length, in the next volume of the Philosophical Transactions. As however a philosopher who with so much profundity combines so much modesty will doubtless not be offended at a well meant suggestion, even though it should proceed from one whose head is not yet even partially silvered over with years, I have a piece of friendly advice to offer, which in the event of his determining to give the public the benefit of his discoveries, he may not find altogether undeserving of his attention. It is one part of the business of the man of science to make assertions, but it is another part, more alien perhaps to the fire of genius, but not for that reason the less necessary, to prove them. As great philosophers as this gentleman, to an exposition of the great truths which they have discovered, have not disdained to join a succinct statement of the evidence, on which those discoveries are founded. When Sir H. Davy, by means of the voltaic battery, had decomposed the alkalis and earths,12 and made those other glorious discoveries which have raised him to the very highest rank among experimental philosophers, he did not say to the world, These things are so, believe me for I have studied chemistry and natural philosophy: No, Sir, he minutely described in the scientific journals all the circumstances of the experiment, that others might have an opportunity of verifying the truth of his discoveries: he opened his laboratory to the world, that all might see the wonders which he performed, and the means by which he performed them—he suffered not his pupils to take any thing upon his authority; he placed the proofs before them, and bid them doubt if they could. Perhaps it would not have greatly impaired the splendour of this gentleman’s discovery, if he had condescended in this respect to have imitated his great precursor; and if he could not exhibit the proofs before our eyes, to have told us at least where they were to be found.
As an admirer of moral courage, and a lover of free discussion, I should be the last person to blame the gentleman for the honesty and manliness with which he avowed his disbelief of one of the great doctrines of Christianity, the doctrine of the creation; but I confess I was a little astonished to find that he who knows so little of one being, because of that being experience teaches us nothing, should yet know so much of another being called the principle of life, of which, he must surely acknowledge, that she teaches us as little. I confess it did strike me as somewhat surprising, that the same person should be so sceptical on the one hand and so dogmatical on the other. But this is only one of innumerable instances to prove that it is among the rarest of all human achievements to know when and where to doubt. It is an easy matter, Sir, to doubt, but a very difficult matter to doubt well; and there are a hundred persons who doubt much, for one who doubts when he ought and only when he ought. We have good speakers, Sir, and good thinkers, and good reasoners; but a good doubter may as yet be truly pronounced to be rara avis in, etc.13
The other gentleman to whom I am replying14 took a different line of argument. He did not deny—he did not profess to meddle with the power of population to increase: but he denied that it had increased; and he repeated after the second speaker of the same evening,15 that to ascribe evil to a mere tendency, which has never had any practical operation, is little better than absolute nonsense. This is plausible in appearance, Sir, but in appearance only, for it is founded on ignorance of the manner in which the increase of population is practically kept down. The tendency of population to increase may not be the less a cause of unspeakable misery, although the actual increase may have fallen far, very far, short of the tendency. In order to know how far the tendency to increase has been a cause of misery, it is not sufficient to know what has been the actual increase: it must be known by what cause the actual increase has been restrained. It is of little avail to say that population has not doubled itself in 25 years, if it has only been prevented from doubling itself by poverty and misery—that population has been kept down is very little to the purpose, if it has been kept down by starvation and disease. The gentleman must know that early deaths are as sure a check to population as limitation of births, and unless he can deny that early deaths with the diseases which lead to them are an evil, I submit it for his consideration whether the tendency of population to increase may not be a cause of abundant misery, even though that tendency should not make itself visible in the population returns, even though the population should not actually have increased.
But is it true, that population has not increased? In this country and many others, the increase is so manifest that even he cannot deny it: but forsooth in Greece and Asia, it has diminished. I can barely conceive a mind so constituted as to consider this as a refutation of the principle of population: but I for my part shall be satisfied, if he will admit that in any one country, population has increased. I will take America, or Ireland: in the one it is ascertained that population has doubled in less than 25 years; in the other that it has increased, in a century and a half, from less than two millions to more than seven. On these premises I think I may venture to assume that population in other countries has at least the physical power of increasing at the same rate. I am not aware of any difference in the fecundity of the female of the human species in different countries. In warm climates, I believe, child-bearing begins earlier, and terminates earlier: but if there be any difference in the duration, it is a difference of too trifling a nature to occasion any material inaccuracy in the conclusion. But if the physical power of increase be the same, the difference can only be in the causes which counteract it; and these causes are poverty, and prudence.16 In the countries to which the gentleman has referred us, we happen to know that poverty is the cause to which the extraordinary decay of the population is to be ascribed; poverty—grievous and deplorable poverty—occasioned by the most execrable government which ever cursed human kind. Does not the gentleman know that in those countries neither person nor property enjoys an hour’s security? That he who goes to bed a rich man knows not that he may not rise from it a beggar, perhaps a slave? Let him consider that under this yoke those countries have groaned for ages, and ask himself whether it is wonderful that such countries should be depopulated? That in such a state of things children are not born, or are born only to die? True, there was a time when those countries were populous, but why? because there was a time when those countries were free.
A lame argument may occasionally be helped out by a great name, and apparently with this view Mr. Cobbett’s name has been brought forward. But if the gentleman was obliged to bring forward a name instead of a reason, I think at least it should not have been Mr. Cobbett’s name. That Mr. Cobbett is an able writer I do not deny: but it does not follow that a man’s opinion is good for any thing because he has abilities;—it is also necessary that he should have a little knowledge, and a little principle. It is necessary, first that it should be quite certain that he is speaking his real sentiments, and secondly, that there should be at least some reason to believe that he knows what he is talking about. It is one of the peculiar characteristics of Mr. Cobbett that he pronounces with equal confidence upon the things which he knows, and upon the things which he does not know; and he seems indeed to fancy that he obtains that knowledge by inspiration, which in others is the fruit of years spent in painful study. I can attach little weight to the authority of a man who has professed in turns all opinions which suited the accidental purpose of the moment—who affirms one thing one day, and something diametrically opposite the next, but always with the same confidence in himself, and contempt of all who question his assertions—of a man who on almost every subject, has been found on all sides except the right and who has tried all varieties of opinion except common sense, and all kinds of morality, except common honesty.
But Mr. Cobbett, it seems, is of opinion that the population has not increased, and why? because the churches are empty.17 I have some difficulty in tracing any connection between the premises and the conclusion. Mr. Cobbett perhaps thinks that wherever there are churches there must at some time or other have been people to fill them. I think I might fairly dispute even this proposition. Mr. Cobbett says, and says truly, that in some parishes there are not to be found twenty people in the church, and yet I will consent to be judged by Mr. Cobbett himself, if in these parishes there had hitherto been no church, and a church had now to be built for these 20 people, whether it would be built on a scale one inch smaller than it is at present. The real truth I take to be, that the country was divided into parishes, much more according to extent of space than amount of population. It was necessary that every parishioner should be within a moderate distance of the parish church, and there was of course a church in every parish, whether there were people to fill it or not. But suppose that when the churches were built there were people to fill them, it surely does not follow that there were more. In those days, every body went to church. In these degenerate days the churches are not half full, and yet I do not remember that I ever saw a parish church which would hold part of the inhabitants, if they were assembled together. We are to remember that those who go to church, do not all of them go at the same hour—that a great many people go to the dissenting parson—and a great many go to no parson at all.
It cannot well be expected, nor, after what I have said, is it necessary, that I should follow the gentleman through his special pleading with regard to Ireland, China and America. I have shewn as I think the fallacy of the arguments by which he has attempted to prove that population has not increased; and having done so much, I may safely stop. I do not feel myself called upon to do more. And having now, I hope, said enough to establish the existence of the evil, it is necessary that I should still say something on the remedy.
The gentleman to whom I have so often alluded is pleased to deride that expectation on which all our hopes of human improvement are founded, the expectation of a gradual increase of prudence, among the people. To expect so much philosophy from the bulk of mankind is in his opinion altogether visionary: as if it required much philosophy to avoid leaping into a gulph when it is gaping before us. I would not willingly renounce these hopes, visionary as the gentleman may deem them. I expect more from the diffusion of knowledge—more from the extension of education—I was going to say more than the honourable gentleman, but we must remember that he too expects no trifle from education. Let us reflect what it is which he expects from education, and what it is which I expect. I limit my expectations within a very moderate compass. I merely expect that when mankind are taught to know their own interest, they will follow it. He expects that through the influence of education, they may be made to love their neighbours better than themselves. The gentleman has at the same time two contrary theories—the one, that education can do nothing, the other that it can do every thing: both theories may be false, but both cannot be true. If he holds fast to the opinion that education may bring men to a state in which the public affections shall uniformly and universally predominate over the love of indolence and of pleasure, there is little difficulty in determining which of us expects most from education, the gentleman or myself. If mine be a chimerical expectation, what are we to think of his? If he denies that it is in the power of education to direct our self-love, and affirms that it is in the power of education to overcome it, I can only infer that he who has so keen an eye for the inconsistencies of others, is as blind as a mole to his own.
To return to the alleged improbability of an increase of prudence among the people. In human affairs, the criterion of probability is experience. As the state of society which I contemplate has never yet had existence, it cannot be in my power to quote particular experience in justification of my expectations; but we have experience of the general course of human affairs, and this experience, as far as it goes, is all in my favour. Experience proves18 and proves fully, that men do follow their interest more steadily, in proportion as they know better what it is. It is easy to say that those who have most knowledge do not always act the most wisely—but the gentleman I presume, will scarcely on that account affirm that it is not the tendency of knowledge, to make men act wisely. Nor have I ever yet heard of any other recipe of making them wise except by giving them knowledge, uncertain as that method may be. But we are not here under the necessity of contenting ourselves with experience of this general kind. If we are to believe the gentleman, moral restraint is impracticable—if we look around us, every thing convinces us of its practicability. That prudence—that moral restraint which in his opinion requires philosophy such as few among mankind can ever be expected to attain, is actually practised to a greater or less extent in every country with which I am acquainted except Ireland—that ill-fated island I believe is the only country in the world where the two sexes begin to propagate their kind as soon as nature enables them to do so without the slightest thought of the future—and it is therefore the only country where the mass of the people are reduced to the smallest pittance which is sufficient to sustain life. I would not be understood to mean that prudential habits prevail in any European country to the extent which is desirable. One thing however experience has fully established; that in proportion as the people are better instructed, in that very proportion prudential habits prevail. If then prudential habits have hitherto increased in a direct ratio with the increase of knowledge, perhaps I shall not be far wrong in supposing that they will continue to do so. Let us only observe what is passing before our eyes. In this room I will suppose that there are 50 bachelors—and when I look at the numbers around me I cannot suppose that there are fewer—I will venture to say that of these 50 there are at least 40 who would willingly marry, and are only restrained from doing so by prudential motives. When such is the power of prudence, even in the imperfect degree in which it at present prevails, perhaps in contemplating the possibility of strengthening it to a degree which may eventually bring about all the good that we desire, I am not far exceeding the bounds of a just and reasonable expectation. To those, Sir, who can read the signs of the times,19 there are even now indications that this process is going on. It may perhaps be gratifying to the honourable gentleman, for though it does not square with one of his theories, yet at the same time and for that very reason it is in strict accordance with the other, that I have some reason to know that prudential habits are rapidly gaining ground in some of the most populous of our manufacturing districts; that a knowledge that the wages of labour depend upon the number of the labourers is rapidly spreading itself in these districts, and the increase of prudence, which that knowledge cannot fail to engender, may in time be productive of the happiest effects.
So much for the charge of indulging in chimerical expectations.
I have still one word of a personal nature to submit to you. It must be a strong motive which can induce me in an assembly of this sort to speak of myself, but there are occasions in which it is necessary, and this appears to me to be one of them. The gentleman has accused me of not having exhibited what in his opinion is a proper quantity of feeling—and he thinks that if I had mixed up a greater portion of feeling in my speech, I should have greatly improved the quality of the composition. If the gentleman means, Sir, that the matter of my speech does not derive that aid which it might do from the impressiveness of the manner; that my delivery is not sufficiently warm and sufficiently animated—that the tones of my voice are not sufficiently vehement and sufficiently energetic—in short that I do not speak well—this may be true enough—and the remark shall meet with that attention which any criticisms from such a master of eloquence deserve. But if he means that in the substance of what I have said there be any indications of a want of feeling, I dare him to the proof. The question which I shall presently propose for the succeeding discussion,20 is one which will give me an opportunity of entering into considerable detail with regard to the state of society which we contemplate as desirable, and of proving to you perhaps for the first time the benevolent and philanthropic tendency of those opinions which in your mind are perhaps connected with no ideas but those of unfeeling cruelty or heartless indifference. Time does not permit me to enter into such a detail at present. In the mean time however there is one observation which I will not restrain myself from uttering: That I look with great suspicion upon people who are constantly for introducing feeling every where but in its proper place—that I have indeed heard, as the gentleman supposes, that appeals to feeling are out of place in a philosophical enquiry where the object is to instruct and not to persuade: that I have heard, and believe that feeling ought to be subordinate to reason, and not supreme over her, and that the province of feeling commences where that of reason ends. Feeling has to do with our actions, reason with our opinions; it is by our reason that we find out what it is our duty to do; it is our feelings which supply us with motives to act upon it when found. Let these two operations be kept as they always ought to be kept, separate, and let feeling no more encroach upon the province of reason, than reason upon the province of feeling. The gentleman has quoted Plato,21 he must be well aware that this maxim holds a distinguished place in the ethical system of that great philosopher; of which system in truth it is the very foundation; but I do not adopt it because it is the language of Plato but because it is the language of truth. When gentlemen talk of introducing feeling into a question which ought surely to be decided by arguments, and not by feelings, I am somewhat at a loss to understand what it is that they mean. Do they mean that feeling ought to supersede reason entirely? and if not entirely to what extent? Do they mean that we ought to arrive by feeling at the very same conclusions at which we should arrive by reason? or that we ought to arrive at different conclusions? In the first case their appeal to feeling is unnecessary: in the second, it is fraught with mischief and absurdity. Let feeling be kept strictly to its proper function, that of stimulating our exertions in that course which reason points out. But in the mean time I must protest against any verdict which may be pronounced against the moral part of my character merely from an observation of the intellectual, and I must beg gentlemen not to suppose that I am destitute of feeling for no reason perhaps but because my feelings are under better regulation than theirs. No, Sir: if I am to be condemned for want of feeling, I will have a fair trial—I will be tried in the proper province of feeling—I will be tried in action—and if I am found inferior to any of Mr. Owen’s disciples or to Mr. Owen himself, in the steady and laborious pursuit of the best of ends by what my reason tells me to be the best of means, let me be shaken contemptuously from the balance in which I shall have been weighed and found wanting,22 and let Mr. Owen and his disciples trample upon me as they will.
I might say more of myself if I had not already taken up much more of your time on that subject than is warranted by its importance. I have only now to state that in the loose and inaccurate way in which the Resolution is worded, it is not the intention of the proposer to press it to a division.
[1 ]Charles Austin.
[2 ]Connop Thirlwall (1797-1875), had been, like Mill, a child prodigy, reading Greek fluently at four years of age, and composing prolifically at age seven. At this time he was a Chancery barrister, with a reputation for eloquence earned at Cambridge; later he became known as an historian and controversial Bishop of St. David’s. Mill says (Autobiography, CW, Vol. I, p. 129) Thirlwall was the most striking speaker in this debate, though their views were widely divergent. “His speech,” Mill notes, “was in answer to one of mine. Before he had uttered two sentences, I set him down as the best speaker I had ever heard, and I have never since heard any one whom I placed above him.” In the Early Draft the passage continues: “I made an elaborate reply to him at the next meeting, but he was not there to hear it . . .” (ibid., p. 128).
[3 ]The manuscript here has “See (A)”; i.e., insert the passage so marked, written on f. 16r (indicated in the text by a-a).
[4 ]One of these was Thirlwall; the other, whose performance Mill deprecates, was John Gale Jones (1769-1838), the radical apothecary who had been active in the London Corresponding Society in the 1790s and as an ally of Henry Hunt in the late 1810s. Mill says in his Autobiography of this performance: “The well known Gale Jones, then an elderly man, made one of his florid speeches” (CW, Vol. I, p. 129).
[5 ]No. 8.
[6 ]The manuscript here has “B”; i.e., insert the passage so marked, written on ff. 14r and 13v (indicated in the text by b-b).
[7 ]Not identified.
[8 ]Cf. Owen, A New View, p. 175.
[9 ]For Owen’s use of “parallelogram” (justifying Mill’s little joke), see Report, pp. 27-8.
[10 ]In fact, the second.
[11 ]Jones (as is evident below).
[12 ]See Humphry Davy, “The Bakerian Lecture on Some Chemical Agencies of Electricity,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, XCVII, Pt. 1 (1807), 1-56.
[13 ]Juvenal (ca. 60-140 ), Satire VI, in Juvenal and Persius (Latin and English), trans. G.G. Ramsay (London: Heinemann; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), p. 96 (l. 165).
[15 ]Not identified.
[16 ]Here in the manuscript there is an unexplained inked opening square bracket; there being no closing one, perhaps a new paragraph is intended.
[17 ]A common theme in Cobbett: see, e.g., “Rural Ride, through the North East Part of Sussex,” Cobbett’s Weekly Register, 6 Sept., 1823, cols. 625-6.
[18 ]The first manuscript ends here.
[19 ]Matthew, 16:3.
[20 ]Presumably on cooperation; see No. 10 below.
[21 ]Presumably such a passage on the proper relation between reason and emotion as that found in the Republic (Greek and English), trans. Paul Shorey, 2 vols. (London: Heinemann; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946), Vol. I, p. 406 (IV, 441).
[22 ]Cf. Daniel, 5:27.