The Life of General The Hon. James Murray
Chapter I. The Murrays of Elibank


"Every Scottish man has a pedigree. It is a national prerogative as inalienable as his pride and his poverty." I commence these memoirs, as the Author of Waverley commenced his autobiography, for I think that a sketch of the ancestry of James Murray, which I hope may not in itself want in interest, cannot fail to aid in forming a true estimation of the man himself. Heredity counts for much even in our day, and was more marked in its effect at the time of which I am writing. In Scotland, particularly, the continuance of the feudal system up to a late date of the eighteenth century made the line dividing the scions of the noble houses from those who were their dependents more clearly defined than can be easily pictured to-day, and could not fail to induce a sense of command in those brought up in such a school.

The "Scottish man" who treasured the history of his family was imbued with its traditions and bore himself accordingly. A highland chief in those days was a law unto himself, subject to the central authority of the Crown in so loose a fashion, that government consisted more in producing a balance of power in a series of minor states that, in authoritatively ruling them. In the lowlands, with which I am immediately concerned, the Sovereign's power extended further, but here also the legacy of border warfare and of blood feuds between various families had served to maintain the idea, even when the fact hail vanished, that the strong man armed keepeth his house in peace.

The family of Black barony, of which our family of Elibank is a branch, claim descent from the some source as the noble family of Atholl. and if William de Moravia ranks in relation to a number of Scottish families in somewhat similar degree as Brian Boroihme to as many in Ireland, I have no intention of bringing reproof on my head from descendants of cither hero (the more so. as I claim both myself!) by casting any doubts on the authenticity of the pedigree. I therefore propose to skip various generations of Moravia, Moray, and Murray, and come at once to Sir Andrew Murray of Blackbarony, who was the head of that ancient family in the first half of the sixteenth century.

Sir Andrew succeeded to the family honours as an infant in 1513, when his father fell on Flodden side; and during his lifetime maintained his rights in the good old simple plan, like most of his neighbours. By his second wife, Grizel Bethune, he became the father of Gideon Murray, his third son, who was first of Elibank, and with whom this history properly commences; but before parting with Sir Andrew and his wife I cannot forbear, at the risk of a digression, from putting in my record some recollections of the romantic history which this union brought into the ancestry of my hero.

Grizel Bethune was one of the younger daughters of John Bethune or Beaton of Criceh, in Fifeshire, and the name brings us at once into close touch with the tragic story of Mary of Scotland. Her two elder sisters were Janet, and Margaret, Lady Forbes of Reres, and about these a host of memories arise. Janet was a lady of matrimonial proclivities, her third husband being Walter Scott of Buccleugh, known to fame as "Wicked Watt," for, indeed, nearly all Scotts were Walters, and it was very necessary to bestow on them distinctive epithets. Wicked Watt was murdered in Edinburgh in 1552, and Janet as his widow, whose "burning pride and high disdain forbade the rising tear to flow," is the heroine of the Lay of the Len t Minstrel; but her claim to historic famo rests rather on her connection with Mary Stuart than on the poet's licence of Sir Walter Scott. It was she who was known as the "Auld Witch of Buccleueh," she who was alleged to have cast love spells round the unfortunate queen to encompass the marriage with Bothwell, a story we may reject right off as originating in the evil tongues of the day which were many and sharp, for it is at least certain that she parted in anger from her Royal mistress immediately after the disastrous event; she to whom scandalous tongues attributed love affairs with Bothwell himself, though she was quite old enough to be the mother of that "glorious, rash, hazardous young man," nevertheless it is curious that both she and Bothwell had the reputation of dabbling in i black magic," and the lady at least was credited with powers to call " the viewless forms from air." It was Janet, too, from whom originated the story in the Reiver's Wedding, that she laid before her hungry retainers a dish containing just a pai r of silver spurs, as a delicate hint that it was time to bo up and doing, and Cumberland beef was to be had for the taking. No doubt she was a redoubtable lady, quite capable of leading her Scotts on a foray, and of showiiig the truth of the maxim that "nothing came amiss to a Scott that was not too heavy or too hot."

Lady Forbes of Reres was a close companion of Mary's, and fortunately we can dismiss as mere scandal the stories retailed by that mince of ungrateful liars, Master George Buchanan. She was the " fat massy old woman " that Buchanan alleges was let down by a "string" over the w all of the Exchequer House at Edinburgh when on a disgraceful errand to Bothwell—though why she should not have taken the more reasonable method of going through the gate by which Bothwell returned with her is not explained. When Buchanan embellishes his story with the detail that the "string" broke and the "massy old woman" fell the rest of the way, one wonders how it comes that some historians of repute have quoted him to "prove" the case against poor Mary.

Lady Forbes, too, figures in that famous "casket letter," which it is falsely alleged was addressed by the Queen to Bothwell, wherein the supper party is described and much made of Mary's description of it; how Lord Livingston "thrust her in the body" and made a remark which has been interpreted by her enemies much to her disadvantage. After all "thrust" only means nudged, and Livingston's remarks are capable of a perfectly innocent rendering.

Then there were many other Beatons in the story. James, Mary's faithful ambassador in Paris; John his brother, who devoted his life to her, and died in her service during her captivity in England; and Mary, who lives in song as one of the four Maries—all were faithful to their sovereign.

With all these interesting personalities our Sir Andrew became connected by his marriage with Grizel Bethune, and at the same time with the house of Buccleuch, for Grizel when he married her was the widow of William Scott—the strange fact being that the sisters Janet and Grizel were the wives respectively of father and son. Thus it came about that when Grizel bccame the mother of Gideon Murray, afterwards of Elibank, the young stranger found himself nephew to the famous ladies referred to above, and half-brother to the Lord of Buccleuch, another Walter Scott. I like to picture the young Gideon at Branxholm, when that famous stronghold was rebuilt by his half-brother after its destruction by Sussex, and to think that he saw the chiselling of that inscription over the arched doorway—

and no doubt found it a good motto to remember, and one which we maybe sure was well known to his descendants.

Perhaps it was here that he acquired that taste for architecture that enabled him many years later to repair the king's palaces at Holyrood and Falkland at small cost, which mightily pleased his Majesty, who examined his expenditure with all the care of a canny Scot.

Gideon Murray was intended for the Church, and even got so far as to be "presented" to the parish of Auchterles in 1582, an office which carried with it the position of Chantor of Aberdeen. However, his spiritual career was cut short by an "accident," for it is recorded that "Mr. Gideon Murray, Chantor, quha cannot be comptit ane of the Chapter, because for slauchtir he was fugitive out of the North and never returned ther agane." The accident was the killing of a man named Aichcson, though how our Gideon came to forget his cloth so far is not recorded. However, the fact drove him to seek another outlet for his energy, and we next find him in the capacity of guardian to the son of his deceased half-brother, still another Walter Scott, and particularly in a famous skirmish between the Wardens of the Marches, known in border story as the "Lockerbie Lick," in which the Scotts and Johnstons were victorious over the Maxwells. However, though more successful as a soldier than as a cleric, Gideon had still to find his real vocation, and throughout the succeeding years he appears as the faithful and trusted councillor of King James VI.

It is said that he owed his advance in the favour of his Sovereign to the influence of his "near relation," Robert Ker, afterwards Earl of Somerset, but family tradition holds that his advancement was due to the king observing his faithful discharge of his duties in connection with Buccleuch, and his being desirous of utilising his ability and honesty, the latter being a qualification not very readily obtainable at. the time. This latter version is more acceptable, having in view the somewhat unsavoury character of Somerset, and indeed the "near relationship" referred to by Sir Walter of Abbotsford was not so very near after all, for Somerset was the son of Janet Scott, a half-sister of Buccleuch's, and no blood relation at all to our Gideon. Be that as it may, his advance was rapid. Knighted in 1605, he was Justiciary of the border in the same year, and in 1607 the Privy Council passed an Order approving of his services in preserving the peace of the Marches.

But the old Adam was not dead, and I must refer to the remarkable story, which has been so often repeated that it stands a good chance of becoming true, wherefore I repeat it again for the express purpose of running a tilt at it. According to Sir Walter of Abbotsford, the incident, which must have occurred in 1610, if it occurred at all, concerned the Scotts of Harden, the head of which family was Sir Walter, commonly known as "Auld Watt." It appears that Auld Watt cast the eyes of desire on Sir Gideon's fat cattle, and evidently having little respect for the worthy knight's position as guardian of the peace, sent his son William to annex as many of the said cattle as he conveniently could. Sir Gideon, however, happened to be at home, and no doubt with a good experience in similar ventures was not to be caught napping, and having captured the adventurer, was about to hang him on the "doom tree," which we are to suppose was handy at the castle gate, when his more considerate and far-seeing dame interposed saying, (I quote Sir Walter), "Haut na. Sir Gideon, would you hang the winsome Laird of Harden, when ye have three ill-favoured daughters to marry?" The Baron "catehed at" the idea, and replied, "Right, he shall either marry our daughter mickle-mouthed Meg or strap for it." Upon this alternative being proposed to the prisoner he at the first view of the case stoutly preferred the gibbet, but, to shorten the story, finally consented and married the young lady.

And now for my tilt! To begin with, Sir Gideon had only one daughter, and her name was Agnes; and to go on with, her marriage with William Scott of Harden took place m 1611 under the most leisurely of legal and contractual formalities. The marriage contract, which is preserved by her descendant, Lord Polwarth, is, I believe, seven feet long and minutely written; and to end up with, Sir Gideon provided what was a more than usually handsome "tocher" of 7000 merks Scots, and more also, the lady had a ' curious hand at pickling beef," a very desirable art when "consignments" came in in quantity at irregular intervals! I leave the impartial reader to judge how much truth there may be in the aspersions cast on the personal attractions of my collateral ancestress, but should the judgment be adverse, and in mitigation of sentence, let me mention that her new-found mother, "Auld Watt's" wife, was the beautiful Mary Scott, renowned on the border as the "Flower of Yarrow," so let us hope Agnes's descendants, who were both numerous and distinguished, found, if necessary, a corrective as to their personal appearance on the paternal side. They had odd nicknames in those days. Agnes's sister, in her new family, was known to fame as Meggie Fendie, and it was her fate to marry "Gibby" Elliott of the "Gowden Garters," and to become the ancestress of the noble house of Minto.

Rut to return to Sir Gideon. In 1612 he was appointed Treasurer Depute, and Controller and Collector Depute of the Kingdom, and as Somerset, who was Lord High Treasurer, was very much engaged elsewhere, and paid very little attention to his business, it can be safely assumed that Sir Gideon conducted the duties of the office entirely. In 1613 Sir Gideon was appointed a Lord of Session, with the title of Lord Elibank.

In 1618 he was a member of that momentous assembly at Perth which passed the Five Articles.| Whether he was one of those who advised the king to follow a moderate course in respect of the Articles is not recorded. His early connection with Aberdeen, and the habit gained by contact with the king, makes it certain that he belonged to the Prelatic party, and there were few among them who foresaw the cataclysm that followed, which ultimately destroyed the throne and affected the fortunes of his son and his descendants disastrously. Whether or not his action in this and other similar matters was the cause, Sir Gideon did not arrive at his present position without creating enemies. "Neither the wealthy, the valiant, nor even the wise, can long flourish in Scotland; for envy obtaineth the mastery over them all." So it was with Sir Gideon; in the year 1621 an information was laid against him for abusing his office to the king's prejudice. An account of the circumstance is given by Archbishop Spottiswood in his History of the Church in Scotland, from which it appears that the information was laid by James Stuart of Ochiltree, who, it appeared, had been treated with too much strictness by Sir Gideon in connection with certain revenues for which he was responsible, and the matter was submitted for trial. Sir Gideon, "being of great spirit, and taking impatiently that his fidelity, whereof he had given so great proof, should be called in question on the information of a malicious enemy, by the way, as he returned from Court did contract such a deep melancholy as neither counsel nor comfort could reclaim him . . . and so after he came to Edinburgh within a few days departed this life. It was not doubted if he should have attended the trial, but he had been cleared, and the accusation proved a mere calumny; nor was it thought that the king did trust the information, but only desired to have the honesty of his servant appear. . . . By his death the king did lose a good servant as ever he had in that charge; and did sore forethink that he should have given ear to such dilations,"

and, finally, as Spottiswood quaintly puts it, "The gentleman alwaies died happily and had his corps interred in the Church of Ilalcrudhouse."

With that conspicuous quality of being too late, which characterised the Stuarts, the king made "amends" by the issue of a letter under the Great Seal, "making mention that His Majesty, calling to mind the true and faithful service done to His Majesty by Umquhile Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank, Knycht . . . and to make an honourable remembrance that others by his example may be moved by the like care and fidelity, and therefore His Majesty of certain right and proper motion, with advice and consent of the Lords of His Majesty's present Council, finds and decrees that said Umquhile Sir Gideon Murray . . . during the whole time and period thereof from his first employment to his decease behaved himself therein faithfully and diligently as became a loyal subject and dutiful servant . . . and declares him and his heirs free of all imputations, calumnies, or aspersions whatsoever, whereby his person, name, fame, goods, lands or posterities may in any sort be taxed, scandalised, or endangered. . . ."

With this eulogy of the character of Sir Gideon we will leave him. If ancestry be a sound basis for biography, I can have no better foundation for my subject than this sketch of the life of the founder of the House of Elibank, and in much that has been said of Sir Gideon, and much more that might be said, there are similarities to the character and history of him whose life will be written here. Like his ancestor, he served his king doggedly, and did what he had to do without fear, favour, or affection, and like him it was his fate to suffer from the effect of religious controversy, and like him, too, his reward for distinguished service was to be dragged before a public tribunal on the "information of a malicious enemy," in order that his "honesty might appear." "Virtute Fideque"—by courage and faithfulness—was the motto bestowed on the house by King James and James Murray worthily maintained the tradition.

During the latter years of Sir Gideon's lifetime a new spHt had found place in the Scottish home life, the effect of which should be briefly noticed here. The death of Elizabeth and accession of James to the dual Crown brought to lowland Scotland the beginnings of two remarkable changes: the one, which tended to peace, was the gradual suppression of the border warfare; the other, which had the opposite effect, was the disturbance of the religious equilibrium of the people. In a sense the one reacted on the other; the border and family feuds were, it is true, replete with tragedy, but they had a kind of grim humour which suited the temper of the combatants, and at least left them ready to combine in the face of a common enemy, and a sufficient devotion to the Sovereign whose power was not exercised at too close quarters. They acted as a kind of safety valve to a people whose aspirations were confined in narrow channels. For the Scot there were few questions of foreign politics. Colonisation projects did not demand his thought and energy. Scottish fleets were not to be found in every sea providing the news-sheets with tales from the world beyond; trade was of meagre dimensions, and in the hands of a few; communication between different parts of the country scarcely existed. It is true that many of the young men found congenial employment in the foreign armies, but until the closing scenes of the Thirty Years' War, not many of them returned to bring a new spirit of militarism, and when they did, it was to find that a new order of things had arisen demanding their employment in a controversy not very dissimilar to that they left behind them on the Continent of Europe.

And yet in the soul of this people lay, as yet unborn, a genius for trade, manufacture, invention, and agriculture; a fixity of purpose, an indomitable perseverance, which has since made them known the world over. Looking backwards, with history crystallised before us, it is easy to see what the Stuarts might have done. What they did was to stifle the awakening life of the people and to sow in it, and force into unnatural growth with an insane tenacity of purpose, the seed of bitter religious controversy, which divided the nation sharply into two parties and alienated the majority from the old allegiance which was at one time their heritage; a controversy into which the opponents entered with astonishing vehemence, partly because a fanatical obstinacy was part of their nature, but chiefly because other and more advantageous outlets for their instincts were denied them.

Thus it came about that when Gideon's eldest son, Patrick Murray, reached manhood he found a stormy horizon, and the necessity for choosing a side. It is scarcely necessary to say that with his inherited instinct he became a king's man and followed the fortunes of the unfortunate monarch who afterwards succeeded to the throne. It is not certain in what capacity he rendered his first services, but a document is preserved showing that as early as 1615 King James had bestowed a "pension" on him for "true and faithful service," and "to give him better occasion to do the like in time coming," words which almost seem to contain a prevision of the approaching storm. At that Session of the Estates held in 1621, which ratified the famous "Five Articles" already accepted by the General Assembly, Patrick, now Sir Patrick, voted with the majority, and no doubt took a part in that too eager enforcement of the " Innovations," the effect of which I have already referred to. In 1628, the year in which the king's action to resume the Church revenues came before the Estates, Sir Patrick was advanced to the dignity of baronet, doubtless for services in connection therewith.

It is a matter of history that the king's intention was never carried to finality. Ostensibly, at all events, it was to provide funds for the better endowment of the clergy, schools, and hospitals, but while the Presbyterian party saw in it a design to increase the power of the Prelacy, it had the further effect of estranging a number of the great families who had been granted ecclesiastical lands or churches, and had no intention of parting from them without a struggle. Sir James Balfour calls it that revocation which "was the ground stone of all the mischief that followed after, both to this king's government and family."

I must here introduce; another name in my story, that of John Stuart, Earl of Traquair, with whose fortunes Sir Patrick of Elibank and his son and successor were closely connected. Traquair was throughout, for good or evil, an ardent supporter of the Royal cause. he was descended in the female line from James II. of Scotland, and again directly from Joan, the Queen Dowager of James I., who, as granddaughter of John of Gaunt, was of the Royal line of England, and thus Traquair could claim the Royal blood of both kingdoms. Aristocratic, and without sympathy for those whose views differed from his own, he was little fitted as an instrument to carry out schemes which met with vehement protest, except by the application of force, which was difficult in the face of a united opposition.

"I sal either mak the service be read heir in Edinburgh or I sal perishe by the way. Nothing proves more prejudicial! to your Maties- service than to prosecute yr commandments in a half or halting way "—thus he wrote to the King; and again, " From which sect (the Presbyterians) I have seldom found any motioun proceid but such as did smell of sedition and mutiny."

Holding such views it is little likely that he would succeed in persuading a proud and obstinate people to adopt a course they abhorred.

The connection between Traquair and Sir Patrick Murray may have originated in the fact that he succeeded Sir Gideon as Treasurer Depute (with, I think, one intermediate holder); at all events, they were officially of the same view and privately on intimate terms, which were cemented by the marriage of Sir Patrick's eldest son with his daughter Elizabeth Stuart in The history of Scotland at this period was decided in the Cabinet of the English Primate, and in Traquair, Laud found a willing instrument, and Murray became involved by the acts of his friend.

In 1013 Sir Patrick was raised to the Peerage of Scotland as Lord Elibank, in consideration of his " worth, prudence, and sufficiency, and of the many worthy services done to His Majesty, our late dearest Father in his Council, Session and Exchequer by the late Sir Gideon Murray." The patent was issued from Oxford, where the king then maintained his government. Sir Patrick had, indeed, devoted himself and his goods to the Royal cause, and had raised a troop of horse which accompanied the Scots convoy sent to Oxford in this year. In 1647 he was one of the six Peers of Scotland who opposed the decision to hand over the person of King Charles to the English Parliament, and in the final step, when the next year Scotland attempted to retrieve her lost honour, Traquair, who had staked his all, was followed by Lord Elibank, who became deeply involved. The family papers give some insight into the extent that the estates were burdened, and it appears probable that the voluntary contributions to the Royal cause were supplemented by voluntary levies enforced by the Covenanters, for the principal estate of Ballencrief, being situated in the midst of country which was the cockpit of the opposing forces, was naturally placed under contribution by the "War Committee" of the Scots Estates.

Lord Elibank did not long survive his royal master. He died in 1650, almost within sound of the long drawn-out conflict at Dunbar, which proclaimed the end of Scotland as an independent power. More fortunate than Traquair, who lived to see his estates pass into other hands, and who died in penury—of starvation, it is said—the final crash came after his death, and it was the lot of his eldest son, Patrick, now second lord, to sec it decreed that the family property should pass into the hands of his creditors. This was in j 058, and little more than two years later the second Lord Elibank died. There is nothing on record to give details of his life. lie was but forty when he died, but it is not difficult to imagine that the son-in-law of Traquair, ruined by the ruin of the Royal cause, would meet with little sympathy in the country under the iron heel of Cromwell and dominated for the moment by the triumphant Covenant.

The third lord, also Patrick, was a lad of twelve years of age when he succeeded to the family honours. It appears from the reeords that the breaking up of the estates had been avoided by a family arrangement. A statement exists whieh shows that they continued in possession, but with a mortgage of 85,400 merks, the advent (interest) on which, together with the necessary outgoings, absorbed two-thirds of the revenue and left but a slender income to the noble owner. His education was finished at Edinburgh in 1666, not, we may be certain, on a luxurious scale, for a receipt exists for "the sum of 35 pounds Scots for a high Chamber in the College possessed by my Lord Elibank and his servants from Michaelmas, 1664, to Michaelmas, 1666." That is an annual rent of about thirty shillings sterling!

Lord Elibank married in 1674 the daughter of Archbishop Burnet, and left one son, Alexander, who succeeded, aged nine, to the title, and was the father of General James Murray, the subject of this memoir.

An inventory of the "goods, geir, and plenishings" of the house at Ballencrief exists, taken by the "tutors" of the minor, which give a good idea of the home in which my hero was born some thirty-four years later. In the great hall and dining-room, besides many hangings of arras, some described as "pictured." used no doubt to cover the bareness of unplastered walls, were three carpets, twenty two "Rushie leather chairs and one resting chair," a clock in a "fir case." The "Lady's Chamber and a little dark room off the same" contained a good equipment; the "Chamber above the dining-room" had, among other things, a "fashionable bedstead" and a "looking-glass." There were also the "Dames Chamber," "Maiden-head Chamber," and the "Picture Chamber," the last containing, inter alia, "a chest full of old accompts and papers belonging to the deceased Sir Gideon, most theieof anent the Treasury"; here were also four pictures. My lord's closet contained four guns, and my lady's a "posseline cup set in gilded silver," also two looking-glasses. The linen closet was no doubt the pride of its owner, it contained what must have been an unusually good equipment, 19 pairs of sheets, 13 tablecloths, 6 dozen and 4 napkins, etc., etc., and "ane English blanket"! Judged by the standard of the time, such a mansion must be classed as well found, the possession of three carpets in the Great Hall was an uncommon luxury, for Graham, in his interesting work on Social Life in Scotland, tells that more than fifty years later not more than two carpets existed in the whole town of Jedburgh. There was evidence of refinement, too. What would not a collector give to-day for the "posseline cup set in gilded silver"; genuine of at least the Kang He period and probably much older!

Young Alexander completed his education at the college at Edinburgh, and an important result of his college career was that the young lord fell in love, and married, aged twenty, Miss Elizabeth Stirling, the daughter of an eminent surgeon of Edinburgh, and afterwards a member of the Scots Parliament. The young lady at an early age displayed the possession of independent character, which sometimes led her into eccentricities, and she transmitted to her family more than a usual share of those traits which impel men to keep clear of the well-worn grooves of life, and to strike out lines of their own. John Ramsay, in his Scotland and Scotsmen, relates an anecdote which shows that Miss Betty possessed a masterful character. An incautious minister, when undertaking "public examinations," addressed her as "Betty Stirling," and drew down on himself a scathing rebuke from the young lady, who stated, not without adjectives, that " Mistress Betty," or "Miss Betty" was the style of address she was accustomed to, but certainly not " bare Betty "—and as Bare Betty she was generally known afterwards. But this side of her was not the best; she was a tender-hearted mother and adored by her somewhat unruly family. In 1739, then a widow, she wrote to her eldest son, under orders to join Lord Cathcart's expedition to the West Indies, "If ye have any comfort to give me for God's sak writ soon, for I'm in the utmost distress : oh, thes wars will brack my heart"; and, again, her son George, writing to his brother shortly after the battle of Quebec, "I wish our good mother had lived to a been witness of the praises so deservedly bestowed on you."

Reading between the lines of the letters it is not hard to see that the difficult task of keeping the family above water in times of great financial stress was in her capable hands. And when in 1720, a year when all England went crazy with the speculative mania, of which the most remarkable episode was the great financial catastrophe known as the South Sea Bubble, Lord Elibank lost heavily, we may be sure that his lady had an addition to her anxieties which must have tried her to the utmost. The sequel is best told in a letter to Lady Elibank a few weeks later.

"I am infinitely more vexed that you should torment yourself so much, which I assure you is more galling to me than any misfortune that has yet befallen me . . . as I shall answer God I have never bought a farthing's worth of stock but that third subscription, nor you may depend on it will I venture a groat more that way, for now the South Sea has fallen to its primitive this day, so that it seems now past all recovery ; what parliament will be able to do with it I cannot tell."

Lord Elibank was a heavy loser; he returned to Scotland to face the situation. In 1723 he was one of the founders of the "Society of Improvers" in the knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland, of which it is stated in the Life and Writings of Lord Kawes, "Before it commenced we seemed to be several centuries behind our neighbours in England, now I hope we are within less than one of what they arc either with regard to husbandry or manufacture." To-day the Scots farmer is accounted the best in Great Britain.

To Alexander Lord Elibank and his wife was born a numerous family of fifteen sons and daughters, of which five sons and six daughters survived them. And as these brothers of my hero reappear in this story, it is convenient that I should here briefly indicate their history, the more so that, as will be seen, their action had a very marked influence on James Murray's fortunes.

The eldest son, Patrick, afterwards fifth baron, was at first in the military service, and it is a curious illustration of the strange regulations of the day, to find his " commission " as captain of a company in Colonel Alexander Grant's regiment, signed by Queen Anne in 1700. The gallant captain being then just three years old ! Not less strange is it to find in 1711 two records relating to the name officer, the one a bill for his board while at school in Edinburgh, and the other a statement of his regimental pay, including "Flanders Arrears" for himself and three servants. The recipient being then aged eight.

Soldiering, though he subsequently saw a good deal of service, was not the line to which his inclinations bent him, and a few years after his marriage with the widow of Lord North and Grey in 1735, he left the army and followed that literary career which was more to his taste.

"Nothing was wanting to make him an admired writer but application and ambition ' to excel,'" writes John Ramsay. " For a number of years Lord Elibank, Lord Karnes, and Mr. David Hume were considered as a literary triumvirate, from whose judgment in matters of taste and composition there was no appeal. At his house the youthful aspirant to fame saw the best company in the kingdom, and drank deep of liberality and sentiment. . . . During the reign of King George II. Lord Elibank kept aloof, being a professed Tory if not a Jacobite in his talk."

Lord Elibank was a founder of the Select Society of Edinburgh, which included among its members the most brilliant wits in Scotland. He was said to have the "talent of supporting his tenets by an inexhaustible fund of humour and argument," and Dr. Johnson, who paid a visit to Ballencrief in 1773, put on record his opinion that Lord Elibank was "one of the few Scotchmen whom he met with pleasure and parted from with regret," and the learned doctor was not as a rule complimentary, certainly not to Scots As a member of the famous Cocoa Tree Club, at which it was said the coach of a Jacobite invariably stopped of its own accord, Lord Elibank gave some ground for Horace Walpole's opinion that he was a "very prating and impertinent Jacobite!"

George Murray, the second son, entered the Navy in 1721, and, after seeing service during the war of 1740 in the West Indies, accompanied Lord Anson (then Commodore) in his famous voyage round the world, but a full share of the perils and successes of that expedition was denied to him, as his was one of the two vessels disabled during the great storms which were met with when rounding Cape Horn. In 1744, in command of the Revenge, he was present at the naval action off Toulon, and in 1750 he retired as a rear-admiral. His impatient character unfitted him for a successful career in the service. He succeeded to the Barony of Elibank on the death of his brother, and died in 1785, leaving no male heirs.

Gideon, the third son, entered Holy Orders from Oxford in 1733, and even in this profession he had some of the warlike experiences of his brothers, having served as chaplain to the Earl of Stair during the operations in Germany in 1743. After filling several posts of importance in the Church, he was finally appointed to the rich canonry of Durham. It is said that jhis chance of a bishopric was lost on account of the part taken in politics by his brothers. Alexander, the fourth son, was the enfant terrible of the

*He married Lady Isabella Mackenzie; And, afterwards Duchess of Sutherland, descended from this union. The forfeited Earldom of Cromartie was revived in her person family, and whatever judgment may be passed on his actions, it must be at least admitted that he displayed strong independence of character, the results of whieh unfortunately reacted adversely on the more law-abiding members of his family at a period when the House of Brunswick, with every desire to deal moderately with the adherents of the Stuarts, could not afford to pass over such open antagonism as was displayed by him. Horace Walpole, in 1737 (Journal of Geo. II. 1 wrote of him and his brother (Patrick, Lord Elibank) that they were " both such active Jacobitcs that if the Pretender had succeeded they would have produced many witnesses to testify their zeal for him."

Walpole was, perhaps, not an impartial witness, but unquestionably Alexander Murray made himself an object for the resentment and persecution of the Whig ministers, and by a strange irony of fate the popular cry of " Murray and Liberty," which was raised by the mob on more than one scene of tumult, was separated by but a short interval of time from that of Wilkes and Liberty," which the same mob used to greet the man who set himself to be the bitter enemy of all the Murrays, and whose trenchant and powerful pen did much to hinder their success. After a period of imprisonment in Newgate, by order of the House of Commons, it was resolved to bring Murray to the bar of the House, there to receive admonition on his knees ; but on the Speaker requesting him to kneel, he replied, "Sir, I beg to be excused; I never kneel but to God." It was thereupon resolved that he was guilty of a high and most dangerous contempt of the authority of the Commons and was recommitted to Newgate. After the prorogation of Parliament he was released by the sheriffs of London, and went in triumphal progress to Lord Elibank's house in Henrietta Street. Murray became a popular hero, and the political pamphleteers and verse makers were busy in exciting the passions of the people.

Before Parliament met again in November, 1751, Murray had gone to France, and while there was much in evidence at the Court of Prince James Stuart, from whom it is said he received a patent as Earl of Westminster—at all events, he was known later as Count Murray, and finally received letters of recall under the Privy Seal, dated 1771.

The fifth and youngest son was James Murray, the subject of this memoir. He was born at Ballencrief on January 21, 1721, old style. The time of his advent was not a convenient one, coming as it did immediately after the South Sea smash, and though I have only negative evidence to go on, the almost complete absence of mention in the letters of the family tends to indicate that young James was not very warmly welcomed, and it is pretty certain that he shared in few of the advantages which Lord Elibank did his utmost to bestow on his other sons. It is probable that his early youth was not a very happy one, and at least the impoverished condition of the estate at this time permitted few luxuries for the fourteenth child ! As to luxury, however, it is difficult for us of the twentieth century to form a conception of the conditions of life in Scotland in the early years of the eighteenth century. Since to the Scot born and bred in these surroundings the conditions presented nothing abnormal, and gave to one ignorant of anything better no cause for complaint, there would be no point in referring to them here, were it not that in the preceding pages I have endeavoured, by sketching the ancestry and immediate relatives of my hero, to give some insight into the characteristics with which he was likely to start the battle of life. So by a brief sketch of the surroundings of his youth I would emphasise the reason why so many young Scots, when carving for themselves names which adorn the history of the Empire, commenced their career with that contempt of hardship, or, if you prefer it, that ignorance of luxury, which formed the best possible equipment for the pioneer and for the soldier.

It is true that in England the amenities of life were very far behind our standard, but Scotland was very far behind England in everything that connotes comfort.

The country was miserably poor. Measured by English standards, a "rich" man in Scotland lived from hand to mouth, in the most literal sense. Dependent almost entirely on the fruits of agriculture, carried on by the most obsolete methods, the landlord and his dependents were always at the mercy of the season. What would be thought of a noble lord in England -who, so late as 1728, wrote, "Nothing but want of wind in the barn doors these two or three days by gone hath hindered the barley coming to you"? and though Henry Fletcher of Saltoun, the friend and neighbour of Lord Elibank, had brought over the invention of barley mills and fans from Holland, this method had evidently not been taken up at Ballencrief.

Even had the methods of agriculture enabled crops in proper proportion to the land cultivated to be garnered, they would have been of little use, for the means to carry them were wanting. "There was no such convenience as a waggon in the country," says Tobias Smollett, when he started under the pseudonym of Roderick Random to seek his fortune in England, nor, had they existed, were there any roads on which they could travel. Produce, baggage, even coals were carried in small quantities at a time on horse-back, and travellers of all degrees were obliged to ride or be carried in chairs. A fifteen-year-old lad of to-day would think himself asked to undertake a big thing if obliged to write, as young Gideon Murray did in 1726, to his father, ..." If you please you may send horses for me on Saturday, one for myself and another for my trunk and eloathes." To be whirled home for the holidays by express train and motor is a different affair altogether to facing a twenty-mile ride on execrable roads none too well secured from attack by thieves.

The difference of nearly two hundred years has, however, altered the schoolboy very little in one respect, and I cannot forbear quoting again from the same letter.

"My lord, you cannot expect but that I may be in some little debt now in this time of year, when the bowls and other such diversions are in hand. Half-a-crown or three shillings or anything will serve my turn. . . . I pray you don't forget ye money with ye first occasion!"

However, as I have said, the comparison as to luxury of travel or other things is not fair. The young Scot was used to it, and "use is everything," as was said on another occasion; but the training had its advantages, and started the youth of that period with a self-reliance and power of command which the young gentleman of to-day has not got, and perhaps requires in less degree. The astonishing age at which men succeeded to high places in those (lays may have been due to this early training. Can any one suppose that the younger Pitt would have been a prime minister at twenty-five if he had lived a century and a half later, or Napoleon an emperor at thirty-five if he had been born in the nineteenth century ? Wolfe was but thirty-two at Quebec, and our James Murray was governor of a province and commander of an army at thirty-nine. Wellington was but thirty-four at the close of the Mahratta War. It was the century of young men!

If the circumstances of the landowner in Scotland were bad, those of the peasantry were infinitely worse. Even Andrew Fletcher, the apostle of liberty, was forced to advocate serfdom as the best means of ensuring that a large number of the population should not want for the necessaries of life. Within a few miles of Ballencrief the labourers in the salt and coal mines were in fact slaves, and in his boyhood James Murray must have been well used to witness scenes of horrible misery, which cannot but have left an indelible picture in his mind. To this we may, with some certainty, trace the firmness with which he subsequently, to his own personal detriment, protected the French Canadians from oppression.

Thus the daily life and the daily scenes tended to form the character and produce that stern gravity which in boyhood, as in manhood, left its stamp on the Scot. Hardship, even danger, was the common experience of all; pride, poverty, and self-reliance were the hall marks by which the pupils of the school might be recognised.

I have described the ancestry of James Murray, and I have said something about the conditions which formed his experience; am I wrong if to both these factors I attribute the successes and the failures which were his lot ? That he was generous and high-minded we shall have ample evidence. Gifted with a wide and statesmanlike insight of his opportunities and his responsibilities, where he built he laid solid foundations, and did not desire to run up a gaudy structure that might have won for him greater reward from short-sighted governments incapable of appreciating work by its durability. He followed his ideal consistently, looking neither to the right hand nor the left, and perhaps too indifferent to the obstacles which stood in his way to pay enough heed to the manner in which he removed them. The "national prerogative" of pride he possessed is well illustrated by his writing to the Due de Crillon, that he had attempted to assassinate the character "of a man whose birth is as illustrious as your own."

Possibly he carried this "prerogative" to excess, and was somewhat autocratic, and it may be intolerant, with his subordinates, yet to the rank and file and to the people whose government was in his hands he was lenient, approachable, and beloved. No general could have got out of his troops more than he did. "Old Minorca," as they christened him afterwards, was a soldier's general. If on suspicion of incapacity or neglect he acted strongly, perhaps harshly, yet my history will show that the occasion demanded promptness and vigour, and Murray was no respecter of persons. To those who showed devotion to duty, no man was more ready to award praise and recommendation, nor did failure meet with his condemnation if honest endeavour accompanied it. "A man of the most ardent and intrepid courage, passionately desirous of glory, if he was ever ready to admire bravery in others, and there was no hardship and no adventure which he was not ready to share when his duty permitted him. His equally generous and intrepid leader, Wolfe, wrote of him after the capture of Louisburg, "Murray has acted with infinite spirit. The public is indebted to him for great service." *He was modest withal, and displayed no desire to figure in public, which was perhaps uncommon at the time. When the painter West approached him to allow his portrait to be included in his picture, "The Death of Wolfe," he refused, saying,  I was not there, 1 was commanding the troops in my charge."

It is characteristics such as these that it is my duty to portray, and the measure of my readers' approval will be the degree of my success.

Of the boyhood of James Murray there is, as I have already said, but little record. His education apparently commenced at Haddington, but in January, 1734, he was a pupil at the school of Mr. William Dyce in Selkirk, where he remained until August, 1736. His holidays, it appears, were spent partly at Ballencrief and partly at Westerhall, with his sister Barbara (Lady Johnston), and, indeed, it appears that both she and her husband took a warm interest in the lad, for there is an entry in the school account showing that his "pension" (pocket money) was increased from 3d. to 6d. a week "by Sir Jas. Johnston's orders."

It was during his residence at Selkirk that his father died in 1735, when the young scholar was but fourteen years old, and we may be sure that this event added to the difficulties which he had to face in making his start in life. It is a family tradition, for which I can find no definite confirmation, that the lad was destined for the Law— possibly this was his father's intention, for he had already given two sons to the Army, one to the Navy, and one to His brother George, writing in after years, says, "You cannot think how much the folks in Haddington value themselves for your being, as they pretend (claim), educated there." the Church, but his early death, combined with the inclinations of the lad himself, caused a change in this plan.

Among the visitors to Ballcncricf was Colonel William Murray, who had made for himself a distinguished career in the Dutch Service, in that famous fighting force known as the Scots Brigade. Like Uncle "Toby" Shandy, William Murray had been a hero at the Siege of Namur, where he was promoted for his service, and like him, too, there is little room to doubt that he was full of stories of the "Barrier Towns "—of sieges, assaults, and forlorn hopes—which young James drank in with avidity. It is probably due to the tales of this veteran of the wars in the Low Country, who ended his career with the resounding title of "Sergeant-Major-General of Infantry," that James imbibed that strong taste for arms which decided his choice of a profession. He was not without influence to attain his desire, for his brother Patrick had married in 1735 the widow of Lord North and Grey, a lady of Dutch extraction, daughter of Cornelius de Yonge, Receiver-General of the States of the United Provinces, Whether the tradition, that James took the law into his own hands and "enlisted" in the Scots-Dutch, is true, or whether, and I think this is more probable, his family influence procured for him a more legitimate method of beginning his career as a soldier, cannot now be said with certainty; but at all events he became a "cadet" in the 3rd Scots Regiment, then stationed at Ypres in West Flanders, on December 6, 1736. It was in this regiment that his cousin, William Murray, had served, and in it was also serving a Major Boyd, who had been known to his father and whose name appears more than once in the letters.

This event took place during what was known as the "Period of Peace," when after years of continuous war the brigade had nothing more exciting on hand than garrisoning the frontier towns and a constant readiness to repel French aggression. But although the times were peaceful, no better training ground for a young soldier could be found- The corps which had fought throughout

Marlborough's wars, on whose colours the laurels of Ramillies and Malplaquet were still fresh, and which maintained a pride of discipline and place which not infrcquently led to disputes as to precedence with other troops in the allied armies, was, we may be sure, a good school. The three years which James Murray passed in these circumstances must necessarily have been years of soldierly education, in which the cadet, while still retaining a species of commissioned rank, yet performed all the duties of a soldier in the ranks, a circumstance which our hero used to allude to in later years, laughingly saying "he had served in all ranks except that of drummer." Nevertheless, the prospect at the moment in the Dutch Service was not one to commend itself to an ambitious aspirant to military fame. Promotion was slow, and no doubt to those soldiers of fortune serving in a foreign legion the principal causes which ensured their sympathy, namely, plenty of fighting, quick promotion, and if fortune favoured, a share in the spoil of war, were for the time being wanting. Thus it came about, when England plunged hot headed and all unprepared into war with Spain, that not a few of the younger officers serving in foreign corps sought commissions in the regiments about to be raised in England, and among them was James Murray, who, apparently from his brother's influence, was offered a second-lieutenancy in the English army.

Thus it was in the year 1740 that Murray, then nineteen years old, received his first commission from George II., and commenced his military career under the Union Flag at the beginning of a period which offered opportunities which surely were unequalled by any other in English history.


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