MONTGOMERIE, James (1755-1829), of Wrighthill, Ayr.
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Family and Education
b. 26 Feb. 1755, 6th s. of Alexander Montgomerie of Coilsfield, and bro. of Hugh Montgomerie*. m. 1810, Harriet Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Jackson of Westbury, Glos., s.p.
Ensign, 51 Ft. 1773 (to Minorca 1774), 13 Ft. 1775; adj. to Gen. Sir James Murray, home 1776; lt. 13 Ft. 1779; capt. 93 Ft. 1780; brigade maj. to Maj.-Gen. Bruce at home 1794, brevet maj. 1794, lt.-col. 6 W.I. regt. 1795 (Martinique), 31 Drag. 1796; in command at St. Kitts 1796-8; 45th regt. 1798, invalided home; brevet col. 1802; lt.-col. 64 Ft. 1804; brig.-gen. W.I. 1804; commander of Tobago, 1804-5; gov. Demerara and Berbice 1805-1808, Dominica 1808-12 (home 1809); maj.-gen. 1809; col. 74 Ft. 1813; lt.-gen. 1814; col. 30 Ft. 1823-d.
As a professional soldier, Montgomerie saw extensive service in the West Indies, in culmination of which he found himself, in May 1808, named governor of Dominica, but wished to give it up. Lord Moira wrote to John McMahon, 31 Mar. 1811:
When any single battalion regiment shall be vacant, will you remind the Prince of Major-General Montgomerie, Lord Eglintoun’s brother? He has the staff in the West Indies and the lucrative government of Dominica to give up for it; but his health will not allow him to bear the climate.
A week later, Moira added:
Pray take care that General Montgomerie does not lose the government of Dominica if he cannot have a regiment. He was forced to give an eventual resignation of it to render himself capable for standing for Ayrshire; and it would be requisite that Lord Liverpool should be told to cancel the resignation unless the general can be otherwise provided for.1
In the event Montgomerie resigned Dominica and obtained the colonelcy of a regiment.
Montgomerie had stood for Ayrshire on the family interest in the by-election of 1811 and he then received government support through the Melville interest, though he frankly withheld his support from them, Eglintoun being attached primarily to the Prince Regent. In any case, disadvantaged by a late start, he was defeated, though narrowly, both in 1811 and at the general election of 1812, when he again had ministerial support.2 In 1818 his opponent Sir Hew Hamilton stood down and he was returned unopposed. He probably gave a silent support to ministers in his first Parliament: there is no evidence of activity, although he was in London in January 1819,3 unless it was he, rather than Sir James Montgomery who voted against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. He died 13 Apr. 1829.