The Last Years 1866-1872
MILL had considered himself settled for life as a recluse and a writer. But early in 1865 he was asked to stand as Member of Parliament for Westminster.
He was in two minds whether to accept. Would he be able to do more good inside Parliament than out?
Mill decided to stand. But he laid down four conditions that made his election seem well-nigh impossible: he would undertake no personal canvassing; he would not contribute any money to- wards his election expenses; he would not answer questions upon his religious views; and, if elected, he would not give any time to local Westminster interests.
When these conditions appeared in a public letter to the Daily News they created a sensation. All his unorthodox views were widely discussed: on workmen's votes, on women's votes, on re- ligious disabilities, on high death-duties designed to break up large fortunes and, especially, landed estates; on the worker's right to strike, on colonies, on Irish peasant properties. . . . His famous 'To hell will I go' was widely quoted by his enemies. His band of supporters, slaving away during the hot summer weeks, became more and more worried. Mill, however, calmly retired to Avig- non to await the upshot. He once again revised his Logic. Only a week before the election day did he consent to show himself for the first time in his constituency. He put in two appearances. One was before his electors, and went off smoothly. The other was