Sir James Turner - Encyclopedia

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SIR JAMES TURNER (1615-1686), Scottish soldier and military writer, was educated with a view to his entering the Church, but early showed his preference for the profession of arms by enlisting in the Swedish army, then the most famous trainingschool in Europe. He saw considerable service in the Thirty Years' War, and in 1640 returned to Scotland as a captain. It was not long before he secured employment, and as a major he accompanied the Scottish army in its invasion of England in the same year, successfully avoiding the imposition of the "Covenant" as a test. With Lord Sinclair's regiment Major Turner served in Ulster, and subsequently, after failing to join Montrose's army, accompanied the Scottish army until Naseby practically ended the Civil War. Turner was often with Charles I. during his detention at Leslie's headquarters, and continually urged him to escape. Up to this time he had served against the king, but always with some repugnance, and he welccmed the opportunity when in 1648 the cause of the king and the interests of the Scottish nation for the moment coincided. In the disastrous campaign which followed Turner was at Hamilton's headquarters, and it was owing to the neglect of his advice that the rout of Preston took place. Taken in the final surrender at Uttoxeter, he spent some time in captivity, but in 1649 was released and sent abroad. He was unable for want of means to reach Montrose in time to join in the final venture of the noblest of the Royalist commanders, but he landed in Scotland on the day before Dunbar, and in the grave crisis that followed was a welcome ally. As a colonel and adjutant-general of foot he was with Charles II. at Worcester. In that battle hewas captured, but regained his liberty, and after many adventures escaped to the Continent, where for some years he was engaged in various Royalist intrigues, conspiracies and attempted insurrections. At the Restoration he was knighted, and in 1662 he became a major in the Royal Guards. Four years later, as a district commander in Scotland, he was called upon to deal severely with Covenanter disturbances. Though not, it appears, unjust, his dragooning methods eventually led to his being deprived of his command. The rest of his life was spent in retirement. A pension was granted to him by James II. in 1685. In 1683 he had published his Pallas armata, Military, Essayes of the Ancient Grecian, Roman and Modern Art of War, one of the most valuable authorities for the history of military sciences.

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