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General Sir George Murray


1772 - 1846

Soldier, statesman and politician. Born at Ochtertyre, his family's seat near Crieff, Murray was educated at the High School and University in Edinburgh. In 1789, he obtained a commission into the 71st Foot, reaching the rank of Captain in 1794, and seeing service in Flanders (1794-95), the West Indies, England and Ireland. In 1799 he was made a Lieutenant-Colonel, entering the Quartermaster General's Department and making his considerable reputation as Quartermaster General (1808-11) during the Peninsular War, under the Duke of Wellington, and receiving promotion to Colonel in 1809. After a brief period as Quartermaster General in Ireland, Murray returned to the Peninsular Campaign as Major-General (1813-14), and was invested with the Order of the Bath in 1813. In 1814 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, though he quickly returned to Europe following Napoleon's escape from Elba, but arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Waterloo. After cessation of hostilities, Murray was based in France as Chief of Staff to the Army of Occupation and, thereafter, he was appointed Governor of the Royal Military College (1819). He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford in 1820 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1824. After a somewhat notorious liaison, in 1825 he married Lady Louisa Erskine, widow of Sir James Erskine of Torrie (1772 - 1825). Subsequently he was made Lieutenant General of the Board of Ordnance, but in 1828 he resigned as Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Ireland and became Colonial Secretary.

His political career was less successful, beginning in 1823 when he became MP for Perthshire, losing his seat in 1832, though he regained it for a year in 1834. Murray was also President of the Royal Geographical Society (1833-5) and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. His substantial papers and maps were gifted to the National Library of Scotland by a great-niece in 1913. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.


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