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JAMES STEWART (d. 1595)

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 644 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAMES STEWART (d. 1595), the rival earl of Arran above referred to, was the son of Andrew Stewart, 2nd Lord Ochiltree. He served in his youth with the Dutch forces in Holland against the Spanish, and returned to Scotland in 1579. He immediately became a favourite of the young king, and in 158o was made gentleman of the bedchamber and tutor of his cousin, the 3rd earl of Arran. The same year he was the principal accuser of the earl of Morton, and in 1581 was rewarded for having accomplished the latter's destruction by being appointed a member of the privy council, and by the grant the same year, to the prejudice of his ward, of the earldom of Arran and the Hamilton estates, on the pretence that the children of his grandmother's father, the 1st earl of Arran, by his third wife, from whom sprang the succeeding earls of Arran, were illegitimate. He claimed the position of second person in the kingdom as nearest to the king by descent. The same year he married Elizabeth, daughter of John Stewart, earl of Atholl, and wife of the earl of March, after both had been compelled to undergo the discipline of the kirk on account of previous illicit intercourse. He became the rival of Lennox for the chief power in the kingdom, but both were deprived of office by the raid of Ruthven on the 22nd of August 1582, and Arran was imprisoned till September under the charge of the earl of Gowrie. In 1583, however, he assembled a force of 12,000 men against the new government; the Protestant lords escaped over the border, and Arran, returning to power, was made governor of Stirling Castle and in 1584 lord chancellor. The same year Gowrie was captured through Arran's treachery and executed after the failure of the plot of the Protestant lords against the latter's government. He now obtained the governorship of Edinburgh Castle and was made provost of the city and lieutenant-general of the king's forces. Arran induced the English government to refrain from aiding the banished lords, and further secured his power by the forfeitures of his opponents. His tyranny and insolence, however, stirred up a multitude of enemies and caused his rapid fall from power. His agent in England, Patrick, Master of Gray, was secretly conspiring against him at Elizabeth's court. On account of the murder of Lord Russell on the border in July 1585, of which he was accused by Elizabeth, he was imprisoned at the castle of St Andrews, and subsequently the banished lords with Elizabeth's support entered Scotland, seized the government and proclaimed Arran a traitor. He fled in November, and from this time his movements are furtive and uncertain. In 1586 he was ordered to leave the country, but it is doubtful whether he ever quitted Scotland. He contrived secretly to maintain friendly communications with James, and in 1592 returned to Edinburgh, and endeavoured unsuccessfully to get reinstated in the court and kirk. Subsequently he is reported as making a voyage to Spain, probably in connexion with James's intrigues with that country. His unscrupulous and adventurous career was finally terminated towards the close of 1595 by his assassination near Symontown in Lanarkshire at the hands of Sir James Douglas (nephew of his victim the earl of Morton), who carried his head in triumph on the point of a spear through the country, while hiĀ§ body was left a prey to the dogs and swine. He had three sons, the eldest of whom became Lord Ochiltree.
End of Article: JAMES STEWART (d. 1595)
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