Stuart, James (d.1793) (DNB00)

STUART, JAMES (d. 1793), major-general, younger brother of Andrew Stuart [q. v.], was appointed captain in the 56th foot on 1 Nov. 1755. He first saw active service at the siege of Louisburg in Nova Scotia under Lord Amherst in 1758. On 9 May of the same year he was promoted to the rank of major, and in 1761 was present with Colonel Morgan's regiment at the reduction of Belleisle. During the course of the expedition he acted as quartermaster-general, and in consequence obtained the rank of lieutenant-colonel. From Belleisle he went to the West Indies, and served in the operations against Martinique, which was reduced in February 1762, and on the death of Colonel Morgan took command of the regiment. After the conquest of Martinique his regiment was ordered to join the expedition against Havana, where he greatly distinguished himself by his conduct in the assault of the castle of Morro, the capture of which determined the success of the expedition.

In 1775 he received permission to enter the service of the East India Company as second in command on the Coromandel coast, with the rank of colonel. On his arrival he found serious differences existing between the council of the Madras Presidency and the governor, George Pigot, baron Pigot [q. v.], and on 23 Aug. 1776 he arrested the governor at Madras, at the command of the majority of the council. On this news reaching England, Stuart was suspended by the directors from the office of commander-in-chief, to which he had succeeded, with the rank of brigadier-general, on the death of Sir Robert Fletcher in December 1776. Although he repeatedly demanded a trial, he could not, despite peremptory orders from England, succeed in obtaining a court-martial until December 1780, when he was honourably acquitted, and by order of the directors received the arrears of his pay from the time of his suspension. On 11 Jan. 1781 he was restored to the chief command in Madras by order of the governor and council. He returned to Madras in 1781, and, under Sir Eyre Coote (1726–1783) [q. v.], took part in the battle of Porto Novo on 1 July, and distinguished himself by his able handling of the second line of the British force. In the battle of Pollilore, on 27 Aug., he had his leg carried away by a cannon shot. On 19 Oct. he was promoted to the rank of major-general, and on the return of Sir Eyre Coote to Bengal he took command of the forces in Madras. Lord Macartney [see Macartney, George, Earl Macartney], the governor, however, would not allow him that freedom of action which Eyre Coote had enjoyed, and on the death of Hyder on 7 Dec. he urged him immediately to attack the Mysore army. Stuart declared his forces were not ready, and made no active movement for two months. While besieging Cuddalore he was suspended from the command by the Madras government. He was placed in strict confinement in Madras, and sent home to England. On 8 June 1786, though unable to stand without support owing to his wounds, he fought a duel with Lord Macartney in Hyde Park, and severely wounded him. On 8 Feb. 1792 he was appointed colonel of the 31st foot. He died on 2 Feb. 1793. His portrait, painted by Romney, was engraved by Hodges (Bromley, Cat. p. 381). He married Margaret Hume, daughter of Hugh, third earl of Marchmont, but had no children.

Another James Stuart (1741–1815), general, frequently confounded with the preceding, was the third son of John Stuart of Blairhall in Perthshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of Francis, earl of Murray, and was born at Blairhall on 2 March 1741. He was educated at the schools of Culross and Dunfermline. In 1757 he proceeded to Edinburgh to study law, but, abandoning the project, entered the army, and served in the American war of independence. He attained the rank of major in the 78th foot, and arrived in India with his regiment in 1782, where he was appointed lieutenant-colonel on 14 Feb. He took part in Sir Eyre Coote's campaign against Hyder, and was present at the siege of Cuddalore, when he commanded the attack on the right of the main position in the assault of 13 July 1782. In the campaign of 1790, under General Sir William Medows [q. v.], against Tippoo Sahib, he reduced the fortresses of Dindigul and Palghaut. He served under Cornwallis through the campaigns of 1791–2, was placed in immediate charge of the siege of Seringapatam, and commanded the centre column in the assault of 6 Feb. 1792. On 8 Aug. he was promoted to the rank of colonel, and, after a visit to England, returned to Madras in 1794. On 26 Feb. 1795 he was appointed major-general, and in the same year took command of the expedition against the Dutch possessions in Ceylon. The whole island was secured in 1796, and Stuart in the same year became commander-in-chief of the forces in Madras. On 23 Oct. 1798 he was gazetted colonel of the 78th regiment, and in the following year, in the last war against Tippoo, commanded the Bombay army, which occupied Coorg, and repulsed Tippoo at Sedaseer on 6 March. On 15 March he effected a junction with Major-general George Harris (afterwards Lord Harris) [q. v.] before Seringapatam, and took charge of the operations on the northern side of the city. After its capture he, with several other general officers, received the thanks of both houses of parliament. In 1801 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Madras army; on 29 April 1802 he attained the rank of lieutenant-general, and in the following year took part in the Mahratta war, Major-general Wellesley being under his orders. In 1805 he returned to England in bad health; he was promoted to the rank of general on 1 Jan. 1812, and died without issue at Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London, or 29 April 1815. He was buried in a vault in St. James's Chapel, Hampstead Road, London (Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ix. 170, 258, xi. 91; Wilks, Historical Sketches of the South of India, 1869, index; Wellington Despatches, India, 1844, index; Burke, Landed Gentry, 4th edit.).

[Andrew Stuart's Genealogical History of the Stewarts, p. 378; Andrew Stuart's Letters to the Directors of the East India Company; The Case of Lord Pigot fairly stated, 1777; Defence of Brigadier-general Stuart, 1778; Letter to the East India Company by Major-general Stuart, 1787; Correspondence during the indisposition of the Commander-in-chief (collected by Brigadier-general Stuart), 1783; Wilks's Sketches of the South of India, 1869, index; Cornwallis Correspondence, 1859, index; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ix. 170, 258.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.261
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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89 ii 3 Stuart, James (d. 1793): for 1868 read 1869