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J.S. Mill's Encounter with India

J.S. Mill's Encounter with India

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 328
  • Book Info
    J.S. Mill's Encounter with India
    Book Description:

    The essays in this collection explore specific aspects of Mill?s approach to Indian issues, including religion, law, education, and security, and also place him within the broader currents of utilitarianism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7635-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Chronology of John Stuart Millʼs East India Company Career
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    The essays in this volume satisfy a long-felt need. Many of Mill’s readers have wondered what the impact on Mill was of his three and a half decades of service at India House, while historians of British India have long debated the extent of his influence on the subcontinent. In their different ways, both have been frustrated by Mill’sAutobiography, in which Mill discusses his work for the East India Company briefly, and non-committally. One might readily conclude from theAutobiographythat the subcontinent itself had held little interest to him, and that his employment had been what one might...

  7. Eric Stokes, British Utilitarianism, and India
    (pp. 18-33)
    F. ROSEN

    Eric Stokes’sThe English Utilitarians and India, first published in 1959, has rightly become a minor classic in the history of political thought. Though its originality was immediately recognized,² its message (if a complex historical argument can have a ‘message’) was variously interpreted. One reviewer thought that Stokes was ‘writing as an apologist for British rule,’³ while another noted that though India was now independent and the book had no immediate application there, there were important implications for numerous British colonies which had not yet achieved independence.⁴ These reactions to an avowedly historical study which explored materials relating to nineteenth-century...

  8. The Tree of Utility in India: Panace or Weed?
    (pp. 34-52)

    The British involvement in India provides an excellent focus to compare various thinkers classed as ‘utilitarians,’ and, through the examination of their doctrines and efforts, to analyse this system of thought. Important works in this area have centred on those most directly involved with India, James and John Stuart Mill especially. But without denying the great influence of these and similarly minded people, can their influence properly be regarded asutilitarian? This paper will attempt to answer this question, and in so doing discuss some merits and demerits of utilitarian influence in general. In the first half of the paper...

  9. James Millʼs The History of British India: A Reevaluation
    (pp. 53-71)

    This paper specifies the role which the complexities of British imperial experience in India played in James Mill’s formulation of utilitarianism in hisHistory of British India. In doing so, it argues that linguistic and aesthetic attitudes were important components of his views on India. These attitudes were also important in his formulation of utilitarianism as a body of thought committed to reform and for the younger Mill’s modification of his intellectual inheritance.

    James Mill’sHistory of British India, published in 1817, has been seen as transforming utilitarianism into a militant faith.¹ In doing so, as H.H. Wilson commented in...

  10. John Stuart Millʼs Draft Despatches to India and the Problem of Bureaucratic Authorship
    (pp. 72-86)

    John Stuart Mill’s long career (1823–58) in the Examiner’s Office of the East India Company’s London headquarters, during which he was principally engaged in the drafting of despatches to India, poses certain tantalizing questions that are only now being seriously addressed. These questions mainly revolve around central issues such as the kind of impact Mill had upon the Company’s Indian policies, and the extent to which it is possible to trace connections between his general political, social, and economic ideas and the policies he pursued as a leading Company official.¹

    In this brief investigation I will not be dealing...

  11. John Stuart Mill and Royal India
    (pp. 87-110)

    Though John Stuart Mill’s long employment by the East India Company (1823–58) did not limit him to drafting despatches on relations with the princely states, that activity must form the centre-piece of any satisfactory study of his Indian career.¹ As yet, the activity has scarcely been glimpsed. It produced, on average, about a draft a week, which he listed in his own hand. He subsequently struck out items that he sought to disown in consequence of substantial revisions made by the Company’s directors or the Board of Control. He also listed items that achieved publication (mostly only in part)...

  12. India, J.S.Mill, and ʻWesternʼ Culture
    (pp. 111-148)

    In my original contribution to the Calgary conference that forms the core of this volume, I investigated the relationship between Mill’s own education, and intellectual crisis, and his despatches on Indian education. I expanded upon these arguments in two subsequent publications,¹ emphasizing the connection between Mill’s reading of romantics and his use of Orientalist ideas in an 1836 education despatch that was written (but never sent to India) in an attempt to reverse the educational program of T.B. Macaulay and the Anglicists. New research and fresh perspectives on the construction of imperial discourses have deepened my sense of Mill’s intellectual...

  13. Golden Casket or Pebbles and Trash? J.S. Mill and the Anglicist/Orientalist Controversy
    (pp. 149-172)

    In 1821 the Baptist missionary William Ward said of Sanskrit that it was a ‘golden casket exquisitely wrought, but in reality ... filled with pebbles and trash.’¹ In these few words Ward foreshadowed the Anglicist/Orientalist controversy which was brought to a head in India by Charles Trevelyan and Macaulay in the 1830s. Trevelyan and Macaulay persuaded the governor-general, Lord William Bentinck, that the government’s objective should be the promotion of European literature and science through the medium of the English language rather than through support of traditional oriental studies, which they regarded as worthless. Orientalists, on the other hand, saw...

  14. John Stuart Mill, Religion, and Law in the Examinerʼs Office
    (pp. 173-197)

    That John Stuart Mill ‘left [a] relatively... small... mark on Indian policy’ has become conventional wisdom among historians.¹ Mill himself made scant reference to his career at the India House in hisAutobiography. He briefly described how he began as a clerk in the Examiner’s Office in 1823, quickly qualified ‘to be the chief conductor of the correspondence with India in one of the leading departments, that of the Native States,’ and continued in this duty until he was appointed examiner in 1856, two years before ‘the abolition of the East India Company as a political body determined my retirement.’...

  15. Imperial Epitaph: John Stuart Millʼs Defence of the East India Company
    (pp. 198-220)

    The East India Company’s days were numbered once news reached London of the outbreak of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. Despite what were and are often quite profound disagreements over its causes, commentators then and now have generally come to agree that the civil and military insurgencies which rocked northern India in 1857 and 1858 jeopardized Britain’s grip on India. It was the fear of that loss, coupled with lurid accounts of what were too often imaginary acts of violence committed by Indian males against European females, that caused panic to spread quickly from British enclaves in India to the...

  16. John Stuart Mill and India
    (pp. 221-264)

    Whether or not ‘ideology’ as such plays a part in motivating large groups of individuals, historical schools say it does, depending upon their judgment about different groups of people. Take two historical schools, the so-called Cambridge School and the Nationalist School, both active in rewriting modern Indian history. Crudely put, the Cambridge historians would claim that it was the ideology of utilitarianism or a combination of ideologies that motivated the work of the group of individuals who constituted the British administration.¹ At the same time, the school would also maintain that the nationalist movement in India lacked any coherent ideology,...