Front Page Titles (by Subject) July 1869 to March 1873 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXIX - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part II July 1869 - March 1873
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July 1869 to March 1873 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXIX - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part II July 1869 - March 1873 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXIX - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part II July 1869 - March 1873, ed. John M. Robson and Bruce L. Kinzer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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July 1869 to March 1873
The Cobden Club
Daily News, 12 July, 1869, p. 2. Headed: “The Cobden Club.” Reports (all in the third person) appeared in the Morning Star, the Daily Telegraph, and The Times. The annual dinner of the Cobden Club was held at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the Ship Hotel, Greenwich, with about 150 members and guests taken there by steamer from the House of Commons Stairs. George Douglas Campbell, Duke of Argyll, was in the Chair; Thomas Bayley Potter, Honorary Secretary of the Club, was Vice-Chair. Mill, “who was supposed to be in Paris, unexpectedly entered the room, and was loudly cheered.” Argyll, in proposing the health of the Queen, made reference to despatches to India, and mentioned his friend Mill, “who knows so much more of India than I can pretend to do, and who has taken, as we all know, the fair sex under his chivalrous and eloquent protection (laughter),” and went on to mention the death of the Begum of Bhopal, calling her state “one of the best governed of all the native States”—a comment that elicited “ ‘Hear,’ from Mr. Mill.” The other toasts to the Royal Family were followed by Argyll’s proposing the toast of the evening, “the Prosperity and Welfare of the Cobden Club,” to which G.C. Brodrick responded. Mill was then called on to toast “The Honorary Members and Guests,” and rose to loud cheers.
when i entered the room I had no expectation of being selected, as the organ of this society, to propose the health of their distinguished honorary members and guests. Fortunately, it is the less necessary that I should say much on this topic, as your grace has already expressed the sentiments of this club with your accustomed skill and good taste. As to the gentlemen who are the subjects of my toast, it is quite superfluous that I should say much of them; for among those who desire and watch the progress of European opinion, where is it that Mr. Cobden is honoured and that M. Michel Chevalier1 is not honoured? (Cheers.) In him we recognise the Cobden of France; but for him it is very unlikely Mr. Cobden would have succeeded as he did in producing the great results he achieved. M. Michel Chevalier, at times when there were but a few enlightened men among Frenchmen who saw the advantages of free trade, was exerting himself in every way in which a man could exert himself to promote it. He is still a grand pillar of the cause of free exchange in France, and it is not in that only he has rendered service to his country and Europe. To see this one has only to watch his conduct as a member of the Senate, where he has entitled himself to the highest praise which it is possible for a member of a legislative assembly to deserve, for on more than one occasion he has not feared to stand up alone on behalf of great principles. He has often been the single solitary voter in a minority of himself. (Cheers.) The most remarkable occasion of that kind was in the cause so dear to our Cobden—the cause of peace. (Cheers.) This is the more meritorious because M. Michel Chevalier is well known to be a supporter of the present Imperial Government. As to M. Arlès-Dufour,2 all who know anything of that distinguished man know that the influence he has long exercised upon commerce and manufactures in the city of Lyons, and thereby throughout France, has been exercised in the cause of free trade, in the cause of general peace and good will between nations, and I may say in every other good cause that has been at stake throughout his life. (Cheers.) I do not think I am exaggerating when I say this. We have here, too, many distinguished Americans. One of them, Mr. George Walker,3 is well known throughout the United States by the spirit and energy and enlightenment with which he has exerted himself, and by the reproach, and attack, and ill-will he has braved in the great cause of free trade, and, on behalf of that universal peace and good-will among nations, which is inseparably bound up with it; and I do say it is not possible that a nation that has, at an incredible expenditure of blood and treasure, put into effect this grand principle of economy by setting free its slaves—it is not possible in a nation in which educated intelligence goes down to the very lowest ranks—in which there is the freest and openest discussion of all great questions which come home to the understandings of every man, and, I may add, every woman throughout the community—(laughter)—it is, I say, impossible that this great nation should go on in the superstition of protection, and that it should not see that the interests of its citizens are sacrificed every day and every hour to the interests, or supposed interests, of a few. (Cheers.) It is impossible that the fallacies which our great Cobden energetically dispelled and drove out of the minds of the prejudiced among our own people should not also be driven out of the minds of the people of the United States. (Cheers.) It is impossible, now that the great question of negro labour is settled, but that the question of free trade will come into the foremost rank, and when it does become the question of the United States the time is not far distant when it will be impossible to sow dissension between them and Great Britain, when it will be impossible there should be any ill-will between the two nations, but when all differences will be cleared up by explanation and argument. (Cheers.) When that time comes we shall all recognise that the grand work of Cobden, and his great coadjutors in France, in Europe generally, and in the United States, is complete. Then, and not till then, will this club consider its work to be executed. aI consider that we owe a great debt of gratitude to the distinguished foreigners who have made the late Mr. Cobden’s cause their own, and I, therefore, have great pleasure in proposing the toast entrusted to me.a The toast is, “Our honorary members and American guests.” (Loud cheers.)
[Chevalier spoke next, in French, concluding with a toast to Cobden’s memory; he was followed by Arlès-Dufour, and George Walker of Massachusetts, and then Potter proposed the Chair’s health, and after Argyll responded, the company separated, most returning by the same steamer.]
Women’s Suffrage 
Report of a Meeting of the London National Society for Women’s Suffrage, Held at the Gallery of the Architectural Society, in Conduit Street, Saturday, July 17th, 1869 (London: [National Society for Women’s Suffrage,] 1869), pp. 7-14, 34. Reported on 19 July in the Morning Star, from which the responses are taken, and the Daily Telegraph. Collation indicates that Mill was following closely his untitled holograph manuscript (Mill-Taylor Collection), reproduced in full in Appendix D. The afternoon meeting, largely attended by both men and women, was, on Mill’s motion, chaired by Clementia Taylor. In her opening remarks, she indicated that the Society’s growth and success in the past two years had been in large measure the result of Mill’s “fearless and eloquent advocacy”; she alluded to his amendment to the Reform Bill (see No. 55 above), and said “every woman in Great Britain” owed him “a deep debt of gratitude. (Cheers.)” The Secretary, Caroline Biggs, read a brief report, which was accepted. Mill then rose to loud and continued applause.
the first thing that presents itself for us men who have joined this Society—a Society instituted by ladies to procure the protection of the franchise for women—is to congratulate them on the success of this, their first effort in political organisation. The admission of women to the suffrage is now a practical question. What was, not very long ago, a mere protest in behalf of abstract right, has grown into a definite apoliticala aim, seriously pursued by many thousands of active adherents. No sooner did a few ladies of talent and influence, fostered in those principles of justice, and believing in those elements of progress, which are now renewing the life of every country of the world—no sooner b did a few of these ladies give the signal that the time was come to claim for women ctheirc share in those blessings of freedom, which are the passion and the glory of every noble nation, than there rallied round them unexpected thousands of women, eager to find expression for aspirations and wishes which we now learn that multitudes of our countrywomen have long cherished in silence. The thousands who have signed the petitions for women’s suffrage, year after year, are evidence that I am not exaggerating when I say this. For my part, I have all my life held the opinion, that women have the same right to the suffrage as men; and it has been my good fortune to know many ladies very much fitter to exercise it than the majority of the men of my acquaintance. (Laughter and cheers.) I may say, too, to the credit of my own perspicacity, that I have long been of opinion that dmost ofd the disclaimers of all wish for political or any other equality with men, which, until quite lately, have been almost universal among women, are merely a form of that graceful and amiable way of making a virtue of necessity, which always distinguishes women. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge, I did not expect the amount of sympathy, enaye of more than sympathy, of ardent and zealous support, which this movement has called forth among women, and men also, of all franksf and all parties. We have had a success quite out of proportion to our apparent means, and which would be unaccountable, were it not for gsome potentg allies that have been working for us.
First of these precious auxiliaries is the sense of justice. When not stifled by custom or prejudice, the natural feeling of justice is on our side. We are fighting against privilege on one side, disabilities and disqualifications on the other. We are protesting against arbitrary preferences; against making favourites of some, and shutting the door against others. We are claiming equal chances, equal opportunities, equal means of self-protection for both halves of mankind. The political suffrage, which men are everywhere demanding h as the sole means by which their other rights can be secured to them, we, for the same reason, and in the name of the same principles, demand for women too. We take our stand, therefore, on natural justice; and to appeal to that, is to invoke a mighty power.
The other auxiliary which is working for us, with ever increasing force, is the progress of the age; what we may call the modern spirit. All the tendencies which are the boast of the time—all those which are the characteristic features and animating principles of modern improvement, are on our side. There is, first, the growing ascendancy of moral force over physical—of social influences over brute strength—of the idea of right over the law of might. Then there is the philanthropic spirit; that which seeks to raise the weak, the lowly, the oppressed. There is the democratic spirit; the disposition to extend political rights, and to deem any iclassi insufficiently jprotectedj unless it has a voice in choosing the persons by whom the laws are made and administered. There is the free trade spirit; the desire to take off restrictions—to break down barriers—to kleavek people free to make their own circumstances, instead of chaining them down by law or custom to circumstances made for them. Then there is the force of what, to the shame of past history, I am obliged to call the new conception of human improvement and happiness—that they do not consist in being passively ministered to, but in active self-development. And, over and above these specific practical forces, actively at work in society, we have with us one of the strongest and best modern characteristics—not pointing, as those do, to a particular line of outward action, but consisting in a general disposition of our own minds: the habit of estimating human beings by their intrinsic worth—by what they are, and by what they do: not by what they are born to, nor by the place in which accident or the law has classed them. Those who are fully penetrated with this spirit cannot help feeling rich and poor, women and men, to be equals before the State, as from the time of the Christian era they have been proclaimed equal in the sight of God. And this feeling is giving us powerful aid in our attempt to convert that Christian ideal into a human reality.
lTo show how unequivocally and emphatically the spirit of the age is on our side, we need only think of the different social improvements which are in course of being attempted, or which the age has fully made up its mind to attempt.l There is not one of those improvements which would not help the enfranchisement of women; and there is not one of them which the enfranchisement of women would not help. mNot one of them can be literallym realised unless women, with their moral and intellectual capabilities properly developed, are associated in the work. From the moment when society takes upon itself the duties required of it by the present state of civilisation, it cannot do without the intelligent co-operation of women; and the pedantic nonsense now talked about the sphere of women, will appear thoroughly ridiculous when pleaded as an excuse for excluding women from the minor matters of politics, when their assistance cannot be dispensed with in the most arduous. (Cheers.)
Look at education, for example. That is almost the one great cry of the day. Statesmen, scholars, public writers, all join in it: great and small, rich and poor, Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, the higher, the middle, and the working classes, with one voice declare, that the country cannot get on without a good national education, descending to the very bottom of society, and (give me leave to add) ascending also to the top. The best people have said this for generations; but after the political changes recently made, and with the prospect we have of more, the necessity has become evident to all. We say, then, to rich and poor, Tories, Whigs, and Radicals,—Are you going to educate a nation without women? Let alone the equal right of women to ntheir share ofn the benefit; I ask—Can it be given to the rest of us without women’s direct help? When we set about really teaching the children of all oranks of the peopleo —it will not be like the nominal teaching they mostly receive now—we shall need a vastly greater number of schoolmasters than we can afford to pay, if we reject the assistance of half, porp much more than half, the available force. Women are the acknowledged best teachers of young children; and numbers of them are eager, both as professionals and as volunteers, to put their hand to the work. The only hindrance to their being equally capable instructors of more advanced pupils, is that they cannot teach what they have not been allowed to learn. (Hear, hear.) They will have to be taught all the more valuable branches of knowledge, if only that they may teach them to others. In the country where there is the widest diffusion of popular qeducationq , the Northern States of America, a large majority of the teachers are already women, and that not exclusively in the elementary schools; and they are found to be particularly efficient teachers of male pupils. Is it likely, then, that when women find themselves, side by side with the men of the present, teaching and training the men of the future, they will believe in any right of their pupils to political rsupremacyr over them? (Hear, hear.) Will they feel themselves less worthy of a vote, think you, or less entitled to it, than the men who have been taught by them how to use their svotes ? And I should like to see the face of the man, so taught, who would stand up and refuse it to them. (Cheers.)
Let us turn next to the management of the poor: and by the poor I mean those in receipt of public relief—the pauper population. That formidable difficulty is weighing upon the spirits of all our thinkers, and of all conscientious public administrators; and the more they think, the more they seem to be overwhelmed with its arduousness. I venture to predict that this great national, and more than national, this human concern, will never be successfully treated until women take their share, perhaps the principal share, in the management of it. A wide experience has taught to thoughtful men that the right principle of a poor-law, is to give relief, except of a very temporary kind, to adults, nowhere but in public establishments—workhouses, and, for those who need them, hospitals. And this method has been tried: but the workhouses and the workhouse hospitals have been so execrably managed, the pillage has been so profligate, and the unhappy inmates so brutally neglected and ill-used, that the system has broken down, and public feeling shrinks from enforcing it. If this is ever remedied, it will be when pauper establishments are looked after by capable women. As mere visitors, it is to them we in great part owe the discovery of the enormities by which the public have been sickened, and which has escaped the watchfulness of men specially selected as fit to be inspectors of poorhouses. The fittest person to manage a workhouse is the person who best knows how to manage a house. The woman who has learnt to govern her own servants, will know how to do the same with workhouse servants. Few are the male guardians and inspectors sufficiently conversant with details, to be competent to check the dishonesty, to stimulate the zeal, or to overcome the indolence, of all the people concerned in administering to the wants of any large agglomeration of human beings. Every experienced traveller knows that there are few comfortable inns where there is no hostess. And the gigantic peculation of the commissariats of armies, as well as the dreadful sufferings of the wounded soldiers from the insufficiency of the medical and nursing staff, all bear testimony to the fact that men do not possess the heaven-born faculty they arrogate to themselves for doing well on a large scale what they disdain to serve an apprenticeship to doing on a small scale. If home is ta woman’s natural spheret (and I am not at all called upon to ucontradictu the assertion) those departments of politics which need the faculties that can only be acquired at home, are va woman’s natural spherev too. But there are great spheres and little spheres; and some people want women to be always content with the little spheres. I don’t.
In the same manner, in all that concerns the details of public expenditure: what superintendence and control would be equal to that of an experienced mother of a family, who knows, or has learnt to find out, what things ought to cost, and whose daily business it has been to discover and check malversation or waste in every department of a large household? Very few men have had much of this sort of practice; multitudes of women have had it. If we are to meet the demand of the age for a government at once cheap and efficient, which shall cost little, but shall give us all we ought to have for the money, the most vigilant and capable agents for making the money go as far as it can will generally be found among women. (Applause.)
One important public function, at least, has devolved on women from the commencement. Nursing the sick is a privilege which men have seldom denied to women. (Laughter.) The nursing of the sick in most public establishments is, from the necessity of the case, mainly carried on by women; and it is now understood that they ought to be educated women. No ignorant person can be a good nurse. A nurse requires to know enough of the laws of health and the treatment of disease, to be at least able to observe sanitary rules, and to understand the meaning of symptoms. But much more than this will be required when the prevention and cure of disease become a branch of public administration; and to this things are rapidly tending. There are many difficulties in dealing with the poor—many hindrances, both moral and economical, to our doing for them what most of us would like to do: but one thing the nation wis, I think, makingw up its mind that it will not grudge them, and that is, the xcarex of their health. In this one respect it is felt that our poor-law, instead of doing too much, does not do nearly enough. The medical staff of our unions is wretchedly underpaid, and nothing like so numerous as it ought to be. And how is it to be made efficient—how can the localities afford the expense necessary for providing a sufficient number of persons with the required qualifications, if we persist in shutting the door upon those women who claim from us medical education, to fit them for such duties as these? Until the medical profession is opened to women, there will never be an adequate supply of educated medical practitioners for any but the rich. And independently of regular practitioners, there are numbers of women who, from their domestic occupations, cannot give all their time, but would willingly give part of it, either as volunteers or at a small remuneration, for work which would be too costly if paid for at the value of the time of medical men in good private practice. But when women are entrusted with public functions like these, and educated for them, will they be content to be excluded from the common privileges of citizenship? and how long will it be possible to exclude them?
Society is feeling every day more and more, that the services of women are wanted for other uses than “to suckle fools and chronicle small beer.”1 (Laughter.) Many are now saying that women should be better educated, in order that they may be able to educate men; and truly if they are to educate men, the education of a well-educated man can hardly be denied to them. (Hear, hear.) But these very moderate reformers fall into the mistake about women that was made about the working classes. People were willing to educate the working men, but expected them, after being educated, to content themselves with the same treatment which they had met with before. They would be quite happy, it was thought, when their improved faculties qualified them to be more useful servants, and would not think of claiming their share of mastership, or a voice in the choosing of masters. It has not so turned out with the working classes, neither will it so turn out with women. Those who are fit to train men for their work will think themselves fit to share in the work; or, at the lowest, in the choice of those who are to direct it. The higher education of women, and their political emancipation, are sure to go forward together. (Applause.)
We may safely affirm, then, that our cause has a powerful backing; since it has for its allies the great forces which are at work everywhere, striving to improve the world. Our success would greatly strengthen all these forces: and they, by their increasing strength, help to accelerate our success; illustrating the truth, that improvements aid one another. All good causes are allied; whoever helps forward one ybeneficialy object, proves in the end to have promoted many more. (Hear, hear.) In the assurance that it will be so with us, our business is to go on doing what, as a Society, we have hitherto done—to strive for the suffrage, and for the suffrage only. The suffrage, while it is the road to other progress, commits no one as to what other things progress consists of. Let us but gain the suffrage, and whatever is desirable for women zmustz ultimately follow, without its being necessary at present to adecidea , or indeed possible to foresee, all that bisb desirable. The mere fact of claiming the suffrage cis giving an impulse, such as never hasc been given before, to all proposals for doing away with d injustice to women. Since the suffrage has been claimed, a bill for allowing married women to be the owners of their own property, which had been laid on the shelf for ten years with other uninteresting trifles, has been reintroduced into Parliament with good prospect of success;2 and the movement for the higher education of women is spreading in all directions, with a considerable diversity of means, insomuch that women have a chance of obtaining a really good education almost as soon as men. We of this Society shall best promote these important movements by taking no part in them as a Society, whatever any of us may think it erighte to do as individuals; but pressing forward with all our efforts what virtually includes them all, the suffrage. With it, we shall in time obtain what is needed, whatever that may be; but till the suffrage is gained, we have obtained nothing that may not be resumed any day at the caprice of our rulers. In these days, the great practical distinction, the line of fseparationf between those who can protect themselves and those who are at the mercy of others, is the political franchise. All who have rights to protect now look to that as the only effectual means of protecting them. (Hear, hear.) Even in America it was found that to abolish slavery was not enough; the negroes gcould not beg really free until they had the suffrage. Representative assemblies, in the election of which they had no voice, inflicted or hpermittedh treatment which would i have brought them back to a servitude almost worse than their previous state. In a political age, such as the present is, jlet the laws in other respects be what they may,j women will never be of equal account with men, will never be felt to be entitled to equal consideration, so long as men have votes and women have not. The kgreatk extension of the suffrage to others, so long as women are excluded from it, is a positive injury to them, since it is rapidly making them the only excluded class; the only persons whom the law either deems unworthy of a voice in choosing their rulers, or does not sufficiently care for to lgivel them that protection. The suffrage is the turning point of women’s cause; mit alone will ensure them an equal hearing and fair play. With itm , they cannot long be denied any just right, or excluded from any fair advantage: without it, their interests and feelings will always be a secondary consideration, and it will be thought of little consequence how much their sphere is circumscribed, or how many modes of using their faculties are denied to them. Let us, then, continue to concentrate our exertions on the suffrage; inviting all who wish for the nbettern education of women, all who desire justice to them in respect of property and earnings, all who desire their admission to any profession or career now closed to them, to aid our enterprise, as the surest means of accelerating the particular improvement in which they feel a special interest. (Loud cheers.)
“That this Society declares its strong conviction that it is in the highest degree unjust and impolitic to make sex the ground of exclusion from the exercise of political rights.”
[Charles Kingsley seconded the resolution, which was supported by Henry Fawcett and approved. Millicent Fawcett moved a resolution pledging the Society to work by all lawful means to obtain the franchise for women; in seconding, Houghton referred to a passage from Mill “to the effect that laws would never be improved unless there were numerous persons whose moral sentiments were better than the existing laws,” and Morley, supporting the motion, mentioned that he had been converted to sexual equality by reading Mill’s Dissertations and Discussions while at Oxford. After the resolution passed, a third was successfully moved, congratulating the society on the progress already made. The meeting concluded after a motion thanking the Chair, moved by Stansfeld, who was followed by Mill.]
I beg to second the motion. It is quite unnecessary that I should make any remarks, or add anything to what has been said. I am sure the whole meeting feels the grace, the dignity, as well as the business-like spirit in which the proceedings have been conducted by Mrs. Taylor, and all will join most heartily in voting thanks to her.o
The Education Bill 
Speech by John Stuart Mill, Esq., at the National Education League Meeting, at St. James’s Hall, London, March 25, 1870 (Birmingham: printed Hudson, 1870). Collation indicates that Mill was following closely his holograph manuscript (Houghton Library, Harvard University, printed in full in Appendix D below), which is headed in his hand: “Speech at the meeting of the Education League at St James’s Hall, March 25, 1870.” Reported in full on 26 March in The Times, and in the Daily Telegraph. The Daily News has a summary in the third person. The audience’s responses are taken from the Daily Telegraph. Writing on 28 February about the issue to Charles Dilke (who was President of the London branch of the National Education League, and was to chair the meeting at which Mill spoke), Mill says that if he were in Parliament he should oppose the Government’s measure because of its denominational bias, adding: “Ever since I saw that the League was going to make a stand on this point I have been desirous of helping it by some expression of opinion, but I have not yet made up my mind how I can best do so. I rather dislike writing private letters to be published in the newspapers, of which there has been a great deal in my case already without my consent” (CW, Vol. XVII, p. 1703). The evening public meeting was held to support the objections of the National Education League to the Government’s “Bill to Provide for Public Elementary Education in England and Wales,” 33 Victoria (17 Feb., 1870), PP, 1870, I, 505-42 (enacted as 33 & 34 Victoria, c. 75). The objections were (1) that school boards were not provided for every part of the country, (2) that education was made compulsory in a partial and uncertain manner, and (3) that the bill extended the denominational system. After the Chair’s introductory remarks, it was moved and seconded “That this meeting condemns the power given to school boards to found denominational schools at the public expense; and therefore receives with pleasure the assurances of Mr. Gladstone that this portion of the Bill shall be redrawn,” and Mill was called upon, “to receive whom the entire audience rose cheering”
the resolution which has been moved relates to a defect which, as the Bill was originally adrawna , was its greatest blot: and even after the great concessions—for they are great concessions—which we may now consider to have been made by the Government, enough of evil remains to demand a strong protest. Though there are many other things in the Bill that we wish altered, those other defects are chiefly of the nature of shortcomings: what is done we approve, but we wish that it were done more thoroughly: the difference between what the Bill gives and what we desire is the difference between good and better, but in the present case it is the difference between good and bad. (Applause.) The Bill does not simply halt and hang back in the path of good, it does positive evil; it introduces a new religious inequality.1 Even the battenuations that are promisedb leave untouched a great part of the evil, for they leave the whole of its principle. Teachers are still to be employed and paid by the entire community to teach the religion of a part. True, this is now to be done out of school hours,2 and I would by no means depreciate the value of this concession. I should be glad to forget as soon as possible what the Bill would have been without it. Though brought in by a Government which has cearnedc such high distinction as the destroyer of religious inequality in Ireland,3 a more effectual plan could scarcely have been devised by the strongest champion of ecclesiastical ascendancy for enabling the clergy of the Church of England to deducate the children of the greater part of England and Wales in their own religion at the expensed of the public. Hitherto instruction has only been given to those who asked for it, but we are now going (at least we hope so) to teach every child; and the Bill gave up to the local bodies, which in the rural districts means the squire and the parson, all the neglected children—the children of all who care little about religion, of all who are dependent, of all who are under obligations for charitable offices, of all who are too timid to risk displeasing their superiors by sending in a solemn refusal in writing to do what they are wanted to do.4 (Loud cheers.) And because the Nonconformists would not stand this they were told (but I must do the Government the justice to say, not by them) that their motive could not be religious or political principle, but could only be eunworthye sectarian jealousy. By the promised concessions this blot is in great part—I wish I could even now say entirely—taken out of the Bill. But the principle remains of teaching the religion of a part with funds raised by taxation from the whole; and a measure infected by this bad principle cannot be satisfactory to any but persons of the dominant creed, nor to impartial persons of any creed. (Cheers.)
fIt is true we may be toldf that the Dissenters can teach their own doctrines if they please and in the school-buildings too.5 They can, if, after deducting the school hours and the gextra hours set apartg for Church teaching, sufficient time remains; but they must pay the whole expense and their share of the cost of the Church-teaching besides. (Laughter.) We may be told too that in places where the Dissenters are the strongest, it will be they and not the Church that will be enabled to teach their own doctrines at other people’s expense.6 As if an injustice in one place were cured by an injustice in another. (Cheers.) But this permission to hbe unjusth in their turn, wherever they are strong enough, the Dissenters are so extremely unreasonable as not to value. It is well known that they do not desire their distinctive doctrines to be taught in schools; and, indeed, there are probably few places in which any one denomination is sufficiently numerous to make this ieasilyi practicable. The system deliberately chosen by the Dissenters is that of the British schools, where religious teaching is limited to reading the Bible without note or comment. Besides, we j know that the practical strength of the Dissenters is in the large towns, or districts equivalent to towns; where they happen to be in a majority anywhere else, we see by the example of Wales how little it avails them. But in large towns, even where the Dissenters are the strongest, the Church party is sure to be strong enough to reduce them to a compromise, and make the Boards either subsidize existing Church schools, or, if they make use of the power the Bill gives them of founding others,7 to found a Church school by the side of every unsectarian one. So that the Church party will kprobably, in notk a single instance, be in that position of victims, which it is supposed ought to be so great a consolation to the Dissenters for being victims in three-fourths of the Kingdom.
Another thing that is said is that what we complain of as a new grievance exists already: by the national grants in aid of denominational schools we are all of us taxed for teaching religions not our own.8 Well, perhaps there are some of us who might have a good deal to say against this too as a permanent institution, and who live in hope of its ultimate absorption into something of which they can more thoroughly approve. But we are not going now to begin this system; it exists. When it was first introduced nothing better could have been obtained; and it still does good, though we may learn—if we do not already know it—from Mr. Mundella’s speech, how sadly the result falls short of the claims made for it.9
But we do not desire to destroy what we have got until we have replaced it by something better. The worst feature of the system, the bigotted refusal of laidl to secular schools, is to be abandoned; and the Bill provides that if the Boards, instead of founding new schools, elect to subsidize the old, they must subsidize all denominations impartially,10 secular schools, I hope, included. For this the framers of the Bill are entitled to our cordial thanks. But it is puzzling to find such opposite principles acted on in m different parts of the same Bill, and such different measure meted out to the old schools and to the new. It looks like the result of a compromise between two parties in the Government, on the plan of giving something to each: the sort of thing, in short, which makes our legislation the jumble of inconsistencies that it is. (Loud cheers.)
Some have the face to tell us that the ratepayer after all is not taxed for the religious instruction, for the rate is so limited by the Bill that he in reality only pays for the secular teaching. Indeed! Then who does pay for the religious teaching? Do the Church party intend to raise the money by voluntary subscription? The Times of last Monday throws out a suggestion of the kind:11 if one could hope that it would be adopted I should not have another word to say; except indeed, that since, after Mr. Gladstone’s concessions, the religious is no longer to be mixed up with the secular teaching, it may as well be given by a different person altogether, when the impartiality would be complete. But if the expense is not paid by subscription it must be paid by the Privy Council, that is by the taxpayer. And do not Dissenters pay taxes? Is there a conscience clause nagainstn the tax gatherer? (Cheers.)
One more thing is said which might well amaze any one who is not past being astonished at any of the tricks that are played with words. We are told that in our care for the conscience of the minority, we violate that of the majority who conscientiously disapprove of schools in which religion is not taught. Now, if what their conscience objects to is sending their own children to such schools, there is no compulsion; they are free to found schools of their own. It is necessary to say this, for the oprincipal supporters of the Bill12 in the House of Commonso did not seem to be aware of it; they seemed never to have heard of such an idea; they charged us with expelling religion from the schools, as if there were no schools to be had but those supported by rates; as if we were proposing to prohibit all schools except secular ones, or to throw some great obstacle in their way; while all we demand is, that those who make use of the religious teaching shall pay for it themselves instead of taxing others to do it. So that the conscientious scruple which we are accused of violating is a scruple not against going without the religious instruction but against paying for it, and their conscience requires them to get it paid for by other people. (Cheers.) Is not pthisp a singular spectacle of the richest and most powerful part of the nation, who with two thirds of their expenses sure to be paid by the Privy Council qorq the School Rate, cannot bear to do what the smallest denomination of Dissenters cheerfully does—pay for their own religious teaching? But is not this precisely because they are the rich and powerful? rThe poor and the weak neverr dream of throwing their personal pecuniary obligations upon the public. It is a privilege only ssoughts by those who do not need it, but who think they have a right to it because they have always had the power to exact it. (Cheers.) tBut it seemst some of these people have a conscience so extremely delicate that it is wounded, not uif their own children, but if any other people’s children, attend schools in which religion is not taughtu . The vbarev existence of a secular school within the country, at least with aid from the State, is a burden on their consciences, as the w existence of heretics was on the conscience of the Grand Inquisitor. And we, because we decline to defer to this remarkable conscientious scruple, disregard the rights of conscience! But the rights of conscience do not extend to imposing our own conscience as a rule upon somebody else. I dare say we should be told, if it were anyone’s interest to affirm it, that we are no lovers of liberty because we do not permit kings to take the liberty of hanging or guillotining people at their pleasure. But the liberty we stand up for is the equal liberty of all, and not the greatest possible liberty of one, and slavery of all the rest. (Cheers.) There ought to be room in the world for more than one man’s liberty; and there ought to be room in the world for more than one xman’sx conscience. Let all parties have what religious teaching their conscience approves and they are willing to pay for. But when a man tells me his conscience requires that other people shall have religious teaching whether they like it or not, and shall have it in schools though they would prefer having it elsewhere, and shall not be helped like other people with their secular teaching unless they consent to accept religious teaching along with it, I tell him that he is not asserting his own freedom of conscience but trampling on that of other people. (Cheers.) If this is a right of conscience it was bigotry and prejudice to complain of the persecutions of the Vaudois and of the Protestants. The case is less flagrant but the principle is the same. (Loud cheers.)
[After several speeches, the resolution was passed unanimously. Anotherresolution was moved against Clause 66, which gave school boards discretion over compulsory education, and in favour of guaranteed education for every child; it too was approved unanimously, and then it was moved that elected school boards be established in every district; this passed, a petition to Parliament embodying the resolutions was endorsed, and the meeting ended with the customary vote of thanks to the Chair.]
Women’s Suffrage 
Report of a Meeting of the London National Society for Women’s Suffrage Held at the Hanover Square Rooms, on Saturday, March 26th, 1870 (London: London National Society for Women’s Suffrage, 1870), pp. 4-9. Reported on 28 March, 1870, much abbreviated and in the third person, in the Daily News, the Daily Telegraph, and The Times; though the reports differ in length (apart from their coverage of Mill’s speech), they are so similar in wording as to suggest a single source. The responses are taken from the newspaper accounts. For Mill’s plans for the meeting, see CW, Vol. XVII, pp. 1697-8, 1701. At the well attended Saturday meeting Clementia Taylor took the Chair; her remarks were followed by Mill’s. On rising, he was greeted with repeated cheers.
since the first general meeting of this Society in July of last year, we have had ample reason to be satisfied with the progress that has been made by our cause. That progress has manifested itself not only by the increased number of our friends, but, still more, by the altered tone of our opponents. During the year which has just elapsed, much has been written in various publications against the equality of the sexes, but it is remarkable how few of the writers have expressed any great disapprobation of that which is the direct object of this Society, the admission of women to the suffrage. Many of them have even said in express terms that to thus much of concession they, perhaps, might not object. A vote at elections is now, with many of them, a small thing, which they can afford to concede; if women wish for it, they may as well have it as not; but what shocks and scandalises them is, that a claim should be made for women to equality of rights in civil life, and especially in marriage. This is of good augury, and I begin to hope that I may live to see the whole discussion transferred to this point. Those of us who claim for women complete equality of rights have always said that this is a totally different question from the suffrage. The suffrage is a thing apart; no woman, by claiming it, is in the smallest degree committed to the larger demand; if women were, by an inherent and inevitable necessity, subject to the authority of men, they would need the protection of the suffrage all the more. Every plea, either of justice or policy, which speaks for granting the suffrage to any man, applies equally to women.
But there is a side of the question on which I should like to say something: the particular manner in which the addition of women to the electoral body is likely to affect the character of Parliament, and to modify the mode in which public affairs are carried on. I think that the most marked effect, in the immediate future, would be to infuse into the legislature a stronger determination to grapple with the great aphysical and morala evils of society. (Hear, hear.) Women electors, I think, will be more difficult to persuade than men that those evils must be accepted—cannot be cured, cannot even be much mitigated—and that we may, with an untroubled conscience, avert our eyes from them, with an occasional grumble at what they cost us in rates, taxes, and charities. Women, I think, will find it hard to believe that legislation and administration are powerless to make any impression on these frightful evils, and that the acme of statesmanlike wisdom is to let them alone. I should consequently expect, from the political influence of women, a considerable increase of activity in dealing with the causes of these evils. I know there are many men who regard any increased activity in that direction with alarm, thinking that it means inconsiderate benevolence, injudicious legal regulation, and general increase of meddling. But there is wise as well as unwise meddling; well-directed as well as ill-directed benevolence; and there is a tendency in the present day to confound the two. It is my conviction that, if the State employed all the means it possesses of raising the standard of morality, and even, in some respects, of physical well-being, in the community, it would find that it has much more in its power than it is now the fashion to believe; and that Governments in these days are quite as blameable in neglecting the right means of promoting those objects, as in days yet recent they were in pursuing the wrong. The time has passed away when Governments, speaking generally, were actively tyrannical; their favourite sins in the present time are indolence and indifference. Whatever scruples they have about doing ill, they have, in general, none at all about leaving ill alone, but allow mountains of mischief to be piled up from age to age, without any serious attempt to check the accumulation. (Hear.) There is something in the nature of government by men alone, which encourages this easy self-satisfaction. Men are more mentally indolent than women, and are far too ready to believe that they have done everything, or that there is nothing to be done. Their consciences and feelings need rousing, and the stronger active impulses of women are wanted to do it. If I am now asked whether, in my opinion, those active impulses can be depended on for prompting the most judicious line of conduct—whether women will discriminate well between good and bad modes of combating evils, and will not be apt to mistake the most direct mode for the most efficacious; I freely confess that the political education of women must be greatly improved, before as much as this can be affirmed with any confidence. But this would only be a real objection, if we were going to disfranchise the men, and turn over the whole power to women. All we want is, that the two should be obliged to take counsel together. We want the ship of the State to have both sail and ballast, and not, as is too often the case now when the navigation is troublesome, all ballast and no sail. (Laughter.) There is little danger that the over-zeal of women will not be quite sufficiently tempered by the over-caution of men. In these days we do not fail, in matters of government, for want of a curb, but of a spur; and women, even with the present defects of their education, are well qualified for that office. (Laughter.) As their education improves, they will do more; they will not only be a stimulus to others, but will themselves be capable of doing their full share of the work. Women, on the average, have more contriving minds than men; in things they are really interested in, they are readier in finding means for the attainment of an end; especially in undertakings the success of which greatly depends on the details of the execution. Now this is emphatically the case with attempts to correct the great physical and moral evils of society. These are works of detail. Men form great projects, sound in principle perhaps, and rational in their general conception, but which, when applied to practice, break down, from unforeseen failure of efficiency in the execution. Many more of these projects would succeed if women had a share in planning them.
These, I think, are the most marked effects on the general course of government and legislation, which would flow from the admission of women to a share in the functions of citizenship. To this we must add, that the wrongs and grievances which specially affect women would no longer be considered too unimportant to be worth any serious attempt to put an end to them. To take one example among many: if women had votes, there would be a much sterner repression of those outrages on women, which bmake the necessity working women are under of going out alone a serious danger to themb ; outrages which have only reached their present height through the inexcusable leniency with which they are treated by the courts of justice. (Hear, hear.) If women had had votes, we should not have had the “Contagious Diseases Acts”;1 under which the wives and daughters of the poor are exposed to insufferable indignities on the suspicion of a police-officer; and must be so, if the Acts are to be so enforced as to have any chance of being effectual for their object. If those Acts are repealed—if they are not extended to the whole country—it will be owing to the public spirit and courage of those ladies, some of them of distinguished eminence, who have associated themselves to obtain the repeal of the Acts;2 a courage and public spirit which can only be duly appreciated by those who have noticed the impudent and shameless character of some of the attacks which have been made on them in print by anonymous writers. To those worthier and more honourable opponents, who think these ladies mistaken, and the course they have adopted an unfavourable indication of the use they are likely to make of increased political influence, I would say—Suppose the Acts to be as beneficent as I hold them to be pernicious; suppose that the ladies who disapprove of them are not actuated by any reasonable view of their nature and consequences, but by an excess or a misapplication of the particular moral sentiment which men have inculcated on them as their especial and principal virtue. What then? Is it no evil that the laws of a country should be repugnant to the moral feelings of confessedly the most moral half of the population? If the repugnance is grounded on mistake, ought not time to have been given, and explanation and discussion used, to rectify the mistake; instead of leaving them to find out, years afterwards, that laws had been passed, almost in secret, revolting to their strongest feelings? That women’s suffrage would put a check upon such proceedings as this; that it would compel legislators to take into account the moral feelings of those in whom such feelings are the strongest, and to carry those moral feelings with them, instead of contemptuously setting them aside—must be counted among the benefits that would result from the grant of the suffrage.
There are men—not a few—liberal and enlightened on general topics, whose own feelings would incline them to be just to women, but who dread the immediate effect of admitting them to the suffrage, because they think it would greatly increase the power of the clergy. I have never denied that if the suffrage were given them to-day or to-morrow, something like this might possibly, for a time, be the result. And, differing as I do in opinion and feeling on many important topics from the great majority of the clergy, I am not a likely person to undervalue this objection. But it is to me obvious that if the clergy have now too great an ascendancy over the minds of many women, especially in the middle class, it is because the other influences by which the human intelligence is acted on, and opinions formed, have not been allowed to reach them. They have had no encouragement to read the books, or take part in the conversations, which would have shown them that any of the opinions they hear from the clergy are disputed, and disputable. Even if there were no direct discouragement, they have not been so brought up as to take interest in such readings or conversations: while they have been trained in the belief that it is women’s part to accept the opinions they find prevalent, and that the thoughtful consideration of great subjects, and the formation of well-considered opinions by hearing both sides, is none of their business. How then is it possible that they should not fall under the influence of those who address them through the only feelings and principles they have been taught to cultivate? And consider another thing. What is it that makes clergymen in general, even where professional prejudices do not directly interfere, such unsafe advisers in politics and the affairs of life? It is because they are too much in the position of women; they are treated too much as women are: under a show of deference, they are shut out from the free and equal discussion of great practical questions, and are taught to think themselves concerned with only one aspect of any subject—the moral and religious aspect, in the narrow sense in which they use those terms; for, in a larger sense, all questions in which there is a right and a wrong are moral and religious. Is not this very like the condition of women? To those who dread the influence of the clergy on women’s minds, I would say this: If the clergy have more of such influence than belongs to their character and to the degree of their cultivation, let us be just, and admit that they have fairly earned it. The clergy are the only persons who, as a class, have taken any pains with women’s minds; the only persons who have appealed directly to their own principles and convictions; who have addressed them as if they had themselves a moral responsibility—as if their souls and consciences were their own. The clergy are the only men who have seemed to think it of any consequence what women think or feel, on any subject outside the domestic sphere. Those who show this respect to women, deserve to have influence with them: and will continue to have more than enough, until other men employ the same means of acquiring such influence which they have done. If the fathers, brothers, and husbands of these women took equal pains with their minds—if they invited them to interest themselves in the subjects in which the fathers, brothers, and husbands are interested, as the clergy do in those which interest them; and if they were taught, by the responsibility of a vote, that the formation of an intelligent opinion on public questions is as much their right and duty as it is the right and duty of men—they would soon find themselves more competent and better judges of those subjects than the clergy are; and there would be no danger whatever of their surrendering their own judgment into the hands of their clerical instructors. Whatever is excessive or hurtful in the clerical influence over them would be weakened, exactly in proportion as they took part in the affairs of life; and only that which is salutary would remain. Instead, then, of regarding the clerical influence as a hindrance to giving women votes, I look upon the vote as the most effectual means of emancipating them from the too exclusive influence of the clergy. But if this danger were far greater than it is, it would be an unworthy thing, on account of such an apprehension, to refuse to one half of the species that necessary means of self-protection, so highly prized by the other half. Every portion of mankind has its own special liabilities to error; and he who would refuse the suffrage to others because he is afraid of their making mistakes, would find good reasons for disfranchising everybody but himself. Safety does not lie in excluding some, but in admitting all, that contrary errors and excesses may neutralise one another. And of all who ever claimed the suffrage, or for whom it was ever claimed, there are none in whose case there is so little reason for apprehending any evil consequences whatever from their obtaining it—none for whose continued exclusion the excuses are so insignificant, so fanciful, as in the case of women.
cHe concluded by moving the following resolution: “That this meeting is of opinion that the extension of the franchise to women will tend to promote among them a more cogent sense of their special duties as citizens, and of their general responsibilities as concerned with the advancement of the highest moral interest of the whole community.”c
[The motion (supported by Harriet Grote) was carried. A resolution (supported by Helen Taylor) expressing satisfaction at the introduction into the House of Commons by Jacob Bright and Charles Dilke of a bill for removing the electoral disqualifications of women3was also passed. A final resolution, expressing the view that the general extension of the suffrage, while women were excluded, was a positive injury to them, was approved, and then a vote of thanks to the Chair brought to a close the meeting, “which throughout was of a very enthusiastic character” (Daily News).]
The Education Bill 
Sessional Proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, III (1869-70), 348-51 (fascicle for 7 April). Reported in a U.S. paper (not identified) from which there is a clipping in the Mill-Taylor Collection. The meeting was held under Edwin Chadwick’s Chairmanship to consider further his “On the New Education Bill,” Sessional Proceedings, III (10 Mar., 1870), 261-84.
mr. john stuart mill said Mr. Chadwick had done a great service by bringing before this Association the most important part of the whole education question: the quality of the education. Mr. Chadwick had the very great merit on this subject, as he had on many others, of being the first person to bring before the public many great principles of administration resting on the double evidence of theory and experience—experience in a sufficient sum, though it might be a limited sphere of trial. Many persons must have remarked, and perhaps blamed too severely, the little attention paid to the question of quality, in the discussions going on in and out of Parliament on Mr. Forster’s Bill.1 But it was not surprising that people should look first to asserting the simple and admitted principles which they fully understood; such as the principle of religious equality. Those principles must be secured against infringement, and all anxiety and strife concerning them must be at an end before people would give their minds to questions of detail; even in that meeting they had got back to the question of denominational teaching, which really could not be helped, and would continually recur until the question was settled. Mr. Chadwick, in his most valuable paper, had furnished one more argument, and a most important one, against denominational education; an argument which the League2 had not used, but which he hoped they would use; grounded on the principle so strenuously enforced by Mr. Chadwick, that schools, to be either efficient or economical, must be large.3 A denominational school could not be a large school; at least it could not be so large as a comprehensive school, and the schools of denominations which were locally small must be small schools. Large schools were efficient and economical for several reasons. Suppose there were ten schools, each with fifty scholars and one master, and suppose they could get them together into a single school of 500 scholars. In the first place, the single school probably would not need so many as ten masters. But suppose that it did. In the ten schools every master must be competent to teach all the classes, and to teach everything. But in the single school of 500, only the head master need be able to teach the highest class, and persons of inferior qualifications, more easily and cheaply obtained, would suffice to teach the other classes. The third reason was the strongest of all, and had been admirably illustrated by the course pursued in America, as described by Mr. Zincke, that if they had a very large number—say 500—in a single school, they would be able to form as large classes as any one person could teach, composed of pupils, all of whom were nearly of the same degree of proficiency.4 Instead of every class being composed of some who were above the average, and some who were below, every class would be composed of children who were all about the same standard, and the same teaching would do for all. That would remedy the great defect of schools. Now, it was complained that the masters gave their chief time and attention to the quick and clever, and neglected the great mass. It was not unnatural that when the same teaching did not suit them all, the master should give most attention to those who would do him most credit, and the consequence was that in England and in most other countries the majority of those who had gone through the nominal course of teaching went out knowing little or nothing. Would it be said of the future schools, as was said of the present by the Bishop of Manchester, that the teaching in one-third was tolerable, the teaching in another third was indifferent, and the teaching in the remaining third worthless?5 And this, not judging by any high standard, but by one so humble as to aspire to no more than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic before the age of fourteen. The League, therefore, in protesting against denominational schools, were working for one of the most important of the great principles proclaimed by Mr. Chadwick. The League also agreed with Mr. Chadwick on another point; they objected to the local boards, and insisted that they should be larger and of different composition; and here they did not go far enough; they had still much to learn from Mr. Chadwick. But they were thoroughly right as far as they went. The school districts ought to be much larger, if only that it might be possible to have large schools. In rural districts they could not get together within a space over which children could go daily a sufficient number to make very large schools; but they could have them in much larger numbers than if they were cut up by the different denominations. They could also have much larger schools if, in the first place, boys and girls were taught together; and, in the next place, the poor and those who were not poor received instruction together. Why should not the middle class and the poorer class receive that part of their education which was to be the same together, and from the same teachers? Rich children did not require a different reading and writing from poor children, or a different mode of learning it. The mode which was good for one was good for the other. The only difference was that the better-off parents could afford to keep their children longer at school, to learn additional things. And if those additional things were taught in the same place, the more ambitious and aspiring children of the poor would be fired with a desire to go further and learn that which the daughters and sons of the middle class attained to; and thus the result referred to by a former speaker6 of a child rising from the most elementary even to the highest grade of instruction would be frequently attained, especially if the aid were realised which might be given by means of exhibitions. The school board districts, however, would require to be larger than the district of a single school. If the boards were parochial, there would, in the rural districts, be here and there a school of great excellence (as far, at least, as was compatible with its necessarily small size), where there chanced to be an enlightened and patriotic clergyman or an enlightened and patriotic landowner; but, in the greater part of the country, the schools would be little better than nothing. The district of each school board ought to be large enough to give a reasonable chance, that in every board there would be at least one person who knew what good education was, and who cared about it. But suppose this done: let the district, however, be ever so wide, they could not trust the education of the poor to local boards. Take the rural districts. They might almost as well do nothing for the education of the poor agricultural labourer as leave it to the farmers to determine what the education should be. And even in the towns, would they leave the regulation of education to vestries? What did they think of the St. Pancras Vestry?7 Would anybody think of leaving anything which had to be done for the good of the poor to such a board as that? And yet they could count up very easily all the towns in Great Britain and Ireland that were larger, more wealthy, and more populous than the parish of St. Pancras. It was a great town in itself, and it contained surely a sufficient number of the best elements to give it a right to the best local government; it had its full share of well-instructed people—people who had access to all the means of instruction, to all the sources of political excitement and discussion, and there was the result. Again, look at the boards of guardians. A Poor Law union is fully as large a district as the school board districts are likely to be. The boards of guardians had full control over a most important part of the education of the country. They had the education of all the pauper children. How had they fulfilled this office? If the boards of guardians had done their duty, we should not at this time have had an education question. If they had done their duty, or if the duty had been taken out of their hands and assumed by the State, as Mr. Chadwick, thirty-five years ago, proposed; if Parliament had not struck out the clauses which Mr. Chadwick and his enlightened colleagues of the first Poor Law Commission inserted in their Bill,8 we should by this time have been at the end instead of at the beginning of the work. Does any one think that if the pauper children had been properly educated, all other children would not have been found to be educated too? Would they have been content to be thrown out of all the skilled employments, and those which required intelligence and education, by the children of the paupers? For thirty-five years have the boards of guardians had this charge upon them: much more than a generation. And after thirty-five years, Mr. Chadwick is still here, continuing to press upon unwilling ears the great duties which, during all that time, have been disregarded. So much for the rural districts. But perhaps the towns, perhaps the municipal bodies would do better. Well, and what have they done? A valuable Act of Parliament had given them the power to establish free libraries.9 How many of them have done it? A few have done so, and a most valuable institution those libraries have proved. But the great majority have not done it—have even rejected it when proposed to them. Yet this is an indispensable part of national education. Education is something more than to read, write, and cast accounts. He would not disparage the benefit, in developing the intelligence, of even the mere fact of learning to write and calculate. But if they wanted the “poor to make real use of what they were taught at school;” if they wanted them not to forget it, and lose the very power of reading, they must have books to read, and good books too, and a wish to read them. There will never be a real national education until there is a public library in every school district, not necessarily free, but open at a subscription not higher than every poor family in average employment could afford to pay. It would not do, then, to trust the management of education to local bodies, however constituted. There must be an authority above all these to take the initiative. Different people had very different ideas of popular government; they thought that it meant that public men should fling down all the great subjects among the people, let every one who liked have his word about them, and trust that out of the chaos there would form itself something called public opinion, which they would have nothing to do but to carry into effect. That was not his idea of popular government, and he did not believe that popular government thus understood and carried on would come to good. His idea of popular government was, a government in which statesmen, and thinking and instructed people generally pressed forward with their best thoughts and plans, and strove with all their might to impress them on the popular mind. What constituted the government a free and popular one was, not that the initiative was left to the general mass, but that statesmen and thinkers were obliged to carry the mind and will of the mass along with them; they could not impose these ideas by compulsion as despots could. Centralisation and decentralisation were words which had been much abused: what was wanted was the union of both: one authority, which should be a centre of information and of the best ideas to be found in the country, and many popular bodies to whom those ideas should be offered for their assent. A Minister of Education was good. It was good that there should be such a Minister, but it was not good that this Minister should be one to change with every Administration. But whether there was a Minister of Education or not, there ought to be a permanent board composed of people selected for their zeal for education and the amount of intelligent study they had given to the subject. If they had such a board, with emissaries of all kinds, inspectors and assistant commissioners going about the country promoting the best ideas and the best methods of education, they would have a chance of attaining to something really national in the way of education.
[There were further comments, and the meeting concluded.]
Election to School Boards 
Beehive, 29 October, 1870, p. 580. Headed: “The Cumulative Vote and the London School Board.” Brief summary reports appeared on 24 October in the Pall Mall Gazette, the Daily News, and The Times. Writing to Edwin Chadwick on 29 October, 1870, Mill refers to “the general indifference to considerations of special qualification” for service on school boards, adding that the leaders of “the working classes do not seem to share this indifference: it was much complained of at a meeting of the Representative Reform Association last Saturday in which Odger, Mottershead, and Lloyd Jones took an active part; and the response was general to what I and others said of the bad quality of the instruction” (CW, Vol. XVII, p. 1770). The Saturday meeting of the Representative Reform Association was held in its rooms, 9 Buckingham Street, Strand, with Thomas Hare presiding. Hare opened the proceedings by outlining the conditions of the cumulative vote, which was to be used for the first time in the school board elections. He was followed by Mill.
mr. j.s. mill said that it was of very great importance that the ratepayers should exercise their best judgment in the selection they make of persons to constitute the new board of education. They should be particularly careful in putting on the board persons who had made the question of education their study, and who were well qualified in other necessary respects. Of course, those who were denominationalists and undenominationalists would most probably vote for candidates whom they might find to be of their own respective ways of thinking and believing, and this division of feeling could not, perhaps, be avoided. He did not want denominationalists to give up any of their peculiar desires, and he was equally willing to allow undenominationalists to take care of their interests as far as they can fairly do so. All he had to say on this point was that persons who were opposed to each other through religious motives ran into the danger of overlooking the most important part of the question so far as it affected the great body of the people—that is, the bringing within the reach of all classes and all communities alike, not alone the means of education such as we had had it up to the present, but the acquisition of an education of a greatly improved character. Education was really a subject which required a large amount of practical knowledge and experience, and it was of the first importance that there should be on those school boards men who had given their minds for some length of time to the study of the question. At the meetings lately held this had not been sufficiently attended to. (Hear, hear.) A good deal had been said in Parliament from time to time on the question of education; but he regretted to find that the quantity of education seemed to have been attended to more on those occasions than the quality (hear, hear). See what the Bishop of Manchester had said of the education we had in this country. The right reverend prelate said that of the education provided for the people of England, one-third of it was tolerably good, another one-third was passable, and the remaining one-third was as bad as no education at all.1 When such a man as the Bishop of Manchester made in public such an assertion as this of the education now given—and made it with, unfortunately, such good foundation—it behoved all who had an earnest desire to have the people of England properly educated, to see that the new School Board be composed of men who would be willing and able and determined to turn the Education Act of last session2 to the best possible account. In fact the question the electors had to decide was whether they would have a School Board which would improve the quality of the education hitherto given as well as provide all possible facilities for bringing that improved education within the reach of all (hear, hear). That was what had to be done. If any class of persons wished to elect a representative on account of that representative being of their way of religion and political thinking, let them by all means do so, but let them take care that that representative possessed also the all-important qualification of a matured knowledge of the particular question he should have to legislate upon. Provided the representatives were otherwise fitted, he thought it would be a wholesome and a useful thing to have the board composed of men of different areligiousa and political opinions. To accomplish to the full the great end for which the Education Act of last session was drawn up, the electors must bear these facts and probabilities in mind during the coming elections. It was well that an association like that which called the present meeting together should inform the public respecting the cumulative vote.3 He hoped the electors would make themselves thoroughly acquainted with its peculiarities, and take advantage of the power which it gave them to the fullest extent. It was not more schools which were required so much as good schools (hear, hear).
b[In the discussion,] Lloyd Jones said that some districts had been arranging for the election by dividing the candidates among the different sects. He did not complain of the proportions, but he thought this was the wrong way to go to work, for instead of being a battle of the citizens, the election would be a battle of the sects.]
Mr. Mill said that it was of importance that no one class should have preponderance in the Board, and it was rather a good thing that there should be several classes upon it.b
[A resolution was accepted unanimously that the Association should as soon as possible after the elections ascertain how much the cumulative vote had been used, and the “amount of electoral power that had been wasted through various unavoidable circumstances.” It was then moved that the Chair communicate with Forster to urge the fullest investigation of the working of the elections to the school board; Mill seconded, and another unanimous vote ensued. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chair.]
Election to School Boards 
The Times, 10 November, 1870, p. 4. Headed: “The Education Act” (the article begins with a general account of candidates and meetings). A full report of Mill’s speech also appeared in the Daily Telegraph (again in the first person), and brief third-person accounts were published in the Pall Mall Gazette and the Beehive (12 Nov.); the Daily News had an even briefer report. The evening meeting, attended by over 1000 of the ratepayers of Greenwich, Deptford, and the surrounding area, was held in the Literary Institution, Mill presiding, to consider the proper qualifications for members of the London School Board, and to hear the candidates’ views. The four candidates supported by the Church of England each wrote a letter declining to attend. Mill, on rising, was loudly cheered.
this meeting, as you know, has been called to consider the qualifications which should be required in candidates for the School Board. Those who have called us together, and at whose request I have consented to take the chair, think it desirable that before we commit ourselves to the support of particular candidates we should confer together concerning the principles that should direct our choice. For it is to be feared that while we are contending very properly each for his own opinion on a single point—the question of religious teaching in rate-appointed schools—we may lose sight of other points quite as important, and perhaps confide the charge of the education of London to persons who care very much for its being sectarian or unsectarian, but who, when they have taken care of that, think that they have done everything. This would be a sad failure. We all, I suppose, have our opinions as to whether education paid for by rates should be denominational or should be in some way or other religious without being denominational, or should be purely secular, leaving religious teaching to the religious bodies. But whatever importance we justly attach to these differences of opinion, it is even more important that our representatives should have other qualifications than the opinion they profess on this point—that they should be persons who really desire and really understand education. (Cheers.) We have got to determine, therefore, each for himself, by what criterion we are to judge who are they who desire education most and understand it best. And we have not only to consider what kind of persons are fit to be intrusted with the control of education, but also what kind of persons are not fit. There is one proof of unfitness so decisive that it deprives a candidate of any claim to our support. I would refuse my vote to any one, let him be who he may, who is afraid lest the poor should be too much educated, who thinks they are in danger of knowing more than is necessary for them, or more than is suitable to their condition in life. In education there is no such thing as “too much.” (Loud cheers.) Every kind of knowledge is useful. Of course we ought to begin with the most useful. But the most useful is that which most opens their minds, and accustoms them to the use of their understandings. There are some who think that, for working people, the only instruction needed is technical instruction—teaching them the use of their hands. But the hands never work to the best effect unless the brain works too. Looking at the benefits of mental cultivation on their humblest side, the workman whose mind is trained as well as his hands is sure to be the most capable at his work. What is more, he is most capable of turning to other work if his accustomed occupation fails him. When another man goes upon the poor-rate he can maintain his independence. Intelligent Americans say that one of the reasons why there is so little pauperism in the United States is that the American workman, being educated, can turn his hand to anything. I would not vote for any one who thinks that nothing should be taught but reading, writing, and arithmetic. Of what use is it to any one to have been taught to read if he never does read afterwards, or never anything that can be of the smallest use to hi? Our object ought to be that the children should leave school with their minds so informed that they will wish to read, and be able to understand the best books or general literature and information. This is quite practicable. We need anota go to America or Germany for the proofs. The Scotch Parochial Schools did as much as this for two centuries and more. During that time the Scotch peasantry not only were taught to read but loved to read and did read; and if they had not many books within their reach they read all the more assiduously the best that they had, and the effect on their intelligence was such that the sons of Scotch labourers were to be found all over Europe in skilled employments. (Hear, hear.) My next point is this: There will be elected doubtless by the different constituencies many persons of strong religious convictions, whose interest in education has its principal bsourceb in religious zeal. It would be very wrong to exclude such persons. Were they all rejected, the opinions of the constituencies would not be freely represented. But this I do say, that no one is fit to take part in administering the Act1 who cares only for religious teaching, who looks upon secular instruction as a minor matter, for which a small portion of attention is necessary. We must remember that the object for which the Act was passed was the improvement and extension of elementary education, and though some people may think, as I do not, that a certain amount of religious teaching belongs properly to elementary education, no one can suppose that the main object of the country and the Government in passing this Act was religious teaching as opposed to secular. (Hear, hear.) One word more as to the kind of candidates we should not elect. Those are to be deeply distrusted who show themselves anxious only for more schools and not also for better. The mere multiplication of schools no better than most of those we have would be a very moderate advantage. What is the character given of the present schools by Bishop Fraser, of Manchester, who, having been an inspector of schools, knows what they are, and who also knows by his own observation the schools of the United States?2 He says that of our primary schools one-third may be considered tolerable, one-third middling, and the remaining third positively bad. (Laughter.) And in passing this terrible judgment he is not trying them by a high standard, but by the miserably low standard they profess—reading, writing, and the first four rules of arithmetic. Even these the great majority of our existing schools do not teach, and few, indeed, are there which teach to any purpose anything more. (Hear, hear.) I have said enough, perhaps, about the disqualifications of candidates. Now, what about their qualifications? Well, we want people who know what ought to be done, and are zealous to do it, and the best evidence of cboth is—c actions. We should ask of all who offer themselves for our suffrages, what have you done for education? And we should be very much guided by their answers. There is no lack of persons in England, and even in London, who have done something considerable for education; some of them have done things really great and memorable. Unhappily, but few of them are candidates, but that, perhaps, is our own fault in not seeking for them. Let us ask all our candidates what they have got to show of this kind. And in estimating their claims let us, again, remember that services rendered in improving the teaching in schools ought to count for more than what is done merely to increase their number. We should also ask them for some proof that they are competent to judge of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses. Let no one think that it is an easy thing to know good teaching from bad. It requires practical experience of teaching and no ordinary knowledge of the human mind. The candidates should be asked what amount of study they have given to the art of teaching and to the reasons why one teacher succeeds and another fails. The account they are able to give of themselves in this particular will be a considerable guide to their qualifications for the School Board. There are one or two more things to be considered. It is of great importance that there should be a proportion of working men on the Board. (Loud cheers.) And it is of the utmost importance that there should be a proportion of women. (Cheers.) The working classes are those for whose children the schools are intended. They are those for whose wants and exigencies we have to provide. No one knows the circumstances and wants of the working classes so well as intelligent working people, and the participation of such persons will do more than anything else to give the working classes confidence in the School Board. Besides, there is no class which, taken as a class, is so much in earnest about popular education, so solicitous about its quantity and quality, and so free from any side purposes of promoting the interests of any sect or party by means of it. (Hear, hear.) Working men are indispensable if the School Board is to be thoroughly efficient and popular. Women are still more necessary. In the first place, we have girls to educate as well as boys, and a national education for girls directed solely by men would indeed be an absurdity on the face of it. Moreover, women as the principal domestic teachers have more experience, and have acquired more practical ability in the teaching, at least of children. Almost every mother of a family is a practised teacher, and even beyond the family. For one man not a teacher by profession, who has given much of his attention to teaching or to the superintendence of teaching, there are many women who have done so. Were we not to elect any women we should go completely counter to the spirit of the Act. (Cheers.) Parliament has shown what its opinion is by expressly making women eligible to the School Board.3 It will be most incomplete without them, and it is much to be regretted that so few women have yet offered themselves as candidates. (Cheers.) One thing more. We need not think it indispensable that all we elect should be resident in our own district. We are electing superintendents of education not for ourselves alone, but for all London, and our great concern should be to obtain the fittest persons possible, whether they live in one quarter of the metropolis or in another. If our affairs are mismanaged or less well managed than they might be, it will be a poor consolation to reflect that this has been done by people living at Greenwich, when, perhaps, there was some person of ability out of Greenwich who, if sent by us to the School Board, would have turned the scale on questions of the greatest importance. All dlocal as well as personal considerationsd should be silent in the presence of the great trust which the metropolis has now to discharge. (Loud cheers.)
[The candidates present addressed the meeting, and then a resolution was moved and seconded that no one was worthy to serve on the School Board who would not seek to secure attendance of every child at school, support free education, and insist that the schools should not be made the means of instilling sectarian opinions; and further that the working classes should be represented on the Board. After a long discussion the motion was adopted, and a vote of thanks to the Chair concluded the meeting.]
Women’s Suffrage 
Speech of the Late John Stuart Mill at the Great Meeting in Favour of Women’s Suffrage, Held in the Music Hall, Edinburgh, January 12, 1871 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage, 1873). A full report of the meeting, including the text of Mill’s speech, is also found in Women’s Suffrage. Great Meeting in Edinburgh in the Music Hall, on 12th January 1871, under the Auspices of the Edinburgh Branch of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage (Edinburgh: printed Greig, 1871), pp. 7-12, and 22 (which supplies the text for Mill’s response to the vote of thanks); also reported fully on 13 January in The Scotsman, and in abbreviated form in The Times. The public meeting was held in the evening, with a large audience of both sexes. Duncan McLaren was called to the Chair. After the reading of letters of regret and the annual report (in which mention of Mill brought applause), McLaren indicated that the next and leading motion would be moved by Mill, saying “the audience owed a greater debt of gratitude” to Mill than “they were perhaps aware of, because he had come down from London in this inclement weather for the sole purpose of being present on this occasion, and his engagements were such that he was obliged to be off again in the morning. (Applause.)” (Scotsman.) Mill was received with prolonged cheering, the audience rising and waving their hats and handkerchiefs.
if there is a truth in politics which is fundamental—which is the basis of all free government—it is that when a part of the nation are the sole possessors of power, the interest of that part gets all the serious attention. This does not necessarily imply any active oppression. All that it implies is the natural tendency of the average man to feel what touches self of vastly greater importance than what directly touches only other people. This is the deep-seated and ineradicable reason why women will never be justly treated until they obtain the franchise. They suffer, assuredly, much injustice by the operation of law. But suppose this changed; even then—even if there were no ground of complaint against the laws, there would be a break-down in their execution as long as men alone have a voice in choosing and in removing the officers of Government.
All our recent constitutional reforms, and the whole creed of reformers, are grounded on the fact that the suffrage is needed for self-protection. All experience proves that if one part of the community is held in subjection by another part, it is not trusted with the ordinary means of self-defence, but is left dependent on the good-will and pleasure of those who are more privileged, the most vital interests of the subject-portion are certain to be, if not recklessly trampled upon, at least postponed to almost anything else.
The treatment of women is certainly no exception to the rule. They have neither equal laws nor an equal administration of them. The laws treat them as they could not long be treated if they had the suffrage; and even if the laws were equal, the administration of the laws is not. Police magistrates and criminal judges cannot be exceptionally bad men; they are not chosen for their bad qualities; they must be thought, by those who appoint them, to represent fairly, or better than fairly, the moral feelings of average men. Yet, what do we see? For an atrocious assault by a man upon a woman, especially if she has the misfortune to be his wife, he is either let off with an admonition, or he is solemnly told that he has committed a grave offence, for which he must be severely punished, and then he gets as many weeks or months of imprisonment as a man who has taken five pounds’ worth of property gets years.
We are told that the good feelings of men are a sufficient protection to women. Those who say so can never, one would suppose, look into the police and law reports. If good feeling aof mena does not protect women against being beaten and kicked to death’s door every day of their lives, and at last beaten and kicked to actual death, by their special guardians and protectors, can we expect that it will secure them against injuries less revolting to humanity? Most men, it will be said, are incapable of committing such horrible brutality. Perhaps so; but it seems they are quite capable of letting it be committed. If women who are maltreated by their husbands found a defender in every other man who knew of it, they might have some chance of protection without the weapon of the suffrage. But it is never so; slaves did not find it so; serfs did not find it so; conquered nations do not find it so; and neither do women. There are many men who would not consciously do them any wrong; but there must be a great moral improvement in human nature before most men will exert themselves to prevent or to redress wrongs committed by others under the sanction of law. And of these two things—the suffrage for women, and a grand moral improvement in human nature—the suffrage, to my thinking, is likely to be the soonest obtained. (Cheers.) I could afford to stop here. I have made out an ample case. There is a portion of the population, amounting in number to somewhat more than half, to whom the law and its administration do not fulfil their duty, do not afford even the bodily protection due to all—this half happening to be that which is not admitted to the suffrage. Their most important interests are neglected—I do not say from deliberate intention, but simply because their interest is not so near to the feelings of the ruling half as the ruling half’s own interest. bThe remedy is plain: putb women in the position which will make their interest the rulers’ own interest. Make it as important to politicians to redress the grievances of women as it is to redress those of any class which is largely represented in Parliament.
If nothing more than this could be said in support of their claim to the suffrage, no claim could be more fully made out. (Cheers.) And if the claim is just, so also is it strictly constitutional. One of the recognised doctrines of the British Constitution is that representation is co-extensive with direct taxation. The practice of the Constitution, it is true, for a long time did not correspond with the theory; but it has been made to conform to it at last, in cities and boroughs, provided the tax-payer is of the male sex; but if a woman, she may be the largest tax-payer in the place, and the person of greatest practical ability besides; no matter, she has no vote. This is something very like punishing her for being a woman. The conditions which in the eye of the law and of the Constitution confer a title to a voice in public affairs are all fulfilled by her, with the single exception of having been born a male. This one deficiency, which I humbly submit she cannot help—(laughter)—is visited on her by the privation of a right as important to her as to any man, and even more important, since those who are physically weakest require protection the most. This is not an injury only, but an indignity. I grant that those who uphold it are in general quite unconscious of its being so; but this comes from the inveterate habit of having one rule and measure for all that concerns women, and another for everything else.
Men are so much accustomed to think of women only as women, that they forget to think of them as human. (Hear, hear.) It is not only for their own sake that women ought to have the suffrage, but also for the sake of the public. It is for the interest of us all, both men and women, and of those who are to come after us. The reasons that may be given for this are many, but I may content myself with two. One, and the strongest, is what we sometimes hear unthinkingly urged as an argument on the other side—because women have so much power already. (Laughter.) It is true they have much power. They have the power which depends on personal influence over men. They have the power of cajolery—(laughter)—and often that of a petted favourite; power sadly inadequate to their own just and necessary protection against wrong, but sufficient at times to produce only too much effect upon the public conduct of the men with whom they are connected. But as this power, instead of being open and avowed, is indirect and unrecognised, no provision is made for its being rightly used. As it is conventionally assumed that women possess no power outside the domestic department, the power which they do and always will possess is exercised without the necessary knowledge, and without the proper responsibility.
It having been decreed that public matters are not a woman’s business, her mind is carefully turned away from whatsoever would give her a knowledge of them, and she is taught to care nothing about them—that is, until some private interest or private likings or dislikings come in, when of course these private feelings have it all their own way, there being no public principles or convictions to control them. The power, therefore, which women now have in public affairs is power without knowledge. It is also power without responsibility. A man’s wife is very often the real prompter either of what he does well and nobly, or of what he does foolishly or selfishly; but as she gets no credit for the one, so she is not held accountable for the other; if she is selfish, a very little art suffices to exempt her from censure though she succeeds in compassing her ends; if she is simple and well meaning, she does not feel bound to inform herself, so as to have a creasonable opinion on what is solely thec man’s business, though all the while her ignorant prepossessions or her natural partialities may be acting as a most pernicious bias on what is supposed to be his better judgment. From this combination of absence of instruction and absence of responsibility, it comes to pass that, though women are acknowledged to have, as a rule, stronger conscientious feelings than men, it is but a very small minority of women who have anything that deserves the name of a public conscience. How great an evil this isd , there needs no argument to show. What is the greatest obstacle which the friends of political and social improvement have to struggle with—the drag which is constantly obstructing their efforts and disappointing their hopes? Is it not the weakness of the average citizen’s political conscience? Is not this the special danger and failure to which epopular institutionse are exposed—that the elector does not sufficiently feel his obligations to the public, and either stays away from the poll, or goes there and votes on the prompting of some private interest? And how can we hope that he will learn to postpone private interests to public, while he has beside him, in the person of his closest intimate, one who has been trained to have no feeling whatever of his duties to the public, but who has the keenest feeling of his duties to his family, and who, even without intending it, cannot but sway his mind strongly in the direction of the only interests which she understands and appreciates? (Applause.) It must be remembered, too, that this is a growing evil. Time was when the wife was very little a companion of her husband—their lives were apart; the associates of his leisure and of his recreations were other men. But now the home and its inhabitants are so much to a man, that no other influence can, as a rule, compete with theirs. The time, therefore, is come when, if we would have public virtue in our men, we must have it in our women. (Hear, hear, and applause.) And how can a woman have a conscience about the public good, if she is told, and believes, that it is no business whatever of hers? Give women the same rights as men, and the same obligations will follow. Instead of hanging a dead weight on men’s public conscience, their greater general susceptibility of moral feeling will make their habitual influence a most valuable support to the honest performance of public duty. (Loud applause.) This, then, is one of the reasons why it is for the good of all that women should have an admitted right to take part in public affairs. Another is the vast amount of brain power and practical business talent which now runs to waste for want of an outlet into those great fields of public usefulness, in which no one, I suppose, will pretend that such qualities are not very much wanted. Few men, I suspect, are sufficiently aware of the great amount of administrative ability possessed by women; for want of considering that the essential qualities which lead to practical success are the same in what are called small things as in great.
It is my belief that, in all those parts of the business of life which depend on the vigilant superintendence and accurate estimation of details, women, when they have the necessary special knowledge, are better administrators than men. And I am now speaking, not of women as they might be—not as some improved mode of education would make them—but of women as they now are, and of the capacities which they have already displayed. If an example is wanted of what women’s powers of organisation can accomplish in public life, I appeal to one of the most striking facts of modern times, the Sanitary Commission in the late American War. The history of that Commission ought to be as well known all over the world as it is in America. From the beginning, and throughout, it was women’s work. It was planned, organised, and worked by women. The Government was jealous of them at first, but the hopeless inferiority of its own arrangements made it soon glad to make over the first place to them. Not only had such work never been so well done, but nobody had ever supposed it possible that it could be so well done. I am aware that this argument would carry us much further than the suffrage; but I suppose it will be acknowledged that those who are themselves eminently capable of practical business, must be fit to take a share in the choosing of those to whom practical business is to be entrusted. The ability which is specially required for the exercise of the suffrage—that of selecting the persons most capable for the work that is to be done—is one of the qualifications for business in which women have always excelled. Great queens have in nothing shown themselves greater than in their choice of Ministers. When the ladies of the Sanitary Commission wanted men to help them, they knew the right men and how to use them; and they distinguished themselves not less by the work which they caused to be done, than by that which they did in their own persons. (Applause.) These are some of the reasons which make it equally just and expedient that the suffrage should be extended to women. It must, at the same time, be borne in mind that, by admitting them to the suffrage, no other question is in the smallest degree prejudged.
Supposing it true, what some people are so fond of affirming, that women have nothing to complain of, and that the vast majority of them do not desire any change; if so, giving them the suffrage can do nobody harm, and would afford them an opportunity of showing their perfect contentment with their present lot, in a manner beyond the reach of dispute. (Applause.)
If what we are told is true, that women ought to be, and always must and will be, in a state of domestic and social subordination to men, why, then, they require the suffrage so much the more, in order that the sovereignty of men over them may be exercised under the fitting responsibility. None need political protection so much as those who are in domestic dependence, since none are so much exposed to wrong. On every possible supposition, therefore, they have a claim to the suffrage. And we live at a period of human development, when the just claims of large numbers cannot be permanently resisted.
The whole movement of modern society, from the middle ages until now, greatly accelerated in the present century, points in the direction of the political enfranchisement of women. Their exclusion is a last remnant of the old bad state of society—the regimen of privileges and disabilities. All other monopolies are going or gone. The whole spirit of the times is against predetermining by law that one set of people shall be allowed by right of birth to have or to do what another set shall not, by any amount of exertion or superiority of ability, be allowed to attain. (Applause.)
If nature has established an ineradicable and insuperable difference in the capacities and qualifications of the two sexes, nature can take care of itself. What nature has decided may safely be left to nature. But when we find people making themselves uneasy for fear that nature’s purposes should be frustrated unless law comes to her assistance, we may be pretty certain that it is not nature they are so careful about, but law pretending to be nature. To all such pretences the growing improvement of mankind is making them more and more adverse.
I do not know how long a time it may require to get rid of women’s disabilities. Great changes in the habits and opinions of mankind are always slow. But of one thing I am certain—that when once they have been got rid of—when their true aspect is no longer disguised by the varnish of custom and habit—they will appear in the retrospect so devoid of any rational foundation, and so contradictory to the principles by which society now professes to guide itself, that the difficulty which will be felt will be to conceive how they can ever have been defended, and by what possible arguments they can ever have been made to appear plausible. (Loud cheers.) fThe resolution I have to propose is—“That the ownership or occupation of lands or house being the basis of representation in this country, it is unjust in principle to make sex a ground of disqualification, thereby excluding a large number of intelligent persons well qualified to exercise the electoral franchise; and the recent school board elections in England have proved not only that women are desirous to exercise this right, but that they can do so without the slightest inconvenience.”f (Loud and prolonged cheering.)
[The resolution was adopted unanimously, and then Professor Masson,1in a long speech that obtained a mixed reception, moved that the meeting thank Jacob Bright for his efforts in Parliament, and petition Parliament in favour of his bill, authorizing the Chair to sign the petition in the name of the meeting. The resolution was approved but not unanimously. Professor Kelland2moved the vote of thanks to Mill, commenting that he “was known wherever the English language was spoken as one of our greatest philosophical thinkers—a thinker who had set his mind to knock down what was opposed to the progress of right and liberty.” The motionwas seconded by the Rev. Dr. Wallace,3who referred to Mill as one “to whose mind every one who had the slightest pretension to culture and intelligence must gladly acknowledge himself under obligations of gratitude which could not well be expressed; a great and original philosopher, who had not speculated for his own amusement, but who had earnestly directed all his great gifts to questions and to enterprises bearing directly upon the highest welfare of mankind—a man who all his lifetime had set before himself the noblest objects, and who had striven to promote these, not by appeal to passion or to prejudice, but by a fairness and an honesty of reasoning that was equalled only by the transcendent ability which he had exercised in that direction. (Applause.) Sure he was that, whatever difference of opinion there might be—and difference of opinion might be expected in so large an assemblage as the present—with regard to the conclusions Mr. Mill had advocated before them, there could be but one sentiment of admiration and of gratification at having seen Mr. Mill amongst them, and having listened to an example of the fair, and close, and honest reasoning which he had made popular in this country, and by so doing, had contributed very largely to the development of an intellectual veracity among us which was not one of the least important virtues in these days, when there were so many temptations to sophistry and to the sinking down of the human intellect into ways that were not worthy of its dignity. (Applause.)” The motion was “warmly received, the bulk of the assemblage rising to their feet and cheering heartily.”]
gMr. Stuart Mill said—I feel most strongly the kind manner in which my name has been received by the meeting, not that I think for an instant that I deserve a tenth part of the kind things said of me by the proposer and seconder of the motion; but I cannot refrain from saying that even much greater trouble than I have been put to in coming from London here would have been much more than requited by the sight of so grand a meeting as this. I know that the cause owes an immense debt to Scotland, and in Scotland to Edinburgh, and I cannot close these few words without moving the thanks of the meeting to a gentleman to whom, more perhaps than to any one in Edinburgh, the cause owes the most—Mr. Duncan McLaren. (Applausehand hissesh .) No one who has exerted himself in this cause has done more to promote it than that gentleman, and I may add, the ladies of his family.4 (Hear, hear.) To their exertions may be ascribed the rapid success which has attended this movement, not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland. In moving a vote of thanks to Mr. McLaren for his conduct in the chair, I may also add, for his past services in this cause.g (Applause.)
[This vote of thanks having been passed and acknowledged, another was given to the Ladies’ Committee, who had organized the meeting, and the proceedings ended “with loud cheers for Mr. Mill.”]
The Cumulative Vote
Sessional Proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, IV (1870-71), 234-5 (fascicle for 16 February). The meeting was devoted to a paper by Thomas Hare, “On the Suggestions Afforded by the Application of the Cumulative Vote, and by the Other Incidents of the School Board Elections, for Improvement in the Constitution of Municipal and Local Governing Bodies” (ibid., pp. 215-26). Mill was in the Chair, and, as was customary, made the concluding remarks.
the chairman said that a more satisfactory debate than this he had not often had the pleasure of hearing. There was not one speaker who did not show that he was entitled to be heard on the subject, and he thought that there was not one who had not contributed something useful to the debate. It was also extremely satisfactory to find that it was not necessary to defend Mr. Hare’s system; no speaker had contested it. On the contrary, every one had shown a strong sense of its importance. The great principle of Mr. Hare’s system was that one member of the community was entitled to as great a share in the representation as another—that the representation ought not to be engrossed by one portion of the community because it was the most numerous, but that every portion was entitled to be represented in the ratio of its numbers. This was the principle of Mr. Hare’s system, and such a general assent had been given to it, such a strong sense has been manifested of its importance, there being no contrary opinion expressed, he did not think it at all necessary that he should use any argument, or give any summary on this point. He should only touch on a few other points that had been adverted to. The cumulative vote is, as everybody must see, a very imperfect mode of obtaining—partially—or a part of the results that would flow from Mr. Hare’s system. Other systems have been proposed by several speakers which, in their opinion, though still imperfect, would approximate more nearly than the cumulative vote to the results which Mr. Hare aimed at; but he (the speaker) thought that these plans, if more closely considered, would be found not to approach so near as the cumulative vote. The disadvantages which they all have—which the cumulative vote has—is that a number of votes are thrown away. No doubt if Mr. Hare’s plan were adopted, the cumulative vote might be cured of a certain portion of this inconvenience. He did not know that it would be necessary to spread the election over so long a period as contemplated. It was suggested that there should be a periodical statement of the poll, as a way in which the cumulative vote might be made less a failure in the way of a waste of power. Other speakers spoke as if it were an easy matter to turn over surplus votes to another candidate, but no one had shown how this was to be done, nor did he see how it could be done. To whom should the transfer votes go? If there was a means of transferring them, it was a pity that it had not been stated. Sir William Fraser’s recommendation of having a large constituency—the whole of London, for instance—was a very important and desirable thing;1 but if it were adopted without Mr. Hare’s plan of the quota that would make matters worse than they were now, because now, opinions in the minority may be represented in some districts; and in that awkward way people would get a representation to which they were entitled. But if they took the whole of a very large constituency—if they took the whole of Great Britain, in that case, without the system of the quota, no minorities would be represented anywhere—none but the strong party in the nation would have any representation at all. With the quota, nothing could be more desirable than that they should go to that extreme point of taking in the whole nation, because they would attain by that means, not only the representation of minorities in a more complete manner than on a limited scale, but the most striking advantage of Mr. Hare’s plan, namely, that the electors would have the whole country from which to choose the best men, instead of having to choose the best out of a small portion of the country. It had been suggested by Mr. Edwin Chadwick that the plan of allowing one vote to every elector for one single candidate would be a better plan than the cumulative vote,2 but he thought it would be attended with considerable disadvantage unless the principle of the quota were adopted with it. If one constituency could return no more than one representative, then they would lose the representation of minorities. This was not what Mr. Chadwick supposes; he must contemplate that under this rule of a single vote, the constituency should return a certain number of representatives, so as to admit of the representation of minorities. Under this system it would, perhaps, happen that every party would be represented, but certainly the majority were entitled to more than an equal representation. No one wished that minorities should have the same representation as majorities. The matter must be so regulated that majorities shall be able to have more than an equal representation. By the plan Mr. Chadwick proposes, unless the quota were combined with it, it would be only favourable to candidates of the majority. The quota was the essence of Mr. Hare’s system. By the principle of it, they got beyond the cumulative vote. The debate had been extremely valuable.
[The session adjourned after votes of thanks to Hare and Mill.]
Discussion of the Contagious Diseases Acts
Sessional Proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, IV (1870-71), 269-70. Mill, a representative on the Council from the Economy and Trade Department, spoke on a motion in Council to postpone consideration of a resolution, passed at the Newcastle Congress, on the Contagious Diseases Acts until the Royal Commission had reported. He was preceded by Frederic Hill (1803-96), an Inspector of Prisons, who, strongly opposed to the policy of the Acts, spoke in favour of the postponement.
mr. john stuart millalso acquiesced, at the same time stating that his conviction as to the moral aspect of the question and the general policy of the Acts could not be influenced by any collection of facts or inquiry made by the Commission.1
The Army Bill
Daily Telegraph, 11 March, 1871, p. 5. Headed: “Our Military Expenditure.” Also reported in slightly abbreviated from in The Times and in the Daily News. The evening meeting was called by the Working Men’s Peace Association to protest against the government’s proposal to increase military expenditure. The report in The Times, which calls the meeting “extremely noisy,” says St. James’s Hall “was not half full.” Mill was in the Chair; the platform party included “a number of the representative men of the working classes.” After a letter of support from Henry Fawcett was read, Mill spoke.
ladies and gentlemen, whatever diversities aof opiniona may exist in the country as to the proper constitution of our military force, and the proper limits of its amount, I think we all have reason to unite in a profound dissatisfaction with the Government measure.1 (Hear, hear.) It is offered as a great army reform to cure the notorious defects of our military system. But what are the defects of our present system? At an expense greater than would be necessary for an army, it gives us only an army corps. If an army is to be of banyb use, it must be of use when it is wanted. But our army is vastly too large when it is not wanted, and vastly too small when it is. (Laughter and cheers.) If the time should come when we really require an army for the defence of these islands, the force we can muster is totally inadequate. We are as absolutely dependent on the Channel fleet for the safety of the country as if we had no military force at all, and we pay £14,000,000 a year for not having an army, when it costs the Prussian Government only half that sum to be able, as we have seen, to bring 500,000 trained men into the field at a fortnight’s notice. (Hear, hear, and That’s it.) This is what we have to remedy. Now, what is the remedy proposed? An increase which, except as regards the artillery, adds almost imperceptibly to our power of meeting an enemy, while to effect it £3,000,000 more a year are to be added to the present £14,000,000 cof costc , without counting any of the other millions which we are to pay for the abolition of purchase.2 (Hear.) Whatever our ideas may be of the sort of changes which are requisite, this, I think, is a kind of reform which cannot satisfy any one. (Cheers.) Efficiency is one thing, and economy is one thing, but if we are to have neither efficiency nor economy, it is time we took the matter into our own hands. (Cheers.) We should try to have—both. (Loud cheers.) I should heartily rejoice if I could conscientiously believe that we could do without an army, and could trust only to our fleet. (Hear, hear.) But no country is safe with only one line of defence, and we cannot be sure of always keeping the command of the sea without a single day’s intermission, which would be necessary if our only force were the fleet. We must remember that our navy has a great deal to do. We have possessions all over the world which in case of war we are bound to protect as well as our own islands, and we may have to contend against not one maritime Power only, but against several; and if we persist in sanctioning dby our silenced the act of our late Foreign Minister done without authority in 1856, and never ratified,3 we abandon one of our most effective edefensivee weapons—the fpowerf of attacking an enemy through his commerce. The fleet of a Power at war with us would have nothing to do but to watch gforg the opportunity of landing an army on our shores, and we should not know hwhich amongst many points would be attacked, and if our fleet were drawn off for two days by false information, the mischief might be doneh . (Hear, hear.) Such a catastrophe is not probable i—we hope it is not even possible—but wei had a narrow escape from it just before Trafalgar, and we must contemplate the possibility of our having to defend ourselves against a powerful enemy who has succeeded in effecting a landing. Now, we might as well have no means of defence, as means not sufficient to prevent the country being overrun. The great and important point is that this cannot be accomplished by any possible increase of our standing army. (Cheers.) We are living in an age when wars are made by nations in arms, and we know now how effectually an armed nation can repel an invasion. jNow that no nation is armed unless the nation in arms is ready to defend, noj country can afford to keep a standing army great enough for the purpose—and least of all we, whose military system costs us £100 ka yeark for every soldier it gives us. Henceforth our army should be our whole people trained and disciplined. (Hear, hear, and a voice, That won’t do.) Not kept in barracks for three years like the Prussians, nor even for two years which the Liberals of Prussia stood out for. What is wanted is to take every year those who have ljustl arrived at manhood—(No, no)—and to place them in military training for a few weeks or months, in the way that is found sufficient in Switzerland. (Loud cheers, and Oh!) The foundation of mthe training should be laid, as it is in Switzerland,m at school, and if it is well done, a few weeks’ training in the field in the first year of manhood makes a good soldier, and a fortnight’s drill annually for a few years afterwards suffices to keep him so. (Hear.) When a system of this sort had existed for some years, we should require no standing army except the scientific corps, and as many as might be required for garrisons in India and for colonies whose inhabitants were not yet competent for self-defence. (Hear, hear.) A citizen army in time of peace would cost the Government nothing except for the short period of its embodiment, and the loss of productive power by withdrawing from industry for a short time young men of that age would scarcely be felt, and would be more than compensated by the good effects of military training in making them more steady and vigorous for the ordinary pursuits of life. Then, if war should break out, there would be a large army quite ready, and abundant reserves ready to reinforce it if occasion required. But, it will be said, these are only raw soldiers. Well, are not a standing army raw soldiers at the first breaking-out of every war which is preceded by many years of peace? and I hope there will always be many years of peace between our wars. One would suppose it had been our practice to keep our standing army always fighting. A soldier is not like a carpenter or a sailor, whose whole life is passed in the active exercise of his profession. When the country is at peace our soldiers have no more experience of actual warfare than our citizens have. They are idle, and something worse (cheers), repeating merely elementary preparatory exercises, not the more skilled work of soldiering. Why does a man need to be constantly practising the goose step, when once he has learned it? Unless the country, therefore, like old Rome, is always at war, citizen soldiers and professionals have equally to learn their real business after the war has commenced; and the late war in America shows how well and quickly citizen soldiers learn. (Cheers.) No doubt if we were attacked by a Power with practised soldiers it would be some disadvantage to us to have none of ours; but this inconvenience must be undergone in any case, unless we are always fighting to keep our hands in; and we must nthereforen make it up by numbers, as the Prussians have done, ofor they, be it rememberedo , at the time of the Danish campaign, had no soldiers who had seen service. Let us, then, make our people our army—(cheers)—as has been done in Prussia; but let us not keep them togetherp, in time of peace,p any longer than is sufficient for training. There is no true military reform but this; and a bill which, instead of pointing in this direction, points in the opposite—which gives us a more expensive standing army than ever, and does no one thing towards making the people themselves a defensive force—is not a reform, but a continuation and an aggravation of evils. (Loud cheers.) I recognise only two things in the bill as worthy of praise. One is the increase of our artillery. Undoubtedly, this country ought to have the very best instruments of war which ingenuity can devise, and an ample supply of them and of men trained to use them; and no doubt artillerymen require long training. The other point is the abolition of purchase—(cheers)—but it is only good as part of a system, and where is the system of which it ought to be a part? The great evil of purchase is that it officers the army with idle men who have never done a day of hard, dull work in their lives (laughter and cheers), and who scorn the idea of qstudying theirq business. (Hear, hear.) But what is there in this bill to compel officers to study and understand their work as the Prussians do? The first commissions are to be given by competition, and that is good; but then promotion is to go by selection, which unless guarded by infinite precautions, means rfavouritism and all the old evilsr . (Hear, hear.) A competition at starting may keep out actual dunces and incorrigible idlers; but that ordeal once passed—and experience shows that it can be passed with a very moderate amount of exertion—what is there to hinder the army from being officered by the same sort of persons and from the same motives as at present—namely, gentlemanly excitement? (Hear, hear.) And really, if this is to continue, the abolition of purchase is not worth paying for. (Cheers.) If our armies are to be led by men who want to amuse themselves by playing at soldiers, the only good point in the whole matter is that they are made to pay handsomely for their amusement. (Laughter and Hear, hear.) Rich men may be very brave and dashing, if you will; but I sincerely hope they will never have to fight any of the nations which before many years have passed will have remodelled their armies after the Prussian pattern. (Hear.) The purchase of commissions is an evil and a blot, but it may as well be left as it is as abolished without stringent provisions that promotion shall only be possible to those men who have made a serious study of the military art. (Hear.) The bill, therefore, considered as a whole, is a step in the wrong direction. It does not appreciably strengthen us for national defence, and it contains no germs of a better system for the future. The least that can be done in such a case is to demand that, if we are not to have a better army, at least we shall not be required to pay for inefficency three millions a year more than we pay already. I therefore heartily concur in the object of the present meeting. (Loud cheers.)
[A resolution was moved, that the meeting refused to sanction an increased expenditure on the army, which was already the most costly in Europe, and regretted the weakness of a Liberal government in yielding to ill-founded alarmist fears and increasing the burden on an already over-taxed people. The proceedings were interrupted by a “knot of persons in the gallery, who exhibited a flag bearing the word ‘republic,’ and who also loudly vociferated their objection to the Princess Louise’s dowry”; the Chair “reminded the interrupters that the meeting had been called for a different purpose, and that they were at liberty to hold meetings on their own account to give ventilation to their views on those subjects” (Daily News). The motion was supported by Jacob Bright, who expressed disagreement with some views of Mill, specifically that England should be a nation of soldiers; P.A. Taylor also spoke in support, avowing agreement with Mill as to the need for a national force. After the failure of an amendment protesting against the Army Regulation Bill because it did not limit the tenure of the Commander-in-Chief or prevent German Princes from retaining commands in the Guards, the resolution was approved unanimously, and then a motion was made (on behalf of the “men of the North”) that the meeting call on the Members of Parliament to resist by all constitutional means the government’s proposals to increase military expenditure; the motion was unanimously approved, and the meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to Mill, which was approved with cheers.]
Land Tenure Reform 
Land Tenure Reform Association. Report of the Inaugural Public Meeting, Held at the Freemason’s Hall, London, Monday, 15th May, 1871 (London: Higginbottom, 1871), pp. 3-11. Reported on 16 May in The Times, the Daily Telegraph, and more briefly in the Daily News. Reprinted in the posthumous fourth volume of Dissertations and Discussions (London: Longmans, 1875), pp. 251-65. Some of the audience’s responses are taken from the newspaper reports. The evening meeting, “densely crowded,” with “all classes of reformers” filling “the great body” of the hall, was chaired by Mill, the President of the Association, who spoke first, and “was received with loud and long-continued applause”
after the great changes that have been made in our political constitution it is impossible that the laws relating to landed property should not come up for revision. (Cheers.) It is a rule, to which history as yet furnishes few exceptions, that nations are governed by their landed proprietors. (Hear.) At all events, they have ruled this country; not despotically, for the people, in the last five centuries, have always had some share in the government; but the landlords, and those who looked forward to being landlords, have had the command of Parliament up to the last Reform Act, and still wield enormous power. (Hear.) The making of the laws which concern themselves has been in their own hands; and they have used the power as people generally do use power, for the promotion chiefly of their own objects. (Laughter and cheers.) I do not charge them with any special perversity, or with being worse in any respect than people usually are. They shared the common infirmity of human nature, which it requires a rare strength of character to overcome. (Hear.) It must be said also of our landed classes of the present and of recent times, that they did not make these selfish laws, but inherited them. Their own minds were enslaved by traditional notions handed down from ancestors more overbearing, more tyrannical, less capable of understanding the rights of other people, than any one is now. We ought to feel the greatest indulgence for the difficulty they have in freeing themselves from these mental trammels; and we should make our appeal, not only to the public, but to the more high-minded and open-minded of the landowners themselves, of whom there are a great number, to use their minds on these questions, and help us to get rid of the effects of past injustice. (Cheers.)
For the injustice, truly, was great. I pass over the original title by which landed property was acquired, which we know, in this country, was for the most part foreign conquest. Nor need I expatiate on the slavery, or serfdom, in which the rural population were kept for so many centuries; for that has long been at an end. I confine myself to evils which are still unremedied, and I remark that the land was formerly held subject to the obligation of personal service in time of war, and many burdensome dues of the Crown in time of peace, from all of which, in the reign of Charles II, the landlords relieved themselves; and what did they grant to the Crown instead? An excise on beer!1 (Laughter.) Soon after this came the Revolution of 1688, which, among other characteristics, had one not sufficiently noticed by historians; it was a revolution made by the towns against the country gentlemen. One of the fruits of it was a tax on the land, of 4s. in the pound,2 which at that time may have been considered an equivalent for the burdens which had been taken off the landlords. But the lands were rated to the tax at a fixed valuation, made by the landlords to begin with, and which, in spite of the enormous increase in the value of land, has never since been raised; so that the nominal 4s. does not now exceed a real 1s., while on the vast town properties which have been created by the extension of building it is often only a fraction of a penny.
That is the first great wrong done to the nation by the landed interest. The second is this:—The rights of landed proprietors were in many cases legally limited by rights of common enjoyed by the neighbouring inhabitants. These rights the landlords have been gradually absorbing; formerly, often by downright usurpation; latterly, by the machinery of private Acts of Parliament and the Enclosure Commissioners; and they are even now pursuing the same course, dividing among themselves every year thousands of acres which ought to be left open for the enjoyment or cultivated for the benefit of the people. While this process of absorption has been going on, a set of laws have been in force, made by the landlords, and intended to make sure that no land which once got within their grip should ever get out of it. The laws of landed tenure have been contrived for the purpose of keeping together the largest possible landed possessions in the families which already hold the land; and though these laws have been considerably relaxed in the progress of improvement, such is still their practical effect. So much are the power and dignity of the class the first object, that to it are sacrificed the interests and wishes of the very persons who for the time being represent the class. When land is in settlement, as most land is, the landowner has only a life interest in what is called his property; he can neither sell it, nor bequeath it, nor even grant leases exceeding, I believe, 21 years.3 The landlord himself is denied the full use of the land, for fear that some of it should go out of the family into other hands. (Cheers.)
It is time that this mode of dealing with landed property, as if it existed for the power and dignity of the proprietary class and not for the general good, should henceforth cease. This Association acknowledges no other legitimate end of landed property than the interest we all have in the proper application of the land to the wants of the human race. The Association recognizes no rights to land that are not subordinate to this: and they have inscribed in their programme a series of measures intended to bring back landed property to this its rightful purpose.4 (Cheers.)
Some of the articles of our programme it is sufficient just to mention, because, though very important, they are of so moderate a character that they hardly need any justification. For example, it is quite unnecessary that I should say anything against the law of primogeniture, for that is sure to go. The present Government have taken that task upon themselves.5 (Hear.) Something must be said about the laws of settlement and entail, by which land can be settled on a series of persons one after another, ending with one who is perhaps unborn, and until this unborn child comes of age the land cannot be sold, nor any change be made in the order of descent. Now, whether any other kind of property, in the funds for instance, should be allowed to be bequeathed in this manner, need not now be considered; but the land is too precious to the whole community to be detained by legal fetters in the hands of those who cannot make the best use of it. Land tied up from alienation stagnates in the hands of the idler, the spendthrift, the incapable; allow it to be sold, and they are soon obliged to part with it to the askilfula , the energetic, the enterprising. (Cheers.) If the law allows land to be private property, it should be as marketable a commodity, sold and bought with as little restriction, as any article of commerce. This was an object very dear to Mr. Cobden, who thought that free trade in land would end by bringing a great part of the land into the hands of the people:6 and many excellent persons, of strong popular sympathies, go thus far, who have not yet been able to reconcile themselves to going with us any further. I will say no more on this point, as I have to speak of others which require explanation much more.
We hold that all property in land is subject to the will of the State. This is the broad principle on which our claims are founded, and which, as long as it is confined to theory, few will dispute. Land—and by land I mean the whole material of the earth, underground as well as above—not having been made by man, but being the gift of nature to the whole human race, could only be appropriated by the consent, either express or tacit, of society: and society remains the interpreter of its own permission; with power to make conditions, with power even to revoke its consent, on giving due compensation to the interests that it has allowed to grow up. There is an Association, known as the Land and Labour League, which maintains that society ought to exert this bextremeb right.7 According to them, all the land of the country should be nationalized, and the rents paid into the Exchequer, compensation being made to the proprietors. This opinion the Land Tenure Reform Association does not as a body adopt. Many members of the Land and Labour League, waiving differences of opinion, are members also of this Association, but it contains many other members who are of a contrary opinion. Speaking for myself individually, I should say that the thing might rightfully be done, if it were expedient to do it, and I do not know that it may not be reserved for us in the future; but at present I decidedly do not think it expedient. I have so poor an opinion of State management (cheers), or municipal management either (hear, and laughter) that I am afraid many years would elapse before the revenue realized for the State would be sufficient to pay the indemnity which would be justly claimed by the dispossessed proprietors. It requires, I fear, a greater degree of public virtue and public intelligence than has yet been attained (laughter) to administer all the land of a country like this on the public account. (Cheers.) The administration of the waste lands is as much, I think, as we are at present equal to. At all events, I think we had better make a beginning with that, and give a thorough trial to collective before we substitute it for individual management. And since I have been led to speak of the waste lands, I will next explain that part of the Society’s programme which concerns them.
The greatest stickler for the rights of property will hardly deny that if cland, the gift of nature to us all, is allowed to be the private property ofc some of us, it is in order that it may be cultivated. Every defence of the institution of landed property that I have met with, declares that to be its object. Why, then, should any land be appropriated that is not cultivated? Observe, by cultivated, I do not mean ploughed up. Pasturage is as necessary, in this country even more necessary, than corn land; and woodland is necessary too. I do not make war against parks; they are already very productive pasturage, almost the best sheep pastures we have; and the extreme beauty of many of them, a kind of beauty found in no country but this, and which is our chief compensation for the paleness of our sun and sky, should make us prize them as a national benefit. I should be sorry to see the trees cut down, and the ground laid out as farms are laid out now, in ugly squares of cornfield, without even hedgerows to separate them. I own, however, that I do not think the possessors should have power to bar out the public from the sight and enjoyment of this beauty. With reasonable reservation for privacy, I think that parks should be open to the public, as, to the credit of the owners, many are now. But what we are at present concerned with is the wastes,—the really wild lands, which are still as nature left them, producing nothing except wild animals and spontaneous vegetation. Now, I don’t say that it was wrong not to cultivate these lands. I don’t say that all of them ought to be cultivated now; but I say that, cultivated or not, they ought to belong to the nation. If a common is not to be cultivated, why should any man be allowed to put a fence round it and exclude the rest of the world? If it is to be cultivated, what excuse is there for dividing it among the landowners, instead of keeping it for the people? Even if some landlord had a legal right to cultivate it, a right not used for so many centuries has fairly lapsed by disuse. But in general nobody has the right, and whoever wishes to cultivate must ask permission from Parliament. What has kept some good lands uncultivated is that a great many persons have rights of common, entitling them to use the spontaneous produce. When the lord of the manor and all the commoners agree, they can divide the land among themselves and enclose it.8 Fortunately, a single public-spirited commoner, refusing his consent, can frustrate this beautiful arrangement; and in this way, quite recently, Berkhampstead and Plumstead and other commons have been saved. When the commoners do not all consent, or when there are too many of them to be bought out one by one, application is made to the Enclosure Commissioners, who put the common into their annual Bill and divide it among the landholders. As the 30,000 persons who share among them the cultivated soil of this island have not yet, as it appears, got land enough, Parliament throws in every year many thousand acres more, to which it is not even pretended that they have a right.
And observe at whose cost this has been done. The rural labourers had once (it was a long time ago) a very substantial benefit from the waste lands. Most of them occupied cottages on or near some common or green, and could feed a cow or a few geese upon it. The cottager had then something, though it was but little, that he could call his own; he did not absolutely depend for daily food on daily wages or parish assistance: when the common was taken away he had to sell his cow or his geese, and sink into the dependent, degraded condition of an English agricultural labourer. He often got no compensation: when he did, if it was even a little bit of the land, he was soon cheated out of it or persuaded to sell it, the money was quickly spent, and his children were no better for it. They would have been much better for the cow and the geese. In modern Enclosure Bills there are sometimes, though by no means always, a few wretched acres reserved for recreation ground and garden allotments; by which last phrase are meant small patches of ground, not given to the labourers, but which they are allowed to hire at enormous rents. There is now before the House of Commons a Bill brought in by the Government, which professes to be a reform of this system. And what does the Bill say? It says that in future, when a common is enclosed, a tenth part of it shall be reserved for recreation and allotments—provided that this tenth does not exceed 50 acres9 (laughter). More than 50 acres are not to be reserved on any account, not even if the Enclosure Commissioners should do so unheard-of a thing as to propose it. Fifty acres, out of sometimes 1,500 or 2,000! Fifty acres for the people; all the rest for the 30,000! What a state of things it must be when such a proposal as this is called, and really is, an improvement! (Loud cheers.)
The Land Tenure Reform Association invite the public to join in uncompromising opposition to this system. We demand, not fewer enclosures or larger reservations, but no more enclosures at all, unless for the benefit of the people. Let lords of manors and commoners receive a money equivalent for the profits they now derive from their rights in the land, and let the land itself be vested in some public authority in trust for the nation. The first thing to be done is what was proposed in the House of Commons by Mr. Winterbotham—let us hope that, now when he is in the Government, he will endeavour to obtain it for us—a general survey of the waste lands.10 When it has been made known what they are, their quantity, their quality, and their situation, then appoint a Commission to consider and report what portion of them should be kept open for the enjoyment of the lovers of natural freedom and beauty, and what part should be cultivated for the benefit, not of the rich, but of the poor. And let the first thought be for the most depressed part of our working population, the wretchedly paid, downtrodden, semi-pauperised, agricultural labourers. The experience of allotments has shown how much the occupation of land, even on the most extortionate terms, can do for these neglected creatures. The allotments are generally the worst land in the parish, but the produce they raise from it is prodigious, and enables them to pay exorbitant rents. Let them have it at rents that are not exorbitant: and when they have had it long enough to show that they are capable of managing it properly, let them have long leases at fixed rents; and when a labourer has shown that he knows how to make good use of a little land, give him more. (Cheers.) When possible, make the engagements with associations of labourers, combining their labour, that the great principle of co-operative industry may have a fair trial on the land. By these improvements, honestly conducted by persons who desire their success, a new life may be breathed into our unfortunate agricultural population, while a fair share of the value given to the lands by reclamation would go in relief of the general taxation of the country. (Loud cheers.)
But the commons are not the only lands in the kingdom which have as yet been kept out of private hands. There are also the great estates of public bodies and endowed institutions. (Cheers.) Of all the abuses and malversations in the management of public matters in this country, the abuses of endowments are the most flagrant. (Hear, hear.) It begins to be felt that the whole of them ought to be taken in hand by the nation and thoroughly reformed; and a thorough reform in most cases means that their lands should either be managed for them by the State, or taken away altogether, such of them as are fit to be continued receiving money endowments instead. If this were done, a great extent of landed possessions would be at the disposal of the nation; and with all the defects of State management, management by endowed institutions is generally so much worse, that even after giving them full compensation, to which many of them are by no means entitled, a considerable surplus would probably be realised for the State. Much of this is town property; a distinguished member of this Association, who knows the subject officially, can tell you, that one may walk for several miles across London without once taking his foot off the property of some endowed institution.11 I have seen it estimated that a fifth part of London belongs to them. It is well known how great a hindrance the obstinate selfishness of the owners of house property opposes to that most urgent reform, the improvement of the dwellings of the working classes. If those lands were resumed, what facilities would be afforded for that, as well as for open spaces, public gardens, co-operative buildings, useful public institutions, sanitary measures, and generally for all improvements that are beneficial to the poorer classes. (Cheers.)
These are our purposes with regard to the lands which are not yet swallowed up in the possessions of private individuals. It remains to tell you what we propose respecting lands which belong to private owners.12
The Association does not propose to resume these lands, nor to take from the holders by a forced sale any part of the value which they have already acquired. We leave undisturbed present possessions. But there is an incident of landed property which goes beyond present possession, and which we do not feel bound to respect. Land is limited in quantity, while the demand for it, in a prosperous country, is constantly increasing. The rent, therefore, and the price, which depends on the rent, progressively rises, not through the exertion or expenditure of the owners, to which we should not object, but by the mere growth of wealth and population. The incomes of landowners are rising while they are sleeping, through the general prosperity produced by the labour and outlay of other people. Some people ask—But why single out the land? Does not all property rise in value with the increase of prosperity? I answer, no. All other property fluctuates in value, now up, now down. I defy anyone to show any kind of property, not partaking of the soil, and sufficiently important to be worth considering, which tends steadily upward, without anything being done by the owners to give it increased value. So far from it, that the other of the two kinds of property that yield income, namely capital, instead of increasing, actually diminishes in value as society advances; the poorer the country, or the further back we go in history, the higher we find the interest of money to be. Land alone—using land as a general term for the whole material of the earth—has the privilege of steadily rising in value from natural causes; and the reason is that land is strictly limited in quantity: the supply does not increase to meet the constant increase of demand. The Land Tenure Reform Association see no grounds of justice upon which this surplus value, the creation of society itself, should be abandoned to the landholders. We think it, for example, consummately unreasonable that because certain families, or their progenitors two or three generations ago, happened to own land over which this great capital, or other large towns, have since extended themselves, the estates of these families should now be worth millions of money, to which they have contributed nothing either in work or expenditure except signing leases. Well would it have been if this diversion of the public wealth had been foreseen and guarded against long ago: let us at least prevent any more gigantic fortunes from being built up in a similar manner. The Association claims for the State the right to impose special taxation upon the land, equivalent to its special advantage. Some writers and others, who do not know the meaning of words, call this confiscation; although we tell them that if any landlord objects to it, we are ready to hold him harmless, by taking the land off his hands at its present selling price. This is all he would have been entitled to if his land had been taken for a railroad; and if this is confiscation, every Railway Act is confiscation too. For my part, I am well convinced that landlords will prefer to retain their land even on the altered conditions. But if any landlord finds that the State does him an injustice, by laying on a tax more than equivalent to the natural increase of his rent, we leave the original offer still open; he may at any time avail himself of it, by accepting the sum first tendered, with the addition of compensation for any improvement made in the meantime by himself. (Cheers.)
By this reform, if the country remains prosperous, a considerable revenue will in time be obtained by the State from the increased value of land. It would not begin to come in immediately, because time must be allowed for the increased value to accrue. But I see no reason why the State should not grant, to any landlord who desires it, a lease of its prospective rights; allowing him to free himself for life, or for a term of years, from the claim of the State on the increase of his rental, by paying during that period a fixed annual sum; whereby the State would obtain a part of the pecuniary benefit at once. Or he might commute the claim for an extra succession duty on any vacancy that occurred within the term.
These are the principles and the proposals of the Land Tenure Reform Association. There are persons to whom these measures appear extremely audacious and subversive. I expect rather that those who come after us may think our proposals very moderate and timid. For it is easy to foresee that this country, and all Europe, are entering upon an era in which they will have to discuss novelties far more alarming, and which will kindle much fiercer passions than these. To confine myself to the subject of land, the idea of an entire abolition of landed property is taking a strong hold on an active and stirring portion of the working classes. Ours is an honest attempt to find a middle ground of compromise, which, avoiding individual injustice, and sparing past acquisitions, shall maintain the right of the entire community to all that it has not yet parted with, and finally close the door to any further private appropriation of what should belong to the public. It does not seem to me that this is too much for the landed interest to concede; and less than this there is not the smallest chance that the working classes will long accept. Even those who take the most unfavourable view of the changes in our social arrangements which are demanded with increasing energy in behalf of the working classes, would be wise to consider that when claims are made which are partly just and partly beyond the bounds of justice, it is no less politic than honest to concede with a good will all that is just, and take their defensive stand on the line, if they are able to find it, which separates justice from injustice. (Loud cheers.)
[The first resolution asserted that the laws relating to landed tenure should be altered so as to serve the general interest rather than that of a class; an amendment by M.J. (“Citizen”) Boon (Brook in the Daily Telegraph), seconded by J. Johnson (“a rough-looking fellow,” who said he was called “Johnson the Second” [The Times]), that the Land Tenure Reform Association was not worthy of working-class support because it did not favour land nationalization, was rejected by a large majority, and the resolution was carried. A second motion was moved that the meeting approved the formation of the Land Tenure Reform Association. It was announced by Mill that Odger, who was to have supported it, though present was too indisposed to speak; an amendment by John Cunnington, a farmer, opposing minute subdivisions of land in cooperative ventures, failed to find a seconder, and the motion passed. Then Weston moved thanks to Mill, emphasizing that it was no mere formality, but came from the heart, and saying: “Not only is the Chairman entitled to our thanks for the able and enlightened address to which we have listened this evening, and for the thoroughly impartial manner in which he has performed the duties of Chairman, but . . . he is still more entitled to our thanks for placing himself at the head of an Association, which, though it does not go in exactly for nationalization, goes a very long way in that direction. . . .” The resolution was carried by acclamation, and the meeting concluded.]
Land Tenure Reform 
Land Tenure Reform Association. Report of the Public Meeting, held at Exeter Hall, London, on Tuesday, March 18th, 1873 (London: Offices of the Association, 1873), pp. 3-8. Reported on 19 March in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily News. Reprinted in the posthumous fourth volume of Dissertations and Discussions (London: Longmans, 1875), pp. 278-87. Some of the audience’s responses are taken from the newspaper accounts. The large evening meeting was chaired by Mill, the President of the Association, who was enthusiastically received, and spoke first.
in invoking the assistance of this meeting to our efforts for Land Tenure Reform, many explanations that would have been absolutely necessary as lately as two years ago may now be dispensed with. It is no longer necessary to begin at the very beginning to show how there comes to be a land question, and what the question is. The newspapers and the speeches of Members of Parliament and others are full of it; friends and enemies have alike helped to bring it into notice; and we now read everywhere of Land Tenure Reform, and the unearned increment of rent.
Most of you probably know, at least in a general way, the creed and aims of the Land Reformers, and I need only, at present, briefly remind you of them. We hold that land—in which term we include mines (cheers) and the whole raw material of the globe—is a kind of property unlike any other. The rights of private individuals to something which they did not make, or help to make, but which came to them by bequest or inheritance from people who also did not make it, or help to make it, are a totally different thing from the right of everyone to the product of his own labours and sacrifices, or to the product of the labours and sacrifices of those who freely gave it to him. (Hear, hear.) What a man has earned by his labour, or by the expenditure of what has been saved from previous earnings, he has a fair claim to do what he likes with, subject only to the general rules of morality. But he who detains the land—a thing not made by man, a thing necessary to life, and of which there is not enough for all—is in a privileged position. Whether it is right or wrong that he should be in such a position, he is so. He is, in a word, a monopolist (loud cheers); and a monopoly should be exercised, not at the mere will and pleasure of the possessor, but in the manner most consistent with the general good; the State has exactly the same right to control it that it has to control, for instance, the railways. (Cheers.)
The Land Reformers are of opinion that the time has arrived for the State to re-assert this right, to correct the abuses of landed property, and adapt it better to the wants and interests of the community considered as a whole. How far the modifications should reach is a point on which all Land Reformers are not yet agreed. I need only speak of those which are advocated by this Association. Without going the length of those who think that the nation should re-possess itself of all private lands, subject to a just compensation, we yet maintain that at least no further appropriation of lands which are not already private property should be permitted. (Cheers.) We protest against the conversion of public or corporate lands into private property. (Cheers.) Still more indignantly do we protest against any more Acts of Parliament for dividing the common lands of the country among the neighbouring landholders. (Loud cheers.) Instead of giving the lands to the rich, and a miserable apretencea of compensation to the poor, we insist that the lands should be for the poor, and the compensation for the rich (laughter and cheers)—compensation for what their manorial and other rights now bring in to them; for the most part a very small value. (Hear.) We further maintain that permission to own the land does not necessarily carry with it a right to the increase of value which the land is constantly acquiring by the mere progress of the public prosperity. We affirm that this spontaneous increase of value may justly be taken for the public by means of special taxation. These are the two chief points of our programme:—First, no more land, under any pretext, to become the private property of individuals (cheers); secondly, taxation on the land, in order to give the benefit of its natural increase of value to the whole community, instead of to the proprietors, these being allowed the option of relinquishing the land at its present money value. (Cheers.)
Let us consider these points one by one.1
Few persons are less inclined than I am to call hard names; it is generally best, even when we are protesting against an injustice, to protest against it under the most moderate appellation which it admits of. But there are cases when things ought to be called by names which throw no veil over their enormity, and I confess that I cannot speak of the existing practice of dividing the common lands among the landlords by any gentler name than robbery—robbery of the poor. (Cheers.) It will, of course, be said that people cannot be robbed of what is not theirs, and that the commons are not the legal property of the poor. Certainly not; our masters have taken care of that. (Cheers.) They have taken care that the poor shall not acquire property by custom, as all other bclassesb have done. But if the commons are not the property of the poor, they are just as little the property of those who take them. They cannot make them their property without an Act of Parliament, and they have had no difficulty in obtaining any number of such Acts from two Houses of their own making as often as they pleased, whether the Government was Liberal or Conservative. (Hear.) It is only in the last three years that they have been forced, to their own great indignation, to grant a temporary respite, chiefly by the public-spirited exertions of Professor Fawcett2 (cheers) and of that very valuable body, the Commons Preservation Society.3 The commons are not the private property of anyone. Their history has been written in several recent books,4 and should be known to every man, woman, and child. There was a time when much of the land of the country was not appropriated, but was open to all the population of the neighbourhood to feed their cattle, and occasionally to grow corn upon it, turn and turn about, without permanent occupancy. When, for the sake of better agriculture, this system had to be given up, the land ought at least to have been fairly portioned out among all who were interested in it. Instead of this, a great part was usurped with a high hand by the powerful landholders, at a time when few dared resist them; another great part has since been filched away by the successors of the same people, in the more civilized method of Enclosure Acts.5 The commons of the present day are what is left. We are willing to condone the past, if they will only leave us the remainder. (Loud cries of No, no.) The private rights that exist in those lands are limited rights. The Lord of the Manor has rights, the principal of which is the exclusive right of killing game. The neighbours have what are called rights of common—that is, rights of pasturage, of wood-cutting, of turf-cutting, and, in general, rights to the spontaneous produce of the soil; and those rights have hitherto been sufficient to prevent the land from being enclosed and cultivated.
The question is therefore quite fresh, and open to the judgment of the nation, whether it will suffer these lands to be enclosed and cultivated; and, if at all, for whose benefit? Hitherto, it has been for the benefit of the landlords. The Law Courts hold that none but landholders have rights of common, and that no one else is entitled either to a share of land or to compensation for its being taken caway from thec people. It matters not though every cottager who had a cow, or a pig, or a goose, may, from time immemorial, have turned them out to feed on the common. The Courts are constantly making new law; but they would not make law for that. Yet they could have done so if they liked. They have never had any difficulty in converting custom into law. The bulk of our law consists of customs which have been made law by decisions of the Courts. (Hear, hear.) They could just as easily have decided, had they so pleased, that the whole population had common rights as that the landlords had; but they did not so please. In spite of this, however, the commons are not property for purposes of cultivation; and when Parliament, by a special Act, removes the obstacles to their cultivation, Parliament by so doing creates a new and valuable property which has not yet passed into private hands, and which, retained by the State, would be a source of considerable revenue. If Parliament dprofessd to give this property away gratis, is it to the rich that it should be given? (No!) To create a valuable property for the rich by expelling the poor from that use of the land for pasturage which they enjoyed in practice, though not by legal right, and along with it from the use of the land for healthful recreation, and from the power of wandering over it at will when they have no other place in which to enjoy Nature except dusty roads—can anything be more like Ahab the King’s seizure of Naboth’s little vineyard,6 or the rich man in the parable, who, with his great flocks and herds, could not be happy without robbing his poor neighbour of his single ewe lamb?7 (Hear, and cheers.)
I shall be accused, I suppose, of exciting your passions. (Laughter.) I am not ashamed of the charge. I want to excite your passions. (Cheers.) Without passion we shall never get this great iniquity put an end to. (Hear, hear.) Our Liberal Government is as bad on this subject as the Tories (hear, hear)—perhaps even worse. (Loud cheers.) The passion of the many is needed to conquer the self-interest of the few. (Cheers.) That is the proper use of political passion. Its improper use is when it is directed against persons. Great allowance ought to be made for people who merely go on doing what they and their predecessors have long done, and have never until quite recently been told that it was unjust. Let them learn that, without any hatred of them, we stand here for justice. Once take away their power of doing this wrong, and before long their eyes will be unsealed, and they will see the injustice as clearly as we see it. (Cheers.)
The other of the two chief points of our programme—the claim of the State to the unearned increase of rent8 —requires rather more explanation, as it is not yet equally familiar, though the time has already come when it is listened to, and it is probably destined to become an article of the creed of advanced reformers.
The land of the world—the raw material of the globe—in all prosperous countries constantly increases in value. The landlord need only sit still and let nature work for him; or, to speak truly, not nature, but the labour of other men. (Cheers.) What is it that has produced the prodigiously increased demand for building land, which has created the colossal fortunes of the Grosvenors, the Portmans, the Stanleys, and others of our great families?9 It is the growth of manufactures and the increase of towns. And what has produced that? Your labour and outlay; not that of the landlords. (Cheers.) The same labour and outlay—namely, yours, not theirs—produces a steady increase of demand for agricultural and mining products, causing prices to rise and rents to increase. No other portion of the community has a similar advantage. The labouring classes do not find their wages steadily rising as their numbers increase; and even capital—its interest and profit—instead of increasing, brings a less and less percentage as wealth and population advance. The landlords alone are in possession of a strict monopoly, becoming more and more lucrative whether they do anything or nothing for the soil. (Hear, hear.) This is eof littlee consequence in a country like America, where there is plenty of unused land, waiting for any one who chooses to go and cultivate it; but in an old country like ours, with limited land and a growing population, it is a great and increasing grievance.
We want the people of England to say to the landlords, “You are welcome to every increase of rent that you can show to be the effect of anything you have done for the land; but what you get by the mere rise of the price of your commodity compared with others—what you gain by our loss—is not the effect of your exertions, but of ours, and not you (cheers), but we ought to have it.” (Loud cheers.) They will say, “But we bought our land as a property increasing in value, and the probable increase was considered in the price.” Our answer to that is, “If you are dissatisfied, give up the land (cheers); we will pay you back what you gave for it, and even what you could have sold it for yesterday morning. (No, no, and cheers.) That is all you have a right to; we give you that, and the nation will gain the difference between the present and future value.” It does not seem to me possible to contest the justice of this arrangement, provided it can be made to work, but many persons think that it would not work. They say it would be impossible to ascertain the amount of the unearned increase of rent. It would be impossible, if we attempted to cut too close. The amount could not be ascertained within a few pounds.
But we do not want to attempt anything impracticable: neither do we wish to be harsh. We are willing to leave an ample margin for mistakes; but we demand the recognition of the principle, that a kind of property which rises in value while other kinds remain stationary or fall, may justly on that account, be subjected to special taxation. When it is notorious that rents have increased, and are increasing, not only where there has been improvement by the landlord, but where there has been no improvement, or improvement solely by the tenant, a tax which takes from the landlord no more than that increase is within the just rights of the State. It might be necessary to have a periodical valuation of the rental of the country, say once in ten or once in twenty years. The landlords could easily keep a record of their improvements. Let them retain all increase which they could show to be of their own creating, make a fair allowance for any diminution of the value of money, give them the benefit of every doubt, and lay on the remainder as a tax to the State. If the country continues prosperous, this tax would in time produce a considerable revenue, to the great relief of the taxpayers; while any landlord who thought himself harshly dealt with could avail himself of the option of resigning his land on the terms originally offered—namely, at the price he could have obtained for it before the introduction of the new system. (Cheers.)
This is our doctrine of the unearned increment, and you may depend on it that the difficulties which people are afraid of would prove, when fairly faced, to be little more than phantoms. The valuation of land for purposes of taxation is the general practice of Europe; a re-valuation is made occasionally everywhere, and periodically in the greater part of British India. It would only remain to have a valuation of improvements, fbut thisf is now acknowledged to be not only practicable, but indispensable, as the basis of a just tenant right. There is nothing a Government can do that does not look frightfully difficult, until we consider how much more difficult things a Government already does. Every attempt to apportion taxation fairly among the different members of the community is as difficult and in its complete perfection as impossible as what we propose. gItg is far easier than to make a just income-tax, and would not give rise to anything like the same amount of unfairness and fraud. (Hear, hear.)
Let us, then, with steady perseverance, continue to spread our principles and we need have no fear that the seed will fall on barren ground.10 (Cheers.) There are many circumstances at the present time to encourage us, and the most encouraging of all, as it is the most unexpected, is the awakening of the agricultural labourers. (Loud cheers.) That most neglected, and, as it hhas hithertoh seemed, most helpless portion of the labouring ipopulationi , has risen up, and has found a voice, which can, and which will, make itself heard by the makers of our laws. (Cheers.) No class has so direct an interest in the reform of the land system as the farm labourers; it is on State lands that they may hope to see the experiment tried, fairly and on a sufficient scale, of the management of the farm by and for the hands that till it. (Cheers.) For the first time, the Land Reformers have the prospect of intelligent support from those who would gain more than any one else by their success. The Agricultural Labourers’ Union is a most important ally to us (hear, hear); and we, I hope, shall be useful allies to them.11 Already they and we have worked together at several public meetings, and we are working together to-night. But whether there be concerted and organized co-operation or not, whatever is gained by either is a gain to both. We may therefore look forward with full confidence to a rapidly increasing success. (Loud cheers.)
[The first resolution condemned the division of common lands among landlords, and opposed the passing of Crown or public lands into private hands, asserting that they should be administered for the general interest and in particular for the labouring classes; it was passed unanimously. A second, opposed to primogeniture, entail, and the system of land transfer, was moved and an amendment in favour of nationalization having failed to obtain a majority in the view of the Chair (though some of its supporters disagreed) was approved. A third resolution, favouring special taxation of any increase of rent not resulting from labour or capital, was carried unanimously. A vote of thanks to the Chair was carried with cheers as the meeting concluded.]
Fun, 28 March, 1868, facing p. 28
[1 ]Michel Chevalier (1806-79), who was present and later spoke, had been instrumental in securing the “Treaty of Commerce between France and Great Britain” (23 Jan., 1860) (in The Consolidated Treaty Series, ed. Clive Perry [Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications], Vol. 121, pp. 243-58).
[2 ]François Barthélemy Arlès-Dufour (1797-1872), also present, who had been a Saint-Simonian ally and a friend of Cobden’s, was another agent in the treaty of 1860.
[3 ]George Walker (1824-88) had written extensively on U.S. and international banking and currency questions.
[a-a]+MS, TT [in third person, past tense]
[b]Manuscript , I say,
[g-g]Manuscript certain potent] MS,DT some important
[h]Manuscript for themselves
[i-i]Manuscript portion of the community as
[j-j]Manuscript cared for
[l-l]Manuscript as P . . . only consider the various social . . . as P] MS,DT Every improvement that characterised the present age would be found tending in the same direction.
[m-m]Manuscript There is not one of them which can be even tolerably
[n-n]Manuscript a share in
[o-o]Manuscript classes of the community
[p-p]Manuscript indeed of
[t-t]Manuscript the natural sphere of women
[v-v]Manuscript the natural sphere of women
[w-w]Manuscript appears to have fully made
[1 ]Shakespeare, Othello, II, i, 160; in The Riverside Shakespeare, p. 1213.
[y-y]Manuscript great public
[b-b]Manuscript [not in italics]
[c-c]Manuscript has given an impulse, such as had never
[2 ]In fact a similar Bill had been introduced in the previous session (see No. 99, where the Bill of 1857 is also referred to); the measure had been brought forward again as “A Bill to Amend the Law with Respect to the Property of Married Women,” 32 Victoria (25 Feb., 1869), PP, 1868-69, III, 427-30, but was not enacted.
[g-g]Manuscript were not
[l-l]Manuscript extend to
[m-m]Manuscript with that
[1 ]By Clauses 7 and 14, it allowed denominational instruction by teachers paid out of State funds.
[b-b]TT] P,DT alterations that are promised] Manuscript promised attenuations
[2 ]A suggestion made on 18 March by William Francis Cowper-Temple (1811-88), M.P. for Hampshire South (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 200, col. 289) that religious instruction be given at the beginning or end of the school day was incorporated into a successful amendment; see Sect. 7 of 33 & 34 Victoria, c. 75. Gladstone, in his Speech on the Elementary Education Bill (18 Mar.), col. 301, indicated that concessions would be made.
[3 ]By 32 & 33 Victoria, c. 42 (1869).
[d-d]DT dictate to the larger part of England and Wales their religion at the risk
[4 ]By Clause 7, the “conscience clause.”
[e-e]DT a mean
[f-f]DT It is true, we are told,] Manuscript We may be told, indeed,
[5 ]Gladstone, speech of 18 March, col. 302.
[g-g]DT hour set apart] Manuscript extra hours
[6 ]Adderley, Speech on the Elementary Education Bill (18 Mar., 1870), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 200, cols. 227-36.
[i-i]DT liberty] -Manuscript
[7 ]By Clause 6.
[k-k]Manuscript not probably, in
[8 ]William Edward Forster, Speech on the Elementary Education Bill (14 Mar., 1870), ibid., Vol. 199, col. 1946.
[9 ]Anthony John Mundella (1825-97), M.P. for Sheffield, Speech on the Elementary Education Bill (18 Mar., 1870), ibid., Vol. 200, cols. 240-2.
[10 ]By Clause 22.
[11 ]Leading article on the Education Bill, The Times, 21 Mar., 1870, p. 9.
[n-n]DT,Manuscript] P,TT for
[o-o]DT House of Commons] Manuscript principal speakers in support of the Bill
[12 ]In addition to Forster and Adderley, cited above, Alexander Beresford-Hope (1820-87), then M.P. for Cambridge University, Speech on the Elementary Education Bill (15 Mar., 1870), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 199, cols. 2021-6.
[p-p]Manuscript] P,DT,TT [not in italics]
[r-r]Manuscript It is not the poor and weak who
[t-t]Manuscript [paragraph] It appears however that
[u-u]Manuscript as P . . . attend a school . . . as P] DT when their own opinions, but when other people’s opinions are taught in schools
[v-v]DT very idea of the] Manuscript very
[a-a]DN,DT,TT] P practical
[b-b]DN,DT,TT at present disgrace the country [DN,TT in past tense]
[1 ]27 & 28 Victoria, c. 85 (1864), which was superseded by 29 Victoria, c. 35 (1866), and the Act that amended the latter, 32 & 33 Victoria, c. 96 (1869).
[2 ]The Ladies’ National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts was headed by Josephine Butler (1828-1906). Harriet Martineau (1802-76) was a vigorous contributor to the campaign, her articles in the Daily News leading at the end of 1869 to the formal Women’s Protest signed by 2000 women published in the Daily News. Among the signatories were Florence Nightingale, Mary Carpenter, Priscilla McLaren (sister of John and Jacob Bright), and their sister Margaret Lucas. The last was on the platform at this meeting, as were Ursula Bright (Jacob’s wife), and Frances Bailey Martineau (married to Harriet Martineau’s nephew, Russell).
[3 ]“A Bill to Remove the Electoral Disabilities of Women,” 33 Victoria (16 Feb., 1870), PP, 1870, IV, 799 (not enacted).
[1 ]I.e., “A Bill to Provide for Public Elementary Education in England and Wales,” 33 Victoria (17 Feb., 1870), which had been introduced by William Edward Forster as the Minister responsible for education, and was enacted in August 1870 as 33 & 34 Victoria, c. 75.
[2 ]The National Education League, which grew out of the Birmingham Education Society’s efforts, beginning in 1868, to secure a national secular education.
[3 ]“On the New Education Bill,” pp. 266-8.
[4 ]Foster Barham Zincke (1817-93), a Chaplain to the Queen, had spoken immediately before Mill (Sessional Proceedings, III, 346-7).
[5 ]In “On the New Education Bill,” p. 262, Chadwick cites (giving as his source a private letter) this comment by James Fraser (1818-85), who became Bishop of Manchester in 1870, and had formerly served on the Royal Commission on Education in 1858-59, and reported on the schools of Canada and the U.S.A. in 1866 (PP, 1867, XXVI, 293-435).
[6 ]Edwin Pears (1835-1919), Sessional Proceedings, III, 345.
[7 ]The Vestry of St. Pancras had become notorious for financial scandals, bad management (especially in the over-crowded workhouse), inadequate sanitation, and turbulent meetings.
[8 ]Given Mill’s close relations with Chadwick (who was in the Chair at this meeting) and his sustained interest in the Poor Law reform of 1834, it is odd that he appears to be mistaken here. There were no explicit provisions for education in the Poor Law Report, Chadwick did not draw up the Bill, and the debate on it in Parliament does not indicate that any clauses dealing with education were struck out. A Cabinet committee went over the Bill with the Commissioners, but their revisions seem not to have touched on education. Possibly Mill had in mind not the Poor Law but the Factory legislation of 1833: Chadwick was instrumental in drawing up the Bill (4 William IV [1 Aug., 1833], PP, II, 281-96), which contained education clauses modified in the Act (3 & 4 William IV, c. 103 ).
[9 ]13 & 14 Victoria, c. 65 (1850).
[1 ]See No. 147, n5, for the background to this reference.
[2 ]33 & 34 Victoria, c. 75 (1870).
[a-a]PMG] B regions [printer’s error?]
[3 ]Provided for ibid., Schedule 2, Sect. 20.
[a-a]DT] TT only
[b-b]DT] TT,PMG charm
[1 ]33 & 34 Victoria, c. 75 (1870).
[2 ]See No. 147, n5, for the background to this reference.
[c-c]DT] TT,PMG this is
[3 ]On 16 June, 1870, in answer to a question by P.A. Taylor, Forster said that in the Education Bill “he” included both sexes (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 202, col. 259).
[d-d]DT] TT persons
[b-b]Scot But how is this to be remedied? Put
[c-c]Scot rational opinion upon what she is told is
[d]Scot to man
[e-e]Scot public movements
[f-f]+W] Scot Mr. Mill concluded, amid great applause, by proposing the following resolution: . . . as W . . . land or houses . . . exercise the franchise . . . England prove . . . that right . . . as W
[1 ]David Masson (1822-1907), Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh since 1865.
[2 ]Philip Kelland (1808-79), Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh since 1838.
[3 ]Robert Wallace (1831-99), rector of Old Greyfriars, Edinburgh, since 1868, and examiner in philosophy at St. Andrews since 1866.
[g-g]+W,Scot [Scot in summary]
[4 ]In addition to Priscilla McLaren, Duncan’s wife (see No. 146, n2), Mill is referring specially to his daughter (by a previous marriage) Agnes (1837-1913); both of them were on the platform, Priscilla McLaren as President and Agnes McLaren as Secretary of the Edinburgh Branch of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage.
[1 ]William Augustus Fraser (1826-98), author of London Self-Governed (London: Harvey, 1866) and former M.P., had spoken before Mill: “On the Suggestions Afforded by the Application of the Cumulative Vote, and by the Other Incidents of the School Board Elections, for Improvement in the Constitution of Municipal and Local Governing Bodies,” Sessional Proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, IV (1870-71), 228-9.
[2 ]Chadwick, ibid., p. 228.
[1 ]“Report of the Royal Commission upon the Administration and Operation of the Contagious Diseases Acts,” PP, 1871, XIX, 3-20. For the Acts, See No. 146, n1.
[1 ]“A Bill for the Better Regulation of the Regular and Auxiliary Land Forces of the Crown; and for Other Purposes Relating Thereto,” 34 & 35 Victoria (16 Feb., 1871), PP, 1871, I, 11-38 (enacted as 34 & 35 Victoria, c. 86 ).
[2 ]For the additional £3,000,000, see “Army Estimates of Effective and Non-Effective Services, for 1871-72,” PP, 1871, XXXVIII, 3. The abolition of purchase of commissions was provided in Clause 2 of the Bill under discussion (see n1 above), and was effected by a Royal Warrant (1 Nov., 1871), PP, 1871, XXXIX, 601.
[3 ]For the action of George Villiers, Lord Clarendon, with reference to the Declaration of Paris, see No. 80, n5.
[h-h]TT where the blow would fall. Our fleet has only to be two days out of the way and our first line of defence is gone
[i-i]TT but we must remember that it is possible. We
[j-j]TT,DN A nation in arms requires a nation in arms to withstand it No
[m-m]TT,DN] DT this is laid
[o-o]TT] DT,DN who
[q-q]TT,DN] DT steady
[r-r]TT] DT,DN favour
[1 ]By 12 Charles II, c. 24 (1660).
[2 ]By 4 William and Mary, c. 1 (1692).
[3 ]By 19 & 20 Victoria, c. 120 (1856).
[4 ]Mill himself drew up the Programme of the Land Tenure Reform Association (London: Longmans, et al., 1871); see CW, Vol. V, pp. 687-95.
[5 ]A bill had been promised by Gladstone, Speech on Real Estate Intestacy (16 Feb., 1871), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 204, col. 322, but in the event no bill was introduced. Article II of the Programme of the Land Tenure Reform Association called for the abolition of primogeniture (CW, Vol. V, p. 689).
[6 ]Speech at Rochdale (23 Nov., 1864), in Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, ed. John Bright and James E. Thorold Rogers, 2 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1870), Vol. II, p. 367.
[7 ]See the Address of the Land and Labour League to the Working Men and Women of Great Britain and Ireland (London: printed Higginbottom, ).
[c-c]DT the land be given by nature and was taken from
[8 ]8 & 9 Victoria, c. 118 (1845).
[9 ]Clause 3 of “A Bill to Amend the Law Relating to Inclosures of Commons, and to Provide for the Management of Commons Situate near Towns,” 34 Victoria (14 Feb., 1871), PP, 1871, II, 377-96 (not enacted).
[10 ]Henry Selfe Page Winterbotham (1837-73), M.P. for Stroud, appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in March 1871, Speech on the Inclosure Law Amendment Bill (23 Feb., 1871), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 204, col. 825.
[11 ]Thomas Hare, experienced as an Inspector of Charities, gave this information in a reply to Mill before the Select Committee on Metropolitan Local Government, PP, 1866, Vol. XIII, p. 387 (see App. B, Question 2811, below).
[12 ]See especially Art. IV of the Programme, CW, Vol. V, p. 690.
[1 ]For the first, see Art. VIII of the Programme of the Land Tenure Reform Association, in CW, Vol. V, p. 695.
[2 ]On 20 April, 1869, Henry Fawcett had moved for a Select Committee on the Inclosure Act (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 195, cols. 1286-7), and the resulting “Report from the Select Committee,” 7 July, 1869 (PP, 1868-69, X, 327-505) recommended, as he wished, that the annual Inclosure Bill should always be scrutinized by Parliament (p. 332).
[3 ]For the activities of this body, on whose Executive Committee Mill sat, see its Report of Proceedings, 1868-9 (London: printed Grant, 1869), pp. 5-14.
[4 ]E.g., Charles Isaac Elton (1839-1900), A Treatise on Commons and Waste Lands (London: Wildy, 1868 ); Henry James Sumner Maine (1822-88), Village-Communities in the East and West (London: Murray, 1871), reviewed by Mill in the Fortnightly Review, n.s. IX (May 1871), 543-6; and Erwin Nasse (1829-90), On the Agricultural Community of the Middle Ages, and Inclosures of the Sixteenth Century in England (in German, 1869), trans. H.A. Ouvry (London: Macmillan, 1871).
[5 ]The General Enclosure Acts, 41 George III, c. 109 (1801), 6 & 7 William IV, c. 115 (1836), and 8 & 9 Victoria, c. 118 (1845).
[c-c]DN,DT by other
[d-d]DN,DT chooses rather
[6 ]I Kings, 21.
[7 ]II Samuel, 12:1-14.
[8 ]Art. IV of the Programme, CW, Vol. V, p. 690.
[9 ]The Grosvenor and Portman estates in London increased enormously in value with the growth of the fashionable areas in the West End; the Stanleys benefited from the industrial development of Lancashire.
[e-e]DN,DT not of so much
[f-f]D&D and that
[g-g]D&D This which we propose
[10 ]Cf. Matthew, 13:3-8.
[11 ]The National Agricultural Labourers’ Union began to form in 1872 under the leadership of Joseph Arch (1826-1919).