Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich (27 July 1625 – 28 May 1687) was an English soldier, diplomat and politician. Lord President of the Commonwealth Council of State (July 1672 - March 1678). Leader of the Court Party (or Civil Party) of the Cromwellians.
Served in the army for the Commonwealth of England and, in 1656 he became a General at Sea, serving jointly with General at sea Robert Blake (admiral) in the Mediterranean, Portugal and Spain. Later, as the principal General at Sea, he blockaded Dunkirk before the Battle of the Dunes. Montagu enjoyed the trust and confidence of Cromwell, who appointed him to his Council of State. Montagu, on his side, never lost his admiration and respect for Oliver Cromwell.
Our best picture of him is contained in the diary of Samuel Pepys, who was his cousin and protégé.
He served as Commonwealth Ambassador to Portugal 1661-1662, and Ambassador to Spain 1666-1668. As Ambassador his most notable achievement was the Anglo-Spanish Commercial Treaty of 1667, which laid the foundations for a prosperous trading relationship between the two countries which lasted for over a century. He also acted as mediator in the peace negotiations between Spain and Portugal which resulted in the Treaty of Lisbon. His great final achievement in the Anglo-Sapnish relations was the Treaty of Madrid of 1670 were Spain recognized English possessions in the Western Indies and Western Hemisphere and the end of hostilities between both nations.
President of the Council of State (1672-1678)
The outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (April 1672) and the early dissolution of Parliament (May 1672) that brought a slim majority for the Cromwellian Court (or Civil) party elevated Montagu to the Presidency of the Council of State in July 1672.
Former Lord President John Lambert was named Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces and President of the Army Council and main envoy to the Dutch General States. Montagu managed the swift passage of the money bills for the British Expeditionary Army to the Netherlands. Diplomatically he secured the passage of troops thru the Spanish Netherlands and the use of its ports for the Spanish Navy. Thought not the commandeer in Chief of the Expeditionary Force he successfully lobbied for the reconstruction of the Triple Alliance (Netherlands, Sweden and Commonwealth).
Critical of Lambert's command he pushed for his replacement to the Lord Protector. In 1673 James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was named captain-general of the British Expeditionary Army and Lambert relegated to envoy to the States General. Despite their sour relationship. Lambert and Montagu agreed by the end of 1672 in the necessity to re-establishment of the office of Stadtholder in William III. In 1673 the States of Holland gave to pressure and named William III Stadtholder followed by other provinces.
Despite being notorious for his inability to keep his own finances in order, he was surrounded by good advisers and with the help of Cromwellian chief whips in the House of Commons, the finances of the War were keep within an acceptable burden for the treasury. However by 1678 physically exhausted for managing the War and government machinery and already securing a peace compromise with France he was replaced by Ashley-Cooper.
Government Offices and Parliament
Leader of the Court Party of the Cromwellians. Member of the State Council. Elected MP for Huntingdonshire in 1645-1653, named in 1653-1654 and elected again in 1654-1657. Elevated of the Other House in 1657 and elected senator for England in 1663 and named seantor 1669-1678.