Front Page Titles (by Subject) 31.: The Reform Meeting in Hyde Park  26 JULY, 1866 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868
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31.: The Reform Meeting in Hyde Park  26 JULY, 1866 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868, ed. John M. Robson and Bruce L. Kinzer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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The Reform Meeting in Hyde Park 
PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 184, cols. 1540–1. Reported in The Times, 27 July, p. 2. from which the variants and responses are taken. In his Autobiography Mill puts great weight on his intervention in this affair: “At this crisis I really believe that I was the means of preventing much mischief. . . . I was invited, with several other Radical members, to a conference with the leading members of the Council of the Reform League; and the task fell chiefly upon myself of persuading them to give up the Hyde Park project, and hold their meeting elsewhere. It was not Mr. Beales and Colonel Dickson who needed persuading; on the contrary, it was evident that those gentlemen had already exerted their influence in the same direction, thus far without success. It was the working men who held out: and so bent were they on their original scheme that I was obliged to have recourse to les grands moyens. I told them that a proceeding which would certainly produce a collision with the military, could only be justifiable on two conditions: if the position of affairs had become such that a revolution was desirable, and if they thought themselves able to accomplish one. To this argument after considerable discussion they at last yielded: and I was able to inform Mr. Walpole that their intention was given up. I shall never forget the depth of his relief or the warmth of his expressions of gratitude. . . . I have entered thus particularly into this matter because my conduct on this occasion gave great displeasure to the Tory and Tory-Liberal press, who have charged me ever since with having shewn myself, in the trials of public life, intemperate and passionate. I do not know what they expected from me; but they had reason to be thankful to me if they knew from what I had in all probability preserved them. And I do not believe it could have been done, at that particular juncture, by any one else. No other person, I believe, had at that moment the necessary influence for restraining the working classes, except Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright, neither of whom was available: Mr. Gladstone, for obvious reasons; Mr. Bright, because he was out of town.” (CW, Vol. I, pp. 278–9.) Bernal Osborne having put questions to the Home Secretary concerning his discussions on 25 July about the Reform League’s plan to hold a meeting in Hyde Park on the following Monday, Walpole replied that the situation had been much exacerbated by the League’s action in announcing that the Government had given permission, when in fact no permission for a meeting in Hyde Park had been or would be given until legal opinion had been received. A meeting could be held on Primrose Hill if the League wished. Mill spoke immediately after Walpole.
sir, I rise to make a statementa, with the indulgence of the House,a which I believe will give satisfaction to the whole House. I have just had an interview with Mr. Beales1 and several leading members of the League, including all those who were present at the second interview to which the right honourable Gentleman has referred.2 I have full authority from them to say this, that so far as they are concerned there is no intention of renewing the attempt to meet in the Park. There has been no council of the League held, and they are not, therefore, in a position to speak for the League. (Laughter.) That ribald laugh might well have been spared. Do honourable Members suppose that Reformers do not mean what they say? I tell them that they do. What I have to say is that these gentlemen regret exceedingly that a misunderstanding should have occurred with regard to the communication made to them by the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. They are perfectly certain that the misunderstanding is in no way imputable to him. The interview left on them the most favourable impression of his feelings, disposition, and character, and there is nothing which they would more regret than to say anything which bcould in the slightest degree reflect onb him. (Hear, hear.) That being the case, it is unnecessary to enter into the circumstances, though I might state something that might, perhaps, account for this misunderstanding. But the misunderstanding having taken place, the same motives which induced them to exert themselves last night so as to prevent what they believed would have otherwise resulted in bloodshed, preclude them from taking any advantage of, or in any way acting on, what is now shown to have been a misconception. Whether they will accept the offer of Primrose Hill, or consider that on this occasion it is better to abstain from meeting altogether, I am not authorized to state, and probably they do not consider themselves authorized to decide on that offer without consulting the council of the League. But, so far as their influence goes, nothing will be done that can possibly afford cause for any further cdisturbancec . (Hear, hear.)
[1 ]Edmond Beales (1803–81), a barrister, was President of the Reform League.
[2 ]Walpole, Speech on the Proposed Reform Meeting in Hyde Park (26 July), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 184, col. 1538.
[b-b]TT might be offensive to