Brooks. I. James, an American journalist and politician, born in Portland, Me., Nov. 10, 1810, died in Washington, D. C, April 30,1873. At the age of 11, having lost his father, he was placed in a store, at 16 became a school teacher, and in 1831 graduated at Waterville college, at the head of his class. He was next principal of the Latin school in Portland, then travelled through the southern states and among the Creek and Cherokee Indians, wrote letters to various journals, became the correspondent at Washington of several papers, and was the originator of the system of regular Washington correspondence. Becoming in 1835 a member of the legislature of Maine, he introduced the first proposition for a survey for a railroad from Portland to Montreal and Quebec. The same year he visited Europe, travelling on foot over a great part of the continent and the British islands, and gave an account of his adventures in a series of letters to the "Portland Advertiser." On his return in 1836 he established the New York " Express," of which for many years both a morning and evening edition were published, but which is now exclusively an evening journal.
In 1847 he was elected as a whig to the assembly of the state of New York, and in the following year chosen a member of congress from New York city, in which post he was continued by reelection till 1853. In congress he took part in favor of the passage of the compromise of 1850, and there and in his newspaper advocated the principles of the American party. Soon after the outbreak of the civil war he joined the democratic party, by whom in 1864 he was again returned to congress from the city of New York, and remained a member till his death, having received four successive reelections. In 1871 he made a rapid tour of the globe, of which he gave an account in a volume entitled " A Seven Months' Run up and down and around the World" (New York, 1872). II. Erastus, an American journalist, brother of the preceding, born in Portland, Me., Jan. 31, 18i5. He was sent to Boston at the age of eight, where he was employed in a grocery store, and obtained the rudiments of learning at an evening school. He subsequently became a printer, and published a newspaper called "TheYankee" at Wiscasset, Me. Afterward, having graduated at Brown university, he became the principal of a grammar school at Haverhill, Mass., and editor of the "Haverhill Gazette." In 1836 he was engaged as "Washington correspondent of the New York "Daily Advertiser" and of several New England journals, and soon afterward became with his brother joint editor and proprietor of the New York "Express," which position he still retains (1873). In 1843 he travelled extensively in Europe, and in 1853 and 1855 he was elected to the New York state senate.
While in the senate he advocated a bill divesting the Roman Catholic bishops of the title to church property in real estate, and became in consequence involved in a controversy with Archbishop Hughes, which was published in a volume (" Controversy on Church Property," New York, 1855). In 1856 he was nominated for governor of New York by the American party, but was not elected. He subsequently joined the democratic party. In 1872 he was appointed member of a commission to revise the state constitution.