Murray, Or Moray, James Stuart, earl of, regent of Scotland, born about 1533, killed at Linlithgow, Jan. 23, 1570. He was an illegitimate son of james V. and Lady Margaret, daughter of John, fourth Lord Erskine, and when a little child was appointed by his father prior of St. Andrews. He afterward acquired the priory of Pittenweem, and that of Macon in France, in commendam, with a dispensation to hold three benefices. In 1548, on the invasion of Scotland by Lords Grey de Wilton and Clinton, the one by land, the other by sea, the young prior commanded a small band and repelled a descent made by the latter upon St. Monan on the coast of Fife, driving back the invaders to their ships. In the same year he accompanied his sister Mary to the court of France. In 1558 he was one of the commis-sioners from Scotland to witness the ceremonv of marriage between Mary and the dauphin of France. afterward Francis II. In the contest between the queen regent and the lords of the congregation, he sided alternately with both parties, but finally joined the latter; and when in 1559 the congregation resolved to take the government into their own hands, he was one of the council appointed for civil affairs.
After the death of the queen regent in June, 1560, he became one of the lords of the articles, and on the death of Francis II. was commissioned to go to France and invite Mary to Scotland. On her return he became her confidant, adviser, and prime minister, protected her in the exercise of her religion, obtained from her a proclamation favorable to the reformers, cleared the border of freebooters, and ruled the country with judgment and ability. He was rewarded with the title of earl of Mar, and married soon after Agnes Keith, daughter of the earl marischal, on which occasion Mary gave a series of splendid entertainments. Lord Erskine claiming the earldom of Mar as his peculiar right, Lord James resigned it and received instead the earldom of Murray, and shortly after defeated at Oorrichie the earl of Huntly, an unsuccessful competitor for power and popularity. Although governing Scotland judiciously and with undisputed authority, he was too lukewarm a Protestant for the extreme reformers, who lamented the protection he afforded to the queen in the use of the mass, and particularly his defence of her and her ladies in what Knox called "the superfluities of their clothes." Between Knox and Murray a coolness sprung up in consequence, which continued a year and a half; but they were brought together again by their mutual opposition to the queen's marriage with Darnley. Murray had endeavored to prevent it, and finally resorted to arms; but being pursued by his sister at the head of a superior force, he was compelled to fly to England. On the murder of Rizzio, however, he was recalled, and apparently reconciled to the queen.
It is not certain whether or not he was accessory to the murder of Darnley. He left Edinburgh the day before, and was also absent from Scotland during the trial of Bothwell and his subsequent marriage with Mary. After the dethronement of the queen and her confinement in Lochleven castle, Murray was appointed regent of Scotland, Aug. 22, 1567. In this situation he acted with vigor and discretion, and kept the country in a state of tranquillity. On the escape of the queen he refused to resign his power, defeated her and her adherents at Langside, March 13, 1568, and followed up the victory by destroying the strongholds of her friends, and more firmly establishing the government. When Mary was tried at York for complicity in the murder of Darnley, Murray bore the most unqualified testimony against her. In passing through the streets of Linlithgow, he was shot through the body by a bullet fired from a window by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, and died the same night. Bothwellhaugh's conduct has generally been ascribed to revenge for a personal injury, but there is reason for believing that he acted as the executioner of a doom pronounced on Murray by his enemies in secret conclave.