The Life of John Stuart Mill

  • Lord Robbins


It is an interesting circumstance that, although he died more than seventy-five years ago, there has been no full-length biography of John Stuart Mill until just recently. Until then the leading works were still the Autobiography, published by Helen Taylor immediately after his death in 1873, and Alexander Bain’s John Stuart Mill: a Criticism, which was published in 1882: the Life of John Stuart Mill, by W. L. Courtney, published in 1888 in the ‘Great Writers Series’, is largely based on these and, although not negligible, is of very minor importance. Later on, in the nineties, two important series of letters were published — the letters to d’Eichthalz 2 and Comte,3 and in 1910 Hugh Elliot published a two-volume edition of other correspondence.4 These added considerably to the volume of Mill’s works available. None of them, however, threw much light on the more private side of his life; the papers bearing on this were closely guarded by the family, and although Elliot saw them, he was not permitted to use them. In 1922 and 1927, however, after the death of Mary Taylor, Mill’s niece, they were put up to auction and acquired chiefly by Lord Keynes and the libraries of the London School of Economics and Yale. But it was not until much later that they were used extensively.


London School Important Series Modern Economic Theory Early Letter Continual Pursuit 
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  1. 1.
    F. A. Hayek, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage (1951).Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    R. P. Anschutz, The Philosophy of J. S. Mill (1953)Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Karl Britten, John Stuart Mill (1953)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lord Robbins 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lord Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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