James Montagu (judge)

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Sir James Montagu SL QC (2 February 1666 – 1723) was an English barrister, and judge. As a politician, he sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1695 and 1713 and served as Solicitor General and Attorney General.[1]

Life[edit]

Montagu was the sixth son of George Montagu of Horton, Northamptonshire, by his wife Elizabeth Irby, daughter of Sir Anthony Irby. His grandfather was Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester. He was entered at the Middle Temple, and called to the bar.

In 1695 Montagu became Member of Parliament for Tregony, and for Beeralston in 1698, when he was also made chief justice of Ely. In 1704 he successfully defended John Tutchin, indicted for a libel published in his periodical, The Observator, and two years later he was leading counsel in the prosecution of Beau Fielding for bigamy in marrying the Duchess of Cleveland. In 1705 he was committed by the House of Commons to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms for having in 1704 demanded a habeas corpus on behalf of the group of Aylesbury men, whom the house had committed to Newgate Prison for bringing actions against the returning officer; Montagu pleaded strongly against the privilege claimed by the Commons. He remained in custody from 26 February to 14 March, when parliament was prorogued and afterwards dissolved. In April 1705 he was knighted at Cambridge, and was made a Q.C. in November of the same year.

In the second parliament of Queen Anne, Montagu was returned for Carlisle; he became solicitor-general in 1707, and was attorney-general from 1708 to 1710, when the queen granted him a pension. This pension was made the subject of a motion brought before the house in 1711, in which Colonel Gledhill represented it as intended to defray the expenses of Montagu's election at Carlisle; the charge was, however, disproved. As attorney-general Montagu opened the case in the House of Lords against Henry Sacheverell. He became serjeant-at-law on 26 October 1714, was made a Baron of the Exchequer on 22 November 1714, and was lord commissioner of the great seal (on the resignation of Lord Cowper) from 18 April to 12 May 1718, when Lord Parker became lord chancellor. Montagu succeeded Sir Thomas Bury as chief baron of the exchequer in May 1722. He died on 1 October 1723.

Family[edit]

Tufton Wray (d 1712)

Montagu married Tufton Wray, daughter of Sir William Wray, 1st Baronet, of Ashby in 1694. She died in 1712, and he married as his second wife his cousin Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Montagu, 3rd Earl of Manchester, by whom he had a son Charles, afterwards M.P. for St. Albans, and a daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir Clement Wearg. Montagu's brother was Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax.

References[edit]

  1. ^  "Montagu, James (1666-1723)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Hugh Fortescue
The Earl of Kildare
Member of Parliament for Tregony
1695–1698
With: Francis Robartes
Succeeded by
Francis Robartes
Philip Meadowes
Preceded by
Sir Rowland Gwynne
John Hawles
Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
1698–1701
With: John Hawles
Succeeded by
Sir Rowland Gwynne
Sir Peter King
Preceded by
Christopher Musgrave
Thomas Stanwix
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
1705–1707
With: Thomas Stanwix
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
1707–1713
With: Thomas Stanwix
Succeeded by
Thomas Stanwix
Sir Christopher Musgrave, Bt
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Simon Harcourt
Solicitor General
1707–1708
Succeeded by
Robert Eyre
Attorney General
1708–1710
Succeeded by
Sir Simon Harcourt
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Bury
Chief Baron of the Exchequer
1722–1723
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Eyre