Author Topic: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose  (Read 3030 times)

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palatine

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James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« on: May 10, 2006, 09:51:24 PM »
The Marquis of Montrose was such a noteworthy Stuart nobleman that I thought he deserved his own thread.   :)

Montrose fought against Charles I during the Bishops Wars, but soon regretted this and began working against the Presbyterian regime, the Covenanters, which had taken control of Scotland and which later allied with Parliament.  Charles made him the Lieutenant-General of Scotland in early 1644.  Disguised as a groom and with only two companions, Montrose made his way into Scotland and raised an army.  He had an amazing string of victories and secured much of Scotland, but he had problems with desertions and with creating a unified force of his army, which included Irish troops, a fact that was made much of in vicious propaganda issued against him.  Alas, his army was eventually ambushed and defeated.  He escaped and fought as best he could via guerilla warfare, but was unable to raise another army.    

After Charles surrendered, he ordered Montrose to cease all efforts on his behalf.  He fled to the Continent, where he was treated with great honor and was offered commands in the French and Imperial armies.   His prestige was enhanced after his chaplain published a book about his military exploits.  The book had a bad effect in some ways, for it made Royalists who hadn’t distinguished themselves in the war jealous of him.  He soon found that he had more enemies than friends among the exiles who surrounded Henrietta Maria and the Prince of Wales.

After the king’s execution, Montrose offered his services to Charles II.  Charles dithered over accepting.  He’d received a tempting offer from the Coventanters, who already had an army and control of Scotland, while Montrose could only offer promises for the future.  He finally gave him a commission to invade Scotland and also made him a knight of the Garter.  Montrose sailed in April 1650 with a small number of troops.  Soon after he left, Charles disavowed him, made a deal with the Coventanters, and sent him a warning to get out of Scotland ASAP which, unfortunately, never reached him.

For a lot of reasons, Montrose had difficulty raising troops, and was soon defeated.  He escaped but was betrayed by a man he’d thought was his friend.  He was turned over to the Covenanters, who hanged him.  His head, arms and legs were exhibited throughout Scotland as a warning to anyone who thought of challenging the status quo.  After the Restoration, on the orders of Charles II, his body parts were collected together and he received a state funeral.  

In addition to his remarkable abilities as a commander and strategist, Montrose was an excellent poet:

My dear and only Love, I pray
This noble world of thee
Be governed by no other sway
But purest monarchy;
For if confusion have a part,
Which virtuous souls abhor,
And hold a synod in thy heart,
I'll never love thee more.

Like Alexander I will reign,
And I will reign alone:
My thoughts shall evermore disdain
A rival on my throne.
He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That puts it not unto the touch
To win or lose it all.

But I must rule and govern still,
And always give the law,
And have each subject at my will,
And all to stand in awe.
But 'gainst my battery, if I find
Thou shunn'st the prize so sore
As that thou sett'st me up a blind,
I'll never love thee more.

Or in the empire of thy heart,
Where I should solely be,
Another do pretend a part
And dares to vie with me;
Or if committees thou erect,
And go on such a score,
I'll sing and laugh at thy neglect,
And never love thee more.

But if thou wilt be constant then,
And faithful of thy word,
I'll make thee glorious by my pen
And famous by my sword:
I'll serve thee in such noble ways
Was never heard before;
I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
And love thee evermore.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »

Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2006, 12:30:48 PM »
Here's a poem about the brave Marquis by the famously bad Scottish poet, William MacGonnagal:

The Execution of James Graham, Marquis of Montrose:
A Historical Poem

'TWAS in the year of 1650, and on the twenty-first of May,
The city of Edinburgh was put into a state of dismay
By the noise of drums and trumpets, which on the air arose,
That the great sound attracted the notice of Montrose.

Who enquired at the Captain of the guard the cause of it,
Then the officer told him, as he thought most fit,
That the Parliament dreading an attempt might be made to rescue him,
The soldiers were called out to arms, and that had made the din.

Do I, said Montrose, continue such a terror still?
Now when these good men are about my blood to spill,
But let them look to themselves, for after I am dead,
Their wicked consciences will be in continual dread.

After partaking of a hearty breakfast, he commenced his toilet,
Which, in his greatest trouble, he seldom did forget.
And while in the act of combing his hair,
He was visited by the Clerk Register, who made him stare,

When he told him he shouldn't be so particular with his head,
For in a few hours he would be dead;
But Montrose replied, While my head is my own I'll dress it at my ease,
And to-morrow, when it becomes yours, treat it as you please.

He was waited upon by the Magistrates of the city,
But, alas! for him they had no pity.
He was habited in a superb cloak, ornamented with gold and silver lace;
And before the hour of execution an immense assemblage of people were round the place.

From the prison, bareheaded, in a cart, they conveyed him along the Watergate
To the place of execution on the High Street, where about thirty thousand people did wait,
Some crying and sighing, a most pitiful sight to see,
All waiting patiently to see the executioner hang Montrose, a man of high degree.

Around the place of execution, all of them were deeply affected,
But Montrose, the noble hero, seemed not the least dejected;
And when on the scaffold he had, says his biographer Wishart,
Such a grand air and majesty, which made the people start.

As the fatal hour was approaching when he had to bid the world adieu,
He told the executioner to make haste and get quickly through,
But the executioner smiled grimly, but spoke not a word,
Then he tied the Book of Montrose's Wars round his neck with a cord.

Then he told the executioner his foes would remember him hereafter,
And he was as well pleased as if his Majesty had made him Knight of the Garter;
Then he asked to be allowed to cover his head,
But he was denied permission, yet he felt no dread.

He then asked leave to keep on his cloak,
But was also denied, which was a most grievous stroke;
Then he told the Magistrates, if they could invent any more tortures for him,
He would endure them all for the cause he suffered, and think it no sin.

On arriving at the top of the ladder with great firmness,
His heroic appearance greatly did the bystanders impress,
Then Montrose asked the executioner how long his body would be suspended,
Three hours was the answer, but Montrose was not the least offended.

Then he presented the executioner with three or four pieces of gold,
Whom he freely forgave, to his honour be it told,
And told him to throw him off as soon as he uplifted his hands,
While the executioner watched the fatal signal, and in amazement stands.

And on the noble patriot raising his hands, the executioner began to cry,
Then quickly he pulled the rope down from the gibbet on high,
And around Montrose's neck he fixed the rope very gently,
And in an instant the great Montrose was launched into eternity.

Then the spectators expressed their disapprobation by general groan,
And they all dispersed quietly, and wended their way home
And his bitterest enemies that saw his death that day,
Their hearts were filled with sorrow and dismay.

Thus died, at the age of thirty-eight, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose,
Who was brought to a premature grave by his bitter foes;
A commander who had acquired great military glory
In a short space of time, which cannot be equalled in story.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2006, 12:41:24 PM »
Montrose's own poem written on the night before his execution is more succinct:

            Let them bestow on ev'ry airth a limb;
            Open all my veins, that I may swim
            o Thee, my Saviour, in that crimson lake;
            Then place my parboil'd head upon a stake,
            Scatter my ashes, throw them in the air:
            Lord (since Thou know'st where all these atoms are)
            I'm hopeful once Thou'lt recollect my dust,
            And confident thou'lt raise me with the just.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Yseult

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Re: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2006, 05:22:14 PM »
What a captivating man! I never had heard or read a single word about your Marquis of Montrose, so I enjoy specially this thread...

I was reading that James succeeded his father as Earl at the age of fourteen and was married to Magdalene Carnegie at the tender age of seventeen. Do you know if it was a love match and if they had a happy marriage..? I have read that it´s said that James spent the eve of the wedding day playing golf and all the honeymoon golfing or practising with his arch and his arrows! Anyone knows what happened to Magdalene when his husband was sentenced to death, and executed not as a nobleman but as a common criminal?

I´m so impressing with the last words that James pronounced the 21th May 1650 at the Market Place of Edimbourgh, the place of his execution:  ‘I leave my soul to God, my service to my prince, my goodwill to my friends, my love and charity to you all’.

A portrait:









palatine

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Re: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2006, 06:26:05 PM »
Quote
What a captivating man! I never had heard or read a single word about your Marquis of Montrose, so I enjoy specially this thread...

I was reading that James succeeded his father as Earl at the age of fourteen and was married to Magdalene Carnegie at the tender age of seventeen. Do you know if it was a love match and if they had a happy marriage..? I have read that it´s said that James spent the eve of the wedding day playing golf and all the honeymoon golfing or practising with his arch and his arrows! Anyone knows what happened to Magdalene when his husband was sentenced to death, and executed not as a nobleman but as a common criminal?

Montrose and Magdalen were very much in love and their marriage was a happy one.  Unfortunately, they often spent time apart because he made a three year long Grand Tour a few years after their marriage began, and because a few years after his return he began pursuing a career in politics, and later, in the military.  Magdalen died in 1645 after a long illness.  She undoubtedly knew of her husband's defeat at Philiphaugh, but she never knew of his execution, which took place five years after her death.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »

palatine

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Re: James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2006, 06:38:07 PM »
Quote
Here's a poem about the brave Marquis by the famously bad Scottish poet, William MacGonnagal:

Famously bad poet is right - good grief!  I must admit that MacGonnagal was accurate: the things he described really did happen as he said they did.

Here is a better (and much shorter) poem by Montrose that describes his feelings about the execution of Charles I:

Great, good and just! could I but rate
My griefs to thy too rigid fate,
I'd weep the world to such a strain,
As it should deluge once again:
But since thy loud - tongu'd blood demands supplies,
More from Briareus' hands than Argus' eyes,
I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds,
And write thy epitaph with blood and wounds.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »