Murray, James (1751-1811) (DNB00)

MURRAY (afterwards MURRAY PULTENEY), Sir JAMES (1751?–1811), seventh baronet of Clermont, Fifeshire, general, was only son of Sir Robert Murray, sixth baronet, by his first wife, Janet, daughter of the fourth Lord Elibank, and half-brother of Sir John Murray, afterwards eighth baronet of Clermont [q. v.] James was gazetted on 30 April 1771 to a company in the 57th foot, then in Ireland, and succeeded his father in the baronetcy in the same year. He went with his regiment to America, as part of the reinforcements under Lord Cornwallis, in December 1775; took part in the unsuccessful attempt on Charleston, South Carolina, in the following year, and was afterwards engaged in various minor expeditions about New York. On 19 May 1778 Murray was promoted to a majority in the 4th king's own foot. He accompanied that regiment to the West Indies, and commanded a provisional battalion of light companies at the capture of St. Lucia the same year. The 4th returned home from Antigua in 1780, and Murray, who became a brevet lieutenant-colonel 6 Feb., was on 2 March appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 94th foot (second of the five regiments which in succession bore their number). When the 94th was disbanded on the peace of 1783, Murray was placed on half-pay. In 1789 he was made aide-de-camp to the king, and in 1790 became a major-general. He was adjutant-general to the Duke of York in Flanders in 1793-4, and was repeatedly sent on diplomatic missions.

Murray assumed the name of Pulteney on his marriage, July 1794, with Henrietta Laura Pulteney, baroness Bath. The lady was daughter of Sir William Johnstone, afterwards Johnstone-Pulteney, baronet of Westerhall, Dumfriesshire, by his first wife, the daughter and sole heir of Daniel Pulteney, first cousin of the first Earl of Bath. As Miss Pulteney, Pulteney's wife is said to have been at one time engaged to Charles James Fox. On succeeding after her mother's death to the Bath estates, she was created Baroness Bath in her own right, 26 July 1792, and 26 Oct. 1803 was advanced to the dignity of countess in her own right. Her father, who was M.P. for Weymouth, and is described in the journals of the day as the richest commoner and the greatest holder of American stock ever known, died intestate in 1805, and the countess paid 6,000l. in stamp duties, the largest sum then on record, and took the bulk of his property (Gent. Mag. 1805, pt. i. p. 587). In the year of his marriage (1794) Pulteney was appointed colonel of the 18th royal Irish foot. He held a major-general's command in Ireland in 1798, became a lieutenant-general in 1799, and accompanied Sir Ralph Abercromby with the advance of the Duke of York's army to North Holland, where he was shot through the arm at the landing. He had odd ways, and Bunbury describes him as chuckling at having now been shot through both arms and both legs (Bunbury, Narrative, p.47). Abercromby wrote of him, 'Sir James Pulteney surprised me. He showed ardour and intelligence, and did himself honour' (Dunfermline, Life of Abercromby, p. 174). In August 1800 Pulteney was sent with a body of troops against Ferrol. The troops were landed, the Spanish outposts driven in, and the heights above the port occupied ; but Pulteney considered the place too strong to be taken except by a regular siege, which would afford time for the Spanish armies to move to its relief. Accordingly he reembarked his troops. This gave great dissatisfaction, the naval officers of Sir John Borlase Warren's squadron holding that the place could easily have been carried. Sir John Moore afterwards told Bunbury that during a hasty reconnaissance in 1804 he saw enough to convince him that the place could not have been carried by a coup de main (Bunbury, Narrative, p. 73). Reinforced by additional troops, Pulteney then sailed away to Gibraltar with twenty thousand men. He was second in command under Sir Ralph Abercromby in the demonstration against Cadiz in October the same year; after which he proceeded to Lisbon with the troops enlisted for European service only. Most of these subsequently went to Malta, and Pulteney returned home. He stood proxy for Sir William Medows at an installation of the Bath in 1803. He held a lieutenant-general's command in Sussex, with his headquarters at Eastbourne, during the invasion alarms of 1803-4. His plans in the event of an invasion are given by Bunbury (ib. pp. 178-9).

Pulteney represented the combined boroughs of Wey mouth and Melcombe Regis in successive parliaments from November 1790 until his death. A petition was lodged against his return in 1802, and referred to a committee, which reported that the petition was not frivolous and vexatious, although Murray was duly elected. He was secretary at war under the Grenville administration in 1806-7. In April 1811 a powder-flask burst in his hands and destroyed one of his eyes. No danger was at first apprehended, and his calm, unruffled temperament favoured recovery, but inflammation supervened and proved fatal. He died at Buckenham, a seat he rented in Norfolk, on 26 April 1811. He is stated to have left 600,000l. to his half-brother, Sir John Murray, who succeeded him as eighth baronet, and 200,000l. to another half-brother, the Rev. William Murray, who ultimately became ninth baronet (Gent. Mag. 1811, pt. i. p. 499). The Pulteney estates passed under the will of his wife, who had died at Brighton, 14 Aug. 1808, and had been buried beside her father in Westminster Abbey, to the children of Mrs. E. Markham, a daughter of Sir Richard Sutton, bart., and the divorced wife of a son of William Markham, D.C.L., archbishop of York.

Bunbury writes of Pulteney : 'He was a very odd man. In point of natural abilities he took high rank. He had seen a great deal of the world and of military service ; he had read much and variously, and possessed a great fund of knowledge and considerable science. Remarkably good-tempered and unpretending, he was utterly indifferent to danger and to hardship.' He was, however, inclined to indecisive argument, and lacked confidence in his own opinion, while his awkward manners and 'a grotesque and rather repulsive exterior ' concealed the best points in his character (Bunbury, Narrative, pp. 46-7).

[Foster's Baronetage, under 'Murray of Clermont;' Army Lists and London Gazettes; Jones's Hist, of the Campaigns in Flanders, also War Office Records in the Public Record Office, ' Correspondence with the Army on the Continent,' 1793-4 ; Bunbury's Narrative of Passages in the late War with France, London, 1854. A few notices of Murray will be found in the Journal and Correspondence of the first Lord Auckland.]

H. M. C.