“HIS ARGUMENTS FOR FREEDOM OF EVERY KIND OF THOUGHT OR SPEECH HAVE NEVER BEEN IMPROVED ON”: FIRST EDITION OF JOHN STUART MILL’S CONSIDERATIONS ON REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, 1861
MILL, John Stuart. Considerations on Representative Government. London: Parker, Son, and Bourn, 1861. Octavo, original blind-stamped russet cloth.
First edition of one of Mill’s most important political writings, building upon his On Liberty (1859), very scarce in original cloth.
In this seminal work “John Stuart Mill discusses to what extent forms of government are a matter of choice, the criterion of a ‘good form of government,’ and explains his belief that representative government is the best form of government because it demands the most from its citizens and encourages their development. For this reason he commended the plan for proportional representation… as ‘among the very greatest improvements yet made in the theory and practice of government” (Sabine 667). “The influence which Mill’s works exercised upon contemporary English thought can scarcely be overestimated. His own writings and those of his successors practically held the field during the third quarter of the 19th century and even later… Many of Mill’s ideas are now the commonplaces of democracy. His arguments for freedom of every kind of thought or speech have never been improved on. He was the first to recognize the tendency of a democratically elected majority to tyrannize over a minority” (PMM 345). Four pages of publisher’s advertisements at rear.
Text fresh and clean, light edge-wear, faint edge-toning to gilt-lettered cloth. A scarce near-fine copy.