Montrose's story is one of honour, service, achievement, sacrifice, and finally tragedy. He fought valiantly against a rising tide of treachery and betrayal and ultimately, when most of his friends and associates had already been slaughtered by the Covenanting regime, he followed them to the scaffold to suffer the death, by hanging and quartering, of a common felon.
When Montrose was finally defeated at Carbisdale in April 1650 he was captured and handed over to the authorities by Neil Macleod of Assynt. His fate was sealed.
He was hurried to Edinburgh to take part in a sham trial in front of the representatives of the Covenanting regime, following which the sentence of death was pronounced. Montrose spent an uncomfortable night in the Tollbooth but even during these final hours he managed to pen a prayer, his Metrical Prayer, which clearly shows his commitment to God and his unshaken belief that God would take him to him and ‘raise him with the just'.
MONTROSE'S METRICAL PRAYER
Let them bestow on ev'ry airth a limb;
That Montrose could write so eloquently just hours before his pending execution shows not just admirable ability but also astonishing strength of character.
The campaigns of Montrose were often hard fought and bloody affairs but Montrose knew they had to be. Once the conflict started he knew that he was fighting against forces which were greater in terms of number and better in terms of supply. He knew that his first defeat would probably end the campaign, and so it was ultimately to prove.
Montrose always strove to fight his campaigns in an honourable way and, as he was to proclaim at his trial, ‘not one hair on a Scotchman's' head was harmed that he could have saved'.
Montrose believed in the true and original Covenant. Honour and fidelity meant everything to him and, until his very last breath; he died believing that he had done everything in his power to not only acclaim God but also to support his rightful sovereigns Charles 1 st and 2nd.