Stuart, James (1775 -1849)
James Stuart of Dunearn was the eldest son of Charles Stuart of Dunearn in Fife, for many years Minister of Cramond, and afterwards physician in Edinburgh. He was educated at Edinburgh High School and Edinburgh University. He became a Writer to the Signet 17 August 1798, and held the office of Collector of the Widows Fund of the Society 1818-1828. He married, 29 April 1802, Eleanor Maria Anna, daughter of Robert Moubray of Cockairny in Fife. An agricultural improver, he is said to have been more interested in farming than in his profession. As a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Fife, he took an active part in local affairs, but his Whig views were offensive to the local Tories, and when a new commission of the peace was issued in 1816, he was left off the list. In 1821 the Tories in Edinburgh began issuing a weekly paper, the Beacon, which devoted its columns to the defamation of the personal characters of Whig notabilities. On 15 August, James Stuart, who claimed that his honour and character had been impugned, horsewhipped the printer Duncan Stevenson, who retaliated with a cudgel. The two were separated, the next day Stevenson demanded the satisfaction of a gentleman, which was contemptuously refused. The Beacon was suppressed, but the next year Sir Alexander Boswell wrote a satirical paper in the Glasgow Sentinel, which reflected on James Stuart's honour. Boswell was challenged to a duel and was mortally wounded. On advice Stuart retired to Paris, where he surrendered himself to the English Ambassador, and returned to Edinburgh, where he stood trial and was acquitted. His affairs being embarrassed, in 1828, he resigned his Collectorship and sailed for America. Three years later he returned and published a two-volume account of his travels, Three years in North America, which received considerable attention. Shortly afterwards he became editor of The Courier, a post which he kept until 1833, when he was appointed an Inspector of Factories by Lord Melbourne.