About James Brown
James Brown (September 11, 1766 – April 7, 1835) was a lawyer, U.S. Senator from Louisiana and Minister to France. He was the brother of John Brown, the cousin of John Breckinridge, James Breckinridge and Francis Preston, the brother-in-law of Henry Clay, the uncle of James Brown Clay, Henry Clay, Jr., John Morrison Clay, the great uncle of B. Gratz Brown and the cousin-in-law of Thomas Hart Benton.
Early life and education
Born near Staunton, Virginia, Brown attended Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia. He read law, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Frankfort, Kentucky. Brown commanded a company of sharpshooters in an expedition against the Indians in 1789. His wife was Ann "Nancy" Hart, sister of Lucretia Hart Clay, wife of Henry Clay.
Brown served as secretary to the Virginia Governor in 1792. On June 5, 1792, Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky, nominated Brown as Secretary of State; he was confirmed by the state senate and served until October 13, 1796. Soon after the cession of the Territory of Louisiana, Brown moved to New Orleans and was appointed as secretary of the Territory in 1804. He served from October 1 to December 11 of that year, when he became United States district attorney for the Territory.
Brown was one of the wealthiest slave owners on the German Coast, where his substantial plantation produced sugar through the use of forced labor.
In January 1811, some slaves from James Brown's plantations outside the city rebelled, joining the 1811 German Coast Uprising, including the notorious Kook, one of the leaders of the insurrection. It was the largest slave rebellion in US history, but short lived, and the slaves killed only two white men. In the aftermath of confrontation with the militia and executions after trials, ninety-five blacks were killed. Some of the men were from Haiti, brought to the US by white refugees. Other were from Africa.
Brown was elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate on December 1, 1812, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jean N. Destréhan, and served from February 5, 1813, to March 3, 1817. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection, but again elected to the United States Senate in 1819, as an Adams-Clay Republican. He served from March 4, 1819, until December 10, 1823, when he resigned. During his tenure, Brown was the chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations (Sixteenth Congress).
Brown was appointed United States Minister to France 1823-1829. After his return to the United States, he settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He died there in 1835 and was buried at Christ Church, Philadelphia, the church of statesmen.