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John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIV - The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873 Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XIV - The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873 Part I, ed. Francis E. Mineka and Dwight N. Lindley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972).
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Table of Contents
The Collected Edition of the works of John Stuart Mill has been planned and is being directed by an editorial committee appointed from the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto, and from the University of Toronto Press. The primary aim of the edition is to present fully collated texts of those works which exist in a number of versions, both printed and manuscript, and to provide accurate texts of works previously unpublished or which have become relatively inaccessible.
j. m. robson,General Editor
v. w. bladen, alexander brady, j. b. conacher, d. p. dryer, s. hollander, clifford leech, r. f. mcrae, f. e. l. priestley, marsh jeanneret, francess halpenny, jean houston
TO FRIEDRICH A. VON HAYEK[Back to Table of Contents]
since the publication in 1963 of The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill, 1812-1848, ed. Francis E. Mineka (Vols. XII and XIII of the Collected Works), we have been engaged in the much larger task of collecting and editing the letters of the last twenty-five years of Mill’s life. The earlier volumes contained 537 letters, about half of which had not been previously published; the present volumes contain over 1800, more than half hitherto unpublished. Most of the collecting for the earlier volumes was the work of Professor Friedrich A. von Hayek, begun during World War II; while the present volumes contain many letters also assembled by him, some of which can no longer be found, about half have been located within the past ten years by the senior editor. We have also included in Appendix I over sixty earlier letters which have come to light since 1963.
The rationale and the method of the present volumes are essentially the same as those of the earlier volumes. We have included all the personal letters we have found, but, with one exception (Letter 1292), have excluded letters expressly written for publication, which will appear in a later volume of the Collected Works. We have included, however, private letters printed by their recipients in various papers, usually without Mill’s permission. We have excluded, because of space, letters to Mill, but have indicated their location, and on occasion quoted relevant passages from them in footnotes. A relatively small number of what may seem to some readers inconsequential or insignificant letters are included, in the interest of completeness, and in the belief that details now thought insignificant may, in the light of further research, come into more meaningful focus.
To identify the “best text” of a letter is much easier than to find it. The best text is, of course, the original autograph letter. Next best is a manuscript draft; fortunately for his editors, Mill in later years, conscious that his letters might be of interest to a wider public, preserved drafts, often labelled “For Publication.” For many letters the drafts are the only surviving versions. We have printed these as drafts, without correcting abbreviations, punctuation, or usage, and without adding signatures. In both drafts and autograph letters Mill’s spelling has been retained (e.g. shew for show, stile for style, contemporary for contemporary, recal for recall); his infrequent errors in French have not been corrected; and his punctuation has only rarely been altered, when necessary for clarity of meaning. In a few instances we have had to assemble a letter from portions now located in different places; for example, Letter 653, to W. T. Thornton, exists in three fragments in the libraries of King’s College, Cambridge, the University of Leeds, and the London School of Economics. When both the autograph letter and the draft have been located, we have, of course, based our transcript on the letter, but on the rare occasions when there are significant differences between the two we have indicated those differences in notes. Published versions have been used only when neither letter nor draft has been located. When no published version is indicated, the letter is, to the best of our knowledge, published here for the first time.
The first footnote to each letter provides the following information in this order: the location of manuscripts when known; addresses of correspondents and postmarks when available; and the place of publication of previously published letters.
A special problem arose over the real authorship of certain of the later letters. From 1865 on, the demands of public life greatly increased the amount of Mill’s correspondence, to such an extent that he could not have carried it on without help. That help was provided by his step-daughter, Helen Taylor. A number of the extant drafts are in her hand, written from his dictation; some are in his hand, written from her dictation. Some were composed in whole or part by her and signed by him. Mill, in notes attached to the drafts, often indicated the extent of Helen’s contribution. Since the exact contribution of each to letters in which both had a part cannot be determined, we have adopted the following practice: we have included letters if they were sent in Mill’s name and, even when signed by Helen Taylor, if they are in his handwriting. We have excluded letters that she both wrote and signed. Notations on the manuscript, whether about publication or Helen’s share of a letter, are reproduced in the first footnote.
When excerpts of letters have been earlier published, for which no manuscripts have been located, we have reprinted them as separate letters, in the hope of leaving as few lacunae in Mill’s correspondence as possible, and on the chance that the excerpts may lead to the recovery of the full text. In view of the very widespread dispersal of Mill’s letters, more will undoubtedly come to light. Some that did during the course of printing this edition, too late to include in the regular order, have been placed in Appendix II. Readers who come into possession of additional letters or of information about their location will render valuable service to Mill scholarship if they will inform the Editor of the Collected Works at the University of Toronto Press.
In assembling and editing as large a collection of letters as this, the editors have inevitably been dependent upon the generous assistance of many persons. Our basic indebtedness has, of course, been to Professor F. A. von Hayek, who in the course of his project, undertaken in 1942, to collect and publish the earlier letters of Mill, also made transcripts of many later letters, including about half of those to be found in this edition. The originals of some of these can no longer be located (for example, letters to Thomas Hare, once in the possession of Mrs. K. E. Roberts), and Professor von Hayek’s transcripts have served as the source of our text in such instances. He generously turned over to us all his files relating to Mill’s correspondence. Without his help, the work of collecting would have been greatly increased. We, and all students of Mill, must be sincerely grateful to him.
We are indebted for the grant of John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Fulbright research fellowships in 1962-63 to the senior editor which enabled him to do much of the collecting in England. We have owed much over the past ten years to a number of assistants whose employment was made possible by funds from the endowment of the Class of 1916 Professorship at Cornell University held by the senior editor. Mrs. Emily Morrison in the early stages of the editing got the work off to a good start. In London in 1962-63 Mr. Peter M. Jackson contributed greatly in locating out-of-the-way letters and information valuable for the annotation. Mrs. Eleanor Pike in the earlier stages of the work did much of the typing. Two graduate students at Cornell, Mrs. Barbara Hutchison Groninger and Mr. Edwin J. Kenney, contributed a good deal during their summers. Mrs. Nancy C. Martin located at Colindale some published letters, and Miss Gillian Workman an unpublished letter at the Public Records Office. The mainstay of the work since 1963, however, has been Mrs. Celia Sieverts, whose knowledge of European languages, skill and persistence in tracking down often very obscure information, and passion for accuracy have made significant contributions. Without her help, this edition would have suffered greatly.
Many have aided us in the collecting of the widely scattered letters. Dr. James M. Osborn of Yale University has with unfailing generosity made available many letters from his large and ever-growing collection. Mr. Joseph H. Schaffner of New York freely gave access to his private collection. M. Pierre Sadi-Carnot arranged for the photographing of letters in his family papers, as did Mr. W. Rosenberg of the University of Canterbury, N.Z. The late Professor Delio Cantimori of Florence secured photographs for us of letters to Pasquale Villari in the library of the Vatican. Professor Eileen Curran of Colby College, in the course of her research for The Wellesley Index, turned up a good many letters, often in out-of-the-way manuscript files. Dr. William E. S. Thomas of Christ Church, Oxford, located letters to Col. William Napier and long-sought letters to Sir William Molesworth, which Sir John Molesworth-St. Aubyn has given permission to publish. Mr. G. A. Wood of Newcastle, England, sent from his family papers letters to William Wood. Mr. D. Flanagan of the Co-operative Union Ltd., Manchester, was most helpful in permitting access to that organization’s collection of George Jacob Holyoake’s papers. Mr. Dennis O’Brien of Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland, kindly supplied photocopies of letters to Lord Overstone. A number of persons contributed over the years to the search for the copies of Mill’s letters smuggled out of Prague at the time of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Germany: Professor Eugene Rice, now of Columbia University, searched archives in Prague, but it was Dr. Linda L. McAlister, then of Cornell, who provided the clue that led us to Professor Roderick M. Chisholm of Brown University, who was able to supply photographs from the Brentano collection. Professor Jack Stillinger of the University of Illinois, Professor Michael Wolff, then of Indiana University, now of the University of Massachusetts, Professor J. A. La Nauze and Mr. N. B. de Marchi of the Australian National University, Professor F. B. Smith of the University of Melbourne, Mr. Richard Ormond of the National Portrait Gallery in London, Mr. J. H. Prynne of the Library of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, all helped us in gaining access to letters in the possession of their respective institutions. Mrs. Evelyn Pugh of George Washington University and Mr. Russell Buchan of Vanderbilt University located for us letters published in American newspapers. Among those who supplied us with letters in their possession were Professor Joseph Hamburger of Yale University, Principal John M. Robson of the University of Toronto, the late Dr. Adelaide Weinberg of London, Professor Edward Alexander of the University of Washington, Professor Ronald H. Coase of the University of Virginia, the late Professor Jacob Viner of Princeton University, Professor Joseph Dorfman of Columbia University, Professor Leslie Marchand of Rutgers University, Professor Edward Shils of the University of Chicago, Mrs. Caroline Hughes D’Agostino and Mrs. George Hughes, Professor Iring Fetscher, Mr. Richard A. Ehrlich, Mr. E. Liggett, Mr. Michael Maurice, and Mr. L. S. Johnson. Professor Cecil Lang of the University of Virginia, Professor Walter E. Houghton of Wellesley College, and Dr. Stephen Frick of Cornell called our attention to letters in various libraries in England. The late Professor Daniel Villey of Paris provided us with information that led to the recovery of a number of letters to Charles Dupont-White. In other searches in Paris we were assisted by Professors Anne Humphreys, John Mineka, and Baxter Hathaway. Professor von Hayek graciously permitted us to reproduce the portrait of Harriet Mill in his possession, as did Dr. Graham Hutton his hitherto unreproduced portrait of Mill.
Others who aided in various ways, particularly in the annotation, included Professors Gordon Kirkwood, Harry Caplan, James Hutton, Douglas Dowd, Robert Kaske, Edward Morris, all of Cornell University; Professor Paul Parker of Hamilton College; Harold E. Dailey of Columbia University; M. J.-P. Mayer, editor of the works of De Tocqueville; Professor Henry W. Spiegel of the Catholic University of America; Professor Edward C. Mack of the City University of New York; Professor Ann Robson of the University of Toronto. Of the many librarians to whose assistance we are indebted we can mention here only Professors Felix Reichmann, the late George H. Healey, and Donald Eddy of the Cornell University Library, Miss Judith A. Schiff of the Yale University Library, and Mr. C. G. Allen of the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, who have over the years been unfailingly generous. To Muriel Mineka and Janie Lindley we owe our deepest gratitude for assistance in countless ways, but most of all for their sympathetic interest which has sustained us throughout the long task. If we have overlooked some in this long catalogue of our debts, we extend our apologies. We cannot conclude, however, without acknowledging the wise supervision and counsel of the present editor of the Collected Works; from Principal John M. Robson’s comprehensive and detailed knowledge of Mill we have profited at almost every turn.[Back to Table of Contents]
It seems to me that there is a very great significance in letter-writing, and that it differs from daily intercourse as the dramatic differs from the epic or the narrative. It is the life of man, and above all the chief part of his life, his inner life, not gradually unfolded without break or sudden transition, those changes which take place insensibly being also manifested insensibly; but exhibited in a series of detached scenes, taken at considerable intervals from one another, shewing the completed change of position or feeling, without the process by which it was effected; affording a glimpse or partial view of the mighty river of life at some few points, and leaving the imagination to trace to itself such figure or scheme as it can of the course of the stream in that far larger portion of space where it winds its way through thickets or impenetrable forests and is invisible: this alone being known to us, that whatever may have been its course through the wilderness, it has had some course, & that a continuous one, & which might by human opportunity have been watched and discovered, though to us, too probably, destined to be for ever unknown. . . .
Mill to John Sterling, May 24, 1832
the present four volumes and the two volumes of Earlier Letters, published in 1963, constitute a collected edition of all the letters of John Stuart Mill available at this time. The separate publication of earlier and later letters, instead of the more usual multi-volume single publication of a whole collection all in one sequence and provided with one index, was dictated more by circumstances than by any inherent distinction between Mill’s earlier and later letters. The whole correspondence is the life of the man, “and above all the chief part of his life, his inner life.”
When, thirty years ago, Professor Friedrich von Hayek first turned his attention to Mill’s correspondence, however, a major reason for collecting and separately publishing his earlier letters was the inadequate representation of them in the only collected edition of Mill’s correspondence—the two volumes edited and published by Hugh S. R. Elliot in 1910. That collection of 368 letters contained only 52 for the years ending with 1848, somewhat less than one in ten of those it proved possible to assemble. It seemed reasonable to infer that Mill’s later correspondence was much more adequately represented in the Elliot edition, but that inference has proved not wholly sound. It is true that Elliot includes a larger proportion of the extant later letters than of the earlier: about one in six of the more than 1800 post-1848 letters, as against one in ten of the earlier letters. That larger proportion turns out, however, to be misleading. Elliot’s collection is no more fully representative of the substance of the later correspondence than it is of the earlier.
That this is so is not to be charged to Elliot’s defects as an editor, but rather to be the circumstances under which he worked. Professor von Hayek in his Introduction to Earlier Letters has recounted in some detail the history of Mill’s papers after 1873, and the story need not be repeated here. Suffice it to recall that Mill had evidently intended that a selection of his letters should eventually be published; at least as early as 1849 he preserved drafts of some of them and at some point, presumably late in his life, carefully labelled a good many, “For publication.” His intention was long frustrated, not purposely it is clear, by his stepdaughter, Helen Taylor, who inherited his property, his copyrights, and his papers. She admired her stepfather deeply and sought to honour his name and extend his reputation; she promptly prepared for publication and edited his posthumously published books, the Autobiography (1873), Three Essays on Religion (1874), the fourth volume of Dissertations and Discussions (1875), and “Chapters on Socialism” (1879), and planned to edit his letters. Professor von Hayek (Earlier Letters, p. xviii) cites a passage written by Helen about three months after Mill’s death:
I have all my dear stepfather’s letters, preserved, looked through from time to time by himself, arranged in order by myself, and left by him in my hands with directions, verbal and written, to deal with them according to my judgement. When the more pressing task of the publication of his MSS. is completed, I shall, if I live, occupy myself with his correspondence, if I do not live it will be for my literary Executors to decide what to do with it.
The statement, as will presently be seen, contains at least one exaggeration: she did not have in her possession all Mill’s letters. Those she did have she guarded jealously for over thirty years; she never got around to publishing them herself, and repeatedly refused to permit others to publish even excerpts from them. At her death in 1907, her niece, Mary Taylor, younger daughter of Helen’s brother Algernon, inherited her property, including the Mill letters in her possession. Soon thereafter, Mary Taylor decided to execute the long-deferred project to publish them. She arranged for a little known writer, Hugh Elliot, to prepare the edition from the collection so long in the possession of Helen Taylor. He was not permitted to publish family papers, the most important of which were many letters to Harriet Mill and Helen Taylor; Mary Taylor proposed to publish separately a selection of these herself. Elliot apparently was under no obligation, and apparently felt none, to look farther afield for letters not in the collection turned over to him; after all, it contained some hundreds of letters, both to and by Mill. By the rather loose standards still prevailing in 1910 for the editing of letters, Elliot prepared an adequate edition that was widely and favourably reviewed.
Only in recent years has it become evident how meagrely the edition represented the range and variety of Mill’s correspondence. In selecting his letters for possible publication Mill had sought to advance the spread of his opinions on a number of subjects rather than to preserve details of his personal life in his later years; the selected letters were not to serve as an autobiography but as a kind of anthology of those of his opinions that he felt might be helpful to an audience wider than that to which they had been originally addressed. A kindred motivation is noticeable in the last chapter of his Autobiography, which opens with this statement: “From this time [about 1840], what is worth relating of my life will come into very small compass; for I have no further mental changes to tell of, but only, as I hope, a continued mental progress; which does not admit of a consecutive history, and the results of which, if real, will best be found in my writings. I shall, therefore, greatly abridge the chronicle of my subsequent years.” As a result the final chapter, most readers seem to agree, is the least interesting part of the Autobiography, in that it is least self-revealing. The period of Mill’s life covered by it is also the one that stands most in need of the supplementary detail, the glimpses into his personal life, his marriage, his friendships, his enthusiasms, and his disappointments, which now, nearly one hundred years after his death, only his letters can supply.
That kind of supplementary detail, Elliot, limited as he was by Mary Taylor’s restrictions and by Mill’s selection of his own correspondence, could hardly have been expected to provide. It is even a question, working when he did, whether he could have located many of the letters of which Mill had not kept copies. Elliot had access to seven of Mill’s earlier correspondences, those with John Sterling, Thomas Carlyle, W. J. Fox, John Robertson, Gustave d’Eichthal, Robert Barclay Fox, and Auguste Comte (the latter four had each been separately published before 1910), but he presented only a small number of the letters to Sterling and Carlyle, accepting almost wholly the limits of Mill’s selection. In all likelihood, Elliot probably did not even see the long sequences of letters Mill wrote to his closest friends during his later years. The past twenty-five or thirty years have brought to light a number of extensive series of Mill’s letters that had been preserved by their recipients but either had not been written in draft or had not been kept in that form by Mill.
As a consequence, Elliot’s edition gives neither a balanced conspectus of Mill’s correspondence as a whole nor a lifelike portrait of the man. What the edition does give is a good sampling of what might be called his “public” or “non-personal” correspondence. Increasingly, after the success of his Logic (1843) and his Political Economy (1848), Mill received many letters, often from complete strangers, asking his opinion, or even advice, on a wide range of questions raised by his writings—among others, questions on religion, philosophy, ethics, logic, economics, political reform, labour relations, and women’s rights. The letter writers included students, clergymen, working men as well as titled lords, aspiring writers, amateur political economists, wouldbe philosophers, and practising politicians. They were not all British; letters came with increasing frequency from Frenchmen, Italians, Germans, and Americans. As early as 1850 he wrote Frederick J. Furnivall, “My whole time would hardly suffice to give satisfactory answers to all the questions I am asked by correspondents previously unknown to me” (p. 53). Nevertheless, Mill, always seeking to promote the improvement of mankind by doing what he could to advance sound thinking and opinion, felt an obligation to such earnest readers and correspondents and conscientiously tried to write them helpful answers. Of such letters he frequently kept MS drafts, but of letters to his friends and regular correspondents he seldom kept copies. As a consequence, Elliot’s edition, dependent almost wholly on Mill’s selection, has a higher proportion of such impersonal letters than is characteristic of the larger body of his correspondence. The present edition with its much larger number of personal letters should enable students of Mill to gain a clearer picture and a greater understanding of the man.
The following comparisons are not presented in a spirit of denigration; the Elliot edition has served a useful purpose for over sixty years, but in view of the increased interest in and knowledge of Mill it is no longer sufficient. The search begun by Professor von Hayek during World War II for a more adequate collection has been carried on by others and while it is likely, indeed certain, that more letters will come to light in the years that lie ahead, the present editors hope that this edition will meet the needs of students of Mill for some years to come.
To resort to a numerical comparison has its limitations but it can also be revealing. Of 124 letters located to Mill’s lifelong friend and fellow reformer, Edwin Chadwick, for instance, Elliot prints nine in whole or part. Of 92 extant letters to John Elliot Cairnes, Mill’s friend and disciple, Elliot has five. Of 60 to John Chapman, the publisher for many years of the Westminster Review, Elliot has two, and a like number to William E. Hickson, Mill’s successor as Editor of the London and Westminster, while we have been able to include 32. Elliot has five letters to Henry Fawcett, the blind politician and political economist—this edition, 43; Elliot, three to Thomas Hare, the advocate of proportional representation—this edition, 41; Elliot, five to George Grote, the historian of Greece and friend of Mill since his boyhood, and five to Sir Charles Dilke—this edition, 22 and 26, respectively. Elliot has one letter to Louis Blanc, out of 25 now available, and one to Gustave d’Eichthal (in a renewal of an earlier correspondence) as compared with 54. Elliot includes two letters to George Croom Robertson, this edition 29. Elliot has no letters to John Plummer, a working-class journalist; to George J. Holyoake, the radical secularist and proponent of co-operatives; to Augustus De Morgan, the mathematician; to Herbert Spencer, the philosopher; or to William Dougal Christie, an active opponent of electoral corruption, who after Mill’s death rose to the defence of his reputation against the slanderous attacks of Abraham Hayward; the letters to these men now published total 162. We have been unable to improve much on Elliot’s fifteen letters to Alexander Bain, the Scottish logician and psychologist, for we have failed to locate the autograph letters to him. We have, however, succeeded in locating more originals of the letters to the Italian historian Pasquale Villari than were available to Elliot in drafts, but there are undoubtedly more yet to be found. We have been able to add only two to Elliot’s ten to T. E. Cliffe Leslie, the political economist, and only six to Elliot’s nine to William Thomas Thornton, Mill’s friend and long-time colleague at the East India House.
These additional letters have been assembled from widely separated collections: the letters to Chadwick, De Morgan, and Robertson in the library of University College, London; to Cairnes and Fawcett at the London School of Economics, as the result of the efforts of Professor von Hayek when he was on the faculty there; to John Chapman, chiefly in the libraries of the National University of Australia at Canberra, of Indiana University, and the London School of Economics; to Hickson, at the Huntington Library in California; to Louis Blanc, at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; both earlier and later letters to Gustave d’Eichthal at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, also in Paris; and to Charles Dupont-White, in the possession of M. Pierre Sadi-Carnot of Paris; to Hare, a private collection in the possession in 1943 of Mrs. K. E. Roberts of London, and in the British Museum; to Grote and Dilke in the British Museum; to Plummer at the University of Melbourne, Australia; to Holyoake at the Manchester Co-operative Union, Ltd.; to Spencer, at Northwestern University; to Christie, at Cornell University; and to Villari, in the library of the Vatican in Rome. Both earlier and later letters to Henry S. Chapman are in the possession of W. Rosenberg of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and all the letters to Thomas Carlyle are in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Of the series of letters to American correspondents, those to Charles Eliot Norton are at Harvard, those to Rowland G. Hazard at the Rhode Island Historical Society. Except for a small number at the London School of Economics, the many letters to Harriet are at Yale University. It should be noted that all these series, except the one to Spencer, are of the original autograph letters, not of MS drafts preserved by Mill.
Professor von Hayek, in his account of the first sale of 21 lots of Mill’s papers at Sotheby’s on March 29, 1922, notes that most of the miscellaneous letters now in various American libraries, notably those at the Johns Hopkins University (248 letters, mostly drafts), derive from that sale. A large part of the major collection at the London School of Economics derives from the same sale, as do the 61 letters at the Brotherton Library of the University of Leeds, and the 18 letters to John Sterling in the library of King’s College, Cambridge. The 368 letters in the Elliot edition seem to have been drawn almost wholly from the collection eventually disposed of at this first sale in 1922. Elliot was denied the use of the 132 manuscript letters to Harriet included among the 14 lots disposed of at the second sale at Sotheby’s on July 27, 1927; these letters form the largest part of the 230 letters now at Yale University, which also possesses a good many from the first sale. Family letters not included in either sale were eventually given to the London School of Economics by the National Provincial Bank, Ltd., the residuary legatees and literary executors of Mary Taylor.
Many important letters have been found in published versions for which no manuscripts have apparently survived. The most important of these are 31 letters in full or in part to Theodor Gomperz, a young German scholar who translated a number of Mill’s works and edited the first collected edition of his writings. These letters were first published by Heinrich Gomperz in his biography of his father (Vienna, 1936) and then in part by Lord Stamp, who had purchased the MSS, in The Times on December 29, 1938. The manuscripts were destroyed by the bombing raid of April 16, 1941, in which Lord Stamp was killed. Other letters, usually in excerpted form, the MSS of which disappeared in less spectacular fashion, have been found in Bain’s biography of Mill and in various biographies of Mill’s friends. Many have also been located in English and American newspapers, most of them published by the recipients without Mill’s permission. His reputation and his influence in the later years of his life were so great that letters from him were rightly judged newsworthy. Mill was often annoyed by such unauthorized publication. As he explained to Duncan McLaren in a letter of January 3, 1869,
As a rule . . . I prefer that my letters should not be made public unless they were written with a view to the contingency of their being so, & I have seen with regret several recent instances in which publicity has been given to them without my consent; not that I shrink from exposure to criticism, which any public man, even any writer, ought to welcome, from however hostile a quarter; but because, when writing confidentially to friends who feel as one does oneself, one takes many things for granted which would require explanation to general readers, & one does not guard one’s expressions as prudence & courtesy would require one to do in addressing oneself to those who differ with one.
We cannot approve of the discourtesy of correspondents who published personal letters, but, since the manuscripts of most of these have disappeared, students of Mill may feel some inclination to condone the discourtesy. On at least one occasion Mill granted permission to publish his letter, but requested the recipient to modify some of the wording (Letter 1258). Most of such letters, of course, were on topics of public interest at the time, and most of the correspondents who made them available for publication agreed with Mill’s opinions as expressed in the letters and wished to gain for their own causes his prestigious support.
Such letters are largely impersonal in tone and provide few insights into the nature of the man who wrote them. For more such insights we are now fortunate in having available, in addition to the Autobiography, a series of letters to friends in both the earlier and the later periods of his life. Of the earlier letters, most revealing and most interesting are the series to John Sterling, Thomas Carlyle, William Johnson Fox, Robert Barclay Fox, and Gustave d’Eichthal, largely concentrated in the 1830’s and early 1840’s when Mill after his mental crisis was still in reaction against the emotionally sterile education and philosophic creed of his adolescence and was still reshaping his personal life. Most of the later series lack something of the inherent interest of letters written during a period of crucial intellectual and emotional change. The friendships of one’s youth are likely to be the warmest of one’s life and the least subject to reserve. The earlier years of most autobiographies have an appeal for many readers greater than that of the later years. Nevertheless the series of Mill’s maturity have an attraction of their own, different in quality and intensity perhaps, but nonetheless interesting because of the revelations of the variety of his friendships, the breadth of his interests, the strength of his individuality, and the modernity of his approach to those problems of his age that continue into ours.
Did any Victorian have a wider range of more or less regular correspondents both at home and abroad? At home there were fellow economists like Cairnes and Leslie, the classical scholar George Grote, the philosopher Herbert Spencer, the logician and psychologist Alexander Bain, the writers John Sterling and Thomas Carlyle, the mathematician Augustus De Morgan, political and administrative reformers like Chadwick, Charles Wentworth Dilke, and W. D. Christie, the editors John Chapman and John Morley, W. G. Ward the Roman Catholic convert and apologist, the Unitarian W. J. Fox, and the atheist G. J. Holyoake. Mill’s foreign correspondence marks him as perhaps, in his generation of Englishmen, the most nearly a citizen of the world; it seems almost as though he had chosen correspondents in the United States, the antipodes, and the major European nations so that he might be kept informed of developments in their parts of the world. The writers included: in France, Gustave d’Eichthal, an early St. Simonian, later a classicist, ethnologist, and Biblical scholar, and Charles Dupont-White, political economist and translator of several of Mill’s books; from France, though for most of the years of his friendship an exile in England, the historian, journalist, and radical politician, Louis Blanc; in Vienna, the young classical scholar and historian, Gomperz; in Germany, late in Mill’s life, Franz Brentano, the philosopher; in Italy, Pasquale Villari, the historian; in New Zealand, his early friend Henry Chapman, who had emigrated and become an important officer of government; in America, John Lothrop Motley, historian and diplomatist, as well as Charles Eliot Norton, editor and biographer, later a Harvard professor, and Rowland G. Hazard, business man and philosopher. One notices that while Mill’s regular correspondents shared his interests and in the main agreed with his views—most of them might have been labelled liberals or even radicals—by no means all of them came from levels of society that proper mid-Victorians would have labelled “polite”. G. J. Holyoake, ex-Chartist, radical freethinker, and publicist, when various of the journals he published fell into financial difficulties, was rescued by Mill. Louis Blanc, who according to Mill was “associated in the vulgar English mind with everything that can be made a bugbear of” (p. 999), was a frequent dinner guest at Blackheath, both before and after the death of Harriet. William Wood was a worker in the potteries of north England; and John Plummer was a factory worker turned journalist, who with his wife was invited from time to time by Mill to dinner at his home in Blackheath Park. (John Morley once remarked that working men found easier access to Mill than did royalty.) For Mill the crucial test in the choice of both friends and correspondents was whether they could contribute to the advancement of the ideas and causes in which he believed; he was always eager to learn from them and welcomed their opinions even when they differed from him in details.
Some of the correspondences, notably those with Bain, Cairnes, and Spencer, were essentially philosophic discourses conducted by mail, sifting difficult questions in logic, philosophy, science, and political economy, often with a view to the ever-continuing revision and improvement of such major works as the Logic (8 editions) and the Political Economy (7 editions). On one occasion, in thanking Cairnes for his extensive notes for the revision of the Political Economy, Mill remarked the similarity to “the philosophic correspondences in which the thinkers of the 16th and 17th centuries used to compare notes and discuss each other’s opinions before or after publication—of which we have so many interesting specimens in the published works of Descartes” (p. 975). Such letters as that to Bain on the conservation of force (Letter 1554) probably have less interest for the modern reader than the letters that discuss practical questions of political and social reform and the strategies for the attainment of such reforms; still, they do contribute to our understanding of the close reasoning and the constant striving for perfection that always characterized Mill’s philosophic work.
In the letters dealing with reform, there is always a sense of rejoicing in the fellowship of allies, a feeling “of brotherhood in arms with those who are . . . fighting . . . the battles of advanced liberalism” (p. 1511).1 Mill’s need for fellowship was a long-standing one. As early as 1829 in his first extant letter to John Sterling, describing his sense of loneliness in the years following his mental crisis, Mill wrote: “By loneliness I mean the absence of that feeling which has accompanied me through the greater part of my life, that which one fellow traveller, or one fellow soldier has towards another—the feeling of being engaged in the pursuit of a common object, and of mutually cheering one another on, and helping one another in an arduous undertaking” (Earlier Letters, p. 30).
Mill’s life-long need for emotional support is probably the explanation of the riddle of his relationship with Mrs. John Taylor, who after twenty years of close friendship became his wife. Now, with the full publication of all his known extant letters to her, by far the most voluminous of his correspondences, some further clues to the riddle may be discerned.2 When his Autobiography was published within six months after his death, Mill’s extravagant tributes to his wife’s intellectual abilities and to her contributions to his thought and writing were greeted generally with amused scepticism.3 The reviewer in the British Quarterly Review remarked dryly: “Mill had no great faith in a God. He had unbounded confidence in a goddess.” Alexander Bain, reading the proofs of the Autobiography and fearful that Mill’s reputation would suffer seriously if his most extreme claims for his wife were not deleted, wrote to Helen Taylor, Mill’s literary executor, to urge that she should cancel “those sentences where he declares her to be a greater poet than Carlyle, and a greater thinker than himself—and again, a greater leader than his father (or at all events an equal).” Bain continued:
I venture to express the opinion that no such combination has ever been realised in the history of the human race, and I am sure that many will take the same view; and the whole of his statements will be treated as pure hyperbole, proving, indeed, the strength of his feelings, but not the reality of the case. I think that your mother, yourself, and Mr. Mill will all be placed in a false position before the world by such extreme statements.
(Sept. 6, 1873, MS at LSE)
Helen, whether out of loyalty to her mother or unwillingness to distort by omission Mill’s expression of his obsessive admiration of Harriet, refused to make the suggested deletions, though she did, with reluctance, remove praise of herself. Bain’s fears proved to be exaggerated, and over the years most readers of the Autobiography have been inclined to view charitably the extravagant praise of Harriet as the harmless aberration of a love-blinded widower.
A somewhat different perspective on the question, however, is now necessary. Ever since the publication of Professor Jack Stillinger’s edition of The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography (Urbana, Ill., 1961) it has been clear that most of the praise of Harriet in the Autobiography had been written, not after her death, but during their married life, and indeed had been submitted to her for her approval, which apparently was given without protest. From the letters in the present volumes it is further evident that the defence and justification of Mill’s and Harriet’s unconventional friendship and eventual marriage constituted one of the main original purposes of writing the Autobiography. For Harriet, who participated actively in planning the book, it was probably the major purpose. Mill wrote to her on January 23, 1854, of the desirability of completing it as soon as possible:
What there is of it is in a perfectly publishable state . . . & it contains a full writing out as far as any thing can write out, what you are, as far as I am competent to describe you & what I owe to you—but, besides that until revised by you it is little better than unwritten, it contains nothing about our private circumstances, further than shewing that there was intimate friendship for many years, & you only can decide what more it is necessary or desirable to say in order to stop the mouths of enemies hereafter
To his request of February 13 that she give him “a general notion of what we should say or imply respecting our private concerns” (p. 159), Harriet’s reply of February 14-15 (one of the very few of her letters to him still extant) was quite explicit:
Should there not be a summary of our relationship from its commencement in 1830—I mean given in a dozen lines—so as to preclude other and different versions of our lives at Ki[ngston] and Wal[ton]—our summer excursions, etc. This ought to be done in its genuine simplicity & truth—strong affection, intimacy of friendship, and no impropriety. It seems to me an edifying picture for those poor wretches who cannot conceive friendship but in sex—nor believe that expediency and the consideration for feelings of others can conquer sensuality. But of course this is not my reason for wishing it done. It is that every ground should be occupied by ourselves on our own subject
(p. 166 n.).
The early draft was written in 1853-54, at a time when the two were still smarting from the gossip that had pursued them for at least twenty years; it was also written at a time when Mill feared that his death was imminent. Evidently, his original intention was to divide the work into two parts, the pre- and the post-Harriet periods of his life. Such a division proved to be impracticable, partly because of the disproportionate lengths of the two periods, and a compromise revision was achieved which blurred the sharp distinction between the two sections. Nevertheless, if Mill had died in, say 1856, the work if published would have given the concluding emphasis to the justification and glorification of his wife. In that form it seems reasonable to doubt that it could have added as much to Mill’s reputation as did the final version achieved by the revision and extension completed about 1870.
One can understand that in the months following Harriet’s death on November 3, 1858, Mill in grief for his devastating loss should have eulogized her in his letters. The most extravagant evaluation occurs in a hitherto unpublished letter to Louis Blanc:
I do not speak from feeling but from long standing and sober conviction in saying that when she died this country lost the greatest mind it contained. You cannot know what she was privately, but you, more than most men, can sympathize in the nobleness of her public objects, which never stopped short of perfect distributive justice as the final aim, implying therefore a state of society entirely communist in practice and spirit, whether also in institutions or not. The entire faith in the ultimate possibilities of human nature was drawn from her own glorious character, while her keen perception of present difficulties and obstacles was derived from her wonderful practical discernment, and comprehension of life
Although the years after 1858 did not mitigate his extravagant estimate of Harriet, they did lead him to soften or omit a number of the asperities which had been clearly inspired by his relationship with her and which she had not sought to modify when she read the draft. It was not by her advice that he eliminated the severe criticism of his mother found in the early draft, or his belittling of his one-time friend John Roebuck, or his attack upon Sarah Austin, whom in earlier years he had addressed as “Dear Mutterlein” (see Earlier Letters).
Harriet’s grudge against the society that had excluded her from polite circles is understandable. As the pretty, striking young wife of a prosperous, not unintelligent though perhaps rather unimaginative, business man, John Taylor, her circle had been limited but not without interest. Although Unitarians may still have been “a sect every where spoken against,” they were intellectually, and to some extent socially, the aristocrats among the Dissenters. The Taylors entertained generously among those whom Carlyle scornfully labelled “friends of the species,” reformers, Benthamites, yet substantial citizens withal. But there was a flaw in the outwardly happy marriage. Mr. Taylor shared too little Harriet’s aesthetic and intellectual interests. Legend has it that she turned for advice to her pastor, the liberal Unitarian preacher and writer, the Reverend William Johnson Fox, and that he was responsible for calling to her attention the twenty-four-year-old John Stuart Mill, then unknown to the general public as a writer but regarded in liberal circles as a highly promising if somewhat manufactured genius. Mill and Mrs. Taylor first met in 1830 in the Taylor home at a dinner party also attended by Harriet Martineau and John Roebuck.
Just how rapidly the acquaintance ripened into love is not clear, but by the summer of 1832 Mill and Mrs. Taylor were exchanging agonized love letters, and by September, 1833, a crisis was reached in the Taylors’ marriage. She went off to Paris for a trial separation from her husband, and Mill soon followed. Members of her family intervened to patch up the threatened marriage and obviate scandal. Mrs. Taylor returned to her husband’s home and to a marriage henceforth only nominal. She had not, however, “renounced sight” of Mill, and their meetings were frequent, both at her home and elsewhere. From time to time they spent vacations together on the Continent, sometimes with her children and one or another of his younger brothers. Gossip thrived, of course, though the evidence seems fairly clear that there was no sexual relationship. Mrs. Taylor succeeded in holding both her husband and her lover at arm’s length. Some years after her marriage to Mill she told the young Gomperz that she was his Seelenfreundin.
Inevitably, Mill’s attachment to Mrs. Taylor restricted his contacts in English society, and for a time he worried that it would destroy his usefulness as a reformer. Some of his friends he cut because they had advised him against continuing the relationship or had participated in the gossip; others he cut because she disliked them. She herself seems to have had little capacity for friendship, especially with members of her own sex. Her only close woman friend was the somewhat elfin Eliza Flower, who herself came under a cloud because of her relationship with the Reverend W. J. Fox. Mill’s circle narrowed over the long years before the death of John Taylor in 1849 finally made possible the marriage with Harriet in 1851; thereafter the circle became even more circumscribed. He soon cut himself off from his sisters and preserved only a formal relationship with his mother, all because of fancied slights to his wife. An admittedly gauche letter by his brother George about the marriage provoked a savage, withering reply (pp. 73-75). Probably the greatest blot on Mill’s character was his treatment, apparently with Harriet’s encouragement, of his family after his marriage, as seen in other letters included in this edition. Even after his mother’s death when he proposed to Harriet that he should give up his share of his mother’s estate to his sisters, Harriet insisted that he should not yield to his generous impulse (see pp. 220 and 223). Only some years after her death did he begin to treat his sisters more kindly and even to provide financial assistance for at least one of them, Mary Colman.
As for society, Henry Reeve, acquainted with Mill since their boyhood, writer of the Edinburgh’s hostile review of the Autobiography in 1874, spoke for Mrs. Grundy: “From the moment he devoted himself exclusively to what he calls ‘the most valuable friendship of my life,’ [his ties with talented women like Mrs. Buller, Mrs. Austin, and Mrs. Grote were broken.] Whatever may have been their regard for Mill, these ladies found it impossible to countenance or receive a woman who had placed herself in so equivocal a position.” (ER, CXXXIX (Jan., 1874), 122.) Enough is known of Mrs. Austin and Mrs. Grote, as well as of Mrs. Carlyle, and of their tolerance for unconventionality, to make one suspect that it was not their concern for Mrs. Grundy, but their not wholly unjustified dislike for Harriet that led them to ostracize her. She, deeply resenting her exclusion, of course attributed it to her breaking of convention in her long association with Mill during her first husband’s lifetime. And under her sway Mill made the justification of that association one of his major purposes in writing his autobiography.
Was he then simply deluded? Was he who was ordinarily so discerning in his analysis of men and motives blinded when it came to appraising her? There can be no question that from the first she filled an enormous need in his emotional life. Suffering from a too exclusively intellectual education that had starved the affections and led to his near nervous breakdown at twenty, he sought a friend with whom he could share his inmost thoughts and feelings and upon whom he could rely for comradeship in the causes he held most dear. For a time, as his letters reveal, it seemed that John Sterling might fulfil the role, and for a while, even after Mill had met Harriet, Carlyle appeared to be a possibility. But, for good or ill, the friend he found was Mrs. Taylor: for good, in that she provided a centre of stability for his emotional and, to some extent, his intellectual life; for ill, in that she fostered the isolation from his contemporaries that had characterized his earlier life. Loverlike, in his early relation with her, he engaged in lover’s flattery of her, not of her beauty but of her intellectual abilities and interests, on which she prided herself. She was intelligent, she shared his passion for social reform, and she was at times even more direct and unwavering than he in going to the heart of a social or political problem. She also had a much better sense than he did of management of everyday, practical affairs, and after their marriage he became dependent upon her judgment in such matters. She in turn seems to have become more and more dependent upon him in her need of praise. One can understand a woman’s acceptance of even extravagant flattery in a lover’s or even a husband’s letters; one finds it more difficult to comprehend a wife’s coolly approving for publication such extraordinary tributes as Mill paid Harriet in the Autobiography.
Although she seems not to have objected to overpraise of herself, on at least one occasion she objected to his too laudatory words in a review article. Mill acknowledged the fault: “I am always apt to get enthusiastic about those who do great things for progress & are immensely ahead of everybody else in their age . . . & I am not always sufficiently careful to explain that the praise is relative to the then state & not the now state of knowledge & of what ought to be improved feeling” (pp. 17-18). In this case his perhaps extravagant praise was for the ancient Athenians, but his reply gives a clue to his feelings about Harriet; in his view she was always for doing “great things for progress” and was “immensely ahead of everybody else in [her] age,” in “what ought to be improved feeling.”
In his marriage the sense of communion, of sharing in the advancement of common causes, gave Mill relief from his otherwise ever-present feeling of aloneness. Sympathizing with Frederick Denison Maurice’s expression of “mental loneliness” in 1865, he wrote:
In our age & country, every person with any mental power at all, who both thinks for himself & has a conscience, must feel himself, to a very great degree, alone. I shd think you have decidedly more people who are in real communion of thoughts, feelings & purposes with you than I have. I am in this supremely happy, that I have had, & even now have [with Helen Taylor], that communion in the fullest degree where it is most valuable, in my own home. But I have it nowhere else; & if people did but know how much more precious to me is the faintest approach to it, than all the noisy eulogiums in the world!
To the need for that continued communion through some long separations we owe the large number of Mill’s letters to Harriet. Several years after their marriage both were afflicted with critical ill health. First, in the fall of 1853, on the advice of their physicians, Mill and Harriet, accompanied by Helen, sought to restore their health by a three-month residence in the more favourable climate of Nice. There Harriet suffered a severe haemorrhage and nearly died. Mill’s own condition improved little if any, but after moving Harriet to Hyères, where she remained until spring, he returned to his work at the India House early in January. His 38 letters to her between December 28, 1853, and April 11, 1854, when she returned home, give the best picture available of their life at Blackheath Park, for in the two other series of his letters to her, he was travelling while she remained in England. Almost none of her letters to him during these separations survived, for he seems dutifully to have followed her instructions to destroy them (p. 146).
His letters to her are, of course, informal and miscellaneous, dealing more or less at random with matters of both private and public interest. The underlying concern in them all is the state of their health; he awaits eagerly her reports and gives her details of his visits to his physicians, describes sometimes almost clinically his symptoms, and specifies the medicines he is taking. Linked with the matter of their health are the questions of when to retire from the East India Company and where they should live thereafter. The prospect of reduced income in retirement was perhaps responsible for Mill’s concern about household expenses during his wife’s absence, but more likely it was his ineptitude in dealing with practical details usually attended to by Harriet. The supply of potatoes and bread seemed to diminish too rapidly, the butcher’s bills seemed too high, two tons of coals had lasted twelve weeks in the spring and summer of 1853 but a similar quantity had surprisingly lasted only nine weeks after November 12 (p. 136)! And then there were rats to be coped with; his neighbour at Blackheath had sent a note to the effect that rats dislodged from his own property had taken refuge in an outhouse on Mill’s side. Mill could find no key to the outhouse. What to do? Write Harriet, of course, who from France soon supplied the solution to the problem (pp. 180, 182, 188).
Mill’s dependence on her at this time extended well beyond the problems of domestic life. He seems seldom to have answered a letter without consulting her about the form of the reply. One can understand why he should have consulted her about replying to a complimentary note from Mrs. Grote about his review of her husband’s book, for Mrs. Grote was one of those they thought had gossiped about them. Harriet evidently recommended a dignified silence. Mill thought it rather strange that Grote, with whom he had been on close terms for years, did not perceive that Mill was now addressing him as Mr. Grote (pp. 123 and 133). Other replies to letters hardly requiring such delicacy of decorum nevertheless were not sent until Harriet had been consulted. When the legislature of South Carolina sent him a presentation copy of a book by John C. Calhoun (pp. 142-43), when the Christian Socialist Frederick Furnivall wanted to reprint from the Political Economy the chapter on the future of the labouring classes (p. 149), and when Sir Charles Trevelyan requested an opinion on a plan for the reform of the Civil Service (pp. 175, 178, 184), the replies all required Harriet’s advice and approval.
Harriet’s role in the early version of the Autobiography has been described; she was also consulted at almost every turn in his writings of this period. She contributed three “beautiful” sentences to the essay on Nature (p. 144). When that was completed, he asked her to tell him what to attempt next:
I will just copy the list of subjects we made out in the confused order in which we put them down. Differences of character (nation, race, age, sex, temperament). Love. Education of tastes. Religion de l’Avenir. Plato. Slander. Foundation of morals. Utility of religion. Socialism. Liberty. Doctrine that causation is will. To these I have now added from your letter: Family, & Conventional
Harriet in reply recommended “The Utility of Religion” in a sentence that revealed that the subject was one close to her heart (p. 165, n. 3). He consulted her about revisions of the Political Economy for a new edition (pp. 185-87, 195). There is no evidence that he ever asked her help for more than verbal changes in revising the Logic (a very “dry” book, she wrote her brother Arthur, which to her surprise continued to sell well). Mill accepted readily her suggestion that he decline John Chapman’s invitation to review Harriet Martineau’s abridged translation of Comte’s Philosophie Positive, for he had long disliked Miss Martineau (pp. 126 and 134). His wife’s dominance in the choice of topics to write upon in this period seems clear, and even after her death her influence continued to guide his choice of political and social subjects; only in his writings on philosophical and psychological questions does her influence as a motivating force seem to have been minimal.
Harriet was a rebel not without cause. In Mill she found a man whose extraordinary education had shaped him also for rebellion against the social, moral, and political conventions of his time. In him she found too a man almost desperately lonely, subject to recurring periods of depression. It is perhaps small wonder that in gratitude for her braving the censure of society, for her sharing in his devotion to liberal causes, and for her strengthening of his spiritual and emotional resources, he sought to induce the world to accept his estimate of her. Neither he nor some of his recent biographers have convinced us that she was the originating mind behind his work, but no one can doubt her importance in his inner life, the well-springs of which had been threatened by drought.
The other two series of Mill’s letters to Harriet, because they are essentially travel letters, are less revealing. The travel on both trips was undertaken in the hope of recovering his health. In the last letter (Letter 154) of the earlier series to Harriet he had confessed that his doctor had at last told him that he had an advanced case of consumption. He was too ill to go to Paris to accompany Harriet and Helen when they returned to England about the middle of April, 1854. Thereafter, his health deteriorated rapidly and he lost weight at an alarming rate. Yielding to the advice of his physicians, he left England on June 9, 1854, for a trip to Brittany by way of the Channel Islands. Fifteen of his letters to Harriet during his six-week absence have survived. Although, as he admitted a year later, he thought his death was imminent, he kept up a brave front for Harriet. He focused attention upon plans for retirement to the Continent: “I suppose we shall never again live in England permanently” (p. 223). Everywhere he went he made inquiries about the cost of living and reported the prices of food in the various towns. He took his cod liver oil regularly, but his favourite remedy for his health was walking: “I am always out of doors, & walking when not travelling” (p. 218). A walk of twenty or more miles a day even in his weakened condition was not uncommon. Gradually he began to take on some weight and when he returned home in late July his condition seemed improved.
With the approach of winter, however, more travel seemed necessary. Leaving Harriet at Torquay with her mother and sister as guests, Mill left England on December 8 for a trip of over six months to southern France, Italy, Sicily, and Greece, not rejoining Harriet until he met her in Paris in mid-June. The 49 letters he wrote her during his travels can be read with interest in themselves, apart from their contributions to any further understanding of their relationship. They are the letters of a highly intelligent observer, and those written from Sicily and Greece in particular are valuable for their pictures of wild country not often visited in the mid-nineteenth century by Englishmen. The railroads had not yet reached those areas, and the difficulties of travel by the public diligences, by mule, and on foot were great enough to deter many a healthier traveller than Mill, who had been almost at the point of death only six months earlier. Since the letters are written to his wife, they of course recount in some detail the progress of his health, his gains or losses in weight whenever he finds available scales, his persistent bouts with indigestion, and the gradually improving condition of his lungs. Addicted to long walks since boyhood, he now almost literally walked himself back to health, travelling often through wild country in Sicily and Greece, climbing mountains and fording streams, often in pelting rain, and always botanizing as he went along, collecting loads of specimens which he dried and sorted in the evenings. Many of the inns were primitive, and infested with fleas. Writing from Greece on May 26, he wryly described one of his bouts with the pests:
I never saw so many fleas in the whole of my precious life, as I found on my clothes & body on undressing last night. After chasing them one by one I laid the palm of my hand over six or seven at once. During the night they danced a saraband on my face, & I fancied I could hear the sounds of myriads of them jumping on the floor: but perhaps it was only the droppings of the swallows, for there are always swallows in these places; the people think them lucky; & they often fly about in the night, as these did. In the morning while I was sponging myself nearly a dozen of the enemy gathered on my legs & feet. What is worse, I have brought a colony of them with me to this comparatively clean place, & they are tormenting me worse than ever. One little rascal had the impudence to bite my hand to my very face
Away from the cities he recounts the breathtaking beauty of the natural scenery: near Vaucluse in Southern France (p. 267); near Chiaramonte in Sicily (pp. 381-82), where the view from the hills and mountains is such that “one feels lifted out of all the littleness of it & conscious of a beauty which seems lent to it by something grander”; near Mount Pentelicus in Greece, where “The more than earthly beauty of this country quite takes away from me all care or feeling about the historical associations, which I had so strongly in Syracuse. That I shall have when I read Greek history again after becoming acquainted with the localities” (p. 429). Despite this statement he is almost always eager to associate literature and history with the places he visits; in Bordeaux, in preparation for Italy, he buys a volume which contains the poetry of Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso (p. 251); in Sicily he reads the native poets Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus (p. 401), as well as Goethe’s Italian travels (p. 339), and he saves Sophocles for Greece (p. 401).
In Rome and the cities of northern Italy he performs zestfully “the first duty of man when in Italy, that of seeing pictures” (p. 270). He had never before been so “immersed in pictures” (p. 312). He is modest about his pretension in venturing to give his opinions on the paintings, sculpture, and architecture he sees, but “as all I say about them is the expression of real feelings which they give or which they fail to give me, what I say though superficial is genuine & may go for what it is worth—it does not come from books or from other people . . .” (p. 312). He protests against prudery: “the precious King of Naples has shut up the Venus Callipyge & the other Venuses on pretext of public decency—the Pope has done the same to the Venus of the Capitol. If these things are done in Italy what shall we come to next?” (p. 317). Although Mill’s education had been defective with respect to art (as had the education of most Englishmen of his time), he now began to gain confidence in his judgments. “I find the pleasure which pictures & statues give me increases with every new experience, & I am acquiring strong preferences & discriminations which with me I think is a sign of progress” (p. 295).
In the midst of his new-found pleasures in art and of the renewal of his joy in natural beauty, Mill nonetheless never strayed very far from the consciousness of his duty to write for the betterment of mankind. “We have got a power of which we must try to make a good use during the few years of life we have left” (p. 332). In Rome he was moved to recall a paper he had written for his volume of essays he had projected with Harriet:
I came back to an idea we have talked about & thought that the best thing to write & publish at present would be a volume on Liberty. So many things might be brought into it & nothing seems to me more needed—it is a growing need too, for opinion tends to encroach more & more on liberty, & almost all the projects of social reformers in these days are really liberticide—Comte, particularly so. I wish I had brought with me here the paper on liberty that I wrote for our volume of Essays—perhaps my dearest will kindly read it through & tell me whether it will do as the foundation of one part of the volume in question—If she thinks so I will try to write & publish it in 1856 if my health permits as I hope it will
He revived also a plan he had thought of as early as 1839 (see Earlier Letters, p. 411) to publish a collection of his periodical essays.
It seems desirable to do it in our lifetime, for I fancy we cannot prevent other people from doing it when we are dead . . . : now if we do it, we can exclude what we should not choose to republish, & nobody would think of reprinting what the writer had purposely rejected. Then the chance of the name selling them is as great as it is ever likely to be—the collection would probably be a good deal reviewed, for anybody thinks he can review a miscellaneous collection but few a treatise on logic or political economy. . . . I hope to publish some volume almost annually for the next few years if I live as long—& I should like to get this reprint, if it is to be done at all, off my hands during the next few months after I return in which India House business being in arrear will prevent me from settling properly to the new book. Will my dearest one think about this & tell me what her judgment & also what her feeling is
As it turned out, however, Mill did not publish another book until the year after Harriet’s death in November, 1858. It was not merely the arrears of India House business that delayed the fulfilment of his plans; on him was placed the burden of the defence of the Company against the takeover of the administration of India by the British government in 1858. After his retirement and the death of his wife, he published in close succession in 1859 the essay On Liberty, his pamphlet on Parliamentary Reform, and the first two volumes of his review articles, Dissertations and Discussions.
Again during his 1855 trip he was concerned about his approaching retirement. Almost every place he went he noted its cost of living and its suitability as a home for them. Corfu and the nearby islands, curiously enough, seemed most attractive, especially when the possibility developed that he might be able to secure an appointment as Resident of one of the Ionian islands then under British protection (p. 412).
I do not believe there is a more beautiful place in the world & few more agreeable—the burthen of it to us would be that we could not (with the Residentship) have the perfectly quiet life, with ourselves & our own thoughts, which we prefer to any other, but if we have tolerable health there is not more of societyzing than would be endurable & if we have not, that would excuse us
Isolation from English society, so long as it was shared with Harriet, would be no deprivation for him. To lose her would be the unthinkable calamity. That he might do something that would alienate her from him seems to have been a deeply rooted fear, a fear that once near the end of his long absence from her gained expression in a letter.
. . . I had a horrible dream lately—I had come back to her & she was sweet & loving like herself at first, but presently she took a complete dislike to me saying that I was changed much for the worse—I am terribly afraid sometimes lest she should think so, not that I see any cause for it, but because I know how deficient I am in self consciousness & self observation, & how often when she sees me again after I have been even a short time absent she is disappointed—but she shall not be, she will not be so I think this time—bless my own darling, she has been all the while without intermission present to my thoughts & I have been all the while mentally talking with her when I have not been doing so on paper
The three years following Mill’s return to Harriet in June, 1855, seem to have been happy. Their health was somewhat improved and no further prolonged separations occurred. As a result, of course, we have little record in letters of their life together for this period. Only occasionally in these years were letters necessary, ordinarily brief ones. In the summer of 1856, accompanied by Helen and Algernon Taylor, they spent much of July and August in Switzerland and were apart only for a week while Mill took a walking tour of the French Jura. In September, 1857, and July, 1858, he made several botanizing expeditions, each of about a week’s duration. The longest separation during these years occurred in February, 1857, when Harriet went to Scotland to be near her daughter Helen, who in the preceding November had won her mother’s very reluctant consent to her undertaking a career as an actress. She was permitted to do so only on the understanding that the Taylor name should be concealed; she billed herself as Miss Trevor. To conceal Helen’s whereabouts, Harriet went to great pains; for all her protests against social convention, she wanted to avoid the stigma still attached to the theatrical profession and to preserve appearances for herself and her daughter.
The last years of Mill’s marriage continued the isolation that had characterized his life with Harriet. One notices the paucity of his correspondence in these years as well as of publication. Old friends, like the Grotes, were still kept at a distance; there is no record of the Mills’ entertaining any friends except Louis Blanc, who, as a radical French journalist, was outside the pale of respectable society. It seems more than likely that if Mill’s and Harriet’s plans for their retirement had been carried out, his isolation from English life would have continued. Not that he would have minded, for to the end Harriet was the all-sufficient centre of his existence. If Harriet could have lived, he would gladly have foregone the public fame he was later to achieve.
When she died in Avignon on November 3, 1858, the blow to him was all but overwhelming. To his friend and former colleague at the India House, W. T. Thornton, he wrote:
It is doubtful if I shall ever be fit for anything public or private, again. The spring of my life is broken. But I shall best fulfil her wishes by not giving up the attempt to do something useful, and I am not quite alone. I have with me her daughter, the one person besides myself who most loved her & whom she most loved, & we help each other to bear what is inevitable
By the end of the month, before he and Helen returned to England, he had purchased a cottage at St. Véran near the Avignon cemetery in which Harriet was buried. The cottage was henceforth to be his and Helen’s real home, although they usually spent about half of each year in England in the house in Blackheath Park, which they retained until 1872. The tie that bound them to Avignon was, of course, the nearby grave of Harriet, which became virtually a shrine. For the rest of his life, whenever he was at Avignon, Mill visited the site for an hour each day.
The shared loss of Harriet brought Mill and Helen into an association that was to strengthen over the remaining years of his life. In many ways he became heavily dependent upon her. She seems to have accepted the burden willingly and without regret at giving up her hoped-for career in the theatre. From the first she devoted herself to Mill’s comforts, interests, and causes.
He soon became as dependent upon her as he had been upon Harriet. This is best seen in the series of his letters to Helen of January and February, 1860, apparently his only extended separation from her in his last fifteen years, occasioned by his return to Blackheath to consult his physicians and settle some business affairs, while she remained in Avignon. As in his letters to Harriet, he keeps Helen informed about the medical advice he has received (p. 660). He forwards certain letters to her (as formerly to Harriet) to consult her on the replies to be made (p. 661). In practical matters—for instance, when the walls in their Blackheath house begin to threaten collapse—he still depends on the woman of the house for instructions (pp. 662, 666). It is Helen who is responsible for the home at Avignon, at one point supervising the building of an addition. Under her skilful ministrations, the cottage at Avignon became not only a comfortable refuge from the society in which he had been in the past seldom at ease but also the place where he was henceforth to carry on most of his study and his writing.
In November, 1861, he wrote his friend Thornton:
Life here is uneventful, and feels like a perpetual holiday. It is one of the great privileges of advanced civilization, that while keeping out of the turmoil and depressing wear of life, one can have brought to one’s doors all that is agreeable or stimulating in the activities of the outward world, by newspapers, new books, periodicals, &c. It is, in truth, too self-indulgent a life for any one to allow himself whose duties lie among his fellow-beings, unless, as is fortunately the case with me, they are mostly such as can better be fulfilled at a distance from their society, than in the midst of it
Mill was aware of the dangers to Helen in his virtual monopoly of her attention. Once when she had evidently complained of being depressed by the company of some women at Avignon, he wrote her:
It is a great happiness to me to be a support to you under depression, but it would be very painful to me to think that I should always continue to be the only one, as I must necessarily fail you some day & I can never be at ease unless, either by means of persons or of pursuits you have some other resource besides me, and I am sure my own darling [Harriet] would feel as I do
Helen continued, however, to devote herself almost exclusively to Mill’s interests. By 1865, as has been pointed out in the Preface, she became so identified with him as to be able to write a good many of his letters for him. Of a letter on women’s suffrage to Mary Carpenter, he wrote:
. . . I should not like to be a party to its being printed with my name, because it was written (as is the case with no inconsiderable portion of my correspondence) by my step-daughter Miss Helen Taylor. Without this help it would be impossible for me to carry on so very voluminous a correspondence as I am at present able to do: and we are so completely one in our opinions and feelings, that it makes hardly any difference which of us puts them into words
By her own admission, Helen was, like her mother before her, a severe critic of Mill’s writing. In turn, she reproached him for not criticizing her own writing severely enough. Mill thought her a good editor and trusted her judgment in the revision of his work. She worked zealously, “putting in words here, stops there; scratching through whole paragraphs; asking him to write whole new pages in particular places” where she thought the meaning unclear.4 Her relationship with Mill was such that there was “no amour propre to be hurt in his case or [hers].”
On at least one occasion she gave him a thorough dressing down for careless thinking and writing. When in a public letter to his election committee in the 1868 campaign for Parliament, Mill wrote effusively and somewhat evasively in defence of his support of the atheist Charles Bradlaugh, Helen, in a letter of November 12, 1868 (MS at LSE), sternly warned Mill that his “future power of usefulness on religious liberty” was being jeopardized by such letters, and that henceforth she would take charge of any correspondence about Bradlaugh: “Copy as literally as you can the letter I dictated (which I enclose) about Bradlaugh; and what you yourself said at the former election, about yourself.”5
Helen’s judgment in this instance was probably sound, but in other instances she seems to have brought Mill too much under her domination. When in 1869 the identity of the London Committee for Women’s Suffrage (originally Helen’s project) was threatened with a takeover by a Manchester group, Helen through Mill directed countermoves for the London Committee. In a series of letters to George Croom Robertson, Mill was led to advocate measures designed to eliminate dissident members from the Committee and to ensure that new members should be on the right side. This series of letters to Robertson is the only one in all his correspondence that reflects discredit upon Mill the advocate of freedom of opinion. Helen was so convinced of the rightness of her views that she became almost ruthless in her support of them.
Her evident domination of Mill in matters connected with the women’s suffrage movement did not escape the observation of one of Mill’s friends, Charles Eliot Norton, who wrote to Chauncey Wright on September 13, 1870:
I doubt whether Mill’s interest in the cause of woman is serviceable to him as a thinker. It has a tendency to develop the sentimental part of his intelligence, which is of immense force, and has only been kept in due subjection by his respect for his own reason. This respect diminishes under the powerful influence of his daughter, Miss Taylor, who is an admirable person doubtless, but is what, were she of the sex that she regards as inferior, would be called decidedly priggish. Her self-confidence, which embraces her confidence in Mill, is tremendous, and Mill is overpowered by it. Her words have an oracular value to him—something more than their just weight; and her unconscious flattery, joined with the very direct flattery of many other prominent leaders of the great female army, have a not unnatural effect on his tender, susceptible and sympathetic nature. . . .6
However dominant Helen may have become over Mill in his last years, her help to him in restoring his will to live and in developing new interests in the years immediately after Harriet’s death was of great importance. She encouraged him to make new friends, held frequent intimate dinner parties when they were at Blackheath, and shared his enthusiasm for new causes which he found he could advance better by ending the isolation he had enjoyed with Harriet. The first steps were taken somewhat reluctantly. He wrote to Helen in February, 1860, after meeting with Thomas Hare and Henry Fawcett:
The truth is that though I detest society for society’s sake yet when I can do anything for the public objects I care about by seeing & talking with people I do not dislike it. At the moment of going to do it, I feel it a bore, just as I do taking a walk or anything else that I must & ought to do when not wishing to do it. But I believe the little additional activity & change of excitement does me good, & that it is better for me to try to serve my opinions in other ways as well as with a pen in my hand
The products of his pen, especially the shorter works published in 1859—On Liberty, Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform, and the first two volumes of his Dissertations and Discussions—were beginning to have evident effect upon public opinion. He noted that an article in the conservative Quarterly Review had borrowed from his pamphlet on parliamentary reform (p. 667), and he wrote Helen in February, 1860, that his influence could be detected in the likewise conservative Saturday Review, “for besides that they are continually referring to me by name, I continually detect the influence of some idea that they have lately got from the Dissertations. They must also get me plenty of readers, for they are always treating me & my influence as something of very great importance” (pp. 673-74). Early in 1863 he corrected an American reviewer who thought that his shorter works had been neglected in England in comparison with his treatises. The more recent works “have been much more widely read than ever those were & have given me what I had not before, popular influence” (p. 843). That influence had also markedly increased in America and was reenforced by his wholehearted support of the Northern cause during the Civil War.
His active participation in political and social movements revived in the early 1860’s and is reflected both in the addition of new friendships and correspondences and in the renewing of old. Only seven letters to Edwin Chadwick, his early friend, are extant for the years between 1849 and November, 1858; there are nearly a hundred in the years to 1873. The friendship with Grote, broken off during the years of Mill’s marriage, was renewed, as well as their correspondence. The exchange of letters with Gustave d’Eichthal, interrupted in 1842, began again in 1863. Although evidence is incomplete, it seems likely that the correspondence with Alexander Bain had also been almost wholly suspended during Mill’s marriage.
Among the new correspondents, John Elliot Cairnes became perhaps the one most highly valued by Mill. In the earlier years of their correspondence, they had little opportunity for personal contact, since Cairnes resided in Ireland until 1866, when he became Professor of Political Economy at University College, London; he eventually made his home in Blackheath. Reference has been made earlier here to Mill’s awareness that their exchanges constituted a “philosophic correspondence” between two who shared a “brotherhood in arms.” Cairnes is sometimes thought of as a disciple of Mill, but while he was in basic agreement with Mill on many of their doctrines in political economy, he often disagreed with the older man in details. His criticism was often of great help to Mill in the revision of his Political Economy, and on some questions, notably on those relating to Ireland, Cairnes supplied invaluable information. Mill, in turn, was often of similar assistance to Cairnes (see, for instance, his analytical letter on the French political economists, pp. 1664-65). It was Mill who first encouraged Cairnes to expand some lectures he had delivered in Dublin into his book The Slave Power, which became perhaps the most influential force in shaping British opinion in favour of the North in the American Civil War. The letters of the two men on the course of that war reveal their mutual concern for the antislavery cause; said Mill, “the battle against the devil could not be fought on a more advantageous field than that of slavery” (p. 835). Other interests the two shared were proportional representation, women’s rights, and the reform of education and land tenure in Ireland. More than any other of Mill’s correspondence, except perhaps that with Carlyle—the other side of which is largely available—both sides of the Cairnes-Mill series deserve publication together; for reasons of space, we have been able to publish only pertinent excerpts of Cairnes’s letters in footnotes.
Of the other new friends, Thomas Hare supplied Mill with a new cause—the representation of minorities or, as we now phrase it, proportional representation. Mill responded enthusiastically when Hare sent him a copy of his book on the subject: “You appear to me to have exactly, and for the first time, solved the difficulty of popular representation; and by doing so, to have raised up the cloud of gloom and uncertainty which hung over the futurity of representative government and therefore of civilization” (pp. 598-99). Mill’s long-standing fear of the tyranny of the majority in a democratic society was now allayed by the possibility of the representation of minorities set forth in Hare’s plan. It became at once a favourite cause for Mill, since he regarded the plan “as the sheet anchor of the democracy of the future” (p. 765). Within a month after studying Hare’s book he reviewed it enthusiastically in Fraser’s Magazine, and he quickly revised his pamphlet on parliamentary reform to endorse the plan. Hare became one of Mill’s valued friends and a dependable ally in another favourite cause, women’s suffrage.
It was through Hare that Mill gained another friend, disciple, and correspondent—the blind political economist and politician Henry Fawcett, who was Mill’s junior by twenty-three years. He and Mill were united in their support of Hare’s plan, co-operation, conservation, women’s suffrage, and a number of other liberal causes. When Fawcett and Mill were both elected to Parliament in 1865, they continued their relationship as political allies. As a political economist, however, Fawcett remained more orthodox than Mill, who in his later years moved nearer to socialist views.
Less close was the relationship with Herbert Spencer, the extant correspondence with whom dates from November, 1858, after Spencer had written Mill for assistance in securing a position in the India civil service. Prior to that, the two had engaged in amicable controversy in their writings on the ultimate test of truth and Spencer’s “Universal Postulate.” Mill’s answers to Spencer were largely expressed in successive revisions of the Logic, beginning with the fourth edition. Mill wrote Spencer that his First Principles was “a striking exposition of a consistent and imposing system of thought; of which though I dissent from much, I agree in more” (p. 846). Mill at times expressed regret at having to criticize so often one whom he regarded as “a friend and ally” (p. 1061). To Bain he wrote, “He is a considerable thinker though anything but a safe one” (p. 901), certainly, in psychology, less sound than Bain (p. 540). Nevertheless Mill readily supported Spencer’s plans for a periodical, The Reader (pp. 974-75), and when Spencer announced that he was planning to suspend the publication of his Principles of Biology, Mill offered to guarantee a publisher against loss in carrying on with it (p. 1145). At first, they differed in degree rather than in principle on laissez-faire: Spencer opposed town ownership of public parks, but Mill thought they should be the property of the town (p. 609). Later, Mill’s increasing sympathy with socialism must have widened the differences between the two, but their extant correspondence supplies no evidence. Spencer, though early in favour of women’s rights, changed his mind and refused to join Mill’s campaign for women’s suffrage (p. 1299). Mill protested Spencer’s view that women often tyrannize over men by remarking that here as in a great many other cases “two negatives do not make an affirmative, or at all events two affirmatives do not make a negative and two contradictory tyrannies do not make liberty” (p. 1614). Despite their differences, however, the two philosophers remained on friendly terms, and Spencer was invited from time to time to Mill’s home for dinner. Spencer after Mill’s death wrote an appreciative memorial article for the Examiner (reprinted as an Appendix in Spencer’s Autobiography).
A rare difficulty with a friend, arising out of a misunderstanding, is illustrated in the letters to the young classical scholar Theodor Gomperz, who had corresponded with Mill since 1854 about translating his works into German. When Mill and Helen Taylor had visited Gomperz in Vienna in the summer of 1862, the young man had fallen in love with Helen. Mill’s friendly letters inviting him to visit them in England were encouraging; he came to London the following winter, intending to propose to Helen. She and Mill, apparently not aware of Gomperz’s intentions, returned to Avignon before Gomperz made his hopes clear to either one. His request to be allowed to visit them was answered by Mill, apparently unconscious of Gomperz’s real purpose, on April 26, 1863 (Letter 607), in a rather ambiguous, cool manner. Gomperz took the letter to be a rejection not only by Helen as a suitor but also by the two of them as friends. His despair set off an incipient nervous breakdown, in which he conjured up enemies who must be maligning him. In succeeding letters Mill protested the sincerity of his great esteem and respect for Gomperz, and after returning with Helen to London early in June invited him to dinner. Mill was apparently slow to understand the real desire of Gomperz; in guarded but kindly terms (Letter 618), Mill advised him that he would “never willingly be the smallest obstacle” to his wishes but clearly doubted that there was any hope.
If you think fit to carry the matter farther, either by speech or writing,—even if only for the relief of your own feelings—, you will have my truest sympathy, as you have my sincere friendship and esteem.—We hope to see you and your friend to-morrow, and I hope, nothing that has passed will make any difference in your feelings towards us, who remain unchanged to you, and that you will not allow it to affect in any degree our future intercourse
Gomperz for some time after leaving England still suffered from delusions of persecution, which Mill tried to dispel (see Letter 633). By fall, Gomperz was calmer and he eventually recovered fully. The correspondence with Mill was renewed; it continued on a friendly basis until Mill’s death.
In the 1860’s with the growth of Mill’s reputation came a marked increase in his influence among young men. His treatises on logic and political economy had become textbooks in the universities, helping to shape the thought as well as the methods of thinking of the younger generation. Among his shorter works, On Liberty became, as Frederic Harrison remarked, “a sort of gospel.” On perhaps none was his influence greater than on John Morley, whose acquaintance Mill first made in 1865, when Morley at the age of twenty-seven was a writer for various periodicals. An anonymous article of his entitled “New Ideas” in the October 21, 1865, number of the Saturday Review attracted Mill’s attention, and when a friend identified the author of the piece, Mill wrote Morley: “Wherever I might have seen that article, I should have felt a strong wish to know who was its author, as it shows an unusual amount of qualities which go towards making the most valuable kind of writer for the general public” (p. 1113). Their friendship developed quickly and by the fall of 1867 when Morley travelled to America, Mill wrote to Emerson a letter of introduction for him (Letter 1137), praising his great capacity and promise as a writer. It is not possible to gauge from the letters to Morley here published the full extent of Mill’s influence on him, for we have succeeded in locating only eleven, some of them brief extracts. Morley himself, however, in his memorial article, “The Death of Mr. Mill” (FR, June, 1873) and in his Recollections (2 vols., New York, 1917), has recorded in generous terms his indebtedness to Mill as his intellectual father. D. A. Hamer in his John Morley (Oxford, 1968, pp. 16-32) has delineated skilfully Mill’s role in winning Morley over from Positivism. What we do have of Mill’s letters to him show Mill as an adviser on questions of public policy, particularly with reference to the Fortnightly Review, of which Morley became the editor in 1867. At one point in 1870, fearful that Morley’s health was in danger from overwork, Mill offered to take over temporarily the editorship of the Review. Their personal contacts were frequent: Morley was always welcomed to Blackheath. On March 5, 1873, Mill visited Morley for a day at his home, shortly before Mill was to leave England for the last time. Morley’s description of that day, reprinted in his Recollections (I, 66-67) from his memorial article of June, 1873, is the finest account available of Mill’s wide-ranging, stimulating conversation.
Of his influence on another promising young man, Lord Amberley, son of Lord John Russell, we again have little evidence in Mill’s letters. Only seven have been located for inclusion here. Fortunately, they can be supplemented by a number of Helen’s letters to Lady Amberley, preserved at LSE and in the Russell Archive at McMaster University. Mill and Helen first met Amberley at a dinner party at the Grotes’ on March 22, 1864, and Amberley called on them at Avignon the following June. The acquaintance ripened into friendship after Amberley’s marriage to Kate Stanley in 1865. Helen and Kate Amberley became close friends. The young couple visited Mill and Helen at Avignon and at Blackheath, and they in turn visited the Amberleys at their home near Tintern Abbey in England. Mill even agreed to become godfather for their second son, Bertrand Russell. Mill served as an adviser to Amberley both on his writings and on his political activities. Amberley, who was frequently attacked in The Times and other newspapers for his extreme radical opinions, won Mill’s sympathetic support, as is seen in his letter of November 30, 1868 (pp. 1494-95), discussing both his and Amberley’s defeat in the 1868 elections for Parliament.
In those same elections, the third of the young men who became one of Mill’s close friends, Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, won a seat for Chelsea. Mill was not then acquainted with Dilke. Their acquaintance began in 1869 with Mill’s writing Dilke a friendly but detailed criticism of his new book, Greater Britain, based on travels in many parts of the Empire (Letter 1693). Years later, Dilke himself wrote an account of their subsequent friendship and published excerpts from Mill’s letters to him.7 In this instance we presumably have most if not all of Mill’s letters, preserved in Dilke’s papers at the British Museum. The letters reveal Mill after his defeat in 1868 quite as deeply interested in current political questions as when he was in the House. Still a public figure, he found that his widened knowledge of the working classes contributed to his understanding of their problems. In the last four years of his life he increasingly took positions farther to the left than those he had occupied in his Parliamentary years. Long interested in land reform, he now moved to organize the Land Tenure Reform Association. His sympathies with the trades unions deepened, and his confidence in their leaders increased. He met regularly in 1869 with a committee organized to promote working-class representation in Parliament. He became an ardent advocate of universal free education, despite his earlier fears about state-maintained education. At Dilke’s invitation he and Helen became members of the Radical Club, a dining and discussion group started by Henry Fawcett, which met every other Sunday during the Parliamentary session. About half of the Club were radical or ultra-liberal members of Parliament. On occasion Mill advised Dilke on strategy to be followed in supporting the liberal causes they both advocated, including women’s rights. The two entertained each other at dinner from time to time, and it was to this intimate friendship that we owe the existence of the Watts portrait of Mill (see Letter 1780). Dilke persuaded Mill to sit for the portrait, paid the artist, and eventually bequeathed it to the City of Westminster.
Although Mill in his last years added such young men as Morley, Amberley, and Dilke to the roster of his friends and correspondents, he still maintained his correspondence with a number of his longtime friends. The oldest of these friendships was with Edwin Chadwick, dating back to their Benthamite days. Mill’s earliest extant letter to Chadwick is dated February 19, 1827; the last, December 27, 1872. Over those forty-five years the two were apparently in close touch, for many of the letters, especially in the earlier years, are brief notes concerning matters previously discussed in person. Chadwick relied upon Mill as a reader of his many reports as a reformer of the poor laws, sanitation, education—sometimes it seems as a reformer of almost everything. Mill always admired the matter of Chadwick’s reports and usually supported the proposed reforms; the writing of the reports, however, Mill time after time found in need of reorganization and even of grammatical correction. In the 1860’s when Chadwick published a cheap paper for the working classes, The Penny Newsman, Mill and Helen Taylor contributed articles. The best testimony to Mill’s admiration and respect for Chadwick’s abilities is to be found in the unremitting efforts he made to fulfil Chadwick’s ambition to be elected to Parliament. Mill thought him admirably equipped for service there. In 1868 he characterized Chadwick as
one of the organizing & contriving minds of the age; a class of minds of which there are very few, & still fewer who apply those qualities to the practical business of government. He is, moreover, one of the few persons who have a passion for the public good; and nearly the whole of his time is devoted to it, in one form or another
When Mill himself was being considered for the representation of Westminster, he constantly put forth the case for Chadwick, in preference to himself, and later, when in Parliament, Mill was always looking for possible openings for him. What appeared to be the best chance for Chadwick came in the 1868 campaign when it appeared possible that he might unseat Edward Bouverie, an Adullamite Liberal who for twenty-five years had represented the Scottish constituency of Kilmarnock. Because Bouverie had openly attacked Gladstone and the Liberal party the preceding spring, Mill thought him not entitled to Liberal support and instead warmly endorsed Chadwick. Bouverie charged Mill with sowing dissension in the party, and turned over to The Times for publication his exchange of letters with Mill (see Letters 1299 and 1306). In the event, Chadwick, who had campaigned vigorously and at considerable expense to himself, lost badly to Bouverie. Mill had to answer a bitter letter from Mrs. Chadwick protesting his encouraging her husband to run (Letter 1335). Neither her protest nor his own defeat deterred Mill, as his later letters to Chadwick reveal, from continuing to support his friend.
We have dwelt at some length on the foregoing correspondences with both earlier and later friends because they are among the most revealing of Mill’s character and personality. Other series, however, deserve at least brief mention here. Readers who wish to pursue any of the various series will find convenient the separate Index of Correspondents in Vol. XVII. Mill’s continuing, widely ranging interest in developments outside England is demonstrated in such series as those to his friends Gustave d’Eichthal and Charles Dupont-White on developments in France, both before and after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870; to Pasquale Villari, on the long struggle for Italian independence; to Henry S. Chapman in New Zealand, on affairs in that remote portion of the Empire; and to Charles Eliot Norton in America on post-Civil War problems. The two series of his letters to working-class correspondents, John Plummer and William Wood, reveal his essential kindness; without any trace of condescension he lent them books, gave them advice, and sought their support for his favourite causes, especially that of women’s rights. The letters to Alexander Bain and to Rowland G. Hazard provide valuable supplements to Mill’s philosophical and metaphysical writings. The letters to W. T. Thornton, his long-time colleague at the India House, display not only their warm friendship but also their continuing debates on such economic questions as the wage-fund doctrine and trades unions and such philosophic questions as utilitarianism. Letters to William E. Hickson and John Chapman, successively editors of the Westminster Review, reveal not only his continuing interest in the radical review with which he had been closely associated in its earlier years, but also his readiness to contribute to its financial support. Letters to his publishers, John W. Parker and his successor William Longman, show Mill the author fully aware of the value of his publications and determined to obtain a fair return for them, but also willing to sacrifice to the public good his own profits by making available inexpensive People’s editions of his works.
We have chosen in this Introduction to emphasize the value of the many series of Mill’s letters in gaining an understanding of his life and personality, rather than to attempt to provide an analysis of his views on the many questions he explored in both letters and published works. The latter have been subjected, and are still being subjected, to searching analysis in many books and articles, for Mill continues to be one of the most significant of Victorian writers for the twentieth century. Some of his letters express views not to be found in his published writings, views that often seem surprisingly modern. Well known, of course, is his dedicated support of women’s rights. Less well known are his concern for the environment (see Letter 909), his eventual acceptance of universal education provided by the State (see Letter 1534), and his foresighted opinions on the Negro problem in America (see Letter 871). For the reader who wishes to pursue these and other topics in the letters, we have provided a detailed subject index. It is our hope that readers will share the pleasure that the editors have had not only in observing Mill engage with ideas but also in obtaining new insights into the nature of the man himself. The whole correspondence is the life of the man, “and above all the chief part of his life, his inner life.”[Back to Table of Contents]
Abbreviations and Short Titles
Arsenal: Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Paris
Autobiog.: John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, ed. with an Introduction and Notes by Jack Stillinger (Boston, 1969)
Bain, JSM: Alexander Bain, John Stuart Mill: A Criticism: With Personal Recollections, London, 1882
Bernard: Mountague Bernard, A Historical Account of the Neutrality of Great Britain during the American Civil War, London, 1870
Bibliothèque Nationale: Bibliothèque National, Paris
Bodleian: Bodleian Library, Oxford
Brit. Mus.: British Museum, London
Canberra: National Library of Australia, Canberra
Columbia: Columbia University Library
Cornell: Olin Library, Cornell University
Cosmopolis: “Letters of John Stuart Mill to Gustave d’Eichthal,” ed. Eugène d’Eichthal, in Cosmopolis, IX (March, 1898), 781-89
Dilke: Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, “John Stuart Mill, 1869-1873,” Cosmopolis, V (March, 1897), 429-41
Dissertations: John Stuart Mill, Dissertations and Discussions: Political, Philosophical, and Historical, 4 vols., London, 1859-75; 5 vols., Boston, 1864-68
Duncan: David Duncan, Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer, 2 vols., New York, 1908
ER: The Edinburgh Review, 1802-1929
Earlier Letters: The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill, 1812-1848, ed. Francis E. Mineka, vols. XII and XIII of Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Toronto, 1963
Early Draft: The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, ed. Jack Stillinger, Urbana, 1961
D’Eichthal Corresp.: John Stuart Mill, Correspondance inédite avec Gustave d’Eichthal, 1828-1842, 1864-1871, ed. Eugène d’Eichthal, Paris, 1898
Elliot: The Letters of John Stuart Mill, ed. Hugh S. R. Elliot, 2 vols., London, 1910
FR: The Fortnightly Review, 1865-1954
Fraser’s: Fraser’s Magazine, 1830-82
Gomperz: Heinrich Gomperz, Theodor Gomperz, Briefe und Aufzeichnungen, ausgewählt, erläutert und zu einer Darstellung seines Lebens verknüpft, Vol. I (all published), Vienna, 1936
Hamilton: John Stuart Mill, An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, London, 1865
Hansard: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, Third Series, London, 1830-91
Harvard: Harvard College Library
Hayek: F. A. Hayek, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage, London and Chicago, 1951
Huntington: The Huntington Library, Pasadena
I.H.: India House
Indiana: Indiana University Library
JSM: John Stuart Mill
Johns Hopkins: The Johns Hopkins University Library
King’s: Keynes Collection, King’s College Library, Cambridge University
LSE: The British Library of Political and Economic Science, at the London School of Economics and Social Science
Leeds: Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
Logic: John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive; being a connected view of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation, 2 vols., London, 1843. The references are to the 8th edition, London, 1872
LWR: London and Westminster Review, 1836-40
Macmillan’s: Macmillan’s Magazine, 1859-1907
MacMinn, Bibliog.: Bibliography of the Published Writings of John Stuart Mill, ed. Ney MacMinn, J. R. Hainds, and James McNab McCrimmon, Evanston, Ill., 1945
Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, 1859-
Melbourne: Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne
Motley: The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley, ed. George William Curtis, New York, 1889
NAPSS: National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, Transactions, 1857-84, 1886
NLI: The National Library of Ireland, Dublin
NLS: The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
NLW: The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
NYP: New York Public Library, New York City, New York
No. Am. Rev.: The North American Review, 1815-1940
Osborn Collection, Yale: The James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Yale University Library
Packe: Michael St. John Packe, Life of John Stuart Mill, London, 1954
Parl. Papers: Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords, London, 1849-
Pol. Econ.: John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, With Some of Their Application to Social Philosophy, London, 1848. The references are to the last edition revised by JSM (the 7th in 1871) available in the edition of Sir W. J. Ashley, London, 1909, and as Vols. II and III of Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, ed. J. M. Robson, Toronto, 1965
Principles: John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, ed. J. M. Robson, Vols. II and III of Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Toronto, 1965. References have been made to this edition only for information not available in other editions of Pol. Econ.
QR: The Quarterly Review, 1809-
Rep. Govt.: John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, London, 1861
SR: The Saturday Review, 1855-1938
Sp.: The Spectator, 1828-
Stamp: “New Letters of John Stuart Mill. A philosopher in politics,” The Times, Dec. 29, 1938
UCL: Library of University College, the University of London
UCLA: Library, University of California at Los Angeles
Villey: Daniel Villey, “Sur la traduction par Dupont-White de ‘La Liberté’ de Stuart Mill,” Revue d’histoire économique et sociale, XXIV (1938)
Wellesley Index: The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals 1824-1900, ed. Walter E. Houghton, Vol. I, Toronto, 1966
WR: Westminster Review, 1824-1914
Yale: Yale University Library[Back to Table of Contents]
THE LATER LETTERS OF JOHN STUART MILL
Portrait in the possession of Professor F. A. von Hayek[Back to Table of Contents]
TO GEORGE GROTE1
I have just finished reading the two volumes2 with the greatest pleasure and admiration.
The fifth volume seems to me all that we had a right to expect, and the sixth is splendid!
I mean to read them again at leisure, and I shall then note one or two very small points to talk about, which I do not now remember.
Every great result which you have attempted to deduce seems to me most thoroughly made out.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
You might well feel that the handwriting would be “worth having”, but instead of there being “little said” the excessive sweetness & love in this exquisite letter makes it like something dropt from heaven. I had been literally pining for it & had got into a state of depression which I do not think I shall fall into again during this absence—When I left you my darling & during all the journey back3 I was full of life & animation & vigour of wish & purpose, because fresh from being with you, fresh from the immediate influence of your blessed presence & of that extreme happiness of that time which during this last week or fortnight I have hardly been able to conceive that I ever had—much less that I ever should have again—but this angel letter has begun to bring back happiness & spirit & I again begin to feel the holiday & journey & that blessed meeting as if they would really be—& to feel capable also of being & of doing something in the meanwhile which I had entirely ceased to feel. But I am very anxious darling to hear about the lameness4 & to find that it has got better. I have a very strong feeling about the obstinacy of lamenesses from the troublesome persistency of this of mine5 —though it is certainly better—but still it does not go away, nor allow me to take more than a very little exercise & I feel the effect a little now in the general health—the sight too has not quite recovered itself yet, which is an additional teaze, but I am not uneasy about it. The only piece of news I have is that Austin6 called yesterday. When he came & during all the time he staid there was a Frenchman with me, a man named Guerry,7 a statistical man whom Col. Sykes8 brought to me—the man whose maps of France with the dark & light colours, shewing the state of crime, instruction &c. in each department you may remember. He was [wanting?] to shew me some other maps & tables of his & to ask me about the “logic” of his plans so he did not go away—& the talk was confined to general subjects, except that Austin said he was going to prepare a new edition of his book on jurisprudence9 on a much enlarged plan & should wish very much to consult me on various matters connected with the application of induction to moral science. Of course I could not refuse & indeed saw no reason for doing so—but as this will lead to his coming again, sending MSS. & so on it both gives an occasion & creates a necessity for defining the relation I am to stand in with respect to them. He said he had after much difficulty & search taken a house at Weybridge & that he liked the place, but he did not (I have no doubt purposely) say anything about wishing that I would visit him there, or anywhere. His talk was free & éclairé as it always is with me, much of it about that new publication of Guizot10 (which I have not read) of which he spoke very disparagingly & defended communists11 & socialists against the attacks contained in it & said he saw no real objection to socialism except the difficulty if not impracticability of managing so great a concern as the industry of a whole country in the way of association. Nothing was said about her12 or about the copy of the Pol. Ec.13 but it is necessary to prendre un parti. What should it be? I am reading Macaulay’s book:14 it is in some respects better than I expected, & in none worse. I think the best character that can be given of it is that it is a man without genius, who has observed what people of genius do when they write history, & tries his very best to do the same, without the amount of painful effort, & affectation, which you might expect, & which I did expect from such an attempt & such a man. I have no doubt like all his writings it will be & continue popular—it is exactly au niveau of the ideal of shallow people with a touch of the new ideas—& it is not sufficiently bad to induce anybody who knows better to take pains to lower people’s estimation of it. I perceive no very bad tendency in it as yet, except that it in some degree ministers to English conceit15 —only in some degree, for he never “goes the whole” in anything. He is very characteristic & so is his book, of the English people & of his time. I am rather glad than not that he is writing the history of that time for it is just worth reading when made (as he does make it) readable: though in itself I think English one of the least interesting of all histories—(French perhaps the most & certainly the most instructive in so far as history is ever so).
TO GEORGE GROTE MILL1
[Jan. 31, 1849]
As to Jane’s2 money—there is certainly a strong inducement to transfer it to the French funds, as it would about double the income & if invested as proposed in her own name & that of the trustees it would be as exclusively in her own control as at present & she could receive the interest. It can only be done by sending out a power of attorney to be executed by you. But it seems to me that now when there seems so much chance of your not being able to live in England where alone you could act, it would be very desirable to put in a third trustee along with the present two, both for Jane’s and Mary’s3 property. I will suggest this to them & ascertain the proper way of doing it. The buying of French stock, if you determine to do it, ought not to be done through Ferraboschi,4 but it can be done by an agent here & this I can see to if it is ultimately decided to do it.
With love to Clara5 & ever afft yours
J. S. Mill
TO WILLIAM E. HICKSON1
6th Feb. 1849
Many thanks for the Guizot2 which I have had read to me (for I am obliged to spare my sight which is ailing a good deal).3 I find it far inferior to what I expected—so vague and general as to be almost intangible, and it hardly comes into collision at all with what I think it necessary to say, in answer to Brougham.4 I do not think I can make any use of it on this occasion. The article5 however is in itself a complete answer to all such diatribes. It is finished, except revision, which the state of my sight alone retards. I will however, “make an effort” (vide chap.1 of Dombey)6 and let you have it soon.
Yours ever truly,
J. S. Mill
I should like to know who wrote the article on Channing7 if it is no secret.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
I received your dear letter 11 on Saturday & this morning the first instalment of the Pol. Ec.2 This last I will send again (or as much of it as is necessary) when I have been able to make up my mind about it. The objections are I think very inconsiderable as to quantity—much less than I expected—but that paragraph, p. 248, in the first edit. which you object to so strongly & totally,3 is what has always seemed to me the strongest part of the argument (it is only what even Proudhon says against Communism)4 —& as omitting it after it has once been printed would imply a change of opinion, it is necessary to see whether the opinion has changed or not—yours has, in some respects at least, for you have marked strong dissent from the passage that “the necessaries of life when secure for the whole of life are scarcely more a subject of consciousness”5 &c. which was inserted on your proposition & very nearly in your words. This is probably only the progress we have been always making, & by thinking sufficiently I should probably come to think the same—as is almost always the case, I believe always when we think long enough. But here the being unable to discuss verbally stands sadly in the way, & I am now almost convinced that as you said at first, we cannot settle this 2d edit. by letter. We will try, but I now feel almost certain that we must adjourn the publication of the 2d edit. to November.6 In the new matter one of the sentences that you have cancelled is a favorite of mine, viz “It is probable that this will finally depend upon considerations not to be measured by the coarse standard which in the present state of human improvement is the only one that can be applied to it.”7 What I meant was that whether individual agency or Socialism would be best ultimately—(both being necessarily very imperfect now, & both susceptible of immense improvement) will depend on the comparative attractions they will hold out to human beings with all their capacities, both individual & social, infinitely more developed than at present. I do not think it is English improvement only that is too backward to enable this point to be ascertained for if English character is starved in its social part I think Continental is as much or even more so in its individual, & Continental people incapable of entering into the feelings which make very close contact with crowds of other people both disagreeable & mentally & morally lowering. I cannot help thinking that something like what I meant by the sentence, ought to be said though I can imagine good reasons for your disliking the way in which it is put. Then again if the sentence “the majority would not exert themselves for anything beyond this & unless they did nobody else would &c”8 is not tenable, then all the two or three pages of argument which precede & of which this is but the summary, are false, & there is nothing to be said against Communism at all—one would only have to turn round & advocate it—which if done would be better in a separate treatise & would be a great objection to publishing a 2d edit. until after such a treatise. I think I agree in all the other remarks. Fourrier [sic]9 if I may judge by Considérant10 is perfectly right about women both as to equality & marriage—& I suspect that Fourier himself went further than his disciple thinks prudent in the directness of his recommendations. Considérant sometimes avails himself as Mr Fox11 used, of the sentimentalities & superstitions about purity, though asserting along with it all the right principles. But C. says that the Fourrierists are the only Socialists who are not orthodox about marriage—he forgets the Owenites,12 but I fear it is true of all the known Communist leaders in France—he says it specially of Buchez,13 Cabet,14 & what surprises one in Sand’s15 “guide, philosopher & friend” of Leroux.16 This strengthens one exceedingly in one’s wish to prôner the Fourrierists besides that their scheme of association seems to me much nearer to being practicable at present than Communism.—Your letter was very delightful—it was so very pleasant to know that you were still better as to general health than I knew before, & that the lameness also improves though slowly. I am very glad I did right about Herbert17 —his conduct on Xmas day & his not writing even to say that he is going to America seem like ostentation of heartlessness & are only as you say to be explained by his being a very great fool (at present) & therefore influenced by some miserably petty vanities & irritabilities. Their not sending George’s18 letter directly is very strange. The pamphlet19 has gone to Hickson—I had thought of sending one of the separate copies to L. Blanc.20 Whom else should it go to? To all the members of the Prov. Gov. I think, & as it will not be published till April I had better take the copies to Paris with me & send them when there as it saves so much uncertainty & delay. I did see that villainous thing in the Times21 & noticed that the American had used those words.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
I despatched yesterday to the dear one an attempt at a revision of the objectionable passages.2 I saw on consideration that the objection to Communism on the ground of its making life a kind of dead level might admit of being weakened (though I think it never could be taken away) consistently with the principle of Communism, though the Communistic plans now before the public could not do it. The statement of objections was moreover too vague & general. I have made it more explicit as well as more moderate; you will judge whether it is now sufficiently either one or the other; & altogether whether any objection can be maintained to Communism, except the amount of objection which, in the new matter I have introduced, is made to the present applicability of Fourierism.3 I think there can—& that the objections as now stated to Communism are valid: but if you do not think so, I certainly will not print it, even if there were no other reason than the certainty I feel that I never should long continue of an opinion different from yours on a subject which you have fully considered. I am going on revising the book: not altering much, but in one of the purely political economy parts which occurs near the beginning, viz. the discussion as to whether buying goods made by labour gives the same employment to labour as hiring the labourers themselves, I have added two or three pages of new explanation & illustration which I think make the case much clearer.4 —It is certainly an unlucky coincidence that the winter which you have gone away from should be so very mild a one here: on Sunday I found the cottage gardens &c. as far advanced as they often are only in the middle of April; mezereons, hepaticas, the white arabis, pyrus japonica &c. in the fullest flower, the snow ball plant very much in leaf, even periwinkles & red anemones fully out: daffodils I saw only in bud. If it is not checked it will be I think an even earlier spring than the very early one two or three years ago. I shall be able to benefit by it more than I expected in the way of country walks on Sundays although the dimness of sight, slight as it is, interferes not a little with the enjoyment of distant scenery—as I found in that beautiful Windsor Park last Sunday. If it is very fine I think I shall go some Sunday & wander about Combe—it is so full of association with all I wish for & care for. As I have taken care to let my ailments be generally known at the I[ndia] H[ouse] I have no doubt it will be easy to get a two or three months holiday in spring if we like: this indeed if I return quite well would make any holiday in the after part of the year impracticable, but need not prevent me from taking two or three days at a time occasionally during a séjour at Ryde or any other place & thus making it a partial holiday there—Unless, which I do not expect, a long holiday soon should be necessary for health, the question ought to depend entirely on what would best suit you—which is quite sure to be most desirable for me—I am in hopes that parties in France are taking a more republican turn than they seemed likely to do—if Napoleon Bonaparte coalesces with Lamartine’s party for election purposes there will be a much larger body of sincere republicans in the new assembly than was expected.5 The Roman republic & the Tuscan Provisional Govt I am afraid will end in nothing but a restoration by Austria & a putting down of the popular party throughout Italy.6 I was sorry to see in the feuilleton of the National7 a very bad article on women in the form of a review of a book by the M. Légouvé8 who was so praised in La Voix des Femmes.9 The badness consisted chiefly in laying down the doctrine very positively that women always are & must always be what men make them—just the false assumption on which the whole of the present bad constitution of the relation rests. I am convinced however that there are only two things which tend at all to shake this nonsensical prejudice: a better psychology & theory of human nature, for the few; & for the many, more & greater proofs by example of what women can do. I do not think anything that could be written would do nearly so much good on that subject the most important of all, as the finishing your pamphlet—or little book rather, for it should be that.10 I do hope you are going on with it—gone on with & finished & published it must be, & next season too.—Do you notice that Russell in bringing forward his Jew Bill,11 although he is actually abolishing the old oaths & framing new, still has the meanness to reinsert the words “on the true faith of a Christian” for all persons except Jews, & justifies it by saying that the Constitution ought not avowedly to admit unbelievers into Parliament.—I have seen very little of the Chairman & Dep. Chairman12 lately—as to avoid the long staircase I have communicated with them chiefly through others but now being released from restraint I shall take an early opportunity of speaking to Galloway about Haji.13 I have seen nothing more of Haji any more than of Herbert.14 [torn page]
TO WILLIAM E. HICKSON1
My dear Hickson
I attach importance to most of the notes,2 since when I am charging Brougham with misrepresentation of what Lamartine said,3 it will not do to bid the reader trust to my translations—and the passages from Tocqueville4 being cited as evidence to matters of fact, ought to be given in the original. You however must judge what is best for your review. You kindly offered me some separate copies—I should not desire more than 50, but in these I would like to have the notes preserved and it would not be necessary for that purpose to set them up in smaller type. If the types are redistributed I would willingly pay the expense of recomposing. I cannot imagine how the printer could commit the stupid blunder of putting those notes with the text. As a heading,5 “The Revolution of February and its assailants” would do. In the separate copies I should like to have a title page, which might run thus: “A Vindication of the French Revolution of 1848 in reply to Lord Brougham and others.”
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
What a nuisance it is having anything to do with printers—Though I had no reason to be particularly pleased with Harrison,2 I was alarmed at finding that Parker3 had gone to another, & accordingly, though the general type of the first edition is exactly copied, yet a thing so important as the type of the headings at the top of the page cannot be got right—you know what difficulty we had before—& now the headings, & everything else which is in that type, they first gave much too close & then much too wide, & say they have not got the exact thing, unless they have the types cast on purpose. Both the things they have produced seem to me detestable & the worst is that as Parker is sole owner of this edition I suppose I have no voice in the matter at all except as a point of courtesy. I shall see Parker today & tell him that I should have much preferred waiting till another season rather than having either of these types—but I suppose it is too late now to do any good—& perhaps Parker dragged out the time in useless delays before, on purpose that all troublesome changes might be avoided by hurry now. It is as disagreeable as a thing of the sort can possibly be—because it is necessary that something should be decided immediately without waiting for the decision of my only guide & oracle. If the effect should be to make the book an unpleasant object to the only eyes I wish it to please, how excessively I shall regret not having put off the edition till next season. I have had the proof of the pamphlet,4 all but the last few pages. There seems very little remaining in it that could be further softened without taking the sting out entirely—which would be a pity. I am rather against giving away any copies, at least for the present, in England—except to Louis Blanc to whom I suppose I should acknowledge authorship. He has not come near me—I see he is writing in sundry Communist papers of which there are now several in London.5 As a heading in the review I have thought of “The Revolution of February & its assailants”—it does not seem advisable to put Brougham’s name at the top of the page—& “the Revolution of February” or anything of that kind itself would be tame, & excite no attention. There is no fresh news from George6 nor any incident of any kind except that Mr Fox has sent me (without any letter) four volumes of his lectures to the working classes,7 the last volume of which (printed this year) has a preface in which he recommends to the working classes to study Polit. Economy8 telling them that they will see by “the ablest book yet produced on this subject” that it is not a thing against them but for them—with some other expressions of compliment he quotes two passages, one of them the strongest there is in the book about independence of women,9 & tells them in another place though rather by inference than directly that women ought to have the suffrage.10 He speaks in this preface of “failing health” & as if he did not expect either to write or speak in public much more: this may mean little, or very much. I feel now as if the natural thing, the thing to be expected, was to hear of every one’s death—as if we should outlive all we have cared for, & yet die early.
Did you notice that most bête & vulgar say by Emerson in a lecture at Boston, about the English? It is hardly possible to be more stupidly wrong—& what sort of people can he have been among when here?11 The Austrian octroyé federal constitution12 seems as bad as anything pretending to be a constitution at all now dares to be—the only significant circumstance in it on the side of democracy being that there is no House of Lords nor any mention of nobility or hereditary rank. Here the sort of newspaper discussion which had begun about Sterling’s13 infidelity seems to have merged in a greater scandal about a book by Froude,14 a brother of the Froude who was the originator of Puseyism15 —This book was reviewed in the last Spectator16 I sent to you & that review was the first I had heard & is all I have seen of the book—but the Herald & Standard17 are abusing the man in the tone of Dominican Inquisitors on account of the strong declarations against the inspiration of the Bible which he puts into the mouth of one of his characters, obviously as they say thinking the same himself—It appears the Council of University College had been asked to select a schoolmaster for Hobart Town & had chosen Froude from among a great many candidates & probably some rival defeated candidate has raised this stir.18 It all, I think, does good, but one ought to see occasionally the things that are written on such matters, in order not to forget the intensity of the vulgar bigotry, or affection of it, that is still thought to be the thing for the Christian readers of newspapers in this precious country. The Times is quite gentlemanlike in comparison with those other papers when they get on the ground of imputed infidelity or anything approaching to it. I suppose they overshoot their mark, but they would scruple nothing in any such case.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
[17 March, 1849]
[⅔ of folio 1r cut away] the old way, or [rest of line cut away] has the advantage of taking [rest of line cut away] Toulouse, but I suspect the means of conveyance by it are much slower & more precarious, till we reach Bourges or Châteauroux where we join the railway. I think from what has been in the papers that the whole or nearly the whole of the [⅔ of page cut away as above].
The bargain with Parker2 is a good one & that it is so is entirely your doing—all the difference between it & the last being wholly your work, as well as all the best of the book itself so that you have a redoubled title to your joint ownership of it. While I am on the subject I will say that the difficulty with the printer is surmounted3 —both he & Parker were disposed to be accommodating & he was to have the very same type from the very same foundry today—in the meantime there has been no time lost, as they have been printing very fast without the headings, & will I have no doubt keep their engagement as to time. You do not say anything this time about the bit of the P[olitical] E[conomy]—I hope you did not send it during the week, as if so it has miscarried—at the rate they are printing, both volumes at once, they will soon want it.
I was wrong to express myself that way about the Athenians,4 because without due explanations it would not be rightly understood. I am always apt to get enthusiastic about those who do great things for progress & are immensely ahead of everybody else in their age—especially when like the Athenians it has been the fashion to run them down for what was best in them—& I am not always sufficiently careful to explain that the praise is relative to the then state & not the now state of knowledge & of what ought to be improved feeling. I do think, however even without those allowances, that an average Athenian was a far finer specimen of humanity on the whole than an average Englishman—but then unless one says how low one estimates the latter, one gives a false notion of one’s estimate of the former. You are not quite right about the philosophers, for Plato did condemn those “barbarisms”.
I regret much that I have not put in anything about Palmerston into that pamphlet5 —I am almost tempted to write an express article in the Westr in order to make him the amende. As you suggested I wrote an article on Russell’s piece of meanness in the Jew Bill6 & have sent it to Crowe7 from whom I have not yet any answer—there has been no time hitherto fit for its publication—the time will be when the subject is about to come on again in Parlt. But I fear the article, even as “from a correspondent” will be too strong meat for the Daily News, as it declares without mincing the matter, that infidels are perfectly proper persons to be in parliament. I like the article myself. I have carefully avoided anything disrespectful to Russell personally, or any of the marks, known to me, by which my writing can be recognized.
If I meet Fleming8 again or am again assaulted on any similar point I will reply in the sort of way you recommend—I dare say the meeting with F. was accidental as it was just at the door of Somerset House where he is assistant secretary to the Poor Law Board & just at the time when he would probably be coming out. Ever since I have kept the opposite side.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
The Pol. Ec. packet came on Monday for which a thousand thanks. I have followed to the letter every recommendation. The sentence which you objected to in toto of course has come quite out.2 In explanation however of what I meant by it—I was not thinking of any mysterious change in human nature—but chiefly of this—that the best people now are necessarily so much cut off from sympathy with the multitudes that I should think they must have difficulty in judging how they would be affected by such an immense change in their whole circumstances as would be caused by having multitudes whom they could sympathize with—or in knowing how far the social feelings might then supply the place of that large share of solitariness & individuality which they cannot now dispense with. I meant one thing more, viz. that as, hereafter, the more obvious & coarser obstacles & objections to the community system will have ceased or greatly diminished, those which are less obvious & coarse will then step forward into an importance & require an attention which does not now practically belong to them & that we can hardly tell without trial what the result of that experience will be. I do not say that you cannot realize and judge of these things—but if you, & perhaps Shelley & one or two others in a generation can, I am convinced that to do so requires both great genius & great experience & I think it quite fair to say to common readers that the present race of mankind (speaking of them collectively) are not competent to it. I cannot persuade myself that you do not greatly overrate the ease of making people unselfish. Granting that in “ten years” the children of a community might by teaching be made “perfect” it seems to me that to do so there must be perfect people to teach them. You say “if there were a desire on the part of the cleverer people to make them perfect it would be easy”—but how to produce that desire in the cleverer people? I must say I think that if we had absolute power tomorrow, though we could do much to improve people by good laws, & could even give them a very much better education than they have ever had yet, still, for effecting in our lives anything like what we aim at, all our plans would fail from the impossibility of finding fit instruments. To make people really good for much it is so necessary not merely to give them good intentions & conscientiousness but to unseal their eyes—to prevent self flattery, vanity, irritability & all that family of vices from warping their moral judgments as those of the very cleverest people are almost always warped now. But we shall have all these questions out together & they will all require to be entered into to a certain depth, at least, in the new book3 which I am so glad you look forward to as I do with so much interest.—As for news—did you see in the Times Mrs Buller’s death? I suspect it was there the very day I wrote last. I have heard nothing of the manner or occasion of it, & had not supposed from anything I had heard before, that there was any likelihood of it. So that volume is closed now, completely.4 I called the other day at Charles Fox’s5 shop to ask the meaning of Mr Fox’s illness & C.F. said he has constant pains in his side which are either heart disease or merely nervous but which are made much worse by public speaking or any other excitement & that that is the reason he so seldom speaks in the H[ouse] of C[ommons]. It is probably mere nervous pain therefore, & not dangerous, but it shews him to be out of health. There were letters from George6 yesterday of three weeks later date: his report is that he is neither worse nor better. He thinks that he coughs about six or seven times an hour through the 24 hours. He still writes as not at all out of spirits—one expression he uses is that he wants nothing to make him happy but to be able to go up into the mountains, & to have a better prospect of the future—I think he means a better avenir in case he ultimately recovers—but he seems persuaded that his disease is seldom cured or stopped. I shall write to encourage him, for I am convinced it is often stopped though hardly ever cured, & I do not yet despair of his case.
Crowe’s answer was “I shall be but too happy to print the article.7 The Jews Bill is put off till after Easter, but if you will allow me I will insert it immediately.” There is nothing like kicking people of the D[aily] N[ews] sort it appears. I answered telling him if he thought it would be of as much use now as about the time when the bill comes on by all means to print it now. It has not yet made its appearance. The printing of the 2d edit.8 goes on satisfactorily in all respects. Last Sunday I went by railway to Watford & walked from there to town, indeed more, for the direct road being by Stanmore I turned off before getting there, to Harrow, thus lengthening the walk 3 or 4 miles. I think I must have walked 20 miles, & almost all of it at a stretch, with occasional short resting on a stile. I confess however that the miles between Harrow & London were excessively long, but I felt no kind of inconvenience the next day or since from the walk. The lameness is now no obstacle at all—the only obstacle is general weakness, as compared with my state when in perfect health. The sight remains the same.9 I look forward to Saturday with immense pleasure because there is always a letter—adieu with every good wish.
TO HARRIET TAYLOR1
[ca. 31 March 1849]
[9/10 of first folio cut away] short too—as a [rest of line cut away] surprised to hear of [rest of line cut away] been some, very often for the last fortnight—but it has never lain. Today it is a sunny [9/10 of page cut away as above] The alteration I had made in that sentence of the P[olitical] E[conomy] was instead of “placard their intemperance” to say “placard their enormous families”—it does not read so well, but I think it may do, especially as the previous sentence contains the words “this sort of incontinence”—but your two sentences are so very good that as that sheet is not yet printed, get them in I must & will.2 —Are you not amused with Peel about Ireland? He sneers down the waste lands plan,3 two years ago, which the timid ministers, timid because without talent, give up at a single sarcasm from him, & now he has enfanté a scheme containing that & much more than was then proposed—& the Times supports him4 & Ireland praises him. I am extremely glad he has done it—I can see that it is working as nothing else has yet worked to break down the superstition about property—& it is the only thing happening in England which promises a step forward—a thing which one may well welcome when things are going so badly for the popular cause in Europe—not that I am discouraged by this—progress of the right kind seems to me quite safe now that Socialism has become inextinguishable. I heartily wish Proudhon dead however—there are few men whose state of mind, taken as a whole, inspires me with so much aversion, & all his influence seems to me mischievous except as a potent dissolvent which is good so far, but every single thing which he would substitute seems to me the worst possible in practice & mostly in principle. I have been reading another volume of Considérant5 lately published—he has got into the details of Fourierism, with many large extracts from Fourier himself. It was perhaps necessary to enter into details in order to make the thing look practicable, but many of the details are, & all appear, passablement ridicules. As to their system, & general mode of thought there is a great question at the root of it which must be settled before one can get a step further. Admitting the omnipotence of education, is not the very pivot & turning point of that education a moral sense—a feeling of duty, or conscience, or principle, or whatever name one gives it—a feeling that one ought to do, & to wish for, what is for the greatest good of all concerned. Now Fourier, & all his followers, leave this out entirely, & rely wholly on such an arrangement of social circumstances as without any inculcation of duty or of “ought,” will make every one, by the spontaneous action of the passions, intensely zealous for all the interests of the whole. Nobody is ever to be made to do anything but act just as they like, but it is calculated that they will always, in a phalanstere, like what is best. This of course leads to the freest notions about personal relations of all sorts, but is it, in other respects, a foundation on which people would be able to live & act together. Owen keeps in generals & only says that education can make everybody perfect, but the Fourierists attempt to shew how, & exclude, as it seems to me, one of the most indispensable ingredients.
6 What a bathos to turn from these free speculations to pinched & methodistical England. It is worth while reading the articles in newspapers about Froude & Sterling7 to have an adequate idea what England is. The newspaper talk on the subject having the irresistible attraction of personality still continues, & I have within this week read in shop windows leading articles of two weekly newspapers, the Church & State Gazette8 & the English Churchman,9 keeping it up. They have found the splendid mare’s nest of the “Sterling Club”.10 I remember the foundation of the said club by Sterling himself, very many years before his death—soon after he began to live permanently out of London. Though called a club it had neither subscription nor organization, but consisted in an agreement of some 12 or 20 acquaintances of Sterling, the majority resident University people, that there should be one day in a month when if any of them liked to dine at a place in Lincoln’s Inn Fields he would have a chance of finding some of the others. I let them put me down as one, & went there, I think three times, with Sterling himself & at his request, in order to pass an evening in his company—the last time being, I believe, in 1838. A few weeks ago I was reminded of the existence of the thing by receiving a printed list of members, in which I was put down with many others as honorary—it has greatly increased in numbers, is composed (in more than one half) of clergymen including two bishops, Thirlwall11 & Wilberforce,12 & I suppose it has organized itself with a regular subscription, as it has removed to the Freemason’s & has begun sending circulars previous to each dinner. One of these lists fell into the hands of the “Record”13 newspaper & combining this with Hare’s Life of Sterling it charges Hare, Maurice,14 Trench,15 these bishops, & innumerable others with founding a society to honour & commemorate an infidel, & joining for that purpose with persons strongly suspected of being no better than infidels themselves, such as Carlyle & me. It is very amusing that those people who take such care to guard their orthodoxy get nothing by it but to be more bitterly attacked. However it shews what I did not suppose, that it required some courage in a church dignitary to write about a heretic even in the guarded way that Hare did.—
Yesterday Nichol16 called on me—whom I had not seen since 1840—he is in town for some days or probably weeks & is about to publish a book on America where he has been travelling.17 As he is a walking man I am going to have a country walk with him tomorrow—my other Sunday walks have been alone. I have always thought him a man of whom something might be made if one could see enough of him—I shall perhaps be able to judge now if my opinion was right, but at all events his book will shew. He has this in his favour at least which is the grand distinction now that he is intensely forward-looking—not at all conservative in feeling but willing to be very destructive & now adieu with every possible wish.
On Monday no doubt I shall hear again
TO LOUIS BLANC1
Mon cher Monsieur Louis Blanc,
permettez-moi de vous faire l’hommage d’un petit écrit2 destiné à servir de protestation contre les calomnies odieuses dont on cherche à flétrir votre noble révolution de février,3 et ceux qui l’ont dirigée pendant les premiers jours.
J’ai tâché de rendre justice à la part que vous avez prise personnellement dans le grand événement, et vous verrez que j’y parle du socialisme avec une sympathie plus ouverte que celle que j’ai manifestée dans la première édition de mon Econ. politique. Je crois que vous serez plus satisfait de la seconde.4
J. S. Mill
TO WILLIAM E. HICKSON1
[May 16, 1849]
My dear Hickson—
I send you Mr Lombe’s2 letter as you desire. Who can he be that pays for articles at £100 each & talks so confidently of sending one or two members to Parliament? I, at least, can take no part in what he proposes, for I do not agree with him. I do not think the coast blockade3 so ineffectual as it is represented, & at all events, to abandon it would be understood throughout the world as the abandonment of our anti-slavery policy & by its moral effect would I believe increase the amount of slavery tenfold. I do not mean that it should be persevered in for ever, but I would not give it up until something more effectual for the purpose is actually in operation.—I hope you are in better health & that your excursion to Paris will set you up. My ramble4 has done me good but has not cured my principal ailment.5
J. S. Mill
TO WILLIAM GEORGE WARD1
[Spring of 1849]
You have given me six months2 to answer all your questions. I think you ought to allow me six volumes too; for if the questions occupy so many pages, what must the answers? I could give, no doubt, some sort of replies to most of your queries in a few sentences, but they would not be such as could be satisfactory either to you or to myself. However your letter is a sort of challenge which I am unwilling to refuse, though aware that what I say will give scarcely the faintest idea of how much there is to say & though I do not undertake to carry on the discussion any further. If I did, each answer would suggest further questions & these would require longer answers, till I would be led into writing a treatise on each point—which though if I live I may probably do—at any rate, I had rather defer until I can do it thoroughly & in a shape for permanent use.
1st. Your explanations do not at all clear up, to my apprehension, what I think the inconsistency of blending high moral praise with the strongest language of moral reprobation.3 You say that certain states of mind are sinful in the greatest degree, yet that for those states the individual may possibly be not at all responsible. I can understand that persons may hold false & pernicious opinions conscientiously & may have defects or peculiarities of character which both in themselves and in their consequences are extremely undesirable, yet to which their own wishes or voluntary conduct having in no way contributed, they are not morally accountable for them. But to call anything a sin & yet say that the sinner is not accountable for it seems to me if the word sin means anything, a direct contradiction. It is you who appear to be chargeable with what my opinions are usually charged with, viz. confounding the distinction between moral badness & mere aberration in a person or thing from the ideal perfection of the kind of being it belongs to. I recognise two kinds of imperfections: those which come independently of our will & which our will could not prevent, & for these we are not accountable; & those which our will has either positively or negatively assisted in producing & for which we are accountable. The former may be very hurtful to ourselves & offensive to others but in us they are not morally culpable. The latter are. You ride over this (as it seems to me) perfectly definite distinction by the ambiguous word sin, under which a third class of defects of character finds entrance which is supposed to unite both attributes—to be culpable & ultra-culpable although the person thus morally guilty cannot help it. This seems to me to exemplify the unmeaningness of the word sin which if it is anything other than the theological synonym of “morally wrong” is a name for something which I do not admit to exist.
2d. On the subject out of which this discussion grew, population, marriage, &c.4 we differ so utterly that there seems not even a chance of our doing ourselves or each other any good by discussing it. Our ideas of moral obligation on the subject are completely incompatible, the repugnancy goes down to the very root of the subject & I entertain quite as uncomplimentary an opinion of your mode of regarding these questions as you can possibly do of mine. Two sentences will give some little notion of the wideness of our divergence. You think that the legality or illegality of an act makes a difference (not in its being right or wrong, socially speaking—but) in its purity or impurity—& you think that a man can without forfeiting his title to respect, live in the habitual practice of that which he feels to be degrading to him. I, on the contrary, cannot conceive anything more gross & grovelling than the conceptions involved in the first supposition & the conduct described in the second. They appear to me the extreme of animalism & sensuality in the fullest sense of the bad meaning of those terms.
I will say nothing more on this subject except to correct a mistake you have made about my opinions on population. I do not know where you find that on my shewing the evils of over-population are in some distant future. On the contrary, I hold with Malthus that they are, & have been throughout history, almost everywhere present, & often in great intensity.
3d. You ask what are the natural instincts that civilisation has strikingly & memorably conquered. I answer, nearly all. E.g. the instinct of taking a thing which we very much wish for, wherever we find it—food, for instance, when we are hungry. The instinct of knocking down a person who offends us if we are the strongest. As a rather different example take the eminently artificial virtue of cleanliness—think what savages are, & what violence must be done to the natural man to produce the feelings which civilised people have on this point—take again all the delicacies respecting bodily physicalities which savages have not a vestige of but which in the artificialised human being often equal in intensity any human feelings, natural or artificial.
4th. As to the opinion expressed in the Logic,5 that miracles are evidence of a revelation only to those who already believe in a God or at least in supernatural beings. What I meant is this. We can never know that what is presented to us as a miracle, is so. The proof can only be negative, viz. that we do not know any mode in which the thing can have been produced by natural means; & what is this worth when we are so ignorant of nature? Two years ago a man who by passing a handkerchief across a person’s face could plunge him into a sort of extasy during which a limb could be cut off without pain would have given apparent evidence of miraculous powers equal to any saint in the calendar. You ask, but what if the man himself, being morally trustworthy, affirms that it is a miracle? I answer, this would in many cases convince me that he himself believed it to be one; but that would weigh for absolutely nothing with me, as it is the easiest & commonest fact in the world, especially in an unscientific state of the human mind, that people should sincerely ascribe any peculiar & remarkable power in themselves to divine gift, & any unexpected prompting of their own minds to a divine communication. If the spectator did not previously believe in supernatural powers an apparent miracle will never give him, I conceive, any reason for believing in them, while he is aware that there are natural powers unknown to him; but if he does already believe in supernatural powers he has the choice between two agencies both of which he feels assured really exist & he therefore may & ought to consider which of the two is the most probable in the individual instance.
Next as to Xtianity. You need not have supposed any inclination in me to speak with irreverence of J[esus] C[hrist]. He is one of the very few historical characters for whom I have a real & high respect. But there is not, to me, the smallest proof of his having ever said that he worked miracles—nor if he did, should I feel obliged either to believe the fact or to disbelieve his veracity. Respecting St Paul I have a very different feeling. I hold him to have been the first great corrupter of Xtianity. He never saw Christ, never was under his personal influence, hardly ever alludes to any of his deeds or sayings, seems to have kept aloof from all who had known him & in short, made up a religion which is Paulism but not, me judice, Xtianity. Even St Paul however, though I would by no means answer for his sincerity, never that I know of speaks of any particular miracle as having been wrought by him—he only speaks generally of signs & wonders which may mean anything. The author of the “Acts” does speak of particular miracles, & those like the miracles of the Gospel I no more believe than I do the miraculous cure mentioned by Tacitus as wrought by Vespasian.6 I regard them simply as part of the halo which popular enthusiasm throws round its heroes. The argument of the Horae Paulinae7 scarcely aims at proving more than that St Paul really wrote the epistles ascribed to him, which in respect to all but one or two of them, no competent enquirer, I believe, seriously doubts (the case is very different from that of the Gospels), & that the Acts are in part an authentic record of St. Paul’s life, which I see no reason to disbelieve, no more than that Livy is in part a true history of Rome & Herodotus of the countries of which he treats. Since I am on the subject I will add that I cannot conceive how, except from deeprooted impressions of education, any reasonable person can attach value to any attestations of a miracle in an age when everybody was ready to believe miracles the moment they were attested, & even enemies instead of denying the facts, ascribed them to diabolical agency. I would say to such a person, only read any book which gives a really living picture of, let us say, the Oriental mind of the present day. You there see hundreds of millions of people to whose habits of thought supernatural agency is of such everyday familiarity that if you tell them any strange fact & say it is miraculous, they believe you at once, but if you give them a physical explanation of it, they think you a juggler & an imposter. Add to this that until long after the time Xtianity began you hardly find a trace even in the best minds of any regard for abstract veracity—any feeling which should prevent a teacher from deceiving the people for their good. Plato, the highest expression probably of the ethical philosophy of the ancient world & the elevated nature of whose purposes it is impossible to doubt, thought it the duty of legislators to pretend a supernatural origin for their precepts,8 as all very early legislators seem to have done.
These are I think the more important topics of your letter. As to the condition of the labouring people as compared with former times, I incline to think them worse off as to quantity tho’ not quality of food than three centuries ago, and better off as to clothing & lodging—but there is a sad dearth of facts that can be relied on. You speak of Macaulay9 and D’Israeli10 as authorities—anything that Macaulay says, is not matter of observation but of inference & argument of which one must judge for oneself. As for D’Israeli & his Sibyl [sic], I cannot imagine its being received as testimony, or supposed to be anything but a commonplace story.
I am afraid I cannot be of any use to you in recommending treatises on astronomy as it is many years since I read any of the more deeply mathematical sort. The most recent that I have read is that of Biot,11 which is probably by this time superseded. I have never read Laplace’s Mécanique Céleste,12 but have understood that it is the most obscure, & by no means the best, of the treatises on the subject. Most probably Pontécoulant13 will answer your purpose. Nobody I believe ever hazarded a conjecture when the supposed condensation of the sun’s atmosphere began nor whether it is indefinitely progressive or forms part of a cycle including periods of expansion as well as of contraction. I believe it is thought, though I know not on what grounds, that the throwing off of new planets has ceased. It is, I believe, mathematically demonstrable that the supposed changes could not alter the centre of gravity of the solar system & therefore (as it cannot alter the total mass of matter) would make no difference in the orbits of the planets or in any of the other effects of gravitation.
The opinion that all axioms are founded on the evidence of experience, rests to my own mind on the most complete proof but I always knew it would be very difficult to bring home that evidence to those trained in a different school of psychology from mine. Accordingly I have failed to make you see (I do not mean admit) the main & characteristic points of my doctrine on the subject, viz. that our not being able to conceive a thing is no evidence of the thing’s being in itself impossible. You understand me correctly to say that the absence of any law of causation in some distant star, not only is, for anything we know, perfectly possible but is even conceivable—but you ask, is it conceivable that in such a star two straight lines may inclose a space? I say, certainly it is not conceivable, but that does not prove to me that the thing is impossible, since the limitation may be in our faculties, & in the all-pervadingness, to us, of a contrary experience. Again, “the possibility of proving geometrical first principles by merely mental experimentation”14 seems to me to arise from previous experience that in this particular department what is true of our mental images is true also of their originals, which I illustrated in the Logic by the case of a daguerreotype.15
I agree with you that ratiocinative logic may usefully be taught separately from inductive & belongs indeed to an earlier stage in mental instruction.
It is so long since I read Butler16 & I have so little faith in opinions the grounds of which we are not constantly revising, that I will not venture to express an opinion of him. I know that my father thought the argument of the “Analogy” conclusive against deists with whom alone Butler professes to argue & I have heard my father say that it kept him for some time a believer in Xtianity. I was not prepared by what I had heard from him for so contemptuous an opinion as is indicated in some passages of the “Fragment”17 though he never can have thought highly of Butler except by comparison with other writers of the same general tendency in opinion.
I am convinced that competent judges who have sufficient experience of children will not agree in the opinion you express that they have a natural idea of right or duty. I am satisfied that all such ideas in children are the result of inculcation & that were it not for inculcation they would not exist at all except probably in a few persons of pre-eminent genius & feeling.
I have followed your example in expressing my meaning without polite circumlocutions, as I believe you really wish that I should—& any appearance of egotism or dogmatism in what I have said, you will, I hope, not attribute to my thinking an opinion important because it is mine, but will remember that what you asked me to do was to tell you as a matter of fact, what my opinions are, & that too on subjects on which they are strong, & have been much & long considered. I am dear Sir, very truly yours
J. S. Mill
I should have answered your letter weeks ago had I not been out of town on account of health.18
Rev. W. G. Ward, Old Hall Green, Ware
TO HENRY SAMUEL CHAPMAN1
28th May 1849
My dear Chapman
You must have been expecting to hear from me long before this, on the subject of your article2 for the Edinburgh & indeed I have delayed writing much too long, although the reason of the delay was the hope of being able to write something more certain about the article than I am even yet able to do. I must mention to you in the first place that I am not on terms of direct communication with the Edinburgh since the death of Napier3 & the accession of the present editor Empson.4 I was therefore obliged to have recourse to an indirect channel & I thought Buller5 the best as it enabled me at the same time to say a word in the hope of forwarding your views with respect to V[an] D[iemen’s] L[and]. But when I called at Buller’s with the article he was at Paris & when he returned he fell ill & you know the catastrophe. As soon as I could get back the article from among his papers I applied to Senior6 who sent it to Empson; I having first, under the power you gave me, made the few alterations & omissions which seemed to me desirable. Empson wrote to Senior saying that the article was interesting & he should like to insert it, but could not do so before the July number & then must make some alterations & suppressions; this I ventured, in your name, to express assent to. Two or three weeks ago, however, (I being at the time out of town) Empson returned the article to Senior saying that he had tried to alter the article as he had proposed doing, but had not been able to satisfy himself, & added a question, Would Senior’s unknown friend (meaning me, for I had not authorized S. to mention me in connexion with the article) try to set the article in order for the October number. This is the state which the thing is now in. I shall try to do what he says, but I am so little aware of what his objections are to the article as it stands, that it is very probable I may not be able to remove them. When I am able to tell you more I will. As to your claims to promotion,7 I can contribute nothing but good wishes—my interest with Lord Grey8 or any other members of the government is less than none, it is negative, & is never likely to be otherwise.—Thanks for your full particulars about New Zealand affairs in all departments & for your last letter about the earthquake.9 I hope it will not turn out that such serious natural convulsions are to be of common occurrence—as it is I fear even what you have had will be likely to check the recourse of capital & even of labour to the colony. In Europe we are as thickly as ever in the midst of another sort of convulsions—in which the despots10 for the present appear to be getting the best of it & will probably succeed by the aid of Russian troops in putting down democracy for a time everywhere but in France,—the democratic spirit in Germany11 & even in Italy,12 seems quite too strong to be put down & it is sure to resume its ascendancy even but it is terrible to think of a noble people like the Hungarians being cut to pieces13 & their country made another Poland of.14 The whole problem of modern society however will be worked out, as I have long thought it would, in France & nowhere else. I do not know if I have written to you or not since the extraordinary election of Louis Bonaparte as President of the Republic by six or seven millions of votes against a million & a half,15 an election the more remarkable as the million & a half included not only all the intelligence of France but most of what is called the property, a large proportion both of the bourgeoisie & of the grands propriétaires having voted for Cavaignac.16 The election was carried by the vast mass of the peasantry, & it is one of the most striking instances in history of the power of a name—though no doubt dislike of the republic helped the effect, the peasantry being too ignorant to care much about forms of government & being irritated by the temporary increase of taxation which the revolution17 rendered necessary & terrified by the anti-property doctrines of Proudhon & the Socialists—I may say of Proudhon only, for the Socialists, even the Communists, do not propose to take away any property from any one, any more than Owen does. The result is that France having had the rare good fortune of finding two men in succession of perfectly upright intentions, enlightened principles & good sense, Lamartine & Cavaignac, has chosen to reject both & be governed by a stupid, ignorant adventurer who has thrown himself entirely into the hands of the reactionary party,18 &, but that he is too great a fool, would have some chance by these means of making himself emperor.19 But the elections just ended have much disappointed that party, for though they will have a majority20 in the new assembly, the number of the Montagne or red republican party (who are now all socialists) have increased fourfold, while the moderate republican party also musters a considerable number, though many of its chiefs have been turned out. There will probably be no outbreak like that of June21 (unless to repel some attempt at a coup d’état) for the democrats & even the socialists will now think they have a better chance of gaining their objects by the peaceable influence of discussion on the minds of the electors—but what turn things will take it is hard to say, the French people being divided into two violent parties, the furious friends of “order” & the Socialists, who have generally very wild & silly notions & little that one can sympathize with except the spirit & feelings which actuate them. The party who attempt to mediate between these two extremes as the Provisional Government strove to do, is weak, & is disliked by both parties, though there are some signs that all sections of republicans intend to pull together now that they are all in opposition. The chance for France & Europe entirely depends now on the respite which has been obtained & on the possibility of the maturing by this middle party, of rational principles on which to construct an order of society which, retaining the institution of private property (but facilitating all possible experiments for dispensing with it by means of association) shall studiously hurl all inequalities out necessarily inherent in that institution. As an example I may mention the grand idea of the Provisional Government, that of making all education, even professional, gratuitous,22 which as they proposed it, is liable to the grave objection of throwing all education virtually into the hands of the government, but means might I think be found to purge the scheme of this most serious fault. A great source of hope for France lies in the fact that the most powerful & active section of the Socialists are the Fourierists headed by Considérant, who are much the most sensible & enlightened both in the destructive, & in the constructive parts of their system, & are eminently pacific. On the other hand there is the great danger of having a firebrand like Proudhon, the most mischievous man in Europe, & who has nothing whatever of all that I like & respect in the Socialists to whom he in no way belongs.—We certainly live in a most interesting period of history. As for England, it is dead, vapid, left quite behind by all the questions now rising. From the Dukes to the Chartists, including all intermediate stages, people have neither heads nor hearts, & yet they all hug themselves & think they are the only people who are good for anything, & all their public men, even Roebuck,23 have the sentiment.
Ever yours truly,
J. S. Mill
TO GEORGE CORNEWALL LEWIS1
13 June 1849
My dear Sir
As I understand from my friend Mr Bisset2 that Charles Villiers3 has been interesting himself to obtain some government employment for him in the way of his profession & has spoken or is likely to speak to you on the subject, I think it but justice to Bisset to add any testimony which I can give in his favour, to that which you will have received from Villiers. I have known Bisset for many years during which he has struggled hard and meritoriously to make his way in his profession (as a conveyancer) supporting himself meanwhile as a writer, & though he has had little success I believe it to be neither from want of ability nor of legal learning. Coulson,4 whose pupil he was, can speak to both points & it is much in his favour that he was selected to edit the recent edition of Jarman on Wills5 (not the right technical title I am afraid) which I understand he did very creditably. Coulson feels I know considerable interest in him & thinks him competent for many useful public duties & in particular “an excellent person to collect digest & judge of information on any legal subject.” Coulson thinks him not a likely person to succeed in the captation of attornies, & advises him, I believe, rather to look for some permanent appointment than to professional work to which his own wishes at present seem to point. There are many situations which he would be very fit for but he has no means of knowing when any are vacant or in what quarter an application would have any chance. He has the feelings and habits of a gentleman & may be depended on for conscientious care & pains taking in all he undertakes.
He was for a short time employed under the original Poor Law Commission & Senior probably could say something about him though he came very little into direct contact with him.
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The bushel of potatoes has lasted just five weeks, about 11 lbs a week. I have dined out 8 times or nearly twice a week—say 5 lbs for me, 1 lb Haji, leaving 5 lbs for Kate, less than a pound each. The pound of kitchen candles lasted from 14 Jan. to 11 Feb, the pound of soap to 18 Feb. Wright has sent no bills, I wonder why.
A thousand & a thousand loves.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Blackheath Feb. 24 
I received your Sunday’s letter dearest yesterday (Thursday) & meant to have written yesterday evening but I was tired, fell asleep in my chair, slept a long time & woke feeling unfit for anything but going to bed—the first time since my return that any similar thing has happened, for though I sometimes feel sleepy & doze directly after dinner, it never lasts many minutes. I know nothing to account for it, nor had I had anything particular to tire me yesterday. Your letter thank heaven contains much more of good than bad about your health—the bad is the weakness but though I ardently desire to hear that you are stronger I do not expect it till summer. Your having much less cough & uneasiness in the chest makes me think less about the weakness—one’s strength varies so very much with little apparent cause when once one is in delicate health—& I think one is always weaker at the end of winter—you, especially, always are, & no doubt winter is winter even at Hyères. I too am considerably less strong, or feel so at least, than I did at Nice, but I do not think that proves anything, nor am I sure that it would not turn out to be chiefly nervous weakness which would go off in a day’s walk, or a journey, or anything else which would increase real weakness. Altogether I hope the best for both of us, & see nothing in the state of either to discourage the hope. I hope we shall live to write together “all we wish to leave written” to most of which your living is quite as essential as mine, for even if the wreck I should be could work on with undiminished faculties, my faculties at the best are not adequate to the highest subjects & have already done almost the best they are adequate to. Do not think darling that I should ever make this an excuse to myself for not doing my very best—if I survived you, & anything we much care about was not already fixed in writing, you might depend on my attempting all of it & doing my very best to make it such as you would wish, for my only rule of life then would be what I thought you would wish as it now is what you tell me you wish. But I am not fit to write on anything but the outskirts of the great questions of feeling & life without you to prompt me as well as to keep me right. So we must do what we can while we are alive—the Life being the first thing—which independent of the personal matters which it will set right when we have made it what we intend, is even now an unreserved proclamation of our opinions on religion, nature, & much else. About that long journey—I shall not dread it so much for you if the cough goes quite or nearly quite off, which it is very likely to do, though no doubt there will always be much danger of its returning. It is quite possible that the journey may give strength instead of taking it away; most likely so, if the weakness is as I hope, chiefly nervous. It is a curious coincidence that the same day I received your letter in which you speak of Sykes’ return, he made his appearance. He just mentioned Emilia as regretting that she had not earlier information of your being at Nice (the humbug!) This he said among other things in a manner not requiring that I should take any notice of it which accordingly I did not. He seemed to think he had more need to apologize to me than I to him. His enquiries about your health I answered as you desired—“pretty well, but not strong.” It appeared he had heard about us from Gurney & no doubt heard all that gossiping creature had to say—the only thing he mentioned was that G. had been called in “at the eleventh hour”—it is very lucky it was not the twelfth. Sykes’ account shews that the return of cold weather which you have had has been general, & worse in France than here. At Bourges he said 12 degr centigrade below freezing & at Paris 4 degr I think he said: he did get to Châlons by the steamboat, but it was stopped by the ice the day after. Here it was cold, but nothing comparable to that as indeed our insular cold seldom is. I was amused with myself for what I wrote about the appointments,2 when I read your comment. When I go next to C.3 which will probably be on Tuesday I will put on an old linen shirt. The flannels were from Brier’s, but I will get some from Capper’s today or tomorrow4 & will discard the second flannel though I am sure C. meant it quite seriously. Whatever danger I am in of consumption is not I think from general weak health as I am not sufficiently out of order for that, but specifically from the cough, connected as it is with congestion of the lungs which if long continued is always in danger of ending in consumption. For that reason it seems necessary to have the chest examined now & then unless the cough goes off. It was not examined the last time I went. I should like much to know the meaning of that swelling—had it not gone off before? Is there anything permanent about it? I too have been blistering for a fortnight past, with no perceptible result for the cough is rather worse. I subscribed to the anti-newspaper stamp affair solely out of hostility to the Times.5 If you think it better not I will not subscribe again—though surely it would be a great improvement to English working men if they could be made Americans.
Sharpers’ bill of which I sent a copy in my last letter,6 is dated June 1853. The Govt have brought in a useful bill for schools in Scotland7 but Russell, grown as you say dévôt, the other day repeated his declaration against giving secular education without religion.8
Adieu my own darling love & light of my life, love me always as you do.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Feb. 28 
I received your precious letter yesterday my beloved—precious always, but even more so this time than many others because it tells me that you are better & shews that you are more hopeful. I put off writing till today as I meant to go to Clark this morning that I might tell you anything he said. He thinks, from the indications of the stethoscope and the sounds on percussion, that the chest is a little better. It is the first time he has thought so, & though there is no diminution of cough, if he is right, that I suppose will follow. He thinks my stomach out of order (which is evident) but that medicine will do it no good—saving a slight tonic which he prescribed. I did not ask him about physicians at Paris as you told me not—but his knowledge of my having been at Nice came from me. He asked how long I had had the cough, & when I told him, he said it was imprudent to have let it go on so long without advice. I said I had not, & it was natural & seemed best to shew why I had sought other advice than his. You will say perhaps it was presumption in him to think or say that I had no advice because I did not come to him—but he was perhaps justified by my having gone several times to him on much slighter indications of chest disorder & by my now coming to him again. How I came to mention Gurney’s name I do not remember but I was a little curious to hear what he would say & what would be his judgment between G. & Travis & the result is that I think his opinion would be an affair of party. I have been led into writing all this by the mention of Clark. About our plans, & first our ultimate plans—we are not yet at the £500 certain which you mention,2 but we are past £400: there is the 3 per cent stock—£141: last year there was from Herbert £43: from railways there is £175, altogether £359. Then there is above £700 ready to invest, besides what is in the Comml Bank which I suppose must be at least £500. We might turn the uninvested & the railway money into a life annuity, but as the railways give much higher interest than the common rate, I suppose we should not much increase the income by that. £1200 invested in railways at the present prices would yield not much less than 5 per cent or £60. That gives nearly £420, & we should add something more if we keep to the I.H. for this year, which it will probably be well to do in any case since my health during that time will probably decide not only on my getting next winter abroad but probably on the likelihood of my being able to get a pension. These things being considered you will understand why Clark’s more favourable opinion this morning was quite as disagreeable to me as agreeable. With regard to your coming over, especially with the prospect of a second crossing in autumn, but even without that, I dread it so much that I hardly allow myself to wish it—but when we meet at Paris there will be much greater means of judging—If as I hope the malady has now taken the turn, you will probably be much better then than now. I am very much afraid of your encountering the great cold of the centre & north of France too soon. It seems to me much too soon to leave Hyères yet, while the place continues to agree with you. The change in the direction is the 12th of April, the Wednesday before Good Friday—but Easter really makes no difference as to getting away unless when it is for three or four days only—& though to get away after the change of directors is much easier than before it, the going immediately after has no advantage quoad I.H. but rather the contrary. I have been reading a little book which I remember seeing advertised years ago but did not get it supposing it to be some merely quackish thing, but an edition having been readvertised just now I got it—called The Curability of Consumption, by Dr Ramadge3 & it is not a quackish thing at all—the writer is evidently well entitled to an opinion having been Senior Physician to the Infirmary for diseases of the Chest. I wish I had seen the book long ago—I certainly think any person would be very foolish to let themselves die of consumption without having tried him & his treatment, the chief peculiarity of which consists in breathing (during a small part of every day) through a tube so constructed as to prolong the expiratory movement. The number & quality of the cases of success which he cites, even in an advanced stage of consumption, are such as quite entitle him to a trial. His theory seems only one step in extension of the now generally received theory. He says: It is admitted that if by any means the formation of fresh tubercles could be stopped, those already formed would either continue inert or would soften & be discharged & the cavities left would probably be cicatrized. Now the reason why the formation of fresh tubercles is so seldom stopped is that as soon as there is much disease, the lungs & chest contract, & in proportion to the contraction the tendency is stronger to form fresh tubercles—& this goes on in an augmenting ratio, for when the lungs are of less dimensions while the air passages remain of the same, letting the air rapidly out, the expanding power is still further diminished. Therefore if by artificial means the air could be kept longer in, & the expansion prolonged the best chance is afforded of stopping the progress of the disease. He has combined very ingeniously a number of curious facts (if they are facts) in support of this theory—which seems at least as good as any other medical theory. If he is right, a cold or cough not originating in pthisis, instead of leading to it, is a protection against it—which is the most paradoxical part of his doctrine. I will bring the pamphlet with me to Paris—I am sure it should be at least read by every one who either has or is threatened with consumption. I sent the letter to the Frenchman4 darling & am so glad you liked it—I knew you would alter the ending & improve it. I adopted “considération amicale”. I liked “sincère” best but doubted if it was French—i.e. doubted if “considération” sufficiently included in itself the sense of favourable, without some epithet added to express it—which sincère does not—but it is only a doubt & has almost vanished on subsequent “consideration”. Atterer is to throw down on the earth, à terre—as in Danton’s famous “Pour les vaincre—pour les atterrer—que faut-il? De l’audace—et encore de l’audace—et toujours de l’audace.”5Houblon is hops. The garden shall be attended to exactly as you say—I have written out the instructions to Malyon6 & shall speak to his man besides. The sticks are in their place in the corner, but whether all or only part I do not know. See how I go from one subject to another by the stepping stone of some accidental association—from the French of my letter to the French words & from hops to the garden. About the article on India7 I feel quite decided to give it up but must take some time to concoct a good letter. You have by this time got the chapter8 —As so much is said of the French associations I must put in a few words about the English, of which Furnivall has sent me a long list, especially as it is going among the very people—but I shall take care not to commit myself to anything complimentary to them. F. has also from Nadaud9 some later intelligence about the French, nearly all of which are put down. & now my own love my own dearest love farewell.
[P.S.] There is a bill of 1/10 from one Price10 for mending the butter stand & for a fruit bottle. I suppose it is right.
TO THE CHAIRMEN OF THE LIBRARY COMMITTEES, SOUTH CAROLINA1
3rd March 1854.
A long absence from England2 has made me thus tardy in offering my acknowledgements to you and to the honourable bodies over which you preside for having included me among those to whom, under the resolution of the legislature of South Carolina,3 you have presented copies of the posthumous work of Mr. Calhoun.4
Few things can be done by the legislature of any people more commendable than printing and circulating the writings of their eminent men, and the present is one of the many examples tending to show that the parsimony imputed to the republics of the American Union is aversion to useless, but not to useful, expense. I am one of those who believe that America is destined to give instruction to the world, not only practically, as she has long done, but in speculation also; and my opinion is confirmed by the treatise which I have had the honour of receiving from you, and which, though I am far from agreeing with it on all points, I consider to be a really valuable contribution to the science of government.
With the warmest good wishes for the continued progress of the United States, and hopes that they may lead the way to mental and moral, as they have already done to much political freedom, I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 3. 
Your Monday’s letter which has just come, my own adored, gives me the greatest happiness because it contains by far the best account of your health I have yet had. The cough evidently going away & your being stronger, together with there being no expectoration, constitute such an improvement in all the alarming symptoms as puts me at ease on the subject of present danger, & though I know it does not amount to proof that there is no organic disease, it seems to me conclusive so far, that if there is, it is as in the case of those two in Australia,2 the variety which is not, under proper precautions, fatal. I have always thought that if you ever had consumption it would probably be of this type, as well as that if I ever had it, it would be of the common type & therefore mortal—unless Ramadge’s plan3 should cure it. His notion is very consoling, for he is of opinion that half the people who go about, in good health, either have, or have had, tubercles in the lungs. Of course the strong ground we now have for believing that you can live in good health at all events on the Continent adds a great weight to the side of our giving up England. The pros & cons of that however we will discuss fully when we meet. As to the more immediately pressing point of when that should be—what you say of Directors &c going away at Easter might make a difference in other years, but I think not in this, for as it will be just the very beginning of the new system4 with the diminished numbers of the Court & the three Government nominees for colleagues I expect they will all wait to see what the new system looks like. What you say however of the convenience of Easter for our being much alone is a very strong reason indeed, & I do not see why the double plan you say you would prefer, should not be possible, since the second absence, if you return with me, need not, if we have fine weather for crossing, be longer than three or four days. If you do not return with me, the second visit can be put off till a little later—& on that supposition the earlier the first visit, the earlier also can be the second. Against these reasons is one very strong one that I dread the weather for you if you start so soon as the 20th March—The centre & north of France are so much colder than England. Here for some days past it is splendid weather for those in perfect health—not a cloud either by day or night, & the air the most transparent it ever is in England—March clearness without your plague of March dust; but sharp frost every night, ice on the ponds & white frost covering every thing, though the wind was south or south west—& now it is S. East & in consequence last night was much colder still. I fear your encountering anything like this, notwithstanding Ramadge’s paradox of the preservative effect of catching cold. It seems to me clear that the mildness of Hyères has abated all your chest symptoms (though the warmth of January may have produced the weakness & want of appetite) & I should dread their coming on again by travelling in March. This part of the question however you can best judge of. About my own health there is nothing new. The cough is not at all better. Clark advised a blister on the left side of the chest, as the right side, which was the worst before, is now according to him rather the best of the two. I shall do it as perhaps the former blistering did the good which he says has been done: but I postpone it till Saturday night that I may keep the blister on all Sunday (as I did the former) for blisters act so very mildly on me that unless I keep them on 24 hours they are hardly of any use. There is not much new in public affairs. The parliamentary reform, it seems to be thought, will be put off for this year,5 the public, it is said, being too much occupied with war prospects to give it the support necessary for its passing. I do not think however that in any case there would have been any strong public feeling for it. It will not sufficiently alter the distribution of power to excite any strong desire for its passing. The Civil Service examination plan6 I am afraid is too good to pass. The report proposing it, by Trevelyan7 & Northcote8 (written no doubt by Trevelyan) has been printed in the Chronicle9 —it is as direct, uncompromising & to the point, without reservation, as if we had written it. But even the Chronicle attacks the plan.10 The grand complaint is that it will bring low people into the offices! as, of course, gentlemen’s sons cannot be expected to be as clever as low people. It is ominous too that the Times has said nothing on the subject lately. I should like to know who wrote the articles in the Times11 in support of the plan—possibly Trevelyan himself. It was somebody who saw his way to the moral & social ultimate effects of such a change. How truly you judge people, how true is what you always say that this ministry are before the public. There has been a renewal of the anti nunnery stuff12 in Parlt, & ministers again outvoted—& an inquiry ordered—the applicability of all the arguments to marriage, & the naif unconsciousness of the speakers, were quite funny. One said, a vow of obedience was contrary to the British Constn & a violation of the right everyone has (he did not even say every man) to personal freedom.13 Another inveighed against allowing young women under age to bind themselves irrevocably to they knew not what.14 It is for the purpose of putting in a telling word on such occasions that it would be pleasant to be in Parlt.—Did you see that Sir John Bowring15 is appointed Governor of Hong Kong & chief authority in China, & has just gone out, with Lady Bowring & two daughters? Your “much” is a great improvement in the letter to the Americans.16 I thought it would have needed “much” more alteration. I will now send it. The gardener came for the first time yesterday. He has put in the peas & covered them over with sticks. He was quite docile about the lime. Everything else shall be done as you say. Adieu with the utmost love.
You received the 200 f. & 100 f. notes?
TO HARRIET MILL1
Mar. 6 
I have your Thursday’s letter today dearest so that it has come quick. The Pol. Ec. was put into the post 21 Feb. being Tuesday, instead of Monday, the day I wrote2 —the reason being that Parker did not send it till I was just leaving the I.H. at near five oclock, & as I had no other copy I wished to read it quietly at home before sending it. It certainly dear was very wrong to read it without making that sentence illegible,3 for it was wrong to run any risk of that kind—the risk happily was small, as they were not likely to take the trouble of looking into letters or packets addressed to unsuspected persons, nor if they did were they likely to see that sentence, nor if they saw it to make the receiver answerable for a sentence in a printed paper forming part of an English book. Still it was a piece of criminal rashness which might have done mischief though it probably has not. Did it arrive with a penny stamp, attached half to the cover & half to the blank page, so as to be a sort of cachet? If it did not, however, it would not prove it to have been opened, as the stamp might come off. It was another piece of thoughtlessness not to say that I had no other copy. It is, however, probable, though not certain, that I could get another from Parker & I would have applied to him for one now if you had said that you would not send yours until you receive this; but as you will probably have sent it after receiving my next letter, & it is therefore probably on its way, I will wait to see. I quite agree with you about the inexpediency of adding anything like practical advice, or anything at all which alters the character of the chapter—the working men ought to see that it was not written for them—any attempt to mingle the two characters would be sure to be a failure & is not the way in which we should do the thing even if we had plenty of time & were together. This morning has come from Chapman4 a proposal for reprinting the article Enfranchisement of Women5 or as he vulgarly calls it the article on Woman. How very vulgar all his notes are. I am glad however that it is your permission he asks. I hope the lady friend6 is not H. Martineau. Mrs Gaskell7 perhaps? you will tell me what to say. I do not remember my darling, what I wrote that could make you uneasy about my health—but Tuesday’s letter will have told you that in Clark’s opinion I am better; & I am certainly better since I saw Clark, for since I took his tonic dinner pill (nux vomica) I have ceased to have the daily slight indigestion, in the form of acidity, which I used to have before. I have little now which shews stomach derangement except a white tongue, & sensations of dryness in the tongue & throat; and both these symptoms vary very much in degree. The cough is just at present better than it has been lately but not better than it has often been. I find no progressive improvement but I quite as much wish not to find it, as to find it. The expectoration is more marked than the cough as is to be expected since there is as we know a general tendency in me to excess of that mucous secretion—there is so much of it that there is generally no choice but between spitting it up & swallowing it. As to the time of our meeting I have not much additional to say. It is now much colder here, to the sensations at least, than when I last wrote; with north east wind & fog, & I fear it is likely to be very cold in France, but all this may change by the time you think of moving. With respect to the carriage, since so little would be got for it, what do you think of leaving it en remise with the Univers man at Lyons or with somebody at Châlon? If we go abroad next winter either for a permanency or for the season, which we are pretty sure to do, (apart from the possibility of your not crossing this year at all) it will be agreeable & even a saving to have the carriage which we know & like to take us to the South, & we are almost sure to go by that railway. The man might be paid two or three months in advance or six if necessary. I only throw this out as a suggestion.—On Wednesday the directors & ex directors meet to do execution on themselves.8 The 15 they have to select out of 29, with the addition of three nominees of Govt, will form the new Court of Directors from the 12th of April. Only three have declined being reelected, & two of those three would have had a good chance. I have not seen Sykes again—being out by rotation he does not come to the I.H. often.—On Saturday I completely finished the arrear of work here, so that I have done in two months the work of 5½. It is true I have generally remained till near five o’clock & have worked two Sundays at home—likewise that I never remember such light mails as they have been of late. I have also by no means got the two months work off my hands, as great part of it still wants my help to push it through the subsequent stages. Still you see how easily they could get their work done giving me any amount of leave of absence. True I have had no waste of time with Ellice & Oliphant,9 as I can do what I please with them—they generally read & pass on what I write & I have not even to see them—while with Hogg10 half my time was spent in explaining, defending, & altering so as to spoil it as little as I could. I have fairly set to at another essay, on the subject you suggested.11 I wrote several hours at it yesterday, after turning it over mentally many days before—but I cannot work at it here yet, as there is another mail in today—luckily a light one. Wright & Sharpers12 are paid. Adieu my sweetest & dearest.
TO SIR CHARLES E. TREVELYAN1
[After March 8, 1854]
I have not waited till now to make myself acquainted with the Report2 which you have done me the favour of sending to me, and to hail the plan of throwing open the civil service to competition as one of the greatest improvements in public affairs ever proposed by a government. If the examination be so contrived as to be a real test of mental superiority, it is difficult to set limits to the effect which will be produced in raising the character not only of the public service but of Society itself. I shall be most happy to express this opinion in any way in which you think it can be of the smallest use towards helping forward so noble a scheme, but as the successful working of the plan will depend principally on details into which very properly your Report does not enter, I should be unable without some time for consideration, to write anything which could have a chance of being of any service in the way of suggestion.3
I am sorry to say you are mistaken in supposing that anything bearing the remotest resemblance to what you propose, exists at the I.H. It will exist in the India Civil Service by the Act of last year.4
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 9. 
I have received your Sunday’s letter today darling, the first almost that has been directed in your own dear handwriting—I hail it as a good augury. I do not think darling that you need be uneasy about my cough. It is not what anyone would call much—it is even very little were not the mucous secretion so much more than in proportion to it—the principal inconvenience of it is that it is a hindrance to much talking, or reading aloud. I do not think it ever permanently gets worse. I may very likely have it a long while, perhaps always, & without its turning to consumption, for I am more & more convinced that consumption is a constitutional & not a local disease, at all events “doctored into a consumption” I will not be. I have been coming to much the same conclusion as yours about going to Clark. I never meant to continue indefinitely consulting him—I have his opinion now that tonics are the thing for my stomach & I can manage those myself. I should not go to him any more at all for the sake of anything he can prescribe, but because I feel confidence in his knowledge of the signs of chest disease, & while there seems any liability to consumption it is good to find out now & then whether one is drifting towards it or away from it. All you say about conduct in relation to him I most certainly agree in. About the time of our meeting you, dearest, are the best judge. I mentioned in one of my letters that I think the double going to Paris might be managed if really best. Unless you are mistaken about the notes which is very unlikely, a 200 fr. note has been stolen—I have sent in all 1200 fr. The last 500 fr. I sent in two letters: the first, containing a 200 fr. note you acknowledged—in the very next letter after that, I enclosed another 200 fr. & a 100 fr. of which it would appear that you received only the 100, yet I feel sure that I mentioned both in the letter following, but it does not become me to feel sure of anything, especially after I have foundthe will which I thought I had given to you,2 & found it in my desk at the I.H. with the Bramahlock,3 which I thought I had effectually searched & in which I thought it had never been. It is vexatious if the note is stolen—curious too that they did not take both notes. In any case I shall get another & send it. About the P[olitical] E[conomy] I shall write immediately to Parker for another copy. I do not intend to say anything in praise of the English associations but solely to state the fact that they are now very numerous & increasing—perhaps stating how many, according to a list which F[urnivall] gave me. Whatever I do write I will send you & it will cause no or but little delay as the thing can go to press meanwhile & alterations be made when it is in proof. The two inclosures I now send are very unlike that & one another. Powell’s4 note is rather embarrassing especially as I have not the key of the outhouse. I see two large holes, one of them going right under the wall & connecting the two premises. Kate says she never saw a rat till Monday when she saw one after Powell’s ratcatcher had driven them or made them, as he says, “retreat” to our side & established there, probably, the populous colony he complains of. You will tell me what is to be done. I wrote a note & made Haji leave it, in these words “Mr J. S. Mill is obliged to Mr Powell for his information & will have his side of the garden wall examined”: that seemed safe & uncommitting. The other note is from Trevelyan & is an appeal that I ought to respond to, but it will be difficult, & without you impossible, to write the opinion he asks for, so as to be fit to print. But he ought to be helped, for the scheme is the greatest thing yet proposed in the way of real reform & his report is as I said before,5 almost as if we had written it. I wish it were possible to delay even answering his note till I could send the draft to you & receive it back but I fear that would not do. As for news in the first place the income tax is to be doubled, for half a year only at present, but with every prospect of the same in the next half year & until the war ends.6 Secondly the election of directors has been made, & is generally good.7 They have only retained one (Astell) whom they decidedly should have rejected, & only rejected one (Cotton) whom they decidedly should have elected. Sykes & Eastwick, those I cared most about of the doubtful ones, are elected. Hogg has got in—the rejection of him was too much to hope for—but he has not been able to keep in his son in law. Bayley, Mangles, Prinsep, Shepherd, Ellice, Oliphant, were sure. The remaining five are Willock, Macnaghten, Leslie Melville, Mills & Martin Smith, the last two elected mainly because they are of the two great banking houses, but both rather useful directors. Two other bankers, Masterman the city member, & Muspratt are turned out—neither of them any loss—also Major Moore, & two named Dent & Whiteman, all of them some loss. The rest of the rejected are null or superannuated. I am now afraid lest Hogg should try for the deputy chair but I hope Mangles will, & will beat him. The gardener has put in the crops & dug all the middle of the garden & is today cutting the wall fruit trees—after today I shall not have him till I hear from you—but the week after next, I think he should dig the borders & flowerbeds. I wish I could send you some tea—& rain to lay the dust. Here it is now mild again & very pleasant. Addio con sommo amore.
Would “struck down” do for atterré?8
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 11 
My darling love I have just received your Tuesday’s letter, so I write now for the last time to Hyères, dear Hyères—it will always feel like a home to me, though it is not a place of which we should choose to make our permanent home. What you say of the dust & what we know of gnats, shew what all that coast must be except for a very few months of winter. That is one of the difficulties in our living abroad when part of the motive is a good winter climate—that the same place would be sure to be insupportable in summer, so that we require to have the means of frequent change & also could have no fixed home—as we could have at Paris or Bonn or Heidelberg if health had not to be considered. It is wise to take plenty of time for the journey & I should think the 18th not at all too early if as I suppose, Easter, with L[ily] begins with Palm Sunday. And there will probably be no reason now against travelling on account of weather—here it is quite the temperature of advanced spring—very pleasant but from its suddenness not agreeing well with me, if Clark is right. You would not suppose from my last letter that before I wrote again I should have gone again to Clark—but a new symptom is a reason for going, & mine was, night perspirations the last two nights—last night every time I dropped asleep, & this in spite of taking off bedclothes. This being one of the great indications of consumption (though also of other ailments) it was well to find out what it meant. Clark thought it was chiefly from the sudden change of weather & said that almost everybody is complaining of night perspirations, the queen among others. Whatever he may say, it is clear to me that no weather would produce any such effect on me if there were not a strong predisposition to it. He prescribed a different tonic, dispensing with vinegar & water—which I shall do or not as I like myself. I was inclined to prescribe walking, & to use the fine weather for that purpose on Sundays according to your frequent prescription of more walking which I certainly want, for the pains I consulted Bird about have all returned. Clark however recommends less instead of more exertion while this debility lasts, on that too I shall use my own judgment. I shall perhaps not go to Clark any more at all, unless I find myself getting worse. I shall write to Avignon darling & I am sorry on Lily’s account that the post office is a great way from the inns, & in a very out of the way corner. The inn seemed to me an excellent one—the best I found in the whole journey—Europe I think it was—I know it was not the Palais Royal though that also is said to be good. I will send the Examiner Poste Restante Avignon. You will not care much about it, but it may just as well go. Lily will like the cathedral & the tombs of the popes. I inclose now a 200 fr. note. I hope the other may be found but do not expect it. I inclosed in my Thursday’s letter Powell’s note about the rats—since then they have made their presence on our side of the wall very palpable—Kate shewed me this morning that they had in the night bored a passage under the door between the coal place & the scullery—& she says they now make a great uproar in the outhouse, of which I have not the key. As they never shewed themselves before no doubt Powell’s operations have driven them out of his place into ours. I do not know what it is best or even possible to do but to leave things as they are till we meet. How delightful that that will be soon—how much I shall enjoy hearing from you on the journey—you will tell me at what places to write to you. Now from my whole heart I pray that you may have in every sense of the word, the best of all possible journies. If you are as well as when we travelled from Nice to Hyères I feel no doubt of its doing you not only no harm but good. How I shall like to think of you going over the same ground as I did & staying at the same inns—but you will go I suppose by Aix & not through Toulon or Marseilles. The country will be much prettier than as I saw it—bleak & frozen in the south & covered with snow in the north. I have not yet any answer from Parker to my application for another copy of the chapter. What a rambling scambling letter. Adieu my adored.
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 14 
If my dearest one got the short letter I wrote yesterday to Marseilles,2 she knows that I am pained to think of her being uneasy about my health & that I do not think there is cause to. I have been three nights now without perspiration except a very little the night before last, though I did not adopt Clark’s sponging with vinegar & water. I did take his tonic (much the same as your quinine draught) but not so often as he said. On Sunday the day was so fine & tempting that I thought I would try walking so after working till near one at the new essay3 I started for Eltham & found out the palace4 —the approach to it & the ground just about it are most excessively pretty. I returned by a field path which joins the high road not far from Lee Lane & so completed the circuit in the most exquisite day possible in England, wanting only the Nice blueness & purity of the sky though it was equally cloudless—as it has been, day & night, though with a south wind, for a week past, till today when the rain has at last come. I was not at all tired & felt better for the walk & I shall certainly if weather permits use the remaining Sundays till we meet, or part of them, in walking, provided I have worked hard enough in the week to have earned a holiday. I still think the cough is better, nor have I much sign of stomach derangement except the white & dry tongue—the dryness I suspect has something to do with the too great mucous secretion lower down. The pains in the limbs &c. are also better—for them, & all stomach symptoms I am convinced walking is the best remedy. I do not think I mentioned the pains to Clark, or my having consulted Coulson & Bird, but it would perhaps as you say be right to do so. If C. thinks I require change of circumstances & especially treatment for chronic indigestion, the chances are that he would recommend a German watering place in the summer, which would not answer our purpose nearly so well as a winter abroad & would probably be incompatible with it unless we give up England this autumn. I do not think he thinks my lungs even threatened—it was only congestion he found on either side & very little of that. I have written at so much length to my dear one about my health not because I am thinking or feeling about it but because she is. To speak of pleasanter things, I need hardly say how heartily I feel all you say about the civil service plan5 & the contempt I feel for the little feeling shewn for it, not to speak of actual hostility. I give the ministers infinite credit for it—that is if they really adopt the whole plan, for as their bill is not yet brought in6 (it is not as you seem to think, part of the Reform Bill) we do not yet know how far they will really go; but the least they can do consistently with their speeches, will be such a sacrifice of the power of jobbing as hardly a politician who ever lived, ever yet made to the sense of right, without any public demand—it stamps them as quite remarkable men for their class & country—Of course all the jobbers are loud against them, especially newspaper editors who all now look out for places. Yet I so share your misgiving that they cannot know how great a thing they are doing, that I am really afraid to say all I feel about it till they are fully committed, lest it should do more harm than good. This was my answer to Trevelyan . . . [Here he quotes Letter 141].
Trevelyan’s answer: “You have done us a great service by the expression of your decided approbation of our plan for the reform of the English Civil Establishments; & as it is well known that you do not form your opinions lightly, I do not wish to trouble you to enter upon the details of the subject at present. If you can suggest any improvement in the more advanced stages, we shall hope to hear from you again.” This looks as if he desired support more than criticism, but it is useful as it opens a channel by which, without obtrusiveness, we may write anything we like in the way of comment on the bill hereafter & be sure of its being read by the government. They have already quoted me in favour of the plan—last night a discussion was raised about it by that true Irishman Lord Monteagle in the H. of Lords, who attacked it,7 but it was defended with real spirit & vigour by two Cabinet Ministers, Lord Granville8 & the D. of Argyle9 the former of whom mentioned as approving of it, along with Stephen10 & some others, “Mr J. Mill of the India House who is an able administrator as well as a philosophic writer”, that is the Times report.11 It is evident they are always glad to have me to quote, & we must give them plenty to quote for. By the bye, the writer of one of the leading articles in today’s Morning Post12 had evidently come hot from reading the Logic, & I am sorry to say did it no credit as a pupil for it was an article against the Jew bill.13 —I find a good deal of difficulty in adding much to the chapter of the P. Econ.14 without altering its character, which must be maintained, in the main, as it is, as something written of but not to the working classes. I think I agree in all your remarks & have adopted them almost all—but I do not see the possibility of bringing in the first two pages (from the preceding chapter)15 —I see no place which they would fit. Not having your copy, I do not know what sentence you would omit from page 330.16 I do not see how to bring in anything about short hours bills well; does it seem necessary to do so here?—& I have not yet succeeded in bringing in your remark on page 346.17 I have translated (with some omissions) all the French.18 I give on the next page all the additions I have made.19 If I make any more I will send them. I shall keep it back from Furnivall for a few days—if he is not urgent, till I hear from you.—While I am writing, in comes a German socialist20 with an introduction from Courcelle Seneuil shewing that he had not received my letter,21 & that he has changed his address. This is a bore, as it necessitates writing to him again. He also says he sent a copy of the Translation of the Pol. Ec.22 but it has not arrived. I must ask at Delizy’s for it. I found the other day to my consternation that among bookseller’s catalogues & other printed things which I found on arrival & had thrown by unopened, I had overlooked an application from the Commissioners for enquiring into the law of partnership23 asking if I still retained my opinions on limited liability & sending a long list of elaborately framed questions to be filled up with answers. I wrote apologizing for the delay, saying I was still of the same opinion & referring them to my evidence24 as containing all I had to say, excusing myself therefore from answering the questions (some of which would have given me a great deal of trouble to answer & would not have been worth it). Yesterday I had their reply saying that my opinions would be taken into consideration (I suppose the official form). By the time my darling receives this she will have had three (or four?) day’s journey25 & will be able to judge how she is able to bear it. I have been trying to make out what her stopping places will be but cannot do so satisfactorily. I suppose she will rest a little at the old city of the popes especially if the inn is as good as it seemed to me.26 How I long to hear from her on the journey, but I shall have two or three darling letters from the dear old place first. I shall always love Hyères because we have been there together as I feel us here all this time, & she has got better there. Adieu—à tous les dieux.
Additional note, in brackets, to p. 33127
[Mr Fitzroy’s Act for the better protection of women & children against assaults, is a well meant though inadequate attempt to remove the first reproach. The second is more flagrant than ever, another Reform Bill having been presented this year, which largely extends the franchise among many classes of men, but leaves all women in their existing state of political as well as social servitude.]
Page 332 near the bottom.28 “The rich in their turn are regarded as a mere prey & pasture for the poor & are the subject of demands & expectations wholly indefinite, increasing in extent with every concession made to them. The total absence of regard for justice or fairness in the relations between the two, is at the least as marked on the side of the employed as on that of the employers. We look in vain among the working classes for the just pride which will choose to give good work for good wages: for the most part their sole endeavour is to receive as much, & return as little in the shape of service, as possible.”
Page 346, continuation of note.29 “One of the most discreditable indications of a low moral condition, given of late by the English working classes, is the opposition to piece work. Dislike to piecework, except under mistaken notions, must be dislike to justice and fairness; or desire to cheat, by not giving work in proportion to the pay. Piecework is the perfection of contract; & contract, in all work, & in the most minute detail—the principle of so much pay for so much service carried to the utmost extremity—is the system, of all others, in the present state of society, most favorable to the worker, though most unfavorable to the non-worker who wishes to be paid for being idle.”
Note to p. 347.30 “According to the latest accounts which have reached us (March 1854) seven of these associations are all which are now left. But Cooperative stores (associations pour la consommation) have greatly developed themselves, especially in the S. of France, & are at least not forbidden (we know not whether discouraged) by the Government.”
Note to p. 348.31 “Though this beneficent movement has been so fatally checked in the country in which it originated, it is rapidly spreading in those other countries which have acquired, & still retain, any political freedom. It forms already an important feature in the social improvement which is proceeding at a most rapid pace in Piedmont: & in England on the 15th of Feb. of the present year 1854 there had been registered under the Ind[ustrial] & Prov[ident] Societies Act, 33 associations, 17 of which are Industrial Societies, the remainder being associations for cooperative consumption only. This does not include Scotland where also these assns are rapidly multiplying. The Societies which have registered under this new Act are only a portion of the whole. A list dated in June 1852 gives 41 assns for productive industry in E. & Sc. besides a very much greater number of flour mill societies & cooperative stores.”
TO HARRIET MILL1
Mar 18 
Your Thursday’s letter my own darling love, has just come. As you expect to be at Lyons on the 24th or 25th or at least wish the letter to be sure of being there at that time, I do not like to write later than today. I hope you got my short letter to Marseilles & my long one to Avignon. They were written in the expectation of your not being there so soon as you now say—but still they would be, I think, in time. I sent the letter to Marseilles on the 13th, & that to Avignon on the 14th, having written my last letter to Hyères (which inclosed 200 fr.) on the 11th. You will have seen by my Avignon letter that Trevelyan does not want, at least for the present, anything more from me than he has got, namely a warm expression of approval with a readiness to write at greater length in defence & commendation of the plan—& also that they have already cited my approval in Parliament. However Trevelyan’s second note, of which I sent you a copy, leaves a complete opening for sending as you say a review of the report. I fear from the strong feeling my darling shews on the matter that she will be disappointed, but even if she had been here I do not think we could have kept him without any answer to his note till the complete review was ready, & if so the first answer however short must have expressed the warm approbation mine did.—My letter to Avignon also contained copies of all the new matter of any importance in the Chapter of the Pol. Ec. & asked what was the sentence in page 330 that you had marked to come out—but the chapter itself has arrived since & there is no sentence marked in that page. I suppose the dear one altered her mind & rubbed out the marks. I still hold to keeping it back from Furnivall till I hear your opinion of the additional matter which will be in a few days now. I am so sorry the few words I wrote to Powell2 vexed her—I was much annoyed at having to write or do anything in such a matter without having time to consult her for I know I always miss the proper thing & above all the proper tone. I shall now do at once what my dearest one recommends, that is her last recommendation. I shall make Marshall send to pick the lock of the outhouse, & shall write to Powell exactly as she says, & then send for his ratcatcher. The clock that is broken is the one in the kitchen & I shall get Kate to ask Verney’s man to send some one as you suggest & I will take care that the gardener only hoes the flowerbeds. Russell has today brought in his bill for the reform of the University of Oxford:3 it will if carried make what will be thought a great change & in every thing which it touches the change will be for the better—but nothing will make a Church of England university a good place of education, except comparatively. The bill for the civil service is not yet brought in4 —but I quite expect that it will go the full length of the report, that is, to make the competition for the first admission into a public office open to every young man between certain ages, without any previous nomination.—It is not proposed that promotion in the offices, or the admission of persons not already in the service to any of the higher situations, should go by competition—& indeed there would be much difficulty in managing that—for instance I hardly know what examination would shew the fittest person for an office like mine at the I.H. Seniority however is no longer to be the ground of promotion to offices requiring talent, & there is an attempt to make merit the sole ground of promotion—the thing most relied on however being that as the clerks &c will no longer be protégés of the heads of offices or of their political or other friends there will be much less motive to favor them for other reasons than merit than there now is. This is the very day she leaves Hyères, the blessed one. I hope (& feel sure) it is a very different day there from here, where it is most gloomily raining, though the morning was fine. The last two days have been bright & much colder with northerly winds, but today the wind is again south. I am truly happy that she is coming nearer. I look forward with the greatest interest to hearing from her on the route & am sorry I cannot write again till I write to Paris. Writing to her is the next greatest pleasure to hearing from her. Since I wrote last the cough & expectoration have been worse, then better again. There is very little cough, the expectoration is much the more prominent of the two. There is now however, I certainly think, less of that in quantity—but there was again a little blood this morning. I feel much less than my usual strength these two or three days, probably from some temporary cause (though I am taking quinine) not weaker however than I have several times felt when nothing seriously ailed me. Clark says I do not lose flesh, & that is also my own opinion.—I wrote another letter to Courcelle Seneuil telling him about the first5 & saying over again much more briefly what it said. Adieu my own—no words can tell how precious one.
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 20 
I wrote to my precious one at Lyons on Saturday 18th foolishly thinking that it would be too late to write today—but Lyons is so much nearer than Hyères especially counting the railway, that I shall be quite safe in writing today: & it is the more necessary I should do so as I stupidly said nothing on Saturday about so important & interesting a matter as Chapman’s proposal.2 Because the letter in which you spoke of it was not the last letter but the one before, I fancied I had answered it already, & only on thinking yesterday discovered that I had not. I sent to Chapman the letter you drafted, exactly as it was, only choosing the phrases I preferred where you gave the choice of two. I think that to refuse was best, on the whole, for I should not like any more than you that that paper should be supposed to be the best we could do, or the real expression of our mind on the subject. This is not supposed of a mere review article written on a special occasion as that was, but would perhaps be so if the same thing were put out, years after, under our own auspices as a pamphlet. I only wish the better thing we have promised to write were already written instead of being in prospect.3 In any case the article will of course be in any collection4 or rather selection of articles which we may either publish in our life, or leave for publication afterwards, & whichever we do it shall be preceded by a preface which will shew that much of all my later articles, & all the best of that one, were, as they were, my Darling’s. That creature Dickens, whose last story, Bleak House,5 I found accidentally at the London Library the other day & took home & read—much the worst of his things, & the only one of them I altogether dislike—has the vulgar impudence in this thing to ridicule rights of women. It is done too in the very vulgarest way—just the stile in which vulgar men used to ridicule “learned ladies” as neglecting their children & household &c.6 I wrote a good spell at the new Essay7 yesterday, & hope to get a good deal done to it this week. But I have not yet got to the part of the subject which you so beautifully sketched, having begun with examining the more commonplace view of the subject, the supposed necessity of religion for social purposes as a sanction for morality. I regard the whole of what I am writing or shall write as mere raw material, in what manner & into what to be worked up to be decided between us—& I am much bent upon getting as much of this sort written as possible—but above all I am anxious about the Life, which must be the first thing we go over when we are together. I did not get a walk yesterday as I hoped to have done—instead of the delightful warm sunshine of last Sunday it was a violent cold east wind with frequent heavy showers. If it had been fine I think a walk would have done me good, though I do not feel strong enough to attempt a long one. I do not expect to get any more good from Clark, but have a very great inclination to see Ramadge—though not unless you darling approve. I wish you could see his book.8 I wrote to you what I thought of it—& seeing him does not necessarily imply following his advice. Though his book is specially on consumption, it shews much experience in, & I should think understanding of, chest complaints in general. Be sure my angel when you write to tell me how you are in every respect. You have not told me lately. How I long to see you & be with you, my beloved.
TO FREDERICK J. FURNIVALL1
- East India House
March 27, 1854
I am sorry to have kept these sheets2 so long, and to return them now with so few additions and improvements. But after much turning over the subject in my mind, I find that to say the things I wished to say, in such a manner as to be of any use, would alter the whole plan and character of the chapter, which being written of but not to the working classes, had better be read by them with that understanding, and is unfit to form a good foundation for a direct appeal to the working classes themselves. I have therefore made only the alterations which I think indispensable—and I shall be happy if, such as it is, its republication should do any of the good you hope from it.
I am Dear Sir
Very truly yours
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET MILL1
March 29 
I write this my own darling, because from her Dijon letter received today I am afraid she will be disappointed if she does not find a Poste Restante letter at Paris. I had not intended to write till I heard from her where she would be staying at Paris—as I cannot help thinking that Poste Restante letters at that great J. J. Rousseau office must be very uncertain in the delivery & though I have much to say, both great & small, it would be particularly disagreeable either that you should not get it or that any one else should. The letter to Marseilles being written with considerable expectation of what did in fact happen, contained nothing which it mattered that any one should see & therefore I have not written for it. I fear you will have enquired at Paris for this letter before it has arrived—& as I shall so soon hear from you of a safer place to write to I will postpone everything that it would take long to write. You cannot think darling, or rather you can very well think, how much I enjoyed your dear letters on the journey & above all the pleasure it gave me to know that you had stood the journey so well, as is proved by your having got on so fast. That you have recovered so much strength is unspeakably delightful. If I could be at ease respecting your life & health whatever happens, I should have the greatest joy I am capable of. As I shall perhaps hear from you tomorrow I will cut this short here saying only the utmost love.
TO JAMES BENTHAM MILL1
[March 31, 1854]
. . . what is the original seat of his disorder, and though I have little trust in their theories I have a great deal in the experience of those who really have experience of the same kind of complaint.
I do not know how far you take interest in passing events. The time is very near when the new arrangements of the India Act2 will come into operation. For my part, except the throwing open the civil service to competition, all the changes appear to me to be for the worse. It is the most faulty piece of work these ministers3 have turned out—whom otherwise I prefer to any ministers England has yet had.
J. S. Mill
TO EDWIN CHADWICK1
- India House
I have read your paper2 carefully twice through & have annotated it in pencil, sometimes suggesting alterations in the expression, at other times only indicating where they seem to be required. Your suggestions are likely to be very useful—but I think you undervalue what can be done by a general examination. I do not find in Trevelyan’s report3 that it is proposed to confine the examination to Oxford & Cambridge acquirements. All depends on having the examinations such as to afford a real test of mental capacity & good intellectual habits—then the list of eligibles being made out on that principle, each office might select from the list according to some test for the special acquirements it particularly needs—or, when special acquirements & those only are needed, as in some of the cases you mention, it might be allowed to take these from anywhere; & not solely from the list.
Everything depends on having a really good kind of general examination.
I need not say I shall be glad to see you.
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET MILL1
April 3. 
I did write to Paris poste restante my own darling—I had not intended to do so because I thought it so very probable that at that great J. J. Rousseau place you would never get it—but as I found by your letter from Dijon that you were expecting one, I wrote on Wedy the 29th, directed Mad. J. S. Mill, saying however very little because I avoided saying anything which I should regret the miscarriage of. I have been anxiously hoping for another letter all the week & fearing lest there should be a worse reason for its not coming than there was. I am so happy that you have accomplished the journey with so little fatigue or disagreeable. The bleeding of the nose is rather a favourable circumstance than otherwise, since it shews that even when the vessels are overfull, they tend to discharge themselves otherwise than through the lungs. A propos I had a visit lately from a rather elderly American, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, Carleton by name,2 who called on me on account of the Logic & of my father’s Analysis (the P.E. he did not seem to have heard of) & seemed chiefly interested in the doctrine of liberty & necessity, thinking I had conceded too much to the free will side, & I had to explain to him that though I object to the word necessity I am entirely with the doctrine meant by it & am so understood by everybody except him & am attacked for it. On my asking him the usual questions about what he does here, how long he meant to stay &c, he told me that he had been long going about Europe for health, that for 18 years he had been subject to hemorrhage from the lungs, coming on at uncertain times, that the medical men say his lungs are tuberculated, but that he has had all that time & has still very tolerable health. You may imagine that this gave me great pleasure to hear. The only thing that I could find he did was to take cod liver oil, & he told me wonders about what Dr Williams,3 one of the great authorities as you know, says of the success of the oil in the Consumption Hospital, that a great majority recover or are greatly improved in health: he told me the numbers, but I have forgotten them. I have tried since to get Dr Williams’ paper on the subject, but I find it is in a medical journal & I cannot discover in what number.4 It is a great pity my own darling that cod liver oil does not agree with you, but I have the strongest hopes that you will do very well without it. I have but a poor account to give of myself: the cough it is true is gone—I do not now cough once in a week. But the expectoration continues & is of a worse kind—it is dislodged by a mere hem, & brought up by a mere action of the throat without coughing. I have more fever, & am weaker, much, than I was a month ago. I do not however think that I am now losing strength, or if I lose one day I gain another. Yesterday (a complete summer day as most now are) I took a longer walk than the Eltham one,5 in the direction of Bromley—a very pretty walk it was—was out two hours walking fast (always the best for me) & was not the least tired, nor should I have been so I believe if I had gone twice as far. I felt as if I could do anything, while today again I feel quite weak. But the worst is that we have lost our mainstay, so far as my health is concerned—reliance on the sincerity of Clark’s assurances. You may perhaps remember that the first time I went to him I had a suspicion that he did not tell me all he thought—but his more strenuous assurances the second time removed my suspicion: now however it is not a suspicion but a certainty—& the consequence is that I cannot trust anything he says that is favourable. However, time will shew, & soon, what we have to expect. If I could but be sure of your life & health whatever happens, I should care little for anything else.—My darling can judge how interested & pleased I was with all those nice letters she wrote on the journey. When I got her approval of the alterations in the chapter, I inserted a saving clause about piece work6 & sent the whole to Furnivall who promises a proof shortly. I have completed an essay on the usefulness of religion7 —such a one as I can write though very far inferior to what she could. My poor mother I am afraid is not in a good way—as to health I mean. In her usual letter about receiving her pension she said: “I have been a sufferer for nearly three months—I have only been out of doors twice” &c “I have suffered & am still suffering great pain. I supposed the pain in my back was rheumatism, but it is not—it proceeds from the stomach, from which I suffer intense pain as well as from the back. Mr Quain8 has been attending me during the time, & he & Sir Jas Clark have had a consultation & I am taking what they prescribe—I can do no more.” And again in answer to my answer—“I am just the same, but it is not rheumatism that I am suffering from, but my liver. I thought it was odd that my stomach should be so much affected from rheumatism. Sir J. Clark is coming here at the end of the week to have another examination & consultation. I cannot write much as I am so very weak.” This looks very ill I fear—very like some organic disease. Mrs King9 she says is a little better & is probably coming to England. I told her what you said a propos of Mrs King’s illness. She wrote “I hope Mrs Mill is still going on well.” There is a kind of bathos in dropping down from such serious matters into trifles, but as trifling things must be done even when serious ones are doing, so they may be written about. The event proved you to be quite right about the Powell affair:10 In answer to my note he sent the ratcatcher’s address & offered to send him, but I made no answer & wrote to the man myself. Meanwhile he came again to Powell’s & after finding one other rat, came on our premises unasked & Powell also—a piece of great impudence on P’s part—but Kate very rightly would not allow them to do anything without orders from me. The ratcatcher came the next day in consequence of my note to him & searched all he thought necessary but without finding a single rat—so that it is plain there were none, but the one which he drove from Powell’s & which afterwards returned there & was caught. I had two notes from P. subsequent to the one I sent you but did not answer either of these. It is of no use transcribing them here. Adieu my darling—keep up your spirits. I will write again as soon as I hear from you & happily it does not take long now.
TO HARRIET MILL1
April 5 
Your dearest kindest letter came today my own beloved, & first touching Clark—I should not my darling have used such a word as certainty about his not having told me his real opinion, if I had no reason for knowing it but a surmise of my own grounded on my notion of my symptoms. But what there is to say on this subject as well as on my health generally had better be said than written, if I am to have the happiness of seeing her almost immediately. About my going, I see no reason against it in the state of my general health but an unlucky complication has occurred in the shape of a boil on the chest, nearly under the left shoulder, which it seems is of a bad kind, approaching to carbuncle, & might be dangerous if the proper treatment of it were intermitted or if I were to go away from medical advice—therefore it seems necessary to wait the uncertain but probably small number of days necessary for getting rid of this, before I venture to leave—& the choice is between waiting that time, or my darling’s crossing without me. I cannot at all judge which is best as I do not know how capable she is of crossing. She alone can judge—but I am most anxious that she should not come if she is really dreading it much. If you decide, darling, to wait a few days till I am better able to come, I will write to you all I know about my health & all that I am doing with regard to it. But you must not think my angel that I am in low spirits—it is true I have a much worse opinion of my health than I had, but that is not being in low spirits nor am I at all so. I know & think nothing now that I did not know & think three weeks ago, but you did not think my letters to Lyons shewed low spirits. I do not at all like the idea of Lily’s losing the semaine sainte at Paris.—Do not think I am triste my own love or that it is the least necessary on my account that you should come directly.—I am feeling provoked by something in the H. of Commons last night. A creature named Bowyer2 has obtained leave to bring in a bill to abolish actions for damages in case of breach of the marriage contract & to make it a criminal offence instead—in order as he says to be like all the Continental countries—& Fitzroy3 (Palmerston4 was absent) though he guarded himself & the Govt from being understood to concur, yet was rather favourable in tone than the contrary. It is mixed up with things ad captandum such as making the wife a defendant as well as the man that she may be heard in her own behalf & the two men not allowed as they are now to blacken her character unopposed. But we see how touching these subjects brings bad novelties as well as good. The Post attacks Bowyer for it,5 contemptuously enough, of course not on the right grounds, though as good as could be expected from ordinary conservatives—& bids him instead of this nonsense, take up the recommendations of the Divorce Commission to make divorce easier.6 —I want my angel to tell me what should be the next essay written. I have done all I can for the subject she last gave me. What exquisite weather. I do hope hers is equally fine. Adieu for the present, darling.
TO MRS. JAMES MILL1
- India House
April 5 
My dear Mother
I received on Saturday another of Mary’s2 vulgar and insolent letters. The impertinence appears the only motive for writing them and I cannot waste my time in answering any more of them. In this she affects to think that I wish to see her. Will you tell her, that neither I nor my wife will keep up any acquaintance with her whatever.
I hope you are gaining strength and will soon be quite well again. When you are able to write will you let me know how you are. I need not say that we shall always be glad to see you.
TO HARRIET MILL1
April 8. 
My own blessed darling, I should not have written to you in a way which was sure to make you anxious & uncomfortable, if it were not that writing the whole truth would I know make you much more so. Even now I would much rather that what I have to tell could have been postponed till you had accomplished that crossing but any more reticence now would probably alarm you as much as telling all. The “all” then is that it is Clark’s own confession which made me say that he had been insincere with me—about three weeks ago, soon after I wrote to Avignon, he admitted to me that there is organic disease of the lungs & that he had known this all along. My dearest angel, almost all the pain this was to me either at the time or since, was the thought of the pain it would give you. He added many things by way of encouragement—that it would not necessarily shorten my life—that only a small part of the summit of both lungs was affected—that the stethoscope did not shew any progress of the disease since he first examined the chest two months before—that from the age at which the attack came & the gradual manner I had a very good chance for its becoming chronic &c &c. to all which I attach just as much importance & no more, as my own judgment would give to it if he had said nothing. I waited a week & then went to him again when I found that he could do absolutely nothing for me, except recommend cod liver oil, which I have taken ever since. Finding this I went to Ramadge,2 & had a long conversation with him, which ended in my determining to try his treatment. If my precious one had been here I should not have done so unless she approved but even if I had written to ask her, it would have been useless unless she had read his book. He told me who some of the people were whose cases are mentioned in the book—persons of all ranks & classes, some of them of families whom I know—Colonel Astell,3 son of one India Director4 & brother of another5 —a grandson6 of David Ricardo—a son of Burroughes7 the member for Norfolk—the family of Law8 the recorder of London, three of whom had died of consumption before he was consulted; four others all had the disease & he cured them all. He shewed me numbers of letters from people whom he had restored not merely to health but to strength & fitness for all active pursuits though many of them far advanced in consumption; some had been patients of Clark, Chambers,9 Watson10 &c. Wakley11 it seems believes in him & recommends patients to him. Altogether I find it impossible to doubt that he has effected many very remarkable cures: & his theory seems to me very rational. He says, all medical men have examined the lungs of people who have died of consumption, but very few have done what he has done all his life, examined carefully the lungs of persons who have died of other than pulmonary diseases—& this shewed to him by a large experience, 1st the immense number of persons who have lived the ordinary time having tubercles in their lungs, or the marks of having had them formerly. 2nd, that these are always persons in whom the part of the lungs which remains sound is more than ordinarily voluminous. 3rd that they have generally had some conformation or some morbid affection which has impeded the free exit of air from the lungs & therefore by partially imprisoning the air has distended the lungs & enlarged the chest. Then it occurred to him to try if this could be imitated artificially, & he found that by the use of the inhaling tube which he invented the dimensions even of the chest itself were often greatly increased & by the expansion of the lungs cavities actually formed were closed up, & the further deposition of tuberculous matter stopped, on the same principle in which tubercles are never found in the muscles of voluntary motion & on which Clark accounts in his book12 for tubercles being always deposited first & most in the upper lobes, because these are the least expanded by the act of respiration. His paradox about cough is not so much of a paradox when understood. Laennec13 & Louis,14 the two greatest authorities on lung disease, both strenuously maintain (as I know not from Ramadge but from my own reading) that cough not arising from consumption never does nor can lead to it; but they allow & so does Ramadge that it may call it from a latent state into an active—he merely says that the tubercles must have preexisted—that a bad inflammatory cough often accelerates their softening & seems to cause the disease—but that in itself the thickening of the membrane of the air passages by catarrh is a counteractive & often a preservative against consumption & he shews striking facts in support of this. So there being nothing absurd in his theory, & his array of actual cures in very bad cases being extremely striking, I thought there was ground for hope though not for faith. He spoke with great confidence of curing me—said that he seldom had so favourable a case or one in which there was so small an amount of disease & now when I have been following his instructions for a fortnight he thinks or professes to think that I am decidedly better & shall not only be cured but soon. I need hardly say that this is so much vain wind to me & will be so until I see it verified. But I think he is a good physician—a good prescriber. Though the inhaler is his sheet anchor, he does a great many other things to check the disease & support the system until the inhaler has time to act: he gives stomachics, tonics & slight sedatives, & fights against the hectic fever by applying a single leech now & then. I have done this four times & if it has done anything it has done good, for I have not grown at all weaker in the last ten days. Before that, I seemed to get weaker daily—but Ramadge said that this was partly from the liver, that I was in a sort of semi-jaundiced state & indeed my yellowness shewed it—now this he has corrected, not by mercury which he thinks the death warrant of a consumptive patient (though Clark gives it without scruple) as it hastens the softening of tubercles in great numbers at once. R. has prescribed taraxacum & certainly to all appearance he has made my digestion better than it has been for a long time—unless it is the cod liver oil which has done it. R. thinks nothing of that—it seems to me that a little acidity which I still sometimes have is connected with the cod liver oil. As to the pulmonary disease, R. asked to see the expectoration, which Clark never did—& having seen it, says it contains tuberculous matter, as indeed is very evident to myself. So that as there is softening going on, I must expect, as he says, to be feverish & weak but this will not continue if the formation of fresh tubercle is stopped, which he expects will be the effect of the inhalation. He reckons it a very favourable sign that there is so little constitutional disturbance when there is softening & expectoration of tuberculous matter taking place. As for the boil I told you of, I shewed it to him when it was only beginning & he thought it an ordinary boil—then again three days after when it had grown large & ugly & he said at once it was a carbuncle & very dangerous unless taken in time. He at once opened it, told me how to poultice it, & it is now rapidly getting well. He did not think at first but does think now that this boil is partly a tuberculous deposit. I tell you all this, darling, at so much length, that you may not think I am risking anything by following Ramadge’s treatment—In all minor things I am persuaded he does me good—while Clark did nothing & thought he could do nothing but leave me to nature. Of the chances of his curing the disease as he so confidently predicts I can no more judge than I could at first. There are no signs of my being better except my not being worse—but I could not expect any while there is softening going on—that he does not pretend that he can arrest. Whether he is right will soon appear however as he predicts great improvement in another fortnight. The man has a very quiet manner & has not, to my thinking, the air either of what vulgar people call an enthusiast, or a quack. But he has a way of evading anything one says to which he cannot give a satisfactory answer—& then he hardly admits that his plan can fail if properly tried, & persevered in. I am inclined to think that he does not generally know of the failures, as those in whose case the plan fails give over consulting him & he loses sight of them. But it evidently often succeeds—every time I have been to him he has shewn me more letters received that morning, always containing more or less evidence of success. I think it was right to try him & I hope you will think so too.—I do not, darling, feel at all unable to come over to her—I could do most of what R. recommends there as well as here—but if she is fit & able to cross there seems no sufficient object in it—if she was not I would go over directly. I sent a note at once to Haji about the cheque book but he instead of writing himself, got a cheque book & brought it to me—so I inclose two blank cheques—but would it not be better that I should send French notes as before? This long letter is all facts & no feelings—but you will know what the feelings are—the utmost love & wish to live solely for your dear sake & for our objects. I am not the least depressed in spirits, probably because I have hardly any of the sensation of ill health. I wish I could be sure that you would suffer no more than I do. Bless her!
TO HARRIET MILL1
April 10. 
My precious! my beloved! what a joy it is to read such a letter & how relieved I feel by her knowing the worst of this business—though that is a selfish feeling too when it causes her so much pain. I am most anxious my darling to know how you are—& that you should be a great deal better before you venture that odious crossing. You will soon, darling, I know, feel calm again, for what is there that can happen to us in such a world as this that is worth being disturbed about when one is prepared for it?—except intense physical pain, but that there is no fear of in this case. I am sometimes surprised at my own perfect tranquillity when I consider how much reason I have to wish to live, but I am in my best spirits, & what I wrote even in the week after Clark’s announcement before I had seen Ramadge, is written with as much spirit & I had as much pleasure in writing it as anything I ever wrote. It is the greatest pleasure to me that you think as you do about Ramadge & his plans, even on my short & imperfect explanation—though I could not doubt that what struck one of us as being good would seem so to the other on sufficient explanation. I think it is clear that his notions are right & that his treatment at least works in the right direction: whether with sufficient efficacy to stop the disease, is the only doubt. I have hitherto done all he recommended. (I breathe through his tube three times a day for half an hour each time—that seems very little does it not? but he thinks it enough) with one exception—he always urges me to get another more complex & expensive apparatus to use in the evenings, which combines with the principle of the tube—the inhalation of the vapour of herbs—camomile, marsh mallow & others—but I have not done this because it evidently is not essential to his plans—nor do I see well the good it can do—he says it is strengthening & soothing. If you advise, however, I will try it. It has long been known that many people live to be old with tubercles but R. says nobody before him had the least idea how many. He thinks half the people who go about have had tubercles. I myself have had them before without knowing it & recovered, for the incident which produced the éclaircissement with Clark was my coughing up a chalky concretion which I at once knew must be the saline part of an old tubercle, which had been cured by absorption. As for Clark’s not asking to see the expectoration—he evidently had made up his mind as to the case from the first day—was convinced that though nature might save me, art could not—& preferred to say nothing which might render me more inquisitive & put him to the cost of additional falsehoods. I continue not at all weaker—though varying from day to day. Yesterday I took a walk nearly twice as long as last Sunday—& though I did not feel quite as vigorous when I went out as I did the former time, I am sure I am the better for the walk. It was a splendid & very hot day & I returned just tired enough to make sitting down a rest. I am stronger & better today after it than I was last Monday. Clark recommended as much exercise in the open air as I could take without fatigue. R. also recommends exercise in the open air, cautioning me however against fatigue. I had no idea what pretty hilly country one soon gets into in the direction of Bromley. I go to & from the I.H. as usual & I think it good for me rather than the contrary. I go in the usual 2d class which are close & give me the same command of window as the first class & the only precaution I use is to go backward. The boil seems extirpated & the place has only to heal. R. thinks as you do that it was a favorable circumstance as to the pulmonary disease. I now always breakfast at home & go out to eat something in the middle of the day—I find this agrees better with my stomach. I send the important pages of the April time bill2 & also the Examiner which, to its disgrace, supports the creature Bowyer.3 The papers today announce that the ministers have appointed a Commission to draw up regulations for the competitive examination for the India civil service—of the four Commissioners,4 three are acquaintances—& as one of those is Lord Ashburton5 I suppose I shall be applied to for an opinion.6 The others are Macaulay, John Lefevre,7 & Jowett,8 an Oxford liberal & great auxiliary of Trevelyan. I do not know that there is anything more to tell at present my precious, but only my fondest love.
TO HARRIET MILL1
April 11 
I have your note this morning my own darling love. Pray my darling do not attempt the crossing till you feel better—much better. I am going on here with everything that can be done & your presence is not at all necessary, pleasant as it will be. I saw Ramadge again yesterday. If one could but trust what those people say, when they wish to give encouragement, I am doing very well; for he says the sounds of respiration indicate a marked improvement & that he is certain of a perfect & rapid cure. But he wishes so much to think so, & to persuade me of it, that I do not feel that what he says can be relied on. I am quite certain however that I am not now growing weaker, but, if anything, a little less weak, & I think too that I have a little less of the hectic fever, but not sufficiently so to build any decisive inference on. You are no doubt aware that it is not uncommon for these symptoms to abate when the first crop of tubercles have softened & been discharged—the patient then gains flesh & strength & there is an interval before any more tubercles soften & so there is an ebbing & flowing of the disease, but each time an additional portion of the lungs is made useless, so that at last one does not get better, but dies because one has spent one’s capital—this however is often an affair of several years—witness George2 —Clark says it was astonishing that he lived, for he had a large cavity in his lungs already before he went to Madeira. But Ramadge is persuaded that by his treatment the deposition of fresh tubercles may be prevented: & though successive liquefactions of old ones at intervals from one another, often happen to his patients, he maintains that his treatment closes up the cavities if any which are left by their discharge—and I am quite satisfied that he does very often effect this, though it must no doubt (though he does not admit it) be very uncertain whether he can do so in any individual case. In any case however I feel sure that his is as you say the best mode to assist nature—& I cannot but think that my not getting weaker for nearly a fortnight while a considerable quantity of softening is going on, & not having more general derangement of health than I have, if it is not owing to his treatment is at least a favourable indication of the chances which nature holds out.—I am sorry to say darling I had two notes this morning from Clara & Mary both saying that my mother is very ill—one says that Clark & the other medical man Quain call her disease enlargement of the liver, the other tumour in the liver & that they think very seriously of it though not expecting immediate danger. I need not send the notes as you will see them so soon & now darling adieu as you will not care to hear about any minor matters at present—bless you my own perfect & perfectly loved one.
TO DR. HENRY CECIL GURNEY1
- I[ndia] H[ouse]
My dear Sir—
I am sure you will like to hear how we are going on. My wife & daughter have just got home2 after having made a very easy journey from Hyères, alone for I was not well enough to fetch them3 as I hoped to have done. My wife has continued in extremely delicate health ever since the illness at Nice4 in which evidently the lungs were much concerned. Though she does not recover any strength she has had no return of the attack.5 I have only lately lost the cough I had at Nice but the cause of it still continues. I am under a careful & minute system of medical treatment which I hope in the course of the summer will produce a change for the better. If you shd be in England this year we hope we shall see you. My wife & Helen desire many very kind regards and I am Dear Sir
yrs very truly
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NEOPHYTE WRITERS’ SOCIETY1
- B[lackheath] P[ark]
April 23. 1854
I have received your letter of 11th of April, in which you do me the honor to request that I will become a member of the Honorary Council of an association termed the N[eophyte] W[riters’] Society.
So far as I am able to collect the objects of the Society from the somewhat vague description given of them in the Prospectus, I am led to believe that it is not established to promote any opinions in particular; that its members are bound together only by the fact of being writers, not by the purposes for which they write; that their publications will admit conflicting opinions with equal readiness; & that the mutual criticism which is invited will have for its object the improvement of the writers merely as writers, & not the promotion, by means of writing, of any valuable object.
Now I set no value whatever on writing for its own sake & have much less respect for the literary craftsman than for the manual labourer except so far as he uses his powers in promoting what I consider true & just. I have on most of the subjects interesting to mankind, opinions to which I attach importance & which I earnestly desire to diffuse; but I am not desirous of aiding the diffusion of opinions contrary to my own; & with respect to the mere faculty of expression independently of what is to be expressed, it does not appear to me to require any encouragement. There is already an abundance, not to say superabundance, of writers who are able to express in an effective manner the mischievous commonplaces which they have got to say. I would gladly give any aid in my power towards improving their opinions; but I have no fear that any opinions they have will not be sufficiently well expressed; nor in any way should I be disposed to give any assistance in sharpening weapons when I know not in what cause they will be used.
For these reasons I cannot consent that my name should be added to the list of writers you send me.
I have the honor to be
Sir yr obt Sert
TO SIR CHARLES E. TREVELYAN1
[May 23. 1854]
My dear Sir
I have as you requested written a longer letter on the plan for the reorganisation of the civil service & addressed it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.2 I have been much disgusted, less at the direct attacks on the plan, frivolous & interested as they are, than at the cold reception of it by those who ought to know better. It is an instance, along with the rejection of the Scotch Education Bill3 & many others, how much the present Government is in advance of the popular mind on most important subjects.
TO SIR CHARLES E. TREVELYAN1
- B[lackheath] P[ark]
May 31. 1854
My dear Sir—
I am sorry that a part of what I felt bound to say (in a letter signed with my name)2 respecting the scheme of examinations circulated with your report, should seem to you likely to be injurious. But I hope you will not ascribe it to amour propre when I say, that I should much prefer withdrawing the letter to the omission of that passage.3 In substance it is simply an assertion of what I understand to be the avowed principle of the present Government, religious equality, a principle now very generally professed, but usually with a mental reservation of certain exceptions to it. I hold that there ought to be no exceptions & when a rule is proposed which would amount to exclusion from the public service on religious grounds, it is a matter of conscience & duty with me not to express approbation of the plan, without expressing in an equally decided manner how entirely I disapprove of such an appendage to it. Even without the proposed rule, there will be much danger lest in carrying the plan into operation the so called religious element should be allowed to assume such a predominance as to be practically a cause of exclusion: but when I see a religious test actually proposed, I must be excused for saying, that the advocacy of those whom it would exclude should either be dispensed with altogether, or allowed to be given under a protest against the exclusion.
I am my dr Sir yrs vy truly
To Sir C. E. Trevelyan
TO SIR CHARLES E. TREVELYAN1
June 6. 1854
My dear Sir—
It is with great regret that I yield to your objection to a sentence which I think is required in justice to those who dissent from creeds. I have now weakened it so much that I hope it will not be found too strong for the public mind.
TO MRS. JAMES MILL1
Blackheath Park June 9. 1854.
My dear Mother—
I hope you are feeling better than when I saw you last week & that you continue free from pain. I write to say that I am going immediately to the Continent by the urgent recommendation of Clark who has been pressing me to do so for some time past & though I expect to return in a few weeks it will probably be to leave again soon after. I wish again to remind you in case it has not already been done how desirable it is that some one who is fixed in England should be named executor to your will, either instead of me, which I shd prefer, or as well as myself.
My wife sends her kindest wishes & regrets that her weak health makes it difficult for her to come to see you as she would otherwise have done. Ever my dear mother affectionately yours2
TO HARRIET MILL1
- Royal Hotel St Helier
June 11. 
My own darling love, I write a day sooner than we expected as I find that the mail leaves here tomorrow instead of Tuesday—a bad arrangement since it must make two sets of mail steamers necessary when one set would suffice. I had an excellent passage, except that we did not arrive till 11 o’clock, being 10½ hours. The tide was against us all the way & the wind south. I felt so sick whenever I attempted to get up, that I did not go on deck—but as this boat is made in the American fashion with the cabin on deck (the ladies’ cabin is below as usual—contrary to the usual practice of giving to women what is thought the best) I could see out of the cabin windows. It was a dull threatening morning. I saw the French coast to the left, a long low headland apparently a good way off, & Alderney very near on the other side—looking a bare green rising ground, not at all bold, & less in size than the part of the I. of Wight between Ryde & St Helen’s. We went outside Jersey, coasting the west side & then round to the south—parts of this were very rocky & fine on the sea beach & in the sea, but the island looked poor. The water was so low when we arrived that although there are two fine high stone piers, we had to land in small boats. I had been told of many inns & could not discover which was best—This was one of them & as it seemed to have a view I came here—but it is a poor inn, not very clean, at most passable. The vivres however are good. I have just dined at the table d’hote which is a real table d’hote, the landlord presiding. The cookery is all English—all things seem earlier than in England, new potatoes, peas, & the gooseberries quite large. The town is poorly situated, on the side of a harbour ugly as all harbours are (except Dieppe) au fond of a larger bay than I should have thought existed here. It is much more an English than a French town—I have heard nobody but boys in the streets speak French—& two thirds of the names over the shops are English—but then it is true half the shops have no names at all. It is quite like an English country town & the roads about are full of English second rate villas with a few first rate. The town is large—said to have 33,000 inhabitants, the whole island having only 60,000. I see nothing tempting either in the town or the neighbourhood—I have walked a great deal about the place & found some plants. Tomorrow I shall try to get conveyance to the chief show places of the island. As far as I can yet see it is generally bare of trees, though one or two well wooded ravines intersect it from the head of the bay on which the town stands. One cannot help comparing it with the Isle of Wight to which it seems quite infinitely inferior. The chief feature of it seems to be shady lanes. I have got some notion of prices from an old soldier who has been gardener to several of the Colonels of engineers here & from a Mr Williams at the table d’hote who seemed to be looked on as something of an authority. Beef & mutton are 8d, best butter 10½d, the pound (of butter) equal to 18 oz English. The butter at the inn is tolerable & intensely yellow. Tea & coffee are brought from the warehouses in England not having paid duty, so the price must be the same as in England minus the duty. Bread about the same as in England. I suppose house rent is low. Had a beautiful afternoon for my walk & it is now a fine evening—I shall walk again after putting in this letter. I am as well darling as I could expect to be, & in tolerably good cue for walking—perhaps by & by I shall be so for writing—but as yet I feel as if I should not wish to write a thing except letters to my dearest one. I already seem to have been an age parted from her—but it will be all for the best if it does me any good. I never have been out of spirits since my illness but at the prospect of leaving her & now I begin looking forward to the reunion—bless her, ever blessed one.
TO HARRIET MILL1
- St Helier
June 13 
Tuesday evening, darling, sees me still at this place for the steamer which was to have gone to St Malo today at 12 went on an excursion to Alderney yesterday & had not got back here at 5 o’clock, today, probably on account of the very rough weather. It is supposed that it will go to St Malo tomorrow morning. In the meantime I have lost what would have been a very rough & disagreeable passage but it does not matter, as I have not at all exhausted this place, which gains very much on better acquaintance. Yesterday & today began with driving showers, but turned to beautifully fine afterwards though now in the evening it is raining again. I was advised yesterday to go by an omnibus which makes the tour of the island stopping a while at the principal show places—but it turned out that the omnibuses had not yet started for the season, & as nobody wanted to go except four people from this inn, the omnibus owner sent a carriage instead. I felt very odd with my three companions, a middle aged man from Manchester & two young men. The middle aged man was very ignorant, the young men less so, one of them knew something of chemistry, the other of geology & they all liked walking. We went across to the north coast & saw the greater part of it, walking a good deal; & I had a six miles walk in the evening besides; to a tower on an old barrow planted with trees, from which the whole island is visible. Today I was kept dangling after the steamer till one (walking about however) but from one till ½ past 4 I went out, a most beautiful excursion, half an hour by omnibus round the bay, the same back, the other 2½ hours the prettiest walk in the island. The character of the island is table land very much intersected by deep green hollows with meadow at the bottom & wood up the sides—but no very fine trees—a coast very much indented & abounding in promontories which reminded me of the Riviera, wanting the mountain heights. I have made a good many excellent captures of plants. The experiment seems to answer thus far, for my strength is satisfactory & my health (as usual) improved by the much walking—the strength is encouraging for the recovery of flesh: for if the nerves are improved for one purpose they are likely to be so for another. But I have been & still am annoyed with pain under the right shoulder blade & between the shoulders. I have written to Clark to ask him if I should put on a blister. I applied a strong mustard poultice last night but from the awkwardness of the place could not do it myself, but found a chemist who came at night, made it & put it on—his name is Trueman & he is a true man for he gave me two ounces more of mustard & only charged a shilling altogether. I do not think this place can be cheaper than Devonshire except in taxed articles, tea, wine &c. I was asked in the market 3 sh. for a pair of fowls, a pair of ducks or a goose—none of them particularly fine. The 8d a pound for beef, mutton & veal is the Jersey pound of 17½ English ounces. Trueman says he pays £60 rent for his house in a street—but says a good ten roomed house in the outskirts may be had at £30. There are no taxes except a small one for making roads. The judges & other public officers are all unpaid, & the military are paid by England. There are many & various shops, some very large & showy—& a great many booksellers chiefly for French books, with which they seem as well furnished as any French provincial town. They are sending quantities of new potatoes to London, in the barrels in which they have just imported flour from America. The people seem all strong, healthy & well off—the French they talk to one another seems a sort of patois which I cannot understand. I have taken a sort of liking to the place & even do not dislike this inn. I was set against it at first by being offered a bedroom with a horribly dirty counterpane & one or two other small things, but the room I have & the place generally are quite clean & pleasant. This delay will throw all the plans one day later for writing & will make me a day longer in getting her precious first letter. I meant to have had another walk this evening but it has come on a pouring rain. The temperature & air are soft & mild as I remember South Devonshire. Adieu my darling—my own precious love.
TO HARRIET MILL1
- St Malo
June 14 
My dearest dearest love, I arrived here today, having started at 10 & had a smooth & easy enough passage of about five hours in the most pouring wet day there has been this year—so far is the weather from promising any improvement. As it was low water when we arrived, we could not approach the pier, but were taken on shore in boats & had then to walk at least half a mile over rocks & seaweed. It rained so violently when we arrived that I made up my mind not to risk getting wet, but to remain on board till the steamer could get in—but fortunately the rain abated before the last boat was gone & I was able to land. I did not go to the France where we went before but to another near it called Hotel de la Paix, also praised by Murray, & to which almost every passenger seemed to go. It appears good as far as I can judge. I have just returned from the custom house where the whole bevy of passengers, women & all, went in person, the commissioner system not, apparently, being organized here as at the more frequented ports. I walked round the ramparts before dinner (& was caught in the rain doing so) & even in this wretched weather the view was fine. But I can make no plans for tomorrow on account of the weather. The steamers to Dinan are not running now, & the diligences as usual are too early or too late. I employed the five hours of steamboat partly in conning over the subject of justice for the essay2 —& partly in hearing the talk of the passengers, all quite commonplace people & yet one heard now & then the same remarks which would be made by superior people, e.g. that the English abroad all speak ill of one another & get up scandal against each other—saying “Ah we know why he lives abroad, he is obliged on account of his creditors” &c &c. The Jersey people seem to be spoken of, even by Jersey people, in the way Yorkshire people are spoken of—one would think they were “far north” instead of far south. From what I heard it seems that Australia is crammed with Jersey people—people of family as well as poor people. The emigration ships from Liverpool have agents in Jersey, & placards all about, & there is a ship of 1400 tons going from Jersey to Adelaide direct in a few weeks as one of the passengers said who is going by her with the remainder of his family to join part of it who are already there. I could not learn even the name of a single refugee at Jersey except Victor Hugo whose letter about that Guernsey murderer3 had drawn attention to him—the people seem to think him a half mad oddity. There are several newspapers in Jersey both French & English but they seem to be worth little. At the inn (all the inns being boarding houses) they reckoned me as a boarder because I took my meals in the public room, & they charged for board & lodging five shillings a day, which would be cheap anywhere else especially as there was no stinting in quantity or quality—I did not expect to find attendance put in the bill, but so it was, & comparatively dear, being at the rate of 15 pence a day. My back & shoulder are a little better than yesterday (Mr Truman applied a second mustard poultice) but they are still troublesome. I am afraid it is the slight inflammation which so often occurs in this disease & eventuates as the Yankees say in adhesion. However, if the weather would but improve I should get on well enough, & should have perhaps some chance of stopping the great & rapid wasting of flesh which has been going on for the last two months & which if not stopped would soon make me incapable of any bodily exertion whatever. But I do not despair of its being stopped, at least for a time, by this journey. I long to get to St. Brieuc & to hear from her though it will be only a day or so later than our parting. If your health goes well I wish to live—otherwise I am indifferent to it. I find the post does not go till 4 tomorrow afternoon, so I shall add a line tomorrow morning. Thursday 15th. Another wretched day of rain making it impossible to go anywhere. I have gone to the cathedral & about the town, got weighed, tried unsuccessfully to match my scissors &c and when I have taken this to the post shall have to sit down & write till 4 o’clock when I have taken a coupé place to Dinan—but if this weather lasts Dinan will be triste enough. It will not be time lost, for when I cannot go out I can write—but it delays the object of the journey. I seem today to be almost the only person in the inn—the other arrivals having all gone on. If it had been fine I should either have found some other way to Dinan earlier or made an excursion to Cancale in the forenoon. If it is fine tomorrow I may stay a day at Dinan, otherwise I shall go on to St. Brieuc for the letter. Adieu my own most dearly beloved angel.
TO HARRIET MILL1
- St Brieuc
June 16. 
Ah darling! I arrived here this evening & she knows very well what was the first thing I did & what the delight was of reading her precious writing. Though I am here two days later than we reckoned on, it only arrived here yesterday—& has the Calais postmark of the 14th which I do not understand. Probably it did not get to London in time for Monday’s post. It seems to have come here from Calais in one day, which is important to know. But how could my darling think of not opening the letter, & all letters? It is odd enough, I was thinking today in the diligence that as nothing had been said about it, it was just possible you might not open. As the seal was red, no doubt the news there was not the worst news but it was of course a note caused by my announcement of going away. However she will read it now & send the contents. She can always best judge whether to send letters or tell me their contents. I expect few letters of which the contents will be worth eightpence, but still less worth a sentence of your writing. I am going on well—not inconvenienced by any weakness except in the arms, which get fatigued by holding an umbrella even if not up. The pain in my shoulder does not trouble me so much. The excursion would be pleasant enough if it were fine weather. Yesterday only cleared up a little (but not completely) while I was en route, en banquette, to Dinan. Today it was cloudy, but without rain, & I hoped it was clearing, but it has begun to mizzle again since I have been here. I had a walk at Dinan of near two hours besides going much about the town, walked much up hills & from relays on the road here (per coupé) & have had a country walk in the dusk since arriving. I now see what Brittany is like, a table land, looking much wooded at a distance, all cut up by inclosures but much of it not cultivated & so neither wild nor civilized—dull generally but fine whenever one comes to the ravines cut deep into it by rivers. So the plan is to halt in some of the best ravines long enough to explore them. Morlaix appears to be one of the best & there seem to be so many good excursions to be made from it that though you will have probably written to Brest, yet if you get this in time to write on Monday the letter will find me still at Morlaix which I do not expect to leave before Thursday morning. I am still three days from Morlaix as my plan is to go only to Guingamp tomorrow & to Lannion next day, so not reaching Morlaix till Monday evening. Do not however darling write to Brest after Wednesday as I do not expect to make any stay there. As you will now know that I am getting on well, it is possible I may not write again till I get to Morlaix so you will not be uneasy if you do not hear again for three days. One sees how cheap living must be here by the cheapness of the inns. At the inn at St Malo, one of the two best, & with pretensions to be the best, the table d’hôte was 2½ francs, breakfast with eggs 1 fr. tea the same; they got me a real petit diner, potage, cutlets, & potatoes for 2 fr. & charged for attendance ten sous. At Dinan, in one of the inns praised by Murray, I had tea (my own) & with the accessories, & café au lait with eggs in the morning, the whole charge was 3 fr. Of course I shall never think of giving more than ten sous for service except perhaps at Brest—& I have no doubt they will be perfectly contented. The people say living would be still cheaper if they did not export so much to the Channel Islands & to England. About this town they grow quantities of onions, said to be for England. After I sent my letter to you from St Malo, the rainy day gave me a long spell at the Essay on Justice2 & if the weather is as bad as it threatens, we shall at least have the consolation of getting on with that. I began it in preference to the other subject because the thoughts had partly shaped themselves for it in my head. Among things I forgot, one was to remind her, a week before the 1st of July, to send on to the London Library a list of all books we have, including the lost book “A Cruize in the Mozambique Channel”.3 I am very glad my dear one was not troubled with Ley.4 How I wish I could wish away from her all other troubles. As this will not go till tomorrow I shall keep it open & if I add nothing she will know that I am well, that nothing is changed & that I am going to Guingamp per banquette at 12 oclock. I shall go in the banquette whenever I can as it is more open air & the coupé fevered me a little today though I had the window open. Adieu angel mine.
June 17. On further thoughts my beloved you had better not write to Morlaix but to Brest, as I shall go from one to the other in a day, probably Thursday. It is a fine morning, darling, & promises well. I shall take this to the post before breakfast & walk after.
TO HARRIET MILL1
19 June 
What a darling letter my own love—& how very much it makes me wish that I may get better when I know how great a pleasure it would be to my own sweetest one. Hitherto there is nothing particular to be said on either side of that question. Except the day of crossing & the day at St Malo I have had very tolerable weather—There has been only about one smart shower each day, & it has always been so timed that it has put me to no inconvenience. I have done everything exactly as I said in my last letter that I meant to—& have been so much out walking whenever I have not been travelling or eating that I really have had no time to write any more of the Essay except for an hour at Guingamp. These Breton towns are mostly pretty, quiet & cheerful, the houses mostly of square blocks of granite not stuccoed & therefore looking well, & slated upright roofs which give dignity. The valleys or rather narrow rocky ravines in which they all stand are excessively pretty, & pleasant to explore. This town of Morlaix however is the first fine thing I have come to—like a Swiss town or rather like one’s original idea of one, got from drawings—the rocks rising precipitous behind the tall houses. The town is on both sides of a very un-Swiss because canalized & harbourized river, with quays as broad & in some places as handsome as those at Rouen. I have walked this evening down the ravine to where the river spreads out as it approaches the sea—about 3 miles below the town. There are diligences here, & generally good ones, from everywhere to everywhere, & they go full 7 miles an hour going 20 miles journeys with the same three horses—but there has never been anybody in them except commis voyageurs going their rounds—the people whom the fine gentlemen that write the Times correspondence are so fond of abusing, but I must say from talking with them in diligences & at tables d’hôte I generally find them both sensible & right feeling—& today I got talking republicanism with one of them. By the bye at the table d’hôte here today where all except me seemed to be commis voyageurs I thought I never was at table with so many really nice looking men. I travelled from Guingamp to Lannion with a rather pleasant & well informed Englishman2 —who or what I do not know, but he turned out to be in Brittany on the same errand as I, & had been staying some weeks at St Pol de Léon from which he was making a tour in Brittany. He had been he told me for a whole year confined to two or three rooms & hardly able to walk across one of them—expected by everybody to die of consumption which he still has, but all his symptoms are gone & he reckons himself quite well—though much thinner than I am he walks 20 miles with ease. This is encouraging but it appears to be another of the wonderful effects of cod liver oil which he has been taking for a year. I wish darling you could take it—would you not give it a trial again with quinine, as I took it at first? I really cannot think it was that which gave you the illness. This man broke two blood vessels at 17 & has been consumptive ever since—I suppose he is now about 30. He is coming to Morlaix this evening & he & I are going tomorrow on a very promising excursion into the interior—the day after I shall go with him to St Pol where there is said to be the finest cathedral in Brittany—I meant to go there & return here but as he tells me there is a diligence from St Pol to Brest direct twice a week, Thursday being one of the days, I shall go on by that. I suppose two days will be enough for Brest, one of them passed in going to the French Land’s End, Cape Finisterre, so on the 25th or 26th I shall get to Quimper—do not write there later than the 22d or the 23d if put in in London: if too late for that, up to Saturday 24th (in London) will be in time for Lorient. What a really cheap country this is. At the market of St Brieuc I saw what seemed to me most delicate mutton, too large to be lamb but otherwise like it; & this was 8 sous the pound—veal the same—a tenth more than an English pound—less than half the Jersey price. At Lannion this morning most beautiful lamb was the same price, veal the same & beef the same, which at St Brieuc was 2 sous more. Bread however free trade has made as cheap in England as anywhere—At St Brieuc the officially fixed price of the best quality was 11 sous the kilo or about 5d the 2 lb loaf & I do not suppose we are paying more than that at Blackheath. At Guingamp the table d’hôte was 2 fr. & my petit diner the price of a déjeuner, 1½ fr. At Lannion, an excellent inn, my bedroom excellent & well & much furnished, I had (my own) tea with an omlet at night, eggs in the morning, & the whole bill was 4 fr. The bedrooms are always 1 fr. though sometimes equal to those charged 3 fr. for elsewhere. I have got few plants yet in France—the botanizing at Vire & Dinan in 18443 seems to have exhausted this part of the country. Thanks for the Spectator my treasure. x x x x x x
TO HARRIET MILL1
June 24 
I arrived here, my precious love a day later than I expected when I wrote from Morlaix, as the excursion into the interior, it turned out, could not be comfortably done in one day. I have received your letter No. 3 of the 16th—I am afraid you would not get mine from St Brieuc in time to prevent your sending No. 4 to Quimper, unless the day extra passed at Jersey had induced you to delay writing one day beyond the time we fixed. But I hoped to have found another letter here, written after you received that from St Brieuc. Perhaps it will come tomorrow morning. I propose staying two days here, one to be passed in going to Cape Finisterre. I hope to get to Quimper from here in one day but perhaps I may be obliged to take two & I shall probably stay there a day for the sake of going to the other promontory, the Bec du Raz, so I shall be at Lorient on either the 29th or 30th but as I shall not stay there, it will hardly do for my dear one to write there after receiving this. If she writes the same day or the next, direct Auray, Morbihan, the place from which the Druidical antiquities are to be seen; if the day after, to Vannes; afterwards to Nantes. This journey has been as pleasant I think as it would have been, without you, if I had been well. I have had no interruption from weather since St Malo & the weather having each day improved a little, yesterday became sunny & today hot. The excursion from Morlaix was into the central country of Brittany, to the mines of Huelgoat & the cascade of Saint Herbot, or rather into the fine woody ravines containing them. The country was very like the finer & wilder parts of England, & the waterfalls somewhat like our Swallow fall.2 I went there as I said I was going to, with an Englishman who it seems is a barrister & is named Pope.3 He turned out a pleasant person to meet, as though he does not seem to me to have any talent, he is better informed than common Englishmen—knows a good deal of French history for example, especially that of the Revolution & seems either to have already got or to be quite ready to receive all our opinions. I tried him on religion, where I found him quite what we think right—on politics, on which he was somewhat more than a radical—on the equality of women which he seemed not to have quite dared to think of himself but seemed to adopt it at once—& to be ready for all reasonable socialism—he boggled a little at limiting the power of bequest which I was glad of, as it shewed that the other agreements were not mere following a lead taken. He was therefore worth talking to & I think he will have taken away a good many ideas from me. I shall probably see him again at Nantes as he is to be there about the same time with me. He had evidently travelled very little & I enjoyed his unaffected pleasure in the scenery. I went with him to St Pol de Léon, a pretty cheerful little place called poor & melancholy by Murray, possessing splendid sea views & a really fine cathedral, a good deal like Caen, besides another church with a tower which is very high & rather fine. I came on here next day (yesterday) stopping half way for a walk & to see a church at a place called Folgoat [sic]4 which is one of the sights of Brittany. I have not seen much of Brest yet, but it seems a fine town as well as a fine bay. As to health I have seldom felt better than these last days—the fever I had for two days at Guingamp having gone off. I have not felt quite so strong as at Jersey & the whole of the first week & I seem to myself to be still losing flesh; which however the weighing does not confirm, for I have been weighed here this morning & found to weigh 65 to 66 kilos instead of 65 as at St Malo. It was a more accurate instrument here & therefore I do not rely on the indication as shewing any real increase of weight but at least I cannot be losing much & it seems to shew that the journey is doing me good. Clark, from whom I have a letter in answer to mine, warns me not to walk so much as he thinks I am inclined to but I must be the best judge of that. I am always out of doors, & walking when not travelling. I have seen no English paper except one number of the Globe, but have now & then seen a French paper which has kept me au courant of what little news there was. From that I saw that there had been a debate on the ballot & that Palmerston had made the speech against it5 but that was all. I reckon on leaving our opinion on that question to form part of the volume of essays, but I am more anxious to get on with other things first, since what is already written6 (when detached from the political pamphlet that was to have been) will in case of the worst suffice, being the essentials of what we have to say, & perhaps might serve to float the volume as the opinion on the ballot would be liked by the powerful classes, and being from a radical would be sure to be quoted by their writers, while they would detest most of the other opinions. I have written nothing since Guingamp & if there are no wet days, may not write much for the present, but if I do, it will be today as I have no long excursion to make. You do not tell me how you are. Perhaps I shall have another darling letter tomorrow. The board & lodging (my usual three meals with their tea) at the best inn (a good one) at Morlaix was just 5 francs a day. At the inn at St Pol a person may board for 40 fr. a month—if they even charge the bedroom per night at their usual price, one franc, it is still less than £34 a year. This is the place for real cheap living.
TO CHARLES F. COLMAN1
[June 26. 1854]
Your letter only reached me to-day. The intelligence it contained though so fully expected was yet a shock.
I do not intend to act as Executor.2
I give my full authority to open the letter which you mention.3
When you write to me again you can write to my wife for the address.
I hope that the delay in my receiving your letter will not cause you inconvenience.
I am yrs faithfully
TO HARRIET MILL1
June 26 
I have just arrived here my dearest angel & found your letters of the 17th & 19th & also one from Colman.2 It is a comfort that my poor mother suffered no pain—& since it was to be, I am glad that I was not in England when it happened, since what I must have done & gone through would have been very painful & wearing & would have done no good to anyone. It is on every account fortunate that another executor has been appointed. There is a matter connected with the subject which I several times intended speaking to you about, but each time forgot. Unless my memory deceives me, the property my mother inherited from her mother3 was not left to her out & out, but was settled equally on her children. If so, a seventh part of it, being something between £400 & 500, will come to me, & I do not think we ought to take it—what do you think?4 Considering how they have behaved,5 it is a matter of pride more than of anything else—but I have a very strong feeling about it. Supposing this decided there is the further question, whether simply to refuse, by which the share will fall to be divided equally among them, or to give it up to Mrs King6 who wants it most or to Jane who alone of them all has behaved decently well? I have copied on the other side Colman’s letter & my answer. I wish I could have had your approval of the last before sending it. The applying to Haji instead of to you was exactly like them, though probably it was rather from ill breeding, not knowing it was an affront, than that they intended one. As for me I am more feverish & fatigued than I was, but perhaps both will go off. My first day at Brest, Saturday, was sunny & hot, but Sunday there was a sea fog which made my view from Cape Finisterre very limited, & it rained all the way back. Today there has been much wind & several smart showers but the evening is fine. This is a pretty country town, with a cathedral larger but hardly so fine as St Pol. I liked Brest—especially the harbour which is a great inland sea, communicating by a narrow passage with the sea without. I heard most beautiful military music both in the morning & evening. Your last letter appears by the postmark to have been four days in coming. I have nothing to alter in the directions for writing which I gave in my letter from Brest. I have always asked for letters up to the last moment. No second letter to Brest had come when I left & I now hope you did not write there a second time. If you did however they will probably forward it. Do darling tell me how you are. If you get worse I do not wish to get better. Adieu my own darling. Your letter of the 19th is No. the fifth but is marked 4.
TO HARRIET MILL1
June 30 
I arrived here this morning my precious angel & got your dear letter—it grieves me that she has been so unwell. I hope she went to Brighton as she intended & was better for it. My darling it quite reconciles me to my own chances the moment I think she is getting worse, but I would far rather be afraid of having to leave her than to lose her. I hope this is only temporary & that she is better again by this time. I feared she was unwell, but from a wrong cause, her not sending this letter to Brest, if she had I should have received it on Saturday but I believe I asked her not to write to Brest later than Tuesday. This letter has the London postmark of 21st, Paris & Nantes of 22nd so you see, letters get to Nantes the very next day, being the whole way by railroad. So Nantes will be safe to write to until you hear from me from Nantes. I wish I had seen a full report of Palmerston’s speech2 —what was given of it in the Spectator did not at all account for your high opinion of it, certainly only the commonplaces I have been familiar with all my life—while the speeches for the ballot were below even the commonplaces. The ballot has sunk to far inferior men, the Brights3 &c. When it was in my father’s hands or even Grote’s4 such trash was not spoken as that the suffrage is a right &c &c. But Palmerston’s saying that a person who will not sacrifice something for his opinion is not fit to have a vote seems to me to involve the same fallacy. It is not for his own sake that one wishes him to have a vote. It is we who suffer because those who would vote with us are afraid to do so. As for the suffrage being a trust, it has always been so said by the Whig & Tory opponents of the ballot & used to be agreed in by its radical supporters. I have not seen a single new argument respecting the ballot for many years except one or two of yours. I do not feel in the way you do the desirableness of writing an article for the Ed[inburgh] on it. There will be plenty of people to say all that is to be said against the ballot—all it wants from us is the authority of an ancient radical & that it will have by what is already written & fit to be published as it is5 —but I now feel so strongly the necessity of giving the little time we are sure of to writing things which nobody could write but ourselves, that I do not like turning aside to anything else. I do not find the essay on Justice goes on well. I wrote a good long piece of it at Quimper, but it is too metaphysical, & not what is most wanted but I must finish it now in that vein & then strike into another. Quimper & Quimperlé are two of the prettiest towns I have seen. All the towns in Brittany are prettily situated, being in vallies & by clear streams, & about each of these there are evidently enough of pretty walks for a week’s exploring. The weather however (which up to Brest was much better than yours seems to have been) has been very bad since—today is the first day not rainy since Monday—today is bright & fine but it is the fineness of a confirmed wet summer which I now fear we are going to have. But I have managed to get some good walking every day besides the travelling which was always with an open front either the banquette of a diligence, the cabriolet of the courier or a cabriolet voiture. I am also now, I think, in as good walking condition as I was at first, which for several days I certainly was not—whether accidentally or because I had overdone, & exceeded my strength. I think the day I partially rested at Quimper did me good. I did not go to the Bec du Raz & the Baie des Trépassés as it was too far & bad weather, but went to the nearer Peninsula of Penmarch instead, a fine rocky coast, & I got some plants. Next day I went to Quimperlé but it rained nearly all the way—it cleared however in the evening & I had a walk. This town is uninteresting: but not as Murray pretends, dirty—on the contrary it is extremely clean: but Murray’s information is almost always either false or behind hand. However the inn here, recommended by him, is one of the best I have come to. I have had a nice walk, even a pretty one, though the country is uninteresting compared with most of the other places. Though I do not now expect letters before Nantes I shall ask for them at Auray & Vannes. Adieu & a thousand loves & blessings.
[P.S.] I suppose H’s letter6 had nothing worth telling now when the end is come.
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 4 
I arrived here darling this afternoon from Vannes & found her two letters. To begin with what I feel most about—surely dearest love it is full time to have some advice about the swelling in the side? either to see Tuson2 in the way you thought of doing or to send for South3 —it would be so advantageous in case of any sudden illness to have some competent person near who knew something of the previous state of your health—& I cannot think my darling angel that it can be safe to let this pain in the side grow worse—I have no doubt it is something not necessarily connected with the general state of the health & capable of being treated & cured separately—though tending while it continues, to make all other illness worse. Then about the things required by bad health which you say you are small luxuries—let us have them, that is, you have them darling, at least up to our income. We are now living much within it—& we are not likely to lose more than £300 a year for the Directors are not likely in the circumstances to give less pension than the highest they can give by law, which in my case would be, I am almost sure, three fourths of the salary. I suppose we can decide tolerably well now what mode of life to lay our plans for. I suppose we may resolve to go abroad for the winter—for my own part I now feel pretty confident of being alive then, & not so much worse as to make it impossible or useless for me to go—& though if we are alive we may probably come to England next spring, I suppose we shall never again live in England permanently, so we can judge well enough what we can afford, & have everything desirable which is consistent with it. About that matter of my mother’s inheritance,4 of course as your feeling is so directly contrary, mine is wrong, & I give it up entirely—but it was not the vanity of “acting on the supposition of being a man of fortune”—it was something totally different—it was wishing that they should not be able to say that I had taken away anything from their resources. However that is ended, & I need say no more about it.—You do not mention my letter from Brest, but I suppose you received it. I cannot imagine why that from Morlaix took so long. You must have by this time received the one from Lorient. Since that time there have been four beautiful days, & I hoped the fine weather had come, but alas, it rained much last night & a few showers this morning: it has however been fine since. I staid one night at Auray & two at Vannes, & saw the Druidical antiquities partly from one & partly from the other—a Frenchman at the table d’hote at Auray advised me to go from Vannes to the places which are best gone to in a boat, for the sake of going through the inland sea called Morbihan & its multitude of isles—& I am very glad I did so, for the panorama of them as seen from two islands on which I landed was quite unlike anything else in Brittany, & as is always the case with these things, what one sees by the way is much better worth seeing than the things themselves. I spent all yesterday on the water except a three hours walk about Locmariaker between going & returning—it was lucky I had the fine weather when it was so much wanted, for distant views & water scenery. It was most beautiful & enjoyable. I meant to write to her from Vannes, but did not get back till after post time & thought it better to write from here. I had some very nice walking too at Auray & much of it. That part however of Brittany is in general much tamer than those I had seen before. The northern part is as I described, table land intersected by deep ravines containing clear streams. The corner by Quimper & Quimperlé is much prettier, being all hills & deep valleys, with little or no table land. The rest, from Lorient to Nantes, comparatively flat & tame, though very pretty in parts as at Auray where the river, fine when the tide is up, flows among wooded though not high hills. The south coast also is not nearly so cheap for travelling as the north—whether for living I do not know, for they say prices have been raised in all the further end of Brittany by provisioning the Brest fleet—but at Quimper as well as Brest the table d’hôte was 3 francs & nowhere since has it been less than 2½ & they ask, for all but their worst bedrooms, 1½ francs. However at Lorient veal & mutton were only 9 sous & beef 10. Butter (good all through Brittany) they asked in the market 13 sous for a pound of. There, as at Brest, I am told the best meat is 15 sous, but I have not asked at the market yet. Murray is as ridiculously wrong as usual about the fineness of this town. The quais which are the only thing pretending to be fine are infinitely below Rouen—the best part about equal to the worst of Lyons & no fine buildings, for the cathedral, though of a stately height & with fine columns, wants length & is altogether poor externally. It is quite funny to see how the travelling English who inform Murray, copy the ways of thinking & judging of Frenchmen. I expected to find Brittany very bare & wild instead of which it is the best wooded part of all France, remarkably like England in general appearance, intensely green, with decidedly less of heathy ground than any part of the south of England, & what there is, not looking wild because cut up into inclosed patches. Murray is quite poetical about the stones at Carnac which he says are on a blasted heath, as dreary as Macbeth’s—now the heath is a cheerful piece of greenery close to a large village & there are oats growing between some of the rows of stones. Brittany however must be much altered—the most splendid roads cut it in all directions & the marks of recent cutting down of hills & terracing the slopes of roads by changing their direction are perpetual. As for my health, I am still feverish, for the last 24 hours more so than usual—but my strength has come back & I can walk as well or better than before I set out. I do not expect to find that I have lost any flesh since Brest. I shall get myself weighed tomorrow. I think the excursion has done me good, though there has not been time for it to do much. I do not know whether to prolong it or not. I found a letter here from Clark advising me to stay a few weeks longer—I shall not do that, but I feel rather inclined, as I am so near, to employ a week in seeing something of La Vendée—this however I shall not do unless I hear that you are better & that you advise it. Letters will come here very quickly, & en attendant I shall go to Pornic, the sea bathing place we have often wished to see—the letter (however short) which I hope to find at the post office here when I come back, will decide me whether to take the additional week or return at once, by Angers & Saumur, then crossing the country to the Rouen railroad & taking the steamboat from Dieppe. Adieu my own precious darling angel.
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 5. 
You will be surprised, darling, at my writing again directly, but I cannot tell you too soon what you will be glad to hear. I was weighed this morning & found to weigh 67 kilos. The difference between this & 65 at St Malo, 65 to 66 by the more accurate instrument at Brest, is more than can be accounted for by any inaccuracies & is the surest proof that the excursion has done me good. Even if I have gained much less than four pounds in three weeks, it is very encouraging & makes me think I may have still two or three years of life in me. If so, much may be done in the time. I have been going about this town all the morning, pleasantly enough, as every French town contains much interesting & is at any rate agreeable. I spent a very pleasant hour in the picture gallery in which there are some good pictures, & old copies of many more. The town itself improves on further knowledge; I had not seen the best of the quais, which is below the main body of the town, & opposite the shipping, but it is not equal to Rouen or near it. Beef & veal here are 12 sous the pound, mutton 14—the first place where I have found mutton the dearest. Tomorrow at ½ past 7 I shall start by the steamboat for Paimboeuf & from there to Pornic. I have heard nothing of my St Pol acquaintance.2 I want to order mourning, a coat & trousers, from Carbery, & would write to him but I do not know where to tell him to send the things: Will she darling either tell me what she thinks, or order them—perhaps Lily would write a note in my name. Thanks darling for the Spectator which this time is better than usual & now adieu with a thousand loves & blessings.
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 8. 
I have just returned from Pornic my own precious one & have found here her two letters. All the letters she mentions have come safe & in their right order though several had been lying some time in the post offices before I received them. I am glad she is going to see Tuson—I am very anxious & do not much like prolonging my absence when I do not hear that you are better—however on the whole I think it is best that I should make the excursion I projected into La Vendée as I am so evidently benefiting by the journey. The two days which I spent at Pornic I have been quite remarkably well & stronger for walking than I have been at all since I began to lose strength; as well as very little feverish. Today I am rather more feverish again but that is a symptom which has always varied very much up & down. Pornic is such a pretty, funny little place—about the size of Rottingdean, & in much the same situation, except in being at the head of a little cove—the height of the place above the sea much the same but the actual cliff (or rocky escarpment rather, for one can in most places get down it) only about half that height—but the place & its paths & drives over the sea are very pretty & at present very quiet & the whole place is fragrant with Spanish broom which they plant everywhere. I looked at three or four of the houses or lodgings to let—they are all very clean & with a little additional furniture we could inhabit some of them—the general demand seems to be 500 francs for the season, or 200 the month—very dear therefore—but the best I saw would take less & the next best asked less (130 fr. the month). There are some good (or at least better) looking ones out of the town in good situations. The sea view is very fine with the long narrow island of Noirmoutier six leagues off, closing up a considerable part of it. There is another watering place, le Croisic, apparently more pretentious, but this is further off, on the coast of Brittany, towards Vannes, & I have not seen it. I went down the Loire in the steamboat to the very mouth of the mouth, at Saint Nazaire but the country on both sides is flat & uninteresting. I do not know how far I shall go into La Vendée as it will depend on how I like it, but in any case it will be convenient to return through Nantes, so darling write there up to the 12th inclusive. I hope she has not written to Rouen as that will be so long to wait. The weather has generally been very pleasant—sunny & warm, with a few very short showers every day—it seems to be much worse with you—three wet summers in succession—a thing that has not happened since 1828/29/30 & of those only 1829 was as bad as these have been. I have not only gained some good but probably escaped some harm by being away at a time when I could probably have walked little. On returning from Pornic I found here my consumptive acquaintance Mr Pope & he is going into La Vendée with me. I do not know whether much can be made of him but he seems to me the sort of person for whom chiefly we write & I should like to send him the Pol. Economy. At present I do not believe he ever heard of it or has the least idea who I am, except that he now knows my name. About the ballot, it is quite true that few speak or write against it but persons of Whig or Tory tendencies—but one of Sydney Smith’s most popular things,2 sold at railway stations &c is an attack on it & there are & will be plenty of speakers against it & plenty of articles in all the newspapers—the daily ones I mean—except the D. News & perhaps the Advertiser. On reconsideration darling, direct aux Sables d’Olonne, Vendée, up to the 11th & Nantes to the 13th inclusive. Adieu with all possible love.
[P.S.] De Morgan3 can I think wait.
TO HARRIET MILL1
- Napoléon Vendée
- (formerly Bourbon-Vendée)
July 12. 
My last letter, my precious one, was I believe wrong numbered; it was dated Nantes July 9. It was really No. 12 & this is No. 13. I have got thus far very pleasantly, & am evidently benefiting more & more—my increase of feverishness has quite gone off; these last days I have had very little fever & though I cannot perceive by the eye any increase of flesh, I shall probably find some increase of weight when I am next weighed. Another sign of improvement is that there is certainly some enlargement of the chest. I had not measured for some time, & I now find a very visible difference. I am stronger & more capable for walking purposes than I have yet been. So you see darling the journey has answered its purpose as far as I am concerned. I am anxious for news of her but I probably shall arrive at Les Sables soon after her letter. This country is on the whole inferior to Brittany but has some very pretty places & the weather has been extremely accommodating, being fine at all walking times & raining chiefly at night, or if by day, during the times when it is of no consequence. Having a not disagreeable companion in this excursion makes a variety, an additional change from travelling alone; though the change to travelling alone will be quite as pleasing a variety when it comes, for the man2 has very little in him though perfectly well disposed to receive. We went on Sunday to Clisson, an exceedingly pretty rural valley with a fine old castle & two shew pleasure grounds which would be very pretty indeed if they were kept as they would be in England; Monday to Mortagne, Tuesday to Les Herbiers & today here, having at each place two long walks & a good stroll besides. There are hardly any towns & very few large villages—the country is bosky & green, the best of it like Brittany, & therefore like England, the greater part like Warwickshire, & the tamer inland counties—a large fine ruined castle of which one never heard, at every village with almost no exception—the towns & villages all new, having been all destroyed in the Vendean war3 either by the royalists or the republicans—but nothing whatever to make one like the idea of living here. All that Murray says of the country either was never true or has ceased to be so; it is more uniformly highly cultivated than any part of England which I know of, & the lanes he talks about are simply English lanes, very like those in Sussex—but the whole country both in matter & spirit must be extremely changed by the fine roads which now pierce it as the French happily say in all directions. The crops are splendid & the people from all accounts better off than in most parts of France—a labourer earning about £24 a year & his food. The eatables are not so good as in Brittany—there I never once met with any but very good butter even in the smallest places—here it is seldom good & I have never yet found it very good. This town, the only one of any size in La Vendée, except Les Sables, was built by Napoleon4 as a means of coercing the Vendeans & is a very inactive dead looking though not uncheerful place—unluckily not in a beautiful situation. We have now got into the Plain of La Vendée, having left the hilly part of Les Herbiers—the last point, the Mont des Alouettes, where the Duchess of Berry5 built a chapel, commands a view almost from Nantes to the very opposite extremity of La Vendée & the weather was most splendid for it. We liked it so much that we walked up to it again in the evening. We go tomorrow to La Rochelle which will be the extreme point of my peregrinations & shall then make a round to Les Sables & from there to Nantes. My darling will be safe in writing to Nantes up to the 15th. I shall write again from Les Sables if not sooner. Adieu my own precious with a thousand thousand loves.
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 15 
My own dearest love, I had not the slightest expectation of writing to you from this place or of coming here at all—my plan was to go north from La Rochelle by the roundabout way of Niort & Fontenay—but it appeared that the only ways to get from La Rochelle to Niort today (except by voiture which was too dear even for two) was at 7 in the morning inside a diligence or at 5 in the evening—the first was undesirable on all accounts & as the people at the Messageries said there was a diligence from Rochefort to Niort at the same hour in the afternoon, it seemed as well, having staid all yesterday at La Rochelle, to take this place on the way to Niort—but on coming here it appeared there is no diligence till 5 tomorrow morning. This is the first contretemps that has happened to me in the whole journey—but I shall not lose a day by it though I may be obliged to shorten my walk either at Niort or Fontenay. I shall in any case be at Les Sables on Monday evening. I did not care at all for seeing Rochefort but without Niort & Fontenay one has not seen La Vendée & I had laid my plans so as have a splendid walk at each. You may know by my taking it so leisurely that the journey continues to do me good, indeed it seems to do me more & more. I was weighed at La Rochelle & had gained two pounds more, making six pounds since St Malo—it shews how much weight I must have lost before, as these six pounds make not the smallest perceptible difference to the eye. I have gained still more in strength: yesterday at Rochelle I was out from eight in the morning till nine at night literally with only the exceptions of breakfast & dinner—& walking all the time except an occasional sitting on a bank. La Rochelle is a very nice town, very clean & quiet, with arcades along almost all the streets like Suza and Bologna—the baths are by the seaside a little way out of the town, in a very prettily planted garden & shrubbery along the seaside something like the Villa Reale at Naples, but short in comparison. The military band plays there twice a week in the evening & we happened to hit upon it by accident at the very time. The garden was full of French people—I saw no others—very gay & smart, though not looking like our idea of ladies or gentlemen. The whole place is very pretty; there is a reading room & concert room at the baths, everything in short except baths themselves. I went in to see the kind of thing—they were little oblong tin cuvettes, smaller & less good looking than those at Pornic, which were very like our bath at home but smaller. There are people passing & repassing to the baths all day, sometimes in private carriages, & it is evident that the place is very much used as a watering place by well off French people—who seem by the bye when they go there to take all their children with them. It is odd they nowhere in France contrive to have baths fit to use. Dirty however the baths did not seem, & still less at Pornic, where the people evidently pique themselves on their propreté. La Rochelle is hardly pretty enough to wish to live there, though the sea views are very fine: but it might be pleasant to visit. Meat, the first quality of all kinds, was at the market 12 sous: butter, tolerable but not equal to Brittany, 15. This place, Rochefort, is a quite modern town, built by Louis XIV & very neat & pretty of the kind but no pretty country near. It is now & has for some days been splendid weather—not too hot because tempered by a fine sea wind. All the corn seems fit to cut & some is already cut. I am impatient to get to Les Sables for her letter, & nothing but the great good it is doing me would have induced me thus to prolong the excursion—this contretemps about the coaches therefore bores me. Bless you my precious precious life.
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 19 
My dearest angel, as I found no letters at Les Sables I came on at once here & found your letter dated the 12th which tells me of another to Rouen & seems to tell of another here, for it says “I told you in my last that I had written to Rouen”—the last I received before this, was dated the 6th & said not that you had but that you would write next to Rouen. I hope darling that your memory, generally so accurate, has confounded these two things—for otherwise a letter has been lost—the very civil man at the post office here made a great search for it but without effect. I suppose the letter at Rouen will tell me what I most wanted to hear viz. what Tuson said. I found here a note from Colman inclosing the note of my mother, which he mentioned before. It is dated 27th March & runs thus—“I did not mention the furniture in my will which you were so kind as to leave for my use, but as some of it is a great deal worn, I hope you will take the best of it, & do as I should have done if I had considered it my own, give the rest to your two unmarried sisters, Clara & Harriet. Your plate is taken care of & will be restored to you by your sisters. God bless you my dear son—I sincerely hope that you & Mrs Mill will enjoy many many years of uninterrupted happiness.” I remember, before, she could not or would not understand that the furniture was given to her out & out, though it was repeatedly impressed on her. Colman says, “I inclose your mother’s letter which was opened agreeably to your permission. With regard to the furniture C[lara] & H[arriet] wish me to say that as they mean to give up housekeeping, they have no wish to receive from you that share of the furniture to which your mother refers in her letter, & as they intend leaving the house as soon as possible they would be obliged by your letting them know what you wish done with it & where you wish your plate to be sent. I have written to Mr Wotton2 my cotrustee to arrange if possible to transfer the funds left by Mrs Burrow’s3 will on Monday next, & should you be able to send it I should be glad of a line by that time to say whether you wish a transfer made or the amount sold only, & if the latter into whose hands you wish it paid. If I don’t hear from you we shall adopt the usual course.” The last matter therefore has by this time settled itself—as to the first, it is most unnecessary & absurd that we should have to write or do anything about it at all. Of course we can only say that the furniture was my mother’s & must be dealt with as such—but I cannot write the note without a consultation so unless you think it can wait for my return (as I shall be at home now in little more than a week), perhaps darling you will write to Rouen what you think should be said & in what manner, both about that & the plate. A letter will be in time if it leaves London on the 22nd—It is most unlucky that there should have been such atrocious weather in England. In this journey I have hardly lost an hour by weather though there has been a good deal of rain—but four days ago the weather set in intensely hot & bright, & one day even reminded me of those days at Tours. I have therefore not been able to walk quite so much as before, especially such long walks, though I have walked a good deal & am not at all weakened by it. My strength is most satisfactory but this is not weather to gain flesh in. A good deal of the feverishness has come back but I could not expect less in such hot weather. Thanks darling for what she says about Mr Pope, but I do not think he is at all of a calibre to be a permanent acquaintance. I thought more of him at first than I do now from finding his opinions or sentiments so good on the great subjects & such an apparent willingness to receive, & from finding that he was a little up in French history, had read some poets &c I fancied him well informed, but I am now chiefly pleased with the proof he seems to afford that right opinions are very widely scattered through England, when they have reached so very little educated & so little clever or rather so dull a man as he seems to me to be. I will give him a general invitation to call at the I.H. & I can hardly do less after passing so many days in travelling with him—& if he comes we can aviser about anything further. Since I wrote from Rochefort I have seen Niort, an ugly & Fontenay a pretty place—also a fine cathedral at Luçon—Les Sables is on a splendid bay, reminding one of Sandown, but with a still finer beach & a magnificent swell of the sea in waves parallel to the shore, breaking into surf half a mile’s length at a time. There is nothing else good there; the town is the meanest French town I ever saw, hardly a house with more than one story to it, & the streets or rather lanes the worst paved I shd think in France. The town forms a narrow ridge between the bay & a large harbour, much too large for the place as the entrance is getting itself filled up by sand & ships cannot enter. There are plenty of bathing machines, but the hot baths! oh! The principal establishment has just four, in little closets on the beach. Adieu my own most precious. I go tomorrow by railway to Angers.
TO CHARLES F. COLMAN1
July 24 
Owing to a change in my route, I did not get to Nantes till later than I originally intended. With regard to my mother’s furniture,2 I always considered it hers, & have often told her so. I think it or its proceeds should be distributed equally among all her daughters. The plate which my mother had, also to be distributed equally in the same manner. I am
J. S. Mill
TO HARRIET MILL1
July 24 
I have just arrived here my own darling & have received the three letters you addressed here containing the entire history of that horrible abscess. As it has turned out I am perhaps fortunate in having received them all together, as I should have been very anxious, which now I hope there is no cause to be, but on the contrary a permanent evil got rid of (I did not perceive the bull). It confirms your old impressions, for you have often thought there had been inflammation & an abscess is I believe proof positive of chronic inflammation which also it carries off. How very fortunate you saw Tuson when you did. I have not written since Nantes & have come here in less time than I intended, owing to the tropical heat, as the Paris papers very truly call it, which makes it almost impossible & not altogether desirable to walk much. I meant to have had country walks; & long ones, at all the places. At most I have only been able to walk about the towns. The first day I halted at Areines for a few hours & had a 3½ hours walk in the hot sun (with my umbrella up however) & did not feel tired, or the worse for it—but I could not have done so any other day. At Saumur I walked in the evening to the druidical remains which are much finer than any I saw in Brittany, but none (except Gavr Innis on the island) are really fine like Stonehenge because, like all things in France, they are the reverse of solitary. I had generally to set out too early in the mornings to have an early walk, & in the evenings even after dark it is most sultry. This morning however at Vernon where I went on purpose, I was out at half past five till about half past seven & afterwards passed some of the hot hours in the shady woods of Louis Philippe’s2 chateau—an evidently nice house, with grounds & woods which we could make pretty. Notwithstanding the scorching heat & intense sun, I like the Seine as much as ever but the Loire is a thorough humbug—though a fine river, for the Seine after it looks like a ditch—but it turns out that the part from Blois to Tours which I always supposed the dull introduction to something very beautiful beyond, is the only pretty part there is, or at least much the best. From Angers almost to Saumur is an absolute plain. There seems some prettyish country behind Saumur towards the south, but not visible from the river. The finest things I have seen are the cathedrals. Angers is more curious than fine, Evreux fine, Le Mans magnificent, but Chartres deserves all & more than all that has ever been said of it—I only know Amiens & St Ouen that can be compared with it, & till I have seen them again I do not know if even they are equal to it. I shall see St Ouen this evening or tomorrow & the other nice old places & shall have plenty of time to do the little commissions she gave me the pleasure of. I shall get weighed again tomorrow but shall not be surprised if I find I have lost flesh in this very hot weather. I have not lost strength, which is very satisfactory. However seeing the heat which as is natural grows every day greater, I see no use in continuing the journey & shall therefore return home at once. I almost fear you may not get this before my return. I shall go to Dieppe tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) & the steamer I find leaves at two on Wednesday morning & also at 8.45 on Wednesday evening. At present I think I shall go by the former, in which case I shall have the happiness of being with her some time on Wednesday—if not, early on Thursday. I have been absent six weeks last Saturday, exceeding the longest term we thought of, but it has done enough good to be well worth it. I shall write the letter to Colman3 exactly according to your pencil which seems to me perfectly right—about the plate, there is nothing at all curious or which was presented to my father, & to us it would only be worth its value as old silver—I will therefore as you suggest tell him to deal with it as with the furniture. About Mr Pope, he & I exchanged cards when we separated the first time, & my card had no address on it—I meant to have written India House but forgot. When I left him at Nantes I said I should be glad to see him when he comes to England & that he would find me or hear of me at the I.H. but he asked me to write to tell him how I am when I get to England & I said I would—I meant to write last thing from Dieppe in order that the writing might be like a continuance of only travelling acquaintanceship, but I shall now, I think, not write till I see my precious love & have discussed that & many other things. On the Loire the inns continue cheap though not so cheap as in Britany but the moment one is in Normandy dearness begins. At Saumur the best meat was said to be 11 sous. I got a dish of fine currants for a sou. The best inn at Nantes, an excellent one, is very moderate for a large town. Thanks darling for the Spec. With all possible love.
[P.S.] If she only wrote three to Nantes I got them all—but instead of June 26, July 6 & 12 I got June 29, July 4 & 12.
TO FREDERICK J. FURNIVALL1
July 27. 1854
On returning from the Continent I have just received your letter and its numerous inclosures. I will consider of what you propose,2 and will give you an answer the first moment I can find leisure from the many things I have to attend to on returning from an absence.
I am Dear Sir
Yrs very truly
TO WILLIAM STIGANT1
- E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse]
Aug. 1. 1854
Having just returned from the Continent I find your note. I very much wish that it were in my power to refer you or anyone to a book or set of books fitted to form a course of instruction in moral philosophy. None such to my knowledge, exist. In my opinion ethics as a branch of philosophy is still to be created. There are writers on the subject from whom valuable thoughts may be gathered, & others (particularly Bentham)2 who have thrown some though not sufficient light on the mode of systematizing it. But on the whole every one’s ideas of morals must result from the action of his own intellect, upon the materials supplied by life, & by the writers in all languages who have understood life best. The part of psychology which corresponds to morals is one of the most imperfect parts of that most imperfect science. Its most important portion, the laws of the formation of character, have never yet been treated otherwise than superficially. Some idea of the little which has been done may be gathered from parts of Hartley on Man3 & from my father’s article “Education”4 in the Suppl to the Enc. Britannica; but I do not recommend even these for any other purpose than that of furnishing suggestions & stimulus to your own thoughts.
I am Sir yrs faithfully
William Stigant Esq.
TO BARBOT DE CHÉMENT1
- East India House
7th August 1854
Votre lettre est arrivée à mon adresse pendant que j’étais en voyage et ce n’est qu’aujourdhui que je suis à même d’y répondre.
Vous me demandez les noms des personnes connues, scientifiques ou politiques de ce pays-ci, qui adhèrent à la doctrine de M. Comte, et vous me faites l’honneur de me demander, en outre, mon propre jugement sur cette doctrine.
Il y a en effet en Angleterre un certain nombre d’individus qui ont connaissance des écrits de M. Comte2 et qui en font, à plusieurs égards, un grand cas. Mais je ne connais ici personne qui accepte l’ensemble de ses doctrines ni que l’on puisse regarder comme son disciple;3 à commencer par moi, qui ai suivi sa carrière dès ses premières publications, et qui ai plus fait peut-être que tous les autres pour répandre son nom et sa réputation.4
J’admets en général la partie logique de ses doctrines, ou en d’autres mots, tout ce qui se rapporte à la méthode et à la philosophie des sciences.
Tout en y trouvant quelques lacunes que je m’efforce de remplir à ma manière je reconnais que personne, hors Aristote et Bacon, n’autant fait pour perfectionner la théorie des procédés scientifiques.
J’admets en grande partie la critique de ses devanciers, et les bases générales de la théorie historique du développement humain, sauf les divergences de détail. Quant à la religion, qui, comme vous le savez sans doute, pour lui comme pour tout libre penseur est un grand obstacle auprès du commun de mes compatriotes, c’est là sans contredit que mes opinions sont le plus près de celles de M. Comte. Je suis parfaitement d’accord avec lui sur la partie negative de la question, et dans la partie affirmative, je soutiens comme lui que l’idée de l’ensemble de l’humanité, representée surtout par les esprits et les caractères d’élite, passés, présents, et à venir, peut devenir, non seulement pour des personnes exceptionelles mais pour tout le monde, l’objet d’un sentiment capable de remplacer avec avantage toutes les religions actuelles, soit pour les besoins de cœur, soit pour ceux de la vie sociale. Cette vérité, d’autres l’ont sentie avant M. Comte, mais personne que je sache ne l’a si nettement pesée ni si puissamment soutenue.
Restent sa morale et sa politique, et là-dessus je dois avouer mon dissentiment presque total. En me donnant comme positiviste autant que personne au monde, je n’accepte en aucune façon la politique positive comme M. Comte se la représente, ni quant aux anciennes doctrines qu’il conserve; ni quant à ce qu’il y ajouta du sien. Je ne conçois comme lui ni les conditions de l’ordre, ni par conséquent celles du progrès. Et ce que je dis pour moi, je pourrais le dire pour tous ses lecteurs anglais à moi connus. Je ne pense pas que les doctrines pratiques de M. Comte aient fait ici le moindre chemin. Il n’est connu, estimé, ni même combattu que comme philosophe. Dans les questions sociales il ne compte même pas. Lui-même il n’ignore pas ce fait, et se plaint que ses admirateurs anglais n’acceptent que sa philosophie et rejettent sa politique.
Il me parait, donc, peu probable, Monsieur, que vos sentiments envers la doctrine de M. Comte puissent rencontrer ici le genre de sympathie dont vous témoignez le désir. Toutefois M. Comte commence à être assez généralement connu comme chef d’école, et dans le nombre de ses lecteurs il peut y en avoir quelques uns qui acceptent ses doctrines plus intégralement qu’aucun de ceux qu’il m’est arrivé de connaître.
TO THEODOR GOMPERZ1
- E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse]. London
Aug. 19. 1854.
I have the honour of receiving your letter dated the 20th of July. As the specimen of your translation of my Logic,2 which you mentioned your intention of sending, did not accompany the letter, I have waited some days for it; but as it has not yet arrived, I will no longer delay expressing to you the pleasure it gives me to learn that a translation of my book has been undertaken by one who has entered so thoroughly into its spirit, as your letter shews you to have done. I am not acquainted with the translation which has been made of the Inductive portion of the book.3 I am glad to hear from you that it has been so successful; but you have very rightly judged that, to give to the cultivators of physical science the theory of their own operations, was but a small part of the object of the book and that any success in that attempt was chiefly valued by me as a necessary means towards placing metaphysical & moral science on a basis of analysed experience, in opposition to the theory of innate principles, so unfortunately patronized by the philosophers of your country, & which through their influence has become the prevailing philosophy throughout Europe. I consider that school of philosophy as the greatest speculative hindrance to the regeneration so urgently required, of man and society; which can never be effected under the influence of a philosophy which makes opinions their own proof, and feelings their own justification. It is, besides, painful to see such a mass of cultivated intellect, and so great an educational apparatus, as exist in your country, wasted in manufacturing a false appearance of science out of purely subjective impressions. To be thought capable of maintaining a contest against that school even in Germany, is one of the highest compliments my book could receive. Of the opportuneness of a translation, & its chances of success, you must be a much better judge than I can be. Your letter is a proof of your competency for translating the book & I shall be happy to give whatever assistance my opinion can afford you on any of the minor matters on which you express a desire to communicate with me.
TO PASQUALE VILLARI1
- East India House
le 22 août 1854
La brochure2 que vous m’avez fait l’honneur de m’envoyer, ainsi que la lettre qui l’accompagnait, étant arrivées pendant que j’étais en voyage, ne me sont parvenues que très récemment. Permettez-moi, en vous offrant mes remerciments, de témoigner ma sensibilité aux choses flatteuses que vous avez dites à l’égard de la dernière partie de mon Système de Logique.3 Vous avez vu, avec raison, dans ce sixième livre, le but principal de l’ouvrage tout entier, qui a été surtout destiné à répandre sur la méthode des sciences morales, les lumières qu’on peut trouver dans les procédés des sciences physiques. Je ne m’exagère pas la portée de ce que j’ai fait, ni même de ce qui peut se faire dans ce genre. Mais j’estime comme un grand honneur à mon livre, d’avoir éveillé des sympathies et donné une impulsion scientifique jusque dans votre pays, à des personnes qui s’occupent des études morales et politiques. J’aurai pleinement réussi, si j’ai fait quelque chose pour donner aux cultivateurs de ces études, les plus importantes et les moins avancées de toutes, une meilleure discipline intellectuelle. Il me semble qu’aujourd’hui c’est là surtout qu’ils font défaut; et une approbation comme la vôtre m’est un témoignage précieux que mes efforts dans ce sens n’ont pas été tout à fait sans fruit.
La traduction anglaise de votre Essai,4 que vous m’annoncez comme devant m’être remise, n’est point arrivée.
Acceptez, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma haute considération.
J. S. Mill
TO JOHN RAE1
E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse] London, Sept. 19, 1854
Your letter of Jany 9th has reached me within these few days. I am glad to hear of the various literary enterprises you have in hand or in contemplation, as I feel assured from the character of your work on Pol. Ec. that your speculations on any subject to which you have applied yourself will contain (whether I agree with them or not) enough both of knowledge & of originality & ingenuity to more than justify bringing them before the world. I have made more use of your treatise2 than you appear to have been informed of, having quoted largely from it, especially from your discussion of the circumstances which influence the “effective desire of accumulation”, a point which you appear to me to have treated better than it had ever been treated before. I have already published my opinion that nothing was wanting to your book except favorable chances to have gained you the reputation you desire, & which I hope you may acquire by other writings.
You could not however have addressed yourself to any person less capable than myself of giving any useful assistance in bringing out your speculations on the Hawaiian language. My own pursuits do not lie in the direction of comparative philology nor have I any acquaintances in this class of érudits (chiefly to be found in Germany) from some one of whom you desire a recommendation & his name as editor. Nor do I think this would easily be obtained for the preliminary pamphlet which you contemplate, whatever might be the case with the completed work.3 Even to get the pamphlet printed is more than I am able to undertake, not only from pressing occupations, but because the state of my health renders my residence in England, at the time when your MS could reach me, extremely unlikely.
Dr. Arnott4 whom you mention as an old acquaintance is alive & flourishing & may possibly have it more in his power to promote your object than myself.
You ask me how your book became known to me. I first heard of it from Mr. Senior5 who recommended it to me as a book of which he had a high opinion, & after I had read it through his means I picked up a copy on a stall.
I hope your health is quite reestablished.
I am Sir very faithfully yours
TO EDWARD HERFORD1
- E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse]
Oct. 26, 1854
I beg to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your pamphlet “On Some Fallacies of Political Economy”.2
I quite agree with you that many fallacies are engendered by the vague & ambiguous use of the word Capital even among political economists. I do not think however that anyone entitled to the name of a political economist ever confounds capital with money, or with the right to receive money; however often that gross blunder may be committed by the writers of “city articles in the Times”, writers ignorant of the very elements of the subject. The phrases which you cite as examples appear to me to arise from a confusion of another sort, viz. the employment of both these words, money & capital, to express loanable capital, or capital seeking investment, a misuse of terms extremely frequent, & leading to the notion that the causes which influence the loan market & the rate of interest have something to do with the quantity of the currency, than which in my opinion no notion can be more erroneous.
My own definition of capital is the portion of wealth which is destined to be employed for the purpose of production; & my difference with you on this point is well summed up in one sentence of your pamphlet (p. 43), where you say it is absurd that what is not capital should merely by the altered intentions of its owner, become capital, without any change in itself. I hold on the contrary that whether any given portion of wealth is capital or not, is solely a question of the intentions of its owners: just as it is wholly a question of the intentions of the owner whether a given bushel of wheat is seed or food.
I perceive that you are not aware that I have treated the subjects of your pamphlet at much length in my Princ of P.E.3 to which therefore I can refer you for a fuller exposition of my opinions.
I am Sir yours very faithfully
Edw. Herford Esq
TO JOHN REVANS1
Oct. 30 
Having received no answer to the note I wrote to you at Dartford a fortnight ago I suppose it did not reach you. I therefore write this to the Club to remind you that the longest time you proposed for repaying the £30 you borrowed of me has now for some time expired—
I am yrs fy
John Revans Esq
- Reform Club
TO EDWARD HERFORD1
E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse] Oct. 31 1854
In answer to your last note I beg to say that I am well aware that the few words I wrote to you do not contain all that is necessary to explain & vindicate the view I take of some of the most vexed questions in P. Economy. I have endeavoured to do so to the best of my ability in a book which is in print, & I hope to be excused for saying that I have not time to do it over again for a correspondent. I will therefore only say in answer to your last point,2 that if it is the actual use & not the destination which decides how each portion of wealth is to be classed, then there is no food until somebody eats it & no seed until it is sown.
Again apologizing for my brevity I am Sir
yrs very faithfully
J. S. Mill
TO PASQUALE VILLARI1
- East India House
le 1er novembre 1854
Je vous demande pardon de n’avoir pas pû répondre plus tôt à votre lettre du 25 septembre. Puisque M. Macaulay2 ne m’a pas remis la traduction anglaise de votre essai avec l’essai même, il est à craindre qu’elle ne soit perdue. Mais en supposant qu’elle me fût parvenue, je ne saurais vraiment à qui m’adresser pour la faire imprimer. Le public anglais est tellement en arrière du mouvement intellectuel Européen, que les hautes spéculations historico-sociales ne sont ni goûtées ni comprises, et j’ai peur qu’il ne se trouverait guère de lecteurs pour une esquisse historique de ces spéculations, surtout faite par un étranger, habitué à s’adresser à un public beaucoup mieux préparé à tout égard. Il est plus que probable qu’un libraire qui en entreprendrait la publication, en serait pour ses frais, et les directeurs de journaux et de revues ne voudraient pas insérer la traduction d’un écrit qui a déjà paru autre part. Ayant si peu d’espoir de succès, je vous demande la permission de ne pas m’occuper des nombreuses démarches qu’exigerait la tentative. Si le traducteur, ou tout autre de vos amis, croit avoir des chances de réussite, il n’a qu’à reclamer le manuscrit auprès de M. Macaulay, pour en faire l’usage qu’il jugera devoir être le plus utile.
Il est très probable que je passerai une partie de l’hiver prochain en Italie pour cause de santé, et dans ce cas j’espère avoir le plaisir de faire votre connaissance personnelle.3
Agréez, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma considération amicale.
J. S. Mill
TO EDWARD HERFORD1
[After Nov. 4, 1854]
It was because I thought I perceived from your manner of referring to my book, that you had only referred to it & not read it that I mentioned it to you as containing my opinion on all the points on which you consulted me. I did read both your pamphlet & your letters with attention, & I assure you that they do not contain any difficulty which I had not previously considered & as I believe resolved.
I am Sir
TO JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, JR.1
- East India House
Nov. 13. 1854
I have much pleasure in giving this introduction to Mr Alexander Bain. I have long known him, and have mentioned in my Logic the obligations I was under to him in that work for remarks and illustrations.
The work which he proposes to you to publish2 is the result of many years of thought and study, and I am strongly persuaded that it will be an important advance on any previous work on the same subject. I may add that Mr Bain has had great practice as a popular writer, and has shewn much capacity of making abstract subjects interesting by his manner of treating them.
I am Dr Sir
yrs very truly
J. S. Mill
- J. W. Parker
TO JOHN REVANS1
- E[ast] I[ndia] H[ouse]
Nov. 17. 1854
Not having received any answer to the two notes2 I wrote to you respecting the £30 I lent you I can only suppose that you have not received them. I now write to say that I am going abroad for the winter on the 25th of this month3 & if I do not see you before that time I shall be obliged to leave your note of hand with my solicitor Mr Wm Ley &c &c L[incoln’s] I[nn] Fields who will apply to you for the amount.
I am yrs faithfully
John Revans Esq
- Duplicate to Reform Club.
TO WILLIAM LEY1
Nov. 26. 1854
I have been prevented by great press of business from calling on you this week as I intended to ask you to be kind enough to undertake a small matter of business—an old acquaintance of mine named Revans borrowed £30 from me last May promising to repay it in July—This he has not done & 2 notes on the subject2 having remained unanswered I last week wrote to him,3 saying that I shd place his note of hand in your hands to obtain the money. I enclose his reply & request you will be good enough to take the needful steps to get it paid & if you succeed paying the amount into my act at Messrs Prescotts 62 Threadneedle Street.
We are leaving town for Torquay for the benefit of its milder climate for my wife who is in very delicate health after which I am going to the S. of Europe for the winter. My wife desires her kind remembrances.
Yrs very faithfully
TO SIR JOHN McNEILL1
Torquay Dec. 5, 18542
My dear Sir—
I have been unable to answer earlier your note of the 10th of last month, having only found time to read the book3 you were so kind as to send me during a few days passed at this place before going abroad for the winter.4
Mr Ferrier has the rare merit in a conversationalist, of complete fairness. He understands the opinions of all the opponents whom he notices, as fully & states them as clearly & forcibly as his own. He has a very telling mode of discussion. His fabric of speculation is so effectively constructed, & imposing, that it almost ranks as a work of art. It is the romance of logic.
I should be very happy if I could add that I believed it had done, what the author is firmly persuaded it has—solved the problem which all philosophers from the first origin of speculation have been vainly hammering at. On the contrary, it is depressing to me to see a man of so much capacity under what appears to me so deep a delusion. Truly the main hindrance of philosophy is not its intrinsic difficulties, great as they are, but the extreme rarity of men who can reason. It is enough to make one despair of speculation when a man of so much talent & knowledge as this book displays & who piques himself peculiarly on his reasoning faculty commits nearly every fallacy set down in books of logic & this at all the most critical points of his argument. He says that whoever admits his first proposition must admit all the rest. I do not admit his first propn:5 but even if I did, his first great paralogism as it seems to me consists in thinking that his second proposition6 follows7 from his first, & there is a similar or a still greater logical blunder each time that he makes any really fresh advance in his argument. The whole system is one great specimen of reasoning in a circle. Unless each successive conclusion is presupposed it is impossible to admit the premisses in the sense in which alone they can support it. All this I am satisfied I could prove to you, book in hand, in an hour’s conversation. Before I had finished the book I understood his mode of proceeding so well that I could generally see before-hand in what manner he was going to beg the next question. The effect is most disheartening, for when a writer who can so well point out the fallacies of others builds an entire system of philosophy on paralogising, what confidence is it possible to feel in avoiding them, & how vain seems all hope that one has done or can do anything to help these subjects forward. The only thing which alleviates this discouragement is the belief that the author was from the first on a wrong tack—as all metaphysicians, in my opinion, will be until they leave off revolving in the eternal round of Descartes & Spinoza (of the former of whom this book continually reminds me), & cease to imagine that philosophy can be founded on “necessary truths of reason” or indeed that there are such things as necessary truths—any at least which can be known to be necessary in the metaphysical sense of the word. Pray excuse the seeming crudity with which I have expressed the opinion you asked from me—it has not been crudely formed.
I am Dear Sir very truly yours
TO HARRIET MILL1
[Dec. 7, 1854]
My own darling—
my perfect one—how she always knows how to put the utmost possible of pleasurable recollection into the painful fact of parting.2 That little drive & that sweetest farewell have kept me in spirits all day & will keep me so till I have a dear delight of a word to overjoy me about a week hence. To tell the dear one what she wishes to know—I felt no cold, to speak of—none at all till I had got full half way. I had some sandwiches at Swindon as we intended & enjoyed the supper when I got to what will be home when its sun shines upon it again. The fine sunny day made the country look extremely pretty as far as Bath & beyond. The train arrived exact to its time. I called at Pope’s3 but found him not at home—not out of town however—so left my card with a few words in pencil. I stopt en chemin at Deane’s4 to buy a trowel, but they had never heard of such a thing as a trowel that folds up! so I must do without. I found Mrs Lynes5 & her husband both here—they had received the note & done everything right. The shoemaker sent a man who put the strap in order quickly & effectually. After emptying the red bag I locked it & put it in its old place under the bed—& as there is now nothing in it (except Ross’s6 gloves) I have, in case it should be wanted, put the (padlock) key in one of the table drawers in my room. I forgot to return the big medical book to Dr Royle7 before we left & am rather afraid to leave that to the people here lest they should make some mistake between that & the library parcel—if you find it here darling when your darling self comes back, please return it directed Dr Royle, India House.
As long as I was in sight of the same sea which she sees from her window I did not feel separated—it gave me a pang when I lost sight of it—but I am & shall be cheerful. This is hardly worth writing but perhaps she would rather have it than none. I shall write very soon.
With every possible kind of the utmost love—
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 9. 1854
I am here darling at our old quarters in the Hotel du Loiret & shall not get on any further tonight. I have had two days of little misadventures—in the first place dismal weather yesterday & today, though tonight it looks as if it might perhaps clear for tomorrow—then a very rough passage which made me very sea sick—I can almost say I knew for the first time what seasickness is, having had violent pains in the abdomen along with the most excessive sickness. When the boat stopt I was as you appear to be in the same case—I could hardly totter up the steps & had besides a bad return of sickness on the quay. However all this left me in the course of the evening. The next thing is that the effetti must have been excessively knocked about on the steamer—perhaps only by the extreme pitching of the ship—but when they came to be opened at the douane, the large portmanteau was found unlocked, having lost precisely what the smaller one lost at Boulogne before—a very strange effect to come from knocking about—however I miss nothing and do not suspect foul play. Not only was the lid of the cod liver oil box split lengthwise but one of the bottles was broken & had spilt a good deal of the oil—happily spoiling nothing but the red leather cover of my writing book. When I opened the dressing case the earthenware tray which it contains was also broken. I suppose all this happened because the portmanteau though full was not tightly pressed & squeezed down from overfullness as it usually is & therefore could not stand the knocking about. No further harm happened to any of the things on their land journey thus far, & I must go on as I can with them. The necessity of getting the lock mended obliged me to stay this morning at Paris which in any case it would have been disagreeable after arriving at 12 o’clock to leave at 8.40, the latest train which would have taken me to Poitiers today—so I waited for the 1 oclock train which would have taken me to Tours tonight in the dark by a slow train but it was pleasanter to stop here & take the express tomorrow at 11/9. I think I shall stop at Libourne as it is a place I have not seen & so get to Bordeaux by daylight the morning after. It may perhaps be fine by that time. Even Paris looked its very worst—dark, soaked & uncomfortable. The new street to the Hotel de Ville is now all but finished—the houses all built & occupied except just by the Louvre where they have pulled down all the houses between it & the Rue St Honoré & are rebuilding them. The fine old Gothic tower of St Jacques la Boucherie will be the centre of a place—they are restoring it as they are all the old monuments in France. The oldest of the old, & blackest of the black, the Palais de Justice now looks like a new building, to its great loss in my opinion. I went to the Bedford which was comfortable but by no means cheap. I passed your or rather our Hotel de France which was pleasant to see—as it is pleasant to be in this inn where we have been. Yesterday in the railway I was afraid that I was getting into that half mad state which always makes me say that imprisonment would kill me—& which makes me conscious that if I let myself dwell on the idea I could get into the state of being unable to bear the impossibility of flying to the moon—it is a part of human nature I never saw described but have long known by experience—this time the occasion of it was, not being able to get to you—when I reflected that for more than six months I was to be where I could not possibly go to you in less than many days, I felt as if I must instantly turn back & return to you. It will require a good deal of management of myself to keep this sensation out of my nerves. I hope next time I write to have something better to tell than a heap of petits malheurs. I must not forget to say that Mrs Lynes2 (who was very attentive) produced before I went her account of the comestibles she had bought for me amounting to eighteen-pence besides 3d postage on the Adelaide paper & said they were short of money, so I paid her the 1/9 & also 1/8 to cover the parcels money—I made up & directed the medical book to Dr Royle3 & left the library books for her to make up & I thought one might be 8d & the other a shilling but perhaps not so much. I told her to keep the account & give it to you when you return. This letter is worth nothing anima mia but to tell her that I have got safely thus far. I have got some books from a library to read this evening & so get through this dull part of the time. Adieu delight of my life.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 11. 
My own precious one, I have no more disasters to tell of—it has been very fine weather these two days, though rather cold. Snow fell in the night at Orleans but it melted in the morning & I was not the least cold during the journey in consequence of the nice mode of warming the first class carriages. A man told me on the way to Dover that one English railway, the Great Northern, has adopted this plan: I am sure it is an ample reason for going by that way to the south in the winter half of the year. The railway journey was pretty, especially near Poitiers & there was an agreeable German, of Lubeck, in the carriage whom I had a little talk with—also a young naval officer who had just got leave of absence to see his relations at Angoulême while his ship the Austerlitz is refitting at Cherbourg (having been damaged in the Baltic); his extreme delight made him speak with enthusiasm of everything, especially Hamburg which he seemed to think the most splendid place in the world. He was taking a Russian sheepskin cloak to his vieux père. I stopped at Libourne as I intended & had a walk about it this morning—the best thing there is the bridge of the Dordogne, the view from which is really fine. It was getting into cheapness again—for a thé complet, breakfast with eggs & bed the charge was 4 francs which with half a franc to the waiter was the whole expense. There was ice in the streets & it is sharp today though not sufficiently to be unpleasant. I came on to Bordeaux in a bright sun, always in sight of one of the two fine rivers & have now been strolling about Bordeaux for several hours—it is quite as pleasant & handsome a town as I remember it—but I find it is more difficult to leave it than to get to it, all the diligences being night ones. There is one to Toulouse at 1 oclock in the day reaching Toulouse at 10 next morning but by this they will not book to any place short of Toulouse! & they say chance places are seldom to be had. I do not know if I shall close with this or take my chance of a place part of the way & go on next day by a different diligence. In any case this will not be till Wednesday for I shall give tomorrow to La Teste. I have not gone to our old Hotel de France but to the Hotel du Midi which is in a much better street & of which I liked the advertisement. I have seen the cathedral & another large church—neither of them very fine. The restoring is going on here as it is every where else in France—to the great indignation of Ruskin2 —& I dare say the new figures of saints round the entrances &c &c are not so good as the old were, but of that I am not much of a judge & care very little about it—but what I can perceive is the extremely bad effect produced by their restoring a part at a time, a single window perhaps of a high tower—which looks bright & white in the midst of a dark time stained building producing false unnatural & ugly lights & shades & destroying the effect of the true. It is a very cheerful looking town & not nearly so modern in appearance as I fancied it in recollection. I have seen the large fine theatre outside & intend to see it inside this evening. The air here is about half way between the English air when one calls it particularly clear—as often in March—& the real southern air—but it was charming after the damp weather although much sharper than at Torquay—perhaps however there is now a north wind at Torquay too. I do hope she will not feel it much at Highfield. I have had the good luck to find here, when in search of a Tasso, all the four poets in one volume,3 not too large to go in the pocket nor too small print to read by ordinary light—it cost 7½ francs & is a very good investment of the money. I stupidly left my little ivory memorandum tablets at home & have not been able to find another here at an admissible price. I feel the inconvenience of being without it. This letter has hardly anything in it worth sending but it is a pleasure to write it & it will be a pleasure to her to hear that I am going on well. I shall have more to tell of perhaps next time & then more & more afterwards—I dream almost every night that I am with her or that she is travelling with me. Adieu my darling darling more precious than ever love.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 13 
My darling one perhaps hardly expects to hear again so soon, but the best time to write is when I have a spare half hour. I went to La Teste yesterday in a middling day & had six hours consecutive walking there, on the beach & in the pine forest. La Teste itself is a rather shabby village but about a mile from it, is the watering place Arcachon by name, really a tolerable turn out for a French watering place. It lies along the coast, in one road or street which I thought I should never get to the end of—nearly two miles it must be—the houses on one side looking to the sea & on the other to a long ridge covered with pine woods, almost close to the houses—it is empty now but the quantity of hotels & lodging houses (mostly in the pavilion form) is immense—horses & carriages to be had every where & some large architectural looking private houses built or building—for the whole place looks quite new & is rapidly spreading along the coast. The worst is that its sea is to the north for it is not the real sea but an inlet or basin as broad as the broadest parts of the Solent, or broader—but the real sea is soon reached from it. After going a long way by the sea I returned by the pine forest which seems to cover the whole line of coast here & in which I was near losing myself. It is really fine—a succession of bold ridges covered with a pine, not the stone pine but like very fine Scotch fir, full of paths, & where you continually come out on points from which you see across deep woody ravines to other bold woody hills. The underwood where there is any, is tall broom & a sort of tree-like heath, inland, but towards the sea it is arbutus in profuse quantity & splendid flower. According to my recollections of Murray,2 this railway, he pretended, went through the hills of Medoc but it is entirely false. You get directly on the Grandes Landes, which until near the sea are a dead flat & alternate between pine woods & open very wet looking heaths on which I unexpectedly saw in two places, the men we read about, clothed in sheep-skins & mounted on stilts. The day was altogether as pleasant as was consistent with only moderately good weather & a state, in myself, not at all enjoying—the causes of which are probably in part physical, & the long walk of yesterday which has evidently done me much good will I dare say partly remove them. As yet I have not been able to enjoy anything much & yesterday as I was returning in the railway carriage I felt that I must say to my darling that she must not be surprised if she finds any day that I am on my way the very shortest way home. Now I have said it I feel relieved & probably shall be able to go on without. It is evident that the journey even now is doing me good as to health—I was weighed this morning just as I was at Torquay & the result (66½ kilos) shews an increase of more than 2 lbs since, which is very much for the time exactly a week. It is a still duller day today though not actually raining & I am not sorry that I took my place right through to Toulouse though it will give me tonight for travelling & the day tomorrow at Toulouse where I do not want to stay. That makes it unlucky that we did not arrange for a letter at Toulouse as I do long for the first word from her. I shall soon be in the real south & I shall get her first letter at the moment of arriving there. I went to the grand théâtre which is for operas & ballets—very large & fine with gilding & painting, but the boxes all hanging like separate balconies without any support under them which seems to me very ugly. After one of the usual absurd & immoral little pieces there was a ballet called Grenadilla3 which I quite expect will be to be seen in London—all ballets are dull but some of the scenery & even the dancing in this were prettier than usual & if it were not for the noise which the French presume to call music it would be pleasant. There are seldom any newspapers at the inns but local ones but I see from those that things make little progress in the Crimea. I learnt from one this morning qu’on voit en angleterre de nobles ladys confectionner de leurs blanches mains des masses de plummpuddings [sic] pour les soldats de Lord Raglan.4 When I put this letter in the post I shall ask if there are any for me though I do not expect any & shall then go to a salon de lecture for the first time to learn some verités de cette [force?] là. Adieu my darling—I dare say I shall write from Toulouse tomorrow but perhaps I may have the luck to be able to leave immediately. Adieu con tutti gli amori et baci possibili.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Toulouse Dec 14 
I begin writing this evening my darling though I probably shall not finish & send off the letter from this place. Instead of arriving at 10 in the morning the diligence brought me here sometime after dark—in a most dismal day—it rained very much in the night & has been all today like the worst November day (barring fog) in England—but (the satisfactory circumstance is) not cold—I did not feel cold at all in the coupé though it was not full—only one person besides me, who by the bye had not much conversation though he professed to have travelled immensely, as all the persons with whom I have conversed in this journey have done. The German I told you of had seen Niagara, & was just returning from South America, not having been at home for several years. I am not at our old place which seems not to be known by its name now—they call this where I am (the Hotel de l’Europe in the Place Lafayette) Hotel Bibent now, saying that M. Bibent keeps it. I am very comfortable here, luckily as I have caught a bad cold. I suppose the immense chill, almost amounting to an ague fit, which I had at La Teste soon after coming in from my long walk (much heated by quick walking, not to be benighted in the forest) was not wholly as I thought at the time, the effect of my complaint, but was the sign & consequence of catching this cold. I am glad to find that I can get off tomorrow at ten in the forenoon & to avoid night travelling. I shall go no further tomorrow than Carcassonne. It is not far to Narbonne after that & the change to a southern climate is somewhere about Carcassonne which corresponds here to Valence in the Rhone Valley. I believe I passed in the night through some pretty country about La Réole & Agen: there was some very pretty this morning along the base of a line of hills by a road raised somewhat above a broad valley or rather plain in which the Garronne winds beautifully—how splendidly the southwest of France is provided with rivers. All the affluents of the Garronne are large & fine, the Dordogne, Tarn, Lot &c. The rest of the country which I saw both near Bordeaux & here was dull & uninteresting enough, at least in winter. I am beginning to think what I shall take in hand to write during this journey—we were to have discussed that, but forgot to do it & I am a good deal puzzled what to fix upon—it would be a pity to do nothing all this long time & I expect to have plenty of evenings on my hands especially when I become stationary anywhere. Perhaps my darling will suggest something—she may conceive but I am sure she does not know what a difference it makes in the possibility of any verve in writing on a subject & even in the capacity of writing about it at all, for it to have been of her dear suggesting. I was constantly falling asleep for moments in the diligence & dreaming directly of her—the dream mixing oddly with reality as for example, I dreamt that I was seated by her in a carriage with four places with Lily sitting facing us as usual & could not make out in my dream how we came to be three when just before I was sure we had been only two in the carriage—at other times dreaming of much finer scenery than I was passing through. She will not lose anything by not getting this letter directly. I hope I shall be able to tell her of bright skies before I send it. As yet I have only had that once, the day I arrived at Bordeaux.
Carcassonne. Dec. 15. I have just got here, my beauty, at about nine in the evening. It has been another gloomy day, without actual rain, but the roads everywhere soaking with wet. This line of road goes all the way through a kind of valley which extends from one to the other sea but for a long way after Toulouse the heights are very distant & tame. There was nothing fine till (a little before dark) we reached Castelnaudary, a town spread out on the top & sides of an eminence rising in the middle of the valley in question which is here on the broad scale which French scenery so often is—the town looks one way over what seems a vast valley to some very high ground called the Montagnes Noires, forming the termination of the Cevennes at this end, & the other way to some bolder & nearer confused ridges which rise behind one another towards the Pyrenees. In fine weather no doubt the Pyrenees can be seen. I dare say there is fine country between that place & this but the night concealed it. The people all look well off & so do the animals: all the way from Bordeaux there is a splendid breed of cattle like those in the Pontine marshes, & the geese are so enormous that they seem intended to be eaten by beings superior to men. One sees however perfectly here what people mean when they talk of the inferiority of French agriculture. There are scarcely any ploughs, all is done by hand—digging or rather hoeing with instruments like these
which it is quite painful to see them work with—accordingly the green corn is hardly more advanced than it was a month ago in England & most of the land is not yet prepared for seed at all—if it were not for their mild winter they could not get their corn into the ground till spring. It is very curious to look at the faces of a crowd in one of these towns—a great many faces very beautiful—many quite idiotic—most of them characteristic in some way & every now & then one (generally a woman) so deeply tragic as hardly any English face is capable of being. Having so much physiognomy as the French have no wonder they are physiognomists. People seem to me to talk less about the government than they did a year ago—they neither speak for nor against it—& they do not talk half as much about the war2 as people in England do. I was asked for my passport at Castelnaudary for the second time after landing—the first being at the inn at Paris, & with apologies, merely as they said to take down the name. Nowhere else have the inn people asked my name & they have nowhere produced a book. I find I can get on to Narbonne tomorrow in the middle of the day, which will give me time for a walk here & to see the place. I have had no walk yet, deserving the name, except the one at La Teste. By the bye in what I said about the pine forests I did not mention the use they are put to. Great numbers of trees have a large piece of bark sliced off near the bottom, where the turpentine exudes & drying up becomes a large white cake of considerable thickness. The woods belong to the government & are advertised pin maritime à gommer mort, or à gommer vif, as it happens. The landlord at Toulouse is the man who had the Hotel Bibent which last still exists but is called Hotel de Paris. The Place du Capitole is all remis à neuf—they were I think in 1849 pulling down the side opposite to the Capitole—that is now a long Palais Royal like affair with arcades, & the other two sides exactly like it, arcades excepted, looking bran new, très magnifique, & of a desolating sameness. They have now named the Rue & Place Lafayette, Rue & Place Louis Napoleon but I perceive the people still use the old names. My cold is getting better. Goodbye darling—I shall get her beautiful writing tomorrow which is next (though far removed) to her beautiful self.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 18. 
My precious love, after I had put my letter in the post at Narbonne I walked about the town & in the neighbourhood in the most delightful sunshine & temperature though with a great deal of wind: a man here said, we have almost always du vent only rarely a calm (une bonace). Nothing can be seen of the sea nor even of the lagunes (here called étangs) which come close up to the town, & though there are heights & ridges at no great distance there are no rocks visible except a sort of mural line along the top of a long ridge which closes the view southwest, through which there are gaps evidently made by water washing the precipice away. As the country is cultivated to the top of the heights there is no beauty at this season except what the climate gives; it is all bare earth or scarcely visible stubble, the olives being scattered & poor—nevertheless it was very pleasant after the northern stay. These southern towns have mostly low houses so that when seen from without they seem to crouch at the foot of the lofty cathedral forming an apt image of middle age hierarchy. By the bye the people in all this country are either most strenuous catholics or their religion has received a great fillip from the cholera, for in all the towns I have lately passed through, most of the houses, great or small, are placarded with printed papers imploring the intercession of Marie conçue sans péché & occasionally of St Roch, the latter usually requested to preserve them from the cholera. I enjoyed the walk & even got a few plants—all along the road, afterwards I passed among the dead carcasses of so many fine plants that I would gladly have found living. The hedges here are mostly of that grey coloured maritime-looking shrub which is so much planted about Torquay—nice Torquay!2 how I have conned over all its localities in the bit of England that is in our map of France & which gives the outline of that coast really well. I soon found there was little more to be seen of Narbonne & determined to omit Perpignan on the principle of leaving something for another time—it would come so well into a Pyrenean tour which we shall make perhaps some day if we live & are strong enough. So I came on to Beziers by a diligence which leaves at two & arrived at ½ past 4 & notwithstanding the wind, made myself very comfortable in the banquette. There were mountains at no great distance to the left all the way, which & the passes through them were evidently very fine, but it was plain that most abominable weather was going forward there, & now & then the tail of a cloud from that quarter brushed over us & gave a few drops of rain—looking back to Narbonne I more than suspected that the place was having its first rain for a year past if the man told truth—another man said, il ne pleut jamais ici, pour ainsi dire jamais. Beziers is a nice town on a steep hill, with a nice new part & a nice old part. I went to the theatre there, tempted by an opera, La Favorite,3 which was really very well sung and acted—but the pit was the most boisterous assemblage I ever was in—perhaps the day, Sunday, had something to do with that. I had the theatre for nothing, as it cost me exactly what I should otherwise have paid for fire, being one franc: at Narbonne they wanted to make me pay 1½ franc. At Beziers the charge for dinner & bed, the former a large table d’hôte, the bed as good as anywhere & the bedroom very decent, was three francs. I have found no such low charge anywhere else. I left at six this morning for Montpellier & arrived there at two. The night had been splendid, the stars even brighter I think than at Nice, & the early part of the day was exquisite, but the mountains enveloped in rain & at last the clouds gradually collected everywhere—it became as dull a day as in England, except that even in dull days here there is a transparency in the air which we never or very seldom see in England. When I got here it had just begun to rain & promises to do so all the evening which is the reason I am writing. I had meant to walk about till dark & chat with my darling in the evening. There will be no letters yet but I shall ask for them directly to familiarize messieurs du bureau with the idea. I am in what is called the best hotel, Hotel Nevet, a large place in the best situation in the town, & by good luck the landlady who pretends to speak English, apologized (as her premier was full) for giving me a ground floor room which suits me the best in the house, with a direct outlet to the esplanade through a garden, very nicely furnished & comfortable, the cost being two francs. I shall stay here several days, till I have seen all the old places & all those I had not seen which are worth seeing & I shall take the opportunity at the same time of recommencing the cod liver oil which I suspended during the journey. I have several times read a little of Tasso,4 to the benefit I hope of my Italian, for I do not seem likely to derive any other pleasure or profit from it—it seems to me the most prosaic of prose & I do not think that this is only from not liking the subject of the Jerusalem, nor what is called romantic poetry in general. Fortunately the same volume contains Dante who with Filicaja5 & perhaps Alfieri6 seem to me as far as I know the only Italian poets—but I shall try the Aminta7 which is perhaps better & I suppose I must attempt a little of Petrarch especially if I go to Vaucluse. I have a great respect for him as one of the principal restorers of ancient & founders of modern literature but I cannot say the little I have read of his writings or know of his life interests me much. It now pours, & I shall probably get wet in going to the post but I must do so as for aught I know it may save a day—letters however go quick from here as it is almost all railway. A propos the Bordeaux & Cette line was in sight all the way making rapid progress in all parts & almost finished in some—also the Canal du Midi the great work of Colbert8 which is made very ornamental by its windings & by a broad towing path planted on both sides all the way with trees—mostly planes, which are the staple as though they lose their leaves in winter they do not in summer, as most of the deciduous trees do here, thus failing when shade is wanted. But the plane has like the Australian trees the bad habit of stripping itself of its bark & exposing itself stark naked, or with a few fragments of clothing hanging in rags about it. All the towns, this included, look at a distance just like the grey limestone they are made of which also stands out of the ground in blocks like the houses of some of the dwarfs in Tieck’s9 fairy tales. Does not my treasure find my letters very rambling. I write things just when & where they come into my head—how I long for the next letter, but it would not be written I am afraid till yesterday—however as I said it will come quick. Will my darling kiss her next letter just in the middle of the first line of writing—the kiss will come safe & I shall savourer it. Adieu darling
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 20 
I have had but a poor specimen of this climate, my beauty—the first day it rained heavily all the afternoon & evening—the second was brilliant but there was such a violent north wind that I sometimes could hardly stand against it & had to hold my hat on & walk stooping—& this morning when I awoke it was snowing hard—& though the snow soon melted in most places, on the promenades there was still some left late in the afternoon. So you see, first it blew, then it snew & then it thew, & perhaps tomorrow I may have to say then it friz. The people say that there was no rain in November this year & it is just like our ill luck last year that it should have come now. In spite of this I was on foot yesterday from soon after daylight till dark, with the sole intermission of breakfast. The country is not beautiful but peculiar—like no other I ever saw—much as my recollections made it—but the rocky waste which chiefly composed it formerly is in many places changed to vineyards & olive grounds. The limestone of this country is hard, but moulders into very tolerable soil & if people will take the trouble to dig out with pickaxe & shovel the hard blocks they generally find soil enough hanging about them to plant in & the stone itself does to build with & is burnt into lime for mortar. I found many large spaces inclosed by walls & containing houses & grounds where I only remember garrigues (as they call these wastes) so multiplying the little campagnes which dot the whole country round the town as at Nice or Marseille. I walked out 12 kilometres on the road I best knew, being that which leads to the chateau formerly of the Benthams2 —but which has ceased to be theirs these twenty years & more—I found my recollections in no material point inaccurate. This road must be quite the finest which leads out of Montpellier—it goes direct towards the foot of the Pic St Loup the only mountain very conspicuous from the town & the approaches to which lie over & among rocky heights & I came to several views very like & fit for Salvator.3 The town itself is much the same except that it is very much cleaner, better paved, & has many new buildings—like all towns in these days it has evidently become manufacturing & the outskirts are crowded with works of different sorts, of which one effect is that the clearness of the sky is now much tarnished by coal smoke—for the place having a railway right into the heart of one of the chief coal basins of France has taken to burning a great deal of coal (& sometimes also le cock as they pronounce it). Hence the promenade du Peyrou on the top of the hill which the town covers, still the finest promenade for situation & beauty I ever saw (the water which supplies the town is brought to this promenade by an aqueduct of two rows of arches spanning a great valley) now looks across smoke towards the sea, & only on the side towards the mountains has its beautiful clearness. I have not yet had weather to see the Pyrenees from it, as can always be done when there is fine weather in that direction. Today I have gone very little out of the town, the roads being sloppy with the snow. If my own recollections did not confirm it, I should think the people here were in a conspiracy to tell lies in defence of their climate. They say it hardly ever snows (two people have told me they saw snow here today for the first time) & that it sometimes does not rain for 18 months but this it seems is the season of the high winds. The wind yesterday though due north direct from the mountains & so strong & though I was walking right against it was not, I am bound to say, cold—& today it is warm but not so warm as it was at Torquay when I was there. Tell me dearest when you write what weather you had at the same time. Today I saw the picture gallery all new since I was here & I should think the best to be found in any provincial town in France, founded by a painter named Fabre,4 who spent in collecting pictures all of his life which was not employed in painting them, & gave them all to his native town, since which two other people have given their galleries to add to it. They are mostly originals, many of them of the best painters & some very fine. Either the same or someone else also gave a large library to the town, which is kept in the same building. On the whole the place must be pleasant, having always had very good literary & scientific society & the usual share of other—as somebody in Chamfort said of some place, la bonne société y est comme partout, et la mauvaise y est excellente. Living must be cheap—at a large butcher’s shop I was told that beef, mutton & veal were severally 10, 11, & 14 sous the lb, best parts & best quality (the woman asked more when she thought I was a buyer & when they understood my object the man evidently made a conscience of telling me the truth). For good sized fowls I was asked 15 sous—they must be still cheaper at Toulouse (I wish I had asked) that country being said to be the head quarters of fowldom, & I passed on the road repeatedly waggonloads of hencoops full of them laden top heavy like hay waggons in England, which a fellow traveller said were going from Toulouse to Marseilles not for the fleet but for the ordinary supply of the town. This seems as if in Provence as at Nice the peasants did not keep fowls as profusely as they do elsewhere in France. For plump little turkeys the woman who had the fowls asked 4½ francs but this was only her first word. The meat I can positively say is excellent if I may judge from this table d’hôte—which is by many degrees the best I ever dined at—all the dishes of good quality, well cooked & in profusion & what is more uncommon, the most perfect order, rapidity & polite attention in the serving—though thirty or forty are always there, every one is individually asked to take of every dish, the waiters having an immense variety of civil formulas with which they offer it as a master of the house would to his guests. The servants of all sorts are all pleasant mannered people & the whole thing gives one a high idea of the old lady who manages it. I have a very comfortable room, & the rest from travelling is very pleasant & useful—not that I was physically overdone but mentally. This evening when I have finished this letter I have my plant papers to change & dry, my Italian to read (Aminta is not such dull work, quite, as the Gerusalemme) & a novel to finish with. There is here a nice library & salon littéraire where I get books & read the papers—they always have Galignani & occasionally get the Post or Chronicle. I was agreeably surprised at seeing the Post & not the Times. Tomorrow I shall perhaps get another precious letter. I have asked each day of the very civil people. Altogether I like the place, but it is not beautiful enough nor quite a good enough climate for one to wish to choose it as a place to live in. I wish though that my darling had seen it with me & hope we shall come here some day together. I will finish by saying that the cod liver oil I am sure is an excellent thing for me, for I never had digested perfectly since I left it off, & have from the very first day I resumed it—a thousand loves & kisses to my own divine treasure.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 22 
You see dearest angel that I am here still, but I leave for Nîmes tomorrow. I got her second letter yesterday morning on the way to the railroad & it is quite painful to think of her being worried & put out of spirits & the benefit of the change in great part lost by that most unsuitable companionship—it is always so—when you are for any time with the grand’mère2 your feelings & conscience are always revolted & nerves set on edge. You have said the truest of words—always dupe de votre cœur—you thought she felt declining & had the natural wish to give what she would feel agreeable, but you are not physically fit for that now—& why should you throw yourself away on one for whom Caroline is not only good enough but pleasanter to her than you. Why did you do it & why did I not try to dissuade you. If it was but to be soon over—but two months are such a terrible length of time. I shall be as glad now to know you safe at home as I was glad to think that you were in that nice place—nice before but spoilt in idea now by that presence. I have not much to tell—I should have written directly after reading her letter if I had not known that she would in the meantime have received several of mine which would shew that I was feeling more comfortable. I am getting on very well & shall do well enough—different somehow from the summer journey—I was then what people call much more out of spirits, that is I thought badly of my prospects as to health which now I do not—but then I was active & buoyant, mentally, & liked to talk to all sorts of people—now I feel no disposition to it & generally am silent at tables d’hôte & even with fellow travellers (after a few words have been said to shew friendliness) unless they shew a desire to talk. This they seldom do—the French are now a much more silent people than the English. Among perhaps forty people at table there will not be six who say anything & these generally only to their own party & but little to them. I have seen hardly any English: at Béziers there were two, but they aspired to being fast & I kept aloof from them. There are three or four in this inn, & some of them are said to dine at the table d’hôte but I do not distinguish them by sight or tongue—though I do one or two Germans. As for my proceedings—I went yesterday by the railway to Cette, which I found little worth seeing—a seaport is always ugly & a small one worse than a large, because you cannot get away from the port. But this sky makes everything look well. I walked back 29 kilometers (18 miles) & should not have been at all tired had it not been again a day of violent wind (though otherwise very fine) & in the whole distance I could never, for fear of losing my hat, walk for any consecutive five minutes upright—I could only see the view by occasionally looking up, with my hand firmly attached to my hat. This is not pleasant—my neighbour yesterday at dinner told me there is always wind here, & a waiter to whom I have just spoken thinks nothing of this wind, & says it will be the same all January & February & much worse in March—a nice place for consumption! but the wind is not cold, only troublesome. The waiter said if there were only more rain here the pays would be trop riche. Today par merveille there has been but little wind (though we should call it anywhere else a fresh breeze) & a fine sky though with many beautiful clouds. The mountains are loaded with masses of cloud every day & all day & there must be torrents of rain there. Today I have walked about & taken a moderately long walk out in the garrigues. I like when a place is at all interesting to stay long enough there to carry away a permanent image of it which I am sure is correct, which one never does of a place one only passes through. This place if it would but cease blowing, would gain on one extremely—I never saw anything more lovely than the Peyrou & its view this evening just after sunset, & from something different I suppose in the state of the air I saw none of the smoke I mentioned before—everything was pure & the tone that of the finest Poussin.3 At the gallery I had great pleasure in seeing an exceedingly nice painting of Pau with the castle & mountains. I shall stay I suppose two nights at Nimes, there is much to see there but I shall see tomorrow the Arènes, Maison Carrée &c & next day go to the Pont de Gard—on foot if possible. Adieu my precious—there is never a day an hour or a minute when I am not wishing for her. There is no doubt another letter on the way to Marseilles—there would perhaps be time for still another there, but to make sure I will rather say, write to Genoa the day she receives this if it is quite convenient. I will ask there if I do not find two at Marseilles. Adieu again mio bene.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Montpellier Dec 23 
I wrote yesterday my darling & she will get this by the same post. I write again to thank her for such a sweet note (No. 3) & to send a letter I have just received from Pope.2 There seems to have been a malentendu altogether. He means to go to the south of France in the very worst months & asks me to tell him where. I do not know any place that would suit him except Hyères or Pau (perhaps Cannes?) & I hate to send him to either. I shall not write to him till I hear from you. Pisa, Rome or Malta are the places for him but he evidently does not like going alone to Italy on account of the language. Malta I had suggested to him before. I am so happy that even in those most depressing & irritating circumstances her health has still improved. Mille mille baci.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Avignon—Dec 25 
We thought of being at Florence today my dearest & I am only here—but that was when I thought of leaving England sooner than the 8th. Last Christmas Day we were together at Hyères, a day I shall never forget—now I am not far from the same place but without the delight of my life. She knows I wish her every good that can possibly be wished at this time & a happy meeting in the warm weather six months hence unless I am happy enough for it to be sooner by her coming to meet me. How unlike this day to the last I spent here—about the same time of year: but it makes as fine time now as it made villain time then. I little thought that the place where I should first in this journey fully taste the pleasure of existence would be Avignon—if I had not come here I should not have known what a splendidly beautiful place it is. The Promenade des Rochers, close to the Cathedral—in these southern towns they always contrive to have a fine promenade in the finest situation—from this promenade on the summit of the town there is a complete panorama all round, commanding a fine Vega encircled on all sides by mountains with the snowy Mont Ventoux the foremost of them & through this three great rivers winding viz. the Rhone below the town & its two enormous and widely diverging branches above this under the splendidest of skies & suns & with the temperature of a fine day at the beginning of October. I could have spent the whole day with pleasure merely pacing the two long bridges across the two branches of the Rhone. I arrived here from Nimes about 12 & walked about till nearly dark which is not till after 5, for the winter days are longer & the summer days shorter in these latitudes. It will be lovely going to Vaucluse tomorrow. The most prominent object at Nimes is the Arènes, about half the size of the Colosseum but much more perfect at least externally—it forms the centre of a great place & my window looked out on it—& it looked finer at night than in the day. Here too I had two splendid days, with no more wind than was agreeable, though not quite equal to this day at Avignon. The Maison Carrée is a very nice graceful temple, Greek not Roman though of the Roman times, & in perfect preservation. They have made the interior a picture gallery & museum & there are some good pictures. There are in the town some other Roman antiquities but only like the nameless ones one finds everywhere in the Campagna—also an old Roman tower on the top of a hill, the ascent to which is a nicely planted promenade & from the top of which is a splendid view of the town & country. Nimes consists of boulevards with shops & houses in the Paris stile encircling an old town somewhat like the old part of Nice. For my part I am coming to like the modern parts best. It is not the uncomfortable squalid oldness of the buildings that makes the French towns so delightful—it is the infinitely varying physiognomy, & that is as perfect in the boulevards of Paris & Nimes as in the oldest recesses of either. I went yesterday to the Pont du Gard—being 22 kilometres, it was too far to go & return on foot but a cabriolet with a good horse only cost 10 francs. This day gave me a picture for life. The Pont is an aqueduct of three tiers of arches crossing a ravine at an immense height—almost perfectly preserved, even to the conduit which conveyed the water & which I walked into & a good way along though I could not quite stand upright. Against the lowest tier of arches was built, 100 years ago, a bridge to carry a road across but it is a bye road—the place is most retired & on the other side of the Pont nothing is seen but the old stonework. Beyond is the loveliest & wildest ravine winding among ilex & other bushes, along the middle of which runs the purest of all crystal streams. I had a glorious walk up the ravine to an old feudal chateau with high machicolated towers. Everything looks so splendid under this sky, though today is the first in which I have had perfect physical comfort—all the other bright days there has been too much wind though they thought nothing of it at Nimes & said it always blows there. The cathedrals in these towns are mere common churches like that at Nice. The one at Montpellier has nothing remarkable but a porch which from its height & the size of its two pillars seems built by & for giants. I went into a church here & found a man preaching with great vehemence a metaphysical & philosophical sermon, shewing that science (of which he really seemed to know something) can explain & understand very little—wherefore incomprehensibility ought not to hinder us from believing.—I sent her from Montpellier Pope’s letter. His plan now is that I should not have him for any part of the time I might have liked to have him, & should have him in Greece where I would much rather not, since I shall there see more or less of people with whom he would be merely in the way. I should have liked well enough to have him in Sicily but you see he gives up that & I feel inclined to shirk him altogether but do not know the best way. However I need only at present tell him where to direct to me if he writes. I have no idea where to advise him to go.
I shall go to Marseilles darling the day after tomorrow & shall write as soon as I have been to the post office & fixed by what steamer to leave. If this weather holds, the journey will be very pleasant. It evidently rains or snows very much in the mountains, as is shewn by the muddiness of the Rhone. I cannot make up my mind whether to call on Mr Pasquale Villari or not at Florence & also whether to leave my card with Bulwer.2 Adieu my darling of darlings. The people were going about everywhere so cheerful & gay this fine fête day.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Dec. 27 
I found her dear dear letter on arriving today my own cherished one. What good her letters do me—this one has put me quite into spirits because of her being so well (considering the circumstances) & because she has fine weather & likes the place—she makes me like it again, the dear one does, but I long for the time when she will go out & enjoy it—how often I realize those nice walks & drives about there & I think I like them quite as much as any place I have been in since, without counting the fact of her being there, without which no place is beautiful to me. One of those six hours Sunday walks is about as much as I can really enjoy fully the beauty of when my darling is not with me. However darling I am cheerful & doing very well & was this morning when I weighed 68 kilos being 3 lbs more than Bordeaux, 5 than Torquay & 8 than London. I have got up to the highest I weighed in the summer excursion—all but a pound, the weight of the thick waistcoat. A propos that waistcoat has worthily justified its own existence—I have done many things that I could not have done but for the complete protection it gave to my chest. I found on getting her[e] (what I did not expect) that a steamer starts for Genoa tomorrow—so as I do not expect any more letters here, I have arranged everything for going by it. I am sorry to say it takes 24 hours & starts in the morning instead of evening so my only hope for escaping sickness consists in the calm weather which after so much wind is now delightful. The days have continued splendid till this morning which was partially cloudy but entirely cleared off towards afternoon. I have come to the Empereurs because she went there—it is full of English—there were several English officers in uniform at the table d’hôte—young men one very handsome & all I should think very silly. Vaucluse is not like my expectations except in those broad features that one cannot be mistaken in. Of course a shew place is always prosaic, but instead of the villas which would recommend it in England there is one of the ugly villages which look like the worst part of the towns. Happily just above the village the ravine takes a turn & there is a quarter of a mile tolerably clear but there is nothing like seclusion as at the Pont du Gard. The source is at the foot of a mountain apparently nearly the height of Snowdon, but with scarcely a particle of green on it & knocked about in ledges & pillars & other fantastic shapes & the water comes out, if it can be called coming out, at the back of a precipice which reaches nearly the whole height of the mountain. Here in a nook where the narrow rocky gorge suddenly ends, is a pool about the size of a small pond on a common, but out of this rushes a mountain river as large as the Adour at Bagnères & immediately tumbles over a series of enormous blocks of rock for about the height of the Swallow fall,2 with the most splendid noise & foam, after which in the next furlong the water gushes out from at least 100 places in the mountain & swells the stream till from its size & rapidity if it were in England it would rank as one of our notable rivers. A thing I have not seen mentioned, I think, in any description is that in the quiet pool above the fall you constantly hear a deep hollow roaring as if there was a great commotion of waters in the heart of the precipitous mountain—& possibly there is, though more probably it is the effect of the loud noise of the fall—reverberated from every part of the amphitheatre of immensely high rocks which surrounds. Altogether it was very fine, especially the water & one had to ignore the Café Pétrarque, the Hotel Pétrarque et de Laure &c all of which happily were out of sight. It is 27 kilometres from Avignon & a cabriolet cost 12 francs. The bill for the two days at Avignon including servants was 21½ francs, about 8s.6d a day. The whole cost of this three weeks journey is just about £20, from Boulogne, or counting from London £23: rather different from the summer journey which cost less than £31 for nearly seven weeks—but there has been much more railway & a greater distance travelled besides tables d’hôte at 3½ fr. instead of 2 f. & 2½, & bedrooms 2 f. instead of 1. so that I have done pretty well. I hope darling to find another sweet letter at Genoa. Ah dearest I wish I could tell her all my dreams—last night I had such a sweet dream—dear one had come & was going the rest of the way with me. She sees I have taken just about the time we thought in getting from England here. My beauty will get this letter pretty quick especially as I shall put it in the post tonight for there are two mails in the 24 hours from here. How much pleasanter railway travelling is in these countries than any other. It seems to suit every country better than England—it cuts up beauties of detail but suits the scale of the objects here which are large & far apart. In all the towns here the railway with its long lines of arches is a really fine feature in the view. Addio con tutti i baci possibili—ah dearest how I do love you.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Genoa Dec 30 
I write my angel before having received her letter if letter there be, for it has not arrived yet as it was impossible it should—& by calculation it seems hardly possible that it could arrive today or tonight so that it was a mistake asking her to write here, but I was so very anxious to hear without those very long intervals that I took the chance & I dare say the post office here will redirect to Pisa. I had a horrible passage—the boat did not get off till half past one though it required everybody to go on board at eleven—& it arrived here about half past one yesterday—at first I did pretty well, remaining on deck in the beautiful afternoon & evening & passing that fine coast on which I could quite distinguish Hyères, at least its exact position. We passed close to the islands, but it was very rough even then whenever we were not under the shelter of the heights a strong north wind having set in early in the morning. After dark I was wretchedly sick & had hardly any sleep for sickness & all day after arriving here I felt so ill & miserable that I could go nowhere & do nothing. I am terrified at the idea that all this must be gone through again for Sicily & again for Greece—it seems as if nothing that they can give in my solitary condition can be worth it. Today however I am well again & have gone about in the most exquisite cloudless day, without the slightest cold though there is snow on the low mountains just outside the town on the side next Chiavari. I am quite reconciled to Genoa which looked so dismal in the abominable weather we had last year that my impression of it was very disagreeable, but in this glorious weather it looks splendid. I am at the Quattro Nazioni, where the people are very attentive & I am very comfortable though it does not seem to be very thriving. It appears that the only way here to have a bedroom with a fireplace is to take a sitting room with it or to pay the same as if you did. I have therefore a large cheerful sitting room au 3me with a bedroom opening from it for which I pay three francs. By the bye the Hotel des Empereurs was about the dearest inn I ever was in, in France: 3 fr. for the sort of bedroom which is 2 fr. everywhere else: table d’hote 4 fr. & other things in proportion. There is a beautiful promenade here planted with trees & a garden looking splendidly over the eastern part of the town & the mountains adjoining it—made, as an inscription shews since we were first here—& where do you think the railway goes? Exactly in front of the hotels, between them & the terrace wall, every train night & day passing close to your window—which cannot be pleasant for those au premier I should think. I feel much more in spirits again than I yesterday thought I should in the whole journey. I have nearly arranged with a vetturino to go to Lucca in three days, halting at Sestri & la Spezia, paying 40 francs which is more than I like to pay but having tried several I do not think I shall be able to do better. Among the disagreeables of that sea passage one is a bad cold in my head which it has left—but I do not mind it, as these colds go off without leaving any cough that lasts above a day or two. I see either the French papers or Galignani sufficiently often to be tolerably au courant but I seldom read those tiresome speeches even when I have an opportunity. Why dear did you wish the Foreign Enlistment Bill to be lost?2 It seems to have been a mistake because unpopular but no doubt Lord Raglan wants more practised soldiers than they are able to send him. I have not seen in the whole of my passage through France a single indication great or small that the war is popular there. They talk of it quite as they would of some foreign contest & generally I think do not augur well of its success. Neither have I heard one word uttered in favour of L. Napoleon. People say but little & I do not like to tempt them to say much but they say quite enough to shew the most entire hostility. I shall now take this to the post & perhaps see one or two of the palaces. I seem much farther from my dear one than in France—any place in France if it be ever so far off seems so much a home to us. I do not get on well with the Italian here not only from the badness of my Italian but of theirs, for it is a horrible patois almost as unItalian as the Venetian but without its softness. Adieu darling—love me always—a thousand dearest loves.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Genoa—30 Dec. evening 
There was no letter by today’s post, darling, which came in about two. I should wait here for one: only that I am not certain she will write here. The post office promises to send it on to Pisa if it comes. I have been on foot nearly all day & have commenced performing the first duty of man when in Italy, that of seeing pictures. I have seen two of the best palaces, the Brignole Sale & the Pallavicini, both full of fine pictures, & also a church or two: there were plenty more to see, but too many pictures the same day are more than do one any good—& at the best this hurried seeing of picture galleries is a sort of feast of Tantalus. If I could come each day to one, or even two or three of the finest pictures I have seen today, & sit down before them until I got to feel them really what a different thing it would be. As it is one only sees. I dare say by the time I leave Italy I shall be able to give a tolerable guess at the authorship of a picture, but perhaps I shall not have had much enjoyment of them. I could not help seeing however what a gem almost any one of these pictures would appear in any modern exhibition, & what is much more in any private room—& again even the common unknown pictures in the churches all shew how the great painters have created certain types & a certain stile which makes even the commonest Italian painting have a certain grandeur as well as grace in it—something which is to Guercino2 & the Caracci3 what they are to Titian & Michael Angelo & I see the same in the colossal statues in the churches. I have seen also a great many of the finest Vandykes extant, for the great Genoese families seem all to have had themselves painted by him—& a Rubens that might almost be taken for a Raphael, it is so really beautiful. My negociation with the vetturino is off for he has found other English & they will not travel tomorrow because it is Sunday, & the next day is fête (New Year) so he says he cannot go till Tuesday, and I have bargained with another to take me to Spezia in two days & I shall probably finish this letter there. Perhaps it is as well so, for I may possibly stay there a day & go to Lerici or Porto Venere. I wish dearest you could see this place in its beauty—I am now quite charmed with it as I was the first time. This inn too is so much better & the people pleasanter than where we were. A propos the trains which pass the window are only the goods trains, which go to the custom house for the convenience of loading there: I suppose it is the great means of transporting foreign goods to Turin. I have been reading a number of Italia e Popolo which has a vigorous attack on our friend the Avenir of Nice for saying the Piedmontese ought not to hate the French government.4 It is quite a pleasure to read any thing free spoken again. I am strong & well today, to my almost surprise after the extreme prostration of yesterday—but that no doubt was partly owing to having eaten nothing for 36 hours.
Sestri. Dec. 31. The voiture plan is answering capitally & I am very glad I did not go with those English people, for being with Italians only I get on like a house on fire with my Italian. The vetturino had managed to fill his vehicle with Italians of I know not exactly what rank though certainly plus que modeste, who no doubt paid him very little, for there is anything but prix fixe on these occasions—but none of them were at all disagreeable & one pleasant man about 40 with whom I got into conversation directly though he could speak nothing but Italian & evidently was not an educated man but yet (what never happens in England) spoke his own language clearly & correctly. I got on capitally by referring often to the little dictionary & had the satisfaction of giving him a breakfast or rather dinner which he would not have had otherwise. A propos of the dictionary when I teazed Lily for it I did not know it was the nice copy with her (my darling’s) name in it. I thought it was a similar one that I had formerly & which I would much rather have taken for such hard wear than this, though it is sweet to have this. The voiture travelling does excellently in all ways—one makes use of the whole day, does not get into the night, & by utilizing hills & the midday stoppage one gets nearly all the good of a walking tour—today besides a very long hill I walked from the stopping place, Rapallo, nearly to Chiavari before I was overtaken. It quite agrees with my recollections that this eastern Riviera is finer than the western: there is more variety in the farms, there is not the interruption by those plains & generally instead of going round the promontories, one crosses them, which makes more variety: what it does resemble is the last bit from Mentone to Nice, & it is not at all finer than that. Indeed that mountain of La Turbia with its appendages of Montalbano, Villafranca, St Jean, St Hospice & Monaco comprise in themselves all the beauty of which this kind of scenery seems susceptible & whoever has seen them thoroughly has seen the whole Riviera, & I am much inclined to think, all that is really characteristic in the scenery of Italy & Sicily altogether. Consequently I should have been more excited by this if we had not been at Nice so lately5 —nevertheless I enjoyed it much, having the most perfect weather yesterday & today while the sun was up not a moment of cold though many of heat & this although the people here talk of the weather as cold—what must it be usually on the last day of the year! & the foliage here is just the same in winter as in summer. I saw shortly before sunset an effect of light which I never imagined possible & should have declared impossible I am afraid if I had seen it in a picture. The bay being very calm & merely just rippled, the reflexion from the nearly horizontal sun was projected not in the ordinary way but in a broad pillar of light as well defined as a river or a great road, of the exact breadth of the disk of the horizontal sun, extending in a perfect straight line or avenue beginning at the horizon & ending at the shore & too dazzling in every part to be looked at for more than a moment. In nearly the whole distance whenever one turned back one saw the line of the other Riviera backed by high snowy mountains, extending full half way to Nice (one man said quite into France) & looking quite close. There is here at Sestri a first rate inn but I think it will prove very dear. The only dear thing in the bill at Genoa was the firewood, in excuse for which the man said that wood is always dear there & is brought from Cività Vecchia. I should rather suppose it is brought from Tuscany (though perhaps the Tuscans want all their wood themselves) or perhaps from Corsica, the préfet of which I see advertises his coupe de bois by affiches in the streets of Genoa. There is great complaint of the distress of the people here—my fellow traveller said everything had failed except olives—not only the vines but all grain & that the propriétaires are dying of hunger. A propos I have been reading of a great & rapidly extending disease among silkworms, propagated by the eggs—it seems as if there was a conspiracy among the powers of nature to thwart human industry—if it once reaches the real necessaries of life the human race may starve. The potato disease was a specimen & that was but one root: if it should reach corn? I think that should be a signal for the universal & simultaneous suicide of the whole human race, suggested by Novalis.6 What a number of sensible things are not done, faute de s’entendre! In the meantime let us make what we can of what human life we have got, which I am hardly doing by being away from you. I think I should feel the whole thing worthier if I were writing something—but I cannot make up my mind what to write. Nothing that is not large will meet the circumstances. I have finished Aminta & am toiling through the Gerusalemme but this evening for a change I added a canto of Dante—what a difference! now I said, I am beginning to enjoy—I shall take the occasion of reading Dante through though I have no helps—luckily I read Sismondi over again last winter.7 This Genoa is full of remembrances of those 16 volumes & by the bye was the most turbulent, the worst governed & the least respectable of all those republics, the frantic personal animosities of the factions of nobles not only filling the place with perpetual bloodshed but making one or the other party continually put the place under a foreign despot, either France, Austria or Spain. There is no city in Italy except Naples for whose antecedents I have so little respect—but still the occasional freedom & constant demand for energy made them vigorous & successful both in war & in commerce: it is curious now to think for how long a period they were masters of Galata in Constantinople, & Caffa in the Crimea. I ramble on darling because it is the only way of talking to her. I shall not however close this letter tonight. I do not find any plants now—the few I found in France were all of them last roses of summer, not first ones of spring—but the hellebore is beginning to come out to my great delectation. I brought a botanical relic or two from Vaucluse & have tried to read a little of Petrarch but it will not do— i begl’occhi of Laura m’ennuient. I must give her a specimen of my fellow traveller—he was remonstrating with another for jumping out of the carriage & falling down & after some other things he added E tanto più facile di farsi male che di farsi bene.8 It reminded me of “toute chose a ses inconvéniens”. Now darling I must go to bed for my fire is going out.
Spezia 1st January. Every possible good that the new year can possibly bring to the only person living who is worthy to live, & may she have the happiest & the maniest New Years that the inexorable powers allow to any of us poor living creatures. I have been travelling again from eight to seven—all the first part to Borghetto was among what seemed the tops of mountains exactly like those which we saw from the back of the house at Nice but twenty times as many of them—sometimes quite inland, sometimes seeing the sea or the fine coast far below—coming often to snow which was lying in all the places where it had drifted, & which a week ago, it seems, made this road impassable even to the post. In one fine descent there was visible in front a long high range of completely snowy mountains, like the Alps or Pyrenees, being the Apennines, near Pontremoli I suppose. From Borghetto I walked on for more than five hours & was in the very town of Spezia before the carriage overtook me, though I had walked up several great heights before. I saw by a rather dim moonlight that magnificent first view of the Gulf of Spezia & walked down the winding descent of the mountain to it through the olive groves. The inn seems a very good one & the rooms only Genoa price—Sestri was a franc more & I think I shall stay here tomorrow especially as this vetturino though very eager to take me on to Lucca or Pisa cannot be talked into doing it for less than 35 francs. Here is one of the conveniences of a companion. Though as you see by my walking I am strong enough, my digestion is far from good & has not been so in this journey. I do not think it is the diet, because I digested perfectly in the last journey & did not digest well at Torquay. I am afraid the unlucky truth is that I cannot digest without cod liver oil & that none but Allen’s agrees with me. Certainly the only week of decent digestion I have had this December was when I was drinking one of the bottles of that—I have to save it, been drinking some since, bought at Avignon, but it does me no good, no more than the two kinds I tried at Torquay. I have begun one of the three remaining ones today & if I really thought I should see Pope, I certainly should ask him to bring some more out with him.9 Meanwhile the case is coming to pieces—it was not strong enough for so much jolting & tossing by sea & land. The Italian has gone on glibly today & my progress surprises me. There was among others a jovial young Franciscan who I am sure is no hypocrite: you should have heard his merry laugh at my suggestion that the electric telegraph would formerly have been thought un’ opra del diavolo—Nothing like cold even in the mountains till after dark & not much then. To shew you the care I am taking of my diet, I eat only some soup at Borghetto, & here at night a roast chicken (what a small one!) with boiled potatoes & no bread & no tea. I shall take to simple hot milk in the mornings, because with that bread is not necessary, & I shall try what bitters & quinine will do again. Here is a long letter my beloved & it does not end quite so satisfactorily as the beginning but there is no help. I am very sleepy from so much walking & must go to bed. The Franciscan was a most ignorant fellow—he guessed the mountains towards Nice to be those of Corsica. These last we ought to have seen but could not as the day was less clear than the last three or four though still very fine. There is a beautiful spring heath just beginning to come into flower which will make the wilderness blossom like the rose. Good night my dearest dearest love—I kiss her mentally with my whole heart. The mysterious looking paper I inclose this in will do as well as anything else for a cover.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO HARRIET MILL1
Spezia, Jan. 2. 
Another day such as one comes to Italy for—a perfect climate, & beauty which wants nothing but the dearest eyes in the world to see it. This gulf I think is very nearly the most beautiful place I ever saw. I do not wonder that Shelley came to it.2 A propos I met a boatman who told me he had served Shelley: when I asked him to point out Lerici, he first said that Byron had lived there three months & that he had served him, then mentioned “altro celebre Inglese, il signor Shellì, ch’ha perduto la vita.” If he did serve Shelley he must have been a mere boy at the time. It was not in the gulf itself that the catastrophe happened. The gulf they say here is always as it was today, quite smooth—it had less ripple than the lake of Como which it somewhat resembles but is only about half the length & near double the breadth (as I guess). The neat, really pretty & pleasant town stands in a very small vega3 entirely shut in by mountains & cannot feel any wind but the south: between it and the gulf is an open garden & a promenade road planted with trees from which on the eastern side of the gulf unfold before you three ranges, the first only hills though (like all here) of the forms of mountains, a range of dark mountains behind, & beyond that a lofty range of snowy mountains of the sharpest & peakedest sort of which the part which can be seen from the town is equal to any part of the Pyrenees or Alps that I remember: the highest part, a magnificent peaked ridge, is called Monte di San Pellegrino. I should delight to have this view from our window. Perhaps Spezia would be too hot in summer to live in, but the right place would be somewhere on the east [west written above east]4 of the gulf, which has this especial view & only the morning sun while we should see the sun in the afternoon on the mountains opposite. Lerici is on the wrong side; Porto Venere on the right, in both senses. I staid at the excellent inn till 11 to rest myself, then sauntered out on the Porto Venere road, going round the seven beautiful coves, of the form of harbours, which succeed one another & five of which are said to be deep enough for ships of war: Napoleon intended to make this the great military port of his empire; I am very glad he did not. In going round these lesser gulfs almost every view of the mountains & coast that is possible presented itself & at the end is a strait separating the promontory from a high rocky & woody island (merely the end of the promontory cut off). At one end of this strait towards the outer sea (about 8 miles from Spezia) is Porto Venere a little old town with immensely high dark ugly houses rising from the very sea itself—with a fine church however in a high position & another ruined church in the exact corner point commanding they say the whole coast to France, but today there was a complete fog out at sea though inland & in the gulf it was beautifully clear. The town is squalid & the houses speak of former riches & present poverty—the people are now all fishermen & the women & children look unhealthy. I often observe this in the healthiest situations when the towns have that horrid look. Spezia on the contrary is bright, clean & cheerful with dignity. I had been so often offered a carriage in the tiniest places yesterday, that I thought I should have found one here to go back with, but I could find only boats & the sea & strait were so rough (though the gulf was quiet) that I could not venture it but made the boat go to the nearest village in the gulf some distance off & joined it there. This made the walk decidedly too much after the much walking of yesterday & it taxed my strength but it does not seem to have done me any harm & I am considerably better today by having taken myself in hand by diet & medicine. The climate at present is divine: one never for an instant thinks of cold, except near daybreak or dusk. The nice rooms too everywhere are a pleasure: all the inns on the great roads of Italy are got up for the English who do this good at any rate that there are such inns at all the stopping places as one only looks for in at least a provincial capital. The name of the inn translated into English generally hangs out, thus Cross Malte Hotel. } I copy exactly one I saw yesterday: the French name is generally written along the front of the house, & the Italian not at all. My voiturin has at last consented to take me to Lucca for 25 fr. if he finds anyone else & for 30 fr. if he does not but that is much more than enough: however I have agreed to it. I think I shall go to the “Grand Hotel Universe” (as it calls itself in an advertisement). Lucca is only half an hour of railway from Pisa so if I stay more than a night at Lucca I shall run over & get my letters. Spezia is a sea bathing place & the baths form a part of the handsome pile of buildings composing this inn which from the sea looks like the Hotel de Ville at least. All up these mountains wherever there are olive grounds there are also houses & here & there on a projecting rock, a church or a village. As there is so much wildness & grandeur in other parts of the view this is pleasant.
Pisa, Jan. 4. Here I am in the old town, the old inn & I really think in the old room. It feels very strange. As soon as I had installed myself I rushed to the post office & what was my disappointment to find it just shut (at ½ past 2) not to open again till 5. You may be sure I was punctual & I got her dear letters of the 25th & 28th both marked 5, but not that of the 27th on the Popish affair5 so I went again & the much enduring much bewildered man promised that he would have a thorough search by tomorrow morning. My comfort is that the letter of the 28th having the postmark of today (if I read it rightly) that of the 27th if sent to Genoa could hardly have been sent on so as to arrive today. How sweet & precious her letters are. I am so glad she thinks so well of Torquay, it is exactly what I should expect from what I saw of the place. The nuisance of England is the English: on every other account I would rather live in England passing a winter now & then abroad than live altogether anywhere else. The effect of the beauty here on me, great as it is, makes me like the beauty of English country more than I ever did before. There is such a profusion of beauty of detail in English country when it is beautiful, & such a deficiency of it here & on the Continent generally & I am convinced that a week’s summer tour about Dartmoor would give me as much pleasure as a week about Spezia. There is not much to tell about the journey these last two days. The weather has been somewhat less pleasant, a good deal of frost both nights, & clouds with occasional sunshine in the day: this evening the sky is bright but the mountains seen from here are shrouded with clouds. The road wound through the first range of hills I saw from Spezia, into the valley of the Magra, a broad straight valley most of it stony & barren from inundations, this we forded at the height of the wheels & reached Sarzana the last Sardinian town. From this till near Lucca the road was level, along the edge of a plain, having on the left the snowy range I mentioned before, & when we had passed that, other less grand often woody mountains. The regular road was through Carrara but there have been troubles there & the place is en état de siège & it was thought there would be delays & hindrances from the police so I consented to the vetturino’s proposal to go by a bye road avoiding Carrara: it was very likely humbug of the fellow who is a great cheat & a most impudent rascal (not insolent, which is the way of these people). I had to make a scene & call him a liar publicly to which he gave me ample provocation. He pretended too that he would not go through Massa for the same reason, but he did, & there was no obstruction. I slept at Pietra Santa where also is an excellent but dear inn: however I got off part of the charge. The road today was through the finest olive grounds, but sometimes had on the right a Maremma in great part overflowed which I was told was ricefields. We crossed one of the ranges of hills & arrived at Lucca but I did not stay to see anything—it is so easily seen from this place. I came on by the first train & shall probably stay here some days, the more so as I have been quite poorly these two days. Why my digestion has broken down so suddenly I cannot conceive & when it was so excellent before. That was the last thing I expected to happen on this journey. It has not been good from the first barring London, but the increase of weight up to Avignon shews that nothing was seriously amiss. I think that odious sea has done it: but when my breakfast today was two cups of hot milk & even that acidified in my stomach & my dinner was two wings & a leg of a small fowl & two potatoes without bread or anything else whatever & even that acidified & when besides I have the nameless sensations proceeding from indigestion in a later stage of the process it is quite time to look to it especially as this is doing me harm otherwise. The (very slight) night perspirations I had for a short time in spring have come back these two nights & I have suddenly a pain in my left shoulder which troubles me at no other time but makes it impossible to lie on that side, which as it is the side I chiefly lie on, takes away a great deal of my sleep. I have lost strength too but not more than one always does from indigestion. I am thinking of consulting one of the English physicians here. I shall stay here till I feel really well & shall probably not go to Florence at all as there will be no letters there & I cannot bear to be so long without them—besides I begin to be very doubtful of getting to Greece at all, if even to Sicily & if so there will be ample time for Florence in spring. It is a great bore that letters take a week coming from Torquay here & of course two days longer to Rome. I shall be very comfortable in this room for which I am to pay 4 pauls, little more than 2 francs though it is au premier. It seemed strange to come from the immensely high stone houses of Genoa & the Riviera to a town of stuccoed houses of no great height. The climate seems quite different from the Riviera—there is a moister look about the air in spite of its clearness. I have been to the Duomo—the grassy piazza that looked so pleasant looks now as if a fair had just been held on it. The cathedral itself seems to me less fine outwardly & finer within than I thought—though all the arches are round & the columns Greek & the ornamented ceiling modern Italian it has almost a Gothic effect. There are also many fine pictures especially five or six of Andrea del Sarto6 whom I think quite next to Raphael. As they are in a church I can go again & enjoy them. The Baptistery is shut up for repairs: which I regret as I wished to go into it in remembrance of the day we saw the bambino baptized there. I never saw so many beggars as here & they are such wretched objects one wishes to give to them all—it is quite impossible to see anything in peace for them. Some however are exactly like the figures of the same kind of people in the pictures. One hears much of Italian pictures & little of Italian sculptures except M. Angelo’s but I see everywhere statues in the churches which seem to me as fine in pose & features & finer in expression than the Greek—in the cathedral at Sarzana there are some apostles really glorious. This town has to my eye a very deserted look, much more so than as I remember it—it is said that the political jealousies & fears of the Grand Duke which have made him take away the Law Faculty from the University and remove it to Siena,7 have done harm to the place. I really think I am better this evening unless it is writing to my darling that makes me feel so. As the post goes out late I shall not lose any time by keeping this letter open till tomorrow when I can give her the latest account of how I am. You must take all my impressions of the places cum grano, for I am conscious of seeing everything on its worst side & I feel that I cannot do any justice to what the places would be to me if I were there in a home & with the one who constitutes home. You will be quite safe in writing to Rome on the 13th: how much later I shall be able to say in my next letter.
Jan. 5. No return of perspiration last night my beloved one & the pain in the shoulder sufficiently diminished to enable me to lie sometimes on the left side. The pain extends now all down the left side of the back & I should think is only rheumatic. I do not feel much the matter with me today except weakness & if I continue as well all day I shall take one of Clark’s alterative pills at night which I should think will quite bring me round. I shall not go out much today. Luckily the day is not very tempting—it began half foggy like a fine day in the heart of London & is now very cloudy. I have got some French novels to fill up the time with. The letter is not forthcoming at the post yet: if it went to Genoa it will probably arrive this afternoon. How unlucky that I said anything about writing to Genoa. I still feel inclined to get on to Rome without going to Florence but I feel all my plans rendered uncertain by the bad effect the sea appears to have on me. I will write very soon without waiting to fill a long letter as I know she will be anxious. What a comfort that her health gives me no new cause of anxiety: I shall have to take care not to walk too much, which has not been necessary before. The walking to & at Spezia would have been nothing remarkable when I was at Blackheath or even at Montpellier but it is evident I was exhausted & not fit for a long walk & after the long walk I was not fit for even the moderate walk to Porto Venere—but she may depend on me for taking care in future. I have had a severe lesson—adieu darling of my soul—
TO HARRIET MILL1
Pisa Jan. 6. 
I am still here darling, wandering about the town for I am not yet strong enough to take a long country walk & the short ones here are good for nothing. Before I leave I shall walk through the Cascine2 to the sea, & go to Lucca. I feel very much put out about my plans. It is pretty clear that I shall recover from this attack under my own treatment without going to a doctor, but it is discouraging to find that there is so much difficulty in what never before had any, viz. keeping myself in a condition to digest. The Popish letter3 has not yet made its appearance. This place is pleasant more from recollections than anything in itself. Today began as dull as any day in England; then the sun came out & it is now warm, & like a fine early day in English spring. Whatever people may say, Tuscany is not Italy. I have seen nearly everything there is to see here. Today being a fête I heard the end of the service at the Cathedral: the organ was beautifully played & the music beautiful: but no singing, only the usual groaning noise in the intervals of the organ. The cathedral is the only building which grows on me. The Baptistery & the leaning tower seem to me child’s toys but I now admire the cathedral without as well as within. Lily would have liked to hear that service, looking into the choir with its gallery above gallery, staircase above staircase like Piranesi,4 & every part (which is not painted in fresco) fine marble or gilding—besides a gigantic Christ in mosaic covering the circular roof of the apsis. You, I think, would have felt with me here where the priests are powerful, preponderance of detestation of the whole thing. I must say too that now when things are no longer all delightful merely because Italian, I feel sickened by the perpetual inscriptions in honor of those Medicean grand dukes, who like all the Italian princes for the last three centuries were as worthless vermin as ever crawled on the face of the earth. I could look with some pleasure on the statue of Peter Leopold5 “forty years after his death”—he was a philosopher like his brother Joseph 2d & was the greatest reformer & legislator that modern Europe had yet had, but even he, having become emperor of Austria, began the war against the French Revolution & died soon after exhausted by sensual excesses. This is a splendid place for the very oldest church paintings—besides the almost effaced frescoes of the Campo Santo, the Academy of Fine Arts is full of them, many, indeed most, very fine in their way, & with much more ease & grace of execution than is commonly said. But they have only one kind of expression. As the ideal of those painters was exactly that of a Hindu or Buddhist ascetic, entire absorption in thoughts of another world, these are not like living creatures, & if one met them one could take them for nothing but somnambulists. I think I see now in what the great merit of Giotto consisted. His figures are alive & look as if they had relation to this world. The others have generally even their eyes turned inward, or if they now & then seem to be looking at something it is languidly as if they were in haste to get back to their dream. If Giotto was the first of the modern painters who reinvented life, he deserves all his reputation. Perhaps however it was Cimabue.6 There is a Cimabue here but it seems much below Giotto of whom there are multitudes (perhaps many of them by his pupils)—the stile of Giotto is quite that of the modern painters. The thing which has given me most pleasure of all I have seen here is that the Government has not ventured to efface all the remembrances of 1848.7 There is still in the Campo Santo the monument with the names of those who died for Italy in that campaign—also the chains taken by the Genoese from the Pisans in a naval victory & given to the Florentines who kept them attached I think to the Cathedral were given back to Pisa by the Florentines as an act of fraternity in 18488 & were put up in the Campo Santo with an inscription containing their whole history which still stands. Perhaps the Govt is not afraid of them because like all other inscriptions here they are in Latin. But it is plain that nothing but foreign force supports this government. Even the custode of the Campo Santo and the wife of the custode of the Academy who shewed me a splendid group of sculpture executed ten years ago by a brother of Guerrazzi,9 were both of them quite evidently as strong friends of the cause as they dared to shew.
I have been to the post office since the post came in—it has not brought the missing letter.10 I have written to Genoa about it, but as it would not do to delay writing to Pope any longer at the risk of his not receiving the letter before the time when he proposed going (the middle of January), six days at least being required before it will reach him, I have written recommending Nice—& saying about myself that the sea has made me so unwell as to make all my beyond sea projects uncertain but that a letter will find me at Naples & that when I know where to direct to him I shall be happy to let him know my further plans. It is a bore having to write without receiving your letter but luckily you mentioned Nice in that of the 28th & I think mine to him is quite safe. I shall send this by the same post that my beloved one may know I am getting better—I hope I shall be sufficiently well & strong tomorrow to go to Lucca & see the town, the churches & pictures there. A propos the railway carriages are of the nasty American kind with a passage down the middle going through all the carriages (of the same class, that is). At least the 2d & 3d classes are so—I did not see the first. The 2d class is cheap enough—two pauls—less than a shilling. & now good night my dearest darling angel.
I see Galignani pretty often—surely the mismanagement at Sebastopol11 must be very gross though the Times says so.
[P.S.] Admire the postage stamp, a crowned monkey, pretended lion.
Pisa Jan. 8. 
My dearest angel, I have got rid of my sensations of acidity & of nearly all the other sensations of indigestion—& have no feelings of illness left except those slight ones which always accompany the sort of weakness which still remains. Though my tongue is not yet right, the pain in my shoulder is gone, but I do not recover strength, & I do not get rid of the night perspirations. They are not alarming—there is not enough of them to be a cause of weakness & I am convinced they are only an effect of it being accompanied as they were last spring with a certain facility of being put in a perspiration in the daytime. I cannot understand why I do not recover my strength as I am now able to digest my usual breakfast of eggs tea & toast, & a small dinner of roast meat or chicken & potatoes only. But it is much easier to lose strength than to recover it when one has my disease. Today I resolved to try if I could shake off the weakness & I therefore went to Lucca. (I should have gone yesterday but the Sunday trains did not suit for coming back. The Sundays & fêtes seem much observed here as to work, though not I dare say as to play.) All I did at Lucca did not amount to an hour’s strong walking but it was of course more in reality as it was partly seeing churches &c. I do not think I am the worse for it, but I felt fatigued all through, walked very slow & had to constantly sit down. We shall see if I have perspiration again tonight: if not, I shall leave tomorrow for Siena on the way to Rome: if yes I shall leave, but for Florence, & see Clark’s man, Dr Wilson,2 as he may not think it prudent for me to go so long a journey just yet. You see darling I tell you everything at the risk of making you uncomfortable but you will have the more confidence in what I tell, & it is doing as I would be done by, for it is what I wish you to do to me—I am afraid you do not always. Lucca is a quiet dull town, now no longer a residenz & I dare say a very cheap place to live in, as well as convenient, being close to Pisa, Leghorn & Florence by railway, & its Bagni (two or three hours off) the best summer residence in Italy. It is of brick & stucco surrounded by a red brick wall, on the top of which all round is a fine broad carriage road, planted with a double avenue & the bastions at the angles are lawns planted with groves. The view from every part of this road is beautiful: on one side the town with its many high svelte square church towers, marbled & columned, on the other the panorama of mountains which surrounds the town on all sides, leaving only a very small opening towards Pisa & a rather larger towards Florence. These mountains are at a considerable distance from the town & begin by olive covered hills mounting gradually on one (the north) side to many summits. The cathedral is one of the finest in Italy. The immense height gives these basilicas internally the effect of Gothic, but in this all above the lowest line of arches of the nave is Gothic & of the highest & gracefullest sort. In this & some of the other churches there are some beautiful pictures, which gave me more pleasure than any I have seen in this journey except the Andreas at Pisa.3 The best are by Fra Bartolomeo,4 Ghirlandajo5 & Daniele da Volterra.6 I much prefer seeing pictures in churches to the way one sees them in the private galleries—malgré the presence & jabber of a custode whom I generally take the first time of going, & was obliged to take at Lucca where they have the odious way of keeping all their celebrated pictures covered up. The custode of the Duomo at Lucca was quite a model of the genre by his senility, (he was a regular Pantaloon) his garrulity, superstition, & intense respect for all the powers that be. Il m’en coûte not to go to Florence where there is such an enormous mass of pictures & sculptures, but I shall not if I can help it. In any case darling you can write to Rome as late as the 16th & I shall wait there long enough to receive it. There is no use in stopping longer here though I like the place & am in the pleasantest situation in it. I notice a curious thing here—a list hung up of the persons who have obtained exemption from paying the visits of ceremony customary at the new year—this exemption is obtained by paying a florin (2½ pauls about 14 pence) to a certain charitable institution. This seems to me a very droll practice, of paying a commutation in money for an obligation of politeness & it shews how irrational a thing opinion is, when it continues to impose formalities which it proves itself to consider utterly unmeaning & inept. I wonder if this bizarrerie could have grown up anywhere but in a catholic country where sins are tariffed at so much, & prayers, penances & masses at so much & an account current kept open with heaven. There is a convent here which is exactly a piece cut out of the Alhambra. As for the climate, it is most satisfactory as to mildness. They call the weather cold at present, & a bit of the city moat which still remains (on the north side of the town & therefore under the shade of the wall) was not only frozen over this morning but much of the ice still remained this evening at sunset: but I had to laugh at the idea of calling it cold. I never feel so. One needs a fire in the house, but a little is enough. But as to clearness—I have had here all weathers but rain—mostly sunshine & today cloudless, but never so clear a day as any we had those ten days at Torquay. There has always been much haze. I fancy Torquay would suit everybody whom this suits. The fine days here do not seem finer than there but no doubt there are many more of them: though according to Murray more rain falls at Pisa than either at Leghorn, so near, or Florence, so much higher up in the mountains. I was amused by two Italians in the railway chattering French & English to one another. I suppose from the same motive as we talk French at home.
I am in complete spirits my darling one—not only not uneasy but not the least nervously depressed. There is nothing to regret but the loss of so much time out of that which was to have produced improvement in health. If it was to be it is better it should have been so near the beginning, as there is plenty of time to make up for it. Addio mia divina—mia adorata.
Mind she tells me whether she stays at Torquay beyond January. If not I shall have in less than a fortnight to leave off directing my letters there. Jan. 9. No perspiration last night darling & I hope I shall have no more now. I shall be off for Siena today & keep Florence to console me if I cannot get beyond sea. No news of the missing letter. Adieu. A thousand loves.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Siena Jan. 10. 
My darling love, to begin with my health as what interests her most. I have had no more return of perspirations & for the first time today my stomach has felt something like the sensations of recovered health. Encouraged by this I tried the experiment of eating a few grapes after my modest dinner—the first grapes I have seen—there is not a grape at Pisa & I fancied there were none in Italy. But the experiment failed—they turned sour directly. You see in what a very delicate state my stomach is—why, heaven knows, for I have done nothing to try it—& that 24 hours seasickness should have so changed the whole condition of the digestion is as strange as any other explanation one can give. I have no doubt however that this acidity will be gone tomorrow, & my strength also seems to be a little returning today—perhaps it will return in time. One of my conjectures is that I have been having a little softening of tubercle, as Ramadge thinks I have had before though Clark thinks not—this would account for the sudden loss of strength & I am inclined to the idea because of the increased quantity & worse quality of the expectoration, which however is only as it has been several times before. I think myself in full though slow convalescence & I must endeavour not to get unwell again. I abused the Lucca railway, but what shall I say of the Leghorn & Florence? The seats are lengthwise—the passengers have their backs to the country—& there is a back to back seat down the middle—the unfortunate occupants of which are the only ones who can possibly see out, by peeping between their opposite neighbours if the blinds are not drawn as they mostly are, since they are drawn when the sun shines & there is no motive to undraw them when it does not. Luckily there are seats along the two ends as well as sides & I got a place on one of them. I looked into the first class carriages & saw the occupants in the same comfortable manner seated round the carriage with a table in the midst. Odd that the Italians care so little about their beautiful country. The Siena line which is a branch turning off at Empoli (an hour short of Florence) has carriages of the usual English & French sort. The railway soon passed by the last mountains of the mountainous country which extends from here to Nice & entered a richly cultivated plain, with few mountains in sight & those distant & low. Nothing was visible but very clean looking crops of green corn in regular beds like a garden ground, divided into squares by rows of mulberry trees with vines festooning from one to another. The country from Empoli to Siena I did not see, as it was dark, there being only two trains, early morning & evening. Siena quite agrees with my recollection of it as a cold looking gloomy town—not at all cold though to the sensations—in spite of the very narrow streets, very high houses & almost entire absence of places (one excepted) or any other openings from which to see more of the sun than illuminates the top story. It must be a delightful town in a burning sultry summer. Though it is all hill I had gone nearly all over it before I could get the least bit of view out of it. When I did, I found that the backs of many of the houses must have a country view, as it lies on the twisted chine of a ridge (chine not in the I. of Wight sense) into which two deep ravines full of olive grounds run up from the country. I then caught a fine view or two of the town—the country of which only a little can ever be seen at once, seems not fine for Italy—it is more like a French view & we should call it fine there. The cathedral however is magnificent. I could not have supposed that round arched buildings could give me so much of the same feeling that Gothic ones do. But when there is the same immense height, & when the same infinite quantity of details subordinate to one coup d’oeil which gives such a feeling of vastness in the northern Gothic is reproduced in another way by the infinite quantity of figures (painted or statues) colouring gilding &c to which the alternate black & white of the marble within & without contributes, one is (at least I am) surprised to find how it affects one. The peculiarity of this cathedral is that it is paved with sculpture—historical pictures being chiselled in the common pavement & that under the dome being a peculiar kind of mosaic, of white & brown marble & black composition. I had no idea that the effect of this could be so fine & I expect I shall find the common pavement of cathedrals tame after it. The one piazza is like that at Brussels & there is an hotel de ville as large & still more moyen âge than that, though not so beautiful, with a tower as high as I ever saw (much larger at top than bottom) but all brick & looking entirely made for the warlike uses of the times of the signorìa & not also for ornament like those in Belgium. I can imagine that the tocsin heard from that must be awful. I saw all the pictures of note said to be in the town viz at the cathedral, the hotel de ville & the church of the Dominicans—there may be private galleries but Mrs Starke,2 now my only help, does not mention any of those I saw. Some are celebrated but there are none of such as interest me—except that some in the cathedral shew the effect that may be produced by great vast frescoes in a fine church. I have been plagued out of my life with vetturini & I was near having to go to Florence. One rascal broke his appointment but I have closed with another to take me in 2½ days to Viterbo from where there is a diligence to Rome in one day: this is to cost me 8 scudi: there are four other travellers I suppose Italians all. My hopes of seeing Sicily have a little revived by learning from Mrs Starke that even in her time it was quite practicable to go to Reggio on the straits of Messina by land—the road excellent, vetturini to be had, only the inns bad. I shall enquire about it fully at Naples, & at present my feeling is that way or not at all. Hitherto I have not known what a bad inn is in Italy. This one is the least good I have been at & this would be a good one in France. If I can get a companion of the right sort we may take a servant with us who can buy & cook provisions & so it may do. Thank heaven it will not now be so very long before I have another letter—I hope several. I dare say I shall have time to write on the road. Adieu my sweetest most precious beloved one.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Orvieto, Jan. 12. 
My blessed angel I begin this now but I dare say I shall finish it at Rome. It grieves me to think that every fresh letter is longer before it reaches her—but when I get to Rome that will no longer be the case, for the present. To continue the bulletin of my health—those grapes were a most unfortunate incident. They brought back all the dyspeptic symptoms which I hoped I had got rid of—not quite so bad as before, however, except the tongue, which is worse. By extreme prudence in diet I am I hope conquering the dyspepsia again, but I cannot hope to get rid of it while travelling—the inevitable irregularity as to hours & the difficulty of finding in these little places anything that I dare eat, are great impediments. What I chiefly fear is that though I shall get rid of this state of the digestion I shall remain subject to it—if so my prospects every way are much impaired & I should now think it a great thing if I could be sure of coming back in as good health & strength as I was from August to November. But at Rome I shall have quiet, good food, a good climate & good medical advice if I need it.—My darling sees by the date that I have come a different road from our former one—by Chiusi (Porsenna’s2 capital, now a small town on the borders of Tuscany) Città dela Pieve (city of the parsonage house) where I slept last night & Orvieto to join the other road at or near Viterbo. I have had to do with a rascal of a voiturier—really the impudent knavery of these fellows disgusts one with Italian travelling. These troubles are much less unpleasant when we are together, because (not only I have her help, but) the feeling of being bored & worried for her takes away the bore & worry—but when it is for myself only it is a real torment. This rascal signed a written engagement in the presence of the inn people which I thought bound him to every essential point. But unluckily I consented to a clause for paying the money in advance. The consequence was that instead of a proper voiture, I was disposed of to a series of four successive diligences, the rascal pocketing two thirds of my eight scudi, the amount of which has astonished by its roguery each successive office to which I had to go. Yet I beat the fellow down all I could but he held firm, knowing I suppose that I was in his power. Further, though he undertook in writing that I should be at Viterbo tomorrow evening, I found on inquiring here that the diligence leaves in the evening & arrives next morning, so that I am fain to pay two scudi more for a carriage to myself to go in the daytime. The diligence from Viterbo to Rome is a day diligence so I think I am sure to get to Rome on the evening of the 14th & glad I shall be. I shall then too feel warm again, for these two days have been real winter days, the first cold I have felt since leaving England. They were, au reste, very beautiful days. The country, the first day from Siena, was hilly, but only what we should call fine country in France; until Chiusi, which is extremely fine—a broad wide spreading valley (the Val di Chiana) (not like English valleys) along the front of the hill (all these towns are on hills) & beyond this is a magnificent mountain; the Monte della Pieja [sic], to which we were approaching half the day—On the same side with Chiusi was another valley & heights beyond it, more than hills yet not mountains, on the top of which was Città della Pieve. Today the whole journey was most beautiful through & over forestry rather than woody hills of great height. Orvieto occupies the top of a hill precipitous on all sides with perpendicular rock—tufo they call it & it seems so for it looks like white strongly agglomerated sand. There is one of the finest cathedrals I have seen—roundarched within, but pointed without, with a splendid façade in which with the Gothic forms & even a rose window is combined quantity of fine bas reliefs & all the rest very well painted in fresco—the effect altogether is very fine. Within are the excellently preserved frescoes of Luca Signorelli,3 said to have been much studied by M. Angelo before painting his Last Judgment & indeed he has evidently taken much of the conception from them—there are four of them on the same subject. The others, Paradise, Hell, & Antichrist a false image of Christ with the devil whispering in his ear & surrounded by great folks—but the conception of this promised more than it fulfilled. They are altogether the most like M. Angelo of any I ever saw. There are some other frescoes of Beato Angelico4 in his soft devout stile but they were on a ceiling & so high up that I could not look at them comfortably. I walked about half round the front of the rock on which the town stands, by a horse path on the side of the hill. The situation is very fine, a deep valley all round, an exaggeration of Nassau, the high surrounding hills covered with olives on the sunny side, with oaks on the other & in summer it must be lovely—it was so to the eye even now. The inn here & that of last night are merely decent Italian inns, good of their sort but none of the comforts I found at all the others, nevertheless last night I had the sweetest sleep I have had for a long time, full of dreams of you & of happy being together & of planning & doing things for the good of others. I was quite sorry to be waked at three (it was four the night before) for the diligence. But tomorrow I shall not leave till eight. I have a good sort of landlady here who does everything I want & tries much to content me. But I remark that every Italian I have to do with, rogue or honest, has the manner & appearance & I have no doubt many of them the reality of good nature—they all seem glad to do little kindnesses, & the manner of all is courtesy itself. Today I have succeeded for the first time in getting kid for dinner (N.B. not a good specimen) & have for the first time boiled tea as we did at Hyères, a most pleasant feeling of similitude to me just now. I had only entamé my tea once before, having found good tea everywhere, save at Genoa where finding theirs bad I tried my own, but it was bad too proving that the fault was in the water. At Pisa & all the places on the road their tea was excellent & they made it themselves, only too strong & enough for three people. The pope’s doganiere at C. della Pieve was deaf to hints about money—how he did peek about everything, with what immense curiosity—perfectly civilly—ending by making me pay exactly the sum I shewed him before, viz five pauls. I think my strength is coming back a little, but so very gradually that I am not certain.
Viterbo, Jan. 13. I feel nearly well today my darling—even my tongue is better. I have got onto the great road again, & therewith to a comfortable inn, though I had not much reason to complain of the others. I had a very enjoyable long night—these large Italian beds are so very pleasant—full of dreams, none of them disagreeable, I remember one—I was disputing about the ballot with Calhoun,5 the American, of whom in some strange way I had become the brother—& when I said that the ballot was no longer necessary, he answered “it will not be necessary in heaven, but it will always be necessary on earth.” From Orvieto here much of the way is extremely fine—the view of Orvieto itself crowning its rock, seen from the ascent of one of the higher hills which surround it is one of the finest things I have seen in Italy. It looks the very type of Shelley’s “warrior peopled citadels.”6 The latter half of the way was an approach to a striking mountain, somewhat resembling that of Radicofani & the driver had the impudence to pretend it was that. The fact seems to be that they seldom know the names of anything but towns, & if you ask about anything else you are answered at random. Today we passed Montefiascone, the day before yesterday Montepulciano which with Orvieto makes the three places which are said to make the good wine, but I suppose they make little or none now. I had a distant peep of the lake of Bolsena. Tomorrow I shall start early either by the diligence or a voiture & I shall get to Rome by nightfall, but I shall put this into the post here, as she will get it two or three days sooner by my doing so. I shall write almost directly from Rome. How I look forward to the letters there—they are the chief cause of my not going to Florence. Adieu angel of my life—blessedest love.
It was astonishing the quantity of country people I met going to market at Orvieto. Today also I have seen a great number of people working in the fields. Many of them wear pantaloons of goatskin with the hair on, which gives them a Robinson Crusoe look. Most of the countrymen wear cloaks which they throw over their shoulders, Spanish fashion. adieu again—
Rome—Jan. 14. To my great disappointment the post at Viterbo was shut. In other places I have been prepared for this contingency by obtaining postage stamps, but here in a new country I am as yet unprovided with them & if I had them should not have known how many to put. What is worse the post office was closed here too when I arrived & I cannot get my letters till tomorrow morning. I came here in a very comfortable but slow diligence in a very fine day, but which would be called decidedly hazy even in England. I have never had what we mean by a southern sky since Spezia. This agrees with but exceeds my previous idea of the local climates of Italy. Rome on entering by that striking Piazza del’ Popolo looked prodigiously fine—more so than I expected. The long dusty road from the Ponte Molle as well as the principal streets were crowded with people walking & with carriages—it being Sunday evening—but I saw none but Italians & the waiter at Franz’s says there are very few forestieri7 this season which he attributes to the cholera though it has been over these two months—so much the less my chance of finding a companion. But I have to get well first & I have not been very well today, but expect to be so very soon by aid of rest & Dr Deakin.8 I have got a comfortable room at Franz’s for 5 pauls, about 2½ francs which I think is as little as I can expect & I shall now for some time return to regular habits. The idea of stopping some time in the same place (& that place Rome) makes me feel excessively comfortable. Though I am not in the mood of expecting much from anything away from home, I do expect great pleasure from the statues & pictures here. I have been running through Mrs Starke’s catalogue with delight & mean to live in the galleries. The Campagna is not tempting at this season, looking dead & brown. As yet nothing looks green except the young corn—although it did not feel cold today there was ice in every shady place. There is a proverb here—dopo Candelara, d’inverno siamo fuora—after Candlemas (Feb. 2) winter is over—but it wants more than a fortnight of Candlemas yet. The view at the approach to Rome was splendid—some accidental rays of sunlight struck exactly in the right places. All the streets are full of placards about the Immaculate Conception which has just been for the first time declared an article of faith.9 Decidedly this old carcase of the Papacy stirs about, & makes believe to be alive. The first sign I saw of the French was near Viterbo, a board with “Limites de la garrison”—but the French have all left Viterbo now & only a few remain at Rome. It is very disagreeable not to know with more certainty my future movements, so as to be able to make sure of no loss or delay of any of those precious letters—but unless my health hinders which is very improbable I shall stay here long enough to receive the letters of the 16th (the last date I gave her) & then go to Naples. So she had best write to Naples, darling, & continue doing so till I am able to tell her whether I go on to Sicily or return to Rome. I long more than I can express for tomorrow’s letters, it is so long now since I have had any. I forgot to say that the perspirations have quite gone: I did not welcome the coming but I sped the parting guest. I fear the post for England only goes out three times a week so that I shall never be able to send letters oftener—but I shall always write then—adieu again life of my life. I shall make the same envelope serve by sealing it.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Rome—Jan. 15. 
This morning I had the happiness to find two of her letters at the post office—one was unsealed (the seal was broken, but as if it had parted of itself)—one the Pope letter2 sent from Genoa to Pisa & faithfully forwarded from thence—the Genoa people having attended to my letter from Pisa though they forgot their previous promise. It was wrong of me to risk losing one of her precious letters—but otherwise it is as well that I did not wait for this at Genoa, as in that case I should have written directly to Pope giving him the choice of Montpellier or Hyères, while as it is I write according to her last & best advice. The other letter was her nice one of the 4th. Italy as you say is much improved by whatever of the modern improvements has reached here—it is a pleasure to see the electric telegraph even here; it reaches from Rome to Bologna, but (characteristically) with only one wire. I would wager much that the French made it be erected. Rome is not at all changed & is a place like no other. One lives entirely in the past. “Du haut de ces pyramides quarante siècles vous regardent”3 was little to ‘it’, for there it was only the fortieth century back, qui regardait, but here it is the whole succession of intermediate centuries—all history seems to planer over one. There are from that same Egyptian period the innumerable obelisks. I had quite forgotten there were so many—they meet one every where with their hieroglyphics—there is the vast population of Greek statues of all periods, there are all the Roman remains & the whole middle age, down to St Peter’s & most of the churches which represent the renaissance & the Pope with what belongs to him is just another old ruin, of which being more recent than the others it is natural that there should be a greater quantity of remains: & those priests & monks & their mumbling services are those more modern remains—still standing to wait till the next comes—& that this is true & no illusion the siege in 1849 proves.4 In the meanwhile the whole place is a historical museum with some theatrical representation of history still going on. I have been to St Peter’s, the apparent smallness of which from without astonishes me more than ever—it is vastly inferior in effect externally to St Paul’s—but what a difference internally! I enjoy it more than I ever did—enjoy is the word—the more so as it is the only warm place I have been in today except my room (& that I had to change because the first I had proved very cold). St Peter’s is evidently warmed artificially. You have not seen & felt Rome cold & looking cold. Today is a bright, real winter day & the streets of Rome admit of hardly any sun: only the Piazza of St Peter’s with its soldiers exercising was bright, & how those two beautiful fountains did sparkle & make rainbows in the sunshine. The promenade too of the Pincio was bright, & where sheltered, tolerably warm. The Borghese garden, as seen from it, does not seem the worse for wear. But the cold & the look of cold makes the lookout on the Campagna disagreeable instead of pleasant. The town only is pleasant, with its fine principal streets & its innumerable domes. I went to the Vatican & began seeing the statues but it closes at three & I was turned out—today was the public day, Monday, but it is open on other days by a fee to the custode which I shall not grudge. I have read up the Times at the old place, Monaldini’s. There is another place of the same kind now, Piale’s, also in the Piazza di Spagna, which seems more frequented, especially by English. The only thing I found noticeable was the Queen’s letter5 —was there ever such a chef d’œuvre of feebleness—O those grandes dames how all vestige of the very conception of strength or spirit has gone out of them. Every word was evidently her own—the great baby! & it is not only the weakness but the décousu, the incoherence of the phrases—sentences they are not. No wonder such people are awed by the Times, which by the side of them looks like rude strength.—Whom should I find here in the same inn but Lucas6 —not a bad rencontre to make at Rome. I left my card for him & shall no doubt see him tomorrow. Au reste, nobody else here whom I know, judging from the lists at the libraries. Hayward7 appears to have been here in autumn but no doubt has left. There is a Lady Duff Gordon but I suppose & hope it is the mother of the baronet.8 And there are a few people whom I have just seen—Lady Langdale9 —some of the Lyalls10 —& others whom I forget. If Naples is like Rome I have no chance of a companion. I have found the address of Dr Deakin & shall call on him tomorrow. I have been considerably better today but I think it best to consult somebody about my stomach & my strength. I am anxious to get back the last, since at present long walks which have done me so much good hitherto, are impossible. I have not ventured to take quinine while my stomach was at all disordered, which it is still, a little. I see a great many English priests all about, as well as many other English. On Thursday I believe there will be fine music at St Peter’s which I will certainly hear.—There is so much to do & to see here, that it has taken off my nascent velleity of writing. On my way here cogitating thereon I came back to an idea we have talked about & thought that the best thing to write & publish at present would be a volume on Liberty.11 So many things might be brought into it & nothing seems to me more needed—it is a growing need too, for opinion tends to encroach more & more on liberty, & almost all the projects of social reformers in these days are really liberticide—Comte,12 particularly so. I wish I had brought with me here the paper on Liberty that I wrote for our volume of Essays—perhaps my dearest will kindly read it through & tell me whether it will do as the foundation of one part of the volume in question—If she thinks so I will try to write & publish it in 1856 if my health permits as I hope it will.
Jan. 16. I saw Dr Deakin this morning: he is a pleasant mannered man. He thinks he can set me right by a dose of bluepill & that I should afterwards take steel. I do not like taking mercury, as Ramadge thinks it so bad in consumption—& it was partly foresight that mercury would be recommended, which made me unwilling to consult any medical man if I could help it—though I took one of Clark’s mercurial pills on my own prescribing. I told Deakin my objection which he seemed to think just against taking mercury as an alterative—to remain in the system, but this he said was to purge me & be carried off. So I mean to take it. I am certainly stronger today—I have walked about more than any day for some time. I am getting quite familiar with the obscure part of the town by my daily journeys to & about the post office, which is now removed to a most inconveniently distant place, the Piazza Madama (so named from Catherine de Medici)13 between the Pantheon & the Piazza Navona. It was less cold today because less wind, though the basins of most of the fountains had ice all round the edges over which the water flows. How very pleasant is that multitude of fountains everywhere—but indeed Rome is the city of multitude—multitude of fountains, of obelisks, of domes, of statues. I went through the Museum, catalogue in hand, today, & now knowing the whole, shall return often to see those I most like. It gave me quite as much & more pleasure than I expected. The celebrated Meleager14 I do not care a rush for—I should never have guessed it to be ancient. The Apollo is fine but there is a Mercury (formerly mistaken for an Antinous) which seems to me finer & a gigantic sitting Jupiter who is magnificent. The Ariadne if such she be is most beautiful & so are many others. The Laocoon I can see deserves its reputation but it is not the sort of thing I care about. I see with very great interest the really authentic statues & busts of Roman emperors, & eminent Greeks—although as you know, not only no physiognomist but totally incapable of becoming one. But I find the pleasure which pictures & statues give me, increases with every new experience, & I am acquiring strong preferences & discriminations which with me I think is a sign of progress. After the gallery I was tired & rather cold, & glad to sit in warm St Peter’s. Nothing I find grows on me more than this building. There is a great deal of nonsense talked about it e.g. that from being so well proportioned it does not look its size (internally). It may not to an unpractised eye, but to any one accustomed to great buildings it is evidently at once the largest he ever was in. The only truth I find in the saying is that it would look longer if it were not so high & higher if it were not so long. Whatever part you are in the eye cannot rest for a moment on anything which is not fine: in every direction the arches make fine perspective—& every bit of the wall which is not gigantic sculpture or fresco is precious & many coloured marble or gilding—the last not predominating too much as it does in some of the gaudier churches. It is a pity that the fine imposing monuments are all to insignificant popes. At least they have buried Raffaelle & Annibale Caracci in the Pantheon—the last with an affecting inscription by the painter Carlo Maratta.15 —I have had Lucas sitting with me a part of this evening talking about all manner of things—I talking infidelity as freely as he Catholicism. I find I know a great deal more about Italy than he does—he was never at Rome till now & has been nowhere else in Italy & has a great deal of Rome still to see & seems to like the idea of seeing it with me—so we shall probably go about a good deal together when the Irish Catholic business he has come about allows him. He expects to be detained some weeks rather waiting than doing anything & is well disposed by way of parenthesis to go to Naples with me when I go. This will be pleasant. I have just discovered that there is a diligence from Rome to Naples with coupé, which goes in two days, stopping at Terracina for the night—can anything be pleasanter? I shall see everything & have no trouble with vetturini.—I have looked at the windows of the old place at the corner of the Vicolo degl’ Incurabili—the only time I have gone down the Babuino (I went on purpose). The rooms are still to let. I am truly happy to say there is a post daily to England, so that I shall both receive & send letters without any unnecessary delay. Writing in this rambling way to my darling is the nearest approach I can get (though how unlike) to those nice talks at our dear Blackheath which she wrote so sweetly about. A propos I did not tell her why I did not go to the Baths of Lucca as she seems to have thought I would. They are quite high up in a defile of the mountains, where the sun rises two hours later & sets two hours earlier than in the plain—& are abandoned by visitors after the end of September. I thought they would be cold, & wintry looking & that it would not be pleasant to be there, nor could I well judge either of the accommodations or of the beauty of so completely a summer place. So I passed over that as well as Florence.
Jan. 17. Having taken Deakin’s prescription I am staying in doors for the present, but I shall be able to go out before post time with this letter. After taking mercury it will not do to go to cold galleries & churches, but to walk in the streets will do me no harm. It is not so fine today—there are some clouds. I have not had a drop of rain since the day I arrived at Montpellier & almost always very fine weather—but Lucas says that he also has never once, since he arrived here in the beginning of December, seen a single day brighter than a fine day in England. Evidently what one means by an Italian sky is a South of France sky—confined in Italy to Naples & the Riviera. But at this season there is not here even the soft purple light which we used to see in March. The hills all round look merely wintry & not at all inviting. It may be different at Naples & probably is so. I have not yet gone near the antique parts of Rome, beyond coming accidentally on the temples of Vesta & Fortuna Virilis while rambling about waiting for the opening of the post office which was delayed by the non arrival of the courier. I ask daily for letters but do not expect any till she has received mine from Spezia & this sad increase of distance makes the time very long. I expect too to hear in two or three days from Clark & Ramadge to both of whom I wrote from Pisa about my digestion & perspirations. Adieu my precious angel. Before this I hope she has got rid of that worrying company16 & is enjoying quiet & the beautiful place.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Rome Jan 18 
I went this morning to a gran funzione at St Peter’s—the festival of the chair of St Peter—mass was said or sung before the Pope who sat on a throne at the extreme further end of the church. Except foreigners & a few of the populace & some women apparently of the rank of ladies for whom tapestried seats were put up, there were few there but those who were there officially. The music, which as usual was all vocal, gave me no pleasure—it was either the Gregorian chant or some of that very old church music which is much the same. When it was over I saw the procession pass out—the cardinals & bishops followed by the Pope carried above the heads of the crowd in his chair, then the guardia nobile & the soldiers. I did not expect to find the Pope’s features so entirely insignificant—he is not like an Italian. The Cardinals had all sorts of physiognomies, austere, sensual, or bland, but almost all of them marked features of some sort. After this I went with Lucas & a young English priest a friend of his to the pictures in the Vatican—first Raphael’s great frescoes, then the gallery of oil pictures & then to the statue gallery, only stopping at the few finest. They neither of them knew half as much as even I do about pictures & sculptures but Lucas seems to receive pleasure from them & to be capable of learning to feel something in them. The other seems an ignoramus, as I suspect most of the English priests are, except the converts. I have no faith whatever in Lucas’s catholicism. If he is a Catholic at all it is a mere opinion, or fancy of the head. At least he is totally different from what I should be if I believed Catholicism. Perhaps he is shy of demonstrating with me what he thinks I should not respect—& I have thought in England that he was very guarded with me—but I much suspect that he is so because he does not wish me to see how little of a Catholic he really is. Not only he never shews one atom of religious feeling, but it is evident that the things he cares about in Rome are chiefly the memorials of ancient Rome like any English dilettante. I think he has not half as much feeling of & for Catholic things (at least Catholic art) as I have. He lets me have most of the talk & it does me some good to have somebody to whet my faculties on—he is a little better than Pope perhaps. The pictures give me great & increasing pleasure. The frescoes by their composition & by the grace & dignity of the separate figures—but what delighted me most was the Madonna di Foligno,2 & next two or three Perugino’s3 and a Coronation of the Virgin in Raphael’s first or Perugino manner. I could stay with pleasure an indefinite time in Rome. No doubt we should not, in the long run, like living there, but it is the only place in this journey except Spezia, where the idea of the possibility of living there has presented itself to me. If it were not for the letters I should be tempted to stay here a fortnight more instead of a week. As to health—although Deakin’s medicines have not acted in the way he intended, either they or something else have made me a great deal better & even stronger. My digestion seems quite coming round—my hunger, by dinner time, is so great that though I repress it I still eat a great deal more than I did, & nevertheless digest it better. The weather has changed to a mild west wind & rain.—If Rolandi4 has it, you would I think like to get from him a novel called Eugène, by Emile Barrault5 the St Simonian—it is full of good things well said about marriage, divorce & the position of women—the St Simonians & the Fourierists deserve eternal gratitude for what they have done on that subject. I go daily to the post, each day with increasing hope of a letter from my own only darling. I think there must be one tomorrow.
Jan. 19. And here it is my precious precious one & well is it worth going twice through the rain for it as I had to do. I am so happy that she was at last restored to her quiet,6 & that the froissement of feelings & nerves had done no other harm to her health than retarding the improvement which therefore I trust began from that time. Every word of her handwriting is so precious & so delightful—I count the days each time till I get another. I find letters take ten days from Torquay; at least this did, therefore I shall remain here till the 26th, this day week. I can be in no better place at this dead time when the country has no attractions. At this place I for the first time in this journey (except that one day at Avignon) enjoy existence—partly because I really digest better & have the feeling of returning though not of returned health—partly the being stationary for a while, which rests both mind & body—but besides I am getting quite immersed in statues & pictures. I passed the best part of today in the Sistine & in the statue gallery. I had no idea that I could derive so much pleasure from pictures as I did from those of Michael Angelo in the Sistine. The more fine pictures one sees, & the oftener one sees the same the more one enjoys them. I do not know or understand a bit more about them than before—it is the spontaneous development of a pleasure. I have left off reading about pictures & I see nobody who knows or affects to know anything about them. I mean to see all the good pictures I can while I am here or at Naples. This would be the time & place for getting good & cheap copies of fine pictures if my darling thinks it would be pleasant—perhaps she will tell me what she thinks of it. By the bye, I do not like the Transfiguration. There is a great deal of fine in it as there must be in anything which Raphael took much pains with but it is not a pleasing picture. There should either be completeness of beauty perfectly satisfactory to the eye & mind or else first rate power in a picture & in that there is neither. There are figures quite repulsive—the kneeling woman might sit for one of the Furies—& to see the want of power in the Christ one has only to look at the rising & soaring figures in the Last Judgment. They seem to have no weight—or rather soar with a force which annihilates weight. My dear one can have no idea of that picture, having seen it in a light which was darkness visible.—I shall see Deakin again tomorrow & perhaps he will think it time for me to begin taking steel. I recover very slowly & have been so much thrown back that it will need all the time from this till Midsummer to realize the good we hoped for from this journey. My dear one will have seen from my letters that her advice to eat much while very careful what, was not suited to my case for I was quite unable to digest much of anything, & now though I have a ravenous appetite & eat a good deal more, I cannot always digest it. Deakin recommends game & poultry rather than meat—the two days I had game for dinner I digested better than any other day. Today I had a roast chicken & have not been quite so well this evening; I eat them with potatoes only. I do get stronger but it is very slowly—but long walks will come again in the early Neapolitan if not Sicilian spring. I saw about the cholera at Ravenna—that coast is I fancy the only part of Italy in which there is cholera now (if it is still there). The robbers there I fancy are patriots. How bravely the Sardinian government is keeping up the fight with the priests.7 You will have seen darling that I at last got all your dear letters. I was probably mistaken in supposing that Allen’s oil agrees better with me than the others. Here in Italy it has not done at all better & Deakin advised me to leave it off. What gave me the idea was that I began to digest badly at Torquay & laid the blame on the oil I got there, but I now fancy it must have been something more deeply rooted. Deakin says there is very good cod liver oil here & before leaving here I shall replenish. It is now very mild here but thoroughly rainy—it rains much in the day & torrents every night.—Lucas & his friend have just been here to say that they have got an admission to the Pope’s palace in the Quirinal & I have agreed to go there with them tomorrow & then to go to the Rospigliosi palace & other places in the same neighbourhood. As my darling has not said anything to the contrary this will be the last letter I send to Torquay. I shall direct next to Blackheath unless I hear meanwhile that she will stay the three months (instead of two) there, which I most earnestly hope that she will & that the weather will be mild enough to make the smoke a minor evil. I have twice or thrice been troubled with smoky chimneys, but by extreme good luck have never once had wet or bad wood—the bellows which had such hard work in our Nice journey, has had almost a sinecure. I fear I have not got on with my Italian at a rate at all corresponding with my first start. When I got unwell I felt disinclined to the great exertion of talking in a language one does not know. I shall do better hereafter. With returning health & the pleasure of this place I find my activity of mind greater than it has been since I set out & I think I shall be able & disposed to write a very good volume on Liberty,8 if we decide that that is to be the subject. Ah darling how very deeply I feel the sweet & kind things you write & how I bless her for them.
Jan. 20. It is a fine morning dearest though it does not yet look like a change of weather. I feel very well, as I generally do in the mornings; & expect a pleasant day. I shall make the most of this week—At present it feels as if any place would be very flat which does not contain St Peter’s. I shall put this in the post while I am out. adieu & a hundred thousand loves & blessings.
Too late, alas, for the post—so I reopen to give the latest bulletin. I went to the Quirinal; to the Rospigliosi, to Sta Maria Maggiore, to St Pietro in Vincoli & returned by the Colosseum & the Forum—a very long & interesting day’s work. There were few pictures which I cared much about except the Aurora of Guido9 at the Rospigliosi. The engravings from it are hacknied but the original fresco raised Guido very much in my mind. I do not place it much below Raphael. There is also a very nice Speranza by Guido in the sacristie of S. Pietro in Vincoli. But the grand thing there is M. Angelo’s Moses, certainly one of the noblest statues in existence—nobler perhaps than any Greek. S. Maria Maggiore you know—it is internally the finest specimen of a Basilica I have seen. The Colosseum looks much larger & finer than I expected—the difference between it & the amphitheatres at Arles & Nimes is incalculable. They are making great new excavations in the Forum & have got down to old pavements & foundations of buildings which throw quite a new light on the localities—among others they have discovered the exact place of the Rostra—I find Lucas has made a complete study of these old sites & can explain everything to me like an accomplished Cicerone, while I can instruct him in Christian art. Does not that tell tales? I must go back to these scenes alone. It began to come on me like a quite new feeling, that of the relics of the old city among gardens & country—after I have been filled full of the modern town. I must go back & realize it. You see darling that I am enjoying the full advantage of a second visit. All the inevitable disappointments were got over in the first & I now have eyes only for what is fine, & there is so much of that, that it has put me in as much of a state of tranquil enjoyment as I can have anywhere without you. I am the better too for having somebody to talk with but I furnish nearly all the talk & Lucas would have quite wearied me by this time at Pisa or anywhere that had comparatively little to see & little to interest. I have not seen Deakin today—he is seldom at home till afternoon & today I let pass the suitable hours then. But I have cared less about it because my digestion seems steadily improving & I am perfectly well otherwise—without even any more or worse expectoration than in England—but still my strength comes back very slowly. I see the English papers daily—Times, Chronicle & (strange to say) the Leader. The adhesion of the Sardinian government to the alliance may be a good stroke of policy for Sardinia but very bad for Italy & the world—it chains Sardinia to Louis Napoleon & sends away the only disciplined soldiers of Italy to die in a cause not Italian10 —adieu once again my darling darling love.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Rome Jan. 21 
In my enumeration of the places I went over yesterday, my treasure, I omitted the vast remains of the Baths of Diocletian, two small parts of which have been made into two churches, one of them (designed by M. Angelo) very large & magnificent & a part of the remainder forms a great convent of Carthusians whose curious greyish white habit I for the first time saw. Among the pictures which struck me I omitted a beautiful Annunciation by Guido in the private chapel of the Pope’s palace on the Quirinal. The palace itself contained nothing but what one would expect: save some quite recent Gobelin tapestry which the eye could not distinguish from fresco painting. Today I went to the basilica of St Agnes a mile outside the Porta Pia to see the ceremony of blessing the lambs. Two pretty little creatures, white & woolly & decked out with ribbons, well trained to be quiet, were first carried about the church to be admired & caressed, then laid on the altar, where a form of words was said over them & they were sprinkled with holy water: this was the ceremony. I had proof here that there is fine church music in Italy for I heard one of the finest masses conceivable sung to the organ like Warwick Street or Moorfields.2 This is the day they bless the horses at St Antony’s church, near Sta Maria Maggiore. All day horses were being ridden or driven there (from the Pope’s to those of the poorest person who had a horse) caparisoned to their utmost & when they got to the church a priest came out, read the form & sprinkled them. After seeing this I went to St Paolo fuori le Mura3 [sic], the great basilica which was burnt down but has now been rebuilt as fine as ever & is one of the largest & most splendid churches of Rome. What a change of times when the altars are encrusted with malachite given by Nicholas4 a schismatic prince & the four pillars of porphyry which support the baldacchino were a present from the Mussulman Mehemet Ali.5 Returning I went over the cemetery of foreigners—English, Germans & Russians chiefly—& found out the tombs of Keats & Shelley, the last the simplest & most modest of flat stones, the first a small headstone with a pathetic epitaph ending with the words dictated by himself “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Some time both ought to be removed like Napoleon’s when there is a fit place to receive them. But it will never be to an English but to some cosmopolite Pantheon. I also saw the tomb of Goethe’s son6 who died here a year before his father. Lucas who went with me to all these places was evidently much interested—I am more & more confirmed in my opinion of the little that his Catholicism amounts to. I must make the amende to his friend the Rev. Mr Kyne7 (or Kyan) for though he is certainly not a man of information, Lucas says he devotes & has for many years devoted his whole life to going about among the poorest of the poor in Clerkenwell & is here to recruit his health injured by that exertion. He is living here with Talbot,8 the Pope’s chamberlain in the Vatican. There is no end to the English & Irish & even American priests here. There is some hardship at the English & Irish colleges for there are no fires whatever (except the fire for cooking). This is no trifle for it can be very cold at Rome. Yesterday & today it has been cold as well as wet with much rain & occasional hail—the Tiber is swollen into a full rapid dark muddy stream & the adjacent parts of Rome & of the country are flooded. There is fresh snow on parts even of the Alban hills. Certainly there is no temptation to stir out of the town.
Jan. 22. I saw Deakin again today & he thinks me so much better that he does not advise me even to take steel. He draws the most favorable augury from the manner in which my digestive functions have recovered themselves & thinks I shall soon get back my strength: so far so good. It has been finer today though not without rain. I went to see the Borghese pictures with Lucas & afterwards met him unexpectedly at the museum of the Capitol. The Borghese collection pleased me much—there are no first rate specimens of the very first masters but a very good selection from the different schools; it is richest in Roman & old Tuscan, & the gems are two or three Francias.9 The admiration of Francia I thought mere pedantic humbug from the much belauded specimen in our National Gallery, but from the pictures of his I have since seen I rate him very high. The picture gallery at the Capitol is about equal to the Borghese; I liked best a Fra Bartolomeo & some Venetian portraits. The ancient sculptures are fully equal, for their number, to those at the Vatican; the Dying Gladiator perhaps superior to any. There are some reliefs of scenes in which Marcus Aurelius is introduced which appear to me quite wonderful & are very delightful to me from my extreme admiration of the man. The place is full too of curiosities: the brazen she wolf of Romulus which was struck with lightning at the time of Julius Caesar’s death: the fragments of a most curious plan of old Rome, unfortunately dug up in many small pieces: the original Fasti Consulares also fragmentary but in large fragments, going back to some of the consulships preceding the Decemvirate. All these are believed genuine by Niebuhr & the most critical judges who have fully examined the evidence. These are much more interesting to me than the remains of Roman buildings, which with two or three exceptions are very ugly & all very much alike. Lucas says his business at Rome is coming to a crisis: he came to prevail on the Pope to take off the interdict lately laid on priests against interfering in politics: if he cannot succeed in this, he & others mean to give up politics for the present. Cullen, the Archbishop, is the head of the party opposed to him & he & Cullen are to meet this week by desire of the Pope, to try if they cannot arrange matters amicably:10 if not, the Pope will have to decide between them. I conjecture that the interdict, so absurd in a Catholic point of view was procured by Louis Napoleon to prevent the English government from being embarrassed by Ireland during this war. Lucas thinks it is not this, but Cullen’s Whiggish inclinations, & it is curious that while Cullen was supported in getting the Archbishopric on the one hand by MacHale,11 on the other, if Lucas says true, Lord Clarendon12 was writing the strongest letters in his support on the ground of his being a perfectly safe man: three people known to Lucas have he says seen a letter from Ld Clarendon to the brother of More O’Ferrall13 to that effect. This shews skilful duplicity in Cullen at all events. I heard from Ramadge today (not yet from Clark). R. has told me what to do if the perspirations return. Deakin does not seem to like my leaving Rome so soon, but if I continue to get better I shall go next Monday, being the first day of the three times a week diligence after the day I expect my darling’s letters of the 16th. You see dearest I am making the most of Rome & it is giving me as much pleasure as I am capable of having in this solitary journey. In such weather too as I have had I could have done little in the way of country walks even if I had been stronger. I have a great deal of walking in Rome, & though I sit down all I can, always am very tired before I come in to dinner at five. I have got Eustace’s Tour14 & am reading it: things have got on since then. He travelled in 1802: scarcely even an octogenarian now is such an old twaddler. Every thought & every principle of judgment he has on great matters or small has been obsolete these 30 years. Yet I must have been born when it was published or very soon after. It interests me because it is full of quotations from the Latin poets & applies them to the places.—Lucas says that Ward15 lives at the Catholic college in Hertfordshire, & though a layman gives lectures on dogmatic theology & is preparing a treatise thereon. He has lately had a bad illness. Perhaps he is more likely to think himself out of Catholicism in England than to look himself out of it here. I no longer think that coming to Italy should cure the converts. There is nothing to the eye that contradicts the professions, & as to the mind, there are no doubt still learned doctors of theology as there always have been.
Jan. 23. I have received today my darling’s letter of the 13th which makes me very anxious & uneasy about her, & especially about that pain in the chest—it reconciles me to her going so soon to Blackheath, because she will be nearer to good medical treatment. My angel if it continues, pray see either Tuson16 or Ferguson.17 It was likely enough that having held out as long as those irritating circumstances lasted you would break down or have an illness immediately after—that we know is the commonest of common turns of affairs—it is most unfortunate that anxiety caused by my letters should have come exactly at that crisis. It is the greatest comfort to know that the Pisa letter relieved the anxiety & I hope none of those which followed will have brought it back. My angel knows by this time that there is nothing to be alarmed about, but there is a great deal of time lost. I was weighed this morning at an English saddler’s on the ground floor of the very house in which we passed so many days together. I found I had lost 15 pounds since Avignon, being the eight I had gained & seven more. I of course knew I must have lost a good deal but did not expect so much. There is all this lee way to make up, & nearly two months of the time gone. But I dare say as Deakin says, I shall recover strength & flesh very fast when my digestion is once right. The worst is that though it is now pretty right in the main it still requires the utmost care—Careful as I am I have very few days entirely free from indigestion. I begin to get impatient of the loss of precious time. The time here at Rome passes pleasantly enough, but that is not what I came here for, & such pleasure is not worth going or staying away from home for. I passed the greater part of today in the Vatican, seeing the old things over again & some which I had not seen—among these the workshop of the mosaic workers, those who copy in mosaic the great pictures—also tapestry said to be from cartoons by Raphael, 23 of them, among which all the seven at Hampton Court18 —but these seven are so infinitely superior to any of the others that I cannot believe the rest to be by Raphael. They must be by his pupils. The Transfiguration improves on better acquaintance by the aid of a better light,19 the day being at last fine. I think the left hand half of the lower part of the picture as fine as anything ever painted & the right hand half is better than I thought. There is a very fine Isaiah by Raphael—in the stile of the prophets of M. Angelo in the Sistine, which is in the church of St. Agostino here. I saw it today, having been struck with the copy of it in mosaic which had just been finished at the workshop. I continue to dislike the Meleager20 —but I must add to the first rate statues one I had not much noticed before, an athlete scraping himself, I suppose after a contest. That, the Apollo, the Antinous-Mercury, the Dying Gladiator & the Moses seem to me the finest statues I have seen, but there are some most glorious portrait-statues of philosophers, orators & Roman emperors, a Lysias, a Demosthenes & a Nerva, besides many others. The enormous multitudes of everything are most impressive here: each of the innumerable fountains has its large or small group & in every garden or common pleasure place of any sort all the ornaments are antiques—mostly statues or reliefs—so that one comes to feel it one’s natural state to be surrounded by them. Then the originals of the great pictures walk about the streets & meet you everywhere. I am continually seeing exactly the same heads & figures which are in the pictures—male chiefly, for the women as elsewhere disappoint, though they are handsomer here than anywhere else in Italy. By the bye I went once to the opera (the pit is all in stalls, the price two pauls, about tenpence) (but staid only one act, of Rossini’s Cenerentola).21 Cinderella & her two sisters were I should think the three ugliest old women in Italy—the sisters looked disagreeable as well, which was in the esprit of their rôle—as for Cinderella she looked a bonne grosse paysanne who was exactly in her place & never ought to have been taken out of it. Every box in a very large house was full, though through the Carnival there is an opera every night at two theatres. I never saw such a display of large faces. The Roman women are so made by nature & they heighten it by putting their hair entirely off their faces. What the common people are like except outwardly I have not found out & do not well know how for I am not thrown among them here. I wonder she should find such rambling & superficial letters interesting or amusing. You should not my darling write in ink—I can read the pencil perfectly & do not my love write when it is painful—or write only how you are my own precious angel—it is delightful to read her letters but when I know each one costs her much pain & does her real harm I had much rather only hear how she is in a note from Lily. Good night darling & a thousand loves.
Jan. 24. I kept the letter open to say that all is well this morning. I am going to pass a day alone among the ruins. Addio mia divina.
TO HARRIET MILL1
Rome Jan. 24 
This has been a very full day & I will give an account of it to my darling. I set out rather discouraged about myself, being less well than usual, but I have been on foot from 10 till 5, & though I often sat down, it was never for long—& I walked with more spirit at last than at first & felt tired only in the way I used after the long walks at our dear Blackheath. So I hope I am getting back my strength. After putting my letter into the post I went across the Capitol & walked or rather scrambled all about the Palatine, looking from that deserted hill over all Rome & especially the Trastevere. The Palatine is all kitchen gardens except a villa of an Englishman named Mills,2 one of the most gimcrack erections possible but apparently very nicely planted & in a most enviable site. I then went round by the Colosseum & the arches of Titus & Constantine into the line of the Circus Maximus which leads past the immense remains of the Baths of Caracalla (looking like fragments of a mountain) towards the Appian Way. Presently I saw written up on the left “Sepulcra Scipionum” so I went in. It is a succession of vaults & winding passages cut out in the rock, which served as the graves of all the Scipios from the Scipio Barbatus,3 greatgrandfather of Africanus,4 whose tomb makes so great a figure in the Vatican Museum, to Scipio Asiaticus5 the brother of Africanus. Africanus himself was not buried here but at Cumae where he died in exile. Everything that could be removed from this sepulchre has been taken to the Vatican except the long funerary inscriptions which mark the place where each body was deposited & identify the persons. After this I saw what was much more curious, several columbaria:6 first one small shew one, then seeing the word inscribed I went into a private ground & met the owner who very politely shewed me two very large & fine columbaria which he had discovered in his grounds & most curious they are. These are the places built as repositories for the ashes of those who were burnt—square chambers deep sunk in the ground, with steps descending to them & all the sides from top to bottom laid out as it were in shelves & pigeon holes with the ashes of 6, 8, or 12 persons on each shelf in various receptacles, each with an inscription shewing the name & rank of each person, & often with a small bust, glass vessels for libations &c. These places not having been dismantled are nearly as the Romans left them & they bring one into the midst of Roman life (for death is the greatest incident of life) in a way nothing else does. The proprietor has found a third of these which appears to have belonged to persons of consular rank & promises he says to be still more curious—it is not quite excavated yet but he invited me to come & see it in three or four days. After this I went out at the Appian gate, Porta San Sebastiano, & walked some miles along the road which coincides with the old Appian way, passing the tomb of Cæcilia Metella7 & the very large remains of the Circus of Romulus (the son of Maxentius)8 about the size of a modern race course (which it was) but in the large brick buildings all round for the spectators much of which is still left. A little beyond the monument of Cæcilia (you know that round tower shaped like the Castle of St Angelo) the original pavement of the Appian Way is for some distance uncovered & forms the present road—but the present Pope is uncovering the whole line further on for many miles & you can see it going strait [sic] to the horizon across the long arm of the Mountain of Albano, while under your feet are the original old blocks which Horace trod on in his journey to Brundusium.9 This road goes over a succession of slopes & hollows forming a hilly boundary to the plain between Rome & Albano & from it is seen the entire ensemble of those long broken aqueducts which you remember with the range of the Sabine mountains behind, making a fine & characteristic picture. I returned to Rome by the way I came, but instead of going in at the Appian gate, wound round the outside of the walls of Rome to the gate of St John Lateran & went into that fine basilica: the finest church in Rome except St Peter’s. It does not look fine at a distance but when you are near enough to feel the effect of the colossi on the roof presided over by the gigantic St John bearing his tall cross, it is imposing. The façade too is very fine & from the side next the city it groups well with the Pope’s palace of Lateran adjoining. Almost all the churches at Rome, however fine inside, are mean & ugly outside. This & S. Maria Maggiore are the only exceptions, save St Peter’s which is not ugly but worse for the exterior so dwarfs what ought to be the grandest building in existence that even the obelisk in front seems to bear an appreciable proportion to it. I returned to the inn by the region of the Monti: from the Lateran to S. Maria Maggiore is a macadamised road between high walls planted with trees on both sides, down one slope & up another with the two basilicas closing the view both ways & I could not help turning round every minute to have another look at the Lateran in the sweet evening light. Then through the church of S. Maria & along the Via delle quattre Fontane which ends at the Trinità de’ Monti. It was the first day of pleasant air & climate I have had at Rome—all the others were either cold or rainy. I do not know if my darling cares to read about all these minutiae—I spare her a great many of the minor things I see but when I am much pleased or interested I always write it out directly. These deserted parts of Rome, country & country roads within the walls, with no houses but here & there a bastide or a villa (but now & then a splendid church or a great convent) have a great charm to me.—Lucas has just been here. He has had his meeting with Cullen today, finds him very hostile—no chance of an amicable arrangement10 —means to stay here & fight it out—but can do nothing just at present therefore thinks he shall be able to go to Naples—& if so Mr Kyan proposes to go too. So we shall be a party of three. I should have liked Lucas better without Kyan but he is not disagreeable nor much in the way. We shall see. Meanwhile they are going with me to some more pictures tomorrow.
Jan. 25. I am in the best of spirits today about my own health but anxious & impatient to hear of hers. I have bought Murray’s Guide to Naples11 & its territory which I find will be very useful. I find from it that to go to Reggio by land is perfectly safe & usual & that there is a diligence (the mail) the only obstacle to my going by which is the very small amount of luggage which the mail takes; so it will depend on my finding on enquiry that the steamboat & the inn at Reggio can be trusted with the rest of my luggage. I shall advise with the banker thereon. Vetturini in abundance go that road but I do not like that so well. If I had one or two companions we could post. Anyhow I feel no doubt now of getting to Sicily somehow so darling if you are pretty well, do not direct again to Naples. If you are worse I certainly will not go further off till you are better but of this I hope the letters I shall receive at Naples will tell me fully. If you are doing well please dear write once to Messina such a letter as you would not mind losing, & not again till you hear from me again. I shall find out immediately after reaching Naples, how it is to be. Lucas has just been here to say he can go, so if we can get the three coupé places for Monday we shall go then. I saw Deakin again today: he thinks me much better, as I am, & quite fit to travel again. But what chiefly encourages me is that I feel decidedly stronger in spite of the extra walk yesterday, or perhaps in consequence of it. I begin to feel some excitement about seeing Calabria. It must be splendidly beautiful. Today I have seen many fine things. In the morning I went with Lucas & Kyne to the Farnesina where are the frescoes of Cupid & Psyche designed by Raphael & coloured by his pupils, & the fresco of Galatea by himself: the first pleased me as much as I expected, the last not quite so much, but with frescoes by Sebastiano del Piombo12 & others the room has altogether the only fine specimen I have seen of how a room may & should be ornamented in this stile—every hole & corner filled with something graceful & the whole blending in perfect harmony. There are also some beautiful frescoes at this palace by Bazzi of Siena13 whom some other pictures I have seen of his make me place very high. He was a cotemporary of Raphael. We then went to three churches in the Trastevere, two of them on the Janiculum having by far the finest views of Rome, all of which is spread out below with its background of mountains—One of them S. Onofrio where Tasso died & is buried & where are still the remains of his oak14 —the main trunk of which was blown down in 1841. The other is S. Pietro in Montorio. In all three there are fine pictures. In the afternoon I went by myself to the Palazzo Barberini to see one of the finest small collections of pictures in Rome: the original Beatrice Cenci,15 as much surpassing the copies as they usually do; & a portrait of the wife of Cenci, Lucrezia:16 the real Fornarina17 by Raphael—quite unlike the one at Florence which according to Stendhal is neither t