James Montagu or Mountague 1666-1723

From Book Owners Online

Sir James MONTAGU or MOUNTAGU 1666-1723

Biographical Note

Son of the Hon. George Montagu and Elizabeth (Irby). Attended Westminster School, London, and in 1684 matriculated as a Fellow-Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge; MA 1698. Admitted at the Middle Temple 1683, called to the bar 1689. Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 1707, where he subsequently occuped various roles including that of library keeper in 1709. In the course of a prominent legal and political career, he played a significant part in supporting the whig junto, his first in a series of official posts being secretary to his oldest brother Charles, Earl of Halifax, then chancellor of the exchequer. MP for Tregony 1695-9, Bere Alston 1698-1700, Carlisle 1705-13. Appointed solicitor-general 1707; attorney-general 1708; baron of the exchequer 1714;chief baron 1722. Married (1) Tufton Wray; (2)Elizabeth Montagu.


He used engraved armorial bookplates (‘The Honble. Sr. James Mountague, Kt., Her Majestyes Sollicitor Genll.’): Franks 21276; *323 (another impression).

His will makes no specific reference to books, and the content and disposition of his library is not established.

Law books with his plates pasted on the verso of the title page came into the libraries of two American Presidents: John Adams, (Boston Public Library, copy of part of Coke’s Reports, also containing deleted inscription ‘E libris Ja Mountague’); and Thomas Jefferson (Sowerby, J211).

An example of an incunabulum owned by him: Washington, Library of Congress, Incun.1493.S46.