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The Scottish Nation

MILL, JAMES, the historian of British India, was born in the parish of Logie-Pert, Forfarshire, April 6, 1773. The early part of his education he received at the grammar school of Montrose, on leaving which, through the patronage of Sir John Stuart, baronet, of Fettercairn, one of the barons of the exchequer in Scotland, on whose estate his father occupied a small farm, he was sent to the university of Edinburgh to study for the church. In 1800, after being licensed as a preacher, he went to London as tutor in Sir John Stuart’s family, and, settling in the metropolis, he devoted himself to literary and philosophical pursuits. By his powerful and original productions, as well as by the force of his personal character, he soon earned for himself a high reputation as a writer. During the first years of the Edinburgh Review, he contributed to it many articles on Jurisprudence and Education, and he was also the author of a number of masterly papers in the Westminster, the London, the British, the Eclectic, and Monthly Reviews. In politics he belonged to the Radical party, and among other articles which he wrote for the Westminster Review were the celebrated ones ‘On the Formation of Opinions,’ in No. 11, and ‘On the Ballot,’ in No. 25.

About 1806 he commenced his ‘History of British India,’ which occupied a considerable portion of his time for more than ten years, and was published about the end of 1817, in three volumes 4to. The information contained in this valuable work, with the author’s enlarged views on all matters connected with India, tended greatly to the improvement of the administration of our empire in the East, and induced the East India company to appoint him in 1819 to the second situation in the examiner’s office, or land revenue branch of the administration, at the India House. On the retirement of Mr. William M’Culloch, he became head of the department of correspondence with India. In 1821 Mr. Mill published his ‘Elements of Political Economy,’ containing a clear summary of the leading principles of that science. In 1829 appeared, in two vols. 8vo, his ‘Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind,’ a work on which he bestowed extraordinary labour, and which displayed much philosophical acuteness. Besides these works he contributed various valuable articles to the Supplement of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, principally on Government, Legislation, Education, Jurisprudence, Law of Nations, Liberty of the Press, Colonies, and Prison Discipline, which were also published as separate treatises. In 1835 he produced, without his name, his ‘Fragment on Mackintosh,’ in which he severely criticizes Sir James Mackintosh’s ‘Dissertation on the History of Ethical Philosophy.’ Mr. Mill died of consumption, June 23, 1836, and was buried at Kensington, where he had resided for the last five years of his life. He left a widow and nine children.

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