Mill And Harriet Taylor

“Mill met Harriet Taylor, a radical Unitarian full of intellectual passion and dogmatism, and fell deeply in love with her. Unfortunately, Harriet Taylor was married, and having an intense friendship with another man’s wife was not respectable in Victorian society. Her husband was astonishingly liberal minded in this regard and clandestinely opened his home to the philosopher. He even bought a country cottage where she and Mill could spend weekends together, and paid for her long trips abroad with Mill. According to Taylor’s correspondence, the twenty-year friendship did not involve sex and was purely platonic until her husband died and they finally married in 1851. Not everyone agreed with Mill’s high assessment of his wife. Carlyle thought she was “full of unwise intellect, asking and re-asking stupid questions” with her “great dark eyes, that were flashing unutterable things while he was discoursin’ the utterable concerning all sorts o’ high topics” She took care of him when he contracted tuberculosis in the early 1850s. Harriet fell ill also, and thinking they would die within a year, toured together in 1854–55 to Italy, Sicily, and Greece. Miraculously, they recuperated. Following their recovery, Mill and his wife acquired an increasing streak of elitism and snobbery. When traveling abroad, Mill regularly graded the people he met, for intelligence, language, and political views. He found no one to  be his (or his wife’s) match. He consecrated the book to Harriet, who tragically died—of tuberculosis!—in 1858, a year before its publication. He wrote an extravagant eulogy, addressing her as “unparalleled in any human being that I have known or read of” . He erected a costly marble tomb for her at Avignon, which he visited daily.Mill’s mother was uneducated and without strong opinions. He blamed her for his father’s coldness and irritability. He despised and disliked her, and never mentioned her in his autobiography.”-The Making Of Modern Economics, Mark Skousen

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