The Earl of Halifax
|First Lord of the Treasury|
13 October 1714 –19 May 1715
|Preceded by|| The Duke of Shrewsbury |
as Lord High Treasurer
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Carlisle|
1 May 1697 –15 November 1699
|Preceded by||The Earl of Godolphin|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Tankerville|
|Chancellor of the Exchequer|
3 May 1694 –15 November 1699
|Monarch||William III and Mary II|
|Preceded by||Richard Hampden|
|Succeeded by||John Smith|
|Commissioner of the Treasury|
21 March 1692 –3 May 1694
|Monarch||William III and Mary II|
|Preceded by||Thomas Pelham|
|Succeeded by||John Smith and William Trumbull|
|Born||16 April 1661|
Kingdom of England
|Died||19 May 1715 54)(aged|
|Spouse(s)||The Dowager Countess of Manchester née Anne Yelverton|
|Relations||fifth son of the 1st Earl of Manchester|
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax(16 April 1661 – 19 May 1715) was an English poet and statesman.
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.Two portraits of Montagu by Godfrey Kneller are in the college collection.
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.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.
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.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.
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. Many of his possessions were auctioned by Christopher Cock on 25 March 1740 at his room in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden.
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.
Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, KG, was a prominent English politician. Under King Charles II, he was the leading figure in the government for around five years in the mid 1670s. He fell out of favour due to corruption and other scandals, and was impeached and eventually imprisoned in the Tower of London for five years until the accession of James II of England in 1685. In 1688 he was one of the Immortal Seven group that invited William III, Prince of Orange to depose James II as monarch during the Glorious Revolution. He was again the leading figure in government, known at the time as the Marquess of Carmarthen, for a few years in the early 1690s.
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.
Henry Boyle, 1st Baron Carleton, was an Anglo-Irish Whig politician who sat in the Irish House of Commons from 1692 to 1695 and in the English and British House of Commons between 1689 and 1710. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State, and after he was raised to the peerage as Baron Carleton, served as Lord President of the Council.
George Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (c. 1684 – 9 May 1739, of Horton, Northamptonshire, was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1705 to 1715 when he became a peer.
Sir John Ernle was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1654 and 1695. He was one of the longest-serving Chancellors of the Exchequer of England, a position he held from 2 May 1676 to 9 April 1689.
Richard Hampden was an English Whig politician and son of Ship money tax protester John Hampden. He was sworn a Privy Counsellor in 1689 and was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 18 March 1690 until 10 May 1694.
William Lowndes was a British Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1695 to 1724. He was Secretary to the Treasury of Great Britain under King William III and Queen Anne,
Captain Charles Bertie, of Uffington, near Stamford, Lincolnshire, was a British administrator, diplomat, and Tory politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1678 and 1711. He rose to serve as Secretary to the Treasury under his brother-in-law, the Earl of Danby, from 1673 until 1679 but did not wield significant political power thereafter. He did, however, twice enjoy the office of Treasurer of the Ordnance before his death in 1711.
Peregrine Bertie was an English politician, the second son of Montagu Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey. A member of the court party, later the Tories, he sat for Stamford from 1665 to 1679, and from 1685 to 1687. Most active in Parliament during the 1670s, he and other members of his family were consistent political supporters of Bertie's brother-in-law, the Duke of Leeds throughout several reigns. While he never achieved significant political stature, he did hold several minor government offices: he was a captain in the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards until 1679, and a commissioner of the Alienation Office and a customs officer. The death of his wife's brother brought the couple an estate in Waldershare, Kent, where Bertie ultimately settled. He sat for Westbury after the Glorious Revolution, but showed little political activity compared to others of his family. Bertie stood down from Parliament in 1695 and died in 1701, leaving two daughters.
Andrew Archer, of Umberslade Hall, Tanworth in Arden, Warwickshire was a British landowner and Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons in three periods between 1690 and 1722.
Thomas Mansel, 1st Baron Mansel of Margam PC, of Margam Abbey, Glamorgan, also known as Thomas Mansell, was a Welsh Tory politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1689 until 1712, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Mansel and sat in the House of Lords..
Peregrine Bertie DL was a British politician, the second son of Robert Bertie, 3rd Earl of Lindsey.
Sir James Montagu SL KC, of the Middle Temple, London, was an English lawyer and Whig politician, who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1695 and 1713. He became a judge and also served as Solicitor General and Attorney General.
John Pulteney, of St James's, Westminster and Harefield, Middlesex, was an English lawyer and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1695 to 1710.
Sir Thomas Meres, of Lincoln and Bloomsbury, Middlesex, was an English lawyer and Tory politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1659 and 1710. He showed a remarkable level of activity both within and outside Parliament, particularly during the reign of Charles II.
Colonel Charles Godfrey was an English Army officer, courtier and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons for 22 years between 1689 and 1713.
The Governor of Chester was a military officer responsible for the garrison at Chester Castle.
Charles Montagu, of Papplewick, Nottinghamshire. was a British landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1722 and 1759.
Sidney Wortley Montagu, of Wortley, Yorkshire and Walcot, Northamptonshire, was a British coal-owner and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1679 and 1727. He was one of the leading coal owners in the North-East and a member of powerful coal cartels. Although he served in Parliament over a long period, his contributions there were limited.
|Parliament of England|
Sir John Bramston
Sir Thomas Darcy
| Member of Parliament for Maldon |
With: Sir John Bramston 1689–1693
Sir Eliab Harvey 1693–1695
Sir Eliab Harvey
Sir Walter Clarges, Bt
Sir Stephen Fox
| Member of Parliament for Westminster |
With: Sir Stephen Fox 1695–1698
James Vernon 1698–1701
Sir Thomas Crosse
| Chancellor of the Exchequer |
The Lord Godolphin
| First Lord of the Treasury |
The Earl of Tankerville
| Auditor of the Exchequer |
The Duke of Shrewsbury
(Lord High Treasurer)
| First Lord of the Treasury |
The Earl of Carlisle
The Duke of Northumberland
| Lord Lieutenant of Surrey |
The Duke of Argyll
|Peerage of Great Britain|
|New creation|| Earl of Halifax |
|Peerage of England|
|New creation|| Baron Halifax |