(Avignon, France): 1868.
Autograph Letter Signed to John Chapman, Avignon: December 27, 1868. 12mo. Measuring 4¼” x 6½”. 4pp. in ink, embossed with Mill’s monogram. Modest creasing, very good. Mill writes a strong statement in support of the *Westminster Review*, an influential radical journal, of which Chapman was editor and proprietor from 1851.
John Stuart Mill was one of the great intellectuals of the Victorian era and his writings have had a profound influence on political, economic, and social thought. A frequent contributor to the *Westminster Review*, Mill corresponded often with its enlightened editor John Chapman, who took on George Eliot as assistant editor in 1852. In this letter, Mill echoes the sentiment expressed by T.H. Huxley, who preferred writing for his “favorite organ, the wicked Westminster” to the better paying *Fraser’s Magazine*. A full transcription of the letter follows:
J.S. Mill / Avignon / Dec. 27. 1868
Dear Sir / I think it of very great importance for free and enlightened thought in politics and philosophy, that the Westminster Review should be maintained in existence, and without any change in its long established character as an organ always open to the thoughts of the most advanced thinkers, and training the minds of the younger men to appreciate new ideas. During the whole term of its existence, now 45 years, it has fulfilled this office. Its disappearance would leave a sad blank in our periodical literature, and would be a severe blow to advanced thought and to the education of future thinkers. With regard to the management of the Review by its present proprietor and editor, knowing as I do the great difficulties it has had to struggle with, and the inferiority, as compared with many other reviews, of the inducements it could hold out to writers, I have been as much surprised as pleased at the high level of merit it has been able to maintain. This could only have been effected by a devotion of time and energy to the purpose, on the part of the editor, which does great honour to his public spirit, and establishes on his part a strong claim to the gratitude of the friends of advanced opinions and independent thoughts, and after the proofs he has given, for a number of years and under great difficulties, of his fitness to conduct such an organ, I hope that he may find such assistance as may enable him still to carry it on, and may afford him an ultimate prospect of some recompense for his sacrifices, other than the consciousness of having made them. I am, Dear Sir / very sincerely yours / J.S. Mill
*Collected Works of John Stuart Mill*: 1369A. Rosenberg, Sheila. “The ‘Wicked Westminster’: John Chapman, His Contributors and Promises Fulfilled,” *Victorian Periodicals Review* (Fall, 2000).