ABSTRACT

This account is not wholly just to Mill, and Macaulay himself later regretted the sneering tone in which much of his article is couched. In the two volumes of his Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind of 1824, Mill showed himself capable of a painstaking study of mental events and dispositions, and, within the restrictions of an unapologetically associationist theory of the mind, even attempted to vindicate the existence of genuinely benevolent feelings.3 Yet John Stuart professed himself ‘not at all satisfied with the mode in which my father met the criticisms of Macaulay’. James Mill’s blunt reaction was to treat Macaulay’s objections as ‘simply irrational’—‘an example of the saying of Hobbes, that when reason is against a man, a man will be against reason’ (J.S.Mill 1873:165/7). Some of the younger Mill’s worries concerned technical issues in the logic and methodology of the social sciences which he thought that neither his father nor Macaulay had properly understood. But he felt too

that…there was truth in several of [Macaulay’s] strictures on my father’s treatment of the subject; that my father’s premises were really too narrow, and included but a small number of the general truths, on which, in politics, the important consequences depend (165).