chapter
30 Pages

The Person

James Mill is not just John Stuart Mill's father. He is a person in his own right, with a life of his own: with his own father and mother, and eventually with a wife, and with other children besides John. Two main reasons account for the paucity of data on James Mill's early life. The first is that he came from humble circumstances and, by the time he became successful and famous, time had washed away the unkept records of his early days. The second reason is that James Mill resolutely turned his back on his past, and made no effort to preserve its evidences. In James Mill's life-history, caricature almost comes to take the place of character. He became the epitome of Utilitarian man: a "reasoning machine," calculating, cold, unfeeling, who exhibited in his own existence the "mechanical" nature of his doctrine.