1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Munro, Robert

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For works with similar titles, see Monro, Robert.

MUNRO, Monro or Monroe, ROBERT (d. c. 1680), Scots general, was a member of a well-known family in Ross-shire, the Munroes of Foulis. With several of his kinsmen he served in the continental wars under Gustavus Adolphus; and he appears to have returned to Scotland about 1638, and to have taken some part in the early incidents of the Scottish rebellion against Charles I. In 1642 he went to Ireland, nominally as second in command under Alexander Leslie, but in fact in chief command of the Scottish contingent against the Catholic rebels. After taking and plundering Newry in April 1642, and ineffectually attempting to subdue Sir Phelim O'Neill, Munro succeeded in taking prisoner the earl of Antrim at Dunluce. The arrival of Owen Roe O'Neill in Ireland strengthened the cause of the rebels (see O'Neill), and Munro, who was poorly supplied with provisions and war materials, showed little activity. Moreover, the civil war in England was now creating confusion among parties in Ireland, and the king was anxious to come to terms with the Catholic rebels, and to enlist them on his own behalf against the parliament. The duke of Ormonde, Charles's lieutenant-general in Ireland, acting on the king's orders, signed a cessation of hostilities with the Catholics on the 15th of September 1643, and exerted himself to despatch aid to Charles in England. Munro in Ulster, holding his commission from the Scottish parliament, did not recognize the armistice, and his troops accepted the solemn league and covenant, in which they were joined by many English soldiers who left Ormonde to join him. In April 1644 the English parliament entrusted Munro with the command of all the forces in Ulster, both English and Scots. He thereupon seized Belfast, made a raid into the Pale, and unsuccessfully attempted to gain possession of Dundalk and Drogheda. His force was weakened by the necessity for sending troops to Scotland to withstand Montrose; while Owen Roe O'Neill was strengthened by receiving supplies from Spain and the pope. On the 5th of June 1646 was fought the battle of Benburb, on the Blackwater, where O'Neill routed Munro, but suffered him to withdraw in safety to Carrickfergus. In 1647 Ormonde was compelled to come to terms with the English parliament, who sent commissioners to Dublin in June of that year. The Scots under Munro refused to surrender Carrickfergus and Belfast when ordered by the parliament to return to Scotland, and Munro was superseded by the appointment of Monk to the chief command in Ireland. In September 1648 Carrickfergus was delivered over to Monk by treachery, and Munro was taken prisoner. He was committed to the Tower of London, where he remained a prisoner for five years. In 1654 he was permitted by Cromwell to reside in Ireland, where he had estates in right of his wife, who was the widow of Viscount Montgomery of Ardes. Munro continued to live quietly near Comber, Co. Down, for many years, and probably died there about 1680. He was in part the original of Dugald Dalgetty in Sir Walter Scott's Legend of Montrose.

See Thomas Carte, History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde (6 vols., Oxford, 1851); Sir J. T. Gilbert, Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland 1641-1652 (3 vols., Dublin, 1879-1880) and History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland (7 vols., Dublin, 1882-1891); John Spalding, Memorials of the Troubles in Scotland and England (2 vols., Aberdeen, 1850); The Montgomery MSS., 1603-1703, edited by G. Hill (Belfast, 1869); Sir Walter Scott, The Legend of Montrose, author's preface.