Image of George Payne Rainsford James


Lifetime: 1799 - 1860 Passed: ≈ 163 years ago


Novelist, Writer



George Payne Rainsford James

George Payne Rainsford James was an English novelist and historical writer, the son of a physician in London. He was for many years British Consul at various places in the United States and on the Continent. He held the honorary office of British Historiographer Royal during the last years of William IV's reign.

George Payne Rainsford James was born in St George Street, Hanover Square, London in 1799. His father was a physician who had served in the navy and was in America during the Revolutionary War, serving with Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Groton Heights.

George attended the school of the Reverend William Carmalt in Putney. He developed a love of languages, including Greek, Latin, Persian and Arabic. He also studied medicine as a young man, but his inclinations led him in a different direction. He wanted to go into the navy, but his father was against it, due to his own naval experiences, finally allowing him to join the army. George served for a short time in the army as a lieutenant during the Hundred Days, and was wounded in a small action following The Battle of Waterloo. He travelled extensively, visiting France and Spain soon after the abdication of Napoleon. These early travels gave him the idea for his novel Morley Ernstein.

In 1825 he wrote his first, and probably his best known novel Richelieu: A Tale of France, which was not published until 1829. After reading Richelieu, which had been given to him by a friend, and after receiving a letter from James, Walter Scott advised him to take up literature as a profession. He was also given encouragement by Washington Irving.

In 1828 he married Frances Thomas, the daughter of Honoratus Leigh Thomas, an important physician. After their marriage they lived in France, Italy, and Scotland. They had two children. His wife survived him by 31 years, dying in Wisconsin in 1891.

Books by George Payne Rainsford James

The Huguenot: A Tale of the French Protestants Cover image

The Huguenot: A Tale of the French Protestants

Fiction Political Science
Governments Politics Historical Fiction Protestants Literary Fiction

The time of French king Louis XIV was a time of religious conflict. His father, Louis XIII had tried to suppress the teachings and followers of Calvin but was thwarted by his ministers. The son took a different path. The king was Catholic, and althou...

Arabella Stuart Cover image

Arabella Stuart

Memoir Biography
Marriage Fortune Historical Fiction Autobiography Success Struggle Life

Lady Arabella Stuart was an English noblewoman at the beginning of the seventeenth century. At one time considered to be a possible successor to Elizabeth I, the crown eventually went to her cousin, the tyrannical James I. Our story begins in 1603, s...

The Smuggler Cover image

The Smuggler

Fiction Novel
Romantic Adventure Thriller Sacrifice Loyalty Life Conflict Historical

It is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a young smuggler named Jack Smith who becomes involved in a dangerous plot to overthrow the government. Originally published in 1845, "The Smuggler" is set in the 18th century and provides a v...

Agincourt: A Romance Cover image

Agincourt: A Romance

Romantic Love Battle War Historical Fiction Honor Explore Experiences

It is an enthralling tale that transports readers to the captivating world of medieval Europe. Penned by the esteemed author George Payne Rainsford James, this historical romance novel weaves a story of heroism, political machinations, and the legend...

Darnley Cover image


Fiction Novel
Murder Power Debate Historical Fiction Betrayal Dark England Ambition Past

In the shadows of the English court, a young man plots to become king. Darnley is a historical novel by George Payne Rainsford James that tells the story of Henry Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The novel follows Darnley's rise...

The Fate: A Tale of Stirring Times Cover image

The Fate: A Tale of Stirring Times

Love War Idealism Adventure Historical Fiction Friendship Betrayal Alternate History Literary Fiction

n the late 18th century, two young men, Charles de Haldimar and Henry Grantham, are friends and fellow officers in the British army. They are stationed in Canada, where they are caught up in the conflict between the British and the French. Charles i...