Rodger, N. A. M.


Harper Collins, 1st.ed., 1993. Xviii + 425 pp., 19 plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. [Various books from this author’s library are sprinkled throughout this and our previous catalogues.] A biography of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). Educated at Eton and Cambridge, Montagu toured the Continent and the East and was appointed Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on his return to England in the early 1740s. After various other appointments, including captain in the Duke of Bedford’s Foot Regiment, Montagu was made First Lord of the Admiralty in 1748. With Lord Anson’s assistance, he detected abuses and instituted stringent reforms. Dismissed in 1751, he was nominated First Lord again in 1763, although his reputation was sullied by his role in the prosecution of Wilkes. At the Admiralty again in 1771, Montagu was accused of taking advantage of the vast patronage of the office and neglecting the navy so that when war in the American colonies broke out the naval storehouses were empty. Dr. Rodger, however, shows that there was far more to this colourful character (who had a group of islands named after him as well as a snack) and that he displayed extraordinary powers as a diplomat and won the respect of statesmen at home and overseas. Well-travelled and well-read, he had a passion for music and a rather remarkable domestic life blighted by the madness of his beloved wife and the murder of his mistress on the steps of the Admiralty. The book has copious notes and an excellent bibliography with the author’s useful remarks. FINE copy.

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