John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) was a British philosopher, economist, and political theorist. He is considered one of the most influential English-speaking philosophers of the nineteenth century. Clarence Darrow wrote in his 1904 semi-autobiographical novel Farmington:

"I remember that at a very early age I was told again and again that John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when he was only three years old. I thought then, as I do today, that he must have had a cruel father, and that this unnatural parent not only made miserable the life of his little boy, but of thousands of other boys whose fathers could see no reason why their sons should be outdone by John Stuart Mill. I have no doubt that my good father thought that all his children ought to be able to do anything that was ever accomplished by John Stuart Mill; and so he did his part, and more, to make us try.

But, after all, I feel to-day just as I did long years ago, when with reluctant ear and rebellious heart I heard of the great achievements of John Stuart Mill. I look back to those early years, and still regret the beautiful play-spells that were broken and the many fond childish schemes for pleasure that were shattered because John Stuart Mill began studying Greek when three years old."

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-76491