Richards, James Brinsley (DNB00)

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RICHARDS, JAMES BRINSLEY (1846–1892), journalist, was born in London on 29 Aug. 1846. He was at Eton from 1857 to 1864, and the details of his school career are given in an entertaining form in his ‘Seven Years at Eton, 1857–64,’ published in 1883. At a comparatively early age he went abroad, and lived for several years in France. He acted for some time as secretary to M. Drouyn de Lhuys, and then as secretary to the Duc Decazes, and it was during this period that he acquired the intimate knowledge of French politics and politicians which was conspicuous in all he wrote. In 1882 he sent voluntary contributions to the ‘Times,’ and on the death of General Eber in February 1885 he was appointed to succeed him as the correspondent of the ‘Times’ in Vienna. From that time forward he contributed a series of admirable letters and articles on a variety of foreign topics, as well as lives of foreign statesmen and politicians, many of which attracted attention on the continent. On 2 Jan. 1892 he was transferred to Berlin. There he died at 1 Von der Heydtstrasse, Berlin, of a stroke of apoplexy, on 5 April 1892, and was buried in the Twelve Apostles cemetery, Berlin, on 9 April. The Empress Frederick sent a wreath of laurels fringed with gold. He married in Brussels, on 7 Jan. 1880, Blanche, daughter of J. Caldecott Smith, by whom he left four children.

Richards's earliest work of fiction, published anonymously, ‘The Duke's Marriage’ (1886, 3 vols.), contains a vivid picture of French political and social life in the later years of the second empire. His other works were ‘Prince Roderick’ (1889, 3 vols.), and ‘The Alderman's Children’ (1891, 3 vols.).

[Times, 6 April 1892, p. 9, 11 April, p. 9; Daily Graphic, 7 April 1892, p. 9, with portrait; information from Mrs. J. B. Richards, 22 Stanford Road, Brighton.]

G. C. B.