MUNRO, Robert (1684-1746), of Foulis, Ross.
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Family and Education
b. 24 Aug. 1684, 1st s. of Sir Robert Munro, 5th Bt., M.P. [S], of Foulis by Jean, da. of John Forbes, M.P. [S], of Culloden. educ. ?Edinburgh. m. ?1713, Mary, da. of Henry Seymour, M.P., of Woodlands, Dorset, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. as 6th Bt. 11 Sept. 1729.
Capt. 1 Ft. 1710; lt.-col. and capt. of an independent co. 1714-16; gov. Inverness 1715-16; lt.-col. 42 Ft. 1739-45; col. 37 Ft. 1745-d.
Commr. for forfeited estates 1716-25.
Munro, an army officer, came of a Presbyterian family, at bitter feud with the Jacobite Mackenzies of Ross-shire. Re-elected unopposed in 1715 for Tain Burghs, which he had represented as a Whig since 1710, he was appointed a commissioner for the sale of estates forfeited in the late rebellion, voting with the Government in all recorded divisions. He was one of the Members who were credited with fictitious stock by the South Sea Company, in his case £6,000 at 275 on 23 Mar. which he ‘sold’ back to the Company a month later at 330.1 In spite of having been convicted and fined £200 for kidnapping some opponents at the Dingwall town council elections in 1721,2 he was re-elected in 1722, after a contest. On 24 Oct. 1722 he made his only reported intervention in debate, moving unsuccessfully that an election petition by General Charles Ross should be heard at an early date.3 He retained his seat, without further opposition, voting regularly with the Government, till 1741, when he was defeated by Charles Areskine, the lord advocate, with the support of Lord Ilay, Walpole’s election manager for Scotland. On this Munro wrote to Walpole, 24 June 1741:
I hope you have a true account of the manner in which the elections in this kingdom have been carried on. My Lord Ilay’s conduct towards me makes it improper for me to trouble you with particulars, because I may be thought prejudiced, for the power of the Government has not in any instance since the Union been so much exerted as at this time to bring in Lord Fortrose, and keep me out of Parliament.
He sent a copy of this letter to Pelham, stating that Ilay could have made
at least ten Members in room of as many of our Members now declared patriots, but it was not consistent with his scheme of aggrandising his family, so that a person to depend on the Duke of Argyll, was more agreeable to the Earl than one absolutely attached to Sir Robert Walpole and the Administration, and the opposition given by the Earl to any who was to act in concert with the Duke, was faint without intention to prevail.
There was a design to try if the 16 peers could be more modelled to the Duke’s list than the list which my Lord Ilay concerted at London, but this was found impracticable without acting too openly and could not be coloured over, because all the world here knew that Lord Oliphant, the person of least weight among the Scots peers, could carry any list for the Court, being enabled in the same manner as the Earl of Ilay was.4
Munro petitioned, with the result that after Walpole’s fall Areskine was unseated by the Commons, but a motion for declaring Munro duly elected failed. At the ensuing by-election Munro, though said to be prepared to spend £,8000,5 was defeated by Robert Craigie, Areskine’s successor as lord advocate, put up by Ilay’s successor as minister for Scotland, Lord Tweeddale.
During the war of the Austrian succession Munro, in command of a newly formed Highland regiment, the Black Watch, distinguished himself at Fontenoy, where he remained standing under heavy fire ‘because (as he said), though he could easily lie down, his great bulk would not suffer him to rise so quickly’.6 He was killed at Falkirk, 17 Jan. 1746.