Mill, Harriet Hardy Taylor, 1807-1858

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1807-10-08
Death 1858-11-03
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

James Mill, 1773-1836, was educated in Edinburgh by Sir John Stuart of Fettercain, and was licensed to preach in 1798. He moved to London in 1802 and supported his family by writing. He became editor of the 'Literary Journal' in 1803 and the 'St James Chronicle' in 1805, and also wrote for the 'Edinburgh Review' from 1808 to 1813. In 1808, Mill met Jeremy Bentham, was converted to his utilitarian philosophy, and abandoned theology. Thereafter, Mill took an active part in the Bell and Lancaster educational controversy and formed an association to set up a Chrestomathic school in 1814, the outcome of this being the formation of the London University in 1825. He also contributed articles to the 'Westminster Review', which was established as the official Benthamite paper. He was also connected with David Ricardo and took part in meetings at Ricardo's house which resulted in the Political Economy Club being founded in 1820.

John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873, was educated by his father, James Mill, to a very high level at an early age. Like his father he was a staunch utilitarian and he was also active in radical causes. In 1823, he formed the Utilitarian Society, which met to read and discuss essays, in 1825, he edited Bentham's 'Rationale of Judicial Evidence' and in 1826, he assisted in the formation of the Speculative Society. By the 1830's, John Stuart Mill had become interested in the work of romantic writers such as Wordsworth and also in the French Revolution. The 1832 Reform Bill seemed to give an opportunity for the Radicals to gain influence in Parliament and much of his energy at this time was given over to this. In 1835 he founded the 'London Review' which merged with the 'Westminster Review' in 1836. As proprietor from 1837-1840 he tried to use the paper to promote the philosophical radicals and their cause in Parliament. However by 1840 he had been unable to achieve his end and so gave up proprietership of the paper. The 1840s were devoted to writing his great works on logic and economics. In 1851, he married Harriet Taylor, who died in 1858. He was elected MP for Westminster in 1865 and served as a radical. He was a supporter of the 1867 Reform Bill and was active in support of the Labour Movement, the extension of the franchise to women, cumulative voting, Irish land reforms, municipal government for London and became embroiled in the Eyre controversy. He also proposed the Hare plan as an amendment to the Representation of the People Bill but failed in an attempt to obtain the vote for women. After he lost his seat in 1868, he continued to write articles and books and completed a revision of his autobiography before his death.

Harriet Taylor (nee Hardy), 1807-1858, was the daughter of a London surgeon. At the age of eighteen, she married John Taylor, a wealthy businessman. She and her husband were both active in the Unitarian Church and held radical political views. Harriet Taylor first met John Stuart Mill in 1830. During their association she worked closely with him contributing suggestions and revisions to his work. She was particularly influential in forming his ideas on women's rights, making him aware of the hardship suffered by women. In 1833, Harriet Taylor separated from her husband. He died of cancer in 1849, and two years later, she married John Stuart Mill.

Helen Taylor, 1831-1907, the daughter of Harriet Taylor, became companion to John Stuart Mill on the death of her mother in 1858. She assisted him in his work and helped to keep alive his interest in women's rights. She also campaigned in her own right on women's suffrage, the social position and education of women. She was a member of the Moral Reform Union and a leading light in the fight to abolish school fees and provide school meals.

From the guide to the MILL, James, 1773-1836; MILL, John Stuart, 1806-1873; MILL, Harriet Taylor nee Hardy, 1808-1858; TAYLOR, Helen, 1831-1907, 1817-1918, (British Library of Political and Economic Science)

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Subjects:

  • Women's rights
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Internal politics
  • Local government
  • Educational systems
  • Public administration
  • Organization
  • Literature
  • Women's education
  • Learned societies
  • Association
  • Rights of special groups
  • Women's suffrage
  • Philosophy
  • Electoral systems
  • Government
  • Political science

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Ireland (as recorded)
  • Sardinia Italy (as recorded)