Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 19 >> Military Surgery to Minnesota >> Mill_P1

Mill

human, london, review, life, avignon, period, education and especially

Page: 1 2

MILL, John Stuart, English social and political reformer, philosopher, economist: b. London, 20 Mav,1806; d. Avignon, 8 May 1873. Few have combined so intimately a vital en thusiasm for human progress, with a keenly critical and most scholarly temper. He presents in all his most important lines of work the in teresting conflict which results when a candid, open mind, instinct with human interest, at tempts to work with narrow conceptions and an inadequate method. The conceptions and method have in many respects been super but the candor and sincerity, the schol arly, investigative temper, the deep interest in all things human, the democratic sympathy which manifest themselves in his works, give them permanent value.

Mill was the oldest son of James and Har riet (Burrow) Mill. His early education, con ducted by his father, was extraordinary. He began Greek when about three years old, and Latin at seven, and read a great amount in both languages, especially in Greek, before he was 12. He studied algebra, geometry and the differential calculus also in this period.. His tory he read of his own accord and found amusement in books on natural science. At 12 Aristotle's 'Logic) began a more ad vanced course of instruction which included the more difficult classical authors, and ended, so far as his father's personal instruction was concerned, in his 14th year with a thorough study of Ricardo's 'Political Economy.' Mill himself says that it *was not an education of cram." *Anything which could be found out by thinking I never was told, until I had ex hausted my efforts to find it out for myself.* At the same time he declares that it *was in itself much more fitted for training me to know than to do.' After a year in France, which had an important influence, the reading of Ben tham made an epoch in his life. now had opinions; a creed, a doctrine, a philosophy; in one among the best senses of the word, a re ligion; the inculcation and diffusion of which could be made the principal outward purpose of a life.* In the winter of 1822-23 he planned a society to which he gave the name of *Utili tarian,* and thus brought the term into com mon use. In May 1823 he received an appoint ment from the East India Company as clerk in the office of the examiner of India cor respondence. Here he remained 35 years, ris ing to be examiner two years before the trans fer of India to the British government in 1858, when he retired upon a pension of f1,500. He became a frequent contributor to the West minster Review founded in 1823 as a Radical organ, and in 1834 became editor of a new Radical review, the London Review (after ward the London and Westminster). He was

one of an ardent party of *philosophic radi his object in life *to be a reformer of the world.* Bentham, Malthus and Ricardo were influential upon the group. But several new influences now began to unsettle his po litical and social views. Coleridge, especially through Maurice and Mill's intimate friend Sterling, Carlyle, Goethe, Wordsworth, and the Saint Simonians, gave broader views of human interests, and greater importance to feeling and sentiment than James Mill and Bentham. In Mill's own judgment, however, the most im portant influence, especially in leading "him to apply his abstract principles to the actual state of society and estimate their bearing upon human interests and sympathies more clearly and widely than he would otherwise have done,* was that of Mrs. Taylor, to whom he was first introduced in 1830. He maintained with her for 20 years a friendship of increasing intimacy, and after the death of her husband married her in 1851. Mill loved his wife tenderly and spoke of her, notably in the

Page: 1 2