MONTGOMERIE, Hon. Archibald (1726-96), of Minnoch, Ayr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1761 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 18 May 1726, 2nd surv. s. of Alexander, 9th Earl of Eglintoun [S], by his 3rd w. Susanna, da. of Sir Archibald Kennedy, 1st Bt., of Culzean, Ayr.  educ. Irvine and Haddington g.s.; Eton 1738-41; Winchester Feb.-Oct. 1741; private schs. Berwick and London 1742-3; Geneva 1743-4.  m.(1) 30 Mar. 1772, Lady Jean Lindsay (d. 22 Jan. 1778), da. of George, 21st Earl of Crawford [S], s.p.; (2) 9 Aug. 1783, Frances (div. Feb. 1788), da. of Sir William Twysden, 6th Bt., of Roydon Hall, Kent, 2da.  suc. bro. as 11th Earl of Eglintoun 24 Oct. 1769.

Offices Held

Entered army 1743; capt. 43 Ft. 1744; maj. 36 Ft. 1751; lt.-col. commdt. 62 (subsequently 77) Ft. 1757-1763; col army 1762; gov. Dumbarton castle 1764-82; col. 51 Ft. 1767-95; maj.-gen. 1772; lt.-gen. 1777; gov. Edinburgh castle 1782- d.; gen. 1793; col. 2 Drag. 1795- d.

Dep. ranger Hyde Park and St. James’s Park Feb. 1766-8; Scottish rep. peer 1776- d.


While serving in Minorca in 1753, Montgomerie was adopted candidate for Ayrshire against the Loudoun interest by his brother Eglintoun who was bitterly chagrined when Administration denied him their interest and even refused Montgomerie leave to come home for the election. In the end he stood down. In 1757 he raised a Highland battalion, served with Washington in the campaign against Fort Duquesne (1758), and in 1760 commanded the expedition against the Cherokees.

Meanwhile Eglintoun, actively campaigning from 1759 on his behalf in Ayrshire, secured Bute’s support against the Loudoun-Argyll candidate.1 Montgomerie returned home in December 1760, and as a result of the composition of the Argyll-Bute quarrel, was returned unopposed in 1761. To ensure him a seat in any event, Eglintoun had induced the Galloway interest to nominate him for Wigtown Burghs, for which, after a contest, he was also returned, but chose to sit for Ayrshire.

Listed in December 1762 among those favourable to the peace preliminaries, he remained a loyal but silent supporter of Bute, and, a perfervid Scot, was equally faithful to Grenville over Wilkes and general warrants. Counted as a supporter in July 1765 by Rockingham (under whose Administration he secured another lucrative place), he yet voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Under the Chatham Administration his views diverged from those of his brother. Following the commander-in-chief, Granby, he voted with Government on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and on nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. When Eglintoun attached himself to the Grenvilles in opposition, voted in the Lords against the court, and was dismissed from his place as lord of the bedchamber in September 1767, Lord Loudoun, now closely connected with Bute, concerted plans to ‘put down Lord Eglintoun’s strength’ in Ayrshire. He formed an alliance with Cassillis and David Kennedy to oppose Montgomerie, who, lazy and ‘heedless’, had lost ground with his constituents.2 When it was suggested that he might withdraw in favour of his cousin Kennedy, Montgomerie wrote to William Mure, 9 Nov. 1767:3

If but one man in the county would ... vote for me I would appear upon the day of election. I shall write to my friend Lord Granby to secure the interest of Government in case of need; he has ever acted with firmness to the Duke of Grafton.

When in December 1767 the Bedfords separated from Eglintoun’s friends the Grenvilles and joined Administration, a correspondent wrote to Loudoun on the Ayrshire situation, 31 Dec. 1767:4

[Eglintoun] may think ... by sitting still to throw the blame on his brother whatever happens, who would have more friends if he was not that relation to him ... It is strongly given out that Col. Montgomerie is the ministers’ man ... this takes with mean expectants ... Wiser people cannot hesitate to believe he must be at his brother’s direction was things coming to a push, and they cannot be so blind now as not to see his influence fallen at present.

Montgomerie was defeated and did not re-enter the Commons. On his brother’s murder in 1769 he succeeded to his peerage but not to his seat in the Lords. A good companion, hard drinking, genial but hot tempered, Montgomerie had few intellectual interests. A ‘violent Scotsman’, with a contempt for Englishmen equal to Dr. Johnson’s for Scots,5 he strongly opposed ministerial dictation in the election of Scottish representative peers, even at the risk of his own military preferment;6 and during his career in the Lords showed considerable independence.

He died 30 Oct. 1796.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Allan Whitefoord to Loudoun, 14 July 1759, Loudoun mss.
  • 2. Caldwell Pprs. ii(1), p. 139; Montgomerie of Coilsfield to Loudoun, 1 Apr. 1776, Loudoun mss.
  • 3. Caldwell Pprs. ii(2), p. 127.
  • 4. Chas. Dalrymple to Loudoun, Loudoun mss.
  • 5. Boswell, Private Pprs. xiii, 38.
  • 6. Jas. Abercrombie to Loudoun, 29 Dec. 1770, 18 Jan. 1771, Loudoun mss.