33 Pages

India and Colonial Attitudes

Sir Walter Scott knew what was involved when he wrote Southey in 1818: The history of colonies has in it some points of peculiar interest as illustrating human nature. On such occasions the extremes of civilized and savage life are suddenly and strongly brought into contact with each other and the results are as interesting to the moral observer as those which take place on the mixture of chemical substances are to the physical investigator. In short, India represents curious lacunae in John Stuart Mill's intellectual life. What was absolutely central for James Mill's life–indeed, the area in which he truly pioneered–was peripheral for his son, though the latter put in almost twice as many years at the desk in the East India Company. In this area, John Stuart Mill was content to leave his father's heritage as he found it.