Although James was at one time reported to be worth 150,000l. and to be earning 10,000l. a year from his practice, his affairs fell into confusion; in 1823 he was declared bankrupt, and was imprisoned in the King's Bench. Shortly afterwards he retired to Bodmin in Cornwall. In 1824 he obtained a patent for hollow rails for railways, but it was of no practical importance. All his efforts to retrieve his position were unsuccessful, and he died at Bodmin on 10 March 1837. He married in 1796 Dinah, daughter of William Tarlton of Botley, and left a family unprovided for. In 1845 an attempt to raise a fund for the benefit of his sons was made, but although Robert Stephenson, Joseph Locke, I. K. Brunel, George Rennie, and other eminent engineers attested that to James's self-denying efforts the public were indebted for the establishment of the railroad system, the scheme failed (Mechanics' Mag. 21 Oct. 1848, p. 403). In 1858 Robert Stephenson described James, in a letter to Mr. Smiles, as ‘a ready, dashing writer,’ but ‘no thinker at all in the practical part of the subject he had taken up. … His fluency of conversation I never heard equalled.’ A portrait of James, after a miniature by Chalon, forms the frontispiece to vol. xxxi. of the ‘Mechanics' Mag.’
James's eldest son, William Henry James (1796–1873), born at Henley-in-Arden in March 1796, assisted his father in his survey of the Liverpool and Manchester railway. He subsequently commenced business as an engineer in Birmingham, where he made experiments upon steam locomotion on common roads. He took out patents for locomotives, steam-engines, boilers, railway carriages, diving apparatus, &c., and he is commonly stated to have anticipated Stephenson in the application of the tubular boiler to locomotives, but this is an error, James's boiler being what is known as a ‘water-tube’ boiler. He died 16 Dec. 1873 in the Dulwich College Almshouses.
[E. M. S. P., The Two James's and the Two Stephensons, 1861, which appears to be based on family papers; Smiles's Life of George Stephenson, 1857, pp. 158, 173; Smiles's Lives of George and Robert Stephenson, 1868, pp. 239–246; Mechanics' Mag. xxxi. (1839) 156, 474, xlix. (1848) 401, 500; Booth's Account of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 1831, pp. 3–4; Railway Mag. October, November 1836, pp. 303, 363; R. B. Prosser's Birmingham Inventors and Inventions, 1881, pp. 107–8.]
JAMES, Sir WILLIAM MILBOURNE (1807–1881), lord justice, son of Christopher James of Swansea, was born at Merthyr Tydvil, Glamorganshire, in 1807. He was educated at the university of Glasgow, where he graduated M.A., and afterwards became an honorary LL.D. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1831. He read in Fitzroy Kelly's chambers, and attended the Welsh sessions, but afterwards confined his work almost entirely to the court of chancery. Ill-health, which before his call had compelled a two years' residence in Italy, at first retarded his progress; but in time he acquired a very large junior practice, and he became junior counsel to the treasury in equity, junior counsel to the woods and forests department, the inland revenue, and the board of works, and eventually in 1853 a queen's counsel and Bethell's successor as vice-chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. He twice unsuccessfully contested Derby as a liberal, on the second occasion in 1859. Although not a brilliant speaker, he was a sound advocate, with a thorough knowledge of law. He was engaged in many well-known cases, such as those of Dr. Colenso against the Bishop of Cape Town, Mrs. Lyon v. Home, the spiritualist, the Baroda and Kirwee booty case, and Martin v. Mackonochie. In 1866 he was treasurer of Lincoln's Inn. In January 1869 he became a vice-chancellor of the court of chancery and a knight, and in 1870 a lord justice of appeal and a privy councillor. He was a most eminent judge, exceptionally learned, shrewd and strong, and gifted with a great power of terse and clear enunciation of principles. The court of appeal under him and Lord-justice Mellish was a very efficient court, and its decisions on the new and important questions arising under the Companies Acts and the Bankruptcy Act of 1869 were of the highest value. He was a member of the various commissions on equity procedure, of the Indian code commission and the army purchase commission, and as a member of the judicature commission was a strenuous reformer, and urged the total abolition of pleadings. On 7 June 1881 he died at his house, 47 Wimpole Street, London. He married in 1846 Maria (d. 1891), daughter of Dr. Otter, bishop of Chichester, and left two children: a son, Major W. C. James, of the 16th lancers; and a daughter, married to Colonel G. Salis Schwabe. He was a deep student of Indian history, and between 1864 and 1869 wrote a work, ‘The British in India,’ which was published by his daughter in 1882.
[Times, 9 June 1881; Solicitors' Journal, 11 June 1881; information kindly furnished by Mrs. Salis Schwabe; see also eulogium on James by Baron Bramwell, Times, 15 June 1881.]
JAMESON, ANNA BROWNELL (1794–1860), authoress, born at Dublin on 17 May 1794, was the eldest daughter of