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The Life of General The Hon. James Murray
Chapter XVII. Minorca, 1774-81


Murray arrived in England at the end of July, 1766, to answer before a hostile Ministry the ridiculous charges brought against him by the discontented traders of Quebec —persons who he described as "the most immoral collection of men I ever knew." It is unnecessary to waste much time over the "charges" which appeared to Lord Dartmouth a sufficient reason to recall a Governor in whose favour petitions from all the most respectable members of the community poured in. All of these petitions struck one key-note.

"We pray your Majesty, if you will deign to listen to us, continue Monsr. Murray as Governor of this province, which his valour has preserved for you, and who has gained the affection of its people by his generosity and mildness, and restore him to us." And again, "We dare to hope that he will be continued in that office, where his enlightened mind and equity and prudence enable him to keep the people in a state of tranquility and obedience."

Fortunately his arrival in England synchronised with the fall of the Rockingham Ministry, but the ne w Ministry, which included Lord Shelburne as Secretary of State, wit h Colonel Barre as a privy councillor holding office as Vice-Treasurer for Ireland, and Lord Hillsborough, whose peculiar notions of the interpretation of the King's Proclamation in Canada have already been noticed, as President of the Board of Trade, were unlikely to be favourable to him. Nevertheless, if he could not expect sympathy and support, the new Ministry was, at least, more honest than their predecessors, and an nonest inquiry was what Murray earnestly desired.

"The charges" were obviously framed to please the narrow religious views of Dartmouth, and to most of them Murray replied with scathing contempt. Accused of giving away the brandy found in the French king's stores at Quebec, he replied:

"I gave the brandy for intelligence: no man ever had better (i.e. during the campaign of 1760). I am sure nobody ever wanted it more, and that no nation ever paid less for it. So I displeased the little Protestant traders. . . . Quakers, Puritans, Anabaptists, Presbyterians, Atheists, Infidels, and even Jews."

Then with a touch that reminds one of Warren Hastings at a later date, he exclaimed: "Had avarice been my passion it might have been gratified without robbing the King of eight thousand gallons of brandy." Enacting ordinances "injurious to civil liberty and the Protestant cause," "Encouraging your Majesty's new subjects to apply for judges of their own national language," "Leaving the Protestants to this day destitute of a place of worship appropriated to themselves," were items among the "charges."

One stands astonished that any responsible statesman should have been unable to see through such trash, and much more not worth quoting; but so far as Murray was concerned, the indictment must have occasioned much anxiety and labour, and it was not until April following (1767) that the Privy Council dismissed the several complaints, as we have already seen, as "groundless, scandalous, and derogatory to the honour of the said Governor, who stood before the committee unimpeached."

Shortly after his arrival he had the honour of being introduced to the King (August, 1766), and '"met with a most gracious reception," but there <s little on record to show what reception he had from the. ministers. Apparently, Murray's first intention was to return to Quebec as soon as the business of laying the state of that province before the Government could be completed. A letter from a friend in Quebec runs:

"The good news we have received by the return of the Little William, of your excellency's agreeable voyage, happy arrival in good health, together with the prospect of seeing you here next summer, have not a little elated the hearts of your friends."

It is, indeed, extremely probable that the King, had it been in his power, would have done honour to one who could claim to be, perhaps more than any other, the instrument by which the Canadian province became a British possession; but the King had his own troubles to contend with, and it is evident that in 1766-67 the state of political ferment in which the Government found itself, and the plotting and counter-plotting of the period, which included the passing of the Tea Tax (June, 1767), absorbed the attention of the Court. In April, 1767, the situation is summed up in a letter from Lord Charlemont:

"Lord Chatham has not been allowed to see anybody, or even to receive letters. He is still Minister, but how long he may continue so is a problem that would pose the deepest politician. The Opposition grows more and more violent and seems to gain ground. The Ministry is divided into as many parties as there are men in it; all complain of his want of participation, Charles Townshend is at open war, Conway is angry, Lord Shelburne out of humour, and the Duke of Grafton by no means pleased. ... In short, such is the confusion that it is impossible to guess to-day at what will happen to-morrow."

In such a state of all airs it would be impossible to expect attention to individual cases, or even to public affairs, and as month succeeded month, until April, 1707, when the Privy Council pronounced the decision already quoted, we may be certain that Murray's disgust at his treatment was ever deepening.

Apparently he arrived at a determination not to return to Quebec early in the new year (1767). In a letter, dated Quebec, March 15, his kinsman, Walter Murray, wrote:

"I hear Mrs. Irvine had the pleasure of a letter from Mrs. Murray last week, which mentions your being determined never to return to Quebec more. I think you are much in the right of it, for who that had your fortune would choose to leave his lady, relations, friends, London, and Sussex to waste his days in the frozen regions of Canada, to be tormented with the constant clamours of a factious discontented set. . . ."

There is nothing on record to show the course of Murray's mind on the subject. The reasons must have been of an urgent and decided kind, for we have seen his strong leaning towards fixing his lot in Canada and his genuine sympathy with the people he governed. It may be that he foresaw, in the selection of Carleton as Lieut.-Governor of the province, the probability of endless friction, with the certainty of little support from Lord Shelburne; but another, and, I think, very probable cause of his decision, was that the glamour of home life took sudden possession of him. He had left England nearly ten years before, little known, with slender prospects, and he returned to find himself a personage who had earned for himself a niche in history.

Lord Elibank, who had been far from brotherly up to the time of his departure, was now proud of his relationship, and his letters of the period frequently refer to "my brother, the General." Thus "my brother, the General, who is in perfect health, and whose conduct has been universally approved of, from the King downwards. . . ." The two were constantly together, and it seems very probable that his lordship's wishes were opposed to the return to Canada, for his health was much broken, and it is clear from the private letters that he leant much on this "newly found" brother. Lord Elibank was anxious that the General should enter Parliament, and had arranged, as lie thought, that Jedburgh should return him.

The Jedburgh scheme, however, miscarried, and a letter from his brother George tells something of the reason. "I am ashamed of the intelligence I gave you of Jedburgh, but learn Lauderdale got their promise by pretending he had your interest." I cannot find that Murray made any further efforts to enter Parliament.

Another, and perhaps potent, cause of Murray's decision was his wife's invincible objection to crossing the Atlantic. Whatever reasons may have forced this on Mrs. Murray, there can be no doubt that her absence from her place during the years of his Governorship added considerably to his difficulties ; and his anger at what he believed to be wilful caprice was not to be wondered at. A woman to grace the Governor's establishment would have gone far to smooth the thorny path of a man whose temper was naturally inclined to rise when needless obstruction was met with, and it was certainly a misfortune for Murray that his beautiful and popular wife was not there to help him by her woman's arts in controlling the elements of disaffection amongst the colonists. Arrived in England it is clear that Murray's anger was short-lived. Possibly he saw for himself that her reasons were not fanciful, as he had suspected ; at all events, they resumed the old state of affection at once. Writing to her mother, she says, "You may be assured no care or attention is ever neglected in regard to me, as my dear Mr. Murray is very solicitus about me!" In the autumn of 1767 General and Mrs. Murray went on a tour to visit the family in the new and pleasant position of distinguished and welcome guests. After a few days at Carlton with brother Gideon the pair went on to the family mansion of Ballencrief, where Murray was born.

"I have just got a minute to say we got safe here yesterday morning," writes Mrs. Murray, 'and found great joy on our arrival. As to giving any account of the country, can't pretend to do that yet, only say that this is a very comfortable good house, and two line rooms in it six-and-thirty feet long. Miss Mary Murray and Lady Bell are here, and to continue all the time of my stay. I am quite well, and dare say shall keep so, for here is no formality—ever (every) one dose as they like and retire when they please. ..."

There had evidently been great doings on the return of the hero of Quebec, and a few days later the party went on to Edinburgh, where:

"The Corporation of Edinburgh all came to wait on Mr. Murray to desire his acceptance of his freedom, which is lookt upon, it seems, as a great honour, so to-morrow we ladys go to see the cerimony. Lady Stewart J inquired much after you, and desired I would make her compts. As to the country of Scotland I have seen, think it just like England. But I have seen no were but in the improv'd parts, and the Duke of Beauclers' (Buccleuch) house and park I think much better than Worksop. ..."

The visit concluded with a stay with the Fergusons (Lord Pitfour) and with Lord Adam Gordon, who had been a friend of Murray's in Canada.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons which led Murray to forgo his right to return to Canada, a right which, in view of the decision of the Privy Council and the King's undoubted approbation of his services, he certainly could have exercised, it cannot but be regarded as a misfortune that he permitted his career to be affected. Had he returned with military as well as civil control, with the eclat naturally attaching to his successful endeavours to procure civil and religious rights for the Canadians, added to their feelings of genuine affection for him, and with the clear insight he possessed as to the military value of the colony, I can entertain little doubt that his fortunes would have risen to the same heights as did those of his successor, and he would have gained the recognition of his efforts, which in the event became Carleton's. As matters fell out, he turned his hand from the plough and relinquished to another the harvest of his labour. Even as the ease stood it seems extraordinary that he received so little recognition for his services. I can only suppose that the antagonistic elements in the Government and the reluctance to bestow marks of favour on a Scot who had enjoyed the protection of Bute, stood in the way of his being recommended to the King.

The years that followed were marked by little of interest from the public point of view. Murray had expressed his intention of seeking the "caresses" of his friends in a "private coiner," and he carried it out by retiring to his Sussex estates, where he busied himself in building the house of Beauport. There was much to engage him in the settlement of the property which had come to him through his wife, and the division of the Collier property was not settled without a good deal of dispute and some recourse to law. Experimental farming seems to have been a hobby too, if we may judge from a letter to Lord Elibank in which he bewails the unfortunate result of trying Canada wheat:

"I sowed no less that twenty acres of Canada wheat in March. It flourished till about a fortnight ago, when, after a thundershower, the whole was blighted, tho' in different soils and situations. I can have no doubt of this misfortune being owing to the nature of the grain, for I distributed some of it to several people here, and the disappointment is universal. ... I hope to come near you in my turnips and cabbages. I have twenty acres of each out of all danger, in spite of scorching weather."

His military career was more or less at a standstill, lie had been appointed colonel of the 13th Foot in December, 1767, thus fulfilling his ambition to command an "old " regiment, and later on he was an "Inspecting General" of the southern district, and we have glimpses of his attending reviews in various places. In May, 1772, he received the rank of lieut.-general.

It was not until the year 1774 that further active service fell to Murray. It appears that he had tired of the routine of home military service combined with rural pursuits at Beauport, and cast about him for some foreign service which might bring with it more activity. He was still titular Military Governor of Quebec city, and, according to the custom of the time, continued to draw the salary of the post. He had once expressed the hope that he would die with this distinction still his, but now in his desire for further employment he offered it in exchange for the Lieut.-Governorship of Minorca, at the time held by Major-General Johnston, who had been in this post since the Treaty of Paris restored the island to Great Britain. Murray wrote: "You do not propose to be perpetually banished to Minorca," and suggested that there should be a mutual change of governments, and that the difference in pay of Lieut.-Governor of Minorca and that of the non-resident Military Government of the town of Quebec, "shall be paid to you for your life." The exchange was apparently accepted for the same Gazette of November 26; 1774, that appointed Murray to Minorca, gave Major-General James Johnston the Military (non-resident) Government of the town of Quebec.

The Governor of Minorca was at the time General Mostyn, who was already advanced in years, and, as was the custom in those days, retained the titular appointment though no longer resident in the island. No doubt it had been indicated to Murray that the lieut.-governorship was but the stepping-stone of the senior appointment, and strange as it may seem to us, Minorca was a charge which ranked much higher both in precedence and emoluments than Canada. We must remember that although the Mediterranean was not then as now the high road to India, yet the mastery of that sea was, as a counterpoise to French and Spanish pretensions, of great importance, the more so that the French were already in possession of Corsica. Malta had not yet fallen to us, and Gibraltar, though it had been a possession for seventy years, was not of the same naval importance, and had no harbour that could compare with that of Port Mahon. It had been even seriously considered by Pitt to offer Gibraltar to Spain in exchange for Minorca, when the latter place fell to the French in 1756. The nation attached as much importance to the island as we do in our days to Malta, and its loss in 1756, when attacked by the French and defended by General Blakeney, then in his eighty-fourth year, created such a popular outcry that the admiral (Byng) who was held to be responsible was sacrificed to the popular clamour; the truth being that, as has happened in days not far removed from our own, a scapegoat was necessary to cover the shortcomings of a Government which neglected preparation for war in time of seeming peace.

Murray's acceptance of the appointment was characteristic. He had an audience of the King, and had informed His Majesty that a governorship which depended for its emoluments on "perquisites" was distasteful to him. What followed is best told in his letter to Lord Rochfort, which indicates not only his straightforward independence but the little respect in which he held ministers who regarded the Sovereign as a titular authority to be treated with contempt.

The letter ran as follows :

November 20, 1774.

"My Lord,

"The reflection arising from the conversation I had with your Lordship this morning makes me very unhappy.

"The King told me his service was not to suffer, and that he had given, or was to give, positive directions to your Lordship to allow the commander for the time being at Minorca ten shillings per day for a secretary.

"Your Lordship knows of no such order, and thinks it cannot be done unless General Mostyn consents to give up his secretary. The General is to be wrote to for his consent, and refusal must be the answer. The General Mostyn merits every attention, General Murray may expect that some is likewise due to him, but I am certain the King's service is entitled to more than either of them.

"I informed your Lordship of the King's orders to me to deposit in the hands of the proper officers the sums arising from the perquisite of the commanding officer at Minorca, and of His Majesty's assurance that my salary should be fixed independent of such disgraceful emoluments.

"Your Lordship candidly expressed your doubts of the certainty of this measure, alleging that circumstances often occur which prevent His Majesty from fulfilling what he ardently wishes and firmly intends to carry into execution.

"This being the case, and the two points in question being of so trifling a consideration, I must conclude the hesitation in fixing them must proceed from a dislike of the minister for me, more than from his disapproval of the measure, and therefore I must beg to have them fixed before I go by some authoritative document from the Treasury, since my Royal Master's will may be controlled officially. ..."

This plain speaking, which presumably placed the minister in a predicament, apparently led to a satisfactory arrangement, for five days later Rochfort informed Major-General Johnston that Lieut.-General Murray had been appointed by the King to succeed him.

En passant it may be mentioned that this question of the perquisites had evidently been notorious before General Murray took it up, and it is evident that General Mostyn when Governor had not been above profiting by it, which, indeed, as it was the custom of the time, is not to his discredit.

Accompanied by his wife and niece, Miss Marir Murray, the General left England early in December, and landed at Port Mahon on December 24 (1775). Very unfortunately they experienced a bad storm between Marseilles and Minorca. General Johnston, writing to the Secretary of State, mentions it as almost without precedent, and says that the landing was effected with great difficulty and some danger. The private letters tell us that Mrs. Murray had to be lowered into a boat blindfolded, and considering her extreme delicacy and nervous condition, it is easy to suppose that this contretemps had a bad effect on her health.

The first years of his command were passed in strengthening the fortifications of Fort St. Phillips, which dominated the harbour at Port Mahon. On his arrival he reported that he was " much pleased with the aspect of things; but he soon found that great preparations for war were going forward at Carthagena and Barcelona and Toulon, nominally with a view to attack the Emperor of Morocco, but actually, as Murray strongly suspected, as preliminary to renewed demonstration of the "family compact" against England. Louis XV. was dead, but the French ministers saw their opportunity in the embarrassments of England in America, and only the depleted treasury and the chaotic state of all departments of Government which the late king had left for his grandson and successor prevented earlier rupture of the peace. In America, after four years of sullen quiescence, open revolution was in progress, and during Murray's first year at Minorca, British troops found themselves arrayed against the "Continental Army " raised by British colonists.

One seeks in vain in perusing the more intimate histories of the policies of the period 1775-1780 for any indication that the ministers were alive to the urgent necessity for maintaining the armament of the nation as the only sure foundation for retaining the position bequeathed by the victorious wars concluded in 1763. The whole intervening period had been one of decadence and little effort. As with us in the years preceding the Great War, infatuated politicians drowned the clamour of foreign war preparations by the tin-pot rattle of Irish dissension and exuberance in parochial legislation. In 1914 shameless ministers had squandered the nation's resources by ill-digested measures of social reform, and the nation's time by promoting discord in Ireland, setting class against class, and destroying the preparedness of the country by reducing its armaments and closing its workshops. Then with unparalleled enfrontery posing as saviours by doing in haste at ruinous expenditure what should have been done gradually and with consideration during peace.

So in the decade ending with the loss of America and of sea power in the Mediterranean, Lord North's Ministry, and the Rockingham party that followed, had deliberately abolished the magnificent legacy of superior armament bequeathed by Pitt. The armies, the fleets, the armaments brought to the lowest ebb of numbers and efficiency. The people distracted and rendered unstable by lack of firm continuous government, a mixture of weak concession and hesitating harshness. Ireland in open rebellion, harbouring the king's enemies and demanding concession as the price of peace. Squabbles over parliamentary duration and representation overshadowing the doings across the channel, which were destined to drive the final nail into the coffin of American empire. It was fortunate for England that the decadence of both France and Spain was not less pronounced than that at home.

Murray, from his point of vantage in Minorca, could see very plainly the direction in which events were shaping, and his despatches to Rochfcrt and Weymouth, who succeeded him as Secretary of State, contain frequent reference to the necessity for preparation. It seemed, however, that the Government at home cared little for the danger which threatened. Five battalions had been allotted for the garrison of Minorca, and of these two were removed (21st and 13th Foot) in August, 1775, and replaced by two Hanoverian regiments of no more than 471 men and officers each, an exchange which we may be sure Murray did not approve, though it would have been thought disloyal to say so. The three British battalions left were the 25th, 51st, and 61st, and a little later the 25th was removed on being replaced by 400 "invalid drafts," who were to be incorporated in the two remaining battalions.

It is plain that Murray regarded this weakening of his garrison as dangerous. Writing to Weymouth at the end of 1776 he says:

"This letter will be put in your Lordship's hands by Captain Robinson, and therefore I take the liberty to put you in mind how unequal the troops I have here are to the defence of the extensive works of St. Phillips' castle, and that there appears to be an absolute necessity for sending another company of artillery."

In the same letter he asks for a supply of "pease and oatmeal," equal to six months' supply, for 8000 men, this provision being desired for storage as a preventive of scurvy, of which he had had such dire experience at Quebec.

He was evidently filled with anxiety as to the prospects of defence and with misgivings as to the degree of support he would receive from His Majesty's ministers. He knew, no doubt, that the neglect of the Duke of Newcastle, when Minister in 1756, was much more the cause of the loss of Minorca than any shortcomings of Admiral Bvng, and he saw in the action of Weymouth the same absorption in party politics to the neglect of external affairs; thus when that minister ventured to warn him against the danger of surprise; while at the same time denying him the means of resistance, he administered a well-deserved snub, which, if it showed unwisdom from the point of his own advantage, at least indicated his splendid independence.

"I trust your Lordship, from your own feelings, will allow me to have those natural to a man descended from noble ancestors. Such feelings will not admit of the existence of a soldier who will allow himself to be surprised."

This thrust at Weymouth is very characteristic, and if, as I say, it shows a splendid independence, it also shows that excessive pride from which I am afraid I cannot deny Murray suffered.

By March, 1778, hostilities with France had commenced at sea. Lord Stormont had retired from Paris "without taking leave." So far as Minorca was concerned, however, this made little difference. The French naval armaments were no more ready to attack than were the English ships in a position to defend, and Murray's activities were confined to keeping General Elliot at Gibraltar apprised of the enemy's movements and endeavouring to reinforce his garrison.

"I am very sensible," he writes to Weymouth, "there can be no men spared from England to reinforce us, but I wish to be allowed to avail myself of the powers I have within my reach. It is now too late to think of a Minorquin Militia,f had they been formed in time of peace I might have made them soldiers capable of good service. The war being now declared I fear I shall not be able to get a volunteer among them, especially as Spain is to join in the contest."

Murray's project was to enlist 1000 Corsicans, but Weymouth dealt with the plan as he had dealt with the Minorquin Militia proposal, and gave indefinite answers to the suggestions made. It seemed sufficient to convey to Murray the King's gracious "approval of the distinguished diligence in providing everything necessary for defence of the important fortress committed to your care, and of the zeal for his honour and for his service which has on every occasion distinguished you."

As the year passed the French cruisers became more and more numerous. All regular communication ceased, except through neutral vessels.

"Some may think our situation not very agreeable; we are, however, in good spirits, ready to repel and desirous, indeed eager, to attack the King's enemies, who must have suffered much from the efforts of this island long before this, had the commissions for reprisals reached us in due time."

The commissions referred to by Murray were those for the issue of letters of marque, and in September, 1778, authority to fit out privateers was issued, though the commissions did not reach the island. However, without delaying any longer, Murray issued his own commissions, and he says, "If the mode is defective the idea is at least pious, and therefore if I have erred I rely on the King's forgiveness."

By the end of November he had so far succeeded in waking the enthusiasm of the Minorquin sea-fairing population that fourteen vessels of a total of 435 tons, having 50 carriage guns and 170 swivels, had been fitted out. and these had already captured eight prizes of a value of £25,000. By the end of December the number of prizes was eighteen, and the value £58,900; 25 privateers being at sea. However, though around the island his command of the sea was considerable, Murray was none the less practically blockaded. He had had no communication with Gibraltar or with England by sea for months, and the only route by which letters could be sent was via Leghorn.

The year was a very unhealthy one. A sickness called " tertiano " played serious havoc with the gamson, and he described his two British battalions as:

"totally worn out. If we are besieged I can expect no service from them. In short, if in the month of March or

April I can muster 1100 able men, including artillery, fit to undergo the hardship of a siege, wc shall be stronger than the present situation of the garrison promises."

It was due to this sickness that he suffered the serious loss of Colonel Maekellar, the chief engineer, who died in January, 1770. I have no doubt he felt his death, not only on account of his professional value, but because they were old comrades, and had served together throughout the Louisburg and Quebec campaigns.

In these circumstances the chances of relief by a naval force began to be discussed.

"We hope soon to see the King's flag commanding this sea, or a reinforcement to this sickly garrison. In the memory of man there never was known here so unhealthy a summer and autumn as we have had. The inhabitants have suffered equally with the troops. We hope when the northerly winds take place, which is not yet the case, the sickness will abate."

By February, 1779, he apparently had less hope of assistance. He says, referring to the French:

"They have not more than five ships of the line at present, which is enough, as we have none in these seas. They cannot be ready before May, and then may have ten or twelve. If a squadron equal to that can be spared for our relief, well; if not, it will still be well; as individuals we have nothing to lose. As soldiers we have a field of glory in which every man of the garrison seems determined to reap as much as he possibly can."

And in another letter in the same month, he says :

"I am confident we can hold the place until His Majesty can send a fleet sufficient to destroy the naval power of France in the Mediterranean. I can say no more than that I am sure this must be the case if the exertions elsewhere are equal to what I expect my brave garrison will show on this occasion."

These words may, I think, be read to imply some doubt whether the " exertions elsewhere" would be all they should be.

In February (1779), m addition to his anxieties regarding the military situation, Murray bad to face domestic trouble. His wife was, no doubt, affected by the tertian ague in common with so many others, and he decided to send her to England, taking the opportunity of a neutral ship going to Barcelona. No details of this journey arc preserved, but evidently the unfortunate lady was seriously ill before starting, and no doubt the rough journey aggravated her complaint. She reached the Sussex home at Beauport just before she died. Her family attributed her illness to going abroad. In this 1 think they were mistaken. She seems to have enjoyed the life on the island during the four years of residence there, and the misfortune of the unusually sickly season was one which could hardly be considered otherwise than as an accidental cause. Mrs. Murray was certainly tenderly attached to her husband, and I believe there is no shadow of doubt that he guarded and tended his delicate wife with every care.

In April, 1779, Murray received his commission as Governor of Minorca in place of General Mostyn, deceased. Lord Weymouth, in communicating the information, wrote, " This distinguishing mark of favour, unsolicited by you, will prove His Majesty's approval of the zeal and attention you have constantly shown in his service." Murray was honestly delighted with the King's favour, and wrote to express his joy and thankfulness. Reading between the lines of the correspondence, it is evident that he anticipated that the politicians in power, who were certainly not inclined to bestow favours on any one so independent in his views as our General, would jockey him out of the appointment, and he was surprised and proportionately grateful that the King should stand by him firmly.

At the same time another appointment was made which resulted in much trouble. To succeed Murray in the post of lieut.-governor of the island the Government appointed Sir William Draper. The King's commission was dated May 28, 1779, and a less suitable appointment could hardly have been made.

It was not that Sir William was not worthy of any honours in the King's gift, for, indeed; his record was a distinguished one. He was an example of a somewhat rare combination—a soldier-scholar. At Madras he bad acquired a reputation as a gallant officer, but his principal claim to military fame came a few years later, when in command of the land forces in the attack on Manilla in 1702. Here his personal example, energy, and soldierlike instinct had won an important and intrinsically valuable acquisition, which was, however, restored to Spain at the treaty of Paris.

It was not, however, his reputation as a soldier which is likely to be longest remembered, for Manilla, like many others of the distant posts, conquered for England by the valour of her sons, has been long forgotten. It is as an opponent of the famous Junius that Draper is best known. Perhaps it is doubtful if he would have ventured to cross swords with so redoubtable an opponent if he had been fully aware of the strength which lay behind the first Junius letter, but Draper plunged all unwitting against "a writer who signs himself Junius," and brought on himself a castigation of which, perhaps, the hardest part was the contemptuous lenity with which he was handled.

Nevertheless, to have fought four rounds with Junius and though worsted to have received commendation, albeit of a somewhat scornful kind from the victor, was sufficient to place him in a position of a certain eminence in literary circles, and there can be no question that long before his appointment as Murray's subordinate his head was fairly turned by his various claims to importance and his "blushing ribband," which Junius described as " the perpetual ornament of your person." Could it be expected that such a star qualified in fact, and doubly qualified in his own estimation, to form the central body in a solar system, could consent for long to follow the controlled orbit of a mere planet. At all events, as the course of this story will show, the inevitable collision occurred, and if it resulted in the destruction of the planet, the ruling body did not escape serious injury. Draper, be it noted, held the same military rank of lieut.-general as Murray, though he was junior in that rank by some five years. In age they were practically equal. For the moment all went well. Murray welcomed his new colleague. He was never the man to forejudge his subordinates, but his own imperious nature would exact and be satisfied with nothing short of obedience.

The year 1780 did not bring the long expected attack. The French and Spanish, now acting in concert,* were contented with a blockade; but Murray, writing to Mr. William Green, in May, mentions that the Spaniards were building 48 vessels at Majorca, each to carry 250 men, and that a large force was assembling at Barcelona. "We cannot conceive these vessels can be for any other purpose than the invasion of this island." A little later (July 9) he gave an opinion which reads curiously to-day :

"Both French and Spaniards have abandon'd us, (as) we have done the Mediterranean, all parties judging that Gibraltar and Minorca may be conquered in America. To say truth, when the insignificant trade we enjoy in this part of the world is considered, our two mighty fortresses seem calculated more for pomp and ostentation than utility. The parade of them is a prodigious expense, and I wonder in all the proposals for economy it has not been hinted to abandon both."

There is another letter of this period which I must quote as laying further emphasis on the almost exaggerated strictness with which the Governor adhered to the standard of purity he had laid down. It concerned a certain Doctor Olivar. a Minorquin, who had apparently, on payment of the usual fees, been appointed by General Mostyn to a position known as the Rectorship of Port Mahon. Murray had formed a bad opinion of the man, and positively refused to confirm the appointment. Writing to the agent and secretary for Minorca in England, he says:

"I am impatient to know why the appointment to the Rectorship of Mahon has not arrived, and when I know, I hope I shall find the delay has not proceeded from any intrigues of Doctor Olivar. 1 repeat to you, once more, that I never will have any intercourse with that man, and that I cannot conceive what you did mean by saying that it would be better for both if I recommended him to the vacant living. As you and I are likely to have much business together, it is necessary that you shall think I am a plain honest man, totally unacquainted with the intrigues of the offices in London, and entirely incapable of conniving at anything which can have the smallest semblance of chicane. I cannot distinguish between a fee and a bribe, nor can I undertake the defence of any man unless I am convinced he is in the right.*

Another letter, addressed quaintly to " The Honourable George Murray, Uncle to the Duke of Athol, Captain in His Majesty's Navy, at Messrs. Drummonds, Bankers, Charing Cross, London," gives us an insight into the writer's state of mind as well as some views on naval matters :

"We have just received the accounts of Rodney's fight. J It is not a pleasing one ; we must get such men as you in our line of battleships, that our admirals may not give more praise to the enemy's captains than our own. ... If the accounts we have from France are true, Clinton will not succeed in Carolina. If he is baffled we shall hardly recover America. Everything here is as you left it. We thought we were certainly to be attacked, or at least invested, till very lately. They have given up all thought of it at present. To say truth, I imagine they do not think us worth the blood and treasure the conquest of this island would cost them. . . . The insolence and disregard of the Moores, since our fleets have abandoned the Mediterranean, is not to be wondered at. It is now plain they like the French better than us. ... I find myself very happy to have Sir William Draper's company, but I shall be happier to give up the command to him when the times will allow me with decency to kiss your hands in London, but when that will be God only knows ; at present it looks as if I may broil here four or five years more, if I can hold out so long. You know I never repine at being at my post, be it where it will. I confess, however, I wish in these hustling times to have a more active one, for I have recovered rny health wonderfully. . . . You cannot think how 1 amuse myself sometimes by building castles in the air. I very often in these reveries have you at Beauport. Happy ! happy ! shall I be to chat over all our adventures in reality in that pleasant retreat. It may happen sooner than appearances promise at present; one lucky blow in the West Indies will give us peace, for I judge the enemy finds the expense of the war as intolerable as we do."

The correspondence includes letters to his old opponent, the Marquis de Levis, to whom he writes in affectionate language, and, illustrative of the easy-going customs of the day, asks for a passport through France if he should obtain leave to go to England.

"The heat of this climate and a wore-out constitution will make it necessary for me to leave the command to my lieut.-governor, Sir William Draper. Nothing but the idea of being attacked could have kept me here this summer."

Several letters are addressed to a brother Scot, the gallant George Elliot, then engaged at Gibraltar, in withstanding a blockade in very similar conditions to that at Minorca. Elliot, however, was more fortunate than Murray in being twice provisioned by incoming fleets, which also brought reinforcements to his garrison. In Murray's case the months rolled on without any alleviation of the situation, and Fort St. Phillips was not a delectable spot in which to be inclosed. It is no wonder that he sighed occasionally for his pleasant retreat at Beauport, or for some activity on the part of the enemy which would break the present monotony. To Elliot he afforded all the assistance in his pnwer, both as to provisions and <n intelligence of the enemy movements.

The year 1781 opened with no early prospect of any activity on the part of the French or Spanish, but the number of England's enemies was increased by the participation of the Dutch in the war, brought about by that extremely delicate question, the right of neutrals to handle trade of benefit to the enemy. In July Murray wrote: "A rumour says the Spanish have raised the siege of Gibraltar, and next month we are to expect 8000. I fear it is too good news to be true."

Some small reinforcements, a few Corsicans, were landed—on one occasion fifteen men, on another thirty-four. Among them was a nephew of the famous General Paoli, and it was stated that many more of his compatriots were anxious to offer their services to England against the French, whom they still regarded as the common enemy. It is a curious reflection that among these recruits Napoleon Buonaparte might conceivably have found a place. Friendship had long existed between Paoli and Carlo Buonaparte and the latter, supported and even urged by his wife, Maria Letizia, had warmly supported the cause of Corsican liberty, until, believing the struggle to be useless, he had recognised the French ascendency and carried his sons to France for their education. In those days hoys began their soldiering earlier than is the fashion now, and Napoleon Buonaparte, unhappy recluse at the military school at Brienne, jested at by his companions, because he knew but little of the French language, nicknamed Paille-au-Nez, because he pronounced his name Napoleoni, might well have joined his friend, the younger Paoli, in his expedition to join Murray, had he been a little older—perhaps twelve years of age—even with a character so remarkable as his, was rather young to take so decisive a step !

On August 19 all doubt was at last set at rest, and a Spanish army landed on the island. The landing was practically unopposed. The small garrison was quite insufficient to hold an extensive coastline, and in point of fact the Spanish commander, the Rue de Crillon, having already an overwhelming force of 8000 men and no naval attack to dread, divided his landing operations into several sections, and simultaneously disembarked in the bays of Riniancollar and Alcansar to the west and La Merquida to the east. Both forces could then advance on the town of Mahon, which they occupied at once, thus isolating Fort St. Phillips on the land side.

As was usual with him, Murray's fighting spirit was rising at the prospect of activity. He was at his best when, depending on himself, he faced an enemy. Victory, no doubt, meant as much to him as to most men, but far more than victory, honour for his country and an unsullied reputation for himself were the high pinnacles of his striving, and I believe if he gained these all else mattered little. At Fort St. Phillips he could hardly in his inmost heart have hoped for escape. Naval assistance, which alone could save him, was unlikely to be forthcoming, and he had little faith in ministers who gave freely of fair words with little of strong action. He was now about to commence the last act of his military career, and to end it in "a blaze of glory," as Mr. Lord says in his book. Probably Murray had never heard of Schiller, then beginning to emerge into light, but his views were certainly those of the poet, "Of all life's joys, the highest is fame."

Before closing this chapter, it is necessary to record two important events which occurred in Murray's private affairs during this period. The first was the death of his brother Patrick, Lord Elibank, which took place at Bullencrief on August 2, 1778. George Murray, now become sixth Lord Elibank, announced the fact. The late baron disposed of a large part of his property among his illegitimate children, but James Murray was generously dealt with, with a bequest which amounted to £15,000. debts due to the late lord to that amount being cancelled. This money evidently represented the sums advanced for purchase of the properties in Canada. In a letter on the subject to the family solicitor he says :

"I cannot express how much I think myself obliged to you for your attention to me in transmitting to me the last settlement of my poor brother Elibank. He certainly was a very great man, and did honour to the age he lived in. I have personally no reason to find fault with the settlement of his effects, but as his memory must be ever dear to me, I wish he had left me nothing, and showed more attention to my brother George; may I say, likewise, that I wish George and my other relations had paid more attention to him. You know how much they used to teaze and torment him, which behaviour of theirs . . . turned the overflowings of his warm heart into an unnatural channel to the great loss of his legitimate heirs. I have done all I can to make the present lord some reparation by settling £15,000 upon his two daughters. This is about the sum I actually owed to the late lord, including the interest, and really I have no use for it, being richer than I ever expected to be, and in a way to increase my fortune. May I entreat you, my dear sir, to get from amongst my late lord's papers the original title deeds to my estates in America. They, with mortgages he had upon my estates, were deposited with him, and I know he carried them with him to Scotland,"

Murray's generosity, indeed, went further, for he gave orders to purchase for the "title" the whole of books, plate, and pictures, which under some perverted influence his brother had willed away.

The second event referred to was his second marriage, the lady being Miss Ann Whitham. This event took place at Minorca on June 1, 1780. The bride was not yet nineteen, and there was, therefore, a considerable disparity of age! Her father, Abraham Whitham, member of an old English family, held an official position on the island in the Consular service. A brother, also Abraham, was serving at Gibraltar, as an officer of the artillery, who afterwards greatly distinguished himself during the famous sortie on November 27, 1781, as aide-de-camp to the Governor. From this marriage a daughter was born before the siege of Fort St. Phillips commenced, on March 16, 1781. The name chosen for the newcomer was Cordelia, presumably after Cordelia Collier, his first wife, which perhaps showed a degree of complaisance on the part of the new Mrs. Murray ! On August 19, the day of the landing of the Spanish army, Mrs. Murray, with her infant, was sent off to Leghorn in a small vessel. They reached their destination after an adventurous voyage, eluding the enemy ships. At Leghorn she remained awaiting the events of the siege.


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