Montague, Edward Wortley

, only son of the preceding lady Mary, was born in October 1713, and in the early part of his life seems to have been the object of his mother’s tenderest regard, though he afterwards lost her favour. In 1716, he was taken by her on his father’s embassy to Constantinople, and while there, was, as we have noticed in her life, the first English child on whom the practice of inoculation was tried. Returning to England with his parents in 1719, he was placed at Westminsterschool, where he gave an* early sample of his wayward disposition, by running away, and eluding every possible search, until about a year after he was accidentally discovered at Blackwall, near London, in the character of a vender offish, a basket of which he had then on his head. He had bound himself, by regular indenture, to a poor fisherman, who said he had served him faithfully, making his bargains shrewdly, and paying his master the purchasemoney honestly. He was now again placed at Westminster-school, but in a short time escaped a second time, and bound himself to the master of a vessel which sailed for Oporto, who, supposing him a deserted friendless boy, treated him with great kindness and humanity. This treatment, however, produced no corresponding feelings; for the moment they landed at Oporto, Montague ran away up the country, and contrived to get employment for two or three years in the vintage. Here at length he was discovered, brought home, and pardoned but with no better effect than before. He ran away a third time after which, his father procured him a tutor, who made him so far regular that he had an appointment in one of the public offices and, in 1747, he was elected one of the knights of the shire for the county of Huntingdon but in his senatorial capacity he does not appear to have any way distinguished himself; nor did he long retain his seat, his expences so far exceeding his income, that he found it prudent once more to leave England, about the latter end of 1751. His first excursion was to Paris, where, in a short | time, he was imprisoned in the Chatelet, for a fraudulent gambling transaction: how he escaped is not very clear, but he published a defence of himself, under the title of “Memorial of E. W. Montague, esq. written by himself, in French, and published lately at Paris, against Abraham Payba, a Jew by birth, who assumed the fictitious name of James Roberts. Translated into English from an authentick copy sent from Paris,1752, 8vo.

In the parliament which assembled in 1754, Mr. Montague was returned for Bossiney: and in 1759 he published his “Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the ancient Republics, adapted to the present state of Great Britain,” 8vo. This work contains a concise, and not inelegant, relation of the Grecian, Roman, and Carthaginian states, interspersed with occasional allusiotis to his own country, the constitution of which he appears to have studied with care. It is somewhat singular that Mr. Forster, the person whom his father had engaged as his tutor, endeavoured to claim the merit of this work; but not, as Mr. Seward remarks, until more than a year after Mr. Montague’s death, when he could receive no contradiction.

His father died in January 1761, at the advanced age of eighty, and by his will, made in 1755, bequeathed to his son an annuity of one thousand pounds a-year, to be paid to him during the joint lives of himself and his mother lady Mary; and after her death an annuity of two thousand pounds a-year, during the joint lives of himself and his sister lady Bute. By the same will he empowered Mr. Montague to make a settlement ou any woman he might marry, not exceeding eight hundred pounds a-year; and to any son of such marriage he devised a considerable estate in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was this last clause which gave rise to a story that he had advertised for a wife, promising to marry “any widow or single lady, of genteel birth and polished manners, and five, six, seven, or eight months in her pregnancy.” Such an advertisement certainly appeared, but not sooner than 1776, within a few months of his death, and when he was abroad; all which render the story rather improbable.

His mother died in 1762, and left him only one guinea, he having offended her irreconcileably: but as he was now independent by his father’s liberal bequest, he once more took leave of his native country, and passed the remainder of his life in foreign parts, In 1762, while at | Turin, he wrote two letters to the earl of Macclesfield, which were read at the Royal Society, and afterwards published in a quarto pamphlet, entitled, “Observations upon a supposed antique bust at Turin.” In the Philosophical Transactions are also, by him, “New Observations on Pompey’s Pillar,” and an account of his journey from Cairo in Egypt to the Written Mountains in the desarts of Sinai. It is said that he published “An Explication of the Causes of Earthquakes;” but it is not recollected where. His travels in the East occupied some years, and in the course of them he first abjured the protestant for the Roman catholic religion, and then the latter for Mahometanism, all the rite’s and ceremonies of which he performed with a punctuality which inclines us to think that he was in some degree deranged! He died at length at Padua in May 1776, and was buried under a plain slab, in the cloister of the HermitauTs, with an inscription recording his travels and his talents. The latter would have done honour to any character, but in him were obscured by a disposition which it would be more natural to look for in romance than in real life. 1


See many additional particulars, adventures, and eccentricities of this singular character, in Mr. Nichols’s History of Leicestershire and Life of Bowyer.