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American Colonies | Kirke takes Quebec  | English Newfoundland | Phips | Treaty of Ryswick | Francis Nicholson | Treaty of Utrecht | War of Austrian Succession | Capture of Louisbourg | Treaty of Chapelle | Halifax | French Indian War | Governor Murray

James Murray was the Governor of Canada from 1760 to 1766. Murray was born in 1719 into nobility. His father was the 4th Lord Elibank and as a youngest son his choice was either to join the clergy or enter the military. He choose the army and was dispatched to the West Indies, the Netherlands and France. His father helped him purchase his commission as Lieutenant Colonel in 1751.

As the confrontation in North America spun out of control and the Seven Years War was ignited, his regiment was sent to Nova Scotia where he lead a Brigade during the siege and attack on Louisbourg in 1758. After victory and the fall of Louisbourg, he was one of the Brigade commanders for Wolfe when the British army sailed up the St Lawrence in 1759 with the objective of taking Quebec City.

Murray commanded the left wing of the British army during the Battle of the plains of Abraham. With the death of Wolfe, Murray took command and prepared Quebec city for the expected counterattack form Montreal in 1760. By April the French had arrived and the siege began. Murray and his mean held out and in May it became apparent that the first forces coming up the St Lawrence as the ice melted was the British. The French forces lifted the siege and retreated back to Montreal. Murray led his troops in ht pursuit and as General Amherst also attacked Montreal, the French surrendered and the North American part of the war was for all practical purposes over.

In 1760 Murray was made commissioned Governor of Quebec and quelled the unrest that remained in many segments of the population. By 1763 the peace had been signed and he was made the Governor of Canada. Murray sympathised with the farmers and landed gentry of the St Lawrence Valley and was not a big supporter of the many American merchants who arrived to make a quick buck. He also believed that the French Canadians could best be brought into the North American by maintaining their traditional customs, legal traditions and Habitant identity.

His sympathy towards the defeated French created a strong counter movement which solicited  support to have Murray recalled to London so they the British merchants could really take advantage of shifting centres of power in the colony. They succeeded and in 1766 he was recalled and charges were brought against him. He was exonerated and resumed his duties at another post.

Without Murray's wise leadership, the restructuring of the French colony within the British Empire might have been a very ugly experience but as it was the process was peaceful and when the American Revolution burst into fire to the south, Quebec remained loyal to the British Crown.

 


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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html