Montrose, James Graham, Marquis of

Montrose, James Graham, Marquis of a Scotch soldier, noted for the part he took in the contests between the Covenanters and king Charles I, was a member of a celebrated noble family, and born at the family estate of Auld Montrose in 1612, and on the death of his father in 1626 became earl of Montrose. He was educated at the University of St. Andrews; and after having married a lady who lived only four years before death separated them, leaving him a child, he went abroad and travelled for several years in France and Italy, devoting much of his time to study in general literature and army tactics. Introduced on his return to England to king Charles, he was so coldly received that he at once left for his native country, and there allied himself with the Covenanters, who were just then arrayed against the king. It was the year 1637 when the tumults broke out in Edinburgh on the attempt to introduce the Prayer-book. Montrose, to all appearances, became heart and soul enlisted in the movement to resist the introduction of episcopacy in the Scottish Church, and was one of the four noblemen selected to compose the "table" of the nobility, which, along with the other tables of the gentry, of the burghs, and of the ministers, drew up the famous National Covenant, SEE COVENANT and SEE COVENANTERS, sworn to by all ranks at Edinburgh in the spring of 1638. He was likewise sent on a mission to Aberdeen, to secure the support of its citizens also; was instrumental in bringing many of them to join the national cause, and in 1639 went there with an army to overawe those who had refused to join his side. Encountering finally the army of king Charles, he gave it battle at Meagra Hill, near Stonehaven (June 15), and obtained a complete victory. When the temporary peace of Berwick was made, Charles invited several of the Covenanting nobles to meet him at Berwick, where he was then holding his court, and to consult with him about Scottish affairs. Among those who went was Montrose, and his party dated what they regarded as his apostasy from that interview. Be that as it may, his political position was certainly much modified after his return. In the General Assembly which met August 13, 1639, under the presidency of the earl of Traquair as royal commissioner, he showed symptoms of toleration towards the Royalists, and was the object of much popular obloquy. One night he is said to have found affixed upon his chamber-door a paper bearing these words, Invictus armis, verbis vincitur. The dissolution of the Parliament, in June, 1640, led to an open rupture between the king and the Covenanters, and both parties prepared to decide their quarrel by force of arms. The former assembled at York an army of 21,000 horse and foot; the latter another of 26,000, which, under the command of Leslie, crossed the Tweed August 21,1640. Montrose was the first man who forded the stream. The successes of the Scots, as is well known, soon forced Charles to summon a new Parliament for then settlement of the national grievances. But though Montrose had fought, he had, along with several other influential nobles, entered into a secret engagement at Cumbernauld, for the purpose of frustrating what they regarded as the factious designs of extreme Covenanting leaders. His conduct in England, too, had been questionable. It was accidentally discovered that he had been communicating with the king; and when the Parliament assembled (November, 1640), he was cited to appear before a committee. The affair of the Cumbernauld Bond, discovered by the ingenuity of Argyle, was brought up; but Montrose defended his conduct and that of his colleagues, and nothing came of it, though some fiery spirits among the clergy, says Guthrie, "pressed that their lives might go for it." In the following June, Montrose and some others were accused of plotting against Argyle, and were confined in Edinburgh Castle, where they remained till the beginning of 1642, when they were set at liberty in return for the concessions which Charles had made his Scottish subjects. Although they had frequently been examined, nothing definite had been proved against them. The accusation that Montrose had proposed to the king to assassinate Argyle is not historically substantiated, and is intrinsically improbable. During the next year or two Montrose kept aloof, at least outwardly, from public affairs, and became alienated from the Covenanters. He went to York to wait on the king some time in 1643, but failed to meet him. He finally joined the queen, but did not secure any open alliance with the king; the Covenanters all this time trying to win him over to their side again. The civil war which had broken out in England determined Charles and his advisers to crush the Presbyterian leaders in Scotland, who were abetting the efforts of the English Parliamentarians. In the spring of 1644 Montrose finally entered into the king's service, and was raised to the rank of marquis. He left Oxford, where he had been residing with his sovereign, and proceeded to Scotland to raise the Royalists in the North. The battle of Marston Moor for a moment paralyzed him, but his resolution speedily returned. He threw himself into the Highlands, and, after skulking about the hills for some time in disguise, met at BlairAthol some Irish auxiliaries and a body of Highlanders, who had forced their way thither from the Western Isles in hopes of joining him, and with these enforcements he marched south, fell suddenly (September 1) on the Covenanting army commanded by lord Elcho at Tippermuir, near Perth, and gained a complete victory. Not a single Royalist was slain. After a three-days' stay at Perth, he set out for the North, defeated a force of Covenanters under lord Burleigh at Aberdeen (September 13), and took possession of the city, which was abandoned for four days to all the horrors of war. The approach of Argyle, at the head of 4000 men, compelled Montrose, whose forces were far inferior in numbers and discipline, to retreat into the wilds of Badenoch, whence he recrossed the Grampians, and suddenly appeared in Angus, where he wasted the estates of more than one Covenanting nobleman. With fresh supplies, he then once more returned to Aberdeenshire, with the view of raising the Gordons; narrowly escaped defeat at Fvvie in the end of October, and again withdrew into the fastnesses of the mountains. Argyle, baffled in all his attempts to capture or crush Montrose, returned to Edinburgh and threw up his commission. His opponent, receiving large accessions from the Highland clans, planned a winter campaign, marched southwestward into the country of the Campbells, devastated it frightfully, drove Argyle himself from his castle at Inverary, and then wheeled north, intending to attack Inverness, where the Covenanters were posted in strong force under the earl of Seaforth. The "Estates" at Edinburgh were greatly alarmed, and, raising a fresh army, placed it under the command of general Baillie, a natural son of Sir William Baillie of Lamington. After consulting with Argyle, it was arranged that he should proceed by way of Perth, and take Montrose in front, while Argyle should rally his vast array of vassals and attack him in the rear. The Royalist leader was in the great glen of Albin — the basin of the Caledonian Canal — on his way to Inverness, when he heard that Argyle was following him. He instantly turned on his pursuer, fell upon him unexpectedly at Inverlochy, February 2, 1645, and utterly routed his forces. Fifteen hundred of the Campbells were slain, and only four of Montrose's men. He then resumed his march northwards, but did not venture to assault Inverness — his wild mountaineers being admirably fitted for rapid irregular warfare, but not for the slow work of beleaguerment. Directing his course to the east, he passed, with fire and sword, through Elgin and Banff into Aberdeenshire, which suffered a similar fate. On the 9th of May he attacked and routed Hurry at Auldearn, near Nairn; and after enjoying a short respite with his fierce veterans in Badenoch, again issued from his wilds, and inflicted a still more disastrous defeat on Baillie himself at Alford, in Aberdeenshire (July 2). There was nol nothing to prevent his march south, and about the end of the month he set out with a force of from 5000 to 6000 men. He was followed by Baillie, who picked up reinforcements on his way, and on the 15th of August again risked a battle at Kilsyth, but was defeated with frightful loss — 6000 of the Covenanters being slain. The cause of Charles was for the moment triumphant, and Montrose, who was virtually master of the country, was made lieutenant-governor of Scotland, and commander-in-chief of the royal forces. All the principal cities in the west hastened to proclaim their fidelity, and laid the blame of the recent troubles on the unfortunate Presbyterian clergy. But gradually affairs took a turn. Great numbers of the Highlanders, having become restless, returned home, and Montrose was obliged to seek safety near the borders. On the 4th of September he broke up his camp at Bothwell, and marched for the eastern counties, where Charles had informed him that the earls of Traquair, Home, and Roxburgh were ready to join him. In this he was disappointed, and on the 13th of the same month he was surprised at Philiphaugh, near Selkirk, by David Leslie, who fell upon the relics of Montrose's army and his raw levies with 6000 cavalry, and completely annihilated them. Escaping.from the field of battle, he made his way to Athol, and again endeavored, but in vain, to arouse the Highlands; and at last Charles, now beginning to get the worst of it in the civil war, was induced to order him to withdraw from the kingdom. On the 3d of September, 1646, Montrose sailed for Norway, whence he proceeded to Paris, where he endeavored, but unsuccessfully, to enlist queen Henrietta Maria in aid of her husband; and at last Montrose, in despair, betook himself to Germany, in hope of service under the emperor. He soon after returned to Holland, and entered into communication with the prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II. It was here that news of Charles I's execution reached him. Montrose fainted on receipt of the dreadful intelligence, and gave way to the most passionate regrets. Charles II reinvested him with the dignity of lieutenant-governor of Scotland, and Montrose undertook a fresh invasion on behalf of the exiled monarch. In March, 1650, he arrived at the Orkneys with a small force, and after the lapse of three weeks proceeded to Caithness; but neither the gentlemen nor the commons would rise at his call. He forced his way as far south as the borders of Ross-shire, where his dispirited troops, not over 1500 strong, were attacked and cut to pieces at a place called Corbiesdale, near the pass of Invercarron, by a powerful body of cavalry under colonel Strachan. Montrose fled into the wilds of Assynt, where he was nearly starved to death, when he fell into the hands of M'Leod of Assynt, who delivered him up to general Leslie, by whom he was brought to Edinburgh. Condemned to death as a traitor to the Covenant, he was executed May 21, 1650. His demeanor in his last moments was dignified, but that of the Covenanters open to condemnation, for they were cruel, and heaped indignities upon him even on the gallows. His head was placed on the Tolbooth, and his limbs were sent to different parts of Scotland. After the Restoration his remains were collected and given a public funeral. See Napier, Montrose and the Covenanters (Lond. 1838, 2 volumes, 8vo); Grant, Life of Graham, Marquis of Montarose (1859); Wishart, Memoirs of Graham, etc.; Sir Edward Cust, Lives of the Warriors of the Civil Wars (1867); Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion, volume 2; Hetherington, Hist. Ch. of Scotland, pages 175,178,191; Russell, Hist. Ch. of Scotland, volume 2, chapters 12, 13; Stephen, Hist. Ch. of Scotland (Anglican view), 1:576, 641; 2:6, 17, 34, 44, 50, 61, 63, 96, 111, 144, 156, 167, 316, 317; and the works referred to under COVENANTERS.

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