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Mill, James

Mill, James (1772-1836), philosopher, was born in Forfarshire, and studied at Edinburgh University. He was licensed as a preacher in 1798, but in 1802 he came to London with Sir John Stuart of Fettercairn. He started the Literary Journal in 1803, and in 1805 became editor of the St. James's Chronicle. From 1808 to 1813 he was connected with the Edinburgh Review. His great work, the History of India, which occupied him from 1806 to 1817, obtained for him in 1819 an appointment in the India House as assistant examiner of correspondence. His friendship with Bentham, which began in 1808, exercised an important influence on the development of his political and social views. The doctrines of the "Philosophical Radicalism" of which he was the chief exponent, were well-expressed in his essay on Government (1820), one amongst several contributed to the 5th edition of the Encyclopcedia Britannica. In 1824 Bentham started the Westminster Review, for which Mill wrote several able essays. His Analysis of the Human Mind (1829) was an important contribution to empirical psychology. Among his other works were Elements of Political Economy (1821) and A Fragment on Mackintosh (1835). He was head of the India Office from 1830 to his death. His view of life was mechanical, and he could conceive of no other means of promoting social welfare; art, poetry, religion - the whole sphere of the aesthetic and moral emotions - lay entirely beyond his ken. His rigid and abstract method of reasoning entirely a priori and deductive in scope - exercised a powerful influence in his own day.