John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works.
bearings and force; and it was in minds saturated with this principle by the teaching of Mr. Mill that the great phases of English thought have germinated in our day.  In this place it is impossible to forget, that, in introducing to the English world the principles of Comte, Mr. Mill so clearly and ardently professed the positive philosophy at that time restricted to its earlier phase alone.  In this place it is impossible, too, to forget the generous assistance which he extended to Comte, whereby he was enabled to continue his labors in philosophy, impossible also to forget the active communion of mind between them, and the large space which their intercourse occupied in the thoughts and labors of both.  Nor can I, and many present here, forget the many occasions on which we have been guided by his counsel and supported by his help in many a practical work in which we have depended on his example and experience.  It is needless to repeat, for it must be present to all minds, how many and deep are the differences which separate him from the later doctrines of Comte, and how completely he repudiated connection with the religious reconstruction of Positivism.  We here, at any rate, shall claim Mr. Mill for Positivism in no other sense than that in which he claimed it for himself in his own latest writings.  These differences we shall neither exaggerate nor veil.  They stand all written most clearly for all men to weigh and to use.  But naturally we shall point, as one of us has already publicly pointed, to the cardinal features of agreement, and the vast importance of the features for which we may claim the whole weight of his authority.  Yet I would not pretend that it is only on this side of his connection with the founder and principles of Positivism, that we dwell on the memory of Mr. Mill with admiration and sympathy.  We reverence that unfaltering fearlessness of spirit, that warmth of generous emotion, that guileless simplicity of nature, which made his life heroic.  Neither insult, failure, nor abandonment could shake his sense of duty, or touch his gentle and serene fortitude.  For us his high example, his noble philosophic calm, continue to live and to teach.  He, being dead, yet speaketh.  And, if his great heart and brain are no longer amongst us as visible and conscious agencies, his spirit lives yet in all that he has given to the generation of to-day:  the work of his spirit is not ended, nor the task of his life accomplished; but we feel that his nature is entering on a new and greater life amongst us,—­one that is entirely spiritual, intellectual, and moral.



     [2] Part of a lecture on “Political Institutions,” delivered
     at the Positivist School, May 11.



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John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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