Of the influence of Mr. Mill’s personal character on those who were his political associates, it is difficult to speak too warmly. No one could be with him or work with him without being conscious of breathing a purer moral atmosphere: he made mean personal ambitions and rivalries seem despicable and ridiculous, not so much by any thing that he said directly on the subject, as by contrast with his own noble, strong, and generous nature. It is almost impossible to imagine that any one could be so insensible to the high morality of Mr. Mill’s character as to suggest to him any course of conduct that was not entirely upright and consistent. A year or two ago, however, a story was told of a gentleman who asked Mr. Mill to stand for an Irish constituency, and stated that the only opinion it would be necessary for him to change was the one he had so often expressed against denominational education. A smile at the man’s stupidity, and the remark, “I should like to have seen Mill’s face when he heard this suggestion,” is the almost invariable comment on this story. It is a very suggestive indication of the impression Mr. Mill’s moral influence made on those who knew him.
An apology is due to the readers of these pages that the task of speaking of Mr. Mill as a practical politician has not fallen into more competent hands. No one can be more deeply sensible of my inability to deal adequately with the subject than I am myself. This sketch ought to have been written by one who is in every way more qualified to speak of Mr. Mill’s political career than I am. Unavoidable circumstances, however, prevented his undertaking the work; and as the time was too short to allow of any being spent in a search that might have proved fruitless, the honor of writing these lines has devolved upon me.
MILLICENT GARRETT FAWCETT.
HIS RELATION TO POSITIVISM.
The present course of lectures on a special subject has made no pretension to present the religious aspect of Positivism, and I shall not venture to intrude on one of its gravest functions the due commemoration of the dead. But nothing that is spoken here should have a merely scientific form, nor can I be satisfied until I have tried to give expression to the feeling which must be foremost in the minds of all present. It is impossible to forget that it was by Mr. Mill that Comte was first made known in this country, and that by him first in this country the great doctrines of positive thought, the supreme reign of law in the moral and social world, no less than in the intellectual world, were reduced to system and life. This conception as a whole has been gradually forming in the minds of all modern thinkers; but its full scope and force were presented to Englishmen for the first time by Mr. Mill. The growth of my own mind, and of that of all those with whom I have been associated, has been simply the recognition of this truth in all its