The Life of General The Hon. James Murray With a Biographical Sketch
of the Family of Murray of Elibank by Major-Gen R. H. Mahon
Ancestry as a basis for
biography is legitimised by custom, but it is often uninteresting. Yet
the founders of the House of Elibank belong to a period that still lives
in song and story, and so I have ventured a chapter on James Murray's
progenitors—partly in the hope that my estimate of his character may
receive a certain confirmation therefrom.
His connection with
Canada, however, forms my chief reason for writing. There has been no
small controversy regarding the campaigns of 1759-60—"the struggle for
Canada"—and I have endeavoured to bring out the truth, and to indicate
the leading part which fell to him. His government of Quebec for seven
years, and his efforts to secure justice for the French inhabitants, has
been obscured by the effects of the convulsion that was even then
brewing in America, yet as a founder of the Canadian constitution as we
know it now, Murray's work was remarkable and enduring.
The story of Minorca
and its heroic defence, which forms the concluding episode of his active
career, is perhaps of minor interest to us in these days, shadowed by
memories of the Great War; but even in this case it is of interest to
recall the gallantly of soldiers of other times under conditions not
less trying than those we have experience of.
My thanks are
especially due to Viscount Elibank, who generously placed at my disposal
a large number of family papers; to the Hon. Dudley Murray, who gave me
much time and labour at the Public Record Office; to my aunt, Mrs. James
Murray, and my cousin, the Rev. James Arthur Murray, for the loan of the
collection of the General's papers, often referred to as the "Bath
Papers"; to Dr. Doughty and Mr. H. P. Biggar, of the Archives Department
in Ottawa and London, for much kind assistance; to Mr. Charles Lane-Sayer,
for the extensive information contained in the "Collier Letters"; to Sir
Archibald Lamb, now of Beauport, the Mayor of Hastings, and Mr. Meadows,
for their assistance in reading the town's records; and to many others
who have kindly procured information on my subject.
Commenced before the
outbreak of the Great War, this story would in all probability have
remained unpublished but for the generosity and enthusiasm of Colonel
Thomas Cantley, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. His admiration of the
character of "Old Lion Heart," as he so aptly dubbed my hero, and his
desire to preserve for Canada a memoir of one who loved her so well, is
the mainspring of what now appears in print—for his sake I hope it may
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