Chapter I
James Mill and India

*

James Mill began his India career rather late in life after many years of struggling to get by on a meager income derived from writing articles. His multivolume The History of British India caught the eye of influential people when it appeared in late 1817, a time when the East India Company needed additional people to handle its backlog of correspondence with India. Hired in 1819 with two others on a provisional basis, Mill soon proved especially competent, and he was promoted to an important position in the revenue department. He quickly gained considerable influence over policy in that and other departments, and he was called in to give expert testimony before a parliamentary committee in the 1830s. He succeeded to the high post of Examiner of Correspondence in late 1830 and was thereafter responsible for overseeing the drafting of dispatches to India in all departments. Mill was credited with considerable influence over his superiors, the Court of Directors, during this period. By the time he died in 1836, Mill's position was considered a most important one for the shaping of British power in India. 1

The views that guided James Mill in his India work had been generally settled before 1819. Educated in Edinburgh, Mill was in many ways a typical product of the Scottish Enlightenment. He held strong opinions regarding the possibilities of social progress and the power of education. He had a deep and abiding mistrust of traditional elites, or what Jeremy Bentham termed "sinister interests." John Locke's political theory, with its emphasis on the security of property, shaped Mill's views on political economy and the purpose of political institutions. Finally, the ideal of a

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John Stuart Mill and India
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I James Mill and India 7
  • Chapter 2 J. S. Mill's Education and the Education of India 28
  • Chapter 3 an Empire of Opinion 51
  • Chapter 4 Princes and Progress 87
  • Chapter 5 an Empire of Reform 126
  • Chapter 6 J. S. Mill and the Imperial Experience 169
  • Appendix 209
  • Reference Matter 217
  • Notes 219
  • Works Cited 259
  • Index 271
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