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Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester (1602 - May 5, 1671), eldest son of the 1st earl by his first wife, Catherine Spencer, granddaughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, was born in 1602, and was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

He was member of parliament for Huntingdonshire 1623-1626, and in the latter year was raised to the peerage in his father's lifetime as Baron Montagu of Kimbolton, but was known generally by his courtesy title of Viscount Mandeville. His first wife, who was related to the Duke of Buckingham, having died in 1625 after two years of marriage, Mandeville married in 1626 Anne, daughter of the 2nd earl of Warwick. The influence of his father-in-law, who was afterwards admiral on the side of the parliament, drew Mandeville to the popular side in the questions in dispute with the crown, and at the beginning of the Long Parliament he was one of the recognized leaders of the popular party in the upper House, his name being joined with those of the five members of the House of Commons impeached by the king in 1642. At the outbreak of the Civil War, having succeeded his father in the earldom in November 1642, Manchester commanded a regiment in the army of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, and in August 1643 he was appointed major-general of the parliamentary forces in the eastern counties, with Cromwell as his second in command.

Having become a member of the "committee of both kingdoms" in 1644, he was in supreme command at Marston Moor; but in the subsequent operations his lack of energy brought him into disagreement with Cromwell, and in November 1644 he strongly expressed his disapproval of continuing the war. Cromwell brought the shortcomings of Manchester before parliament in the autumn of 1644; and early in the following year, anticipating the Self-denying Ordinance, Manchester resigned his command. He took a leading part in the frequent negotiations for an arrangement with Charles, was custodian with Lenthall of the great seal 1646-1648, and frequently presided in the House of Lords. He opposed the trial of the king, and retired from public life during the Commonwealth; but after the Restoration, which he actively assisted, he was loaded with honours by Charles II. In 1667 he was made a general, and he died on May 5, 1671. Manchester was made a K.G. in 1661, and became F.R.S. in 1667.

Men of such divergent sympathies as Baxter, Burnet and Clarendon agreed in describing Manchester as a lovable and virtuous man, who loved peace and moderation both in politics and religion. He was five times married, leaving children by two of his wives, and was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Robert, 3rd earl of Manchester (1634-1683). One of his daughters went on to become Lady Anne Montagu[?].

See Lord Clarendon, History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (7 vols., Oxford, 1839) and Life of Clarendon (Oxford, 1827); SR Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War, 1642-1649. (4 vols., London, 1886-1891); The Quarrel between Manchester and Cromwell, Camden Soc., N.S. 12 (London, 1875); Sir Philip Warwick, Memoirs of the Reign of Charles I (London, 1701).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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