c. 1500, "trade, commerce," from French trafique (15c.), from Italian traffico (14c.), from trafficare "carry on trade," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Vulgar Latin *transfricare "to rub across," from Latin trans "across" (see trans-) + fricare "to rub" (see friction), with the original sense of the Italian verb being "touch repeatedly, handle."
Or the second element may be an unexplained alteration of Latin facere "to make, do." Klein suggests ultimate derivation of the Italian word from Arabic tafriq "distribution." Meaning "people and vehicles coming and going" first recorded 1825. Traffic jam is by 1908, ousting earlier traffic block (1895). Traffic circle is from 1938.
"of or in the mode of James," 1875 in reference to William James (1842-1910), U.S. philosopher and exponent of pragmatism; 1905 in reference to his brother Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. expatriate novelist.
[T]he long sentences piling themselves up in elaborate phrase after phrase, the lightning incision, the pauses, the slightly shaking admonitory gesture with its ‘wu-await a little, wait a little, something will come’; blague and benignity and the weight of so many years’ careful, incessant labour of minute observation always there to enrich the talk. I had heard it but seldom, yet it is all unforgettable. […] No man who has not lived on both sides of the Atlantic can well appraise Henry James; his death marks the end of a period. [Ezra Pound, from “Henry James,” Little Review, August 1918]
The Jamaica in New York probably is a Delaware (Algonquian) word meaning "beaver pond" altered by influence of the island name.