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Nevertheless, the Saint-Simonians had something he wanted. More sympathetic, he remained unconvinced.
But unlike Saint-Simon, Mill did not think the times were ripe. Moreover, after he became increasingly sympathetic to the Saint-Simonian world-view. To Comte more than to any other he was indebted for his new insight. The correspondence flourished, Mill keeping his distance, minimizing their differences, Comte explaining but giving no ground. Grote broke with Comte in Comte put his complaints in print; this did not affect the even estimate Mill gave of him in the Autobiography. Sectarianism was the problem. By then he had been acquainted with Alexis de Tocqueville for more than two decades.
The style of his exchange with Tocqueville differed greatly from that of his relations with Comte or the Saint-Simonians. With the last he had been the pursued, the reserved commentator, to some extent the receptive pupil, the distressed friend and even-handed defender.rikonn.biz/wp-content/2020-07-04/come-vedere-la-cronologia-su-iphone-6s-plus.php
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With Tocqueville there were reservations, question marks, but the meeting of minds at first seemed close. In each case, what first attracted Mill was the broad historical conception they all advanced. I do not think that anything more important than the publication of your book has happened even in this great age of events. In the case of the Saint-Simonians and Comte, Mill had been led through study of their works to reflect more fully on French public policy and the fate of opposition opinion. The correspondence with Tocqueville concentrated on the uncertain Franco-British relationship.
Bain thought Mill dealt partially with France and the French, however, by comparison with England and the English. In private he was quite capable of turning the comparison to the advantage of his own people. They promise everything and do nothing. They are not men of business. Guilbert is better, being half an Englishman.
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Mill himself was alive to the danger of too great a concentration of interest in another society. If that were our case we should have plenty of the same feeling. The disagreement here never was resolved. France, he said, was saddened and humiliated. He explained that the worst danger for any nation came when its moral fibre was weakened. The result had been a sauve qui peut, peace at any price. The implication, of course, was that in France they did not. Considering what had happened in the eastern Mediterranean crisis, the sentiment is remarkable.
However, his public statement in the Chamber of Deputies, some months later, was no less firm. Mill made no further mention of the Mediterranean affair, thanked him, and asked whether Tocqueville would not come to England. Four years passed before they made contact briefly in They perceived the Revolution of very differently. Tocqueville had set his face against social revolution; February brought misgivings, and the insurrection in June seemed to him inevitable.
Mill could never have used the words Tocqueville chose to characterize the desperate challenge from the streets flung at the government and the National Assembly. Mill took a contrary view of the matter. Moreover, he favoured inclusion of the droit au travail in the constitution, and to this Tocqueville was opposed Between them still was their disagreement on foreign policy: on 30 November, , Tocqueville indicted Great Britain and Russia for conspiring to bar France from the eastern Mediterranean, saying he preferred war to humiliation.
He would gladly write of politics, but he feared his letter would be seized. Two years later, he sent Tocqueville his On Liberty. Critical as Mill was of the English ruling class, he laid the principal blame for Anglo-French misunderstandings at the French doorstep. It is as I have long thought a clear case for the croisement des races. Nevertheless, if inevitably he was an outsider, he was also a deeply informed and committed observer, looking for fresh signs and portents. France remained a mirror, in it he continued to see much of what he thought best in European civilization.
In the summer of , long before the substantial dismantling of the authoritarian Empire began, Mill discerned stirrings in the general elections that returned eight independents and five republicans, despite the fact that Like most observers, he did not sense on the tranquil eve of the Imperial catastrophe that the republican party, which he favoured, was potentially a great force. I hope it will tend to dispel the still common delusion that despotism is a vigorous government.
There never was a greater mistake.
He thought moral decadence the only real form. By then his virtually lifelong French education was drawing to a close. It had accounted for three or four shifts of direction in his intellectual journey. It made him both an enthusiast and a severe critic. Though he knew very well the land he found so dramatic and so consolatory, lived there a fair portion of his life, and chose to lie there forever, he remained what he had always been since the age of fourteen, an observer with his French notebook open, but with a primarily English agenda.
It pained him, as it had Saint-Simon long before, that the two peoples should get along so poorly. The archives were neglected and disarranged, the libraries were unwelcoming. The Emperor conceived of written history as a political and social instrument: Pierre Edouard Lemontey was directed to write a history of France from the death of Louis XIV to demonstrate the decadence of the Bourbon monarchy. In England the situation, though different, was no better. The universities were, and were to remain until after the mid-century, largely uninterested in modern history.
Foreign scholars who came calling were appalled. The Society of Antiquaries, founded in , was unconcerned. The Record Commission Gibbon had asked for, established in , was largely made up of Anglican divines and politicians, uninterested, incompetent. Sir James Mackintosh, appointed to it in , was its first historians.
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Scarcely a statement will bear the test of truth. But the mid-century passed before the kind of collection and publication of sources Guizot directed under the July Monarchy was started in England. History, often the mere servant of philosophy and policy, was the concern of the very few. All the same, a profound change had set in, outgrowth of the Enlightenment, consequence of the Revolution.
Naturally he had also written histories—of India, of the ancient world, of Holland. At ten he began what he hoped would be a publishable history of Roman government, but he abandoned the project and destroyed the manuscript. It was never at the centre of his adult activity.
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Whether it was a hobby 93 is debatable; the evidence is not strong. But Mill read history, reflected on history, principally the history of Europe. Still severe in criticism of those whose scholarly standards failed his test, he became bent on the subordination of history to philosophy, seeking principles from historical facts, interpreting facts in the light of principles.
Almost two decades later, he again remarked on. We are indeed disposed to assign to this history almost as high a rank in narrative as in thought. No one learns any thing very valuable from history or from travelling, who does not come prepared with much that history and travelling can never teach.
Mill was concerned with the present in historical context, hence his immediate attraction to the historical periodizations of the Saint-Simonians and Comte.
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The authority, the legitimacy of the old institutions, lay and religious, had vanished. The order of human progress.
To an extreme degree, ancient Greece showed the extraordinary influence of a single city-state and a few exceptional individuals. The experience would not be repeated. Mill was interested in history for what it could do rather than for what it might be. Mill seems not to have had the temperament to be an historian. After , especially, his interests drew him along another path. Yet to nothing Poetical, I think, his fancy is not rich; furthermore he cannot laugh with any compass.
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