First Edition of John Stuart Mill's Considerations on Representative Government; Signed by Him

  • Considerations on Representative Government.
  • Considerations on Representative Government.

Considerations on Representative Government.


Item Number: 50080

London: Parker, 1861.

First edition of Mill’s classic treatise on representative government. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by John Stuart Mill on the half-title page as was the custom with 19th century writers and earlier, “From the Author.” From the library of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet (1838-1928), with his signature. Trevelyan was a British statesman and author. In a ministerial career stretching almost 30 years, he was most notably twice Secretary for Scotland under William Ewart Gladstone and the Earl of Rosebery. He broke with Gladstone over the 1886 Irish Home Rule Bill, but after modifications were made to the bill he re-joined the Liberal Party shortly afterwards. Also a writer and historian, Trevelyan published The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, his maternal uncle, in 1876. In very good condition with some toning to the cloth and overall light wear. Housed in a custom half leather clamshell box.

In Considerations on Representative Government, Mill argues for representative government, the ideal form of government in his opinion. One of the more notable ideas Mill puts forth in the book is that the business of government representatives is not to make legislation. Instead Mill suggests that representative bodies such as parliaments and senates are best suited to be places of public debate on the various opinions held by the population and to act as watchdogs of the professionals who create and administer laws and policy. Mill writes, "Their part is to indicate wants, to be an organ for popular demands, and a place of adverse discussion for all opinions relating to public matters, both great and small; and, along with this, to check by criticism, and eventually by withdrawing their support, those high public officers who really conduct the public business, or who appoint those by whom it is conducted."

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