Chaine was influential in developing the cross-channel links between Larne and Stranraer, Scotland. He was the director of the Larne and Stanraer Boat Company, and was the key figure behind the building of the Port and Harbour of Larne. He promoted and financed construction of railroad lines from Larne to Ballyclare and from Larne to Ballymena (the Ballymena and Larne Railway). He was elected at the 1874 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Antrim, and held the seat until his death at the age of 43 in May 1885. Chaine, James Porter Corry and William Ewart formed a minority of Irish MPs from "the world of the big business" while the majority were either landowners or descendants of the landed families. Chaine himself became a major landowner by the purchase of a ₤64,000 estate in Carncastle followed by a £22,000 estate in Killead.
He died after catching a chill, which developed into pneumonia. His estate was valued at ₤62,681. He was buried, in an upright position, overlooking Larne Lough, near Sandy Point. The Chaine Memorial, a replica Irish round tower, was built in Larne in 1888 to commemorate him.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Walker, p. 249.
- Debrette, p. 44.
- Campbell, p. 146.
- Thomson, p. 54.
- Campbell, pp. 145-146.
- Boyd, pp. 34-35.
- Long, Bill (1997). Bright Light, White Water. The Lighthouses of Ireland. New Island Books, Dublin. p. 181.
- James Boyd (1895). Boyd's pictorial guide to Portrush, the Giant's causeway, and the Antrim coast.
- Campbell, Fergus (2009). The Irish Establishment 1879-1914. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-923322-5.
- Debrett's illustrated House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1881. London: Dean & Son. 1881.
- Thomson, Frank (2001). The end of liberal Ulster: land agitation and land reform, 1868-1886. Ulster Historical Foundation. ISBN 1-903688-06-X.
- Walker, Brian M., ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland, 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Chaine
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Earl of Yarmouth
Hon. Edward O'Neill
|Member of Parliament for Antrim
1874 – May 1885
With: Hon. Edward O'Neill to 1880
Edward Macnaghten from 1880
William Pirrie Sinclair
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