Hamish Riley-Smith

Rare Books And Manuscripts

John Stuart Mill

On Liberty London, John W Parker and Son 1859

First edition - Presentation Copy to Henry Thomas Buckle With his manuscript notes for his review.

Octavo contemporary calf, worn, covers with greek key pattern, spine skilfully rebacked,richly, red and brown morocco labels lettered gilt, marbled endpapers, leaf edges gilt, pp.207 + (1), inscribed in ink on the title in a secretarial hand From the Author, numerous pencil lines throughout in the blank margins and a few annotations in pencil in the margins and the front blank by Buckle, tipped in at the front 6 pages of notes in ink Mill on Liberty in the hand of Henry Thomas Buckle.

Printing & the Mind of Man: no. 345. Downs: Famous Books since 1492, no.82.

Henry Buckle, author of The History of Civilisation in England 1857-1861, eminent chess player, and book collector [his library extended to over 20,000 volumes].
Buckle regarded John Stuart Mill as the greatest living thinker, but he also learned much from Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and Kant. He was influenced by the work of Auguste Comte, but even more by that of the statistician Adolphe Quételet. From these various thinkers Buckle concluded that all human behaviour is subject to law, and therefore that there can be a science of human society. Many critics in his own day and later thought of Buckle as the English disciple of Comte, but, as Mill declared, Buckle agreed with the founder of positivism on little other than the basic notions of the regularity of human behaviour and the historical progress of civilization from superstition to science. Buckle explicitly rejected Comte's political ideas as ‘monstrously and obviously impracticable’ (St Aubyn, 163).
Buckle died of typhoid in Damascus in 1862. Mill actively arranged for his step-daughter Helen Taylor to edit Buckle’s Miscellaneous and Posthumous Works, which were published in 1872.
“On February 6 and 7, 1859, he notes in his Journal that he read Mill on Liberty’; and two days afterwards he ' began to arrange notes with a view to reviewing, in Fraser, Mill's new work on Liberty.' With this view he re-read the same writer's System of Logic, Principles of Political Economy, and Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform ; and the writing of his own review occupied him for several hours every day for upward of two months.” Helen Taylor, Biographical Notice p.43
Buckle’s review begins:“If a jury of the greatest European thinkers were to be impannelled, and were directed to declare by their verdict who, among our living writers, had done most for the advance of knowledge, they could hardly hesitate in pronouncing the name of John Stuart Mill.”
“Here Buckle praised Mill for his unique combination of profound speculative philosophy and sound practical sense.” Oxford DNB

Buckle’s review of On Liberty in Fraser’s Magazine, May 1859 see: Helen Taylor [ed] Miscellaneous and Posthumous Works of Henry Thomas Buckle 1872 vol.I, pp.75-130; a biographical sketch vol.I pp.1-52
Buckle’s Papers: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Buckle’s life: Giles St. Aubyn, A Victorian Eminence: The Life and Works of Henry Thomas Buckle (1958). Leslie Stephen, The English Utilitarians, vol.iii, J.S.Mill, pp.344-375. Chess Player's Magazine vol. II, 1864 J. J. Löwenthal on Henry Thomas Buckle

John Stuart Mill - On Liberty London, John W Parker and Son 1859
John Stuart Mill - On Liberty London, John W Parker and Son 1859
John Stuart Mill - On Liberty London, John W Parker and Son 1859
John Stuart Mill - On Liberty London, John W Parker and Son 1859

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