Birth: 6 February 1772
Place or Registered Place of Birth: Ochtertyre, Perthshire, Scotland
Baptism: 17 February 1772
Place of Baptism: Monzievaird And Strowan, Perthshire, Scotland
Death: 28 July 1846 - Aged 74
Place or Registered Place of Death: Belgrave Square, London, Middlesex
Date of Burial: 5 August 1846
Place of Burial: Kensal Green Cemetery, London, Middlesex
Father: William Murray
Mother: Augusta Mackenzie
Spouse(s): Louisa Paget
Date of Marriage: 28 April 1825
Place or Registered Place of Marriage: Sunninghill, Berkshire
Louisa Georgina Augusta Anne Murray (1822-1891)
Lieutenant-General Sir George Murray, 42nd Foot, and Governor of the Royal Military College.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR GEORGE MURRAY, K.B.
The Right Honourable Sir George Murray, Knight-Grand-Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, a Member of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, was admitted into the freedom of the Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of Grocers of the City of London, on the 8th of July 1829, pursuant to the unanimous resolution of a Court of Assistants. It was presented to him at an entertainment given at Grocers' Hall, on the 23d of the same month.
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 1817 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 a 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, Maximilian 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 Breadalhane. In 1834 his lordship became a member of the House of Lords, and Sir George Murray was again elected M.P. for Perthshire.
In Sir Robert Peel's administration of 1834-5, Sir George held the office of master-general of the ordnance. At the general election which ensued he was opposed by Mr. Fox Maule, afterwards Lord Panmure, who defeated him by a majority of 82. At the general election of 1837, Sir George stood for Westminster, but was unsuccessful. Two years subsequently he became a candidate for Manchester, and was again defeated.
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 he 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 Anglesey 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.
The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 181 - October 1846
General The Right Hon. Sir George Murray, G.C.B., G.C.H.
July 28. In Belgrave-square, aged 74, General the Right Hon. Sir George Murray, a Privy Councillor, Colonel of lie 1st Foot, and Governor of Fort George; G.C.B., G.C.H.; Knight Grand Cross of Leopold, St. Alexander Newski, and the Red Eagle; a Commander of the Tower and Sword, Maximilian Joseph, and St. Henry, and a Knight of the Second Class of the Crescent of Turkey; Governor of the Royal Military College at Woolwich, President of the Royal Geographical Society, D.C.L. and F.R.S.
The name of Sir George Murray is familiar to all from his long and gallant service in the field, as well as from his political connexion with several Cabinets. He was born Feb. 6, 1772, at the family seat in Perthshire, being the second son of Sir William Murray, Bart., by Lady Augusta Mackenzie, seventh and youngest daughter of George third Earl of Cromarty. His education commenced at the High School, and was finished at the University of Edinburgh.
His first commission of Ensign in the 71st Foot, was dated March 12, 1789. From that regiment he soon after removed to the 34th, and in June 1790 to the 3d Guards. In 1793 be participated in the campaign in Flanders, and in Jan. 1794 was promoted to a lieutenancy with the rank of Captain. He returned to England in April, and, having rejoined the army in Flanders in the following summer, 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 the celebrated Sir Ralph Abercromby; but ill-health soon obliged him to return, and he served on the staff in England and Ireland during the years 1797 and 1798. In Aug. 1799 he obtained a company in the Guards, with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. In the dangers and disasters of the expedition to Holland he fully participated, and, though he was wounded at the Helder, he was soon able to proceed with his regiment to Cork. From that port he embarked for Gibraltar, as part of the force under the orders of Sir Ralph Abercromby. Having been placed in the Quartermaster-General's department, he went to Egypt for the purpose of making arrangements preparatory to our celebrated expedition against the French in that part of the world. In that country he displayed such gallantry and skill that the Turkish Government conferred upon him the Order of the Crescent. Although present at every one of the engagements there, he escaped unhurt. At Marmorice and Aboukir, at Rosetta and Rhamoine, at Cairo and Alexandria, he was alike active and successful. From Egypt in 1802 he went to the West Indies, where he remained a year as Adjutant-General to the British forces in those colonies. His next appointment, in 1804, was that of Deputy Quartermaster-general in Ireland ; but, in the interval between his quitting the West Indies and assuming that post, he filled a situation at the Horse-Guards. He had been only u short time in Ireland when orders were issued for assembling a force in Hanover; but the battle of Austerlitz soon put an end to that undertaking. The next occasion upon which Colonel Murray was engaged in active service was the expedition to Stralsund, which was undertaken in 1806, but this design was rendered wholly abortive by the successes of the French arms in Poland. In about two years after that time, a diplomatic mission to Sweden was entrusted to Colonel Murray, and being there at the time that the expedition under Sir John Moore went to that country, he received from Sir John the appointment of Quartermaster-general. Very soon afterwards, these troops joined the army in Portugal under Sir Arthur Wellesley ; and throughout the long series of victories which they achieved, Colonel Murray was scarcely ever separated from them until the armies of England had been quartered for three years in the city of Paris. On the 1st Jan. 1812 he became a Major-General, and on the 9th Aug. 1813 he was appointed Colonel of the 7th battalion of the 60th regiment; from which he was removed to the 72d Foot in 1817. He was nominated a Knight of the Bath Sept. 11, 1813, before the enlargement of that order.
Sir George was appointed Adjutant-General in Ireland during the short time that Bonaparte was in Elba, and it was at this time proposed to him to serve in America, where hostilities were still going on ; but before he could embark, peace had been concluded. He was, however, in the mean time appointed to the government of the Canadas, and thither he proceeded without delay. A short period had only elapsed when the Secretary of State announced to him that Napoleon had landed at Cannes. Sir George had the choice of either remaining in Canada or of returning to Europe. He preferred rejoining his old companions in arms; the natural feelings of a soldier and the spirit of enterprise, which formed one of the elements of his character, would not permit him to remain an inactive spectator of such stirring scenes. 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 overtaking the British army till it had nearly reached Paris. During the stay of our Army of Occupation on the continent, Sir George remained with them, enjoying the local rank of a Lieutenant-General. While in Paris he received seven orders of knighthood, besides those conferred upon him by his own Sovereign, a sufficient proof of the esteem in which his character and services were held by continental monarchs. On the return of the Army of Occupation, he was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle, but he held that office for only a year, exchanging it on the 18th Aug. 1819 for the Government of the Royal Military College.
On the 14th of 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.
His appointment to the command of the 42d Foot took place in Sept. 1823, and, on the 6th of March following, he became Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance. In the same year he was chosen member of Parliament for the county of Perth; but at this time his attendance in Parliament was much interrupted by duties which devolved upon him in Ireland, where he filled the office of Commander of the Forces. At the general election in 1826 he was again returned for his native county.
In 1828 he gave up the command of the army in Ireland to take the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies-an office far beyond the parliamentary reputation which, up to that time at least, he had acquired; but thenceforward he rose rapidly in the estimation of the House of Commons; and it is no exaggeration to assert that very few military men ever approached to the excellence which he attained as a public speaker.
While Sir George Murray was at the Colonial-office our possessions abroad were not seriously embarrassed by any of those difficulties which usually afflict the Minister who happens to preside at the colonial department; but the Government of that day had delicate duties to perform, and were surrounded with various and formidable difficulties. In uniting with his colleagues to meet and overcome these difficulties, Sir G. Murray bore his part most efficiently. In supporting the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, and in opposing the measures of the liberal Government in 1830 and 1831, he was singularly successful. But it was not alone in Parliament, or in the "registration courts," that Sir George Murray fought what he conceived to be the "battle of the constitution." He fought it as vigorously on the hustings and in the polling-booths. He was re-elected for his native county at the general election of 1830, and again in the following year. In 1832, when the Reform Bill became law, and Parliament was dissolved, Lord Ormelie, now Marquess of Breadalbane, stood for Perthshire upon liberal principles and proved successful. On the accession of Lord Ormelie to the peerage in 1834, a vacancy again occurred in the representation of Perthshire, and a contest ensued, in which Mr. Graham, the Whig candidate, was defeated, and Sir G. Murray again sat for that county. In Sir R. Peel's Administration of 1834-5, he filled the office of Master-General of the Ordnance ; but was thrown out of the representation of Perthshire by Mr. Fox Maule, who defeated him by a majority of 82. At the general election of 1837, Sir George stood for Westminster. On that occasion he polled 2,620 votes, but Mr. Leader and Sir De Lacy Evans united their strength, and defeated him. At this period of his life he might easily have got in for a small borough, but it was thought by the political party to which he belonged that the contest for Westminster ought not to be entrusted to unskilful hands, and during the bustle of a general election he missed the opportunity of his election for any other place. In less than two years from that time, however, a vacancy occurred in the representation of Manchester, on Mr. Poulett Thomson being appointed Governor - General of Canada; Sir George Murray and Mr. Greg were the candidates, but the decision was in favour of Mr. Greg, by a majority of 265. When the Whigs resigned in 1841, Sir George Murray again received the appointment of Master-General of the Ordnance, and again became a candidate for the representation of Manchester. His friends, however, must have felt that they were requiring him to undertake a forlorn hope. He had few of what are called popular qualities, and, instead of wishing for a partisan of Sir Robert Peel, the people of Manchester desired to possess a representative who should prove a thorn in the side of the Tory leader. Although he failed to get into Parliament, he still remained a Minister of the Crown.
Sir George was made Colonel of the 42d foot, on the death of the Earl of Hopetown, in September, 1823, and continued at the head of that regiment until the death of Lord Lynedoch, in 1843, when he succeeded that venerable General as Colonel of the 1st (the Royal) regiment of Foot. By virtue of the office of Master-General of the Ordnance, he for many years held the Colonelcies in Chief of the Royal Artillery and Corps of Royal Engineers. He attained the rank of Lieut.-General May 27, 1825, and that of General Nov. 23, 1841.
The last occasion upon which Sir George Murray came prominently before the public was in a literary capacity, namely, as editor of five volumes of "Marlborough's Dispatches,"-a work which tended much to raise our estimate of that celebrated commander's character, without materially adding to the reputation of Sir George Murray. It is not, however, as a literary man that the name of Sir George Murray will descend to posterity. As a successful soldier, an able minister, a skilful and fluent debater, he will long be remembered. His personal appearance, when in the enjoyment of health, was distinguished by that bearing in character which bespeaks the soldier as well as the gentleman. He was above the middle height, and, notwithstanding the wear and tear of his active life, looked much younger than he really was. Lengthened illness, however, wrought a remarkable change. His hitherto noble form was fearfully emaciated, and it for some time past became painfully evident to his friends that the hand of death was upon him.
More than three attacks of the disorder with which he was afflicted yielded to medical treatment, and during the last twelve months, although he was not able to attend the Ordnance-office, he very efficiently, up to the retirement of Sir R. Peel, discharged the duties of Master-General, assisted by his private secretary Sir Frederick Trench, and his aide-de-camp Capt. Boyce of the 2nd Life Guards, who is married to Sir George's only child.
In the 54th year of his age, in 1826, he espoused the Lady Louisa Erskine, sister of the Marquess of Anglesey, and widow of Lieut.-Gen. Sir James Erskine, Bart,
who died in 1825. Lady Louisa had then attained the mature age of 48. Sir George became a widower on the 23rd Jan. 1842,having had issue one daughter, above mentioned.
On the 5th Aug. the body of Sir George Murray was interred, by the side of his deceased lady, in the Kensall-green Cemetery. In the first carriage were Captain Boyce (chief mourner), son-in-law to the deceased; J. Bonnor, esq. the Rev. Arthur Isham, and Garthshore Murray, esq. relatives. In the second were Sir W. Hylton Joliffe, M.P. - Boyce, esq., Lieut.-General Sir Howard Douglas, Bart. G.W. Hope, Esq. M.P. In the third, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick Trench, Major-Gen. Sir Hugh Dalrymple Ross, K.C.B. Deputy Adjutant-general to the Artillery, - Maudesley, esq. R. Elliot, esq. The carriages of the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Wellington, followed. In the ground were assembled the Duke of Wellington, the Marquess of Anglesey (accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Major Paget, who had been also on the staff of the deceased); Sir Robert Peel; Lieut.-General Lord Fitzroy Somerset, military secretary to the Commander in Chief; Lieut.-General Sir John Macdonald, adjutant general to the army; General Sir Willoughby Gordon, Bart., Quartermaster-general to the army; Captain Sir Charles Des Voeux, Bart. &c.
Lieut.-Gen. Sir George Murray, G.C.B., G.C.H., D.C.L., F.R.S.