Biography of James Innes
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies





Innes, James, was born in 1754, in Virginia, son of the Rev. Robert Innes, a Scotchman, and a graduate of Oxford. He was a graduate of William and Mary Collage and usher of the grammar school. At the beginning of the troubles with the mother country, he rallied a band of students and secured some Stores about to be secreted by Dunmore, and he was dismissed from college, the faculty being yet loyal to the crown. In February, 1776, as captain of the Williamsburg volunteers, he marched against the enemy at Hampton. In November following, as lieutenant colonel, he became an aide to Washington, and served at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. In October, 1778, he was appointed a navy commissioner. In 1780 he entered the house of delegates. At the solicitation of Washington, he raised a regiment for home defense, and commanded it at the siege of Yorktown. He was a member of the convention of 1788, and eloquently supported the constitution. He then engaged in law practice and attained high rank at the bar, and later succeeded Edmund Randolph as attorney general. Governor Tazewell pronounced him "the most classical, the most elegant and the most eloquent orator" to whom he ever listened. Washington held him in highest esteem, and tendered him the attorney generalship, which his state of health obliged him to decline. He died August 2, 1798, before completing his forty fourth year, in Philadelphia, while discharging his duties as commissioner under Jay's treaty, and was buried in that city, in Christ Church burial ground, not far from the grave of Franklin. He was a brother of Henry Innes, attorney general of Kentucky (q. v., vol. 1, 263).


FROM:
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume II
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915



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