Montgomerie, Robert (d.1684) (DNB00)

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MONTGOMERIE, ROBERT (d. 1684), parliamentary and afterwards royalist officer, was the fifth son of Alexander, sixth earl of Eglinton [q. v.], by Lady Anna Livingstone, daughter of Alexander, first earl of Linlithgow [q,v.] He was educated at the university of Glasgow, where he was enrolled a student March 1637. He fought under his father at the battle of Marston Moor, 2 July 1644, and was severely wounded in the arm (Robert Baillie, Letters and Journals, ii. 204). In 1646 he held, under Middleton, the command of a regiment of dragoons in the north of Scotland, with which on 3 Jan. 1646 he entered the city of Aberdeen (Burgh Records of Aberdeen, 1643-1747, p. 60). He was opposed to the expedition under the Duke of Hamilton in 1648 for the relief of the king, and after the defeat of Hamilton at Preston on 17 Aug. became known he gathered a body of western covenanters, with which he routed a number of horse under the Earl of Lanark, quartered in Ayrshire. This procedure led the committee of estates to call out the fencible men ; but their action was anticipated by the march to Edinburgh of the western whigamores under Montgomerie's father, the Earl of Eglinton [see Montgomerie or Seton, Alexander, sixth Earl of Eglinton]. After the arrival of Cromwell in Edinburgh, Montgomerie, in 1648, set out for London, carrying a letter from Cromwell (No. lxxviii. in Carlyle's Cromwell), recommending him, 'as one of the most active against the late invaders of England,' to have an order for two thousand of the Scottish prisoners taken at Preston. Montgomerie's purpose was to sell them to the king of Spain for service in the Low Countries ; but negotiations, both with Spain and France, proved abortive.

After the recall of Charles II Montgomerie took a prominent part in the contest against Cromwell. On 29 July 1650 (Letter by Cromwell, No. lxxxv., ib.) he attacked Cromwell's forces in the early morning near Musselburgh, beat in his guards, and 'put a regiment of horse in some disorder,' but failed in his attempt to surprise them, and was forced to retreat towards Edinburgh. Cromwell asserted that, so far as he had heard, his own loss was 'only a cornet and four men;' but Sir James Balfour represents the Cromwellian loss as very severe (Annals, iv. 87). Montgomerie fought at the battle of Dunbar on 3 Sept. After the battle he retired with the other troops under Leslie beyond the Forth. When Charles, in October, suddenly left Perth to join the northern loyalists, Montgomerie was in the neighbourhood of Forfar, in command of two regiments of horse, and being informed of his escape marched towards Atholl, where two of his officers discovered him in a poor cottage belonging to the laird of Clova. On the appearance of Montgomerie with his troops, Charles consented to accompany him back to Huntly Castle, in the Carse of Gowrie (Balfour, Annals, iv. 114; Robert Baillie, Letters and Journals, iii. 117).

On 14 Oct. Montgomerie was ordered by the committee of estates to join the Lord-general Leslie, who was to employ him in any way he thought most advantageous to the country and hurtful to the enemy (ib. p. 123), and on 25 Oct. he was ordered to take certain dragoon regiments under his command and remove to the west (Wodrow, Sufferings of the Kirk of Scotland, i. 166). On 28 Nov. it was agreed that there should be a union of the forces in the west under his command (Balfour, iv. 187), and on 2 Dec. it was ordered by parliament that the western forces, with the three regiments of Kirkcudbright, Galloway, and Dumfries, be joined to his (ib, p. 193). Montgomerie was at this time in Stirling, whence he was proceeding with four or five regiments of horse to carry out the commission entrusted to him, when, according to Cromwell, 'he was put to a stand' by the news of the defeat of Colonel Ker at Hamilton (letter, 4 Dec. 1650, No. cliii. in Carlyle's Cromwell). Nevertheless, he shortly afterwards forced his way by Kilsyth, killing seven of the enemy and taking four prisoners (Balfour, iv. 195).

With the rank of major-general Montgomerie was appointed to the command of the second brigade in the army which in the autumn of 1661 marched under David Leslie and Charles II into England (ib. p. 300). At the battle of Worcester on 3 Sept. his brigade was posted opposite Powick Bridge; and although furiously attacked by Fleetwood he maintained his post with great determination until his ammunition was expended, when he retreated towards the city (Boscobel Tracts, ed. 1857, pp. 37-9). He was taken prisoner either at or after the battle (Nicoll, Diary, p. 59; Lamont, Diary, p. 43), and sent to the Tower, from which in July 1654 he made his escape (Nicoll, p. 135). On it becoming known that he had returned to Scotland orders were given to arrest the Earl of Eglinton, his father, and Lord Montgomerie, his brother, and detain them until they either delivered him up or gave security that he should leave the country (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1654, p. 258). Shortly afterwards Montgomerie was arrested in Renfrewshire, and confined in the castle of Edinburgh, but on 29 Feb. 1656-1657 made his escape (Thurloe State Papers, ii. 81) in coalmen's clothes (Nicoll, Diary, p. 192). In October 1657 he went to Leghorn to offer his services to the king of Sweden (Thurloe State Papers, ii. 564); and he subsequently obtained employment in Denmark, but through the interposition of Cromwell he was dismissed (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 397). In October 1658 he was at Tours in France. After the Restoration he was made by Charles II a lord of the bed-chamber, but his strong presbyterian sympathies subsequently lost him the king's favour. In August 1665 an order was on this account made for his imprisonment (Cal. State Papers, Dora. Ser. 1664-5, p. 514), and it was not till 22 Jan. 1668 that he obtained his liberty (Wodrow, Sufferings of the Kirk of Scotland, ii. 99). He died in December 1684. By his wife Elizabeth Livingstone, daughter of James, viscount Kilsyth, he had a daughter and two sons, all of whom died with issue.

[Robert Baillie's Letters and Journals (Bannatyne Club); Nicoll's Diary (Bannatyne Club); Sir James Balfour's Annals; Wodrow's Sufferings of the Kirk of Scotland; Thurloe State Papers; Clarendon State Papers; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. during the Commonwealth and reign of Charles II; Boscobel Tracts; Carlyle's Cromwell; Gardiner's Great Civil War; Paterson's History of Ayr; Sir William Fraser's Earls of Eglinton; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 503.]

T. F. H.