Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax

Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax KG PC PRS (16 April 1661 – 19 May 1715) was an English poet and statesman.

The Earl of Halifax

First Lord of the Treasury
In office
13 October 1714 – 19 May 1715
MonarchGeorge I
Preceded byThe Duke of Shrewsbury
as Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded byThe Earl of Carlisle
In office
1 May 1697 – 15 November 1699
MonarchWilliam III
Preceded byThe Earl of Godolphin
Succeeded byThe Earl of Tankerville
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
3 May 1694 – 15 November 1699
MonarchWilliam III and Mary II
Preceded byRichard Hampden
Succeeded byJohn Smith
Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
21 March 1692 – 3 May 1694
MonarchWilliam III and Mary II
Preceded byThomas Pelham
Succeeded byJohn Smith and William Trumbull
Personal details
Born16 April 1661
Horton, Northamptonshire
Kingdom of England
Died19 May 1715 (aged 54)
Spouse(s)The Dowager Countess of Manchester née Anne Yelverton
Relationsfifth son of the 1st Earl of Manchester
Coat of arms of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, PC, PRS
Coat of arms of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, PC, PRS

Early life

Charles Montagu was born in Horton, Northamptonshire, the son of George Montagu, fifth son of the 1st Earl of Manchester. He was educated first in the country, and then at Westminster, where he was chosen as a Queen's Scholar in 1677, and entered into close friendship with George Stepney.

Montagu was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1679. He graduated with an MA in 1682, and became a Fellow of Trinity in 1683.[1] Two portraits of Montagu by Godfrey Kneller are in the college collection.[2]

His relation, Dr. John Montagu, was then Master of Trinity College, and took him under his wing. At Cambridge he began a lasting association with Isaac Newton.

In 1685, Montagu's verses on the death of King Charles II made such an impression on the Earl of Dorset that he was invited to town and introduced to other entertainments. In 1687, Montagu joined with Matthew Prior in "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse," a burlesque of John Dryden's The Hind and the Panther. Shortly before the Glorious Revolution, he married his cousin's widow, the Dowager Countess of Manchester. In the 1689 election, he successfully contested Maldon, with the support of Dorset and the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, the Earl of Oxford, against the Tory Sir John Bramston. Montagu sat for Maldon in the Convention Parliament of 1689.[3] He also purchased for £1,500 a position as Clerk of the Council, to which he was appointed on 21 February 1689. He was returned for Maldon again without a contest at the 1690 election.[4]

Political office

In 1691, having become a member of the House of Commons, he argued in favour of a law to grant the assistance of counsel in trials for high treason. He became flustered in the middle of his speech, and upon recovering himself, observed "how reasonable it was to allow counsel to men called as criminals before a court of justice, when it appeared how much the presence of that assembly could disconcert one of their own body".

After the House of Commons he rose quickly, becoming one of the Commissioners of the Treasury and a member of the Privy Council. In 1694 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reward for having devised the establishment of the Bank of England, the plan which had been proposed by William Paterson three years before, but not acted upon. After an unsuccessful attempt to supplant the Earl of Sunderland's leadership with the Whigs, he was compelled to reconcile with him in August 1695. With the support of Sunderland and the Court, Montagu was returned to Parliament for Westminster in October 1695.[4] In 1695, he was involved in the successful recoinage project. In 1698, having been appointed to the first Commission of the Treasury, he was also one of the regency in the King's absence. The next year he was made Auditor of the Exchequer, and the year after created Baron Halifax, of Halifax in the County of Yorkshire, with remainder to his nephew George Montagu. His impeachment by the Commons failed, when the Articles were dismissed by the House of Lords.

John Macky, relates a short description of the circumstances leading up to Charles, Lord Halifax's impeachment, in the Secret Service Papers published by his son in 1733.

...But as all courtiers, who rise too quick, as he did, are envied, so his great Favour with the King, and powerful Interest in the House, raised a great Party against him, which he strengthened, by seeming to despise them. The Deficiency of Parliamentary Funds, and the growing Debts of the Nation, by the great Interest of Paper Credit, laid him but too much open to these Attacks, he having the whole Administration of the Revenue. When he saw the Party growing too strong for him in the House of Commons, he prudently got himself made a Lord; and as a Screen from all Objections against his Administration, quitted his Management of Commissioner, to serve as Auditor: But his Enemies did not quit him so, they followed him into the House of Peers with an Impeachment, and so left no Stone unturned, to get him out of his Employ, bespattering him every Day with Pamphlets.

Memoirs of the Secret Services of John Macky Esq., pp. 51–54

On the accession of Queen Anne, Montagu was dismissed from the Council, and in the first Parliament of her reign was again attacked by the Commons, and again escaped by the protection of the Lords. In 1704 he wrote an answer to Bromley's speech against occasional conformity. He headed the inquiry into the danger of the Church. In 1706 he proposed and negotiated the Union with Scotland and when the Elector of Hanover received the Garter, after the Act had passed for securing the Protestant Succession, he was appointed to carry the ensigns of the Order to the Electoral Court. He sat as one of the judges of Henry Sacheverell, but voted for a mild sentence. Being now no longer in favour, he obtained a writ for summoning the Electoral Prince to Parliament as Duke of Cambridge.

Earl of Halifax

Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
Charles Montagu was made Viscount Sunbury and Earl of Halifax at the accession of George I.

At the Queen's death Montagu was again appointed one of the regents. At the accession of George I, he was made Viscount Sunbury and Earl of Halifax, with remainder to heirs male, a Knight of the Garter, and First Lord of the Treasury, with a grant to his nephew of the reversion of the Auditorship of the Exchequer. Shortly afterwards he died of an inflammation of his lungs. The viscountcy and earldom became extinct on his death as he had no sons while he was succeeded in the barony according to the special remainder by his nephew George Montagu.

Halifax is reported to have left Catherine Barton, Newton's niece, a sizable inheritance for "her excellent conversation", as John Flamsteed wryly reported at the time.[5] Many of his possessions were auctioned by Christopher Cock on 25 March 1740 at his room in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden.[6]

Alexander Pope commemorated the Earl's death in his unpublished poem "Farewell to London in the Year 1715":

The love of arts lies cold and dead
In Halifax's urn,
And not one Muse of all he fed
Has yet the grace to mourn.

See also



  1. ^ "Montagu, Charles (MNTG679C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "Trinity College, University of Cambridge". BBC Your Paintings. Archived from the original on 19 November 2014.
  3. ^ Hampson, Gillian (1983). "MONTAGU, Charles (1661-1715), of Jermyn Street, Westminster.". In Henning, B. D. (ed.). The House of Commons 1660-1690. The History of Parliament Trust.
  4. ^ a b Knights, Mark (2002). "MONTAGU, Charles (1661-1715), of Jermyn Street, Westminster, and Bushey Park, Hampton Court, Mdx.". In Hayton, David; Cruickshanks, Eveline; Handley, Stuart (eds.). The House of Commons 1690-1715. The History of Parliament Trust.
  5. ^ See Westfall, Life of Isaac Newton, p. 240
  6. ^ Cock, Christopher (1740). 1740.03 A catalogue of the valuable collection of prints, antient Greek and Roman medals, coins, &c. in gold, silver, and brass, of the Most Noble ... London: Christopher Cock.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir John Bramston
Sir Thomas Darcy
Member of Parliament for Maldon
With: Sir John Bramston 1689–1693
Sir Eliab Harvey 1693–1695
Succeeded by
Irby Montagu
Sir Eliab Harvey
Preceded by
Sir Walter Clarges, Bt
Sir Stephen Fox
Member of Parliament for Westminster
With: Sir Stephen Fox 1695–1698
James Vernon 1698–1701
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Crosse
James Vernon
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Hampden
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
John Smith
Preceded by
The Lord Godolphin
First Lord of the Treasury
Succeeded by
The Earl of Tankerville
Preceded by
Christopher Montagu
Auditor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
George Montagu
Preceded by
The Duke of Shrewsbury
(Lord High Treasurer)
First Lord of the Treasury
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
Succeeded by
The Duke of Argyll
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl of Halifax
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Halifax
Succeeded by
George Montagu
1661 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1661.

1661 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

1715 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

4th Parliament of King William III

The 4th Parliament of William III was summoned by William III of England on 13 July 1698 and assembled on 24 August 1698 (but prorogued until 6 December 1698). The party political constitution of the new House of Commons was 246 Whigs, 208 Tories and 59 others. Sir Thomas Littleton, the Whig member for Woodstock, was elected Speaker of the House. The house was divided between the pro-government faction led by the Whig Junto and a Country Whig-Tory alliance, the New Country party, led by Robert Harley.

Once assembled the House returned to the question of the size of the standing army. Harley moved, and the House accepted, that the English establishment be reduced to 7000 (plus a further 12,000 on the Irish establishment). By the end of the first session the Whig Junto were reeling from further attacks of the Opposition and during the summer recess Edward Russell (now Lord Orford) resigned from the Admiralty and Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax from the Treasury.

After reconvening for the second session in November 1699 Harley pressed for further budget reductions including a reduction in the size of the Navy to 7000 men. He also wanted Irish forfeited estates, which commissioners calculated were worth £1,600,000, and which the King had granted to loyal followers, to be considered as public assets. After a stormy passage through the Lords, the supply bill eventually received Royal assent on 11 April 1700.

In the autumn of 1700 the King selected a new Tory dominated ministry and dissolved Parliament on 19 December.

Anne Yelverton

Anne Yelverton (1628–1698) was Countess of Manchester and Countess of Halifax.

Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer

The Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer was an office in the English Exchequer.

The office originated in early times as the clerk of the Lord High Treasurer at the Receipt of the Exchequer. He was responsible for filing and entering the Teller's Bills from the Tellers of the Exchequer, certifying monies received to the Lord Treasurer, and auditing the books of the Tellers. The title of Auditor was officially attached to the post, combined with that of Tally Writer, during the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1826, the duties of the Chamberlains of the Exchequer devolved upon the Auditor. The office was abolished, with several other offices of the ancient Exchequer, on 10 October 1834.

Charles Montagu

Charles Montagu may refer to:

Charles Montagu (of Boughton) (1564–1625), English MP for Higham Ferrers

Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (1661–1715), English poet and statesman

Charles Montagu, 1st Duke of Manchester (c.1656–1722)

Charles Montagu, 5th Baron Swaythling (born 1954)

Hon. Charles Montagu (died 1721) (c.1658–1721), Member of Parliament for Durham

Charles Montagu (of Papplewick) (died 1759), Member of Parliament for Westminster, St. Germans, Camelford, Northampton and St. Albans

Sir Charles Montagu (British Army officer) (died 1777), British general

Lord Charles Montagu (1741–1784), Royal Governor of the Province of South Carolina

Charles Montagu (British Army officer)

Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Montagu KB (died 1 August 1777) was a British Army officer.

Christopher Wandesford, 1st Viscount Castlecomer

Christopher Wandesford, 1st Viscount Castlecomer (19 August 1656 – 15 September 1707) was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer.

Wandesford was the son and heir of Sir Christopher Wandesford, 1st Baronet of Kirklington, Yorkshire, by his wife Eleanor Lowther, daughter of Sir John Lowther, 1st Baronet. He was educated at the University of Cambridge.

Wandesford held the office of Member of Parliament for Ripon between 1679 and 1681. He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in February 1687. He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1689 and 1690. As an opponent of James II, on 7 May 1689 he was attainted in the Parliament of Ireland and had his estates seized. However, following the defeat of the Jacobite army in Ireland, he was richly rewarded by William III. He subsequently served as the MP for St Canice in Ireland between 1692 and 1706, when he was raised to the peerage. He became a member of the Privy Council of Ireland on 10 May 1695. He was elevated to the peerage when he was created Viscount Castlecomer and Baron Wandesford in the Peerage of Ireland on 15 March 1706. He died in September the following year.

He married Elizabeth Montagu, the sister of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, and together they had five children. He was succeeded by his eldest son, also Christopher.

Earl of Halifax

Earl of Halifax is a title that has been created four times in British history. The name of the peerage refers to Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The first three creations were for closely related male members of the Montagu family, landed gentry since the Norman Conquest, and spanned most of the years 1689-1771.

The fourth creation was in 1944 for Lord Halifax, the former Viceroy of India (who was before his elevation to the earldom the 3rd Viscount Halifax). He was a prominent 1930s minister, to whom the office of prime minister was offered on the resignation of Chamberlain, which he declined in favour of Churchill.

Edward Montagu (died 1738)

Brigadier Edward Montagu or Montague (after 1684 – 2 August 1738) was a British soldier and politician. He was the MP for Northampton from 1722 to 1734. He was brother to Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, and grandson of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester.From 1725 to 1732, he was lieutenant-governor of Fort St. Philip, in Menorca, and was then appointed Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull. He was the father of five sons, including George Montagu and Sir Charles Montagu, and two daughters.

George Montagu (died 1681)

George Montagu (28 July 1622 – July 1681) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1679.

Montagu was born at Westminster, the son of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester. He was at school in Amersham, Buckinghamshire under Dr Croke and was admitted at Christ's College, Cambridge on 21 March 1639. He was awarded MA in 1640 and admitted at the Middle Temple in the same year.In November 1640, Montagu was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in the Long Parliament and sat until 1648.

In August 1660, Montagu was elected MP for Dover in the Convention Parliament. In 1661 he was re-elected MP for Dover in the Cavalier Parliament and sat until 1679. He was Master of the Hospital of St Katharine-by-the-Tower, London from 1661 to 1681.Montagu died in 1681 and was buried at St Katharine-by-the-Tower in July.Montagu married Elizabeth Irby, daughter of Sir Anthony Irby. His sons included James Montagu (judge), Edward Montagu (MP) and Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1695

This is a list of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1695.

Lord Lieutenant of Surrey

This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Surrey. Since 1737, all Lords Lieutenant have also been Custos Rotulorum of Surrey.

Louis Du Guernier

Louis Du Guernier (1677–1716) was an engraver.

Born in Paris in 1677, Louis was probably a descendant of the well-known French artists of the same name. He was a pupil of Louis de Chatillon, and came to England in 1708. He was a member of the academy in Great Queen Street and gained considerable skill as a designer, etcher, and engraver there. He was eventually chosen one of the directors, and remained so until he died. He was specially employed on small historical subjects, as illustrations to books and plays.

In 1714 he was associated with Claude du Bosc in engraving the battles of the Duke of Marlborough, as he was with the same partner in providing six plates for the expanded edition of The Rape of the Lock that year. Among others engraved by him were portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry after Godfrey Kneller, Dr. Isaac Barrow, Thomas Otway, and others; also an engraving of "Lot and his Daughters" after Caravaggio, done at the request of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, and some plates for John Baskett's large Bible.

He died of smallpox 19 September 1716, aged 39. Vertue says that ‘he was of stature rather low than middle size, very obliging, good temper, gentleman-like, and well beloved by all of his acquaintance.’ However, in the view of Edward Hodnett (English Book Illustration 1988, p.75) he probably died around 1735.

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

"The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" is one of Aesop's Fables from ancient times, often retold under that name or assorted variations. Works which include variations on the title or subject matter (or both) of "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" include:

"Mus Urbanus et Mus Rusticus" (English: "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse") (about 35 BC), Latin poem, II.VI.77–115 of the Satires by Horace

"The Twa Mice" (circa 1480s), Scots adaption of "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"

The Hind and the Panther Transvers'd to the Story of the Country-Mouse and the City-Mouse (1687), English satire by Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax

The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918), American children's book by Beatrix Potter based on "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"

Le Rat de Ville et le Rat des Champs (The Town Rat and the Country Rat) (1927), French animated film by Ladislas Starevich

The Country Cousin (1936), American animated short film based on "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"

"The City Mouse and the Country Mouse" (1977), episode of Basil's Cartoon Story Book

"Country Mouse, City Mouse" (In the Heat of the Night) (1989), American TV episode

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse: A Christmas Tale (1993), American TV special

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures (1998–2001), American animated TV series

"Gratitude" (2000), American animated TV episode of Adventures from the Book of Virtues based on "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"

Upper Lodge Water Gardens

The Upper Lodge Water Gardens are a partially restored complex of early eighteenth century Water Gardens in Bushy Park,


Originally built for Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax between 1709 and 1715 when he was ranger of Bushy Park and lived in Upper Lodge, they fell into disuse over subsequent centuries, but part of the complex was restored in the early 21st century and opened to the public in 2009.The complex originally ran for 960 metres across the park from the entry point of the Longford River (now the Pantile bridge) in the Hampton Hill end of Bushy Park to what is now the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington.

The two ends of the complex remain in Bushy Park as part of the route of the Longford river and the canal plantation. the central sections were modified or even filled in, and the Upper Lodge they were built for was rebuilt in 1840. The Octagonal Upper pond and, the lower pond and the cascade that separate them were restored and are now open to the public. Another restored pond lies in the private gardens of Upper Lodge.

The partial restoration was part of a major £7,200,000 refurbishment of Bushy Park, of which about 60% came from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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