Born at Ty-gwyn, Llan-ym-Mawddwy, Mer., younger son of John James (who survived him) and his wife Sarah; the father was a deacon in the Independent church at Dinas Mawddwy, and the elder son, Hugh James (1809 - 1875), became Independent minister of Brithdir (near Dolgelley) and of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain, Montgomeryshire. John James went up to London at an early age; his occupation there is not known, but he married a rich wife, and at the close of his life was living at 4 Tysoe Street, Wilmington Square. He wrote a good deal, in Welsh and in English, and on Talhaiarn's testimony was a leading member of the Cymreigyddion Society. Unfortunately for his fame, he was appointed in 1846 one of the twelve assistant-commissioners in the inquiry into education in Wales — probably because of his Nonconformist background, though he was no longer a Nonconformist. His reports (included in the Commission's printed Report) were furiously attacked; he was severely handled by Lewis Edwards (; and see Edwards's Traethodau Llenyddol, 374-421); lesser critics than Edwards spoke of him as a Judas. In July 1847 he became secretary to the trustees of the ‘Welsh Charity School’ in London; and when the Anglican newspaper Y Cymro was removed from Bangor to London in 1830, James became its editor. He died 24 April 1851 (from a kick by his horse on Blackheath), and was buried in the churchyard at Llan-ym-Mawddwy; according to his tombstone he was then 36.
Published date: 1959
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