Guide to the Letters of John Stuart Mill to John Chapman


MS 316

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2002

Collection Summary

Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873
Letters to John Chapman
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 316
0.07 metres (1 security binder)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection comprises 18 letters written by John Stuart Mill to Dr John Chapman regarding articles Mill had written or intended to write. They were written from Blackheath Park, Salzburg and Saint Vernan in Avignon between 1861 and 1867.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for reference.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Letters of John Stuart Mill to John Chapman, National Library of Australia, MS 316, [item number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was purchased by the Library from the Museum Book Store, London in 1953.

Correspondence of John Stuart Mill, held in the British Library of Political and Economic Science in London, was copied by the Australian Joint Copying Project (Microfilm reel M 2613).


The letters have been arranged in chronological order and housed in a security binder.

Biographical Note

John Stuart Mill was one of the great intellectuals of the Victorian age and his writings have had a profound influence on political, economic and social thought. The son of the utilitarian philosopher James Mill, he was born in London in 1806 and educated by his father. He joined his father as a clerk at India House in 1823 and held senior positions there until the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858. He was a Member of Parliament from 1865 to 1868.

Mill published a huge number of books, pamphlets and articles. Among his most significant writings were System of logic (1843), Essays on some unsettled questions of political economy (1844), Principles of political economy (1848), Thoughts on parliamentary reform (1848), On liberty (1859), Considerations on representative government (1861), The subjection of women (1869) and Autobiography (published posthumously in 1873).

In 1851 Mill married Mrs Harriet Taylor, the sister of Arthur Hardy of Adelaide. She died in 1858. For the rest of his life Mill spent half the year at Avignon in France and the other half at Blackheath in London. He died in Avignon in 1873.

Item Descriptions

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, St. Veran, Avignon, 18 May 1861 (Item 1)

Declines to write an article on foreign policy for the Westminster Review as the principles cannot be discussed without particular application. Turkey is the only case which offers itself and of this he is not master.

Mill, J.S. to John Chapman, Blackheath, 4 August 1861 (Item 2)

Pencil note (on MS when purchased in 1953) reads: "Published in Letters of J.S. Mill ed. By Hugh Elliot. London Longmans, 1910 v. 1 p. 247.

Disagrees with "Mr Harrison's letter in the Daily News" but agrees with "Mr Fawcett's article" on the grounds that "the power of striking tends to bring about something approximating to what I consider the only right organisation of labour, the association of the work people with the employers by a participation of profits". Favours payment by the hour as against day labour but there should be a recognised length of a day beyond which the payment per hour would be higher.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Salzburg, 10 August 1862 (Item 3)

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath, 13 September 1862 (Item 4)

Says the 'article I proposed to you' was sent today but will not be surprised or discouraged if it is not considered sufficiently good for insertion.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Saint Veran, Avignon, 24 September 1862 (Item 5)

Returning last page of proof of article referred to in earlier correspondence. Does not wish for payment while the Review is not in a position to pay all its contributors. Will be happy to offer advice in any subject and comments on the Italian situation.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 16 March 1863 (Item 6)

Offers to do 'a general estimate of M. Comte and of his philosophy' since Emile Littre has a life of Auguste Comte nearly ready for publication.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Saint Vernon, Avignon, 6 September 1863 (Item 7)

Has Littre's volume on Comte. It suggests the need for two articles: one on Comte's philosophy and the other on him from a biographical point of view. While not unwilling, has no particular wish to write the latter and in any case could do neither before next year.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Saint Vernon, Avignon, 18 September 1863 (Item 8)

Agrees to write both articles and will utilise not only Littre's biography but his Paroles de philosophie positive together with a biography of Comte by 'a more thorough disciple', Dr Robinet, and a compendium of Comte's final doctrines by Celestin de Bliginieres.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Saint Vernan, Avignon, 25 September 1863 (Item 9)

Has decided to abandon the biographical article on Comte and to confine himself to 'an estimate of his doctrines and method'.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 4 February 1865 (Item 10)

Has left 'the first article on Comte' and is well advanced with the second. Would like twenty separate copies made up as wishes to send copies of the articles to a number of persons.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath, 9 February 1865 (Item 11)

Minor matters concerning the Comte articles. Refers to Mr Bridge's translation of Comte's Discours preliminaire.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath, 6 March 1865 (Item 12)

Has returned 'the revise of the article on Comte'. Would like to send copies to friends before the Review is out, particularly to M. Littre. Will send the second article 'as soon as you express a wish to have it'.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman (Item 13)

List of names and addresses to whom copies of Mill's first article on Comte are to be sent.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 11 April 1865 (Item 14)

Has corrected the proof of the second article on Comte. Gives instructions for sending copies to friends as for the first article including an additional copy to M. Littre who will have it translated.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 28 July 1865 (Item 15)

Proposes his conditions for the publication of the Comte articles by Mr Trubner.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 30 July 1865 (Item 16)

Declines offer to write a review as is under engagement to prepare a review 'for the Edinburgh'.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Saint Vernan, Avignon, 21 November 1866 (Item 17)

States that his daughter is forwarding an article on women's suffrage written to aid 'the parliamentary movement which will probably be made in the next session'. If accepted it should desirably be published in the January number of the Westminster Review.

Mill, J.S. to Chapman, Blackheath Park, 6 February 1867 (Item 18)

Will direct his solicitor to make a suggested alteration in a deed of mortgage. Reference to reprint of daughter's article and negotiations with Mr Trubner. Discussion of treatment of cholera in south of France similar to that suggested by Chapman.