Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montagu, Charles (1660?-1722)

685234Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38 — Montagu, Charles (1660?-1722)1894James McMullen Rigg

MONTAGU, CHARLES, first Duke of Manchester (1660?–1722), diplomatist, third and eldest surviving son of Robert, third earl of Manchester [see under Montagu, Edward, second Earl], by Anne, daughter of Sir Christopher Yelverton of Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire, born about 1660, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and abroad. In 1680 he was created M.A. at Cambridge. He succeeded as Earl of Manchester and Viscount Mandeville on the death of his father, 14 March 1682. Of handsome appearance, he was chosen to serve the office of lord carver to the queen at the coronation of James II, 23 April 1685. On 12 May following he took his seat in the House of Lords, but soon afterwards went abroad in disgust at the revival of arbitrary power, had an audience of the Prince of Orange, and was made a party to his designs. Returning to England, he raised a troop of horse in Nottinghamshire, and joined the prince on his landing. At his coronation, 11 April 1689, he carried St. Edward's staff, and the same year was made captain of the yeomen of the guard and lord-lieutenant of Huntingdonshire. He attended the king to Ireland in June 1690, and fought at the Boyne and before Limerick. In the winter of 1697-8 he was at Venice on an extraordinary mission to obtain the release of certain English seamen detained in the galleys of the republic. The doge and signory received and entertained him with great ceremony, but returned evasive answers to his representations, and the prisoners had not been released when, in the spring of 1698, he was recalled.

On his return to England, Manchester was sworn of the privy council (8 June), and in the following year succeeded Lord Jersey as ambassador extraordinary at the court of France. He arrived in Paris on 5 Aug. 1699, and had his first audience of Louis XIV on 15 Nov. His principal function was to watch and, as far as possible, counteract the intrigues of the court of St. Germains, and accordingly, on the death of James II and the recognition of the Pretender by Louis, he was recalled without leave-taking (September 1701). From 4 Jan. 1701-2 to 15 May following, Manchester held the seal of secretary of state for the northern department. In 1707 he was again ambassador extraordinary at Venice, to negotiate the adhesion of the republic to the grand alliance. Travelling by Vienna, where he had an audience of the emperor (27 April), he reached Venice on 30 June. The signory, as on a former occasion, treated him with marked distinction, and returned evasive answers to his proposals, and in September 1708 he was recalled. On the accession of George I he was resworn of the privy council, to which he was first admitted 9 June 1698, and was appointed lord of the bedchamber, and on 30 April 1719 was created Duke of Manchester. He died on 20 Jan. 1721-2, and was buried at Kimbolton.

Manchester married, on 26 Feb. 1690-1, Dodington, second daughter and coheiress of Robert Greville, fourth lord Brooke, by whom he had two sons, William (1700-1739) and Robert (d. 1762), who in turn succeeded to the title, and four daughters.

In person, Manchester was of the middle height, with an elegant figure and fine features. As a public man he was of the highest integrity, but had ' more application than capacity.' The portrait of him by Kneller as a member of the Kit-Cat Club was engraved by J. Faber.

[Cole's Hist. and Polit. Memoirs from the Courts in Europe from 1697 to 1708; Granger's Biog. Hist. ed. Noble, 1806, iii. 28; Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1722, p. 8; Duke of Manchester's Court and Society from Elizabeth to Anne, ii. 90; Sandford's Hist. of the Coronation of James II; Form of the Proceeding to the Coronation of King William and Queen Mary; Clarendon and Rochester Corresp.; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs; Chamberlayne's Angliæ Notitia, 1691; Story's Continuation of the Hist. of the Wars of Ireland, 1693, pp. 18 et seq.; Beatson's Polit. Index, i. 448; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. p. 193, 3rd Rep. App. p. 193, 7th Rep. App. p. 418, 8th Rep. App. pp. 35, 47, 10th Rep. App. pt. v. p. 130; Grimblot's Letters of William III, 1848, ii. 449, 450, 479; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, iii. 83; Doyle's Official Baronage.]

J. M. R.