Drummond, James, fifth Earl and second titular Duke of Perth 1675-1720, was the eldest son of James Drummond, fourth earl of Perth [qv.], by his first wife, Jane, fourth daughter of William, first marquis of Douglas. He joined his uncle Melfort in France shortly after the deposition of James II. He began studying at the Scotch College, Paris, but on James going to Ireland joined the expedition, and was present at all the engagements of the campaign. He then resumed his studies in Paris, and afterwards travelled in France and Italy. In 1694 his father, released on condition of his leaving Scotland, met him at Antwerp after five years' separation, and describes him as tall, well-shaped, and a very worthy youth. He had recently danced before the French and Jacobite courts at Versailles with great approbation. The young man was allowed in 1695 to return to Scotland, but was so much a prey to melancholy that his father sent him word to be merry, for a pound of care will not pay an ounce of debt. In 1707 he was one of the Scotch Jacobites who conferred with Colonel Hooke, the Pretender's envoy, and though a catholic he stipulated that there should be security for the protestant religion. In 1708 he collected two hundred men at Blair Athol in expectation of the Pretender's arrival. For this he was summoned to Edinburgh, sent to London, and imprisoned in the Tower. In 1713 he made over his estates to his infant son. In the rising of 1715 he undertook with two hundred of his highlanders and some Edinburgh Jacobites to surprise Edinburgh Castle, but the scheme miscarried. He commanded the cavalry at Sheriffmuir. He escaped from Montrose in February 1716 with the Pretender and Lords Melfort and Mar, and after five days' passage reached Gravelines. He was subsequently with the Pretender at Rome and in Spain. He died at Paris in 1720 and was buried beside his father at the Scotch College, where his white marble monument still exists. His widow, Jane, daughter of the fourth Marquis of Huntly, entertained Charles Edward for a night at Drummond Castle in 1746, and was nine months a prisoner at Edinburgh for collecting taxes for him. She died at a great age at Stobhall in 1773.
Perth's Letters, Camden Society, 1845
Epitaph at Scotch College
Douglas and Wood's Peerage of Scotland, ii. 364.
Contributor: J. G. A. [John Goldworth Alger]