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Lennox, Esmé Stewart, 1st duke of

Lennox, Esmé Stewart, 1st duke of [S] (1542–83). Lennox was a comet who blazed across the Scottish sky and was gone. His father was a brother of Matthew Stewart, earl of Lennox and regent 1570–1. He held the seigniory of Aubigny in France, to which his son succeeded in 1567. In 1579 Lennox arrived in Scotland, an exotic visitor from the court of France, and captivated the 13-year-old James VI with his worldliness and sophistication. He was created earl of Lennox, his uncle resigning the title for him, and in 1581 was promoted to duke. Meanwhile he had announced his conversion to protestantism and brought down the regent, Morton. It has been presumed that his ulterior motive was the restoration of Mary, queen of Scots, but others have seen him as purely self-seeking. In 1582 James was seized by Gowrie and other lords in the Ruthven raid and forced to order Lennox to leave the kingdom. He died shortly afterwards. His young son was brought up in Scotland, given an English peerage as earl of Richmond in 1613, and raised to the dukedom in 1623.

J. A. Cannon

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Stuart, Esmé, 1st duke of Lennox

Esmé Stuart, 1st duke of Lennox (ĕz´mē), 1542?–1583, Scottish nobleman; cousin to James VI of Scotland (later James I of England). Born and reared in France, he succeeded his father as seigneur d'Aubigny in 1567. In 1579 he was sent to Scotland by the Guise family to restore French influence and weaken Protestantism. He soon won the friendship of the young King James, was admitted to the council, and was created successively earl (1580) and duke (1581) of Lennox. Although Lennox publicly proclaimed his conversion to Protestantism in 1580, he was suspected (with reason) of complicity in a projected Spanish invasion of England to release Mary Queen of Scots. This, with Lennox's part in the arrest and execution (1581) of the earl of Morton, led to the Protestant nobles' seizure of James in the raid of Ruthven (1582). Against both his own and the king's wishes, Lennox was forced to leave Scotland. He died shortly thereafter.

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