Authorised form of nameMontagu; Edward (1625 - 1672); 1st Earl of Sandwich and Viscount Hinchinbroke; army and naval officer
Other forms of nameMountagu, Edward, 1st Earl of Sandwich and Viscount Hinchinbroke
Dates1625 - 1672
Dates and placesBirth:
Barnwell, Northamptonshire, England, Europe (27 July 1625)
Solebay, off Southwold, Suffolk, England, Europe (28 May 1672)
The Chapel of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey, London, England, Europe
Soldier; naval official; diplomat; politician; colonial official
Middle Temple (admitted 1635)
Deputy Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire (1643); commissioned to raise a regiment of 1000 men for Parliament (1643); present at the siege of Lincoln (1643) and the battles of Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645); Governor of Henley (1645); MP for Huntingdonshire (1645-1648, 1653, 1654-1655, 1656-1658); MP for Weymouth (1660); Member of the Council of State (1653); Commissioner for Customs (1653); Lord President of the Council of State (1653); one of the Lord Commissioners of the Treasury (1654-1659); Commissioner of the Admiralty (1655); joint General at Sea (1656); Privy Councillor (1657, 1660); commanded the fleet in the Downs (1657) and the fleet sent to the Sound (1659); Master of the Great Wardrobe (1660-1670); Member of the Committee to consider the state of Jamaica (1660); Shareholder in the Royal African Company (1660); Shareholder in the Royal African Company (1660); Admiral and Captain-General of the Narrow Seas (1661); Master of the King's Swans (1661); Master of the Trinity House (1661); Ambassador Extraordinary to Portugal (1661-1662); Member of the Committee of Plantations (1662); Recorder of Huntingdon (1663); Admiral of the Blue Squadron (1664); Member of the Company of the Royal Fishery of England (1664); Ambassador Extraordinary to Madrid (1666-1668); President of the Council for Plantations (1670); commanded the Blue Squadron at the battle of Southwold Bay, where he died by drowning when his flagship, the Royal James, had been set on fire
KG 1660; Viscount Hinchinbroke and Earl of Sandwich 1660
Royal Society activityMembership:
Original Fellow
Election Date:
13 February 1661
Brief period on Council (22 February 1668)
RelationshipsParents: Sir Sydney Montagu, KB, and Paulina Pepys
Married Jemima Crew
Additional relatives: first cousin of Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester (FRS 1665); distant cousin of Samuel Pepys (FRS 1665); father-in-law of Sir Philip Carteret (FRS 1665); father-in-law of Sir Richard Edgcumbe (FRS 1676)
General contextMontagu was a founding member of The Royal Adventurers into Africa, later Royal African Company (RAC). The RAC was a British trading company established by Royal Charter in 1660 which enslaved and sold African people. The company was chartered by Charles II, the founding royal Patron of the Royal Society, which was also chartered in 1660. The RAC was made up of and funded by members of the Stuart royal family and London merchants many of whom were, or went on to become, Fellows of the Royal Society. The Royal Society itself held shares in the company from 1682 until 1699. The RAC held a monopoly on English trade on the west coast of Africa. The principal interest of the company was originally gold and secondarily other natural resources. The Company's second charter in 1663 mentions trade in enslaved people, who were mainly sold into slavery on British owned estates in the West Indies and America. The Jesus College Cambridge Legacy of Slavery Working Party has stated that the RAC was responsible for selling more Africans into slavery in America than any other institution in the history of the Atlantic slave trade, and that they ran a brutal regime with the full knowledge of their investors. The company became insolvent in 1708, it survived until 1752 when its assets were transferred to the new African Company of Merchants, which lasted until 1821.”

Montagu was also a member of the Company of the Royal Fishery of England, a trading company incorporated in 1676, which sanctioned involuntary labour, though not lifelong slavery, on Company ships.

As a member of the Council for Foreign Plantations, within the Board of Trade government body, Montagu worked to further the government's colonial interest. In his post, he made £500 quarterly. The Council's orders and tasks fell within a broad remit and included finding ways in which to take and enslave people to bring to the colonies, mediating between the Royal African Company and the colonies, as well as enforcing the 'reeducation' of Native Americans and enslaved people in the colonised regions.
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Hunter; Foster; Henning
Margaret Deacon, 'Founders of Marine Science in Britain: the Work of the Early Fellows of the Royal Society' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 28-50
Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, 'Some Spanish Contributions to the Early Activities of the Royal Society of London' in NR 1988 vol 42 pp 123-132
Mark Govier, 'The Royal Society, Slavery and the Island of Jamaica: 1660-1700' in NR 1999 vol 53 pp 203-217 for information on connections to trading companies
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8078
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/003145Montagu, Edward, 1st Earl of Sandwich and Viscount Hinchinbrokend
LBO/1/157Copy letter from John Montague, 1st Earl of Sandwich, Madrid, to William Brouncker26 March 1666/1667
CLP/8i/5Paper, observations of the moon and stars in voyage to Portugal by the earl of Sandwich1662
CLP/8i/5/1Paper, observations of the moon and stars in voyage to Portugal by the earl of Sandwich1662
CLP/8i/5/3Drawing, astronomical observations by the earl of Sandwich1662
CLP/7i/2Paper, 'Propositions of some experiments to be made by my Lord Sandwich in his present voyage in to the Streights and into Portugal'1661
CLP/8i/5/2Drawing, astronomical observations by the earl of Sandwich1662
MS/366/1/3The Sembrador: or a new Invention for the more equall sowing of Wheate, and other Graines; by which a greate quantity of Corne is Saved, and an imense qyantitiy and Increase yearly gained [by Don Joseph Lucatello]. 3 March 1669/1670
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