MONTAGU, Edward I (1625-72), of Hinchingbrooke, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. 27 July 1625, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir Sidney Montagu† of Hinchingbrooke by 1st w. Paulina, da. of John Pepys of Cottenham, Cambs. educ. M. Temple, entered 1635. m. 7 Nov. 1642, Jemima, da. of John Crew of Stene, Northants. (later 1st Baron Crew), 6s. 4da. suc. fa. 1644; KG 26 May 1660; cr. Earl of Sandwich 12 July 1660.
Commr. for eastern assoc. Hunts. 1642, assessment 1643-52, 1657, sequestration 1643, levying of money 1643, new model ordinance 1645, militia 1648, Mar. 1660, j.p. by 1650-9, Mar. 1660-d., custos rot. 1653-9, Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for scandalous ministers, Cambs. and Hunts. 1654; freeman, Dover Apr. 1660, Portsmouth 1661; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norfolk circuit July 1660, sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660; jt. ld. lt. Hunts. c. Aug. 1660-d.; recorder, Huntingdon 1663-d.
Col. of ft. (parliamentary) 1643-5, horse 1658-9; gov. Henley 1645; jt. gen.-at-sea 1656-9, Feb.-May 1660; adm. 1661-d.
Councillor of State 1653-9, pres. 1653; commr. of Treasury 1654-9, June-Sept. 1660, trade 1655-7, Nov. 1660-d., Admiralty 1655-9, Mar.-July 1660; co-patentee of ballastage 1657-8; plenip. at the Sound 1659; PC June 1660-d.; master of the great wardrobe June 1660-70; elder bro. Trinity House June 1660-d., warden June 1660-1, master 1661-2; member, R. Adventurers into Africa Dec. 1660, asst. 1664-6, 1669-71; master of the swans 1661-d.; ambassador to Portugal 1661-2, 1666, Spain 1666-8; member, R. Fishing Co. 1664; pres. committee for plantations 1670-d.
The career of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, is well known. Although his father, from whom he inherited the former priory of Hinchingbrooke and an estate of £2,000 p.a., had been a Royalist, Montagu himself supported Parliament in the Civil War, perhaps influenced by his cousin, the 2nd Earl of Manchester, and his father-in-law, John Crew. He commanded a regiment of foot in the first Civil War, but took no part in the second, and did not sit in Parliament after Pride’s Purge. He was, however, a strong Cromwellian, serving on the Council of State and in the navy, and in 1658 he took his seat in the ‘Other House’. It was only after the fall of Richard Cromwell that he became receptive to the royalist overtures conveyed through his cousin, the Hon. Edward Montagu. He was obliged to resign his command by the Rump after bringing the fleet back from the Sound in support of Booth’s rising. On the return of the secluded Members the King gave him permission to accept appointment (jointly with George Monck) as general-at-sea and Councillor of State. He went aboard the fleet on 23 Mar. 1660 and sailed to the Downs, where he purged the extreme sectaries and republicans. He took a vigorous part in electioneering in the boroughs subject to Admiralty influence, and was himself returned for Weymouth and Dover. On 3 May he read the King’s letter and the Declaration of Breda to a council of war, and with its approval had them read to all the ships’ companies. The fleet sailed to Scheveling, and on 23 May the King embarked on Montagu’s flagship, the Naseby, re-named the Royal Charles, for his return to his kingdoms. On taking his seat in the House Montagu elected to serve for Dover. He sat on no committees, though he had been appointed in his absence to confer with the Lords on the instructions to be given to the messengers to the King. On 19 June he was thanked by the House for his services ‘to his Majesty and the kingdom’. He was rewarded with an earldom, taking the title of Sandwich after some hesitation, and continued to sit in the Commons as ‘Lord Mountague’ for another 12 days. On 24 July ‘he thought it his duty to acquaint this House with’ his new honour, and after another vote of thanks formally took his leave, ‘many Members of this House accompanying him forth’.2
Sandwich held high naval and diplomatic appointments for the rest of his life; but both his physique and his morals deteriorated rapidly at the Restoration Court. In religion, his servant and kinsman Samuel Pepys
found him to be a perfect sceptic, and [he] said that all things would not be well while there was so much preaching, and that it would be better if nothing but homilies were to be read in churches.
He favoured uniformity, just as he had always favoured monarchy, because they were conducive to an ordered society. He was well rewarded for his part in the Restoration; to support the dignity of his earldom he was granted lands and fee-farm rents worth £4,000 p.a. But he was extravagant; his embassies were expensive, and the wardrobe proved unprofitable. He estimated his annual income at £8,000, but by 1664 he was £10,000 in debt. He was drowned at the battle of Sole Bay on 28 May 1672, and buried in Westminster Abbey.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Basil Duke Henning
This biography is based on F. R. Harris, Life of Sandwich.