Tag Archives: James Mill

Anne Garbett Romilly

A person totally unacquainted with the party would have found some difficulty in following the conversation, and they have used themselves to this sort of language so long that I really believe it never occurs to them that it is not in common use. Can you imagine Mr. Mill saying seriously to me that they were “very desirous Dumont should come and codify for a few weeks at Ford Abbey”? I wanted to find my Husband one day, and Mr. Mill said “I fancy Sir Samuel is gone to vibrate with Mr. Bentham”. If you were asked to take a “post prandial vibration”, it would scarcely occur to you it was walking up and down the Cloisters after dinner. They vibrate too on the Terrace, but when they go to the Pleasure Grounds it is a circumgyration. I cannot tell you half the old expressions that are in common use. Circumbendibus is a favorite one, the “Grandmother Egg sucking principles” another.

Anne Garbett Romilly, letter to Maria Edgeworth, October 6, 1817, in Romilly-Edgeworth Letters, 1813-1818: with an Introduction and Notes by Samuel Henry Romilly, London, 1936, p. 176

Frederick Maurice

“I think him [sc. James Mill] nearly the most wonderful prose-writer in our language.”

“That do not I,” says Morton. “I approve the matter of his treatises exceedingly, but the style seems to me detestable.”

“Oh!,” says Eustace, “I cannot separate matter and style… My reason for delighting in his book is, that it gives such a fixedness and reality to all that was most vaguely brilliant in my speculations—it converts dreams into demonstrations.”

Frederick Maurice, Eustace Conway: Or, The Brother and Sister; a Novel, London, 1834