James Francis Edward Stuart, called the chevalier of St. George, a pretender to the throne of England, son of James II., born in London, June 10, 1688, died in Rome, Jan. 2, 1766. His legitimacy was suspected even before his birth, many believing that his mother, Queen Mary of Modena, was not really pregnant, but that it was intended to introduce fraudulently a pretended Roman Catholic heir. Though this charge has been disproved, it was one of the reasons why the infant prince was not proclaimed king immediately after the dethronement of his father in 1688. His childhood was passed at St. Germain, where Louis XIV. gave an asylum to the exiled family. On his father's death he was immediately acknowledged king of Great Britain by Louis XIV. under the title of James III. He was recognized also by the king of Spain, the pope, and the duke of Savoy. But no active measures were taken in his behalf till March, 1708, when he sailed from Dunkirk with a French fleet for the invasion of Scotland. The expedition returned without having effected a landing, and the prince now assumed the name of the chevalier of St. George and joined the French army in Flanders. He was present at the battle of Oudenarde in July, 1708; and in that of Mal-plaquet in September, 1709, he charged the English at the head of the French cavalry.
Meantime the English parliament set a price of 100,-000 crowns upon his head. In 1713 he was secretly favored by Bolingbroke and other ministers of Anne, and the queen herself regarded him with predilection; but he rejected their advice to renounce, or pretend to renounce, the Roman Catholic faith. The sudden death of Anne arrested the designs of Bolingbroke and the Jacobites; and Bishop Atterbury, who vainly offered to head a procession to proclaim James at.Charing Cross, is said to have exclaimed with indignation, "There is the best cause in Europe lost for want of a little spirit." The chevalier hastened to the court of Versailles, but Louis, unwilling to give England any pretext for rupture, ordered him to leave France, and he retired to Plombieres, where he issued a manifesto which was published in England, asserting his right to the crown. At Commercy in Lorraine he was joined by Bolingbroke, who sought in his interest to incite the French government to war with England. This was prevented by the death of Louis XIV., and the hopes of the chevalier were languishing when, on Aug. 27, 1715, the earl of Mar invited the principal Jacobite gentlemen of Scotland to a great hunting match, took with them the oath of fidelity to James III., and raised the standard of rebellion in the highlands.
Encouraged by vessels from France with arms and officers, Mar was soon at the head of 10,000 well equipped men, made himself master of Fifeshire, and marched to Dunblane. He at first fell back before the duke of Argyll, commander-in-chief of the English forces in Scotland, but being reenforced fought with him the doubtful battle of Dunblane (Nov. 13, 1715). On the same day in England the Jacobites were obliged to surrender Preston, with many prisoners, and news was received that Lord Lovat had delivered up the castle of Inverness, though hitherto professing to act in the interest of the chevalier. The clans soon began to forsake the standard of Mar, whose army dwindled to half its original number. Though the chevalier had been proclaimed in numerous places in England and Scotland, his partisans had gained no formidable successes. While his cause bore this gloomy aspect, he himself arrived at Peterhead, Dec. 22, 1715, passed incognito through Aberdeen, received Mar most cordially at Fetteresso, made his public entry into Dundee, and continued his progress to the royal palace of Scone. Though everywhere received with acclamation, he was disappointed to find, instead of a large and victorious army, only a discordant multitude, without money, arms, or ammunition.
He had not the energy and courage to struggle with the difficulties of his position. The resolution to retreat was taken at a council on Jan. 29, and at Montrose he reembarked for the continent with every appearance of desertion and deceit. It has been asserted, however, that he yielded only to the argument that his followers would obtain better terms from the government in his absence than if he remained. After a voyage of seven days he landed at Gravelines, whence he proceeded to St. Germain. The triple alliance (1717) obliged him to leave France, and in the following year he was received with regal honors at Madrid, and was one of the pretexts for Alberoni's preparations for an invasion of England. In 1719 he married the princess Sobieski of Poland; and in 1720 his eldest son, Charles Edward, the hero of the enterprise of 1745, was born at Rome. In 1722 he issued from Lucca a strange manifesto, proposing that if George would deliver to him the throne of his fathers, he would bestow upon George the title of king in his native dominions and invite all other states to confirm it.
In 1725 his wife, with whom he had lived unhappily, retired to a convent, and during his latter years he led a quiet and pious life in Rome. - See J. H. Jesse, " Memoirs of the Pretenders and their Adherents."