James Murray was born in Lothian at the family seat of Ballencrieff. He was the 5th son, and 14th child of Alexander Murray, 4th Baron Elibank. His first experience of military life was in in 1736, in Colonel Colyear's 3rd Scots Regiment in the Dutch service. He served also in Wynyard's Marines and gained a commission in the 15th Foot which he commanded in the raid on Rochefort. He also commanded at the siege of Louisbourg in 1758. He took part in the Canadian campaign under Wolfe, being given command of the force that harried the French fishing settlements along Miramichi Bay. A town called Burnt Church was named after the burning of a church at St Anne's by Murray's men. He played a prominent part in the capture of Quebec following the battle on the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe held him in high regard as he was courageous and 'desirous of glory'. His governorship of Quebec was marred by the sharing of responsibilities with Lieutenant-Governor Ralph Burton. Murray's character was flawed by arrogance, bad temper and snobbishness. He is blamed for retarding the economy of the Quebec region by imposing restraints on traders, and also hampering the anglicisation of Quebec. In 1774 he was lieutenant-governor of Minorca and raised to governor in 1776. In 1781 a Franco-Spanish army besieged Fort St Philip for 7 months. Murray was in command of the defence and was forced to surrender in 1782. After this he was known as 'Old Minorca' Murray. His first marriage to Cordelia was childless. She died in 1779 and he married again in 1780, to Anne Witham with whom he had 6 children, two dying in infancy. The portrait was painted in 1765.
1721 Born on 21 Jan At Ballencrieff, Scotland
Regimental Details | Colonels