James Grahame, a Scottish poet, born in Glasgow, April 22, 1765, died near that city, Nov. 30, 1811. He was educated at the university of Glasgow, went to Edinburgh, and became a writer to the signet in 1791, and a member of the faculty of advocates in 1795. But the legal profession had always been distasteful to him, and in the spring of 1809 he went to England, where he was ordained a minister of the established church, and became curate of Shipton, Gloucestershire, and afterward of Sedgefield, in Durham. His principal poetical works are "The Sabbath," "Mary, Queen of Scots," "British Georgics," and "The Birds of Scotland."
James Grahame, a Scottish historian, born in Glasgow, Dec. 21,1790, died in London, July 3, 1842. He studied at St. John's college, Cambridge, but soon terminated his connection with that institution, and after preparatory studies was admitted an advocate at the Scottish bar in 1812. For nearly 14 years he practised his profession, until he was obliged through ill health to seek a more genial climate. Settling in the south of England in the spring of 1826, he devoted himself to the preparation of a history of the United States. His early education, his religious views, which were those professed by the Scotch Covenanters and Puritans, and his zeal in the cause of civil liberty, combined to render the subject attractive to him. In 1827 the first two volumes were published, and in 1836 a new edition appeared in 4 vols. 8vo, bringing the history down to the year 1776. The thoroughly American spirit in which the work was written interfered with its success in England, and for several years it attracted little notice in the United States; but in 1839 the author received from Harvard college the degree of LL. D., and in 1841 an article on his history by Prescott appeared in the " North American Review." Four years later an edition of his work was published at Philadelphia in 4 vols. 8vo, succeeded in 1846 and 1848 by editions in 2 vols, each, that of 1846 containing a memoir of the author by Josiah Quincy. Mr. Quincy also published a work entitled " The Memory of the late James Grahame, the Historian of the United States, vindicated from the Charges of Mr. Bancroft" (8vo, Boston, 1846). In 1837 Mr. Grahame, who for some years previous had resided at Nantes, France, began to collect materials for continuing his history, but was compelled by ill health toward the close of the year to abstain from literary labor of all kinds.
His last work was a pamphlet entitled, " Who is to Blame? or Cursory Review of the American Apology for American Accession to Negro Slavery " (London, 1842). The subject had excited his attention for many years, and he had testified his sincerity by joining with his children in liberating a number of slaves they had jointly inherited from his wife. He wrote pamphlets on various social and religious questions, including a " Defence of the Scottish Presbyterians and Covenanters against the Author of the ' Tales of my Landlord;' " but the absorbing study of the best years of his life was American history. He delighted to call himself an American by adoption, and declared that his daughter was "hardly dearer to him than America and American renown." His "History of the United States" is written, according to Chancellor Kent, " with great gravity and dignity, moderation and justice."