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James Mill


1773 - 1836

Philosopher, historian and economist, who was a founder of University College London. Mill was born at Logie Pert (Angus), the son of a cobbler. He entered the University of Edinburgh to study divinity and was ordained a Minister in 1798. In 1802, disillusioned with the Church, Mill moved the London and worked as a journalist.

In 1804, Mill wrote his an essay which reviewed the history of the Corn Laws and called for the removal of import and export bounties duties on grain. He continued to write on economic theories and was a disciple of the 'Classical School' of economics, based on the theories of David Ricardo (1772 - 1823). Mill was joined in this devotion by fellow Scots John Ramsay McCulloch (1789 - 1864) and Thomas de Quincey (1785 - 1859).

Mill became a close friend of Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), and together they founded the utilitarian school of philosophy, which promised the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. Later, with Henry Brougham (1778 - 1868) and others, the pair were to found University College London.

Mill wrote a History of British India (1817) and this led to him being employed by the East India Company in 1823. He rose to become Head of the Examiner's Office in 1830.

His son was another philosopher, John Stuart Mill (1806-73), and teaching this son was one of the passions of his life. Mill undertook this by isolating the boy from other children and ruthlessly drilling him in intellectual pursuits.

His son wrote much of Mill's Elements of Political Economy (1821). Mills other notable work was the two-volume Analysis of the Phenomenon of the Human Mind (1835).


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