Morton, James Douglas, 4th earl of

Morton, James Douglas, 4th earl of,

d. 1581, Scottish nobleman. A nephew of Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus, he married Elizabeth Douglas, from whose father he inherited (1553) the earldom of Morton. A member of the Protestant party, he became lord high chancellor to Mary Queen of ScotsMary Queen of Scots
(Mary Stuart), 1542–87, only child of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. Through her grandmother Margaret Tudor, Mary had the strongest claim to the throne of England after the children of Henry VIII.
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 in 1563. He was a principal in the murder of David RizzioRizzio, David
, 1533?–1566, favorite of Mary Queen of Scots. He was a Piedmontese musician (also called Riccio) who arrived (1561) in Scotland with the ambassador from Savoy.
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 (1566) and fled thereafter to England. Pardoned, he returned to Scotland the following year and became involved in the plot to murder Lord DarnleyDarnley, Henry Stuart or Stewart, Lord,
1545–67, second husband of Mary Queen of Scots and father of James I of England (James VI of Scotland).
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. After Mary's marriage to Lord Bothwell, Morton turned against the queen, whose forces he defeated at Langside (1568). He was chief counselor to the regent James Stuart, 1st earl of MurrayMurray or Moray, James Stuart, 1st earl of
, 1531?–1570, Scottish nobleman.
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, and became regent himself on the death of the 1st earl of Mar. His rule was devoted to the pacification of a religiously divided and wartorn Scotland. In 1578 he was forced out by a junta of nobles, led by the 6th earl of Argyll and John StuartStuart or Stewart, John, 4th earl of Atholl
, d. 1579, Scottish nobleman. He succeeded his father to the earldom in 1542.
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, 4th earl of Atholl, who persuaded the boy king, James VI (later James I of England), to assert his power. Morton regained control of the king, with the aid of John Erskine, 2d earl of MarMar, John Erskine, 2d (or 7th) earl of,
1558–1634, Scottish nobleman; son of the 1st (or 6th) earl. In 1578 he was persuaded by James Douglas, 4th earl of Morton, to assert his claims to Stirling Castle and the
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; but in 1581 a plot against him, engineered by Esmé StuartStuart or Stewart, Esmé, 1st duke of Lennox
, 1542?–1583, Scottish nobleman; cousin to James VI of Scotland (later James I of England).
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, 1st duke of Lennox, and James StuartStuart or Stewart, James, earl of Arran
, d. 1595, Scottish nobleman. He spent his early years as a soldier of fortune fighting in the Dutch revolt against Spain, returned to Scotland in 1597, and ingratiated himself at
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, later earl of Arran, resulted in his being tried, convicted, and beheaded for taking part in the murder of Darnley. Morton possessed for some time the Casket Letters, which allegedly implicated Mary in Darnley's death.
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