Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/386

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

about ten huge vellum-bound volumes, foolscap size, and five or six inches thick, and that of these volumes two a year, for more than than twenty years running, were exclusively of Mill's composition; this, too, at times when he was engaged upon such voluntary work in addition as his "Logic" and "Political Economy."

In 1857 broke out the Sepoy war, and in the following year the East India Company was extinguished in all but the name, its governmental functions being transferred to the crown. That most illustrious of corporations died hard, and with what affectionate loyalty Mill struggled to avert its fate is evidenced by the famous petition to Parliament which he drew up for his old masters, and which opens with the following effective antithesis: "Your petitioners, at their own expense, and by the agency of their own civil and military servants, originally acquired for this country its magnificent empire in the East. The foundations of this empire were laid by your petitioners at that time, neither aided nor controlled by Parliament, at the same period at which a succession of administrations under the control of Parliament, were losing by their incapacity and rashness, another great empire on the opposite side of the Atlantic."

I am fortunate enough to be the possessor of the original MS. of this admirable state paper, which I mention, because I once heard its real authorship denied in that quarter of all others in which it might have been supposed to be least likely to be questioned. On one of the last occasions of the gathering together of the proprietors of East India stock, I could scarcely believe my ears, when one of the directtors, alluding to the petition, spoke of it as having been written by a certain other official who was sitting by his side, adding after a moment's pause, "with the assistance as he understood, of Mr. Mill," likewise present. As soon as the court broke up, I burst into Mill's room, boiling over with indignation, and exclaiming, "What an infamous shame!" and no doubt adding a good deal more than followed in natural sequence on such an exordium. "What's the matter?" replied Mill, as soon as he could get a word in, "M——(the director) was quite right. The petition was the joint work of —— and myself." "How can you be so perverse?" I retorted. "You know that I know you wrote every word of it." "No," rejoined Mill, "you are mistaken; one whole line on the second page was put in by——."

The nearest approach made, throughout our intercourse, to any thing of an unpleasant character, was about the time of his retirement from the India House. Talking over that one day, with two or three of my colleagues, I said it would not do to let Mill go without receiving some permanently visible token of our regard. The motion was no sooner made than it was carried by acclamation. Every member of the Examiner's office — for we jealously insisted on confining the affair to ourselves — came tendering his subscription, scarcely waiting to be asked; in half an hour's time some £50 or £60 — I forget the ex-