Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montagu, James (1752-1794)

634660Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38 — Montagu, James (1752-1794)1894John Knox Laughton

MONTAGU, JAMES (1752–1794), captain in the navy, third son of Admiral John Montagu [q. v.], and brother of Admiral George Montagu [q. v.] and of Edward Montagu (1755-1799) [q. v.], was born on 12 Aug. 1752. On 18 Aug. 1771 he was promoted by his father to the rank of lieutenant, and on 11 Sept. 1773 to be commander of the Tamar sloop. In her, and afterwards in the Kingfisher, he continued on the North American station, and on 14 Nov. 1775 he was posted to the Mercury. In December 1776 he was sent to England with the despatches announcing the capture of Rhode Island by Sir Peter Parker and General Clinton. He then returned to North America; but on 24 Dec. 1777, coming down the North (or Hudson's) River, the Mercury struck on a hulk which the enemy had sunk in the fairway, and became a total wreck. Montagu was tried by court-martial at New York, but acquitted of all blame, and in July 1778 he was appointed to the Medea frigate, which for the next two years he commanded on the home station, cruising in the North Sea, in the Channel, or occasionally as far south as Lisbon. In October 1780 he was moved into the Juno, and, after a year of similar service in the Channel, in February 1782 sailed with Sir Richard Bickerton [q. v.] for the East Indies. The Juno arrived at Bombay in August 1782, and on 20 June 1783 was present at the action off Cuddalore, the last between Sir Edward Hughes [q. v.] and the Bailli de Suffren. Montagu returned to England in the beginning of 1785, and being then unable to obtain employment afloat he went, in October 1786, to France on a twelve-months' leave. In October 1787 he was back in England, but had no employment till the outbreak of the revolutionary war, when at his own special request apparently on account of the name he was appointed to the 74-gun ship Montagu, one of the grand fleet under Lord Howe during the campaigns of 1793 and 1794 [see Howe, Richard, Earl]. In the battle off Ushant, on 1 June 1794, Montagu was killed. A monumental statue, by Flaxman, is in Westminster Abbey.

[Official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office; James's Naval Hist, ed. of 1860, i. 185.]

J. K. L.