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The Scottish Nation
Tullibardine


TULLIBARDINE, Earl of, a title now merged in the dukedom of Athol, conferred, 10th July 1606, on Sir John Murray, Lord Murray of Tullibardine. His son, William, second earl of Tullibardine, resigned his earldom into the hands of King Charles I., 1st April 1626, that it might be transferred to his brother, Sir Patrick Murray, as his son enjoyed the earldom of Athol. This Sir Patrick Murray was the third son of the first earl of Tullibardine, and on his brother’s resignation, he was created earl of Tullibardine and Lord Murray of Gask, 13th January 1629, to him and his heirs male whatsoever. By his wife, an English lady, the widow of Sir Frances Vere, he had two sons, James, fourth earl of Tullibardine, and the Hon. William Murray of Redcastle, of whom afterwards.

The fourth earl succeeded his father in 1643. He took an active part with the parliament against the king, and did not scruple, it is said, to sacrifice his brother, who had taken arms for the royal cause. In January 1647, he opposed the delivering up of Charles I. to the English by the Scots army. In 1654 he was fined £1,500 by Cromwell’s act of grace and pardon. He died in January 1670, without issue. His titles devolved on John earl of Athol, whose son, John Lord Murray, was created earl of Tullibardine for life, 27th July 1696.

The earl’s brother, the Hon. William Murray of Redcastle, a young man of firm loyalty, joined the marquis of Montrose, and was, with several other noblemen and gentlemen, taken prisoner at the battle of Philiphaugh. The committee of estates having been urged by a deputation from the church to proceed to the punishment of the prisoners, the deputation, according to Guthry, (Memoirs, p. 164,) reported that some of the lords of the committee slighted the desire of the committee of the kirk, and they were likely to have obtained nothing had not the earl of Tullibardine made a speech to this effect: “that because he had a brother among those men, it might be that their lordships so valued his concurrence with them in the good cause, that for respect of him they were the more loth to resolve upon the question. But that as for himself, since that young man had joined with that wicked crew, he did not esteem him his brother, and therefore declared that he would take it for no favour if upon that account any indulgence was granted him.” The prisoners were in consequence brought to trial, and amongst the rest, Mr. Murray was condemned, under an act passed the preceding year, declaring that all persons who, after having subscribed the covenant, withdrew from it, should be held guilty of high treason. From the following entries in Balfour’s Annals, (vol. ii. pp. 362, 363,) it would appear that, notwithstanding his fratricidal speech, Lord Tullibardine exerted himself to save his brother’s life: “17th January 1646. The earl of Tulliebardine humbly petitions the House that they would be pleased to pardon his brother, William Murray’s life, in respect he averted on his honour that he was non compos mentis, as also with age.” “19th January 1646. The earl of Tulliebardine again this day gave in a humble petition to the House for prolonging the execution of that sentence pronounced against his brother.” His intercession, however, came too late, as his brother was soon after executed at St. Andrews, on the 23d of the same month. “The case of this unfortunate young man,” says Browne, (History of the Highlands, vol. i. p. 437,) “excited a strong feeling of regret among the Covenanters themselves, and some writers have not scrupled to blame the earl as the cause of his death, that he might succeed to his patrimony. Some countenance is afforded to this conjecture from the circumstance that the earl not only made no exertions to save his brother from condemnation, but that he even absented himself from parliament the day that his brother’s case came to be discussed, when, by his presence or his vote, he might have saved his brother’s life. Nor is this supposition, it is contended, in any shape weakened by the attempt he afterwards made to get off his brother; for he must have known that the parliament had gone too far to retract, and could not, without laying itself open to the charge of the grossest partiality, reprieve Mr. Murray, and allow their sentence to be carried into execution against the other prisoners. If true, however, that he delivered the speech imputed to him, there can be no doubt of his being a participator in the death of his brother, but it would be hard to condemn him on such questionable authority.” Mr. Murray’s last words on the scaffold were: “I hope, my countrymen, you will reckon that the house of Tullibardine, and the whole family of Murray, have this day acquired a new and no small addition of honour, that a young man, descended of that ancient race, has, though innocent, and in the flower of his age, with the greatest readiness and cheerfulness, delivered up his life for his king, the father of his country, and the most munificent patron and benefactor of that family from which he is sprung. Let not my honoured mother, my dearest sisters, my kindred or my friends, lament the shortness of my life, seeing that it is abundantly recompensed by the honour of my death. Pray for my soul, and God be with you.”

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Tullibardine, Marquis of, since 1703, one of the titles possessed by the duke of Athol.


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