Sir James Emerson Tennent, a British author, born in Belfast, April 7, 1804, died in London, March 6, 1869. His name was originally Emerson, Tennent being added on the succession of his wife to the estate of her father, William Tennent. He graduated at Trinity college, Dublin, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1831, but never practised. Under the name of Emerson he published "Travels in Greece" (1825); "Letters from the AEgean" (2 vols., 1829); and "History of Modern Greece " (2 vols., 1830-'45). In 1832 he was elected to parliament for Belfast, and represented that city most of the time till 1845. From 1841 to 1845 he was secretary to the India board; in 1845 he was appointed civil secretary to the colonial government of Ceylon, and knighted. He returned in 1850, and in 1852 was member of parliament for Lisburn, and for a few months of that year secretary of the poor-law board. In November, 1852, he became one of the joint secretaries of the board of trade, and on his retirement in February, 1867, he was created a baronet.

His works include "Belgium" (2 vols., 1841); "A Treatise on the Copyright of Designs for Printed Fabrics, etc." (1841); " Christianity in Ceylon, with an Historical Sketch of the Brahminical and Buddhist Superstitions" (1850); "Wine, its Use and Taxation" (1855); "Account of Ceylon" (2 vols., (1859; 5th ed., enlarged, 1860); "Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon" (1861); "The Story of the Guns" (1864); and "The Wild Elephant, and the Mode of capturing and taming him in Ceylon" (1867).