The Political Writings of James Mill ToC

The Political Writings of James Mill: Essays and Reviews on Politics and Society, 1815-1836


The OLL's original edition of The Political Writings of James Mill, 1815-1836 is here </titles/2520>.

A draft of the revised edition (with better headings, bibliographical info, and images of TPs) can be found here </pages/james-mills-political-writings>.


The writings on politics and society by James Mill (1773-1836) have been somewhat neglected by historians and political theorists. A collection of his writings on "economics" was published by Donald Winch in 1966 [online at the OLL</titles/100>] and it included a couple of articles and extracts from his books:

  • An Essay of the Impolicy of a Bounty On the Exportation of Grain
  • Commerce Defended
  • "Smith On Money and Exchange" (Ed. Rev. 1808)
  • Elements of Political Economy,
  • "Whether Political Economy Is Useful" (London Review, 1836)
  • History of India

Another anthology was published in 1992 by Cambridge University Press in their "Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought" series. This leaves out much of Mill's writing on social theory, the class structure of British society, religious institutions, free trade,the strategy for achieving social and political change, charities and self-help, and the nature of public opinion. The selection is mainly his articles from the Encyclopaedia Britannica which were republished separately during the 1820s and ignores his long-forgotten articles on class and self help organizations for the poor. The full listfrom the Cambridge collection is as follows:

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica:
    • Government
    • Jurisprudence
    • Liberty of the press
    • Edcuation
    • Prisons and Prison Discipline
    • The Ballot
  • Appendix: Macaulay vs. Mill
    • T.B. Macaulay, Mill on Government
    • James Mill [Reply to Macaulay] From a Fragment on Mackintosh (1835).

See: James Mill: Political Writings, ed. Terence Ball (Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Since James Mill was a "political economist" the distinction between his writings on "politics" and "economics" is a mute one in any case as Winch implies by including in his anthology of economic writings material on the Hindus in India. This anthology of his writings on "politics" and "society" tries to fill the gap by focusing less on his technical work on economic theory and policy and more on his essays and reviews written over a 20 year period on various aspects of British politics and society. There is a special emphasis on his social theory of class and exploitation which seemed to become more important to him during the struggle to reform the British system of government in the years leading up to the First Reform Act of 1832.

James Mill's periodical writings can usefully be divided into two periods. The first covers the period between 1802 and 1815/1817 when he wrote for the following publications:

  • Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine [1802]
  • The Literary Journal or Universal Review of Literature Domestic and Foreign [1803-1806]
  • The Eclectic Review [1807-14]
  • Annual Review and History of Literature for 1808 [1809]
  • The Edinburgh Review [1807-1814]
  • The Monthly Review [1810-1815]
  • The Philanthropist [1811-1817]

The second period, the topic of this anthology, covers his more mature writings in the period between the end of the war against Napoleon and Mill's death at the age of 63 on 23 June, 1836 which he wrote for the following publications:

  • The British Review, and London Critical Journal [1815]
  • Supplement to the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica [1815-1824]
  • Parliamentary History and Review [1826]
  • The Westminster Review [1824-1836]
  • The London Review [1835-36]
  • The London and Westminster Review [1836]


We have used the following works to identify what articles were written by James Mill:

  • Alexander Bain, James Mill. A Biography (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1882).
  • James Mill, Selected Economic Writings, ed. Donald Winch (Edinburgh: Oliver Boyd for the Scottish Economic Society, 1966).

Table of Contents

1. The British Review [1815]

The British Review, and London Critical Journal. Vol. VI. (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1815).

  • "Dugald Stewart's “Elements of the Philosophy of Mind”," Aug. 1815, vol. VI. pp. 170–200.

2. Supplement to the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Edinburgh, 1824, 6 volumes. [1815-1824]

Supplement to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. With Preliminary Dissertations on the History of the Science. Illustrated by Engravings. (Edinburgh, Archibald Constable and Company, 1824).The following articles were written by Mill:

  • Banks for Saving, vol. 2, pp. 91-101
  • Beggar, vol. 2, pp. 231-48
  • Benefit Societies, vol. 2, pp. 263-69
  • Caste, vol. 2, pp. 674-54.
  • Colony, vol. 3, pp. 257-73
  • Economists, vol. 3, pp. 708-24
  • Education, vol. 4, pp. 11-33
  • Government, vol. 4, pp. 491-505
  • Jurisprudence, vol. 5, pp. 143-161
  • Liberty of the Press, vol. 5, pp. 258-72
  • Nations, Law of, vol. 6, pp. 6-23
  • Prisons and Prison Discipline, vol. 6, pp. 385-95

3. Parliamentary History and Review [London, 1826]

Parliamentary History and Review; containing Reports of the Proceedings of the Two Houses of Parliament during the Session of 1826: - 7 Geo. IV. With Critical Remarks on the Principal Measures of the Session. (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1826).

  • James Mill, "Summary Review of the Conduct and Measures of the Seventh Imperial Parliament" pp. 772-802.

4. The Westminster Review [1824-1836]

The Westminster Review. (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1824-1836).

  • "Periodical Literature 1 (Edinburgh Review and Quarterly Review)," Jan. 1824, vol. I, no. I, pp. 206–68.
  • "Periodical Literature 2 (Quarterly Review and Edinburgh Review)," Oct. 1824, vol. II,no. IV, pp. 463–553.
  • "Robert Southey's Book of the Church," Jan. 1825, vol. III, no. V, pp. 167–213.
  • "Ecclesiastical Establishments," Apr. 1826, vol. V, no. X, pp. 504–48
  • "Formation of Opinions," Jul. 1826, vol. VI, no. XI, pp. 1–23.
  • "State of the Nation," Oct. 1826, vol. VI, no. XII, pp. 249–78.
  • "The Ballot," Jul. 1830, vol. XIII, no. XXV, pp. 1–37.

5. The London Review [1835-36]

The London Review (London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Company, 1835). 2 vols. James Mill signed the articles "P.Q."

Volume 1: April-July 1835

  • "State of the Nation," Apr. 1835, vol. I, no. 1, pp. 1–24.
  • "The Ballot—A Dialogue," Apr. 1835, vol. I, no. 1, pp. 201–53.
  • "The Church and its Reform," Jul. 1835, vol. I, no. 2, pp. 257–95.

Volume 2: July-January, 1835-6

  • "Law Reform," Oct. 1835, vol. II, no. 3, pp. 1–51.
  • "Aristocracy," Jan. 1836, vol. II, no. 4, pp. 283–306.
  • "Whether Political Economy is Useful?," Jan. 1836, vol. II, no. 4, pp. 553–72.

James Mill died on 23 June, 1836. That year the London Review merged with its rival the Westminster Review to become the London and Westminster Review. His last essay "Theory and Practice (signed with his usual "P.Q.") appeared in the first issue of the merged journal in the issue of Apr. 1836, vol. XXV, pp. 223–34.