MONTAGU, Edward (1625-1672)
Was 1st count of Sandwich and ambassador to Lisbon and Madrid. Born in 1625, he was the nephew of the count of Manchester and the only surviving son of Sir Sidney Montague, royalist and member of the ?Long Parliament? during the British civil war. In 1642 he married Jemimah, the oldest daughter of the count of Crew.
Taking the side of the parliamentarians, Montague participated in confrontations with the royalists that included the famous battles of Marston Moor, Naseby and Bristol. After the end of the civil war and the establishment of the English Parliamentary Republic, Montague was appointed to the Counsel of State in 1653 and commissary to the Treasury one year later.
After the Treaty of Westminster was made official in 1654, Montague and Blake were sent to Lisbon to pressure the Portuguese king, who was hesitant to ratify the accord. Ratification only happened in June of 1656, the same year that these British officials were named commanders of the British navy. One year later, Montague was appointed to the Chamber of Lords of Oliver Cromwell, a distinction that surely resulted from his friendship with Cromwell. He had beennone of the voices that had urged Cromwell to assume the throne of Britain, a proposition which the statesman had come to reject.
After Cromwell?s death in 1658, Montague remained loyal to the protectorate, although there were periods of conflict until the monarchy was restored. Commander of the British navy at the time, he was one of the main proponents of the return of Charles II to the throne and went to the United Provinces to bring back the deposed king. As a result, in 1660 he received the Order of Jarrateira and the titles of count of Hinchingbrooke and count of Sandwich. Later in life, he was named lieutenant admiral to the duke of York.
In 1661, Montague was appointed special ambassador to Lisbon, where he remained for one year. He was sent to prepare the surrender of Tangiers and after to receive the wedding dowry (two million cruzados) of the marriage of Infanta Catarina to Charles II and to escort the future queen to Britain. The surrender of Tangiers was peaceful (although Spain urged the moors to attack) and occurred in January of 1662. The second mission was more complicated since the Portuguese were not successful in retrieving the first half of the dowry payment, which should have been paid at the time of the departure of the future queen of England. The ambassador found himself in a delicate situation because he had received orders that the agreement was to be cancelled should any problems arise before the departure of the infanta. Britain had no intention of cancelling the accord, however, given the heft dowry involved, as well as the advantages England stood to gain from the treaty. This situation, along with the prompting of the regent queen Luísa de Gusmão and the Infanta, prompted Montague to accept the amount available (about 700 thousand cruzados, along with merchandise and jewels) and, on April 23, he and Catarina left for England, where the marriage took place about one month later.
Upon his return to Portugal, he was named commander-chief of the British navy, after the resignation of the duke of York in 1665 and, as rear-admiral, he took part in the naval battles against the United Provinces during the second war between England and Holland, which took place from 1665-67. In October of the following year, after having abandoned his post in the navy, he was appointed ambassador to Madrid, where he remained until 1668. His mission was to correct and amend parts of the last accord with Spain and to mediate the peace process between Spain and Portugal, which culinated in 1668. With the outbreak of the third war between England and Holland, which lasted from 1672-74, Montague became second commander of the British armada, led by the duke of York. He died in battle in June of 1672 and was buried in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abby.
AZEVEDO, Carlos de ?Um retrato português em Inglaterra?, Sep. Revista da Faculdade de Letras, tomo XXII, 2ª série, nº1, Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, 1956; PRESTAGE, Edgar, As Relações Diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra e Holanda de 1640 a 1668, Coimbra, Impr. da Universidade, 1928; STEPHEN, Leslie, LEE, Sidney (eds.), The Dictionary of National Biography, vol. XIII, Oxford, University Press, 1998, pp. 679-684.
Author: Pedro Nobre
Translated by: Rosa Simas