MONTAGU, Irby (c.1656-1704).
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Family and Education
b. c.1656, 4th s. of Hon. George Montagu† of Horton, Northants.; bro. of Charles*, Christopher* and James Montagu I*. unm.1
Capt. Sir John Hanmer’s Ft. 1688–94; capt. and lt.-col. 1 Ft. Gds. Mar. 1694–d.
Freeman, Maldon 1695.2
At the Revolution, Montagu was given a troop by the Prince of Orange. He served in Ireland, being present at the Boyne and at subsequent campaigns. He returned to England in February 1694 and transferred to a guards regiment. In 1695 he stood for Maldon in succession to his brother Charles, though he was a stranger to the borough. Charles Montagu came down for the election at which, according to a local Tory, he secured Montagu’s return ‘by fighting some, and bribing and corrupting others’. Their kinsman, the 4th Earl of Manchester, also campaigned on Montagu’s behalf. In 1696 he was forecast on 31 Jan. as likely to support the government in the division on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association, voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s., and on 25 Nov. voted for Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder.3
Montagu was successful again in 1698. His name appeared on a list of placemen in September 1698 and he was classed as a placeman and a Court supporter on a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments. His opponent William Fytche* petitioned on 23 Dec., but no report was made from the committee of elections that session. On 18 Jan. 1699 Montagu voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill and on 6 Apr. was named to thank Mr Smallwood for a sermon preached to the House the previous day. In the next session, following a report of the elections committee, Montagu’s election was confirmed on 14 Dec. 1699. In an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ in the first half of 1700 he was listed as a follower of his brother Charles.
At the general election of January 1701, Montagu’s brother Charles, by then Lord Halifax, campaigned for Montagu and again secured his return. In December, at the second general election in that year, Montagu was defeated despite Halifax’s distribution of free food and drink to the electors on his behalf. His petition against his rival’s return was the first to be heard, the elections committee debating it till midnight on 17 Jan. 1702, by which time many Whigs, seeing that abuses had been committed by Montagu’s party, withdrew, so that the Tories carried it against him. James Lowther*, a Whig, wrote that the report was made on the 27th in ‘the fullest House that I ever heard of’, when
it happened that Mr Montagu the petitioner made a mistake and treated the town between the ordering of the writ and the test of the writ which was a thing never objected to before but now explained to be within the letter of the law, so there were no endeavours used to bring him in but only to make it a void election by reason of the sitting Member had not the majority of votes. There was a great debate and upon the division we lost it by 18, Ayes 226, Noes 208.
Montagu’s agent at Maldon was ordered to be taken into the custody of the House. Montagu fell from his horse when riding in Enfield Chase on 28 Aug. 1704 ‘and immediately died, being a corpulent man’.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. Bridges, Northants. i. 368; Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxviii), 140.
- 2. Essex RO, Maldon bor. recs. D/B3/1/24, f. 61.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1695, p. 240; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 390.
- 4. Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 2, 131, 459; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/5, James* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 17, 27 Jan. 1701[–2]; HMC Portland, iv. 117.