Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/230

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

himself as no seaman. But James and his ship made this very remarkable voyage in an exceptionally bad season, wintered, though without proper appliances, and came safely home again with the loss of only four men.

On 6 April 1633 James was appointed to command the Ninth Whelp, cruising in the Bristol Channel and over to the coast of Ireland, for the prevention of piracy. On 29 Jan. 1634–5 he wrote to Nicholas that he was utterly disabled by sickness for any employment that year, and on 3 March Sir Beverley Newcomen was appointed to succeed him in command of the Ninth Whelp (Cal. State Papers, Dom.) It is doubtful whether he died of the sickness or is to be identified with the Thomas James whose petition was referred to the admiralty committee on 22 April 1651 (ib.), or with the Thomas James of Buntingford, Hertfordshire, who was appointed on 3–19 Dec. 1653 (ib.) a trustee for the money granted by parliament to the widow of Edmund Button, slain in the battle of Portland [see Button, Sir Thomas].

The spirited account of James's arctic voyage, first published in 1633, shows him as an experienced seaman, a scientific navigator, and a careful observer not only of latitude, longitude, and variation of compass, but of tides, ‘overfalls,’ and other natural phenomena. An attempt has been made to prove that James's narrative is the original of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ and some remarkable agreements of thought and expression have been pointed out (Nicholls, p. 76; Ivor James, The Source of the Ancient Mariner, 1890). That Coleridge had read and been impressed by James's story is very probable; but the incidents he has described have little resemblance to those of the voyage. A portrait is on the original map.

[The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captain Thomas James in his intended Discovery of the North-West Passage into the South Sea … Published by His Majesty's Command (sm. 4to, not dated [1633]); a second edition was published in 1740; it was also printed in Harris's Collection of Voyages, 1705, vol. ii., and in Churchill's Collection of Voyages, vol. ii. An abridgment is given in Rundall's Voyages towards the North-West (Hakluyt Soc.); Nicholls's Bristol Biographies, No. 2; notes kindly supplied by Mr. Fullarton James and Mr. Ivor James.]

J. K. L.

JAMES, THOMAS (1748–1804), head-master of Rugby School, was born on 19 Oct. 1748 at St. Ives, Huntingdonshire. In 1760 he was sent to Eton, was subsequently elected a scholar there, and won a reputation by his Latin and Greek verses, specimens of which are in the ‘Musæ Etonenses.’ For a Greek translation of one of his smaller poems, beginning ‘Whoever thou art,’ Mark Akenside presented him with a copy of Homer's ‘Iliad.’ In February 1767 James proceeded as a scholar to King's College, Cambridge, became fellow in February 1770, and graduated B.A. in 1771 and M.A. 1774. He obtained in 1772 the first members' prize for a Latin essay awarded to middle bachelors, and in 1773 that awarded to senior bachelors. He was ordained and chosen tutor of his college. While still an undergraduate he wrote ‘An Account of King's College Chapel’ for the benefit of Henry Malden, the chapel clerk, under whose name it was published in 1769. In May 1778 he was elected head-master of Rugby School. When James went to the school, there were only fifty-two boys. He at once instituted a thorough reform in the discipline and system of teaching, and introduced the Etonian method. His exertions were soon successful; in its best days under his rule the school numbered two hundred and forty-five. Among his more distinguished pupils were Samuel Butler, afterwards bishop of Lichfield, and W. S. Landor. Rather than publicly expel Landor for repeated acts of rebellion and insolence, James quietly sent him home (Forster, Life of Landor, i. 14, 18, 31, 195–7). In 1786 he proceeded D.D., and in the same year founded two 5l. prizes for Latin declamations by scholars of King's. Upon his resignation of his head-mastership in 1794 the trustees presented him with a handsome piece of plate, and at their next meeting wrote to Mr. Pitt, then prime minister, requesting some church preferment for him. James was accordingly appointed in May 1797 to a prebend in Worcester Cathedral, and was instituted to the rectory of Harvington in the same county. He died suddenly at Harvington on 23 Sept. 1804, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral, where there is a monument to his memory. Another monument by Chantrey was erected in 1824 in the chapel of Rugby School, with a Latin inscription by Bishop Butler. His portrait was engraved by an old pupil, Matthew Haughton of Birmingham, from a miniature by Englehart.

James married first, on 21 Dec. 1779, Elizabeth (1757?–1784), eldest daughter of John Mander of Coventry, by whom he had a son and a daughter; and secondly, on 27 March 1785, Arabella (d. 1828), fourth daughter of William Caldecott of Catthorpe, Leicestershire, by whom he had, with five other children, John Thomas James [q. v.], bishop of Calcutta. Besides the little work already mentioned James published a ‘Compendium of Geography’ and ‘The Principal Propositions of the Fifth Book of Euclid