Journals and Debating Speeches

Journals and Debating Speeches

Edited by JOHN M. ROBSON
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 760
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Journals and Debating Speeches
    Book Description:

    These materials have never before been gathered, and almost all appear here for the first time in scholarly form. They throw light on contemporary social interests and behavior, and will encourage new assessments of Mill?s life and thought.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8081-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-lvi)

    MILL IS KNOWN AS A SAGE, whose major works are detachable from time and author; only careful analysis shows them related to “persons and places,” to borrow George Santayana’s chosen determiners for his memoirs. More easily connected with episodes in Mill’s life are periodical essays, great and small, occasioned by and developed in response to external forces. The principal sources of personal information are hisAutobiographyand his correspondence, which provide a great wealth of information about his development, almost always in relation to his ideas (decided and tentative). This record needs to be supplemented from records of his daily...

  4. Textual Introduction
    (pp. lvii-lxx)

    THESE VOLUMES contain manuscript materials not prepared for publication by Mill himself. While some of them have been published in the twentieth century, very few have appeared in scholarly form, and never in a comprehensive edition permitting comparison. There are four categories: (a) the journal and notebook describing Mill’s fourteen months in France, the notebook containing his notes of logic lectures taken during that visit, and the “Traité de logique” based on that course of lectures, all of 1820-21;¹ (b) his debating speeches from 1823 to 1829; (c) journals of his walking tours from 1827 to 1832; and (d) his...


    • France, 1820–21

      • 1. Journal and Notebook of a Year in France (MAY 1820 TO JULY 1821)
        (pp. 3-144)

        Pompignan, June 2nd, 1820

        My dear Father,

        I arrived at the Chateau last night, or rather this morning, at about 2 o'clock, and according to your injunctions, I write you immediately an account of my journey. I have kept a pretty accurate journal, as you will see.

        [J] When we set off there was no body in the coach except an old lady who was going to Boughton near Canterbury. At the Elephant and Castle on the Kent Road an officer in the army joined us. When we reached Dartford we were asked if we chose to breakfast; but we...

      • 2. Traité de Logique (1820–21)
        (pp. 145-190)

        CELUI QUI VOUDRAIT exercer un art mécanique, sansaaucunement connaîtreala matière sur laquelle il devrait agir,—sans avoir étudié la manière de se servir des machines propres au métier,—ne pourrait pas, à bon droit, s’attendre à un résultat favorable. Si done dans un art mécanique, une pareille entreprise est ridicule, combien l’ést-elle davantage dans une étude plus importante! et combien ést imprudent celui qui s’occupe d’une branche quelconque de la science, sans jamais avoir sérieusement refléchi sur les différentes opérations par lesquelles l’esprit humain arrive à des connaissances certaines!

        Je nebdisputebpoint qu’on n’ait connu des individus,...

      • 3. Lecture Notes on Logic (1820–21)
        (pp. 191-254)

        NOUS AVONS VU que les impressions faites sur nos organes des sens par les objets exterieurs, sont communiquées au cerveau par le moyen des nerfs: que ces impressions sont appelées sensations: que la manière d’être d’une sensation dans l’esprit ést une idée: que c’ést ordinairement dans notre enfance que nous acquierons le plus d’idées, mais que chacun de nous ést susceptible, quel que soit son âge, d’en acquérir plus ou moins d’autres, suivant les circonstances oủ il ést placé.

        aMais lesaidées ne sont que la matière de nos connaissances: Pour enbrecueillir fruitb, il faut comparer les idées entr’elles,...

    • Debating Speeches, 1823–29

      • 4. The Utility of Knowledge (1823)
        (pp. 257-261)

        THE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS produced upon the human mind and upon the structure of society by the revival of science and by the cessation of feudal darkness have been so obvious that there is scarcely room for the smallest discussion. No one, I apprehend, would insult theaUnderstandingaof this Society by reviving the ascetic sophistry of the fanatic Rousseau by maintaining that what are called the comforts and conveniences of life are in fact neither comforts nor conveniences, and add not the smallest particle to human happiness; that the progress of civilization is in fact the progress of barbarism and...

      • 5. Parliamentary Reform [1] AUGUST 1824
        (pp. 261-271)

        IT IS NOT EVERY ONE, Sir, I am convinced, who can appreciate the difficulties of my present situation. To be the successful advocate of opinions, which are at once so important, and with a large class of society so unpopular, as those which I profess, is a task, for which all the logic of an Aristotle, and all the eloquence of a Demosthenes,¹ would not be too much. But I who am not more conscious of the inexpressible importance of the question, than I am of my utter inability to do it justice; I who am so little habituated to...

      • 6. Parliamentary Reform [2] AUGUST 1824
        (pp. 271-285)

        IF, Sir, when I rose to open this question,¹ I felt myself to be in a difficult situation, the difficulty is greatly enhanced by the result of the debate. Contrary to my expectation, and not a little to my disappointment, there is not one among the ordinary speakers in this Society who has not differed more or less from me, and the only gentlemen from whom I have obtained unqualified support, have been those, who, like myself, stand in the situation of strangers and trespassers on your indulgence: while those speakers whose reputation stands highest in this Society, have embraced...

      • 7. Population: Proaemium (1825)
        (pp. 286-287)

        MR. CHAIRMAN, If among those whom I now attempt to address there be any one who has ever been placed in the situation in which I stand, he is capable of appreciating the difficulties under which I labour. When a question is proposed, in comparison with which the questions which have hitherto been deemed the most important, are but as a feather in the scale—a question of such magnitude that if mankind were right on every other subject, and wrong on this, there would need no more to ensure their perpetual misery and degradation; he who undertakes to bring...

      • 8. Population (1825)
        (pp. 287-296)

        I SCARCELY EXPECTED, Sir, when I entered the room on the last evening of discussion, that any thing could have added to my persuasion of the truth of the principle of population. That principle appeared to me to rest upon evidence so clear and so incontrovertible, that to understand it, is to assent to it, and to assent to it once is to assent to it for ever: I flattered myself, that I understood it completely; I assented to it without any reservation; and I could not have believed that any discussion could have rendered my comprehension of it more...

      • 9. Population: Reply to Thirlwall (1825)
        (pp. 296-307)

        THE GENTLEMAN WHO OPENED THE DEBATE¹ having been unavoidably absent upon the two last adjourned discussions, and feeling himself incapable of replying to arguments which he has not heard, has requested me to take upon myself a task, which he has only the alternative of imperfectly performing, or of declining altogether. I regret the more deeply that unfortunate necessity which has thrown the business of reply upon one so very ill qualified for it as I am, because the difficulties of that business, difficulties at all times so great, have been rendered unusually so at present by the unrivalled talents...

      • 10. Cooperation: First Speech (1825)
        (pp. 308-308)

        THE SIDE OF THE QUESTION which I mean to espouse being unfortunately very far from popular in this society, I should feel considerable apprehension in addressing you, did I not know that this society consists of persons, who having thrown off the yoke of authority, venture to think for themselves, and who therefore cannot fail to be indulgent to others who mean to claim the same privilege. They whose opinions are founded upon reflection are always ready to give a fair hearing to others. It is only the slaves of authority, who are anxious to stifle discussion; those who are...

      • 11. Cooperation: Intended Speech (1825)
        (pp. 308-313)

        AT THE LAST MEETING of this Society the opinions which I hold were assailed with a variety of epithets, expressive of hatred and contempt. I shall not follow this example: I shall not call Mr. Owen’s theory aspurioustheory nor shall I say that it ought to be torn into tatters and scattered to the winds. But I shall endeavour to shew that it is founded on mistaken views of human nature and of the course of human affairs; and that the end which its supporters have at heart, the greatest happiness of the greatest number,¹ would not be...

      • 12. Cooperation: Closing Speech (1825)
        (pp. 313-325)

        WERE I TO REPLY successively to all the objections which have been advanced by different gentlemen in the course of the discussion, I should count too much both upon my own powers, and upon the patience of an auditory already wearied by so long a debate. It therefore gives me some satisfaction to observe, that those whom I cannot now stop to refute, have said, for the most part, nothing which was worth refuting, and that those of our adversaries who from their abilities have the strongest claim to be fairly met, are precisely those who have made us the...

      • 13. Cooperation: Notes (1825)
        (pp. 325-326)

        ALLEGATION. Competition is the cause of the distress which is diffused over all classes.


        1. Deny that there is general distress. Only labourers.

        2. The produce is divided into wages profits and rent.

        Competition does not lower rent.

        Competition does not lower profits, 1. by making people sell cheap. 2. by making people produce little. Competition only equalizes profits.

        Competitiondoeslower wages. But there is another competition tending to raise them. Narrow the former competition and wages would be high.

        3. Shew what would take place if population were diminished. That profits would be little more than high...

      • 14. Influence of the Aristocracy 9 DECEMBER, 1825
        (pp. 326-335)

        THE SOCIETY HAS BEEN INFORMED of the unlucky circumstance in consequence of which I am so unexpectedly called upon to open the question: a circumstance which I regret the more, as it is not a question which, if I had any option, I should have chosen to open, or perhaps even to speak upon. But it was necessary that some body should undertake the office; and as no other person has presented himself, I shall endeavour to discharge it as well as I can, without losing time in idle apologies; satisfied that however badly I may speak no apology would...

      • 15. Primogeniture 20 JANUARY, 1826
        (pp. 335-340)

        I DO NOT INTEND, Sir, to trespass very long upon your patience. The merits of the question seem to be within a narrow compass. We have experienced this evening how obscure and intricate one of the simplest questions in ethics and legislation may be made. If we look at the subject of property with the eyes of commonsense, and without that kind of superstition which seems in this country to have stamped it as one of those subjects to which commonsense ought not to be applied, we shall see that there are two, and but two, great ends to be...

      • 16. Catiline’s Conspiracy 28 FEBRUARY, 1826
        (pp. 341-348)

        IT IS A REMARK OF CONDORCET, that he is a public benefactor, who questions the authority of received opinions: and this not only when the received opinions are wrong, but sometimes even when they are right.¹ If they are wrong, it is of course an advantage to get rid of an error: if they are right, it is still no small advantage, to believe upon evidence what we had hitherto believed upon trust.

        If there be as much merit in propounding a paradox in history, as Condorcet says there is in propounding a paradox in philosophy,² my honourable friend³ the...

      • 17. The Universities [1] 7 APRIL, 1826
        (pp. 348-354)

        THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION at our Universities has been so ably criticised by former speakers that I should perhaps better consult my credit as well as my ease if I were to remain this evening a silent listener. Among the many topics, however, which the question embraces there is one which has not received in this debate that measure of attention which is its due. Although the deficiencies of the University scheme of education have been exposed with no unsparing hand, the examination has almost entirely confined itself to effects; it has not extended itself to causes. We have been...

      • 18. The Universities [2] 7 APRIL, 1826
        (pp. 354-358)

        AS I HAVE NOT, like some of the gentlemen who preceded me, the advantage of a practical acquaintance with the system pursued at our Universities, I shall not enter into those minute details which I do not know, and which perhaps if known would conduce but little to a correct estimation of the general effect of the system. Happily this is not one of those questions of which no one but an eye-witness is qualified to be a judge. The system of our Universities must be very good indeed if we are obliged to look close in order to find...

      • 19. The British Constitution [1] 19 MAY [?], 1826
        (pp. 358-371)

        I CANNOT AGREE, Sir, in the objection which has been urged by my honourable friend¹ against the wording of the question. I think it tolerably well worded, and of all possible faults those with which, in my opinion it is least chargeable are those which he has imputed to it. The proposer² distinctly prepared us, by the wording of his resolution, for what we afterwards learned from his speech, that he intended to defend the practice of the Constitution, and not its theory, and though he admitted that the Constitution is not, what it pretends to be, he maintained what...

      • 20. The British Constitution [2] (19 MAY, 1826)
        (pp. 371-385)

        BY THE WORD CONSTITUTION, Sir, I understand, the institutions which exist for the purpose or with the supposed effect of affording securities for good government. The question, therefore, concerning the goodness of our Constitution, is the question whether, in so far as depends upon institutions, good government is practically attained. It will I think be allowed that as long as we suffer under any evil of which government is the cause, good government in the practical sense of the word is not attained. The first question, therefore, is, Do any evils exist; the second, are any of them to be...

      • 21. The Influence of Lawyers 30 MARCH, 1827?
        (pp. 385-391)

        I SHALL NOT IMITATE MY HONOURABLE FRIEND, the proposer of the question,¹ in his historical details, but shall state as briefly as possible some general considerations which induce me to concur in his opinion.

        The range of the question includes three of the great interests of a country, its government, its morality, and its jurisprudence. That the influence of lawyers over the jurisprudence of a country cannot be beneficial seems too obvious to be denied. We cannot expect much aid in making good laws from those whose daily bread is derived from the defects of the laws. If the law...

      • 22. The Use of History (1827)
        (pp. 392-397)

        I COME HERE, Sir, with my mind not fully made up on this interesting question: but as the balance of the evidence as far as I have examined it, seems to me to be on the side of my honourable friend the proposer of the question¹ and as, though I may perhaps hesitate to go the full length of the question on the paper, it is my decided opinion formed on mature consideration, that the importance of history as a source of political knowledge has been greatly overrated, I will briefly submit, if the Society will honour me with their...

      • 23. The Coalition Ministry 29 JUNE, 1827
        (pp. 397-408)

        IT APPEARS TO ME that the time is not come for the decision of this question. The evidence is not yet before us. Until I know upon what principles or with what intentions the coalition was formed, I can neither approve nor condemn it.¹ Coalitions in themselves are neither good or bad. Their merit or demerit must wholly depend upon the mutual understanding which takes place among the parties concerned, regarding the line of conduct which is to be pursued by them thereafter: and as of this we can have no direct information whatever beyond what those individuals think fit...

      • 24. The Present State of Literature 16 NOVEMBER, 1827
        (pp. 409-417)

        WHEN I PROPOSED THIS QUESTION, I considered rather what subject it might be useful to the Society to discuss, than what I myself was equal to—not to mention other deficiencies. Extent of my reading never adequate to so vast a question, and now after a lapse of six months I have entirely lost the train of thought which suggested it. Fortunately the duty of an opener rather to indicate the topics than to discuss them. Leave to others to institute an elaborate comparison between our old and our new writers, or between our own and those of any other...

      • 25. The Church 15 FEBRUARY, 1828
        (pp. 418-427)

        MY HONOURABLE FRIEND the proposer of the question¹ has observed in his speech, that it is difficult to speak against the church, because men will not listen to the evidence. The experience of the preceding evening has shewn that there is another difficulty, viz. that when they do listen to it, they are very much disposed to fritter it away. It would indeed be difficult to compose a speech on any subject that would stand the test which these gentlemen seemed disposed to apply to it. If you rest your case upon the universal principles of human nature, and shew...

      • 26. Perfectibility 2 MAY, 1828
        (pp. 428-433)

        MR. PRESIDENT, if I had much anxiety to save my credit as a wise and practical person, I should not venture to stand forth in defence of the progressiveness of the human mind. I know that among all that class of persons who consider themselves to bepar excellence,the wise and the practical, it is esteemed a proof of consummate judgment, to despair of doing good. I know that it is thought essential to a man who has any knowledge of the world, to have an extremely bad opinion of it: and that whenever there are two ways of...

      • 27. Wordsworth and Byron 30 JANUARY, 1829
        (pp. 434-442)

        REMARK ON THE MANNER in which the debate has been conducted.¹

        Persons who are not entitled to give an opinion on this question—viz. those who regard poetry as a mere elegant amusement, which is to give them a momentary pleasure, but to leave no permanent impression. Shew, that Poetry is an important branch of education. Education is 1. the education of the intellect. 2. that of the feelings. Folly of supposing that the first suffices without the last. Of the last, so far as influenced by literature, the great instrument is poetry. Why therefore if the end of poetry...

      • 28. Montesquieu 3 APRIL, 1829
        (pp. 443-453)

        BEFORE I COMMENCE, it is proper to explain to those who were not present at the last debate, the reasons which will induce me to occupy their attention with other topics and in another manner than what the terms of the question would suggest, or perhaps, in most cases, justify.

        An honourable gentleman¹ who spoke towards the conclusion of the previous debate, and whose speech, I imagine, most of those who heard it will not easily forget, has thought proper to ground his defence of the merits of Montesquieu chiefly upon the demerits of those who have adopted a method...


    • Middle Matter
      (pp. i-vi)
    • Walking Tours, 1827–32

      • 29. Walking Tour of Sussex 20–30 JULY, 1827
        (pp. 455-475)

        This morning I commenced a short tour of the Sussex coast in company with Graham and Grant. I was taken up at Leatherhead by a Chichester coach which proceeded through Bookham, Effingham, East Horsley, Clandon and Merrow. The road skirts the foot of the Ranmer hills, of which however the ascent on the north is so gradual that little is visible of their peculiarities except an occasional chalk pit. To the right, although we had the advantage of a clear horizon and a blue sky chequered with flying white clouds, by far the best weather for surveying the country, we...

      • 30. Walking Tour of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Surrey 3–15 JULY, 1828
        (pp. 477-500)

        Set out from town this morning with Crawley, Chadwick, and Grant, on a tour to the Stoken-Church and Chiltern Hills. We set off from the Black Lion, Water Lane, by a Reading coach, which leaves that inn at half past eight, and which we chose as well for its early hour, as because it possesses the privilege of driving through Windsor Great Park. The road as far as Staines Bridge is tame and common place enough but becomes interesting immediately on entering Surrey. The river to the right, St. Ann’s Hill to the left, Cooper’s Hill and the high ground...

      • 31. Walking Tour of Yorkshire and the Lake District JULY–AUGUST 1831
        (pp. 501-556)

        It would be useless to attempt describing even the general features of a country which was seen only through the windows of a mail coach. I was able to obtain a place on the outside for an hour or two, during which I could perceive that the north of England very much resembles any other country of gentle slopes, covered with corn and pasture, and in which a very slight elevation enables you to see for many miles round. It is not destitute of wood; but there is nowhere enough, either of timber or even of coppice, to give a...

      • 32. Walking Tour of Hampshire, West Sussex, and the Isle of Wight 19 JULY–6 AUGUST, 1832
        (pp. 557-611)

        Set out with Henry Cole on a tour in Hampshire, West Sussex, and the Isle of Wight. We started outside a Southampton coach, and proceeded through Kingston, Esher, Cobham, and Ripley, to Guildford: thus far the road was familiar to me, and I need not describe it. At Guildford the road turned sharp round to the right, and gradually slanted up the side of the chalk range which here, from the rapid dip of the strata, forms only a very narrow ridge, called the Hog’s Back. When the road has reached the top of this ridge, it runs along the...

      • 33. Walking Tour of Cornwall 3–9 OCTOBER, 1832
        (pp. 613-638)

        Set out from Polvellen near Looe in East Cornwall, on a journey to the western extremity of the county. I intended to be taken up at Liskeard, due north of Looe, by a cross mail which goes from Devonport to Falmouth and employs the whole day in that journey. With this view I proceeded up the estuary of the Looe river.

        The south coast of Cornwall, of which nothing is known to those who have only travelled the great road through Launceston and Bodmin, is a very peculiar and singularly beautiful part of England. On the one hand, no or...

    • Diary, 1854

      • 34. Diary 8 JANUARY–15 APRIL, 1854
        (pp. 641-668)

        This little book is an experiment. Whatever else it may do, it will exemplify, at least in the case of the writer, what effect is produced on the mind by the obligation of having at least one thought per day which is worth writing down. And for this purpose no mere speciality, either of science or practice, can count as a thought. It must either relate to life, to feeling, or to high metaphysical speculation. The first thing which I am likely to discover in the attempt is that, instead of one per day, I have not one such thought...


    • Appendix A. The Manuscripts
      (pp. 671-678)
    • Appendix B. Journal and Notebook: Ancillary Materials (1820–21)
      (pp. 679-684)
    • Appendix C. Textual Emendations
      (pp. 685-690)
    • Appendix D. Index of Persons and Works Cited, with Variants and Notes
      (pp. 691-750)
  8. Index
    (pp. 751-760)