Mill’s Additional Letters: Collected Works vol. XXXII

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Source: Editor's introduction to The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXXII - Additional Letters of John Stuart Mill, ed. Marion Filipiuk, Michael Laine, and John M. Robson, Introduction by Marion Filipiuk (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1991).

Copyright Statement: The online edition of the Collected Works is published under licence from the copyright holder, The University of Toronto Press. ©2006 The University of Toronto Press. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of The University of Toronto Press.

Introduction by MARION FILIPIUK

editors, both past and present, of Mill’s correspondence have had to live with the certain knowledge that the task would remain incomplete. To the second volume of Earlier Letters, Professor Francis E. Mineka had to append three “Additional Letters” that had come to light after the volumes were in page proof.1 At the conclusion of the fourth volume of Later Letters, he added another, much larger collection of recently discovered letters, one of which had, again, arrived too late to take its proper chronological place, even in the late additions.2 We have been somewhat more fortunate with timing, in being able to add to this collection at the very last moment a newly arrived series of letters to M.E. Grant Duff. The ever impending problem of new acquisitions bears evidence to the continued flourishing state of Mill studies, and we cannot pretend to undue concern.

Even before the manuscript of Volumes XIV-XVII was submitted to the publisher, a misplaced fragment of a letter was sent to John M. Robson, appropriately by Professor F.A. Hayek, the originator of the project to collect and publish Mill’s correspondence. The fragment appeared first in the Mill News Letter,3 and was added in its proper place in Volume XIV. Six letters from Mill to Sir William Molesworth also made their first appearance in the News Letter,4 and then were subsequently included in the Appendix to Later Letters.

Since 1972 thirty-seven more letters have been edited for publication in the News Letter by friends of Mill and members of the Mill Project, and seven others have been published in the Mill Society Bulletin, Japan. As we continued to become aware of the existence of yet other letters, and were fairly certain that in the intervening years new material would have found its way into manuscript collections, we became convinced that we should initiate a new search and gather in all known correspondence as part of the Collected Works.

Beginning in 1985, major public and university libraries and archives in the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, historical associations, relevant special collections, and selected libraries in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand were contacted about recent acquisitions or holdings possibly overlooked, with some pleasantly surprising results. We were informed of three Mill letters in an important collection of manuscripts recently left to the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York by Gordon N. Ray; and a set of eight letters exchanged between Mill and James Fitzjames Stephen was drawn to our attention by the Librarian at Cambridge University. In the course of locating the various drafts of Mill’s despatches in the India Office Library and Records for the publication of a finding list in Volume XXX of the Collected Works, Martin and Zawahir Moir found more than seventy letters and notes from Mill to his colleagues in the East India Company. Professor Shohken Mawatari undertook the task of checking the manuscript holdings in Japan, with resulting additions to this collection, and Professor Shigekazu Yamashita sent us copies of the letters to Theodor Gomperz, earlier believed lost, but now held at Kokugakuin University. Individual collectors, such as Professor Arnold Heertje, have also been extremely helpful and generous.

From the files of Professor Mineka (which included those of Professor Hayek), graciously passed on to us in 1985, emerged other clues to previously unpublished material, such as entries from dealers’ catalogues. Though most of these letters could no longer be traced, three have subsequently been located, in the Pierpont Morgan (Ray) collection and in Japan; some, no doubt, remain in private hands. In the files was also a series of typescripts of letters from Mill to Henry Cole made by Professor James McCrimmon from manuscripts in his possession in the early 1940s. Some, but not all, of these were printed in Volumes XII-XIII; the rest appear here for the first time. We believe that the McCrimmon manuscripts, apparently sent off for inclusion in the Mill-Taylor Collection at the London School of Economics, were probably victims of enemy action while in transit during the Second World War. A letter to Professor Mineka, indicating the existence of a manuscript fragment at Manchester College, Oxford, enabled us to obtain the first part of Letter 1474A, to Mary Carpenter; and, much to our surprise, the remaining fragment appeared in the collection of the College of Law, Nihon University, Tokyo.

In all, well over 300 letters have come to light over the past eighteen years, and now take their place in the Collected Works. The distribution by decade is generally similar to that in the previous volumes. Three have been added to the relatively meagre number that hitherto represented the correspondence of the 1820s, and forty-three to each of the decades of the 1830s and 1840s. There are fifty-eight new letters written in the 1850s, of which forty-four derive from the India Office Records. By far the greatest number, however, 129, belong to the decade of the 1860s, when Mill achieved the height of his fame; and thirty-three, in a roughly similar proportion, represent the first two-and-a-half years of the 1870s. They add appreciably to our knowledge of almost every stage of Mill’s life.

Particularly significant is the long letter to George and Harriet Grote (8.1), which describes many of the activities of Mill’s circle in 1824-25, and three early letters to John Bowring (8.2, 8.3, and 31.1) that suggest the relations between him and the Mills may not have been quite so strained as has previously been believed. A letter of condolence to J.B. Say, on the death of Mme Say (29.1), reveals the deep respect and gratitude that Mill entertained for Say and his family, as well as the depth of his feelings on the suicide of his great friend Eyton Tooke. A response to questions by J.A. Blanqui (85.1), Say’s pupil and successor, about the teaching and propagation of political economy in England in 1833, illustrates Mill’s boundless good will and effort in accommodating and assisting French acquaintances. A letter to the Paris bookseller Paulin (177.01) also, however, demonstrates his signal lack of success in making the London and Westminster Review a real vehicle for the international exchange of ideas.

The series of letters to Henry Cole, which is discussed in a separate section below, has greatly enriched the detail of the circumstances surrounding the transfer of the Review to him and William Hickson in 1840. Two other letters of that year (284.1 and 285.1) to John Calvert, from a Mill deeply grieved by his younger brother’s death, show that relations with Calvert, John Sterling’s great friend, on whom Mill relied during Henry’s last days at Falmouth, were close. The second also throws light on the way in which discussions at the Sterling Club helped Mill to understand the Christian commitment of the Wilberforces, and it dates his earliest steps to revise his essays for publication, a plan not completed until the appearance in 1859 of Dissertations and Discussions. The correspondence with Theodor Gomperz, discussed in detail below, which began in the 1850s, illustrates another of Mill’s warm, personal relations, in this case with a younger disciple who was much in need of the generosity of spirit that was shown him. A separate section is also devoted to consideration of the recently discovered internal memos from the archives of the East India Company, which add to our understanding both of the workings of the Company and of Mill’s work as its employee.

Many previously unknown and interesting contacts during the decade of the 1860s came to light in the course of our search, some producing challenging questions. The second of three letters (594A, 617A, 1547A) to J.E. Thorold Rogers, Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford, expresses Mill’s relief at escaping “the crowd and turmoil of the present occasion,” in mid-June 1863, and adds, “I should be a little ashamed, too, as well as surprised, at being thought sufficiently orthodox when Kingsley is not.” No evidence has been found that Mill was, like Kingsley, nominated for the degree of Doctor of Common Laws, but at that time Kingsley withdrew his name from the lists of candidates because of objections to his views. A letter to the botanist John Lindley, editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle (671B), demonstrates both Mill’s active concern for conservation and his intolerance of the “selfish rapacity” of those who would collect rare plants. Three letters to James Fitzjames Stephen (690A, 833A, 1431A) illustrate the course of their relationship between 1864 and 1869.5 Two letters to the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in the fall of 1867 (1127A, 1160A) are, like two of those to Stephen, answers to requests for advice, and demonstrate the same tact and wisdom in response to difficult questions. Five to J.M.F. Ludlow (1046A, 1046B, 1112A, 1118A, 1521B) deal with more practical matters, the administrative reforms with which Mill was concerned; they reveal that in 1867 Ludlow was very active in assisting Benjamin Scott in preparing his evidence for the Select Committee on Metropolitan Government (on which Mill served), and that Ludlow had assisted James Beal in preparing his bills on the same subject.6 One letter is Ludlow’s reward for services rendered: a warm endorsement by Mill of his candidacy for the office of Registrar of Friendly Societies, along with a keen and humorous assessment of the politician Robert Lowe. There are three letters supportive, in principle, of William Rossiter’s efforts in 1867 and 1868 to launch and develop the South London Working Men’s College and its accompanying school (1152B, 1239A, 1246A), and one to Elizabeth Malleson (999A) applauding her similar endeavours for a Working Women’s College.

An excerpt from a letter written to the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association in July 1870 (1583A) confirms that Mill had indeed some knowledge of Marx, or, specifically, of his speech on the Franco-Prussian war, which may have been sent to him for comment and which he found admirable. Other new contacts in the few years of the 1870s that remained to him continue to illustrate the constant demands made upon his time for a variety of causes. A group of letters that are held at the Palais du Roure in Avignon may also illustrate something about the way Mill’s correspondence was bundled up, when, more than thirty years after his death, books and papers were disposed of at the local Librairie Roumanille. There are fourteen letters to Mill, with seven draft replies written verso and two drafts on separate sheets, most dating from the short period of August to October, 1871; the remaining pieces are a certificate dated 1858, unanswered letters of 1861, 1864, and 1865, and an envelope from 1888.7 In all there are twenty items, probably representing a single lot at the sale in May, 1905.

The editorial method followed here is virtually the same as that used in the six previous volumes of correspondence. When the autograph letter has not been available, the draft has been used and is so identified. We have reproduced our sources as closely as possible, retaining vagaries of spelling in both English and French without comment. We have, however, transferred dates and addresses that appeared at the end of a letter to the beginning, and occasionally have silently added an end-of-line comma or full stop. The first footnote to each letter provides the location of the manuscript; addresses and postmarks where available; publication information for letters previously printed; information about conjectural dating; and, at first references, identification of the recipient. When possible, letters have been related to those sent to Mill.

The practice in the Appendices of Collected Works, Volume XVII, has been followed for the enumeration of the letters. For additional Earlier Letters, a decimal notation has been used: e.g., Letter 284. 1 below, of 25 Apr., 1840, is next in chronological sequence after 284, of 22 Apr., 1840, in Volume XIII, pp. 429-30. An alphabetical indicator signals additions to Later Letters: e.g., Letter 336A below, of 29 Nov., 1858, follows 336, of 28 Nov., 1858, in Volume XV, p. 578. In eight cases, when the letter antedated one already inserted in the sequence, we were forced to resort to a further refinement; see, e.g., 171.01 and 862AA below. Letters already in Collected Works in incomplete form, reprinted here in full, retain their original numbers. Of fifty-two undated letters discovered, we have managed to assign dates to all but fifteen; these last have been arranged chronologically, as far as could be determined, in a separate section, and bear the prefix “No.” In footnotes, letters in this volume will generally be referred to by number, letters in Earlier and Later Letters, by volume and page.8


several of the new letters to Henry Cole and one to John Mitchell Kemble throw more light on the story of Mill’s divesting himself of the London and Westminster Review and transferring it in the spring of 1840 to Cole and William Edward Hickson.9 Mill’s determination to withdraw from the costly proprietorship and onerous editorship was evident in October 1839, when he tried to interest Thomas Wentworth Beaumont, the wealthy proprietor of the British and Foreign Review, in taking it on. His first tentative approach (265.1 below) was through Kemble, the editor, with whom he had only “a former slight acquaintance,” but through whom he thought it prudent to make the preliminary enquiry. Since the two reviews had had the “same difficulties to struggle against,” and basically the same readership to draw upon, Mill thought there might be some pecuniary advantage to Beaumont in incorporating the rival radical organ. Kemble’s reply apparently indicated several issues on which the opinions of the two reviews had been at variance, and clearly suggested that he was unfavourably disposed to the merger; but he offered to write to Beaumont.10 Mill was left dangling for months, expecting some sort of response from Beaumont, and apparently unwilling to let the silence speak for itself.

As early as August 1839, Mill began to confide his problems with the Review (and with John Robertson, who had been mismanaging it in his absence on the Continent) to Cole, who was obviously interested in becoming involved, but said nothing at that point.11 He knew about Mill’s offering it to Beaumont, since they discussed the matter during walks to town in October. There is no hard evidence in Cole’s diary that he was pressing his suit, though VanArsdel interprets the fact that all contact with Mill ceased during Cole’s illness, 7 November to 14 January, as an indication that he was perhaps putting too much pressure on Mill.12

Robertson apparently called on Cole on the first day of that illness to talk about the “future management of the review.” A previously unpublished letter from Mill to Cole (268.1) may be dated to 12 November, the Tuesday following that meeting. Robertson must have explained some sort of “plan” that he and Cole had formulated, which possibly involved their sharing of the editorial duties in future. The letter also suggests that they were hoping Mill might be persuaded to retain the proprietorship if he were relieved of the editorial burden. Robertson appears not to have felt that his position was threatened by the proposed arrangement, as Mill says, “He seemed to me to be neither for nor against the plan, but to await my decision. Now my decision, if I consider myself only, will be, whatever becomes of the review, to withdraw myself from it.” Beaumont is still his major hope; he thinks, after waiting nearly a month, that he “cannot be much longer without” an answer. If Beaumont fails, Mill says: “I should like best . . . that your schemes should proceed, with some other person than myself as the proprietor.”

There is no mention of Hickson in this letter, and no indication that the discussion went any further at this point. Mill may have decided that he prefered to shelve their plans until he knew definitely where Beaumont stood. Cole, however, was not totally idle. The diary for 17 November notes that Hickson called and “promised to help in some new arrangements of the L. and W.R.” This is the first entry that specifically links Hickson with the plans, though contacts between Cole and Hickson were frequent during this period.13

Mill continued to wait throughout December and January, and the only relevant item in Cole’s diary is the unspecific comment that on 7 January, 1840 he had a chat with William Makepeace Thackeray about the Review. It is likely that no one wanted to push Mill, since all were aware that he had serious concerns and financial responsibilities resulting from the declining health of his brother Henry. And it is likely that Mill’s procrastination and wavering were at least partly the result of his disturbed state of mind and the uncertainty about his brother’s fate.14

On 6 February, in the midst of this turmoil, and presumably feeling the pressure of shortly having to produce the March number, Mill suddenly offered the Review to Cole, still “in case of Beaumont’s refusal to buy it,” and then, just as suddenly, the next day withdrew the offer. Letters 273 and 276, the dates of which were uncertain, can now be assigned through Cole’s diary to 6 and 8 February: Cole and his brother called on Mill on the 9th to try to straighten things out. “One or two friends” had, in the interval, been trying to persuade Mill that he should not allow the Review to continue with the name unchanged, as he would remain closely associated in people’s minds with it, and that it would be more to his credit “that it should cease entirely than that it should be continued as anything else than the philosophical & political organ it was designed to be.” Perhaps Mill felt guilty and embarrassed about having treated Cole badly, because, after a breathing space, contact, if not negotiations, resumed by 15 February.15

At the “eleventh hour,” on a Thursday, probably 27 rather than 20 February, Mill wrote to Cole, again offering him the Review if he would carry it on under the name of Westminster, and adding that he would be even happier to turn it over to him and Hickson jointly, as Cole proposed, but all this still subject to a last-minute offer from Beaumont, “or from some other quarter almost as improbable.”16 Letter 277.1, here published for the first time, is obviously a second note written at “20 minutes before 6,” on the same day, just as Mill was rushing off to Reynell’s to oversee the printing of the March number of the Review.17 It was prompted, obviously, by the fact that he had indeed had the offer from the “other quarter [he] alluded to,” and he would suddenly like the matter decided, with “an announcement in the present number,” but was still somewhat short of certain: “if you are willing to carry it on our agreement must be conditional on the very probable event of my refusing [the other offer].”

No such announcement appeared in the March number, though, curiously, discussion seems to have heated up among all parties almost at once. It is scarcely surprising that final arrangements failed to be made on such short notice, and other moves were apparently afoot. Cole had noted in his diary on 20 February (a Thursday) that Robertson had called on him; there is no specific mention of the Review at all, but on the following Friday, the 28th, Cole and Robertson dined together, and then with Mill and George Fletcher (an occasional contributor to the Westminster) walked to Kensington. How can all this be squared with Mill’s making an offer to Cole on the 27th, which Cole not only failed to take up at once, but failed to mention in his diary?

It is possible that by 20 February Robertson could see that Mill was wanting to put the matter to rest soon, and that his job as editor was in jeopardy; so a reminder to Cole of his interest in staying on, and his difficulties, may have appeared timely. Cole’s lack of response to Mill’s offer may have resulted from “the force of circumstances”—an inability to reach Hickson, vagueness in their arrangements (as everything still seemed to hinge on Beaumont), or his own financial uncertainty. Whatever the reasons, or the sequence of events, it is certain that after the conversations on the 28th, Robertson was aware that the tide had definitely set against him and that he immediately mounted a campaign to save his position. It sounds, indeed, as if Robertson had made a bid to conduct the Review as sole editor. Cole’s diary for the 29th reports:

Walked to town with John Mill who seemed to think that Robertson could not manage the Review by himself. . . . Robertson called and in a round about manner urged all sorts of reasons to influence his remaining Editor of the Review. He said he did not like J. Mill’s conduct and that he had offers to write in the Edinburgh, that without him and J. Mill the character of the Review would be gone, that in fact the Review owed him £900, that he had never been able to have his own way, etc. etc.18

It seems likely that Robertson had had a rude shock on the 28th when he discovered that Cole and Hickson were potential co-proprietors and his editorship was in question. Cole was apparently sympathetic to his problems, and Robertson persevered. On 5 March he returned to visit Cole, and made a new proposal—that Cole “be sole proprietor and he editor of the Review.” Mill must have heard about this scheme from Robertson later on the same day and hoped to talk to Cole about it the next morning, but missed him. This inference dates Mill’s letter of Friday to 6 March.19

It is here that an undated letter of Cole’s must fit, in response to Mill’s early morning note.20 It is also headed “Friday.” Cole had talked to Hickson on Thursday night; Hickson was unwilling to enter into a joint proprietorship with Robertson as editor. In the letter Mill is asked to decide between Cole and Hickson, or Cole and Robertson: “the decision must rest with you.” Later that day, Mill replies: “The responsibility thus devolving wholly on me I must take till Monday to consider. But I will be prepared to give you an answer positively on that day.” (277.2.)

Cole, however, did not wait for Mill’s answer—or he knew what it would be. His diary for 6 March notes: “Wrote to John Mill abt. Robertson’s editorship. . . . In the evening writing to Robertson to decline his proposition.” On Saturday, the 7th, Hickson made Cole a generous offer to take a greater number of the shares, thereby lessening Cole’s financial responsibility in the venture.21

VanArsdel’s dating of Mill’s letter of partial explanation to Robertson to 10 or 11 March seems correct.22 Mill undoubtedly would have written before the formal transfer took place, as it did on Thursday, the 12th.23 Letter 279, in reply to Robertson’s answer of complaint, may thus be dated to Monday, 16 March.24

Mill obviously agreed to help Cole and Hickson with the editing if they so wished, and the brief letter to Cole (287.1) can probably be dated “before 26 May,” the date of publication of the June issue. “The Critical and Miscellaneous Notices” section became a feature of the Review under the new owners, mentioned as such in the notice of change. Though Mill clearly thought it was a poor substitute for solid articles, he went over the notices for the June number, as requested, and contributed three to the September number. This letter must have reference to the June and not the September number, because Cole withdrew in July and was no longer in charge of the section.25

The evidence from the three new letters to Cole printed below, Cole’s diary, Caroline Fox’s diary, and VanArsdel’s article permits a redating and reordering of the letters from this period as listed below. (Those preceded by No. are found in Collected Works, Volume XIII.)26

268.1 [12 Nov., 1839?] No. 275 [6 Mar., 1840]
No. 274 [22 or 29 Jan., 1840] 277.2 [6 Mar., 1840]
No. 273 [6 Feb., 1840] No. 278 [10 or 11 Mar., 1840]
No. 276 [8 Feb., 1840] No. 280 12 Mar., 1840
No. 277 [27 Feb., 1840] No. 279 [16 Mar., 1840]
277.1 [27 Feb., 1840]


the relationship between Mill and his young Austrian disciple Theodor Gomperz was similar to that with the even younger Englishman, John Morley. With these two men, Mill’s role was that of father figure as well as mentor, and his genuine interest in, and abundant kindness to, the rising generation of the talented and reform-minded is much in evidence in his dealings with them. But Gomperz’s special problems brought out the depth of Mill’s generosity of spirit for a troubled mind in a way that no other relationship called for. Mill was, in many ways, at his absolute best with Gomperz, in the honesty that accompanied the compassion and the modest reticence that avoided applying pressure to an overburdened spirit. Yet in the circumstances that accompanied Gomperz’s aspirations to Helen Taylor’s hand, Mill also demonstrated the naïveté bordering on blindness that was characteristic of his attitudes where his wife and her daughter were concerned. Gomperz treasured Mill’s letters to him over the years, and they were used by his son Heinrich in a study of his father’s life, based on his correspondence.27 It was from this source and from drafts in the Johns Hopkins and Mill-Taylor collections that most of these letters came into Later Letters.

In a communication to the editor of the New York Times of 25 April, 1939, Heinrich Gomperz claimed to have “published all of these letters in their full English text,” and then, having

put [them] to all the use they were capable of yielding, . . . sold the originals at a very modest price to a second-hand bookseller in London from whom they were purchased by Lord Stamp, who, not knowing that they had already been published, . . . wrote a lengthy article about them and, indeed, republished them in part in The Times of London on Dec 29, 1938.

Stamp’s selection in fact revealed that Gomperz had not published quite all of the letters, or “their . . . full text,” as, for example, a two-sentence fragment of Letter 292 and an additional paragraph of Letter 324 below, which Stamp included, bore witness. It was subsequently assumed that the letters were destroyed in 1941, when Lord Stamp died in an air raid that demolished his home.28 We now know that such was not the case. The collection appeared on the market in 1986 and, through the Tokyo dealers, Maruzen, was purchased by Kokugakuin University. It includes thirty-nine letters to Gomperz, a questionnaire relating to the Logic, and a letter to Gomperz’s sister Josephine von Wertheimstein. Owing to the good offices of Professor Shigekazu Yamashita, we were able to obtain copies for collation with the versions which had already appeared in Later Letters.29

Eight letters in the collection, and the questionnaire, are previously unpublished. Four have additional paragraphs, and other differences range from as many as three-and-a-half missing sentences to a short phrase or two. We have decided to reprint those letters (including the one to Gomperz’s sister) that differ by as much as, or more than, a major clause from the version published in Later Letters, with substantive variants noted at the foot of the page. Variants (excluding consideration of salutations and complimentary closings) between the manuscripts and the other letters in Collected Works, not reprinted here, are listed in Appendix A below.

The friendship between Mill and Gomperz began when the latter wrote in the summer of 1854 asking permission to translate and publish a German edition of the Logic, a request which Mill readily granted.30 Three previously unknown notes from Mill to Gomperz (262A, 262B, and 262C, below), dated almost two years later in the early fall of 1856, document the fact that Gomperz, when in England, was provided with the latest edition of the Logic, the fourth, and invited overnight to Blackheath to discuss the translation. It was the only occasion on which Gomperz met Harriet, and she seems to have approved of him, if one may judge from the personal revelation she made to him.31 Her approval would surely help to account for Mill’s continued loyalty to Gomperz, despite his inability, over a considerable period, to arrange for publication of the translations of Mill’s works.

The friendship was thus firmly established in 1856, though there was at once to be a year’s gap in their correspondence. Gomperz apparently next wrote to Mill on 30 September, 1857, telling of the death of his father earlier that year and asking a favour. Could Mill determine whether it would be possible for a medical friend of his to obtain a post in the service of the East India Company? Mill replied at once, on 5 October, as helpfully as he was able, in Letter 292 below (most of which is previously unpublished), and expressed an interest in learning more about Gomperz’s own scholarly work. Yet another ten months passed before Gomperz wrote again, apparently on 21 August, 1858, telling of his publications in the Rheinisches Museum, and suggesting that he would like to include in his translation of the Logic some of Mill’s controversy with Whewell. Once again, Mill’s response (324 below) was immediate, on 30 August, agreeing to all Gomperz’s suggestions, and in a previously unpublished paragraph saying that he needed a long “recruiting” from the “confinement of an office”; he had therefore seen fit to refuse the post on the Council of India that had been offered to him by Lord Stanley.

On 10 November, pleased to have at last, it seemed, found a publisher for the Logic, Weber of Leipzig, who was planning to bring it out in December and January, Gomperz replied.32 He enclosed a pamphlet, Die Theorie der Induktion, by Professor Ernst Friedrich Apelt of the University of Jena, and asked Mill if he would care to answer the arguments and include his response in the translated volumes. He also asked for permission to be the translator of On Liberty. This letter arrived when Mill was crippled by grief at Harriet’s death, but he dutifully replied to Gomperz on 4 December,33 suggesting that perhaps Gomperz would make some comment on the controversy himself and seeming not to have focused on the request about On Liberty. In his lost letter of condolence of 10 December, Gomperz apparently was enthusiastic in his praise of Harriet; Mill was pleased that “so little as [he] saw of her, should have made so true an impresson.” He acceded to Gomperz’s request about the translation of the forthcoming work, promising to let him have “one of the earliest copies or the sheets.”34

In January 1859, Gomperz apparently wrote again, asking another favour—that a copy of On Liberty be sent to a friend. Mill made the arrangements, and then, not having had any acknowledgment by 31 March, wrote volunteering to send another copy if the first had gone astray. He also made a discreet enquiry into Gomperz’s “various literary projects” (381 below, previously unpublished). This letter went unanswered, and Mill wrote yet again on 16 May (392 below). He asked this time not about the book for the friend, but whether Gomperz had ever received the sheets of On Liberty and whether he was still wanting to do the translation, since he had had another offer from a Prussian magistrate, Eduard John, who was interested in undertaking it and seemed like “a competent person.” Mill in fact directly asked Gomperz (in a sentence omitted by his son) whether he knew of John, and whether “in case the undertaking should not suit [Gomperz],” he should “close with [John’s] offer.” Mill was obviously anxious that On Liberty should make the impact and gain the recognition that the memory of Harriet deserved.

This appeal brought a response from Gomperz in late May or early June, in which he referred to “unhappy events which [had] caused [him] so much pain and disturbance of mind.” Whatever the events, here was the first evidence of the emotional problems that were to plague Gomperz for the next several years and to impede progress both with his own scholarly work and with his good intentions of making Mill’s writings known in German-speaking Europe. In his reply of 11 June (398 below), Mill said he was content to leave the translation of On Liberty with Gomperz as he wished, and he tried to remove any semblance of pressure concerning it. The relationship then lapsed into a period of silence for almost two years.

Mill’s note of 18 April, 1861, and the follow-up of 3 July (487B and 494A below), were not published in Briefe, presumably because they underlined Gomperz’s failure to fulfil his commitments. Unsure that the first note would reach Gomperz, since his address had been mislaid, Mill asked him to write and give it in full again so that a copy of Representative Government could be properly sent; he also mentioned his surprise at learning that a German translation of On Liberty had appeared. By 3 July Mill had found the address, and wrote to say that a copy of the new work was on the way and that he was “vexed” to learn of the German version by an unknown translator (494A). Whether Gomperz received the first of these appeals is not known, but the second at least evoked a response written on 1 August, which fortunately is still extant. Gomperz had evidently been in the depths of a depression for some time. Though a considerable portion of the translation of On Liberty had been finished and even “printed long ago,” his lethargy and “apathy of mind” had prevented its completion and publication. His embarrassment at his lack of performance and his immense gratitude for Mill’s kindness in renewing their friendship are touching, as is Mill’s response of 24 August.35 Mill was fully able to sympathize with a “morbid affection” that sapped energy, but expressed great confidence in Gomperz’s ability and encouraged him to continue with his translation of On Liberty. He also assured Gomperz that he did not “know anything more important or more intensely interesting than the progress and chances of the political transformation of Austria,” and that he agreed, “from beginning to end,” in Gomperz’s analysis of the Hungarian question.

Yet another silence fell until Mill, showing great forethought, wrote again, this time from Athens, on 12 June, 1862 (538B below, previously unpublished), to say that he and Helen were planning to visit Vienna and Budapest on their return home and would like to see Gomperz in Vienna, or elsewhere in Austria, “during the month of August.” He asked that Gomperz write to him, Poste Restante in Constantinople, where they hoped to be “in a month from this time, perhaps sooner.” Heinrich Gomperz did not publish this note, presumably because in his view it represented merely a complication of arrangements; but Mill watchers are interested in his deliberately planning to visit Gomperz (probably motivated in part by the young man’s new political concerns and connections) and his shortening his trip with Helen, reaching Constantinople by 24 June.36 It is interesting too that they continued in the area until about 5 July, without receiving any communication from Gomperz, as Mill’s note to him of 17 July, announcing their early arrival in Vienna, suggests.37 This note, which implies no failure on the part of Gomperz,38was published by his son Heinrich; it in fact initiated a visit of several days, which was both a pleasant interlude and a prelude to further problems.

On his return to Avignon from Bad Ischel, where he and Helen had left Gomperz, Mill wrote on 17 September (554 below) to tell him of their movements in Austria after they had parted, and their activities since, in three-and-a-half sentences of interesting detail that his son chose not to include. Heinrich also made another, apparently minor, omission at the end, of two short sentences: “I have found Dr Schiel’s letter; it is dated Frankfurt. Let me hear from you now and then.” The implications in the comment about Schiel, however, are rich. In 1849 J. von Schiel had published a translation of part of the Logic, as Die inductive Logik, and in 1862-63 through the same publisher, Vieweg, a complete translation of the work. Mill’s brief remark suggests that Schiel had written to Gomperz to tell him that he was issuing this new edition, and that he had also written to inform Mill. It suggests too that there had probably been some discussion of the difficulties that Gomperz had had in trying to find a publisher, and also of Gomperz’s position as the authorized translator of Mill’s works; yet, again, the fact of a previously issued translation did not negate Mill’s endorsement of Gomperz’s efforts, though still unfulfilled.

Before Mill had posted this letter of 17 September, he had received a letter from Gomperz (now lost) that expressed great anxiety at not having heard about their safe return. Gomperz had apparently misread the signals of friendship that he had been receiving during their time together, and had begun to entertain romantic notions about a possibly permanent relation with Helen and her father. Mill’s comment in his postscript to the letter of 17 September—“I should have written before, had I thought you would have felt any such anxiety as you mention on our account”—appears unintentionally to have fed Gomperz’s hopes rather than lessened them.

The effect of these aspirations, and no doubt also of the appearance of Schiel’s edition of the Logic, seems to have been that Gomperz was driven back to his own translation of that work, and to plans for a trip to England. He wrote to Mill in late November or early December,39 setting out his hopes for a reunion in London in January and enclosing a questionnaire about the Logic, the first question of which reflects his persistent concern about his being the truly authorized translation, carried out “with the collaboration of the author” (564 below). Gomperz apparently reached London in mid-February, 1863, and Mill at once hastened to provide the new arrival with a letter of introduction, dated 20 February, to the Greek historian George Grote (589A below, previously unpublished). On that same day, Mill also took the trouble to write to the editor of the Spectator (589B below, also previously unpublished) to send him some information about the political situation in Austria that Gomperz had enclosed in an earlier letter. One must conclude that Mill hoped that the younger man would be pleasantly surprised, and encouraged in his endeavours, by seeing that some serious notice had been taken of his activities and his writings.

Mill clearly made an effort to repay the hospitality shown to him and Helen in Austria the previous summer, unaware that his gestures of friendship might well be misconstrued by a young man with marriage on his mind. Gomperz was invited on two consecutive Sunday evenings to dinner at Blackheath, where he met William Thornton and Thomas Hare.40 Mill also arranged for him to attend a meeting of the Political Economy Club on 6 March,41 and the public meeting of the 26th in St. James’s Hall, at which the trades unionists of London demonstrated their support for the cause of the North in the American Civil War. Mill’s invitation to that meeting (603A below), at which Gomperz was to meet Henry Fawcett, is previously unpublished. The occasion for Gomperz was an extremely impressive one, both historically, as it was the first time that the working men’s societies had participated in public discussion of a great public question of the day, and personally, as he accompanied Helen, while Mill sat on the platform.42 Yet another token of Mill’s friendship was the gift of a copy of Utilitarianism; and on Gomperz’s immediate request, permission was once again granted to him to be the authorized translator.43

Mill and Helen apparently never mentioned to Gomperz that they were planning to leave for Avignon two days after the meeting in St. James’s Hall.44 Gomperz’s letter to his sister Josephine of 29 March, describing his reception at breakfast by the Grotes at their London home on that day, suggests that he was quite unaware of the departure.45 By the time he returned on 5 April from a weekend with the Grotes and their friends at Barrow Green, however, he had heard the news, and, despite his recent social success, he was plunged into despair, both because he had obviously failed to convey his intentions about Helen and because he felt abandoned.46 On 18 April Gomperz wrote to suggest that he join Mill and Helen in Avignon, where he hoped to make his feelings clear.

Mill’s answer of the 23rd, dissuading him from the visit, poured cold water on his hopes.47 He sent a tormented response, to which Mill replied, on 9 May,48 honestly, yet somewhat tenatively, since Gomperz’s letter referred to “suppositions,” apparently adverse to himself, which Mill was deemed to have made. Gomperz then went off to Oxford, where he did, in fact, make some progress with his plans to study and edit tracings of manuscripts from Herculaneum, before experiencing a kind of breakdown towards the end of the month. His strange behaviour caused his new friends there to send for help from home, which arrived, apparently in the first week of June, in the person of his friend Eduard Wessel, but not before Gomperz had gone missing for a short time and caused some alarm.49 According to Weinberg’s account, it was on Saturday, 6 June, as this crisis was occurring, that Mill, back from Avignon, invited him to dinner on the 7th to meet Alexander Bain.50 Gomperz of course did not receive this invitation until he came back to London shortly thereafter with Wessel.

The next note of invitation of 11 June (617 below) suggests that Mill, receiving no reply, went to call on Gomperz; the two phrases omitted from the letter as published by his son indicate that there was apparently some intervening arrangement proposed for the 12th, a dinner at Blackheath with Louis Blanc. When Blanc proved unavailable for that date, Mill wrote to suggest that Gomperz and Wessel come on Sunday, the 14th. The restoration of what may seem trivial omissions shows clearly that Mill was making an all-out effort to see the distressed young man.51

Distressed he most assuredly was, however, though apparently under control at the Sunday dinner party. On the following day, it seems that he wrote to Mill, hinting again at his “wishes” with regard to Helen and communicating his paranoid fears about having been “maligned” to them. This time, Mill understood what he was aiming at, and in his reply of 16 June very kindly, but firmly, suggested that he had no chance with Helen. Mill also, however, most wisely left a course of action open to him: “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. . . . I hope that nothing that has passed will make any difference in your friendly feelings towards us, who remain unchanged to you. . . .” And Mill expressed hope that Gomperz and Wessel would come (as had probably been arranged at the earlier meeting) on the following day.52 Mill’s sympathy for such mental anguish was the product of experience, and his everlasting tolerance of Gomperz’s inability to bring out German editions of his works, as undertaken, was probably born of the awareness that he had contributed, even if unknowingly—or perhaps because unknowingly—to his suffering.

After Gomperz’s departure from London, which must have occurred very shortly after their last visit, Mill wrote to him on 15 July a most kind and friendly letter of encouragement,53 expressing confidence in his great ability and in the therapeutic benefits of “real intellectual work.” Gomperz apparently responded immediately, on the 18th, from the depths of unhappiness and paranoia.54 Mill waited until the 29th to reply, presumably because Gomperz had intimated that he would write again immediately, but then failed to do so. Once more Mill’s wisdom in dealing with emotional disturbance, and delusions, is greatly in evidence. He forthrightly asks Gomperz to explain to him in exactly what way he sees himself as misunderstood, so that the matter may be cleared up, and he gently reiterates the gospel of work, in proper doses, as the remedy for a great mind, greatly troubled. Nor did his active concern cease at that point. When he received no response to this encouragement, he replied on 25 August (639 below) to a letter from Gomperz’s sister, apparently written earlier, on her brother’s return to Austria, explaining the line of encouragement he had taken with him. In a sentence omitted by Heinrich Gomperz, Mill suggests that Wessel had, in the interim, sent him word of their friend’s condition,55 and Mill asked that he continue to do so.

It appears that Gomperz made some response himself after this second, indirect, effort, saying that he was somewhat better, and at work, but he also responded to Mill’s attempt to let him clear the air. Mill’s reply of 17 September (644 below) certainly suggests, however, that Gomperz was still suffering from paranoid delusions, which Mill once more dealt with directly; and once again he acceded to the request from Gomperz to be recognized as the authorized translator of Utilitarianism, enclosing a formal statement to that effect on a separate sheet.

At this point another silence fell, and it lasted until the summer of the following year, when Mill again wrote, on 26 June, 1864 (700 below), prompted, one might surmise from the introductory sentence (another omission of Heinrich Gomperz’s), by a letter from Wessel that spoke of Gomperz’s “intended publication” of Philodemus’s On Anger. Mill yet again reaffirms his friendly feelings, as well as his genuine interest in, and the inherent value of, Gomperz’s scholarly work. Gomperz apparently at once had a copy of the volume sent to Mill, without any personal communication; and Mill took the opportunity of a favourable notice in the Saturday Review to acknowledge and praise it, on 22 August.56

Gomperz’s next gesture was to send Mill the first number of his Herculanean series, concerning Philodemus on induction, and Mill wrote in reply the following spring, on 30 April, 1865 (806 below). It seems that Gomperz had written to him “some months ago,” and had at the time promised a longer letter, which had failed to materialize (a detail Gomperz’s son excised). Mill had already sent Gomperz both the Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, and the first part of his study of Comte (neither of which had apparently been acknowledged), and was planning to send shortly an advance copy of the second article on Comte. It had been two years since there had been any discussion of the projected translations of three of Mill’s works, but never a word of question or hint of reproach had been whispered. Is such restraint possible in ordinary human nature?

And so the pattern would continue on both sides, Gomperz sending Mill yet another scholarly production, the second volume of the Herculanean series, “dedicated [to him] with reverence and love, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, May 20,” and Mill thanking him heartily, if a trifle tardily, on 22 August, 1866, giving parliamentary business as his excuse, and trying to elicit a response from the reticent disciple by asking his opinion about the remarkable political changes in Germany.57 There is no evidence that his opinion was ever forthcoming; perhaps for that reason Mill’s direct invitation to write to him in the final paragraph did not find its way into Briefe. The silence descended again until the beginning of 1868, at which time a flurry of activity about a possible collected edition of Mill’s works in German began.

In January of that year, Mill received a letter from Julius Grosser, proprietor of the Viennese firm of Tendler and Co., which was prepared to undertake the project, and an accompanying note from Gomperz,58 full of enthusiasm about this new undertaking. He naturally gave explanations for previous non-performance, described in Mill’s reply of 28 January as “causes of unhappiness . . . respecting which you hold out the hope that I shall hear something from Mr Wessel”;59 and Mill apparently did subsequently learn through him of the sudden death of Gomperz’s nephew, Carl, and the resulting breakdown of his sister Josephine.60 Mill probably follows Gomperz’s letter in discussing the works to be included in the new edition. The Logic would occupy the first two volumes, and Mill volunteered to send the alterations he was making at the time for the seventh edition. He informed Gomperz that he had already given permission to Dr. Anton Dohrn of Jena to translate the Inaugural Address, and suggested that Grosser get in touch with Dohrn. Mill had also referred Wilhelm Sattler to Grosser about a translation of the work on Comte. Gomperz had apparently asked Mill whether he had seen F.A. Wille’s translation of Representative Government (1862), and Mill replied that it seemed to him to need “a good deal of correction.” Gomperz had also asked about the possible inclusion of Essays on Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, and Mill commented that he would wish to alter the first essay considerably if they were to be reissued in English—not a very positive reply. Gomperz was sure, however, that it would be wise to keep the Examination back, at least at first.

Not having received any acknowledgment of the sheets of Book I of the Logic, Mill wrote again on 18 March, 1868 (a letter not included in Briefe), inquiring whether Gomperz had received them; he enclosed those for the rest of the first volume, and promised to have the sheets of volume two sent on to him “without any avoidable delay.”61 Gomperz replied apologetically on 26 March,62 thanking Mill for the sheets of the whole work, which had arrived, and raising various issues and questions about the edition. The details are interesting, since they show that Gomperz now certainly wanted to take full charge and ensure that the translations would be of high quality. He recommended that Mill accede to Eduard Wessel’s request, enclosed, to be the translator of Dissertations and Discussions, and that Wessel also be allowed to translate Representative Government again, as Wille’s version was so poor. Sattler’s translation of Auguste Comte and Positivism would be carefully scrutinized by Gomperz, who would not hesitate to correct “any material errors.” (In the event it satisfied him so ill that another translation was undertaken later by Gomperz’s wife, Elise.) Anton Dohrn had reported that he would have to give his translation of the Inaugural Address a thorough revision, but since he had no time for the task he had no objection to another’s correcting it. Gomperz requested, however, that a new translation of the Inaugural, and that of Utilitarianism, be entrusted to his friend Adolph Wahrmund, an Oriental scholar, and that a formal statement of Mill’s consent be forwarded, so as to give Gomperz “the advantage of a fuller control over these translations [than he] could otherwise exercise.” Indeed he admitted that Wahrmund had already completed the major part of the latter task, and had “submitted without reluctance to a careful revision” by Gomperz himself.

To all this effort and enthusiasm Mill responded warmly, in a letter of 23 April;63 but before any volumes were published, the firm of Tendler went bankrupt later that year. There was no hint of trouble, however, in Gomperz’s reply of 11 May,64 and apparently no further explanation forthcoming either of this disappointment or of the later renegotiation of the project with the Fues Verlag of Leipzig.

Mill wrote again, in March of the following year (1413 below), to inquire about the edition, because he had “just received an agreeable evidence of the demand for it” in another proposal for a series of his works, which he proceeded to outline.65 To his question, Mill seems to have had no reply, as on 15 June he gave Gomperz yet another gentle nudge, and for a similar reason. He had received several requests from aspiring translators for the recently issued Subjection of Women, and since it was “very desirable that this should be done immediately,” he had “accepted the offer of Dr Heinemann . . . reserving [Gomperz’s] right to include in the collected edition either his translation by agreement with him or a different translation.”66 Three weeks later, on 6 July, Mill responded in a similar vein (1454A below, previously unpublished) to a letter from Anton Dohrn, agreeing to Dohrn’s issuing his translation of the Inaugural, “merely reserving the right of the publishers of the complete edition to include it (or another translation) afterwards in their series.”

From Gomperz he appears to have received only an announcement of his marriage, which took place on 8 August of that year. On 23 October Mill replied with warm congratulations and a request for information, not for himself, but for an acquaintance, whose address he enclosed, who was anxious to discover how the system of secret voting actually functioned in those countries where it had been adopted. The edition was not mentioned.67

This is the last letter in Mill’s correspondence with Gomperz, as his son Heinrich testifies, adding, in some surprise, that Mill never thanked his father for the first volume of the Gesammelte Werke (1869), which certainly must have been sent to him.68 Whether it was indeed sent, or whether the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in July of that year had any effect upon the arrangements, it almost certainly never arrived, since it is inconceivable that Mill would not have acknowledged its appearance.

There was a hiatus of four years before the publication of Volumes II-IV of the edition which contained, at last, Gomperz’s translation of the Logic. Heinrich Gomperz claimed that he did not know why it had taken so long.69 It was just at the time of Mill’s death that the final volume of the three was issued. In his letter of condolence to Helen Taylor of 11 May, 1873, Gomperz said he would send to her “the eight volumes of the translation of Mr. Mill’s works that have just come out.”70 It is doubtful whether this intention was ever carried out, as in his letter of 25 November, 1873, thanking Helen for a copy of the Autobiography, he concluded: “If you would be good enough to let me know your residence, I would send you the nine volumes which have appeared (the ninth is being published at this moment).”71 The tenth volume, which he said was also being printed at that time, was the first of the two-volume Dissertations and Discussions, translated by Wessel. It appears that none of these volumes was despatched as suggested, however, and that two more years elapsed before the publication of the second volume of the collected essays, because the publisher made difficulties about some of the subject matter. It was October, 1875 before Elise Gomperz could write to Helen: “My husband hopes that you have received the eleven volumes of the translation he directed Mr. Reisland to send you.”72 These reached their destination, and now form part of the Somerville College collection.

Gomperz was apparently relying on his friend Wessel to complete the translation of the works to be included in the final volume of the edition, and Wessel’s death in January, 1879 left him in dire need of assistance. He found it in the person of Sigmund Freud, who was recommended by his former philosophy professor, Franz Brentano, a colleague and friend of Gomperz at the University of Vienna.73 Another year elapsed, however, before the twelfth volume appeared. When it did, Gomperz sent copies to Helen without delay,74 and surely with a sense of relief that his commitment to making Mill’s works available in German was at last fulfilled. He could now, with a clear conscience, devote all his time to his own writings on classical thought,75 which, in their own way, would continue to spread the influence of Mill’s empiricism in scholarly Europe.


mill’s work and influence at the East India Company has been the least studied area of his much explored life and thought. The record he compiled of the more than 1700 despatches that he drafted over the course of his thirty-five years in the Examiner’s Office of the Company76 is daunting, even to scholars with a Benthamite bent for lists. It is only recently, thanks to the efforts of Martin and Zawahir Moir, co-editors with John M. Robson of Mill’s Writings on India, that his despatches have become really accessible,77 and we anticipate that there will now be considerably more investigation of the role he played in the history of British India.

As the Moirs located the various versions of the despatches, other treasures of three kinds emerged from the collections: letters in Mill’s own hand to an official in another department, supplying further information about the matters dealt with in the documents; letters in a clerk’s hand, signed by Mill, as Examiner of India Correspondence, 1856-58, usually making requests to the Finance and Home Committee of the Company; and copies of letters, some with Mill’s signature, written when, as Examiner, he served as Clerk to the Secret Committee of the Court of Directors and communicated their views to the Board of Control.78 About half of the letters from that Committee are purely formal requests for the release by the Board of secret documents. These we have simply listed, in Appendix B, with a brief indication of the subject matter. The other seventy-three we are delighted to be able to include here, as they provide new insight into the nature of Mill’s responsibilities at the East India House, and illustrate its complex bureaucracy.

The workings of that bureaucracy were described and commented upon by officials of the Company, including Mill, as they answered the questions of an investigating Parliamentary Select Committee in 1852;79 and they have been further explained and analysed in Martin Moir’s admirable Introduction to Volume XXX of the Collected Works. Some of that explanation bears repeating here, however, to give proper context to the letters below.

The East India Company was governed by two different bodies: the Court of Directors, elected from among its Proprietors (the shareholders); and what was known as the Board of Control, composed of a number of commissioners appointed by the British government to oversee the Company’s operations. The Directors served on various standing committees, responsible for specific aspects of the Company’s activities;80 and to assist them in their administration they had a great number of paid officers and clerks in several departments. The Secretary was the senior official of the Company, and next to him was the Examiner, in charge of the office that had responsibility for drafting most of the despatches to India.81 The Board, which was in practice dominated by its chief commissioner, the President, also had a number of officials and clerks to help carry out its supervisory role. The dual nature of this administration resulted in a complex procedural ritual for the handling of the correspondence with India, in which there were as many as six stages.82

An abstract of each despatch received from India was made in the department and circulated to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman (the Chairs) of the Court and the members of the relevant standing committee. If the matter was purely routine, a member of the Correspondence branch of the Examiner’s office, such as Mill, would prepare a draft reply, which would be submitted, with a collection of accompanying documents, for the approval of the Chairs. (In delicate or difficult matters, the officer would take instruction from them before preparing the draft.) When each draft conformed to the views of the Chairmen (stage 1), it would be passed on for the unofficial consideration of the President of the Board (stage 2) in a form known as “PC” (“previous communication”). If the President returned it unaltered, it moved directly to the departmental standing committee. If he made alterations, the draft was returned to the Chairmen (stage 3), who had discretion to “allow wholly or partially, or reject entirely, the alterations,”83 before passing it on to the committee, which also had discretion to introduce changes (stage 4). The official draft was next discussed, possibly amended further, and passed by the Court of Directors (stage 5). Then it returned once more to the Board as a whole for its official approval (stage 6). If accepted, it was immediately despatched to India. If altered at this late stage, it was again referred to the standing committee, “upon whose report the Court decide[d], either that the alterations [should] be acquiesced in, . . . or that a remonstrance [should] be addressed to the Board against the alterations, in which case the draft [was] sent back until the final decision of the Board [was] communicated, and then the despatch [was] forwarded.”84

All the opportunities for alterations to the drafts in this description suggest that changes were more common, and more substantive, than was in fact the case. It was clearly in the best interests of the Company and of its officials and employees that unnecessary hitches or confrontations not occur in a procedure that was already slow and cumbersome enough, and matters were conducted so as to ensure a smooth passage of a draft through the system. We have, unfortunately, no record of Mill’s conferring with the Chairmen, or receiving their advice, prior to drafting a despatch; but there are indications that the Chairs occasionally sounded out the President in a “Pre-PC” or “official draft sent ahead of the more formal PC in order to elicit his first reactions.”85 We know, from Mill’s evidence before the Commons Committee, that the Chairs rarely submitted a PC to the Board which they knew to contain opinions directly contrary to those of the President.86 We also know, from the letters below, that disagreement occasionally occurred, and that Mill experienced the frustrations that normally result from bureaucratic delay and bungling.

In 229.02, for example, from the first group of letters, one of many addressed to William Cabell, Senior Clerk in the Political Department and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Control, we see Mill attempting to resolve a difference of opinion between the Chairs and the President concerning the affairs of Oudh: “If the President after reading the Oude P.C. should continue of his former opinion I should be much obliged to you if you would suggest to me the sort of modification which would best meet the President’s views.” The difficulties entailed by the pace of the process and the multiplicity of drafts is illustrated in 241.1, where Mill is writing to ask whether the PC forwarded to the Board three months earlier “is likely to be soon returned?” Several other PCs were being held up by it; so he “would venture to suggest that in case any point or points should require prolonged consideration . . . the paras relating to them might perhaps be detached & made into a separate PC & the rest proceeded with.” In 290.2, Mill offers Cabell an abject apology for “a gross & untraceable blunder in this office . . . one of the absurdest pieces of official negligence I have ever known of.” It had resulted in the original version of a despatch being sent to the Board a second time, “instead of a greatly altered PC which I prepared & which the Chairs sanctioned.” Such errors and delays were probably not so infrequent in the Company’s operation as Mill suggests.

About half of the letters below to Cabell serve to illustrate stage 2 of the complicated processing of despatches. Having received Mill’s draft PC, forwarded after its approval by the Chairmen for the Board’s consideration, Cabell occasionally asked for more documentation or clarification of some aspect of the matter at hand; for example, in 96.2, 125.1, and 239.3 below, Mill is responding to various sorts of requests. In the first, he reports that no trace had been found of a project that was thought to have appeared in despatches some number of years earlier; in the second, he records success in locating an agreement of even more recent date than the one the Board had requested; in the third, he provides a direct answer to a question regarding the desirability of asking for an explanation from the local government. Most responses, however, are more complex than these.

In 76.1 below, for instance, Mill is replying to the Board’s query whether the government in India had the legal power “to detain a civil servant in India against his will.” The question was apparently referred by the Examiner (then James Mill) to the solicitor retained by the Company, and Mill is duly reporting this man’s legal opinion. The context of the question, and several of Mill’s comments, reveal some of the characteristic features of the problems encountered by the Home Establishment in dealing with events in the field and in the handling of the despatches.

At issue was the case of Mordaunt Ricketts, the Resident at Lucknow, who had been dismissed for taking bribes and had left India before any other punitive action could be launched against him. As was so frequently the case, the officials at home were having to judge after the fact whether a matter had been properly handled on the spot, what measures could or should have been taken to ensure a different outcome, and what recommendations ought to be made to direct policy in the future. In this instance, the Board wanted to know whether, and how, Ricketts’s departure could have been prevented.

Mill’s reply affirms that the Government might have applied for some sort of restraining order on Ricketts from the Supreme Court, but that the application might not have been successful, given “the presumption they could have established against him.” This fact and the likelihood of his being able to get away “before process could have issued” should determine, in Mill’s view, the official attitude of the Home Establishment to the Indian Government’s conduct in the matter: “it is perhaps more than we could be warranted in affirming positively here that they were wrong in not making such an application.” One of the functions of the despatches, to assess fairly what had been done in the field with a view to improving performance by analysis, and criticism when necessary, is demonstrated here.87 In this case, with great tact, Mill moves on to suggest a legislative change: that power be given to the Indian Government, allowing it in future cases to detain “its servants in India until their accounts with Government are settled.”

In 249.1 below, Mill himself provides a legal opinion in answer to a question directed to him by Robert Gordon, one of the two Secretaries to the Board of Control. The Board was considering the problem raised in the estate of the late postmaster at Ryepur by the questionable legitimacy of his children, who had been born before his marriage to their mother. Gordon had apparently been told that, since the parents were Catholics, the provision of the Canon Law, by which a subsequent marriage of the parents legitimized the children, might be applicable. Mill, “although unable to refer him at once to any authority.” sounds quite certain as he explains the legal history—that the barons of England, unwilling to change the laws of the land under church pressure, had rejected this principle. Though it was relevant in Scotland and France, whose laws were of Roman origin, it was not applicable in an English jurisdiction. Mill’s legal studies are not often so evidently on display.

In his capacity as drafter of political PCs, Mill was, technically, the voice of the Chairs, but it is certain that the contents of the despatches were very much of his own devising, a fact that is reflected, for example, in 308.1 below. Cabell had written to ask whether, in composing a particular paragraph, Mill had given proper weight to the opinion of James Sutherland, the Political Agent at Gujerat, which presumably was included in the collection Cabell was examining. Mill confirms that he had indeed taken Sutherland’s views into consideration, but had been persuaded to come to a different conclusion based on other evidence.

The same responsibility for the opinions expressed in a PC under consideration by the Board of Control is demonstrated in a later reply (still at the second stage of the progress of the despatches through the system) to the questions of Thomas Nelson Waterfield, Cabell’s successor in the Political Department. In 339.1, of 16 January, 1842, Mill explains why he draws a distinction between one division of ceded territory and the others, and the conclusion he has reached as to the Company’s right to dues from it, grounding his reasons solidly on the evidence of the Resident who had negotiated the relevant treaty in 1817.88 He also gives his interpretation of a separate treaty of the same period between two local rulers, affirming that the Company had been making a mistake, irreparable so long after the event, in paying over the dues in question to one of them. The Chairs must have concurred, but the voice is Mill’s.

Three letters in the collection illustrate the third stage in the processing of despatches, the consideration by the Chairmen of any alterations to the PCs made at the Board. In the matter of treaties with native princes, discussed in 103.1 below, the President, in adding to a paragraph, had given more status to some of the Boondela chiefs and to other individuals with hereditary rights to collect rents than they merited, and Mill is writing to explain why the alteration is being rejected. “The Chairman has often seen them when he was in Bundelcund and says they are petty Jageerdars of no sort of consequence, and their engagements are not treaties but are constituted by Sunnuds on our part, & acknowledgments of allegiance on theirs.”89 Mill adds that “we have made several additions to this PC since it returned to us. We find that it saves much time & trouble to continue the subjects up to the latest advices.” The instances in which additional information about a given matter reached the home office as the discussion was in progress were obviously frequent. In this situation, however, Mill saw no difficulty created; the Board would simply be informed of the new circumstances when the PC was sent to it a second time for final approval.

Two other letters, 294.2 and 296.1, also contain criticism of the Board’s alterations in a recently returned PC. In discussing the matter at issue, however, Mill relies on his own knowledge of the local rulers in making the objection:

It strikes me that the plan suggested by the Board would never answer. We could manage the villages of a native prince & pay over the revenues to him, because he can trust us—besides he must. But they never trust one another, & there is no instance among them I believe of a joint property in which the agents of both sharers do not exercise a right of joint management. It must end therefore in our managing the villages for both governments; which neither would like.

He follows the observations with another suggestion about a change that might be implemented by a recommendation from the Board: “Would it not be better to refer to the Govt of India as a general question, the possibility of negotiating an arrangement by which the double Revenue agency might be avoided?” And in the subsequent letter to Cabell, four weeks later, he adds more argument to “the remarks which I took the liberty of privately communicating to you.” A third party to the question, the Raja of Nagpur, would never be satisfied with the arrangement. “It is not the money, but the tenure, as an ancient family possession, that he is solicitous about; & no money grant would compensate him for the cession of a privilege venerated for its antiquity.”

Mill’s objection to another alteration by the Board, in 239.2 below, relates simply to its wording: “I do not clearly understand in what manner the Joonaghur chief is to continue his responsibility for the Babrias, when he is specifically interdicted from interfering with them. It strikes me that a clearer statement of the Board’s intentions would be desirable & would facilitate the passing of the Draft through the Court.” Cabell obliged immediately with a better version that clarified the matter for the benefit of the Chairmen, the members of the Political and Military Committee, and the Court, who were to consider it next, in stages 4 and 5 of the process.

The complications that could arise from the dual authority between the Board and the Court and the multiplicity of despatches are admirably illustrated in the problem created by Mr. Williams, the Resident and Commissioner at Baroda, which Mill discusses in 212.1 below. He is writing to explain why orders for Williams’s dismissal are included in the PC on Baroda that he is forwarding with this letter, when similar orders incorporated by the Board in an earlier PC on the Mahi Kantha had been rejected. The Board is to understand the delicacy of choosing the proper grounds for the dismissal. It would be “more just and less embarrassing in its consequences” if Williams’s removal were for

general unfitness . . . than for specific instances of misconduct of which his superiors (the Bombay government of the time) must share the blame & which the home authorities when they first animadverted on them did not deem worthy of so serious a punishment, for you will observe that the misconduct of Mr Williams in regard to the Myhee Caunta was as fully known to the Court when they sent out their last despatch on that subject as it is now.

A little face-saving all round is recommended in this matter. Why it would also be “more just” to fire Williams for general rather than specific reasons seems to relate to the case of his assistant, Mr. Erskine, whom the Board had ordered dismissed with him in the Mahi Kantha PC. “This seems very severe treatment for an error of judgment which in him was comparatively venial.” In Mill’s view it would be “hard to ruin the entire prospects of a young man,” given the circumstances of the case. The wisdom and utility of dealing with Williams through the Baroda channel as outlined is most tactfully, but at the same time forcefully, made. The Board did not seem to get the point, however, as six months later, in 233.1, Mill is once against suggesting that the Chairs want Williams’s conduct criticized in a general way.

Letter 271.1 below illustrates Mill’s role in the processing of the despatches in its fourth stage, the consideration of the drafts by the relevant committee of the Court. Replying to a question from the Board about the reasons for the “additional matter in para 7” of the despatch they were considering for the second time, Mill explains that

it was inserted in the Political Committee on the proposition of a Director & I presume he cannot have adverted to the passages in the Collection, to which you have now been so obliging as to refer me. (If I had remembered their existence I would have pointed them out to him.) His object was to discourage the Government from embarrassing themselves with the domestic disputes of stipendiaries.

In this case, Mill seems to think that the Board has the better view, and one regrets not being able to report whether anything further was done in the matter. It is interesting to note, however, that Mill was in close contact with the members of the Political Committee as they considered his despatches, presumably assisting them, as requested, in their deliberations.

From the Committee, the despatch moved on to the Court of Directors, where further changes might be introduced. Letter 287.1 illustrates this fifth stage, and the power of the Court to influence policy. Sending Cabell some advance notice of the “two material variations” that the Board would find in the recently approved despatch “which either has been or will be immediately sent to you from the Court in the official form,” Mill explains the Court’s changes. The first of their alterations was in support “of the proposed reform of the Jyepore Army by the substitution for the greater part of it of a force under British officers,” as this was in line with “Lord Auckland’s views on the subject of bringing the armies of the native states under our control as opportunities offer,” to which they had recently grown “much more favourable.” The second change was again related to the misconduct of an employee. In the case of Major Borthwick, the Court had decided on the evidence that the accusation by the local ruler of Borthwick’s having misappropriated funds was false, and the paragraph of criticism had been removed.

The apparently persistent problem of incompetent or dishonest officials of the Company in the field is also the issue in another letter, 49.01, that again illustrates Mill’s efforts to prepare for the sixth stage of the process, final approval by the Board. The Court having passed “Bengal Political Draft No 237,” which contained criticism of an employee, Mill is returning it to the Board, pointing out that “explanations” from this individual had been recently received from India. In Mill’s opinion, they warrant making only “verbal” alterations “in the strictures on his conduct,” and not holding up the Draft altogether; but Mill defers to the possibility of a different view at the Board, suggesting various courses of action open, and leaving the matter to Cabell’s discretion: “When you have decided which of these alternatives to adopt, we will act accordingly.”

Mill’s position as Assistant in the Correspondence Branch of the Examiner’s office in the long middle period of his career, from 1828 to two years before his retirement, was clearly one of great responsibility, and there can be no doubt that he earned the respect and the admiration of his colleagues both for his drafts and for his skills as a negotiator. Though there is a little, and humorous, evidence, that they occasionally believed him to be mistaken,90 his move upward to the senior post in the office, on the retirement of Thomas Love Peacock and David Hill in 1856, must have seemed to all concerned a normal and well-earned promotion. Then, as the new Examiner of India Correspondence, Mill naturally assumed some different duties, at least a few of which are fortunately illustrated in the other two series of letters that have recently come to light. One of these is addressed to the Finance and Home Committee of the Company, which, as its title suggests, was responsible for matters relating to the employees, the premises, and the records of the Home Establishment.

Mill’s correspondence with this Committee would not have been regular in the years before his promotion, but one letter does survive amongst the Finance and Home Committee papers from the earlier period. It is dated 9 April, 1844 (427.1), and is a statement in support of his brother George’s application for employment by the Company. The short note testifies to the superior “acquirements . . . conduct & character” of the young man, which Mill, as his chief tutor, was well qualified to know. Its success also testifies to the “high status and influence” that Mill himself enjoyed by that time in the Company, and to the fact that his own “experimental apprenticeship in the 1820s [had] provided the Company with the kind of model it later used in training other potential despatch writers,” such as George, who joined the Correspondence Branch and learned the job under his brother’s supervision. The nepotism that was traditional (“dynasties of family employees were quite common in the Company’s history”) and generally and unashamedly practised in the nineteenth century is also illustrated by this episode.91

The twenty-seven later letters, from Mill as Examiner 1856-58, to the Home and Finance Committee, treat of more mundane subjects, and underline the irony that is often inherent in promotion. Any alterations to, or maintenance of, the “physical plant,” as we now say, had to be approved in principle, and in advance, by the Committee, as 258A, B, and D, and 286D illustrate. In the first, Mill is requesting an extra office, and suggests the necessity of providing yet another room, because “It frequently happens that permission is granted by the Chairman to gentlemen in the Honorable Company’s Service or others, to consult the official records either for public or private purposes, and there is at present no place in which they can make use of such permission except the compound of the Clerks in the Office.” The second is a request that “one of the two extra offices” be included in “the general order for painting.” The third is to report that “the new room ordered by the Honorable Committee for Mr Kaye92 is now completed, and to solicit that provision of the necessary furniture may be sanctioned.” The last is in support of a letter from the Assistant Registrar in the Book Office, “representing the necessity of whitewashing the rooms occupied by his Department, and of effecting some minor improvements” in them. Diligently bureaucratic, Mill affirms: “I have the honor to state that from personal inspection I can confirm Mr Atkins’ representations, and I beg to recommend that his proposals be carried into effect.”

Changes in the accommodation of the Company’s records, the payment of the workmen involved, and the destruction of “old and useless duplicate Collections” also required the Committee’s approval (258E and G, 260B, 269B, and 286C). An increased volume of work in the Examiner’s Office necessitated the hiring of extra staff, which was sanctioned for periods of six months at a time (258G, 262D, 269C, 283A, 293A, and 306A). Provisions for individual employees, of various kinds, also required the Committee’s sanction. Leave of absence on account of illness had to be extended (269A); the death of an employee required his being replaced (258C), and his salary continued to his widow for the current quarter (258F); an official who had expended a great deal of extra time and effort on preparing a report for Parliament was entitled to special remuneration (323A); the petition from the messengers in the Book Office had to be forwarded (309B). It is not certain whether Mill actually dictated these letters or whether most were simply prepared for his signature. We do know, however, as noted above, that he personally ascertained that the Registrar’s rooms needed whitewashing.

As Examiner, Mill had to deal with the bureaucratic trivia of his office, and some of the problems in his employees’ lives. He was also concerned with more apparently important matters in his capacity as Clerk to the Secret Committee of the Court, which was composed of the two Chairmen and a senior Director, and handled matters relating to war, peace, and diplomacy. The third series of letters, addressed from this Committee to Waterfield or to one of the Secretaries of the Board, number forty-three, twenty-six of which are simply official requests for the release of documents, and are listed, with their subjects, in Appendix B. The other seventeen also have their touch of (secret) bureaucratic trivia, in two requests (283C and 299B) for the Board’s consent to the employment in the Secret Department of particular individuals, “on their taking the prescribed oath.” The remaining fifteen letters, which throw light on a variety of contemporary problems, are of considerable historical and political interest.

The first is a proposed agreement between Britain and France, apparently suggested as early as 1852, for a mutually beneficial exchange of territory in India, France seeming anxious to consolidate her possessions around Pondicherry. The terms of the exchange—that is, finding settlements of equivalent value on both sides—were difficult to arrange, however, and several different plans came under discussion. In the five letters below on the subject, 260A, 263B, 266A, 283B, and 309A, over a period of almost two years, it is clear that the chief concern both of the Secret Committee and of the Board is with matters of revenue, though the political advantage for Britain is thought to be of some interest as well. It is also evident that both bodies had to rely heavily on the assessment of the situation by the government in India.

A second problem, dealt with in six letters, was that created by the brief war with Persia from November 1856 to March 1857, the dispute centring on the fortress city of Herat. These letters demonstrate the role of the Board as a channel of communication for the British Government with the Court. In 262F, for example, the Secret Committee is responding to a letter from the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, asking whether “it might be advisable to take possession of Mohummerah for the purpose of increasing pressure upon Persia.” The Committee was forwarding all the information they had that might be relevant, but refrained “from expressing any opinion on the course which it might be most expedient to adopt.” The Committee had a more positive reaction to questions about “postal communication for Government purposes . . . during the present war” in 270B, agreeing with Lord Clarendon’s view that “Bagdad via Constantinople” would be the best route, and notifying the government that “Lieutenant General Sir James Outram [head of the Company’s army for ‘the Persian Expedition’] will therefore be apprised of the arrangment and instructed to send to Her Majesty’s Ambassador a short summary of any important intelligence, which could be put into cypher at the Embassy and so forwarded by telegraph.”

The presence of the telegraph by this time (at least as far as Constantinople) makes it seem less odd to think that the Secret Committee in London had also to be consulted about orders for individual officers and arrangements for specific missions (262E, 286E, 321A). It was to facilitate the establishment of a more extensive telegraph system that Britain had obtained the Kuria Muria islands from the Imam of Muscat in 1854, a cession whose legality Mill questions in 270D, relative to another issue—the difficulty of protecting British citizens granted rights to exploit the guano of those islands.

Another problem in the Persian Gulf area is the subject of perhaps the most interesting of these letters from the Secret Committee, 283D below, concerning the actions of that flamboyant lieutenant in the Bombay Army, just beginning his career as an explorer of exotic places, Richard Burton. On leave late in 1854, Burton had undertaken his first trip into the interior of Somaliland (against the wishes of Outram, the Political Agent of the day at Aden), and had subsequently recommended to the Company that an agency be established at Berbera, a plan that the Governor of Bombay solidly rejected. Burton had then made the suggestion in a letter to the Royal Geographical Society, on which the Committee is commenting, readily concurring “in the observation of the Board respecting the impropriety of Lieutenant Burton’s conduct in addressing to the Geographical Society criticisms on the political measures of the Government of India.” An accompanying letter in the collection contains a comment to the effect that the Society ought to be discouraged from publishing Burton’s letter93 —and indeed it did not appear at that time, a fact that perhaps demonstrates the Company’s power, when it so wished, to save itself embarrassment.

That the Examiner’s title was “Clerk” to the Secret Committee in its communications with the Board is probably just another instance of an inadequate job description. It was surely proper that only the most senior official in the Correspondence Branch should be admitted to the very highest level of deliberation in the Company, but his contribution was likely greater than merely that of a secretary. Mill himself probably exercised substantial influence in that Committee, as he had when he conferred with the Chairmen about the contents of his despatches; and he clearly enjoyed the confidence of the Court, the Board, and the government, as evidenced by his being offered a post in 1858 on the newly established Council of India. That he declined to accept it, since he disapproved of the government’s assumption of control and needed “a long recruiting, not so much from work, as from the confinement of an office” (324), is no surprise.

the discovery of Mill’s letters in the archival series of the India Office Library and Records has greatly enriched our knowledge both of his career and of the East India Company’s operations, and has also confirmed our collective certainty that the task of editing Mill’s correspondence will not end with Volume XXXII of the Collected Works. It is more than probable that, as scholars continue to consult the collections of despatches, other letters will emerge, and that previously unknown items will appear in the pages of dealers’ catalogues. We would be most grateful if readers continue to report their discoveries, through the University of Toronto Press, so that the record may be kept entire.

At the conclusion of this volume are six Appendices: Appendix A contains the variant readings derived from a collation of copies of the manuscript letters to Theodor Gomperz at Kokugakuin University with those letters to him in Collected Works not reprinted here. Appendix B provides a list of the form letters from the Clerk of the Secret Committee of the East India Company to the Board of Control requesting the release of various secret documents. Appendix C contains some additions to the finding list of Mill’s Indian despatches in Volume XXX of the Collected Works. Appendix D provides a list of letters to Mill, compiled in response to many requests from readers over the years. Once more, we must mention our debt to Professor Mineka, who had listed the holdings at Yale and Johns Hopkins and made photocopies of the latter, thereby greatly facilitating the process of checking for accuracy. The Mill-Taylor Collection is, of course, the other principal repository of such letters.94 We conducted a further search, using references suggested in the footnotes to Volumes XII-XVIII, and through relevant printed sources, and were thus able to locate some previously unknown correspondence. Again, we ask readers to share their knowledge, for the record, of other “In” letters that may have been overlooked. Appendix E contains an index of the recipients of the letters printed in this volume.

Since Appendix F serves as an index to persons, writings, and statutes, references to them do not appear in the general Index, which has been prepared with the care and efficiency that is her hallmark by Dr. Jean O’Grady.


we are grateful to all those institutions and persons mentioned in first footnotes who have provided texts and given permission to publish, and to those institutions referred to in Appendix D which supplied much helpful information enabling us to locate letters written to Mill. Unpublished Crown-copyright documents in the India Office Records reproduced/transcribed in this volume appear by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

We are especially grateful to those who have made available and permitted us to publish letters from their own collections: Arnold Heertje, J.R.deJ. Jackson, Isaac Kramnick, Toshio Ohfuchi, Mrs. S. Sokolov-Grant, John Spedding, Paul Streeton, Akira Tada, and Satoshi Yamasaki, and to Mrs. J. Beal for permission to print letters written to James Beal now in the Greater London Record Office.

Scholars who have edited letters first published in the Mill News Letter have generously allowed us to make use of their work: Marcia Allentuck; T.P. Foley; Joseph Hamburger; Arnold Heertje; Bruce L. Kinzer; Mary and Lionel Madden; Ged Martin; Anna J. Mill; Eric Nye, who has, as well, been generous in providing information about John Sterling and his circle; Jean O’Grady; Margaret Schabas; J.B. Schneewind; Evert Schoorl; and Natalie and Gerald Sirkin. We are especially grateful to colleagues in Japan: Shohken Mawatari and Shigekazu Yamashita, mentioned above, Takutoshi Inouye, Shiro Sugihara, who allowed us to publish letters that first appeared in the Mill Society Bulletin, Japan, and Kimiyoshi Yura, editor of that journal. The extent of our debt to Martin and Zawahir Moir has, we hope, been adequately explained above; our gratitude must be repeated here.

Librarians and staff at the John P. Robarts Library of the University of Toronto and the Pratt Library of Victoria College have been continually helpful and courteous, as have the staffs of the British Library, Reference, Newspaper, and India Office Library and Records Divisions, and of the British Library of Political and Economic Science.

Of many others to whom we owe thanks, we would like to mention especially Donald Anderle of the New York Public Library; John Arnold of the State Library of Victoria; the Librarian of the Athenaeum Club; Richard Bingle of the India Office Library and Records; Simon Blundell, Librarian of the Reform Club; Trajano B. de Berrêdo Carneiro of the Maison d’Auguste Comte; Herbert Cahoon of the Pierpont Morgan Library; Bernard Crystal of Columbia University; Vicki Denby of the Houghton Library; G.M. Furlong of University College London; Michael Halls of Trinity College, Cambridge; M. Hayez at the Archives Départementales de Vaucluse; Cathy Henderson of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center; Teruyoshi Higashiohji of Nihon University; Hiroshi Ishida of Fukuyama University; Gwyn Jenkins of the National Library of Wales; Hugh Kennedy and Michael Ostrove of the Osborn Collection; Karen Kearns of the Huntington Library; Donald Lawler of the Victorians Institute Journal; Robert McGown of the University of Iowa; J.A. Parker of Manchester College; Sigrid Perry of Northwestern University; Bruce Ralston of the National Library of New Zealand; Angela Raspin of the British Library of Political and Economic Science; Pam Ray of the National Library of Australia; Cynthia Requardt of Johns Hopkins University; Nancy Romero of the University of Illinois; Alice Rossi of the University of Massachusetts; Nicholas Scheetz of Georgetown University; Judith Schiff and Diane Kaplan of Yale; Helen Sherwin of Boston University; R.A.H. Smith of the British Library; Paul Sorrell and Pamela Treanor of the Dunedin Public Library; Stephen Tomlinson of the Bodleian Library; P.R. Webb of the Bishopsgate Foundation; Inge Wojtke of the Prussian State Library; and Marian Zwiercan of the Jagiellonian Library.

We are indebted to Maria Manganelli, who gave us information concerning Ernest Naville; to Clyde Ryals of the Carlyle Letters Project, Duke University, for information about the correspondence between Carlyle and Mill; to R.S. Woof of the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne for providing letters held by the Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage; to Donna Halladay, who helped with the material at Cambridge; and to Gina Feldberg, Peter Hess, Samuel Hollander, and Bruce L. Kinzer for their assistance and support.

Jonathan Cutmore, Michele Green, Elizabeth King, and Jannifer Smith-Rubenzahl, who have worked at the Mill Project at Victoria College, have given valuable assistance. Our thanks go as well to Rea Wilmshurst, the Project’s editorial assistant, whose knowledge and skill have resulted in the production of a clear and—on her part—accurate text.

We gratefully acknowledge how much our work has depended upon that of Professors F.A. von Hayek, Francis E. Mineka, and Dwight N. Lindley, who have in the past been responsible for the collection and publication of the bulk of Mill’s letters. Our correspondence society has had spousal support for a total of some one hundred years: our editing, to perceptive eyes, will reveal traces of the judgment, tolerance, and love of William Filipiuk, Mabel Laine, and Ann P. Robson, to whom we offer these and other thanks.


[1 ]Earlier Letters, ed. Francis E. Mineka, Collected Works [CW], XII-XIII (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963), XIII, 742-3.

[2 ]Later Letters, ed. Francis E. Mineka and Dwight N. Lindley, CW, XIV-XVII (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972), XVII, 1954-2016. Additional letters in the present volume will be referred to in the text by number, frequently in parentheses.

[3 ]See Mill News Letter [MNL] (Fall 1968), 29-30.

[4 ]William E.S. Thomas and Francis E. Mineka, eds., “New Letters of J.S. Mill to Sir William Molesworth,” MNL, VI (Fall 1970), 1-13.

[5 ]There is a full discussion of the eight letters in Jean O’Grady, “Mill and Fitzjames Stephen: Personal Notes,” MNL, XXII (Winter 1987), 2-9.

[6 ]For Mill’s introduction of Beal’s bills in the House of Commons, and his questioning of Scott in Committee, see Public and Parliamentary Speeches, CW, XXVIII-XXIX (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), XXVIII, 162-5, 230-1, XXIX, 443-4, and Miscellaneous Writings, CW, XXXI (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989), 390-1, 402-4.

[7 ]For further detail, see Marion Filipiuk, “New Letters from Avignon,” MNL, XV (Summer 1980), 1-11.

[8 ]In the course of preparing this volume we have discovered that the following emendations should be made to the information provided in Later Letters:

The MS of Letter 513.1 below, at the Houghton Library, has enabled us to date the letter to John William Parker at CW, XVII, 2006, to 25 Oct., 1847.

The unidentified recipient of the letter dated [Before May 8, 1868], ibid., XVI, 1397, is probably Mrs. Mary Johnson of Birmingham.

The letter to Edward Livingstone Youmans, ibid., XVII, 1569, has been dated 9 Apr., 1869, from the MS at the College of Law, Nihon University, Tokyo.

The librarian at Northwestern University informs us, on the basis of both internal and external evidence, that the recipient of the letter dated 3 June, 1870, ibid., 1731-2, is not Herbert Spencer; no other identification has been made.

The letter to David King dated [Oct.? 1870], ibid., 1768, may now be dated 9 Nov., 1870, from information in Letter 1631A below.

See also the summary of the reordering of letters, most to Henry Cole, on xvi below.

[9 ]Cole, Mill’s intimate friend since 1828, was, at this time, an assistant keeper in the Public Record Office and an active advocate of postal reform; he was extremely ambitious for influence, but rather embarrassed for money. Hickson, in contrast, was an older, more experienced radical, with solid finances and a penchant for economy. The other player in the struggle for control of the Review was John Robertson, Mill’s sub-editor since 1837. For many of the details of the story and the references to Cole’s diary in the Victoria and Albert Museum, we are indebted to Rosemary T. VanArsdel, “The Westminster Review: Change of Editorship, 1840,” Studies in Bibliography, XXV (1972), 191-204. The new letters here printed, however, as will be explained, alter the chronology she suggested for those already in Earlier Letters.

[10 ]Kemble’s letter is not extant, but see Mill’s reply of 14 October, CW, XIII, 410-11.

[11 ]Cole’s diary, entry for 16 August.

[12 ]VanArsdel, “Westminster Review,” 196.

[13 ]Ibid.

[14 ]With his mother and sister, Henry had been sent off to Falmouth, en route for Madeira, probably immediately after a party at the Mills’, mentioned by Cole, on 14 January. Mill’s letter to Clara (No. 274, CW, XIII, 420) reveals that the doctor had admitted to him after their departure that Henry’s case was in fact “alarming,” and that he had recommended the trip only because Mill himself “so much wished it.” Caroline Fox, the new family friend in Falmouth, noted in her diary on 8 February that “Mrs. Mill with her daughters, Clara and Harriet, have been for some weeks nursing Henry Mill . . . in lodgings on the Terrace”; this letter to Clara should then be dated to 22 or 29 January, 1839. (See Memories of Old Friends, 2nd ed., 2 vols. [London: Smith, Elder, 1882], I, 102-3.)

[15 ]CW, XIII, 419 and 421; Letter 273, headed “Thursday,” must have been written on 6 February. Cf. VanArsdel, “Westminster Review,” 196-8.

[16 ]No. 277, CW, XIII, 421-2.

[17 ]The advertisement in the Examiner of Sunday, 1 March, 1840, describes the number as “just published,” making the date of 27 February likely for the letter.

[18 ]Quoted in VanArsdel, “Westminster Review,” 198.

[19 ]No. 275, CW, XIII, 420.

[20 ]Referred to ibid., n2.

[21 ]Cole’s finances were undoubtedly one of the problems all along. He wanted the Review badly, but could not quite find the money when opportunity knocked, as it did, for example, on the 27th. The fact that he does not record this problem in his diary is no surprise.

[22 ]No. 278, CW, XIII, 422.

[23 ]With No. 280, ibid., 424.

[24 ]Ibid., 422-3; VanArsdel, “Westminster Review,” 201n.

[25 ]Cole’s diary for 4 and 10 August reports that he wrote some notices for the September number and sent them to Hickson (VanArsdel, “Westminster Review,” 202).

[26 ]The dating of the letters in EL is as follows: No. 274 [Feb., 1840]; No. 273 [Feb.(?), 1840]; No. 276 [Feb. or March(?), 1840]; No. 277 [Feb. or March(?), 1840]; No. 275 [Feb.(?), 1840]; No. 278 [March(?), 1840]; No. 280, 12 Mar., 1840; No. 279 [March 1840(?)].

[27 ]Only one volume, Theodor Gomperz, 1832-1912: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen [hereafter Briefe] (Vienna: Gerold, 1936), covering the years up to 1868, was issued in Heinrich’s lifetime. A much-abridged version of the remaining typescript, at Harvard, has appeared as Theodor Gomperz, ein Gelehrtenleben im Bürgertum der Franz-Josefs-Zeit [hereafter Ein Gelehrtenleben], ed. Robert A. Kann (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1974).

[28 ]See Introduction to CW, XIV, xx, and ibid., 238, n1.

[29 ]There is only one lacuna in the collection; the last page of the manuscript letter of 15 July, 1863, is missing. (In CW, XV, 865-6, the letter is incorrectly dated 5 July.)

[30 ]Gomperz’s letter of 20July, 1854, is in the Mill-Taylor Collection, and Mill’s reply of 18 August is in CW, XIV, 238-9. Gomperz’s own philosophical and philological studies were, as Mill put it, directed to “exhibiting the speculations of the ancients from the point of view of the experience philosophy” (324 below). A first draft of the translation of the Logic, based on the 3rd ed., was apparently completed by the beginning of 1855; see Gomperz’s letter to Heinrich Jaques of 7 January (Briefe, 198-9), and Adelaide Weinberg, Theodor Gomperz and John Stuart Mill (Geneva: Droz, 1963), 14-15.

[31 ]Heinrich Gomperz’s account (Briefe, 233) suggests that Harriet Mill told Gomperz that from the time she met Mill she had been a “Seelinfreundin,” but no more, bothto him and to her husband.

[32 ]MS at Johns Hopkins.

[33 ]CW, XV, 581.

[34 ]Ibid., 589.

[35 ]Gomperz’s letter is at Johns Hopkins: Mill’s reply is in CW, XV, 739-40, where the date is incorrectly given as 21 August. Gomperz had apparently found some new interest in life through politics, and included copies of four articles he had written from Budapest on the history of Austro-Hungarian relations, three of which had been published in the Neueste Nachrichten of Vienna; the fourth had not appeared, presumably because the editor did not endorse his democratic and pro-Hungarian proposals. See Weinberg, Gomperz and Mill, 25-6.

[36 ]Letters to George Grote of 11 June and to J.E. Cairnes of 24 June (CW, XV, 781, 784). Helen’s letter of 6 July to Fanny Stirling explains that they had hoped to take the overland route from Smyrna to Constantinople in order “to see the plains of Troy and to climb Mount Ida,” but were dissuaded by the danger of fever and took the faster sea route (MS Mill-Taylor Collection).

[37 ]CW, XV, 786.

[38 ]He seems to have tried unsuccessfully, it being the holiday season, to make arrangements for Mill to meet his friends in Budapest (Briefe, 319-20).

[39 ]See Mill’s reply of 14 December (CW, XV, 809 and n5).

[40 ]In a letter to his mother of 3 March, Gomperz described his various trips to Blackheath. On Sunday, 22 February, he first met Thornton, who, on their walk back to the station, pointed out to him what a rare privilege it was to be on such intimate terms with Mill, the best of men, and went on to describe the three happiest weeks of his life, spent the previous summer as a guest at Avignon. The second Sunday dinner occurred on 1 March. It appears that Gomperz also apparently called; uninvited, on Wednesday, 25 February, and again on Monday, 2 March; on the latter occasion, Mill and Helen were not at home (Briefe, 333-5).

[41 ]Ibid., 335. See also Proceedings of the Political Economy Club (London, 1882), IV, 212.

[42 ]The occasion is described in a letter of 20 April (Briefe, 350-1).

[43 ]See Mill’s letters to his publisher, Parker, of 14 March, and to Gomperz of 22 March (CW, XV, 849 and 849-50).

[44 ]See Mill’s letter to Cairnes of 25 March (ibid., 852).

[45 ]Briefe, 338-41.

[46 ]Ibid., 341-5. See also Weinberg, Gomperz and Mill, 34-5.

[47 ]CW, XV, 854-5. Though Mill’s tone was gentle, his protestations about not having enough time in Avignon to do justice to friends must have rung rather hollow, given Thornton’s glowing account of his experience the previous summer.

[48 ]Ibid., 858.

[49 ]Weinberg, Gomperz and Mill, 37-8.

[50 ]CW, XV, 861.

[51 ]Mill’s letter of 16 June, to Harriet Grote, who had sent him good news about Gomperz’s condition from a helpful Dr. Schlesinger, also tends to confirm the supposition that Mill had called on him, by the remark: “I have seen him twice, the last time for a whole evening” (ibid., 863). The optimistic tone of this letter, 619, suggests that it was written and despatched prior to his receiving Gomperz’s note, and replying to it in 618.

[52 ]Letter 618 (CW, XV, 862-3).

[53 ]Ibid., 865-6, incorrectly dated 5 July.

[54 ]The evidence is in Mill’s response, ibid., 873-5.

[55 ]See the second last paragraph of Letter 639 below.

[56 ]CW, XV, 953-4. The notice, copied in Mill’s hand, is at Kokugakuin University.

[57 ]CW, XVI, 1196 and n, 1197.

[58 ]Both are in the Mill-Taylor Collection.

[59 ]CW, XVI, 1356, dated 27 January.

[60 ]In a letter, now lost, enclosed with Gomperz’s of 26 March, 1868 (MS at Johns Hopkins).

[61 ]CW, XVI, 1374-5.

[62 ]MS at Johns Hopkins.

[63 ]CW, XVI, 1391-2.

[64 ]MS at Johns Hopkins.

[65 ]Heinrich Gomperz omitted mention of the rival proposal in the typescript of Volume II of Briefe.

[66 ]CW, XVII, 1615-16, much abridged in Ein Gelehrtenleben, 45.

[67 ]CW, XVII, 1655-6; most in Ein Gelehrtenleben, 56.

[68 ]Ein Gelehrtenleben, 43.

[69 ]Ibid., 42.

[70 ]MS, Mill-Taylor Collection. He presumably meant Volume I (1869), which contained On Liberty, translated by himself, and Utilitarianism and the Inaugural Address, both translated by Wahrmund; two of the three volumes of the Logic (Vols. II-III); three volumes of the Political Economy (Vols. V-VII), translated by Adolf Soetbeer; and Volume IX, Auguste Comte and Positivism, translated by Elise Gomperz. He was still waiting for Volume IV, in which he had incorporated, as an appendix, the changes made to the 8th ed. See Weinberg, Gomperz and Mill, 56-7.

[71 ]MS, Mill-Taylor Collection. The ninth volume was the tardy Volume IV, the third of the Logic. Mr. Reisland of the Fues firm asked for permission to include the Autobiography in the edition, but Helen declined, and accepted the offer of Mr. Vogel of Meyer and Zeller of Stuttgart (MSS, Mill-Taylor Collection).

[72 ]MS, Mill-Taylor Collection.

[73 ]An excerpt from Freud’s letter to Heinrich Gomperz of 9 June, 1932 (Ein Gelehrtenleben, 106-7) explains the circumstances. Volume XII contained his translations of the Enfranchisement of Women, “Grote’s Plato,” “Thornton on Labour and Its Claims,” and the “Chapters on Socialism.” No explanation seems to exist of the fact that Harriet Mill’s Enfranchisement was included, and Mill’s Subjection of Women omitted. The arrangements with Dr. Heinemann for a translation of the Subjection had apparently fallen through, and another, by J. von Hirsch, had already been published by this time (Berlin: Berggold, 1869). Perhaps its appearance influenced the decision to issue the companion piece as part of the edition.

[74 ]His accompanying letter of 9 February, 1880, is in the Mill-Taylor Collection.

[75 ]His most important work was Griechische Denker, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Veit, 1896-1909).

[76 ]The manuscript is at the India Office Library and Records, MSS Eur B405.

[77 ]The finding list that they prepared is in Appendix A of CW, XXX (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990).

[78 ]The first group of letters, dealing with political matters in the field, is in the L/P&S/6 archive series; the second is in the L/F/2 series; the third, Secret Home Correspondence, 1856-58, is in the L/P&S/3 series.

[79 ]See Mill’s evidence in CW, XXX, 31-74.

[80 ]In 1834, when the Company’s commercial operations ended, three committees were established: Finance and Home; Political and Military; Revenue, Judicial, and Legislative (XXX, xxvii n-xxviii n).

[81 ]For the Political, Public, Judicial, Legislative, Revenue, Separate Revenue, and Public Works Departments (ibid., xxx n).

[82 ]Identified by Moir, ibid., xxvii.

[83 ]From the evidence of the Secretary, James Cosmo Melvill, to the Select Committee, quoted ibid., xxvi.

[84 ]Ibid.

[85 ]Moir, ibid., xxviii n.

[86 ]Ibid., 54.

[87 ]See Mill’s evidence, ibid., 69-70.

[88 ]James Rivett Carnac, son of a Company official and born in India, served in the field from 1802 to 1822, when he retired and moved to England. Elected Director in 1827, Deputy Chairman in 1835, and Chairman for two successive terms (an exception to general practice), 1836-38, he had returned to India as Governor of Bombay, 1838-41. Mill was citing a real authority.

[89 ]Henry St. George Tucker, the Chairman referred to, had also served in India for more than thirty years. A Director from 1826, and Chairman in 1834, he led the Directors’ protest against the first Afghan War. It is occasionally assumed that the Company was governed largely by men such as James Mill, who had written a history of British India without ever having visited the place, but it is well to remember that there were Directors, such as Carnac and Tucker, and also officials, who brought a wealth of experience in India to their positions.

[90 ]See the comments written on the manuscript at 68n below.

[91 ]Cf. Moir, Introduction, CW, XXX, xix.

[92 ]John William Kaye, who had earlier served in India, had just been appointed to the post of Assistant Examiner in charge of the Political Department.

[93 ]Letter of 17 Jan., 1857, from George Russell Clerk, Secretary to the Board of Control, to Edmund Hammond, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in L/P&S/3/54, 484.

[94 ]We have not listed the purely formal addresses to Mill, from the employees of the East India Company on his retirement, and from academic institutions conferring honours.