Stephen, Sir James, 1789–1859, British colonial administrator; father of Leslie and James Fitzjames Stephen. He served (1825–35) as permanent counsel to the colonial office and Board of Trade and drafted the bill (1833) for the abolition of the slave trade. As assistant undersecretary (1834–36) and undersecretary (1836–47) for the colonies, he was the effective director of British colonial policy. He promoted the extension of self-government to the colonies and rejected the "systematic colonization" schemes of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, fearing oppression of the native populations.
See study by Paul Knaplund (1953).