James Mill, the son of a shoemaker from Montrose, was born in 1773. He studied for the ministry at Edinburgh and was ordained in 1798. In 1802 Mill left the Church for journalism and after moving to London he began writing articles for the Edinburgh Review and the St. James Chronicle.
In London James Mill became a friend and disciple of Jeremy Bentham and fully supported his ideas on utilitarianism. Mill became a prominent member of the Philosophical Radicals, a group which included Bentham, David Ricardo, George Grote and John Austin.
In 1817 James Mill finished his major work, the History of British India. This book resulted in him being offered a position with the East India Company. Mill continued to write articles for newspapers and journals and in 1824 he joined Jeremy Bentham to help establish the Westminster Review.Mill's son, John Stuart Mill, also wrote for the Westminster Review and eventually became editor of the journal.
Mill wrote several important books including Elements of Political Economy (1821) and Analysis of the Phenomenon of the Human Mind (1829) where he attempted to provide a psychological basis for utilitarianism.
James Mill died in 1836.