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things according to their intrinsic Accordingly, Mill was brought up usefulness, a life of exertion incontra- from the first without any religious diction to one of self-indulgent ease belief. His father considered that and sloth.” He was not insensible the creed of Christianity enibodied to pleasure, but he attributed the the ne plus ultra of wickedness in greater number of the miscarriages the conception which it presented in life to the overvaluing of pleasure. of God. Mill describes himself as He thought human life a poor thing one of the very few examples in at best, after the freshness of youth this country of one who has not and of unsatisfied curiosity had gone thrown off religious belief, but never by. For passionate emotions of all had it. “I grew up in a negative sorts he professed the greatest con- state with regard to it. I looked tempt. Feelings, as such, were no upon the modern exactly as I did proper subjects of praise or blame; upon the ancient religion, as someeven a feeling of duty as a motive thing which in no way concerned did not mitigate the severity of his me. It did not seem to me more censure upon what he considered a strange that English people should bad action. He was constitutionally believe what I did not than that the irritable ; and Mr Mill says “it is men whom I read of in Herodotus impossible not to feel true pity for should have done so." The father, a father who did and strove to do so while implanting in the son an much for his children, who would opinion contrary to that of the have so valued their affection, yet world, thought it necessary to give who must have been constantly it as one which could not be prufeeling that fear of him was drying dently avowed. To the last, people it up at its source. This was no long. were in doubt as to the late Mr 'er the case later in life and with his Mill's religious belief or disbelief. younger children—they loved him He refused to say anything about it tenderly; and if I cannot say as much at his election at Westminster. This of myself, I was always loyally de- Autobiography dispels all obscurity voted to him." Mr Mill pointedly upon the subject, and adds, that says that he rejoices “in the de- “the world would be astonished if cline of the old brutal and tyrannical it knew how great a proportion of system of teaching;" that fear ought its greatest ornaments, of those most not to be the main element in edu- distinguished even in popular estication; and that when it predomi- mation for wisdom and virtue, are nates so as to preclude love and seal complete sceptics in religion.” up the fountains of frank communi- It is easy to see from the record cativeness in the child's nature, it of this education what the father's is an evil which detracts from the training had effected in point of other educational benefits which formation or development. The may have been received.
subsequent years of life must be The father looked upon religion consulted in order to see what that " as the greatest enemy of morality, training had crushed or smothered. first by setting up fictitious excelHad his education been allowed to lences—belief in creeds, devotional proceed in the ordinary healthy feelings, and ceremonies not con- course, it is reasonable to conclude nected with the good of human that Mill's life would have been kind-and causing them to be ac- fuller, happier, and more useful than cepted as substitutes for genuine it was. He had the ardent sympavirtues; but above all, by radically thies, the imaginative faculty, the vitiating the subject of morals.” love of nature, and the disposition to worship and revere which would reformer of the world. For five have united him to his kind. His years, that object and the happy father failed to crush them out, but consciousness of fulfilling it, formed he fixed a gulf between his son and the basis of his happiness, a perthe world which was never after- manent personal satisfaction on wards passed or passable; he made which to place his whole reliance. a gap in the child's character and A dull state of nervous exhaustion capacities which was never after then supervened ; and the end in wards filled up. Mill went through view ceased to charm. Life sudlife fitted to excel in the pursuit of denly seemed without object, hope, abstract science; but hopelessly or motive; the love of mankind in wrong in his estimate of men and general did not compensate for the women, and unversed in practical absence of all sympathy with any life.
individual. The state of mind was At the age of fourteen the pupil one of deep and hopeless dejection. left his father's house and entered There was no hope of sympathy the world. No youth ever embarked from his father; the stream of that on the voyage of life so singularly father's education had ended in a equipped. The abnormal develop- mud-bank. Mill saw, or thought ment of intellect, joined to singu- he saw, what he had always before lar ignorance of life and all its received with incredulity," that incidents, rendered him & por- the habit of analysis has a tendency tent; but the fact that a rich vein to wear away the feelings—as, inof poetry, and a real tenderness deed, it has when no other mental of nature, lay beneath, oppressed habit is cultivated, and the analysbut not driven out by the iron dis- ing spirit remains without its cipline he had endured, gives the natural complements and correcreal and enduring interest to the tives." subsequent pages of the book. A Analytic habits tend to weaken year's residence in France under the those associations which are mere care of Mr Bentham's brother, varied matter of feeling. They are thereby an excursion to the Pyrenees, fore favourable to prudence and clearwhere “the mountain scenery made sightedness, but a perpetual worm the deepest impression on me, and at the root, both of the passions and gave a colour to my tastes through of the virtues. The whole course of life," afforded an opportunity of be- his education had made precocious coming acquainted with the French and premature analysis the inlanguage and literature, and attend- veterate habit of his mind. He ing lectures on chemistry, zoology, feared that he had not sufficient and the philosophy of the sciences. fund of feeling, natural or acquired, The frank sociability and amiability to resist its dissolving influence. of French personal intercourse evi- He felt that he had no real desire dently delighted him; and he con- for the ends which he had been trasted French sentiment and sym- trained to work for; “no delight in pathy with what he subsequently virtue, or the general good, but discovered to be the apathy and in- also just as little in anything else." difference of Englishmen.
As for vanity, ambition, the desire From the age of fifteen onwards, of distinction and importance, when he first read Bentham and satiety had preceded desire. A helped to start the Westminster morbid intellectual development Review,' he had what might be had incapacitated him for physicalled an object in life—to be a cal, sympathetic, or sensual plea
VOL. CXV.NO. DCXCIX.
sures. “Thus neither selfish nor than that even this source of unselfish pleasures were pleasures to pleasure was then closed to him. me; and there seemed no power in Reviving enjoyment in it was, nature sufficient to begin the for- after all, impeded by the circummation of my character anew, and stance that he was seriously torcreate in a mind now irretrieva- mented by the thought of the bly analytic, fresh associations of exhaustibility of musical combinapleasure with any of the objects tions.” of human desire.” For about a The poetry of Wordsworth first year his mood was hopeless and gave him continued mental relief. gloomy; he was oppressed with He read the whole of Byron with the thought that all feeling was the hope to rouse some feeling dead within him. But he had in himself, but unsuccessfully. been so drilled in a certain sort of Byron's state of mind, he says, mental exercise that he could still was too like his own. “His was carry it on when the spirit had gone the lament of a man who had worn out of it. The gloom was first out all pleasures, and who seemed dispelled by the passage in Mar- to think that life to all who posmontel's Memoirs which relates sessed the good things of it must the sudden inspiration to do and necessarily be the vapid uninterestdare which was caused by his ing thing which I found it.” Mill's father's death and the distress of gloom was that of a man who felt the family. Finally, he was led that the idiosyncrasies of his educato adopt or to originate the anti- tion had done for him what satiety self-conscious theory of Carlyle. had done for Byron-eaten out the “Ask yourself whether you are capacity for pleasure, or enjoyment, happy, and you cease to be so; the or happiness. Wordsworth's poems, only chance is to treat not happi- on the contrary, "expressed not ness, but some end external to it, as mere outward beauty, but states of the purpose of life.” You must feeling, of thought coloured by inhale happiness with the air you feeling under the excitement of breathe ; you will put it to flight beauty. They seemed to be the by fatal questioning. He was also very culture of the feelings which led to increased regard for the in- I was in quest of. In them I ternal culture of the individual. seemed to draw from a source of Passive susceptibilities he found inward joy, of sympathetic and imrequire to be cultivated as well as aginative pleasure.” Wordsworth the active capacities. He thought taught him that there was real that analysis required to be cor- permanent happiness in tranquil rected by joining other kinds of contemplation ; and that with culcultivation with it. Unlike his ture of the feelings, there was father, he now insisted upon the nothing to dread from the most cultivation of the feelings, and the confirmed habit of analysis. He maintenance of a due balance accepted the comfort of Wordsamong the faculties. He awoke worth's poetry, but he rejected the to the importance of poetry and philosophy and religion from which art as instruments of human cul- Wordsworth drew his inspiration. ture. From childhood he had The love of rural objects and nattaken infinite pleasure in music. ural scenery, and the passionate fondThe extremity of the morbid gloom ness for poetry and music which this into which he had been thrown is Autobiography reveals, forced their proved by nothing more thoroughly way to light, notwithstanding the incubus of his extraordinary train- satisfaction to the leading part ing. It was the struggle of nature which he played in determining and the natural tendencies of his the form and spirit of the decharacter and disposition, rebelling spatches which were sent from the against the tyrannous weight of office. He found the discipline of an exclusively intellectual devel- being obliged to put up with the opment, which produced the deep smallest part of his own way at the melancholy to which we have re- office, where he could not get the ferred, and which, it is hinted, al- whole of it, as of the greatest possimost terminated in suicide. When ble importance for personal happiwe reflect what the development ness. He was thereby, at the very was, it shows the strength and lowest estimate of his achievements, vigour of the man that he refused effecting “ the greatest amount of to remain the mere “reasoning ma- good compatible with his opportunchine " which his father had sought ities.” The singular point in referto make him. He showed thus early ence to his official career is this : that he had by nature strong points that although India was governed, of contact and sympathy with the as respects the English machinery outer world, and with that life of of its administration, by the most feeling and passion from which his astounding contrivances ever resortfather had tried to exclude him. ed to for the rule of an empire, Mill The vital power within him had not never, during his whole thirty-five been exhausted by the elaborate years, opened his mouth against it. process of unnatural forcing. But He clung to all its abuses and abenough had been done to determine surdities with the same desperate his general career and character. tenacity with which the pseudo-Tor
Previous to the crisis in his life ies of his youth stuck to rotten borwhich this melancholy created, his fa- oughs and Draconian punishments. ther had secured for him, at the age He declared that any change from of seventeen, an appointment in the such a system “would necessarily India House as Examiner of Corre- be a change for the worse," - a spondence. He retained this employ- strange sentiment for him. ment, becoming eventually the head When the Company fell, and of his department, until 1858, when, with it the Directors, and the govon the fall of the East India Com- ernment of India was transferred pany, he retired with a liberal com- to the Queen, he was the foremost pensation. He had in this way a to denounce “the folly and miscompetency, thorough independence chief of that ill-considered change." of the world, sufficient leisure to There was niot an opinion nor an pursue his schemes of attacking and institution cherished by his counrevolutionising a social system which trymen which he, isolated from at least had treated him with singu- them by his education, his appointlar generosity. It completed that ment, and his pursuits, did not atisolation from life, its struggles tack with a view to its absolute and uncertainties, its priceless dis- extinction. But he knew no more cipline and invigorating influence, of practical politics than he did of which his father had begun. Mr life and human beings; and any Mill regards it as having given him man or woman of competent knowpersonal observation of the conduct ledge of that world which was so of public affairs, and as having strange to him and who appreciated obliged him to co-operate with him, and any institution like that of others. He alludes with evident the India House, which used him
well, was liable to be invested with edly sought to transmute the existevery imaginary excellence.
ing institution of marriage, and We pass lightly over the literary called upon the whole female sex to achievements of his life, as it is not revolt against it, as unworthy and within the compass of an article to the lowest degree degrading. that the history of his mind or an The Christian religion rests that account of his works can be given. institution upon the basis of the In early youth he founded a sect, a obedience of the wife, and it is debating club, and a Review, and he perfectly consistent with that basis wrote countless articles on the sub- that the real relation should be, jects which fed his mind. In deal- where circumstances permit, one of ing with abstractions he was at reciprocal superiority and mutual home. His words, his theories, his devotion. That basis must be phases of thought, his axioms, corol- broad enough to support indissolularies, and principles, we leave to bility of marriage, which is the others; our object is to estimate foundation of society : it does not his career and education, and thence exclude, but will, on the contrary, to ascertain his value as a leader of tend to promote, the highest develthought, the apostle of a new social opment of woman. Mr Mill calls condition, a new order of human his friendship with Mrs Taylor duties, beliefs, and opinions.
“the honour and chief blessing The next subject is that large por- of his existence," the source of tion of his career which was illus- his efforts for human improvetrated and influenced by what he ment. For twenty years of that terms “the most valuable friendship friendship Mrs Taylor was the wife of his life.” In 1830, when he was of another man, estimable according twenty-five and Mrs Taylor was to Mr Mill for everything but his twenty-three, they became acquaint- intellectual and artistic tastes, for ed. “I very soon felt her to be the whom his wife “had true esteem most admirable person I had ever and the strongest affection through known.” The sequel shows that not life, and whom she most deeply withstanding all his isolation and all lamented when dead." With this his scientific training, the contempt lady, so circumstanced, Mr Mill of passionate emotion, and the desire permitted himself to form a relation to rebuild the world on a basis of which he pointedly says was “one pure reason by means of an intellect of strong affection and confidential artificially forced, the human nature intimacy only." It is hard upon within him which had led him to a husband when his wife's honour the unhallowed delights of poetry, needs this posthumous testimony music, and scenery, was again at from another man, and is supposed work. Incarnate analysis was in to receive it without reproach and love, and, of course, with the wrong discredit. It is stated, and may woman.
readily be believed, that the intiMr Mill's relations to Mrs Taylor macy which Mill regarded as the are an important part of his Autobi- honour of his existence, embittered ography, to the eye of any one who the husband's life. The lady occaapproaches the subject from our sionally lived with her husbandpoint of view. Mr Mill, in his mostly, however, away from him work on the ‘Subjection of Women,' in the country. Mr Mill visited has expressed his view of the rela- them equally in both places. He was tions of the sexes, and in particular “greatly indebted to the strength of husbands and wives. He avow- of character which enabled her to