James Graham Montrose, 5th earl and 1st marquess of

Montrose, James Graham, 5th earl and 1st marquess of (mŏntrōzˈ) [key], 1612–50, 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).

See biography by C. V. Wedgwood (2d ed. 1966).

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