The title for these unpublished notes on the government of India was assigned by Mill's editors. Written as another defence for the East-India Company's continued existence, it stressed impracticality of placing the administration directly under parliamentary control:

The greatest dependency of the Crown, India, is, by general admission, not capable of administering its own affairs by a representative system. This, however, does not diminish, but increases, the mischief and danger of its administration by the unchecked power of a Cabinet Minister. There is far more danger in India than in any Colony, of the ignorant or corrupt misuse of Ministerial power, because India is less understood than any Colony, because its people are less capable of making their voice heard, and because it is more difficult for Parliament to interfere in its administration with adequate knowledge, than in the affairs of any other Colony. (Mill, 1990, p. 176)

From this passage, a few insights into Mill's thinking can be inferred. First, Mill appears to believe India unprepared for any sort of representative system of government, which he believed would help in voicing native concerns. This echoes some of his later works which stressed the individual development as a pre-condition for the granting of suffrage. Having said that, are we then to assume that the Indian Mutiny had made an indelible imprint on Mill's psyche or rather that other agents of socialisation were responsible for this idea?


Mill, John Stuart. Writings on India. Edited by John M. Robson, Martin Moir and Zawahir Moir. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; London: Routledge, c1990.

Last modified October 2000