John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill
Birth and death
1806 - 1873
Profession details
Philosopher, Political economist, Advocate of women's rights
Related place
Alistair Grant

John Stuart Mill, (1806-1873), philosopher, political economist, and advocate of women's rights. Mill visited his future wife Harriet Taylor at Walton, and was close friends with John and Sarah Austin, who lived at Weybridge.

In Autumn 1830 Mill met Harriet Taylor, aged twenty-two and married with two children, at a dinner given at the Taylors' house, which included William Johnson Fox and Harriet Martineau. John and Harriet fell passionately in love with each other. His relationship with Harriet Taylor, before and after the death of John Taylor, and their eventual marriage in 1851, became the subject of endless contemporary speculation, which has continued among historians. Mill and Harriet for a time socialised openly together in London, but this caused so much scandalous comment that they stopped appearing in public together. Although in May 1840 they attended the first of their friend Thomas Carlyle's famous lectures on hero-worship, and they travelled together incognito to Europe. In his autobiography Mill asserts that until the death of her husband, their relationship was only a marriage of minds, an intellectual, spiritual, and moral union that transcended sexual passion. He highly esteemed his wife's intellectual and creative talents, claiming they far exceeded his own, and that if women had equal rights she would have been an important public figure. Apart from 'A System of Logic', she contributed substantially to all his subsequent writings, both inspiring and redrafting all of them.

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