Background and Early Training 1806-1813
AT ten o'clock on a May morning in 1823 John Stuart Mill, just turned eighteen, walked down Leadenhall Street in the City of London together with his father. It was with great bitterness that he entered the venerable building: India House, seat of the East India Company, which held the monopoly for the trade with, and ruled over, India. The elder Mill was a high executive of the Company.
John was familiar enough with 'I.H.' from the outside: a long, two-storey block of classical design and proportions, with regular high sash-windows, the pillared portico of the centre surmounted by the figure of a plump Neptune. But now they passed by the uniformed porter in his cocked hat, walked along a long dark passage and up two shallow flights of well-worn stairs. Through the messengers' small ante-room, where tea was being prepared at all times, they entered the long clerks' room. As they walked along the matted passage, his father took him into one booth after another adjoining the high windows and introduced him to his future colleagues. The cubicle nearest the door belonged to the youngest clerk: this was to be John's.
The young men looked him over with guarded interest. Not only was it intended that John was to be trained up as an early successor to one of the heads of the Company; but the unusual