Stephen, James FitzJames

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Stephen, James FitzJames (1829–94). Stephen was the son and grandson of distinguished lawyers and educated at Eton, which he disliked, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He embarked on a legal career, but augmented his income with articles in the Saturday Review, the Cornhill Magazine, and the Pall Mall Gazette. After 2½ years in India on the council, which he described as a second university education, he was appointed a judge in 1879. His baronetcy came in 1891 when ill-health forced him to retire early. Large and formidable, he expressed his views trenchantly, was hostile to democracy, and mistrustful of sentiment: ‘the French way of loving the human race is one of their many sins which it is most difficult to forgive.’ He was a great admirer of Hobbes, the apostle of strong government. Stephen's most important works were Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873), a critique of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, and a History of the Criminal Law (1883). His candour is frequently refreshing, sometimes brutal. His younger brother Leslie Stephen was the founding editor of the Dictionary of National Biography and father of Virginia Woolf.

J. A. Cannon

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Sir James Fitzjames Stephen

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