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The Scottish Nation

MURRAY, a very common surname in Scotland, the origin of which has already been explained; see ATHOL, duke of, and MORAY, a surname. An account of the Murrays of Tullibardine, the ancestors of the Athol family, is given under the former head, and those of Bothwell and Abercairney under the latter.


The first baronet of the family of Murray of Blackbarony was Sir Archibald Murray, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, May 15, 1628. He was the son of Sir John Murray, eldest son of Andrew Murray of Blackbarony, whose ancestors had been seated at Blackbarony for five generations prior to 1552. Sir John was the brother of Sir Gideon Murray, lord-high-treasurer of Scotland and a lord of session, father of the first Lord Elibank, and of Sir William Murray, ancestor of the Clermont family. Lieutenant-colonel Sir Archibald John Murray, baronet of Blackbarony, formerly of the Scots fusilier guards, son of Sir John Murray, baronet of Blackbarony, by his wife, Anne Digby, of the noble family of Digby, died, without issue, May 22, 1860. He was succeeded by his brother, Sir John Digby Murray, baronet, born in 1798, married, 1st, in 1823, Miss Susannah Cuthbert, issue one son, John Cuthbert; 2dly, in 1827, Frances, daughter and coheiress of Peter Patten Bold, Esq., M.P., of bold Hall, Lancashire; issue, 3 sons and 4 daughters.


The family of Murray of Clermont, Fifeshire, which possesses a baronetcy (date 1626), is a branch of the ancient house of Murray of Blackbarony, whose baronetcy is dated two years later. Sir William Murray, 4th and youngest son of Sir Andrew Murray of Blackbarony, who lived in the reign of Mary, queen of Scots, was knighted by James VI., and having acquired the estate of Clermont in Fifeshire, it became the designation of his family. His only son, William Murray of Clermont, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, July 1, 1626. Sir James Murray, 5th baronet, receiver-general of the customs in Scotland, died in February 1699, without issue, when the title devolved on his nephew, Sir Robert Murray, 6th baronet, who died in 1771. His eldest son, Sir James Murray, 7th baronet, a distinguished military officer during the first American war, was adjutant-general of the forces serving on the continent in 1793. He married in 1794 the countess of Bath in her own right, and in consequence assumed the surname and arms of Pulteney. He subsequently held the office of secretary at war; was colonel of the 18th foot, and a general in the army. He died April 26, 1811, leaving no issue, when his half-brother, Sir John Murray, became 8th baronet. Sir John was a lieutenant-general in the army, and colonel of the 56th foot. He died, without issue, in 1827, when the title and estates devolved upon his brother, the Rev. Sir William Murray, who died May 14, 1842. The eldest son of the latter, Sir James Pulteney Murray, 10th baronet, died unmarried, Feb. 2, 1843. His brother, Sir Robert Murray, born Feb. 1, 1815, became 11th baronet; married, in 1839, Susan-Catherine Sanders, widow of Adolphus Cottin Murray, Esq., and 2d daughter and co-heir of John Murray, Esq. of Ardeleybury, Herts, lineally descended from Sir William Murray, father of 1st earl of Tullibardine; with issue, a son, William Robert, 23d fusiliers, born in 1840, and a daughter.


The first baronet of the Stanhope family was Sir William Murray of Stanhope, an active supporter of the royal cause during the civil wars, who for his loyalty was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, after the Restoration, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever, 13th February 1664. His ancestor, John Murray of Falahill, descended from Archibald de Moravia, mentioned in the chartulary of Newbottle in 1280, was known in history as the outlaw Murray. He died in the early part of the reign of James V. His exploits are commemorated in one of the ballads of the ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.’ His married Lady Margaret Hepburn, and had, with three daughters, two sons. His eldest son, John Murray of Falahill, was ancestor of the Murrays of Philliphaugh. His second son, William Murray, married Janet, daughter and heiress of William Romanno of that ilk, Peebles-shire, and had a son, William Murray of Romanno, living in December 1531. The great-grandson of the latter, Sir David Murray, who was knighted by Charles I., acquired the lands of Stanhope in the same county, and was the father of Sir William Murray, the first baronet of Stanhope. Sir David Murray, the fourth baronet, was implicated in the rebellion of 1745, and received sentence of death at York the following year, but was subsequently pardoned on condition of his leaving the country for life. The family estates were sold under the authority of the court of session. Sir David died in exile, without issue, when the representation of the family devolved on his uncle, Charles Murray, collector of the customs at Borrowstownness, who, had the title not been forfeited, would have been fifth baronet. His son, Sir David Murray, died without issue at Leghorn, 19th October 1770. The representation of the family then devolved on John Murray of Broughton, the well-known secretary to Prince Charles. This personage having assumed the title after the general act of revisal, became Sir John Murray of Broughton, baronet. He married Margaret, daughter of Colonel Robert Ferguson, brother of William Ferguson of Carloch, Nithsdale, and had three sons, David, his heir, Robert, and Thomas, the last a lieutenant-general in the army. Sir John died 6th December 1777. His eldest son, Sir David, a naval officer, was succeeded, on his death in June 1791, by his brother, Sir Robert, ninth baronet. The son of the latter, Sir David, became the tenth baronet in 1794, and on his death, without issue, was succeeded by his brother, Sir John Murray, eleventh baronet; married, with issue.


The first baronet of the Ochtertyre family was William Moray of Ochtertyre, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, with remainder to his heirs male, 7th June 1673. He was descended from Patrick Moray, the first styled of Ochtertyre, who died in 1476, a son of Sir David Moray of Tullibardine. The family continued to spell their name Moray till 1739, when the present orthography was adopted by Sir William, 3d baronet. Sir William Murray, 5th baronet, married Lady Augusta Mackenzie, youngest daughter of 3d earl of Cromartie; issue, 3 sons and 2 daughters. He died in 1800. Of General Sir George Murray, G.C.B., his second son, a memoir is given below.

The eldest son, Sir Patrick Murray, 6th baronet, born Feb. 3, 1771, passed advocate at the Scottish bar in 1793, and was appointed a baron of the court of exchequer in Scotland in 1820. He died June 1, 1837. By his wife, Lady Mary Hope, youngest daughter of the 2d earl of Hopetoun, he had 5 sons and 4 daughters. Capt. John Murray, the 2d son, assumed the name of Gartshore, on succeeding to the estate of that name in Dumbartonshire.

Sir William Keith Murray, the eldest son, 7th baronet of Ochtertyre, born in 1801, married 1st, Helen Margaret Oliphant, only child and heiress of Sir Alexander Keith of Dunnottar, knight marischal of Scotland; issue, 10 sons and 3 daughters; 2dly, Lady Adelaide, youngest daughter of 1st marquis of Hastings. He assumed the name of Keith, on his marriage with his first wife, and on her death in Oct. 1852, his eldest son, Patrick, born Jan. 27, 1835, captain grenadier guards, (retired in June 1861), succeeded to the estates of Dunnottar, Kincardineshire, and Ravelston, Mid Lothian. Sir William died Oct. 16, 1861, when his eldest son, Sir Patrick, became 8th baronet.


The Murrays of Touchadam are supposed to derive from the Morays, lords of Bothwell. Their progenitor, Sir William de Moravia, designed of Sanford, joined Robert the Bruce, but being taken prisoner by the English, was sent to London in 1306, and remained in captivity there until exchanged after the battle of Bannockburn. His son and successor, Sir Andrew de Moravia, called by David II. “our dear blood relation,” obtained from that monarch a charter of the lands of Kepmad in Stirlingshire, dated 10th May 1365. This was his first acquisition in that county. ON 28th July 1369 he received another royal charter of the lands of Toulcheadam, as Touchadam was then called, and Tuichmaler, in the same county. His great-grandson and representative, William Murray of Touchadam, was scutifer to James II., and was appointed constable of Stirling castle under James III. His eldest son, David Murray of Touchadam, having no issue, made a resignation of his whole estate to his nephew, John Murray of Gawamore, captain of the king’s guards and lord provost of Edinburgh, who succeeded to the same on the death of his uncle, about 1474. He was a firm and devoted adherent of James III., and after the battle of Sauchieburn he was deprived of a considerable portion of his lands. A great number of the family writs were at the same time embezzled or lost. His son, William Murray, the seventh from the founder of the family, Sir Andrew de Moravia, about 1568, married Agnes, one of the daughters and coheiresses of James Cuninghame of Polmaise, Stirlingshire, whereby he acquired that estate. His son and successor, Sir John Murray, knight, got a charter under the great seal of the lands and barony of Polmaise, 8th April 1588. His grandson, Sir William Murray of Touchadam and Polmaise, obtained from Charles I. a charter of the lands of Cowie in 1636. During the civil wars, he supported the royal cause, and was at the battle of Preston in 1648, when the army of the royalists under the duke of Hamilton was defeated. In 1654 he was fined by Cromwell £1,500.

William Murray of Touchadam and Polmaise succeeded his father, William Murray of Touchadam, Polmaise, and Pitlochie in Fife, in 1814. He died in 1847, when his cousin, John Murray, born in 1797, the 19th from Sir Andrew de Moravia, succeeded. He married in 1830, Elizabeth, daughter of James Bryce, Esq. Edinburgh, with issue. His eldest son, John, captain grenadier guards, was born in 1831.


The first on record of the family of Murray of Philiphaugh in Selkirkshire, Archibald de Moravia, mentioned in the chartulary of Newbottle in 1280, was also descended, it is supposed, from the Morays, lords of Bothwell. In 1296 he swore fealty to Edward I. His son, Roger de Moravia, obtained in 1321, from James, Lord Douglas, the superior, a charter of the lands of Fala, subsequently designated Falahill, for many years the chief title of the family. The 5th in direct descent from Roger was John Murray of Falahill, the celebrated outlaw, who took possession of Ettrick Forest with 500 men,

“-----------------a’ in ae liverye clad,
O’ the Lincome grene sae gaye to see;
He and his ladye in purple clad,
O! gin they lived not royallie!”

The king, James IV., sent James Boyd to him,

“The earle of Arran his brother was he,”

To ask him of whom he held his lands, and desiring him to come and be the king’s “man,”

“And hald of him you foreste free.”

On Boyd delivering this message to him,

“Thir landis are mine! The outlaw said;
I ken nae king in Christentie;
Frae Soundron I this foreste wan,
When the king nor his knightis were not to see.”

And he declared his intention to keep it

“Contrair all kingis in Christentie.”

The king, in consequence, set forth at the head of a large force, to punish the outlaw, and force him to submission. The outlaw summoned to his aid his kinsmen Murray of Cockpool and Murray of Traquair, who hastened to Ettrick with all their men. The barony of Traquair before it came into the possession of the Stuarts (earls of Traquair) was the property of the family of Murray, ancestors of the Murrays of Blackbarony. The lands of Traquair were forfeited by Willilmus de Moravia previous to 1464. They were afterwards, by a charter from the crown dated 3d February 1478, conveyed to James Stewart, earl of Buchan, son of the black knight of Lorne, from whom they descended to the earls of Traquair. On the approach of the royal force, the outlaw, “with four in his cumpanie,” came and knelt before the king and said,

“I’ll give thee the keys of my castell,
Wi’ the blessing o’ my gay ladye,
Gin thou’lt make me sheriffe of this Foreste,
And a’ my offspring after me.”

To this the king consented, glad to receive his submission on any terms, and the usual ceremony of feudal investiture was gone through, by the outlaw resigning his possessions into the hands of the king, and receiving them back, to be held of him as superior.

“He was made sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste,
Surely while upward grows the tree;
And if he was na traitour to the king,
Forfaulted he suld never be.”

It is certain that, by a charter from James IV., dated November 30, 1509, John Murray of Philiphaugh is vested with the dignity of heritable sheriff of Ettrick Forest, which included the greater part of what is now Selkirkshire, an office held by his descendants till the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions in 1747. “The tradition of Ettrick Forest,” says Sir Walter Scott, in his introduction to ‘The Sang of the Outlaw Murray,’ in the ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,’ “bears that the outlaw was a man of prodigious strength, possessing a baton or club, with which he laid lee (i.e. waste) the country for many miles round, and that he was at length slain by Buccleuch, or some of his clan, at a little mount, covered with fir trees, adjoining to Newark castle, and said to have been part of the garden. A varying tradition bears the place of his death to have been near to the house of the duke of Buccleuch’s gamekeeper, beneath the castle, and that the fatal arrow was shot by Scott of Haining from the ruins of a cottage on the opposite side of the Yarrow. There was extant, within these twenty years, some verses of a song on his death. The feud betwixt the outlaw and the Scotts may serve to explain the asperity with which the chieftain of that clan is handled in the ballad.” The laird of Buccleuch had counseled “fire and sword” against the outlaw; for, says he,

“He lives by reif and felonie!”

But the king gave him this rebuke:

“And round him cast a wilie ee, --
Now, hand thy tongue, Sir Walter Scott,
Nor speak of reif nor felonie: --
For, had every honest man his awin kye,
A right puir clan thy name wad be!”

The outlaw’s wife, Lady Margaret Hepburn, was the daughter of the first earl of Bothwell. He had two sons, James, his heir, and William, ancestor of the Murrays of Romanna, afterwards Stanhope, baronets (see above).

James Murray of Falahill, the elder son, died about 1529, and his son, Patrick Murray of Falahill, obtained, under the great seal, a charter, dated 28th January 1528, of the lands of Philiphaugh, situated near the royal burgh of Selkirk, and celebrated as the scene of the signal defeat of the marquis of Montrose, 15th September 1645, by General Leslie. The hollow under the mount adjoining the ruins of Newark castle, mentioned above as the place where the outlaw Murray is said to have been slain, is called by the country people Slain-man’s lee, in which, according to tradition, the Covenanters, a day or two after the battle of Philiphaugh, put many of their prisoners to death. A number of human bones were, at one period, found there, in making a drain.

Patrick’s great-great-grandson, Sir John Murray of Philiphaugh, knight, was appointed by the Scottish Estates one of the judges for trying those of the counties of Roxburgh and Selkirk, who had joined the standard of Montrose in 1646. In 1649 he claimed £12,014, for the damages he had sustained from Montrose. He died in 1676.

His eldest son, Sir James Murray of Philiphaugh, born in 1655, was admitted a lord of session in 1689, and appointed lord-register in 1703. On his death in 1708, he was succeeded by his eldest son, John Murray of Philiphaugh, M.P. from 1725 till his decease in 1753. This gentleman’s fourth son, Charles, married a sister of Robert Scott, Esq. of Danesfield, Bucks, and was grandfather of Charles Robert Scott Murray, Esq. of Danesfield, M.P. for that county.

The eldest son, John Murray of Philiphaugh, was several times M.P. for the county of Selkirk, and once for the Selkirk burghs, after a severe and expensive contest with Mr. Dundas. He died in 1800. His eldest son, John Murray of Philiphaugh, died, unmarried, in 1830, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother, James Murray of Philiphaugh, the 17th of the family, in a direct line; married, with issue.


The Murrays of Lintrose, Perthshire, are a junior branch of the Murrays of Ochtertyre, being derived from Mungo Murray, born 15th July 1662, youngest son of Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre, baronet, by Isabel, his wife, the daughter of John Oliphant, Esq. of Bachelton. Captain William Murray, a son of this family, served with the 42d Highlanders, under Wolfe, in America, and afterwards in the West Indies. Subsequently, with the rank of major in the same distinguished regiment, he served under General Howe against the American revolutionists. On the 15th September 1776, when the reserve of the British army were in possession of the heights above New York, Major Murray was nearly carried off by the enemy, but saved himself by his strength and presence of mind. Attacked by an American officer and two soldiers, he kept his assailants at bay for some time with his fusil; but closing upon him, his dirk slipped behind him, and being a corpulent man, he was unable to reach it. Snatching the sword of the American officer from him, he soon compelled the party to retreat. He wore the sword as a trophy during the campaign. He became lieutenant-colonel 27th regiment, and died the following year.


The Murrays of Cringletie, Peebles-shire, are descended from a junior branch of the family of Murray of Blackbarony. James Wolfe Murray, Esq. of Cringletie, born in 1814, eldest son of James Wolfe Murray, Lord Cringletie, a senator of the College of Justice, by Isabella Katherine, daughter of James Charles Edward Stuart Strange, Esq., (godson of Prince Charles Edward,) succeeded his father in 1836; appointed to 42d Royal Highlanders in 1833; married in 1852, Elizabeth Charlotte, youngest daughter of John Whyte Melville, Esq., and grand-daughter of 5th duke of Leeds, with issue. His son, James Wolfe Murray, was born in 1853.


Other old families of the name are the Murrays of Broughton, Wigtownshire; Murray of Murraythwaite, Dumfries-shire; and Murray of Murrayshall, Perthshire. The family of Murraythwaite have been settled there since about 1421.

The Murrays of Murrayshall derive in the male line from the ancient family of Graeme of Balgowan, and in the female, from that of Murray, Lord Balvaird, whose eldest son succeeded as Viscount Stormont (see STORMONT, Viscount of). John Murray, advocate, son of Andrew Murray of Murrayshall, at one period sheriff of Aberdeenshire; born in 1809, succeeded in 1847; married in 1853, Robina, daughter of Thomas Hamilton, Esq.; educated at Edinburgh university, M.A. 1828. Passed advocate in 1831.
The Murrays of Henderland, Peebles-shire, have given two judges to the court of session, namely, Alexander Murray, Lord Henderland, who died in 1795, and his second son, Sir John Archibald Murray, appointed in 1839, when he assumed the judicial title of Lord Murray. He had previously been lord-advocate, and recorder of the great roll, or clerk of the pipe, in the court of exchequer, Scotland, a sinecure office which had also been held by his father, and was resigned by Lord Murray, some time before his first appointment as lord-advocate in 1834. He was M.P. for the Leith district of burghs from 1832 to 1838. He died in 1859.

MURRAY, SIR ROBERT, one of the founders and the first president of the Royal Society of London, was the son of Sir Robert Murray of Craigie, by a daughter of George Halket of Pitferran. He is supposed to have been born about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and received his education partly at St. Andrews and partly in France. Early in life he entered the French army, and became so great a favourite with Cardinal Richelieu that he soon obtained the rank of colonel. He returned to Scotland about the time that Charles I. took refuge with the Scots army; and, while his majesty was with the latter at Newcastle in December 1646, he formed a plan for the king’s escape, which was only frustrated by Charles’ want of resolution. “The design,” says Burnet, “proceeded so far that the king put himself in disguise, and went down the back stairs with Sir Robert Murray; but his majesty, apprehending it was scarce possible to pass through all the guards without being discovered, and judging it highly indecent to be catched in such a condition, changed his resolution, and returned back.” In May 1651, being then in Scotland with Charles II., he was appointed justice-clerk, an office which appears to have remained vacant since the deprivation of Sir John Hamilton in 1649. A few days after he was sworn a privy councilor, and in the succeeding June was nominated a lord of session, but he never exercised the functions of a judge. At the Restoration he was reappointed a lord of session, and also justice-clerk, and made one of the lords auditors of the exchequer; but these appointments were merely nominal, to secure his support to the government; for, though he was properly the first who had the style of lord-justice-clerk, he was ignorant of the law, and it does not appear that he ever sat on the bench at all. He was high in favour with the king, Charles II., by whom he was employed in his chemical processes, and was, indeed, the conductor of his laboratory. He was succeeded in the office of justice-clerk in 1663 by Sir John Home of Renton; and in 1667 he had a considerable share in the direction of public affairs in Scotland, when, not being so obstinately bent on the establishment of Episcopacy as some of his colleagues, an unusual degree of moderation marked for a time the proceedings of the government. Sir Robert’s principal claim to distinction, however, consists in his having been one of the founders of the Royal Society of London, and its first president. “While he lived,” says Bishop Burnet, “he was the life and soul of that body.” He was a member of almost all its committees and councils, and besides assisting in obtaining its charter, in July 1622, and in framing its statutes and regulations, was indefatigably zealous in promoting its interests in every respect. Several of his papers, chiefly on the phenomena of the tides, on the mineral of Liege, and on other scientific subjects, are inserted among the early contents of the Philosophical Transactions. Sir Robert Murray, who had married a sister of Lord Balcarres, died suddenly, in his pavaillion, in the Garden of Whitehall, July 4, 1673, and was interred at the king’s expense in Westminster Abbey.

MURRAY, THOMAS, an eminent portrait painter, was born in Scotland in 1666; and at an early age went to London, where he became a pupil of Riley, state-painter to Charles II., and successor to Sir Peter Lely. He studied nature carefully, and in his colouring and style imitated his master, Riley. He painted portraits with great success and credit; and being employed by the royal family, as also by many of the nobility, he acquired, in the course of time, a considerable fortune. The portrait of Murray, by himself, is honoured with a place in the gallery of painters at Florence. He died in 1724.

MURRAY, PATRICK, fifth Lord Elibank, a learned and accomplished nobleman. See ELIBANK, Lord.

MURRAY, WILLIAM, first earl of Mansfield, a celebrated lawyer and statesman, the fourth son of David, fifth Viscount Stormont, was born at Perth, March 2, 1705. He was removed to London in 1708, and in 1719 was admitted a king’s scholar at Westminster school. In June 1723 he was entered at Christ Church, Oxford, where he distinguished himself by his classical attainments. In 1730 he took the degree of M.A., and afterwards traveled for some time on the Continent. Having become a student at Lincoln’s Inn, he was called to the bar at Michaelmas term 1731. His abilities were first displayed in appeal cases before the House of Lords, and he gradually rose to eminence in his profession. In 1736 he was employed as one of the counsel for the lord provost and town council of Edinburgh, to oppose in parliament the Bill of Pains and Penalties, which afterwards, in a modified form, passed into a law against them, on account of the Porteous riots. For his exertions on this occasion, he was presented with the freedom of the city of Edinburgh in a gold box. In November 1742 he was appointed solicitor-general in the room of Sir John Strange, who had resigned. About the same time he obtained a seat in the House or commons, as member for Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire. His eloquence and legal knowledge soon rendered him very powerful in debate, and as he was a strenuous defender of the duke of Newcastle’s ministry, he was frequently opposed to Pitt, afterwards earl of Chatham; these two being considered the best speakers of their respective parties. In March 1746 he was appointed one of the managers for the impeachment of Lord Lovat, and the candour and ability which he displayed on the occasion received the acknowledgments of the prisoner himself, as well as of the Lord-chancellor Talbot, who presided on the trial.

In 1754 Mr. Murray succeeded Sir Dudley Ryder as attorney-general, and on the death of that eminent lawyer, in November 1756, he became lord-chief-justice of the king’s bench. Immediately after he was created a peer of the realm, by the title of Baron Mansfield, in the county of Nottingham. He was also, at the same time, sworn a member of the privy council, and, contrary to general custom, became a member of the cabinet. During the unsettled state of the ministry in 1757, his lordship held, for a few months, the office of chancellor of the exchequer, and during that period he effected a coalition of parties, which led to the formation of the administration of his rival Pitt. The same year, on the retirement of Lord Hardwicke, he declined the offer of the great seal, which he did twice afterwards. During the Rockingham administration in 1765, Lord Mansfield acted for a short time with the opposition, especially as regards the bill for repealing the stamp act. As a judge his conduct was visited with the severe animadversions of Junius, and made the subject of much unmerited attack in both houses of parliament. He was uniformly a friend to religious toleration, and on various occasions set himself against vexatious prosecutions founded upon oppressive laws. On the other hand, he incurred much popular odium by maintaining that, in cases of libel, the jury were only judges of the fact of publication, and had nothing to do with the law, as to libel or not. This was particularly shown in the case of the trial of the publishers of Junius’ letter to the king.

With regard to his thrice refusal of the great seal, Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chief Justices of the King’s Bench (vol. iii. p. 469), says, “In 1770, the king and the duke of Grafton, repeatedly urged Lord Mansfield to become lord chancellor, but whatever his inclination may have been when Lord Bute was minister, in the present rickety state of affairs he peremptorily refused the office, and suggested that the great seal should be given to Charles Yorke, who had been afraid that he would snatch it from him. By Lord Mansfield’s advice it was that the king sent for Charles Yorke, and entered into that unfortunate negotiation with him which terminated so fatally – occasioning the comparison between this unhappy man, destroyed by gaining his wish, and Semele perishing by the lightning she had longed for. For some months the chief justice presided on the woolsack as speaker of the House of Lords, and exercised almost all the functions belonging to the office of the Lord Chancellor.”

[portrait of William Murray 1st earl of Mansfield]

In October 1776, having been previously created a knight of the Thistle, Lord Mansfield was advanced to the dignity of an earl of the United Kingdom by the title of earl of Mansfield, with remainder to the Stormont family, as he had no issue of his own. During the famous London riots of June 1780, his house in Bloomsbury Square was attacked and set fire to be the mob, in consequence of his having voted in favour of the bill for the relief of the Roman Catholics, and all his furniture, pictures, books, manuscripts, and other valuables, were entirely consumed. His lordship himself, it is said, made his escape in disguise, before the flames burst out. He declined the offer of compensation from government for the destruction of his property. The infirmities of age compelled him, June 3, 1788, to resign the office of chief-justice, which he had filled with distinguished reputation for thirty-two years. The latter part of his life was spent in retirement, principally at his seat at Caen Wood, near Hampstead. He died march 20, 1793, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The earldom, which was granted again by a new patent in July 1792, descended to his nephew, Viscount Stormont (See STORMONT, Viscount of.) A life of Lord Mansfield, by Holliday, was published in 1797, and another, by Thomas Roscoe, appeared in ‘The Lives of British Lawyers,’ in Lardner’s Cyclopaedia.

MURRAY, LORD GEORGE, lieutenant-general of the rebel Highland army in 1745-6, was the fourth son of the first duke of Athol, and brother of the second duke. Born in 1705, he took a share in the insurrection of 1715, though then but ten years old, and he was one of the few persons who joined the Spanish forces which were defeated at Glenshiel in 1719. He afterwards served several years as an officer in the king of Sardinia’s army; but having obtained a pardon he returned from exile, and was presented to George I. by his brother the duke of Athol. He joined Prince Charles at Perth in September 1745, and was immediately appointed lieutenant-general of the insurgent forces. The battle of Preston, where he commanded the left wing of the prince’s army, was, in a great measure, gained through his personal intrepidity. “Lord George,” says the chevalier Johnstone, in his ‘Memoirs of the Rebellion,’ “at the head of the first line, did not give the enemy time to recover from their panic. He advanced with such rapidity that General Cope had hardly time to form his troops in order of battle when the Highlanders rushed upon them, sword in hand, and the English cavalry was instantly thrown into confusion.”

On the advance of the rebel army into England, Lord George had the command of the blockade of Carlisle, which soon surrendered. Owing to the intrigues of Murray of Broughton, secretary to the prince, whose “unbounded ambition,” we are told, “from the beginning aimed at nothing less than the whole direction and management of every thing,” Lord George was induced, at this time, to resign his command as one of the lieutenant-generals of the army, acquainting the prince that thenceforward he would serve as a volunteer. At the siege of Carlisle, the duke of Perth had acted as principal commander, and Lord George, it was thought, was not willing to serve under him for the rest of the campaign. The duke, however, subsequently declined the principal command, when Lord George, who had resumed his place, became general of the army under the prince.

He was the first to recommend the retrograde movement from Derby, of which he offered to undertake the conduct. In that memorable retreat he commanded the rear-guard, and contrived to keep the English forces effectually in check. Being delayed by the breaking down of some baggage wagons, the enemy came upon him at Clifton in Cumberland. His force consisted of about a thousand men, and he applied to the prince, who was then at Penrith with the main body of the army, for a reinforcement. Instead of receiving it, however, orders were sent to him to pursue his retreat; but, after requesting the messenger to keep secret the orders he had brought, he determined to attack the enemy with what force he had. He, therefore, drew up his troops in order of battle, and the English, under the duke of Cumberland, came up just as the sun was setting. After making his hasty arrangements, which were not completed till it was quite dark, he made a powerful charge upon the English, lighted by the moon which broke at intervals through the dark clouds. The English cavalry were forced back with a severe loss, while the Highlanders lost but twelve men.

At the battle of Falkirk, Lord George had the command of the right wing, and took his place at the head of the Macdonalds of Keppoch, with his drawn sword in his hand, and his target on his arm. When the English dragoons came within ten or twelve paces of him, he gave orders to fire. “The cavalry closing their ranks, which were opened by this discharge,” says Johnstone, “put spurs to their horses, and rushed upon the Highlanders at a hard trot, breaking their ranks, and throwing down everything before them. A most extraordinary combat followed. The Highlanders, stretched upon the ground, thrust their dirks into the bellies of the horses; some seized the riders by their clothes, dragged them down, and stabbed them with their dirks; several of them again used pistols, but a few of them had sufficient space to handle their swords.” This victory, like that at Preston, was, in a great measure, achieved by the personal bravery of Lord George Murray, though the prince himself commanded.

On arriving at Inverness, Lord George received information of various cruelties practiced by the English troops on the people of Athol. He “set off instantly,” says Johnstone, “with the clan of Athol, to take vengeance for these outrages, and he conducted his march so well, passing through byeways across the mountains, that the enemy had no information of his approach. Having planned his march so as to arrive at Athol in the beginning of the night, the detachment separated, dividing itself into small parties, every gentleman taking the shortest road to his own house,” and in this way all the English were surprised at their posts. Many were put to the sword, and about 300 were made prisoners. Sir Andrew Agnew, who held the castle of Blair, marched out with a detachment to ascertain who they were that had attacked his posts, but owing to the precautions taken by Lord George, he returned to the castle, without venturing on an attack. Lord George then invested the castle, which he blockaded, and the garrison, reduced to great distress from want of provisions, were expected soon to surrender, when his lordship received an order from the prince to return to Inverness, in consequence of the advance of the duke of Cumberland.

It was Lord George Murray who proposed the night march to Nairn, the evening before the battle of Culloden, with the view of surprising the army of the duke of Cumberland. He led the van for that attack, but finding that the rear of the Highlanders did not come up in time, he at once advised a retreat. At the battle of Culloden Lord George commanded the right wing of the prince’s army. The English artillery was rapidly thinning his ranks when he gave orders to charge. The first line of the English army reeled and gave way before them. But their opponents were so numerous that before the Highlanders could reach the second line of the English they were entirely destroyed. On this occasion Lord George displayed all his former heroism. While advancing towards the second line, in attempting to dismount from his horse, which had become unmanageable, he was thrown; but, recovering himself, he ran to the rear and brought up two or three regiments from the second line of the Highlanders, to support the first; but although they gave their fire, nothing could be done, -- all was lost.

After their defeat, Lord George and the other chiefs who remained with the army retired to Ruthven, where they assembled a force of about 3,000 men, but two or three days after the battle they received orders from the prince to disperse. His lordship had written to Charles, pointing out the principal causes which had led to the loss of the battle, and requesting him to accept of the resignation of his commission, but when he found that it was the intention of the prince to depart for France, he sent a message to him earnestly dissuading him from such a course, and advising him to remain in Scotland and try another campaign. His maintained that the Highlanders “could have made a summer’s campaign without the risk of any misfortune;” and “though they had neither money nor magazines, they would not have starved in that season of the year so long as there were sheep and cattle.”

On the prince’s escape, Lord George withdrew to the Continent, and having spent some years in France and Italy, died in Holland on the 8th July 1760. His character is thus sketched by Johnstone: -- “Lord George Murray, who had the charge of all the details of our army, and who had the sole direction of it, possessed a natural genius for military operations; and was a man of surprising talents, which had they been cultivated by the study of military tactics, would unquestionably have rendered him one of the greatest generals of his age. He was tall and robust, and brave in the highest degree; conducting the Highlanders in the most heroic manner, and always the first to rush, sword in hand, into the midst of the enemy. He used to say, when we advanced to the charge, ‘I do not ask you, my lads, to go before, but merely to follow me.’ He slept little, was continually occupied with all manner of details; and was, altogether, most indefatigable, combining and directing alone all our operations: -- in a word, he was the only person capable of conducting our army. He was vigilant, active, and diligent; his plans were always judiciously formed, and he carried them promptly and vigorously into execution. However, with an infinity of good qualities, he was not without his defects: -- proud, haughty, blunt, and imperious, he wished to have the exclusive ordering of everything, and, feeling his superiority, he would listen to no advice. Still, it must be owned, that he had no coadjutor capable of advising him, and his having so completely the confidence of his soldiers enabled him to perform wonders.”

MURRAY, ALEXANDER, D.D., a celebrated self-taught philologist, was born at Dunkitterick, in the parish of Minnigaff, stewartry of Kirkcudbright, October 22, 1775. His father was a humble Galloway shepherd, an occupation followed by his ancestors for several generations, and for which he himself was originally designed. He was taught to read by his father, who was in his seventieth year at the time of his birth. The method which the old man adopted was to draw the figures of the letters on an old wool card with the ends of the burnt roots of the heather that grew on the hills. After thus learning the letters by means of the burnt sticks, he was advanced to the catechism, which was the child’s primer in those days. Then he somehow obtained a New Testament, and afterwards a whole Bible, by going to a place where an old tattered copy of it lay, which he carried off bit by bit. In the wild solitary glen where his father lived, he made himself master of the whole contents of the sacred volume, and also devoured every printed scrap of paper on which he could lay his hands, and so strong was his memory that even when he was but a boy he could repeat the names of the patriarchs and scripture characters from Adam to our Saviour without omitting one. When about seven years old, he was employed on the hills in herding sheep. The poverty of the family, and the remote situation of their hut, prevented his being sent early to school, and in fact he would never have obtained any regular instruction at all, had not a brother of his mother, named William Cochrane, offered, in May 1784, to be at the expense of sending him to school, and boarding him for a short time in New Galloway. Bad health, however, obliged him to return home before he had been six months at school, and for more than four years after this he had no opportunity of resuming his attendance. In the meantime he was employed as usual as a shepherd boy, and for about three years the Bible, and what “ballads and penny stories” he could pick up, formed his only reading.

In the end of 1787 he engaged to teach throughout the winter the children of two neighbouring farmers, and as a remuneration, he received sixteen shillings, part of which he immediately laid out in the purchase of books. Soon after he began to give irregular attendance for a short time at the school of Minnigaff, chiefly for the purpose of improving his arithmetic, with the view of becoming a merchant’s clerk. In 1790, having obtained a cheap copy of Ainsworth’s Dictionary, he began the study of Latin, and in May of that year commenced to learn French. In the summer of 1791 he again attended school for about three months, and read with avidity whatever books he could anywhere borrow, whether in English, French, Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, for so great was his application, that he had made himself master of all these languages within the space of only about eighteen months, and that chiefly be his own unaided exertions.

In the winter of 1792-3 he again engaged in teaching, when he received, as he informs us, for his labours, about thirty shillings. During the same winter he went in the evenings to a school at Bridgend of Cree, where he remained for about three months and a half. The whole period of his school attendance, scattered over a space of eight years, did not exceed thirteen months; but every spare hour was given to study, and as he himself tells us, French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew occupied all his leisure time. In 1791 he had made himself acquainted with the Abyssinian alphabet, from an inaccurate copy which he transcribed from an odd volume of the Universal History. The Arabic letters he had learned previously from Robertson’s Hebrew Grammar. He had purchased the same year, for a trifle, a manuscript volume of the Lectures of Arnold Drackenburg, a German professor, on the lives and writings of the Roman authors, from Livius Andronicus to Quintillian, which he afterwards translated, and in 1794 offered his version to the booksellers at Dumfries, with a number of poems which he had composed, chiefly in the Scottish dialect, but neither of the two booksellers in that town would undertake the publication. During this visit to Dumfries he was introduced to Burns, the poet, who treated him with great kindness, and gave him some useful hints as to his poetry.

The fame of his extraordinary acquirements having extended to Edinburgh, in November 1794 he was invited to that city, when he underwent an examination before Principal Baird and two of the other city clergymen. The extent and accuracy of his classical attainments made such an impression on these gentlemen, that they exerted their influence to procure for him a free attendance at the classes in the university, and contributed to his means of subsistence during the first two years of his academic career. At the end of that period he obtained a bursary, or exhibition, from the city, and soon after was able to support himself by private teaching. He continued to devote himself with all his wonted enthusiasm to the study of languages, and after having attained to a knowledge of all those spoken in Europe, he commenced his investigations into the Oriental tongues, and of the six or seven dialects of the Abyssinian or Ethiopic language, in particular, he made himself completely master. The latter circumstance induced Mr. Constable, the published, to employ him in 1802 to superintend a new edition of ‘Bruce’s Travels to discover the Source of the Nile,’ which appeared in seven volumes 8vo, in 1805, with a Life of the author prefixed, and a mass of illustrative notes. The Life of Bruce he afterwards enlarged and published separately. He had previously contributed several miscellaneous pieces to the Scots Magazine, of which he was at one time editor.

Having passed through the usual college course, to qualify him for the ministry in the Church of Scotland, he was appointed in 1806 assistant and successor to the Rev. Mr. Muirhead, minister of Urr, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and on the death of the latter in 1808, he succeeded to the full incumbency of the parish. In 1812 he became a candidate for the vacant professorship of Oriental Languages in the university of Edinburgh, and among the numerous testimonials of his qualifications which were published on the occasion, was one from Mr. Salt, formerly envoy to Abyssinia, whose admiration of the deep erudition and extensive research displayed in his edition of Bruce’s Travels, caused him, in his return to England in February 1811, to recommend him to the marquis of Wellesley, “as the only person in the British dominions” adequate to translate an Ethiopic letter which he had brought from the governor of Tigre to George III. In remembrance of Mr. Murray’s services in translating this letter, a pension of £80 a-year was after his death granted by his majesty to his widow. He was elected professor of Oriental Languages on July 8, by a majority of two votes, and a few days thereafter the senatus of the university conferred on him the degree of D.D. He was not destined, however, to occupy long a chair which he was so admirably qualified to fill. On October 31 he entered upon the discharge of his professional duties in a weak state of health, and continued with the utmost ardour to teach his classes during the winter. At the commencement of the session he published his ‘Outlines of Oriental Philology,’ an elementary work, designed for the use of his students. In the beginning of February a new impression of his edition of Bruce’s Travels also made its appearance. Soon after, his illness assumed such an alarming aspect as to prevent his lecturing, though he continued his literary labours to the last, having been the very day before his death engaged nearly twelve hours in arranging his papers, &c. He died on the morning of April 15, 1813, in the 37th year of his age. In his latter years he had written a work of great learning, entitled ‘History of European languages,’ which was published after his death in 2 vols. 8vo, under the auspices of Sir Henry Moncrieff and Dr. Scott of Corstorphine. By his wife, whom he married while residing at Urr, Dr. Murray had a son and a daughter, the latter of whom died in 1821. Subjoined is his portrait, from a painting by Geddes, engraved by Burnet:

[portrait of Alexander Murray, D.D.]

MURRAY, SIR GEORGE, an able military officer and diplomatist, the second son of Sir William Murray, the fifth baronet of Ochtertyre, was born at the family seat in Perthshire, February 6, 1772. He was educated at the high school and university of Edinburgh, and on 12th March 1789, was gazetted an ensign in the 71st foot. Soon after, he removed to the 34th regiment, and in June 1790 to the 3d Guards. In 1793 he was in the army under the duke of York which was employed against the French in Flanders, and in January 1794 he was promoted to a lieutenancy, with the rank of captain. In April of that year he returned to England, but having rejoined the army in Flanders during the summer, he was present in the retreat through Holland and Germany. In 1795 he was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-general Sir Alexander Campbell, on the staff of Lord Moira’s army in the expedition intended for Quiberon. In the autumn of the same year, he proceeded to the West Indies under Sir Ralph Abercromby, but in consequence of ill health he soon returned, and he served on the staff in England and Ireland during the years 1797 and 1798. In August 1799 he was appointed a captain in the guards, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He participated in all the dangers and disasters of the expedition to Holland that year, and was wounded at the Helder. He was soon, however, able to proceed with his regiment to Cork, whence he embarked with it to Gibraltar, as part of the force under the orders of Sir Ralph Abercromby. Having been placed in the quarter-master-general’s department, he went to Egypt for the purpose of making arrangements preparatory to the celebrated expedition against the French in that country, and while there he displayed so much gallantry and skill that the Turkish government conferred upon him the order of the crescent, second class.

He was present in every one of the engagements in Egypt, at Marmorice and Aboukir, at Rosetta and Rahmanieh, at Cairo and Alexandria, and had the good fortune to escape without a wound. In 1802 he went from Egypt to the west Indies, and remained there a year as adjutant-general to the British forces in those colonies. On his return to England, he filled a situation at the Horse Guards. In 1804 he was appointed deputy quarter-master-general in Ireland. In 1806 he was engaged in active service in the expedition to Stralsund, but that design was rendered abortive by the successes of the French in Poland. About two years thereafter, Colonel Murray was intrusted with a diplomatic mission to Sweden, and being there at the time that the expedition under Sir John Moore went to that country, he received from that distinguished commander the appointment of quarter-master-general. Very soon afterwards, the troops under sir John Moore joined the army in Portugal, and Colonel Murray, who went along with them, served all through the peninsular war. On new year’s day 1812, he became a major-general, and on 9th August 1813 he was appointed colonel of the 7th battalion of the 60th regiment. In 1617 he was removed to the 72d foot, and on September 11, 1813, was nominated a knight of the Bath, before the enlargement of that order.

After serving for a short time as adjutant-general in Ireland, Sir George was appointed governor of the Canadas. He had not been long there when the secretary of state announced to him that the Emperor Napoleon had landed at Cannes from Elba. He had the choice of either remaining in Canada, or returning to Europe, to engage in active service. He preferred the latter, but the delay occasioned by the embarkation of a large body of troops, and the slow progress made in sailing with a fleet of transports, prevented his arriving in time, and he did not join the duke of Wellington’s army till it had nearly reached Paris, after the battle of Waterloo.

During the stay of our army of occupation in France, Sir George remained with them, with the local rank of lieutenant-general. While in Paris he received seven orders of knighthood, besides those conferred by his own sovereign, so highly were his character and services held in estimation by continental monarchs. He became a knight Grand Cross of Hanover; knight Grand Cross of Leopold, St. Alexander Newski, and the Red Eagle; a commander of the Tower and Sword, Maximillian Joseph, and St. Henry.

On the return of the army of occupation to England in 1817, Sir George Murray was appointed governor of Edinburgh castle, but he held that office only for a year, as on 18th August 1819, he was nominated governor of the Royal Military College at Woolwich. On 14th June 1820, the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.C.L., and in January 1824 he was chosen a fellow of the Royal Society. In September 1823 he had been appointed to the command of the 42d foot, and on 6th March following he became lieutenant-general of the ordnance. The same year (1824) he was chosen M.P. for the county of Perth. At this time he filled the office of commander of the forces in Ireland.

At the general election of 1826, he was again returned for Perthshire. In January 1828, when the duke of Wellington became prime minister, Sir George Murray was appointed secretary of state for the colonies; on which occasion he resigned the command of the army in Ireland, and was sworn a member of the privy council. From that period he distinguished himself as a ready and fluent speaker in the House of Commons. He supported the Roman Catholic emancipation bill of 1829, and after the Whig government came into power in November 1830, he was one of the principal members of the opposition. In that year, and again in 1831, he was re-elected for Perthshire, but on the dissolution of parliament in 1832, after the passing of the Reform Bill, he was defeated by the earl of Ormelie, afterwards marquis of Breadalbane. In 1834 his lordship became a member of the House of Lords, and Sir George Murray was again elected M.P. for Perthshire.

On the death of Lord Lynedoch in 1843, he succeeded him as colonel of the 1st or Royal regiment of foot. He attained the rank of lieutenant-general May 27, 1825, and that of general, November 23, 1841. He was editor of ‘The Duke of Marlborough’s Letters and Despatches,’ from 1702 to 1712, which were published in 1845. He will be remembered as a successful soldier, an able minister, and a skilful and fluent debater. He died in London 26th July 1846, aged 74, and was buried at Kensal Green. At the time of his death he was governor of Fort George and president of the Royal Geographical Society. He had married in 1826, in the 54th year of his age, Lady Louisa Erskine, sister of the marquis of Angelesey and widow of Lieutenant-general Sir James Erskine, baronet. Lady Louisa was then 48. She died 23d January 1842. They had one daughter, who married H. G. Boyce, Esq., of the 2d life guards, and died in 1849.

Sir James Murray
Main author of the Oxford English Dictionary

See also his book on
The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland

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