Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montgomerie, Archibald William

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MONTGOMERIE, ARCHIBALD WILLIAM, thirteenth Earl of Eglinton, and first Earl of Winton in the peerage of the United Kingdom (1812–1861), born at Palermo in Sicily on 29 Sept. 1812, was the elder son of Major-general the Hon. Archibald Montgomerie, lord Montgomerie, by his wife, Lady Mary Montgomerie, the elder daughter of Archibald, eleventh earl of Eglinton [q. v.] His father died at Alicante on 4 Jan. 1814, and on 30 Jan. 1815 his mother became the wife of Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb, bart. He was educated at Eton, and succeeded to the peerage on the death of his grandfather, Hugh, twelfth earl of Eglinton [q. v.], in December 1819. Eglinton took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Ardrossan on 1 May 1834 (Journals of the House of Lords, lxvi. 193), and in December 1840 was served heir male general of George, fourth earl of Winton, the fifth earl, who was attainted in 1716, having left no issue. Eglinton was appointed lord-lieutenant and sheriff principal of Ayrshire on 17 Aug. 1842, and at the opening of parliament in February 1843 he seconded the address in the House of Lords (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. lxvi. 15-19). He was chosen one of the whips of the protection party in the House of Lords in 1846, and spoke against the second reading of the Corn Importation Bill on 28 May in that year (ib. lxxxvi. 1355–9). In April 1847 he obtained the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the regulations relating to the elections of the Scottish representative peers (ib. xcii. 201–3), and in the same session carried through the house a bill for the correction of the abuses which prevailed at those elections (10 & 11 Vict. cap. 52). In May 1848 he opposed the second reading of the Jewish Disabilities Bill (ib. xcviii. 1384–6). Upon the formation of Lord Derby's first administration [see Stanley, Edward Geoffrey, fourteenth Earl of Derby] Eglinton was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and was sworn a member of the privy council (27 Feb. 1852). His open-handed hospitality made him an exceedingly popular viceroy among the upper classes in Ireland, and upon his retirement from office in December 1852 it was asserted that no lord-lieutenant since the Duke of Northumberland in 1829–30 [see Percy Hugh, third Duke of Northumberland] had kept up the viceregal court in such a princely style. He was invested with the order of the Thistle at Buckingham Palace on 18 June 1853. In February 1854 a select committee was appointed by the House of Lords at Eglinton's instance to inquire into the practical working of the system of national education in Ireland (ib. cxxx. 783–790). On Lord Derby's return to power Eglinton was again appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland (26 Feb. 1858). He resigned office with the rest of his colleagues in June 1859, and was created Earl of Winton in the peerage of the United Kingdom on the 25th of the same month. Eglinton spoke for the last time in the House of Lords on 11 July 1861 (ib. clxiv. 690). He died of apoplexy at Mount Melville House, near St. Andrews, the residence of J. Whyte Melville, on 4 Oct. 1861, aged 49, and was buried in the family vault at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, on the llth of the same month.

Eglinton was a high-minded nobleman and a thorough sportsman, with frank and genial manners, and no particular ability. In August 1839 he held the famous tournament at Eglinton Castle, described by Disraeli in 'Endymion' (vol. ii. chap, xxiii.), and presided over by Lady Seymour ( afterwards the Duchess of Somerset) as the queen of beauty. This remarkable entertainment, which created an immense sensation at the time, is said to have cost him between 30,000l. and 40,000l., and to have made him the most popular nobleman in Scotland. He was a great supporter of the turf for a number of years, and at one time had one of the largest and best racing studs in the country. He won the St. Leger with Blue Bonnet in 1842, with Van Tromp in 1847, and the Derby and the St. Leger with the Flying Dutchman in 1849. The match between the Flying Dutchman and Lord Zetland's Voltigeur at the York Spring Meeting of 1851, in which Lord Eglinton's horse was victorious, has taken its place as one of the classic events of the turf. He unsuccessfully contested the rectorship of Glasgow against Fox Maule [see Maule, Fox, second Baron Panmure and eleventh Earl of Dalhousie] in November 1843, and against Rutherford in November 1844, but was elected lord rector both of Marischal College, Aberdeen, and of the university of Glasgow in 1852. He presided at the commemoration of Burns at Ayr on 6 Aug. 1844, and was created a D.C.L. of Oxford University on 7 June 1853.

Eglinton married first, on 17 Feb. 1841, Theresa, daughter of Charles Newcomen of Clonahard, co. Longford, and widow of Richard Howe Cockerell, commander in the royal navy, by whom he had three sons and one daughter. His wife died on 16 Dec. 1853, and on 2 Nov. 1858 he married secondly Lady Adela Caroline Harriet Capel, only daughter of Arthur, sixth earl of Essex, by whom he had two daughters. This lady died on 31 Dec. 1860. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Archibald William, lord Montgomerie, the fourteenth earl of Eglinton, who died on 30 Aug. 1892, aged 50. There are two portraits of Eglinton in Sir William Fraser's 'Memorials of the Montgomeries' (i. 396-7), and there is an engraving by Hodgetts after Steevens.

[Sir William Fraser's Memorials of the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglinton, 1859, i. 138–41, 152–3, 396–7; Lord Lamington's In the Days of the Dandies, 1890, pp. 50–5, 63; Journal of Henry Cockburn, 1874, i. 239–41, ii. 53, 87, 97, 275–6, 291; Lord Malmesbury's Memoirs of an ex-Minister, 1884, i. 169, 278, ii. 71, 170, 260–1; Duke of Buckingham's Memoirs of the Courts and Cabinets of William IV and Victoria, 1861, ii. 396–7; Dublin University Mag. lviii. 629–31; Blackwood's Mag. xc. 642–4; Anderson's Scottish Nation, 1863, ii. 125; Nixon and Richardson's Eglinton Tournament, 1843; Bulkeley's Righte Faithfull Chronique, &c., 1840; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. x. 223, 276, 322, 404, xi. 21, 66, 162; Rice's History of the British Turf, 1879, i. 195–6, 242–7, 281–4, ii. 374, 378; Sporting Magazine, June 1858 pp. 452–5, November 1861 pp. 320–3; Times, 5 Oct. 1861; Scotsman, 5, 11, 14 Oct. 1861; Illustrated London News, 19 Oct. 1861 (portrait); Sporting Times, 28 March 1885; Gent. Mag. 1839 pt. ii. pp. 414–16, 1861 pt. ii. pp. 563–5; Doyle's Official Baronage, 1886, iii. 711–12; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1888, iii. 971; Stapylton's Eton School Lists, 1864, p. 125; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890.]

G. F. R. B.