Montrose, James Graham, 5th Earl and 1st Marquess
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose (1612-50). Montrose took an active part in drawing up the National Covenant at Greyfriars' Kirkyard in Edinburgh but became disenchanted with the extremism of the leaders of Presbyterianism and eventually became in Scotland the foremost champion of the crown against the Covenanters. Montrose obtained a commission as Lieutenant-general in Scotland from the king who elevated him to the rank of marquess. At the head of a small force, barely numbering 2,000 men, Montrose conducted in the Highlands a brilliant series of campaigns. With skill and leadership, he won victory after victory over forces sometimes three times as numerous as his own. But in the end he was betrayed and then executed in Edinburgh.
Scottish nobleman and
soldier. He succeeded to the earldom in 1626 and, feeling slighted by Charles
I, joined the Covenanters
in 1638. At first he was active in enforcing the Covenant and served in the
Covenanters' army in the Bishops'
Wars. However, he came to fear a Presbyterian oligarchy controlled by
Archibald Campbell, 8th earl of Argyll,
and was imprisoned (1640-41) by Argyll. After the Scottish intervention in the
English civil war, Montrose was created marquess and lieutenant general of
Scotland by the king. He made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Scotland, then
visited the Highlands in disguise and organized a royalist force there. He then
defeated the Lowland Presbyterian army of Argyll in six engagements, of which
Tippermuir, Inverlochy, and Kilsyth were the
greatest (1644-45). Never in command of a very large army, Montrose was
successful because of his brilliant strategy and his spirited leadership of the
fierce Highland clansmen, whose numbers were augmented by a small Irish force.
He was in control of Scotland for a short time, but the defeat of Charles at
Naseby (1645) left him without support, and he was finally defeated by David
Leslie at Philiphaugh (1645). He fled (1646) to the Continent. In 1650, Montrose
returned to Scotland to try to make the nominal rule of Charles II a reality
there. However, his expedition was disavowed by Charles himself, and he was
captured and hanged. Although the excesses of his wild troops have been sharply
criticized, his reckless daring and his successes in battle have made Montrose a
romantic figure in Scottish history.
He was the author of poetry (ed. by G. L. Weir, 1938). as well as the subject of it.
For more on this brilliant soldier, see: