Montagu, Frederick (DNB00)

MONTAGU, FREDERICK (1733–1800), politician, born in July 1733, was son of Charles Montagu (d. 1759) of Papplewick, Nottinghamshire, a nephew of George Montagu, earl of Halifax (of the second creation) (cf. Hist. Reg., Chron. Diary, 1730, p. 64). The father was auditor-general of the duchy of Cornwall while Frederick was Prince of Wales ; was M.P. for Westminster in 1722, for St. Germans in 1734, for Camelford in 1741, and for Northampton in 1754, and died on 29 May 1759 (cf. W. P. Courtney, Parliamentary Representation of Cornwall, 1889, pp. 290, 349). Frederick's mother, well known in society after her husband's death, was an intimate friend of Mary, dowager-countess of Gower (the widow of John Leveson-Gower, first earl Gower), and of Mrs. Delany, in whose published 'Correspondence' she frequently figures as 'my Mrs. Montague' (cf. v. 476, 502, 505), in order to distinguish her from the better known Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu [q. v.] Her London residence was in Hanover Square. She died 31 May 1780 (Gent. Mag. 1780, p. 299). Frederick, after being educated at Eton, became a fellow-commoner of Trinity College, Cambridge, 8 Feb. 1750. He seems to have won Dr. Paris's college declamation prize, and his oration was published at the request of the master and fellows as 'Oratio in laudes Baconi,' Cambridge, 1755, 4to. He graduated M.A. per lit. reg. in 1757. At Cambridge Montagu made the acquaintance of the poets Gray and Mason , which he sedulously cultivated afterwards (cf. Gray, Works, ed. Gosse, ii. 284, 557). To his influence Mason owed his appointment to a canonry at York in 17(52 (ib. p. 82). Admitted a barrister of Lincoln's Inn in 1757, Montagu became a bencher in 1782 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) He was M.P. for Northampton from 1759 to 1767, in succession to his father, and for Higham Ferrers from 1768 to 1790.

In 1763 his cousin, George Montagu Dunk, second earl of Halifax (of the second creation) [q. v.], pressed Lord Grenville to obtain a post for him in the board of trade (Grenville Correspondence, ii. 221), and he was subsequently 'a devoted adherent to the Cavendish and Rockingham interest' (Wraxall, Memoirs, ii. 348). In 1772 he moved in vain to abolish the fast of 30 Jan., the date of Charles I's execution ; the fast was not abolished till 1859 (Boswell, Johnson, ed. Hill, ii. 152). In 1780 he was generally expected to succeed Sir Fletcher Norton [q. v.] as speaker of the House of Commons (Walpole, Letters, ix. 354 ; Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. vi. 38, cf. 29). He became a lord of the treasury in 1782 under the Marquis of Rockingham, and again in 1783 in the Duke of Portland's coalition ministry. In 1787 he was a member of the committee that prepared the articles of Warren Hastings's impeachment (Wraxall, iv. 446). He was popular in society, and had literary tastes. Wraxall describes him as 'a man of distinguished probity' (ii. 348). On retiring from the House of Commons in 1790, he was made a privy councillor, and lived mainly at his house at Papplewick, which he had rebuilt in 1787 (cf. Thoroton, Nottinghamshire, ed. Throsby, ii. 288). He was created D.C.L. at Oxford on 3 July 1793. He died at Papplewick on 30 July 1800 (Gent. Mag. 1800, pt. ii. p. 801). Thirteen I of his letters to Mrs. Delany are printed in that lady's 'Correspondence,' vols. v. and vi., and two are among the Duke of Manchester's manuscripts (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. ii. 128, 136). A sister Ann, who died on 10 Sept. 1786, was wife of John Fountayne [q. v.], dean of York, to whose grandson, Richard Fountayne Wilson, the estate of Papplewick passed, together with the name of Montagu.

[Information kindly supplied by Dr. W. Aldis Wright of Trinity College, Cambridge; Burke's Landed Gentry, s.v. 'Montagu of Papplewick;' authorities cited.]

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