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DIARY 1854 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVII - Journals and Debating Speeches Part II 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVI - Journals and Debating Speeches Part II, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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Appendix A in The Letters of John Stuart Mill, ed. Hugh S.R. Elliot, 2 vols. (London: Longmans, Green, 1910), Vol. II, pp. 357-86.
This little book is an experiment. Whatever else it may do, it will exemplify, at least in the case of the writer, what effect is produced on the mind by the obligation of having at least one thought per day which is worth writing down. And for this purpose no mere speciality, either of science or practice, can count as a thought. It must either relate to life, to feeling, or to high metaphysical speculation. The first thing which I am likely to discover in the attempt is that, instead of one per day, I have not one such thought in a month; but only repetitions of thoughts, to us so familiar that writing them here would only expose the poverty of the land.
What a sense of protection is given by the consciousness of being loved, and what an additional sense, over and above this, by being near the one by whom one is and wishes to be loved the best. I have experience at present of both these things; for I feel as if no really dangerous illness could actually happen to me while I have her to care for me; and yet I feel as if by coming away from her I had parted with a kind of talisman, and was more open to the attacks of the enemy than while I was with her.1
The English, looked at in one point of view, are certainly a remarkably stupid people. Looked at in another point of view they are continually striking one as a people among whom talent, of a certain sort, abounds. This strikes me often, for example, in reading Indian official documents, or in going through a number of a review or a magazine. The fact seems to be that there is a great amount of ability shown in the application of doctrines, while mere stolidity presides over the choice of the doctrines themselves. An Englishman’s premises, the principles which he reasons from, or the rules of action which he is to apply, are all chosen for him. Somebody is supposed to have settled them long ago. The Englishman’s ability consists in determining what ought to be done supposing that all these things have been settled rightly. But even when they have been settled rightly, he seldom knows or could prove it; he only firmly believes it. The maxims do not, in his mind, rest on evidence; their evidence, to him, is that they have, in a manner, grown into the mind itself.
Those who think themselves called upon, in the name of truth, to make war against illusions, do not perceive the distinction between an illusion and a delusion. A delusion is an erroneous opinion—it is believing a thing which is not. An illusion, on the contrary, is an affair solely of feeling, and may exist completely severed from delusion. It consists in extracting from a conception known not to be true, but which is better than the truth, the same benefit to the feelings which would be derived from it if it were a reality.
There is hardly a more striking example of the worthlessness of posthumous reputation than the oblivion into which my father has fallen among the world at large. Who was ever better entitled to take his place among the great names of England? He worked all his life long with complete disinterestedness for the public good; he had no little influence on opinion while he lived, most of the reforms which are so much boasted of may be traced mainly to him, and in vigour of intellect and character he stood quite alone among the men of his generation. Yet hardly one person who has grown to years of maturity since he quitted the scene seventeen years ago knows anything about him, even by name. It must be allowed, in part explanation, that the system of opinion with which he was identified has fallen much into the background of late years. The public has left behind both the good and the bad parts of it—if they can be called bad which are only omissions.
The inferiority of the present age is perhaps the consequence of its superiority. Scarcely any one, in the more educated classes, seems to have any opinions, or to place any real faith in those which he professes to have. At the same time, if we compare the writings of any former period with those of the present, the superiority of these is unspeakable. We are astonished at the superficiality of the older writers; the little depths to which they sounded any question; the small portions of the considerations requiring to be looked at, which those writers appear to have seen. It requires in these times much more intellect to marshal so much greater a stock of ideas and observations. This has not yet been done, or has been done only by very few: and hence the multitude of thought only breeds increase of uncertainty. Those who should be the guides of the rest, see too many sides to every question. They hear so much said, or find that so much can be said, about everything, that they feel no assurance of the truth of anything. But where there are no strong opinions there are (unless, perhaps, in private matters) no strong feelings, nor strong characters.
I sometimes think that those who, like us, keep up with the European movement, are by that very circumstance thrown out of the stream of English opinion and have some chance of mistaking and misjudging it. What is it that occupies the minds of three-fourths of those in England who care about any public interest or any controverted question? The quarrel between Protestant and Catholic; or that between Puseyite and Evangelical.2
It seems to me that there is no progress, and no reason to expect progress, in talents or strength of mind; of which there is as much, often more, in an ignorant than in a cultivated age. But there is great progress, and great reason to expect progress, in feelings and opinions. If it is asked whether there is progress in intellect, the answer will be found in the two preceding statements taken together.
It is an immense defect in a character to be without lightness. A character which is all lightness can excite neither respect nor sympathy. Seriousness must be the fond of all characters worth thinking about. But a certain infusion of the laughing philosopher, even in his least popular form—an openness to that view of things which, showing them on the undignified side, makes any exaggerated care about them seem childish and ridiculous—is a prodigious help towards bearing the evils of life, and I should think has saved many a person from going mad. It is also necessary to the completeness even of the intellect itself. The contemptible side of things is part, though but a part, of the truth of them, and to be incapable of seeing and feeling that part with as much force and clearness as any other—to be blind to that aspect of things which was the only one the Cynics chose to look at3 —is to be able to see things only by halves. There always seems something stunted about the intellect of those who have no humour, however earnest and enthusiastic, and however highly cultivated, they often are.
It is remarkable how invariably the instinct of the English people is on the side of the status quo. In all foreign wars, revolutions, etc., English opinion is sure to be against the side, be it king or people, that seems to be attempting to alter an existing order of things. All other nations admit that great political changes may be made, and even governments forcibly subverted, in order to improve as well as in order to preserve. The English allow this in theory, but their feelings never go along with it in any particular case.
In the last age the writers of reputation and influence were those who took a side, in a very decided manner, on the great questions, religious, moral, metaphysical, and political; who were downright infidels or downright Christians, thorough Tories or thorough democrats, and in that were considered, and were, extreme in their opinions. In the present age the writers of reputation and influence are those who take something from both sides of the great controversies, and make out that neither extreme is right, nor wholly wrong. By some persons, and on some questions, this is done in the way of mere compromise; in some cases, again, by a deeper doctrine underlying both the contrary opinions; but done it is, in one or the other way, by all who gain access to the mind of the present age: and none but those who do it, or seem to do it, are now listened to.
This change is explained, and partly justified, by the superficiality, and real onesidedness, of the bolder thinkers who preceded. But if I mistake not, the time is now come, or coming, for a change the reverse way.
I feel bitterly how I have procrastinated in the sacred duty of fixing in writing, so that it may not die with me, everything that I have in my mind which is capable of assisting the destruction of error and prejudice and the growth of just feelings and true opinions. Still more bitterly do I feel how little I have yet done as the interpreter of the wisdom of one whose intellect is as much profounder than mine as her heart is nobler. If I ever recover my health, this shall be amended; and even if I do not, something may, I hope, be done towards it, provided a sufficient respite is allowed me.
Is it true, as Carlyle says, that nobody ever did a good thing by reason of his bad qualities, but always and necessarily in spite of them?4 Surely this can only be made true by an arbitrary limitation of the term “good” to morally good, which reduces the brilliantly sounding assertion to a mere identical proposition. Useful and even permanently valuable things are continually done from vanity, or a selfish desire of riches or power; sometimes even from envy or jealousy, and the desire to lower others. What is true is, that such good things would almost always have been better done, and would have produced greatly more good, if they had been done from a more virtuous motive.
It is long since there has been an age of which it could be said, as truly as of this, that nearly all the writers, even the good ones, were but commentators: expanders and appliers of ideas borrowed from others. Among those of the present time I can think only of two (now that Carlyle has written himself out, and become a mere commentator on himself) who seem to draw what they say from a source within themselves: and to the practical doctrines and tendencies of both these, there are the gravest objections. Comte, on the Continent; in England (ourselves excepted) I can think only of Ruskin.5
In this age a far better ideal of human society can be formed, and by some persons both here and in France has been formed, than at any former time. But to discern the road to it—the series of transitions by which it must be reached, and what can be done, either under existing institutions or by a wise modification of them, to bring it nearer—is a problem no nearer being resolved than formerly. The only means of which the efficacy and the necessity are evident, is universal Education: and who will educate the educators?
There is no doctrine really worth labouring at, either to construct or to inculcate, except the Philosophy of Life. A Philosophy of Life, in harmony with the noblest feelings and cleared of superstition, is the great want of these times. There has always been talent enough in the world when there was earnestness enough, and always earnestness enough when there were strong convictions. There seems to be so little talent now, only because there is universal uncertainty about the great questions, and the field for talent is narrowed to things of subaltern interest. Ages of belief, as Goethe says, have been the only ages in which great things have been done.6 Ages of belief have hitherto always been religious ages: but Goethe did not mean, that they must necessarily be so in future. Religion, of one sort or another, has been at once the spring and the regulator of energetic action, chiefly because religion has hitherto supplied the only Philosophy of Life, or the only one which differed from a mere theory of self-indulgence. Let it be generally known what life is and might be, and how to make it what it might be, and there will be as much enthusiasm and as much energy as there has ever been.
The best, indeed the only good thing (details excepted) in Comte’s second treatise,7 is the thoroughness with which he has enforced and illustrated the possibility of making le culte de l’humanité perform the functions and supply the place of a religion. If we suppose cultivated to the highest point the sentiments of fraternity with all our fellow beings, past, present, and to come, of veneration for those past and present who have deserved it, and devotion to the good of those to come; universal moral education making the happiness and dignity of this collective body the central point to which all things are to trend and by which all are to be estimated, instead of the pleasure of an unseen and merely imaginary Power; the imagination at the same time being fed from youth with representations of all noble things felt and acted heretofore, and with ideal conceptions of still greater to come: there is no worthy office of a religion which this system of cultivation does not seem adequate to fulfil. It would suffice both to alleviate and to guide human life. Now this is merely supposing that the religion of humanity obtained as firm a hold on mankind, and as great a power of shaping their usages, their institutions, and their education, as other religions have in many cases possessed.
Vanity, in some persons, seems to be an intellectual defect; incapacity to appreciate qualities different from those they themselves possess; incapacity to feel the smallness of human affairs and capacities altogether; ignorance of the multitude of persons who have been or are superior to them, and the multitude of achievements superior to their little bit of attainment, etc. Accordingly this kind of vain persons equally exaggerate the merits and talents of their friends, or of any persons whom they like or admire. In others, again, vanity seems a moral defect; a form of selfishness; a dwelling on, and caring about, self and what belongs to it, beyond the just measure; especially what flatters its self-importance.
Perhaps the English are the fittest people to rule over barbarous or semibarbarous nations like those of the East, precisely because they are the stiffest, and most wedded to their own customs, of all civilised people. All former conquerors of the East have been absorbed into it, and have adopted its ways, instead of communicating to it their own. So did the Portuguese; so would the French have done. Not so John Bull; if he has one foot in India he will always have another on the English shore.
Is composition in verse, as one is often prompted in these days to think, a worn-out thing, which has died a natural death, never to be revived? Only if Art, in every one of its other branches, is also destined to be extinguished. Verse is Art applied to the language of words; it is speech made musical; the most flexible and precise expression of thoughts and feelings, thrown into beautiful poems. Verse, therefore, I take to be eternal; but it ought, as well as every other attempt at public Art, to be suspended at the present time. In a militant age, when those who have thoughts and feelings to impress on the world have a great deal of hard work to do, and very little time to do it in, and those who are to be impressed need to be told in the most direct and plainest way possible what those who address them are driving at—otherwise they will not listen—it is foppery to waste time in studying beauty of form in the conveyance of a meaning. The shortest and straightest way is the best. The regeneration of the world in its present stage is a matter of business, and it would be as rational to keep accounts or write invoices in verse as to attempt to do the work of human improvement in it.
A very useful periodical might be started, which should employ itself wholly in criticising the bad or foolish sayings of persons of note. Whenever a person of celebrity or importance made a speech containing appeals to bad feelings or encouragement to mischievous errors, it should show them up in detail; and when any such person wrote a book or pamphlet it should supply a thorough and minute criticism of it. Such a periodical would soon wield a great power if conducted ably, on principle, and without malice. It would inspire great awe in all persons whose names are before the public, and would make them fear to indulge in the truckling and feeding of every vulgar prejudice to which they now are, on the contrary, tempted by the instinct of seeking safety.
That the mind of this age, in spite of its prosaic tendencies, is quite capable of and gifted for Art is proved by its achievements in music, in which it has excelled all previous times. Why, then, does it fail in all the other so-called fine arts? Because music, which excites intenser emotions than any other art, does so by going direct to the fountains of feeling, without passing through thought. It thus can be carried to any degree of perfection without intellect, or at least with only as much as is needed for mastering the technicalities of that as of any other pursuit. This is not true of any other of the arts; greatness in any of them absolutely requires intellect, and in this age the people of intellect have other things to do. In the ages of great architects, painters, or sculptors, these were among the men of greatest capacity whom the time produced; Leonardo was a great mathematician and discoverer in the sciences: Rubens was an ambassador; Michael Angelo was everything—poet, diplomatist, military engineer, as well as architect, sculptor, and painter; all were from their lives and circumstances obliged to be men of great practical address and ability, as may be seen from the life of such a man as Benvenuto Cellini.8 No such men now undertake the artist career, even in the countries in which the so-called arts are still honoured.
When there is not time for real deliberation, it is generally safer to act on our first thoughts than on our second. For the first thoughts are likely to turn on the greater probabilities and more important points of the case; the second on some minor matter which qualifies and limits the former.
A good practical idea, when once it has found anybody to stand up for it, certainly spreads nowadays with wonderful rapidity. When the India civil appointments were given up to competition,9 any one could see that the principles would in time be extended farther; but who would have expected that in the very next session of Parliament the Government would bring forward a plan for giving all the appointments in its own offices to the best-qualified candidates? Yet this, it seems, is to be the Queen’s Speech this evening.10 It is curious to speculate on the change which a few years will make in English society, and even in English character, if once preferment is to go by real or even apparent merit, and no longer by favour.
Nothing impresses one with a more vivid feeling of the shortness of life than reading history. The same man whom in one chapter we found entering on his career as a warrior or statesman, a few chapters farther on, when we are hardly aware of any lapse of time, we find old and dying. Like the tinge of melancholy in all biographies; the more we are interested in the hero, the sadder is our foreknowledge of the inevitable fifth act. One good effect follows from the dioramic passing before us of the long succession of historical characters who have “strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage”11 —an unbounded contempt for all those lives which make a great noise in their day, and leave the state of mankind in no respect better than they found it.
It almost seems as if no strength of argument on subjects so abstract as the generalities of philosophy had the power of altering an opinion already formed. The partisan of the confuted doctrine not only is not convinced, but always finds some way of slipping his head out of the noose. But when we come to look into the matter, we find that this apparently unlimited possibility of raising counter-arguments against any argument, however conclusive, of which the subject is something at once highly abstract and extremely familiar, always depends on the great original error of thinking that an opinion deeply seated in the human mind proves itself. Until people can be untaught this cardinal error, they will never have any difficulty in persuading themselves of the truth of any doctrines which have long been part of the furniture of their mind. Phrases will never be wanting by which appeal can be made in some new form to the mind; habits of thought, in justification of any one of its thoughts: driven from one form of words, they will always find another in which to reproduce the same invariable inference that so the thing must be because it is the nature (i.e. the habit) of the mind so to conceive it. Yet, except in the logic,12 I know not where any real battle is kept up against this fons errorum. Every fresh edition is a renewal of the controversy.
How many are there of the ways of the world, which, far from having been exaggerated by satirists,13 no satirist has dared to colour as highly as every-day fact would warrant. How far, for example, the stretch of invention in the way of malicious gossip transcends anything which we ever should or even could dream of the possibility of, until taught by experience. In youth the idea of liability to misrepresentation floats before the mind as a bare possibility, unlikely to be ever realised, and if realised, easily set to rights. As we grow older we learn that the most insignificant particulars in one’s daily life, unnecessarily revealed, are very likely to be made the groundwork of a pile of médisance as mountain-like, and the top of it as distant from the foundation, as the Tower of Babel itself.14
The difficulty which writers have found in understanding the morality of Macchiavelli shows either great obtuseness, or extreme unacquaintance with the history of the period. It is scarcely credible that any one should ever have imagined the Principe to be a satire. It bears every mark of the most straightforward sincerity, as much so as the Florentine history, and the Discourses on Livy.15 Modern writers, in their simple, not to say silly, conscientiousness, could not understand how a man, evidently of good purpose, could tolerate and even counsel crimes. But in the most flagitious of all recorded ages, when every one possessed of power, from the Pope, the King of France, and the Emperor to the smallest usurper of a petty Italian town or leader of a faction there, literally stuck at nothing—hesitated at no atrocity, no monstrosity of cruelty or perfidy, to forward even his smallest purpose—it might well be that even good men reserved their conscientiousness for the choice of ends, and thought that to be scrupulous about means was weakmindedness, and would place them at too great disadvantage in struggling with men who would reciprocate none of their forbearance, and who, in the degraded state of public opinion, would not even suffer much in character by availing themselves of every advantage given them. Some such arguing with themselves is incident to honest men in all ages—even in the present. The question what means are or are not immoral, always depends in part on the practice of the age; on what is done by other people. The radical and eternal distinction between vice and virtue is not in the means but in the ends. Macchiavelli was a man of real patriotism, a lover of liberty, and eager for the good of his country. But he saw no reason for fighting with foils against those who fight with poniards. And he had an artist-like admiration of perfection even in villainy; an intellectual respect for intellect and daring, though employed for ends which all his writings show that he disapproved.
It is instructive to observe how exactly the same things admit of being said in defence of all religions. The first book of Cicero, De Divinatione16 (which contains the arguments to be afterwards refuted in the second), is an almost exact parallel to the writings in support of the Hebrew and Christian miracles. The quantity and quality of testimony produced in favour of oracles, omens, etc., is overwhelming: and the arguments for the antecedent probability of such things, allowing that there are gods, and that those gods concern themselves about human interests, bear the closest resemblance to the arguments of Christian writers, and are quite as difficult to answer.
Almost everything Carlyle says of Goethe appears to me to be mistake and misapprehension.17 But perhaps the greatest mistake of all is to imagine, as Carlyle does, that Goethe is the typical modern man; that he has shown to the modern world what it should be, and furnished the example by which modern life and the modern mind tend henceforth to shape themselves.18 To me it seems that nothing can be so alien and (to coin a word) antipathetic to the modern mind as Goethe’s ideal of life. He wished life itself, and the nature of every cultivated individual in it, to be rounded off and made symmetrical like a Greek temple or a Greek drama. It is only small things, or at least things uncomplex and composed of few parts, that admit of being brought into that harmonious proportion. As well might he attempt to cut down Shakespeare or a Gothic cathedral to the Greek model, as to give a rounded completeness to any considerable modern life. Not symmetry, but bold, free expansion in all directions is demanded by the needs of modern life and the instincts of the modern mind. Great and strong and varied faculties are more wanted than faculties well proportioned to one another; a Hercules or a Briareus more than an Apollo. Nay, at bottom are your well-balanced minds ever much wanted for any purpose but to hold and occasionally turn the balance between the others? Even the Greeks did and could not make their practical lives symmetrical as they made their art; and the ideal of their philosophers, so far from being an ideal of equal and harmonious development, was generally one of severe compression and repression of the larger portion of human nature. In the greater huddle of multifarious elements which compose modern life, symmetry and mental grace are still less possible, and a strong hand to draw one thing towards us and push another away from us is the one thing mainly needful. All this is distinctly or obscurely felt by all who are entitled to any voice on such questions; and accordingly Goethe never influenced practical life at all, unless indeed by making scepticism illustrious; and his influence of any kind even in Germany seems to be now entirely gone.
If it were possible to blot entirely out the whole of German metaphysics, the whole of Christian theology, and the whole of the Roman and English systems of technical jurisprudence, and to direct all the minds that expand their faculties in these three pursuits to useful speculation or practice, there would be talent enough set at liberty to change the face of the world. All other useless mental pursuits that I at present recollect give employment to few that are fit for anything else. But these still employ, and in a measure satisfy, here and there a man of nearly the first order of talent and a vast number of the second. The world had need be rich in intellect to be able to spare the immense amount of it which is now far worse than wasted.
I would not, for any amount of intellectual eminence, be the only one of my generation who could see the truths which I thought of most importance to the improvement of mankind. Nor would I, for anything which life could give, be without a friend from whom I could learn at least as much as I could teach. Even the merely intellectual needs of my nature suffice to make me hope that I may never outlive the companion who is the profoundest and most far-sighted and clear-sighted thinker I have ever known, as well as the most consummate in practical wisdom. I do not wish that I were so much her equal as not to be her pupil, but I would gladly be more capable than I am of thoroughly appreciating and worthily reproducing her admirable thoughts.
There are people who say that if you have but books in abundance you are independent of living sympathy, because you are in communion with the wise and good of all ages. Alas for such communion! The wise and good of all ages but the present—all those, at least, who have either written or been written about—can only by us of the present day be called wise and good with allowances. In the best of them we can discern what would now be great follies or prejudices and great moral faults. And so doubtless will posterity say, and truly, of those of the present time. If any in the past were wise and good in the full meaning of the terms, they were doubtless like the few who are so at present, never heard of, or not known for what they were, beyond a narrow circle into which they radiated good influences.
The clergy, who in all the countries of modern Europe (except France and Germany in very recent times) have had education in their hands, and in England have it still as much as ever, have contrived to make discreditable all the branches of knowledge which they taught or pretended to teach. Thanks to them, Greek and Latin are commonly reckoned useless or worse, because they have taught them minus almost everything in them which is useful. Cambridge has brought discredit even upon mathematics, making it appear in practice to be a thing which narrows the mind, as it does whenever it is not taught with an express purpose of forming the intellect through it to things beyond it.
It would certainly be unfair to measure the worth of any age by that of its popular objects of literary or artistic admiration. Otherwise one might say the present age will be known and estimated by posterity as the age which thought Macaulay a great writer.19
I suppose all things which are fundamentally true must, on the whole, produce by their promulgation (at least in the end) more good than harm; otherwise one would be apt to regret greatly the things which have been written in late times, as by Carlyle, in exaltation of the literary character, meaning thereby the office or function of literature—that it is the new priesthood, and so on.20 The consequence of the vulgarisation of these notions has been to make that very feeble and poor minded set of people, taken generally, the writers of this country, so conceited of their function and of themselves, however unworthy of it, and has at the same time made fine people think so much more of them, and admit them so much more easily to a distant participation of finery, under a polite show of equality of which they are invariably the dupes, that it has at once inflated their vanity and lowered their ambition. They aim at a sort of under-finery instead of aiming at things above finery. They would like to be indeed a priesthood, an aristocracy of scribblers, dividing social importance with the other aristocracies, or rather receiving it from them and basking in their beams. Why must it continue to be true of all professions and classes: “Starve them that they may work. Refuse them honour that they may be honest!”
Many a man thinks himself, and in a certain sense truly, inaccessible to flattery, for no better reason than that his worst flatterer is himself. He holds himself so superior to others that their apparent estimation of him does not increase his own; or increases it only because the fact of his being admired affords fresh pabulum to his feeling of his own importance. This kind of self-conceited people are the most unamiable of all, for they do not even like other people for seeming to admire them.
If human life is governed by superior beings, how greatly must the power of the evil intelligences surpass that of the good, when a soul and an intellect like hers, such as the good principle perhaps never succeeded in creating before—one who seems intended for an inhabitant of some remote heaven, and who wants nothing but a position of power to make a heaven even of this stupid and wretched earth—when such a being must perish like all the rest of us in a few years, and may in a few months from a mere alteration in the structure of a few fibres or membranes, the exact parallels of which are found in every quadruped! If, indeed, it were but a removal, not an annihilation—but where is the proof, and where the ground of hope, when we can only judge of the probability of another state of existence, or of the mode in which it is governed if it exist, by the analogy of the only work of the same powers which we have any knowledge of, namely, this world of unfinished beginnings, unrealised promises, and disappointed endeavours—a world the only rule and object of which seems to be the production of a perpetual succession of fruits, hardly any of them destined to ripen, and, if they do, only lasting a day.
All things, however effete, which have ever supplied, even imperfectly, any essential want of human nature or society, live on with a sort of life in death until they are replaced. So the religions of the world will continue standing, if even as mere shells or husks, until high-minded devotion to the ideal of humanity shall have acquired the twofold character of a religion, viz., as the ultimate basis of thought and the animating and controlling power over action.
Niebuhr said that he wrote only for Savigny;21 so I write only for her when I do not write entirely from her. But in my case, as in his, what is written for only one reader, that one being the most competent intellect, is likeliest to be of use to the many, readers or not, whose benefit is the object of the writing, though not the principal incentive to it.
Every intellectual, or at all events every scientific, pursuit lies under the popular stigma of being unfeeling. This is partly the language of mere vulgar prejudice against the impassiveness essential to strictly rational enquiry, but it is also in some degree well founded, first, because persons of much feeling usually choose, by preference, other than scientific pursuits; and, secondly, because essentially solitary occupations, as scientific speculation usually is, do tend in some degree to deaden sympathy. For this, among other reasons, speculation never ought to be the sole and exclusive occupation of any one.
Nine-tenths of all the true opinions which are held by mankind are held for wrong reasons. And this is one cause why the removal, now so constantly going on, of particular errors and prejudices does not much improve the general understanding. The newly admitted tenth commonly rests on as mistaken principles as the old error. What is the remedy? There can be none short of the reconstruction of the human intellect ab imo.
Many books have been severely criticised for no better reason than that they did not satisfy the idea which the critic had formed from the title of what the book ought to contain; the critic seldom in these cases deigns to consider that all he says rather proves the title to be in the wrong than the book. So if a history or a biography professes, though but by implication, to tell anything, and then does not do so, but purposely keeps anything back, the writer may justly be blamed, not however for what his book is, but for what it professes to be without being. Goethe avoided this snare by calling his autobiography, which tells just as much about himself as he liked to be known, “Aus meinem Leben Dichtung und Wahrheit.”22 The Aus even without the Dichtung saves his veracity.
Whenever I look back at any of my own writings of two or three years previous, they seem to me like the writings of some stranger whom I have seen and known long ago. I wish that my acquisition of power to do better had kept pace with the continual elevation of my standing point and change of my bearings towards all the great subjects of thought. But the explanation is that I owe the enlargement of my ideas and feelings to her influence, and that she could not in the same degree give me powers of execution.
So far are the contrivances in nature from being superior to those of art that when a delicate artificial instrument, a watch, for example, goes unaccountably wrong, it is then that we feel that it almost resembles a piece of nature’s machinery, a living being.
Carlyle is abundantly contemptuous of all who make their intellects bow to their moral timidity by endeavouring to believe Christianity. But his own creed—that everything is right and good which accords with the laws of the universe23 —is either the same or a worse perversion. If it is not a resignation of intellect into the hands of fear, it is the subornation of it by a bribe—the bribe of being on the side of Power—irresistible and eternal Power.
Now when the superstition which prevented political changes is so much weakened, there is no solidity of conviction or force of conscience in our higher classes to resist the introduction of principles which if applied to their own case would deprive them of all they most value. Thus the present Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie,24 in his revenue administration, treats with contempt in theory, and tramples upon in practice, prescription as a foundation of property in land: prescription on which alone rests the title of most of the English and Scotch nobility and older gentry to their estates.
Three-fourths of all the so-called philosophy, as well as all the poetry, spoken or written about Man, Nature, and the Universe is merely the writer’s or speaker’s subjective feelings (and feelings very often extremely unsuitable and misplaced) thrown into objective language.
Two of the most notable things in the history of mankind are, first, the grossly immoral pattern of morality which they have always set up for themselves in the person of their Gods, whether of revelation or of nature; and secondly, the pains they have taken, as soon as they began to improve, in explaining away the detestable conclusions from their premises, and extracting a more tolerable morality from this poisonous root. For mankind are always growing better than their religion, and leave behind one after another of the more vicious parts of it, dwelling more and more exclusively on those which are better, or admit at least of a better sense. But this holding fast in theory to a standard ever more and more left behind in practice is one great cause why the human intellect has not improved in anything like the same ratio as the sentiments.
Carlyle says of the English that they act more rationally than most other people, but are more stupid than almost any other people in giving their reasons for it.25 The second of these propositions sets a very narrow limit to the first. To act well without being able to say why one so acts is to act well only accidentally, i.e. because the natural or acquired instincts happen to set in a good direction. If the English in following unconscious instincts act better than other people, it can only be in so far as their much longer possession of a Government not arbitrary has made it an instinct in them to respect the rights of others, and as their greater political freedom has made them habitually look for success to “a fair field” rather than favour. And as a matter of fact, I do not think that the English do act more rationally than other people in any matters other than those to which the influence of these two causes extends.
The doctrines of free will and of necessity rightly understood are both true. It is necessary, that is, it was inevitable from the beginning of things, that I should freely will whatever things I do will.
In the moral and psychological department of thought, there is hardly an instance of a writer who has left a considerable permanent reputation, or who has continued to be read by after generations, except those who have treated or attempted to treat of the whole of some great department of speculation. Aristotle, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Hartley, Hume, Reid, Stewart, Brown, Descartes, Leibnitz, Spinosa, Kant, Condillac, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Ricardo, Bentham, etc., etc.26 The only decided exceptions which I remember are Berkeley and Rousseau. Plato is an apparent exception, but really a striking example of the rule. Yet few of the systems of these systematic writers have any permanent value as systems; their value is the value of some of their fragments. But the fragments (the parts which are excellent in wholes which are inadmissible) if published separate would probably have attracted little notice. This is a tribute which mankind unconsciously pay to the value of theory and systematic thought; which they fancy they dislike, and are indeed never weary of decrying.
The fanatical part of the English are just now very urgent for a parliamentary inquiry concerning nunneries, to ascertain whether young women are not detained in them against their will; and there have been in two successive Sessions majorities in the House of Commons against the Ministers for setting on foot this enquiry.27 Every word they say that has the least semblance of an argument is so literally applicable to marriage that the entire unconsciousness with which they triumphantly utter the most damning things is irresistibly ludicrous. One speaker said in yesterday’s debate that a vow of obedience is contrary to the English Constitution and a violation of the personal freedom which is the right of every one.28 Another expatiated on the hardship of allowing young women under age to bind themselves by an irrevocable engagement when they cannot know that they are binding themselves to.29 What a sad absence of habitual reflection on the commonest human affairs is shown by its never occurring to these people how far more true all this is of marriage; and the marriage vow too is legally binding, which the other, in this country, is not.
It is a common saying that the only true test of a person’s character is actions. There is much error in this. Actions, even habitual ones, are as fallacious a test of character as any other. A person’s actions are often an indication not so much of what the person is as of what he desires to be thought; or, in the case of a better sort of persons, of what he desires to think himself. Actions, no doubt, are the fittest test for the world at large, because all they want to know of a man is the actions they may expect from him. But to his intimates, who care about what he is and not merely about what he does, the involuntary indications of feeling and disposition are a much surer criterion of them than voluntary acts.
One of the things which most require to be written about, and to be written much and well, is the perfect sufficiency of what is called materialism in theory, to supply the scientific foundation of idealism in feeling and practice.
What is called morality in these times is a regulated sensuality; in the same manner exactly as the love of gain is regulated by the establishment of a law of property.
Religion begins by being taken for granted; after a time, it is elaborately proved; at last comes a time (the present) when the whole effort is to induce people to let it alone.
It is sometimes said that religion is the only preservative from superstition; that unbelievers and unbelieving times are the most indiscriminately credulous: “a godless Regent trembles at a star:”30 the popular delusions (Mesmer, Cagliostro, etc.) of the time preceding the French Revolution: mesmerism, table-turning, etc., at present.31 But the truth is, credulity and love of wonder are so natural to man that they always (hitherto) run riot when they have only reason to control them. Credulity has never yet been held in check but by a regulated credulity—a faith of some sort which excommunicates all wonders but those which it can use for its own purposes. Those who throw off this faith do not thereby become altered in the general texture of their understandings; they remain as credulous as ever, but being no longer preoccupied (and the appetite for wonder blunted) by one set of delusions, they are now open to all others.
When the advocates of theism urge the universal belief of mankind as an argument of its own correctness, they should accept the whole of that belief instead of picking and choosing out of it. The appearances in nature forcibly suggest the idea of a maker (or makers), and therefore all mankind have believed in gods. The same appearances not only do not suggest, but absolutely contradict, the idea of a perfectly good maker; and accordingly mankind have never made their gods good, though they have always flattered them by calling them so.
People who lead regular lives are often unable to conceive how it is that men with their eyes open do things which are obviously likely to bring them to ruin, ignominy, and perhaps suicide or the gallows. They account for it by supposing delusion, madness, the blinding influence of passion, etc., etc. They do not consider that the men who do the acts involving this ultimate extreme of failure in life are mostly men who are already in some position only one or two removes short of it.
The characteristic of Germany is knowledge without thought; of France, thought without knowledge; of England, neither knowledge nor thought.
The Germans, indeed, attempt thought; but their thought is worse than none. The English, with rare exceptions, never attempt it. The French are so familiar with it that those who cannot think at all throw the results of their not-thinking into the forms of thought.
Those who are in advance of their time need to gain the ear of the public by productions of inferior merit—works grounded on the premises commonly received—in order that what they may be able to write of first-rate value to mankind may have a chance of surviving until there are people capable of reading it.
Thought and feeling in their lower degrees antagonise, in their higher harmonise. Much thought and little feeling make a mental voluptuary who wastes life in intellectual exercise for its own sake. Much feeling and little thought are the common material of a bigot and fanatic. Much feeling and much thought make the hero or heroine.
As it is the best and not the worst people who suffer most from the pangs of conscience, so it is in our best moments that we feel the most bitterly the good that we are not. If I were wholly of a different nature from what I love and admire, I could with an untroubled mind enjoy and prize it like any other beautiful or precious thing that I could by no possibility myself have made. But when I am nearest to feeling in myself some likeness to the one being who is all the world to me, or when I make the greatest return of love for her most affecting love and kindness to me, then I am ready to kill myself for not being like her and worthy of her.
An Englishman’s writings on physical science never read like English writings, for they do not pare away and qualify. But compromise and halting half-way are so native to the English mind, that if an English mathematician had to argue his case in an assembly of his countrymen, one would expect him to say that in theory the three angles of a triangle may be equal to two right angles, but that in practice they are only equal to one.
The way to be popular is to flatter everybody with being what he most wishes to be (or to be thought). This very undiscerning people do involuntarily, for they always take the will for the deed. A dull person cannot perceive real wit, but the man who is always straining for a joke passes for a wit in his eyes, because he blows a trumpet before his bad jokes and calls on everybody to listen to them. The rule holds even with respect to beauty: the woman who is thought handsome by silly people is always the one who sets up for being handsome, even if positively plain.
The progress of opinion is like the advance of a person climbing a hill by a spiral path which winds round it, and by which he is as often on the wrong side of the hill as on the right side, but still is always getting higher up.
It is part of the irony of life, and a part which never becomes the less affecting because it is so trite, that the fields, hills, and trees, the houses, really the very rooms and furniture, will look exactly the same the day after we or those we most love have died.
When we see and feel that human beings can take the deepest interest in what will befal their country or mankind long after they are dead, and in what they can themselves do while they are alive to influence that distant prospect which they are never destined to behold, we cannot doubt that if this and similar feelings were cultivated in the same manner and degree as religion they would become a religion.
In government, perfect freedom of discussion in all its modes—speaking, writing, and printing—in law and in fact is the first requisite of good because the first condition of popular intelligence and mental progress. All else is secondary. A form of government is good chiefly in proportion to the security it affords for the possession of this. Therefore mixed governments, or those which set up several concurrent powers in the State, which are occasionally in conflict and never exactly identical in opinions and interests, and each of which is interested in protecting the opinions and demonstrations of opinions which the others dislike, are generally preferable to simple forms of government, or those which establish one power (though it be that of the majority) supreme over all the rest, and thence able, and probably inclined, to put down all the writing and speaking which thwarts its purposes. It remains to be proved by facts (which in America are more promising than might have been expected) whether pure democracy is destined to be an exception to this rule.
The belief in a life after death, without any probable surmise as to what it is to be, would be no consolation, but the very king of terrors. A journey into the entirely unknown—the thought is sufficient to strike with alarm the firmest heart. It may be otherwise with those who believe that they will be under the care of an Omnipotent Protector. But seeing how this world is made, the only one of the works of this supposed power by which we can know it, such a confidence can only belong to those who are senseless enough and low-minded enough to think themselves in particular special favourites of the Supreme Power. It is well, therefore, that all appearances and probabilities are in favour of the cessation of our consciousness when our earthly mechanism ceases to work.
A democratic revolution is one of the most unlikely of all events in England, for English working men are never likely to rise until they are starving, and they are not likely to be starving now for generations to come. But democratic institutions seem likely enough to be conceded, and that, too, more rapidly than is desirable, by the almost unasked liberality of the better part of the aristocracy. The Reform Bill of the present year32 and the plan of opening the Civil Service of Government to universal competition,33 are the most wonderful instances of unsought concession to the democratic principle—the former in its ordinary, the latter in its best, sense—which a reformer had imagined even in his dreams.
Nothing so alleviates the smaller evils of life, and almost converts them into good, as the sympathy of those who love us and whom we entirely love. The very contrary is the case when the evil is great: the bitterest part of it is the suffering it causes to those whose life and happiness are bound up with our own.
The upholders of the vulgar doctrine that women are not equal in intellect to men sometimes declare with an air of triumph that the writings of women are not original. The same thing is said of the Latin writers and for the same reason. The Greeks had written first, and the Romans, having received their whole literary education from them, remained to a certain extent their pupils. But if Roman civilisation had lasted a little longer, Roman literature would have outgrown its leading-strings. In the same manner women’s literature is younger than men’s. Men having long written, and written well, before women wrote at all, women naturally fell at first into the old paths which men had made, adopting men’s opinions and men’s forms of art. But before this is set down as want of originality, it should be known how many of the most original thoughts of male writers came to them from the suggestion and prompting of some woman.
The only true or definite rule of conduct or standard of morality is the greatest happiness, but there is needed first a philosophical estimate of happiness. Quality as well as quantity of happiness is to be considered; less of a higher kind is preferable to more of a lower. The test of quality is the preference given by those who are acquainted with both. Socrates would rather choose to be Socrates dissatisfied than to be a pig satisfied. The pig probably would not, but then the pig knows only one side of the question: Socrates knows both.34
A person longing to be convinced of a future state, if at all particular about evidence, would turn with bitter disappointment from all the so-called proof of it. On such evidence no one would believe the most commonplace matters of fact. The pretended philosophical proofs all rest on the assumption that the facts of the universe bear some necessary relation to the fancies of our own minds.
The only change I find in myself from a near view of probable death is that it makes me instinctively conservative. It makes me feel, not as I am accustomed—oh, for something better!—but oh, that we could be going on as we were before. Oh, that those I love could be spared the shock of a great change! And this feeling goes with me into politics and all other human affairs, when my reason does not studiously contend against and repress it.
As I probably shall have no opportunity of writing out at length my ideas on this and other matters, I am anxious to leave on record at least in this place my deliberate opinion that any great improvement in human life is not to be looked for so long as the animal instinct of sex occupies the absurdly disproportionate place it does therein; and that to correct this evil two things are required, both of them desirable for other reasons, viz., firstly, that women should cease to be set apart for this function, and should be admitted to all other duties and occupations on a par with men; secondly, that what any persons may freely do with respect to sexual relations should be deemed to be an unimportant and purely private matter, which concerns no one but themselves. If children are the result, then indeed commences a set of important duties towards the children, which society should enforce upon the parents much more strictly than it now does. But to have held any human being responsible to other people and to the world for the fact itself, apart from this consequence, will one day be thought one of the superstitions and barbarisms of the infancy of the human race.
Surely one of the most certain of the fruits to be expected hereafter from the progress of knowledge and good sense will be that nobody, unless killed by accident, will quit life without having completed the allotted term of threescore and ten.
It is a loving wish to die before the one we entirely love, but a selfish wish to die before the one who entirely loves us. It is one of the most painful parts of our condition that, if we are fortunate enough to have a true friend, one or the other of these things must happen, unless, indeed, by a rare chance (as by shipwreck) both die suddenly, unexpectedly, and together.
The passion for equality is an attribute either of the most high-minded or of those who are merely the most jealous and envious. The last should rather be called haters of superiority than lovers of equality. It is only the high-minded to whom equality is really agreeable. A proof is that they are the only persons who are capable of strong and durable attachments to their equals; while strong and durable attachments to superiors or inferiors are far more common and are possible to the vulgarest natures.
When death draws near, how contemptibly little appears the good one has done! how gigantic that which one had the power and therefore the duty of doing! I seem to have frittered away the working years of life in mere preparatory trifles, and now “the night when no one can work”35 has surprised me with the real duty of my life undone.
Apart from bodily pain, and from grief for the grief of those who love us, the most disagreeable thing about dying is the intolerable ennui of it. There ought to be no slow deaths.
It is a happy effect of habit that the daily occupations, even when comparatively unimportant, which interested one during life continue to interest one, if one remains capable of them, even with the end full in view. I quite appreciate the wish to “die in harness.”
An experiment is now making in the altered state of human affairs, viz., whether a state of war will now, as formerly, interrupt internal improvement.36 There are already evident signs of its destroying in the public all active interest in improvement of institutions. But in this country ministries are now disposed to go on improving with less stimulus than heretofore from any opinion but that of the enlightened few. All that seems certain is that nothing will be done while the war lasts, which requires a strong popular impulse to carry it through the two Houses.
The effect of the bright and sunny aspects of Nature in soothing and giving cheerfulness is never more remarkable than in declining health. I look upon it as a piece of excellent good fortune to have the whole summer before one to die in.
Perhaps even the happiest of mankind would not, if it were offered, accept the privilege of being immortal. What he would ask in lieu of it is not to die until he chose.
It is characteristic of the English that they have no trust in the attainment of any end by directly aiming at it. They think that if ends are ever attained it is by some indirectness or accident, in some way in which nobody would have expected it. Thus few of them believe that the plan for the reform of the Civil Service can answer, because they cannot persuade themselves of the possibility of discovering who is the ablest of a dozen men by bringing them all face to face to show what they can do. But they are perfectly satisfied with these they get now, by leaving the whole matter to chance.
It is not surprising that in ages of ignorance the principal instrument of a magician’s arts was supposed to be his books. Books are a real magic, or rather necromancy—a person speaking from the dead, and speaking his most earnest feelings and gravest and most recondite thoughts.
Hero worship, as Carlyle calls it, is doubtless a fine thing, but then it must be the worship not of a hero but of heroes. Whoever gives himself up to the guidance of one man, because that one is the best and ablest whom he happens to know, will in nine cases out of ten make himself the slave of that most misleading thing, a clever man’s twists and prejudices. How many are there of the most deservedly great names in history whom their contemporaries would have done well and wisely in implicitly following? One hero and sage is necessary to correct another.
Moral regenerators in this age mostly aim at setting up a new form either of Stoicism or of Puritanism—persuading men to sink altogether earthly happiness as a pursuit. This might be practicable in the ages in which myriads fled to the Thebaid to get into any solitude out of such a world,37 but must be a failure now when an earthly life both pleasant and innocent can be had by many and might by all. What is now wanted is the creed of Epicurus38 warmed by the additional element of an enthusiastic love of the general good.
All systems of morals agree in prescribing to do that, and only that, which accords with self-respect. The difference between one person and another is mainly in that with which their self-respect is associated. In some it is with worldly or selfish success. In others, with the supposed favour of the supernal powers. In others, with the indulgence of mere self-will. In others, with self-conceit. In the best, with the sympathy of those they respect and a just regard for the good of all.
If mankind were capable of deriving the most obvious lessons from the facts before them, in opposition to their preconceived opinions, Mormonism would be to them one of the most highly instructive phenomena of the present age. Here we have a new religion, laying claim to revelation and miraculous powers, forming within a few years a whole nation of proselytes, with adherents scattered all over the earth, in an age of boundless publicity, and in the face of a hostile world. And the author of all this, in no way imposing or even respectable by his moral qualities, but, before he became a prophet, a known cheat and liar.39 And with this example before them, people can still think the success of Christianity in an age of credulity and with neither newspapers nor public discussion a proof of its divine origin!
The Germans and Carlyle have perverted both thought and phraseology when they made Artist the term for expressing the highest order of moral and intellectual greatness. The older idea is the truer—that Art, in relation to Truth, is but a language. Philosophy is the proper name for that exercise of the intellect which enucleates the truth to be expressed. The Artist is not the Seer; not he who can detect truth, but he who can clothe a given truth in the most expressive and impressive symbols.
In quitting for ever any place where one has dwelt as in a home, all the incidents and circumstances, even those which were worse than indifferent to us, appear like old friends that one is reluctant to lose. So it is in taking leave of life: even the tiresome and vexatious parts of it look pleasant and friendly, and one feels how agreeable it would be to remain among them.
In how many respects it is a changed world within the last half-dozen years. Free trade instead of restriction—cheap gold and cheapening, instead of dear and growing dearer—despotism (in France) instead of liberty—under-population instead of over-population—war instead of peace. Still, there is no real change in education, therefore all the other changes are superficial merely. It is still the same world. A slight change in education would make the world totally different.
The misfortune of having been born and being doomed to live in almost the infancy of human improvement, moral, intellectual, and even physical, can only be made less by the communion with those who are already what all well-organised human beings will one day be, and by the consciousness of oneself doing something, not altogether without value, towards helping on the slow but quickening progress towards that ultimate consummation.
The remedies for all our diseases will be discovered long after we are dead; and the world will be made a fit place to live in, after the death of most of those by whose exertions it will have been made so. It is to be hoped that those who live in those days will look back with sympathy to their known and unknown benefactors.
[1 ]The reference is, of course, to Harriet Taylor Mill (1807-58), his wife.
[2 ]The Anglo-Catholics or High Church Party in the Church of England were often identified as followers of Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-82), one of the founders of the Oxford Movement. It was frequently opposed to the Low Church, or Evangelical Party.
[3 ]The Cynical school of Greek philosophers, founded by Antisthenes (ca. 450-360 ) and typified in Diogenes the Cynic, held that virtue, not pleasure, is the end of existence. In his Autobiography, which he was writing in these months, Mill mentions this Cynical trait as marking his father’s character (CW, Vol. I, p. 48).
[4 ]See “Boswell’s Life of Johnson,” Fraser’s Magazine, V (May 1832), 386, by Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), who with his wife Jane had been in the 1830s and 1840s among the closest associates of Mill and Harriet Taylor.
[5 ]Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte (1798-1857), the French sociologist with whom Mill had an extensive correspondence in the 1840s, and whose later views were repugnant to both the Mills; and John Ruskin (1819-1900), the English critic of art, architecture, and society, with whom Mill seems to have been acquainted only through his writings.
[6 ]Cf. Noten und Abhandlungen zu besserem Verständnis des West-östlischen Divans, in Werke, Vol. VI, p. 159.
[7 ]Système de politique positive, ou Traité de sociologie, instituant la religion de l’humanité, 4 vols. (Paris: Mathias, et al., 1851-54).
[8 ]Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the Florentine multi-talented genius; Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the much travelled Flemish painter who acted for the Spanish in negotiations with England in 1629-30; Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), the Tuscan whose tempestuous career involved multifarious demands by his patrons, especially the Medici. The Vita of Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71), the Florentine sculptor, engraver, and goldsmith, gives one of the most informative accounts of the period. It had recently been published in English as Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini, trans. Thomas Roscoe (London: Bohn, 1847).
[9 ]By 16 & 17 Victoria, c. 95 (1853), Sects. 37-42.
[10 ]PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 130, col. 4.
[11 ]Macbeth, V, v, 25; in the Riverside Shakespeare, p. 1337.
[12 ]I.e., his own System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive, first published in 1843 (London: Parker), with further editions (to this time) in 1846 and 1851. (In CW, Vols. VII-VIII.)
[13 ]E.g., in the original of the catchphrase, The Way of the World (1700), by the satiric playwright, William Congreve (1670-1729).
[14 ]See Genesis, 11:1-9.
[15 ]Il principe (1532), in Opere, Vol. IV, pp. 1-112; Istorie fiorentine (1532), ibid., Vol. I, Vol. II, pp. 1-131; and Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livia (1531), ibid., Vol. III.
[16 ]In De senectute, De amicitia, De divinatione (Latin and English), trans. W.A. Falconer (London: Heinemann; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1923), pp. 222-538.
[17 ]Mill probably had read all of Carlyle’s articles on Goethe: “Goethe’s Faust,” New Edinburgh Review, II (Apr. 1822), 316-34; “Goethe’s Helena,” Foreign Review, I (Apr. 1828), 429-68; “Goethe,” ibid., II (July 1828), 80-127; “Schiller, Goethe, and Madame de Staël,” Fraser’s Magazine, V (Mar. 1832), 171-6; “Death of Goethe,” New Monthly Magazine, XXXIV (June 1832), 507-122; and “Goethe’s Works,” Foreign Quarterly Review, X (Aug. 1832), 1-44.
[18 ]See “Goethe,” Foreign Review, pp. 87-8.
[19 ]Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59), the historian, politician, and essayist.
[20 ]See, e.g., “State of German Literature,” Edinburgh Review, XLVI (Oct. 1827), 304-51, as well as On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (London: Fraser, 1841).
[21 ]Friedrich Karl von Savigny (1779-1861), historian and professor of law, was much revered by his pupil, the historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr (1776-1831); for one of his tributes, see the Preface to his History of Rome (1811-12), trans. J.C. Hare, et al., 3 vols. (London: Taylor and Walton, 1828-42), Vol. I, p. xiv.
[22 ]First published in 1811-14 and 1832; in Werke, Vols. XXIV-XXVI.
[23 ]Cf. Carlyle, Past and Present (London: Chapman and Hall, 1843), pp. 32-3 and 307-9 (Bk. I, Chap. iv, and Bk. III, Chap. xv).
[24 ]James Andrew Broun Ramsay (1812-60), 1st Marquis and 10th Earl of Dalhousie, Governor-General of India 1843-56.
[25 ]Past and Present, pp. 212 ff. (Bk. II, Chap. v).
[26 ]For the philosophers and economists mentioned here and in the next two sentences, see App. D.
[27 ]“A Bill to Prevent the Forcible Detention of Females in Religious Houses,” 14 Victoria (11 Mar., 1851), PP, 1851, V, 511-16, was defeated on 14 May, 1851, in the Commons (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 116, col. 988); and “A Bill to Facilitate the Recovery of Personal Liberty in Certain Cases,” 16 Victoria (12 May, 1853), PP, 1852-53, VI, 1-4, was defeated on 8 August, 1853, in the Commons (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 129, cols. 1463-9).
[28 ]Joseph Napier (1804-82), M.P. for Dublin University, Speech on Conventual and Monastic Institutions (28 Feb., 1854), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 131, cols. 78-9.
[29 ]Claud Hamilton (1813-84), M.P. for Tyrone, ibid., cols. 101-2.
[30 ]Alexander Pope, “Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men” (1731), Epistle I, l. 90, of Moral Essays, in Works, Vol. III, p. 184. The Regent was Philip, Duke of Orleans (1674-1723), a religious sceptic but superstitious.
[31 ]Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1733-1815), an Austrian doctor, based his practice on a hypothetical magnetic fluid (“animal magnetism”) that supposedly cured diseases; he was involved in much controversy, especially over the role of hypnotism. “Count Cagliostro” was the assumed name of Giuseppe Balsamo (1743-95), an Italian impostor who sold alchemical elixirs, and who was imprisoned in Paris, London, and Rome.
[32 ]“A Bill Further to Amend the Laws Relating to the Representation of the People in England and Wales,” 17 Victoria (16 Feb., 1854), PP, 1854, V, 375-418 (not enacted).
[33 ]See “Report on the Organisation of the Permanent Civil Service,” PP, 1854, XXVII, 1-31; and the Speech from the Throne (31 Jan., 1854), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 130, col. 4.
[34 ]For Mill’s published use of this argument, See Utilitarianism (1861), in CW, Vol. X, p. 212.
[35 ]John, 9:4.
[36 ]Turkey and Russia had been at war since September 1853. After the destruction of the Turkish fleet in November, the British and French sent warships to the Black Sea, and the Crimean War began in March 1854.
[37 ]See Euripides (ca. 485-407 ), The Bacchanals, in Euripides (Greek and English), trans. A.S. Way, 4 vols. (London: Heinemann; New York: Macmillan, 1912), Vol. III, pp. 1-123. The followers of Dionysius went from Thebes to the neighbouring mountains to perform his rites; the moral regenerator was Penthus, who pursued them. For the notion that solitude was sought, see p. 8 (ll. 32-8) and p. 16 (ll. 143-65).
[38 ]For the hedonistic creed of Epicurus (341-270 ), see Diogenes Laertius, “Epicurus,” in Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Vol. II, pp. 662-76 (X, 139-54).
[39 ]Joseph Smith (1805-44), the founder of the Church of the Latter-Day-Saints (Mormons), was continuously accused of lying and chicanery from the time he announced his visions in the 1820s and claimed to find the gold plates of Mormon in 1830. The Mormons made large numbers of converts in Britain in the late 1840s and early 1850s, who emigrated to the new settlements in the western U.S.A.