James Topham Brady, an American lawyer, born in New York city, April 9, 1815, died there, Feb. 9,1869. His father emigrated from Ireland in 1812, and after teaching a classical school for some years became a lawyer and finally a judge. He educated his son himself, and at the age of 16 James had acquired sufficient knowledge of law to act as junior counsel to his father. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 20, and soon became distinguished for ability, legal learning, and eloquence. He was often intrusted with great civil cases, which he managed generally with success. But it was as a criminal lawyer that he gained the highest reputation. In a single week he defended four clients charged with murder, all of whom were acquitted. Of the 52 capital cases in which he was counsel, in only one was he unsuccessful, and in that his client was tried as a spy and a guerilla before a court martial. In politics he was a zealous democrat, but he declined to accept any office but that of corporation counsel, which he considered a professional one. He consented in 1860, however, to be the candidate of the ultra states rights party for governor, because there was no chance of his election.
During the civil war he gave a general support to President Lincoln's administration, and near the close of it he accepted an appointment as one of a commission to go to New Orleans to investigate the management of the department of the gulf under Gen. Butler and Gen. Banks. The commission made a voluminous report, which has never been published. Mr. Brady wrote much for the magazines and other periodicals, and one of his contributions, which appeared in 1846 in the " New World," entitled "A Christmas Dream," subsequently became popular as a holiday book.