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Page 167


1. Organization

Though the general principle governing the division of materials amongst the volumes of the Collected Works is thematic, there are strong generic marks that make the universal application of such a rule ridiculous: for the special purposes of anthologies it is sensible to isolate parts of Mill's System of Logic, for instance, but to dissect that tome and store its bits in bottles labelled "the syllogism," "abstract method," "ethics," "political theory," etc., would be quite irresponsible. So the rule has been applied only to materials, usually periodical essays and short monographs, that are of a length permitting combination within thematic volumes. Within these volumes, a chronological order is followed, although sub-themes could have been used to combine essays. In the Earlier and Later Letters chronology was followed without much hesitation, for the other main option, grouping by correspondent, is of value only when there is a large mass of letters and when both sides of correspondences are substantial; neither of these conditions is sufficiently filled in Mill's case.

I mention these obvious matters only to explain the background to our decision to organize the newspaper writings (and also the journals and speeches that will make up Volumes XXVI-XXVIII) in chronological order. Materials as heterogenous as these generally resist division into themes or subjects, though in Mill's case the newspaper writings provide, as indicated above, two major subjects: French politics in the early 1830s and Irish land in the late 1840s. However, so densely grouped chronologically are these two sets that they cohere even within an ordering by date. Furthermore, some other groupings would be objectionably arbitrary, and there would be a ragtail remnant.

This decision makes it difficult to break the material into coherent units that would serve as "chapters." Since few users of the volumes will read them through from beginning to end, in fact these aids to ease are not essential; nonetheless we introduced breaks into timely intervals that will at least allow the table of contents to be followed without strain; and indeed because of the relation of Mill's journalism to patterns in his life and to external events these "chapters" actually have thematic and sub-generic affinities that are explored in the Introduction.

For each item we provide a title, a headnote, the text, and footnotes. Since all decisions are questionable, some mention of the choice of titles is desirable. It might be thought that, like letters, newspaper writings need no titles; however, many of Mill's were entitled, whether by him or not, and the titles provide an index to the material, as well as making each piece easier to identify in short form. When a title appears on the


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copy-text (or on another version of the text that Mill oversaw), it is used, even though there is a likelihood that a large number of them were not chosen by him. The guides to identification mentioned above, Mill's bibliography of his writings and the copy of the Examiner in Somerville College, provide many titles in his own wording or a modification of it. For example, in his bibliography Mill uses two main wordings in listing his news reports on French politics: "summary of French affairs" and "summary of French news"; in the Examiner he normally lists each of these same items as "Article on France": for convenience we adopted "French News" with a bracketed serial number for all of them. In the case of the series on Ireland, which he lists in his bibliography as being on "Irish affairs," we drew from the contents of the articles a more descriptive title, "Condition of Ireland," again with serial numbers to distinguish them one from another. In both these cases the serial numbers are editorially added; in a few cases ("The Spirit of the Age" being the best known) Mill or the newspaper provided numbers for series: to indicate the difference, we used roman numbers for those in the copy-text and arabic for those editorially supplied.

A few titles derive from references to the articles by Mill in letters, and finally some, in addition to the "Condition of Ireland" series, are editorially supplied as appropriate to the contents and genre. The reviews, for example, which are normally headed in the copy-text by bibliographical identifications, are headed in our text by the author's name and the short title of the work under review. The obituary notices are (in conformity to Mill's occasional usage) headed "Death of" the deceased.

Beneath the title is given the provenance and date of publication of the item, while the headnotes indicate, as briefly as is compatible with some obeisance to stylistic decorum and grace, the place of the item in relation to others in the volumes, and the minimal historical information needed as background (a broader scope is given in the Introduction, and more detail in the footnotes). Each headnote also gives the evidence that the item is by Mill and the reason for the choice of title. The context in the newspaper from which it is extracted is sketched (location within a section, general headings, for instance), and finally any information about the choice and treatment of the text (the general account of editing practices is given in a separate Textual Introduction).

Appendices include a speech Mill translated for the Examiner, the French version of the article intended for the National that appeared in the Monthly Repository, the English translation of a speech by Enfantin that Mill prepared for the Examiner, the English version of the unpublished letter intended for La Voix des Femmes, an obituary of Francis


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Place that is dubiously attributed to Mill by George J. Holyoake, and lists of editorial interventions, as well as our Index to Persons and Works and an analytic index. Also we provide indexes to items according to their original provenance and to their signatures.

2. Copy-text

For most of the items in these volumes, the selection of copy-text is Hobson's choice: that or none. As indicated above, Mill did not reprint any of his newspaper writings in the three volumes of Dissertations and Discussions that appeared in his lifetime, and only a few appeared in other versions. In only 19 cases are there competing versions: 10 appeared in part in other writings of Mill's (3 of these in the posthumous fourth volume of Dissertations and Discussions, and 1 of these also in a pamphlet and a printed version of a lost manuscript), 5 appeared in more than one newspaper, 2 have surviving manuscript versions, and 2 exist in both English and French versions. These last we included in both versions; the others, almost all of them different in kind, are printed with notes indicating the variants, and with explanations of the choice of copy-text (almost invariably the newspaper version, for that is the volumes' mandate).

One matter troublesome to our consciences that will be a nightmare to editors of twentieth-century newspaper writings is that of editions. In the 1830s the Examiner (our principal source) often, but apparently not always, went through two editions, which are not clearly marked as such. We have tried to compare the two versions, without finding anything but occasionally different page numbers for Mill's articles. (One of the letters published in Earlier Letters from the Examiner had the signature "M" removed in the second edition.) But collections of nineteenth-century newspapers, even the indispensable British Library collection, seldom include different editions, and location lists are at best embryonic if not unconceived; it would be an immense task, well beyond our powers, to locate all possible existing editions of the issues in which Mill's writings appear.[19] And—once again let me show the traitorous flag—I wager that our main audience will not judge us wanting in this respect.

In these circumstances, the editor's task is much lightened. But of course some emendations are called for in the interests of accuracy, consistency, and easy reading.[20] The texts are flawed in most of the ways typical of their genre: characters are dropped or broken, sorts are mixed or lacking, compositors are (by inference) inexperienced or careless, and Mill's hand has (again by inference) been misread. Also, some conventions of the genre and the period are not consistently followed in the originals, and if reproduced would be annoying to readers in the late


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twentieth century. While we list the emendations in an appendix, they are so numerous and in the main so trivial that we cover many of them in general categories, and correct silently.[21] For example, except when the correction was indicated by Mill or when there is a possible ambiguity or when one such correction is contained within a more significant one, we do not list but only describe in the Textual Introduction the following:
  • 1. Dropped and misplaced characters, including misplaced or absent word space (e.g., we do not list the corrections of "discharge sthe" to "discharges the"; "o fchildren" to "of children"; or "allthose" to "all those").
  • 2. Missing or misplaced French accents, including those on proper names. This is a more contentious matter, but Mill's French was, though not perfect, very good, and undoubtedly better than that of most compositors, who, moreover, seem often not to have had the types (or enough of them) to hand. (In this context, one may mention that the habit of setting names in small caps meant that accents usually could not be indicated.) And there is inconsistency in nineteenth-century practice, which also differs in unpredictable but disturbing ways from twentieth-century usage.
  • 3. French proper names. Once more Mill's knowledge suggests that at least many of the variant spellings were introduced by compositors, though one cannot know, and occasionally more than one spelling was acceptable. Our decision was to avoid the annoyance rather than keep the anomalies, so, for instance, we always give Louis Paul Courier (never Courrier), Casimir Périer (not Casimer or Pérrier), Jacques Laffitte (not Lafitte), Odilon-Barrot (not Odillon or Barrott), and (to illustrate what are more clearly compositors' errors) Cormenin (not Cormerin), and Cauchois-Lemaire (not Cauchors-Lemaire). We also cut through the hyphen knot in French forenames by printing them as separate names.
  • 4. Initial majuscule / minuscule changes. These were made sparingly and only to make individual passages (not the volumes as a whole) consistent, on the grounds that Mill's hand is not infrequently ambiguous in this regard for some letters, and that the change in these specific words cannot be seen as emphatic.

Other emendations not signalled in the apparatus result only from the desire for easy reading without any implication of error in the copy-text. For example (and most of these apply throughout the edition, not merely in these volumes), monarchs are identified in the form "Louis XVI" rather than in any other way (e.g., "Louis the Sixteenth"), other ordinal abbreviations are regularized ("22d" becomes "22nd"), names in small caps are given in upper and lower case, italics are substituted


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for small caps used for emphasis except when the small caps are themselves italicized (in which case they are retained in roman), and abbreviations for monetary units are always italicized ("50l." becomes 50l."). The styling of different newspapers is also not preserved, so, for instance, the salutation in letters to the editor is always given as "Sir,—", the square brackets sometimes given around such sub-headings as "[From a Correspondent]" are deleted, and the publishing information in the headnotes and headings is regularized.

3. Apparatus

In addition to the variant notes mentioned above, two kinds of footnote are appended to the items. Those from the copy-text, that is, Mill's own (with occasional notes by the editors of the newspapers) are signalled by the series *, +, etc., beginning anew in each item. Those editorially supplied (the great bulk of the notes) are signalled by separate series of arabic numbers for each item. In accordance with the practice throughout the edition, we attempted to identify in these notes all Mill's allusions to people and references to and quotations from written works and speeches, trying to specify where possible the edition he used or may be presumed to have used; to his notes we added (in square brackets) missing identifications and corrected mistaken ones. In the other volumes (excepting the correspondence) we avoided as assiduously as our consciences demanded and as our desires would permit adding any other information in notes, believing that Mill's texts were still almost as transparent as when first read. But newspaper writings are, like correspondence, much more time- and place-bound, and so we indulged our readers and ourselves (though still hounded by conscience) by giving explanatory notes of historical and biographical (as well as bibliographic) kind. The adequacy of these is of course for others to judge, but I should say we aimed a little higher than James Mill, whose confidence in his readers was considerably greater than ours; in one not untypical note he says: "See the writings of Kant and his followers, passim; see also Degerando, and others of his school, in various parts of their works."[22]