John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS (3 November 1718 – 30 April 1792)GroveOnline|4th Earl of Sandwich|William Weber|December 2|2006] succeeded his grandfather, the 3rd Earl, in 1729, at the age of ten. During his life he held various military and political offices (such as Postmaster General and First Lord of the Admiralty), but is perhaps most well-known for being claimed to have originated the sandwich.


Educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge, Montagu spent some time in travelling, and on his return to England in 1739 he took his seat in the House of Lords as a follower of the Duke of Bedford. He was soon appointed one of the Commissioners of the Admiralty under Bedford and a Colonel in the Army.

In 1746 he was sent as a plenipotentiary to the congress at Breda, and he continued to take part in the negotiations for peace until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was concluded in 1748. In February 1748 he became First Lord of the Admiralty, retaining this post until June 1751. In August 1753 Sandwich became one of the principal Secretaries of State, and while filling this office he took a leading part in the prosecution of John Wilkes for obscene libel although he had been associated with Wilkes in the notorious Hellfire Club. John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera" was played in Covent Garden shortly thereafter, and the similarity of Sandwich's conduct to that of Jemmy Twitcher, betrayer of Macheath in that play, permanently attached to him that appellation.

Lord Sandwich was Postmaster General in 1768, Secretary of State in 1770, and again First Lord of the Admiralty in Lord North's administration from 1771 to March 1782. Despite the number of important posts that he held during his career, Sandwich's incompetence and corruptness inspired the suggestion that his epitaph should read: "Seldom has any man held so many offices and accomplished so little."

His incompetence in the Admiralty was said to have undermined the seaworthy efforts in the American Revolutionary War. [ [ National Register of Historic Places Application for HMS Culloden] ]

Sandwich married Dorothy Fane, daughter of the 1st Viscount Fane, by whom he had a son, John, Viscount Hinchingbrooke (1743 – 1814), who later succeeded as 5th Earl. Sandwich's first personal tragedy was his wife's deteriorating health and eventual insanity. Later Sandwich found 16 years of happiness with the talented opera singer Martha Ray, who bore him a number of children of whom Basil Montagu (1770 – 1851), writer, jurist and philanthropist, was one. Tragedy was to strike again in April 1779 when Ray was murdered in the foyer of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden by a jealous suitor, James Hackman, Rector of Wiveton. Sandwich never recovered from his grief.

The Sandwich

The modern sandwich is possibly named after Lord Sandwich but not invented by him. [ [ Sandwiches, History of Sandwiches ] ] However, the exact circumstances of the invention are still the subject of debate. A rumour in a contemporary travel book called "Tour to London" by Pierre Jean Grosley formed the popular myth that bread and meat sustained Lord Sandwich at the gambling table [ [ Hexmasters Faktoider: Sandwich] ] . The sober alternative is provided by Sandwich's biographer, N.A.M. Rodger, who suggests Sandwich's commitments to the navy, to politics and the arts mean the first sandwich was more likely to have been consumed at his desk.

It is also possible that Sandwich's Grisons Republic born brother-in-law, Jerome de Salis, taught him about sandwiches.

andwich Islands

Sandwich was a great supporter of Cook’s Pacific exploration, and supplied Admiralty funds for the purchase and fit-out of the Resolution, Adventure and Discovery. Captain James Cook named the Sandwich Islands, (now Hawaii), which were discovered in 1778, after him, as well as the South Sandwich Islands, and also Montague Island in Alaska. [ [] ]


After his Naval career, Sandwich turned his energy toward music. He became a great proponent of "Ancient music" (defined by him as music more than two decades old). He was the patron of the Italian violinist Felice Giardini, and created a "Catch Club", where professional singers would sing "ancient" and modern catches, glees, and madrigals. He also put on performances of George Frideric Handel's oratorios, masques, and odes at his estate. Sandwich was instrumental in putting together the Concert of Ancient Music, the first public concert to showcase a canonic repertory of old works.


*1718 The 4th Earl of Sandwich is born on November 3 1718
*1729 Succeeds his grandfather, Edward the 3rd Earl, in the earldom
*1729 Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge
*1740/41 (old style/new style), March 14, marries The Hon. Dorothy Fane at St. James's, Westminster
*1746 Sent as plenipotentiary to the congress at Breda, and continues to take part in the negotiations for peace until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is signed in 1748
*1748 Becomes First Lord of the Admiralty
*1763 Becomes one of the principal secretaries of state
*1768 Appointed Postmaster General
*1770 Becomes Secretary of State
*1771–1782 Becomes First Lord of the Admiralty again
*1779 His mistress Martha Ray, mother of nine of his children, murdered by her admirer James Hackman
*1782 Retires in March
*1792 Dies on April 30



*N. A. M. Rodger, "The Insatiable Earl: A Life of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich" (London: Harper Collins, 1993)

External links

* [ Montague family history page]
* [ Guide to the papers of Lord Sandwich, 1718–1792] held and digitised by the National Library of Australia
* [ Smithsonian Magazine Article on the Earl's Love Triangle]
* [ The Lives & Times of the Hell-Fire Club]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich — John Edward Hollister Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich (born April 11 1943) is a British entrepreneur, politician and nobleman.Montagu is the eldest son of Victor Montagu, who disclaimed the earldom of Sandwich in 1964, and his first wife Maud… …   Wikipedia

  • John Montagu, 5th Earl of Sandwich — [ James Gillray caricatured Lord Sandwich slipping money into the pocket of an attractive carrot seller, said to be one of his usual amusements.] John Montagu, 5th Earl of Sandwich PC (26 January 1744 ndash; 6 June 1814) was a British… …   Wikipedia

  • Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th Earl of, Viscount Hinchingbrooke, Baron Montagu Of Saint Neots — ▪ British first lord of Admiralty born Nov. 13, 1718 died April 30, 1792, London, Eng.  British first lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution (1776–81) and the man for whom the sandwich was named.       Having succeeded his… …   Universalium

  • Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th earl of — born Nov. 13, 1718 died April 30, 1792, London, Eng. British first lord of the Admiralty (1748–51, 1771–82). He served as secretary of state for the north (1763–65, 1770–71) and led the prosecution of John Wilkes. Appointed first lord of the… …   Universalium

  • John Montagu, IV conde de Sandwich — John Montagu, IV conde de Sandwich. John Montagu, IV conde de Sandwich, PC, FRS (3 de noviembre de 1718 – 30 de abril de 1792)[1] sucedió a su abuelo, el tercer cond …   Wikipedia Español

  • George Montagu, 9th Earl of Sandwich — George Charles Montagu, 9th Earl of Sandwich (29 December 1874 – 15 June 1962), known as George Montagu until 1916, was a British Conservative politician. Sandwich was the son of Rear Admiral the Hon. Victor Alexander Montagu, second son of John… …   Wikipedia

  • Earl of Sandwich — is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1660 for the prominent naval commander Admiral Sir Edward Montagu. He was made Baron Montagu, of St Neots in the County of Huntingdon, and Viscount Hinchingbrooke, at the same time, also in… …   Wikipedia

  • John Montagu — may refer to: John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c. 1350–1400) John Montagu (Trinity) (c. 1655–1728), Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1683–1699 John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu (1690 1749) John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–1792)… …   Wikipedia

  • Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield — Philip Lord Chesterfield Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield PC KG (22 September 1694 – 24 March 1773) was a British statesman and man of letters. A Whig, Lord Stanhope, as he was known until his father s death in 1726, was born in… …   Wikipedia

  • Montagu Island — …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.