The Journal of the 1st Earl of Sandwich, 1659-1665

Vol 64 (1928), R.C. Anderson

Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich (1625-1672) was a highly successful New Model Army senior officer and, from 1656, General at Sea under the Commonwealth. He brought Charles II back from exile in 1660 and, rapidly becoming a royal favourite, was created Earl of Sandwich, Admiral of the Narrow Seas and Lieutenant Admiral to the Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England.

In the Second Dutch War of 1665-7, he fought at the Battle of Lowestoft, but he withdrew from service after the fiasco against the Dutch at Bergen. He was killed in action at the battle of Solebay during the Third Dutch War, when the Royal James, his flagship, was heavily engaged by the Dutch and destroyed by fire. Montagu was first cousin of Samuel Pepys’s father and it was his influence that assisted Pepys in his rise to the post of Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board. As such, he features regularly in the Diary.

Montagu’s journal provides details of the various expeditions in which he was involved, during the period 1658/9 and 1665, notably a major deployment to the Baltic (the ‘Sound’) and operations in the Mediterranean against Algiers and in support of the acquisition of Tangiers, as well as (in the Second Dutch War) the battle of Lowestoft, the attack on Bergen and the Dutch East India fleet.

Throughout the account, there are interesting insights into the evolution of line of battle tactics and worries about whether merchant ships should be routinely grouped with warships in action (common practice up to that time). Most usefully, there are details of orders of battle and a variety of letters, minor journals and accounts that supplement the main journal narrative. This is also remarkable in reflecting the unusually close (for a nobleman) personal interest that Sandwich took in all aspects of navigation and seamanship, especially astronavigation, through the regular use of ‘my sea quadrant’.

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About R.C. Anderson

His publications include

Naval Wars in the Baltic during the Sailing Ship Epoch, 1522-1850 (Gilbert-Wood, 1910).

The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast, 1600-1720 (Salem Marine Research
Society, 1927).

Journal of Edwin Montagu, First Earl of Sandwich, 1659-1685 (Navy Records Society, 1929).

Journals of Thomas Allin 2 volumes (Navy Records Society, 1939 and 1940).

Journals and Narratives of the 3rd Dutch War (Navy Records Society, 1946).

Catalogue of Ship Models (National Maritime Museum, 1952).

Naval Wars in the Levant 1559-1853 (1953).

A Memoir of James Trevenen (Navy Records Society, 1959).

Oared Fighting Ships: From Classical Times to the Coming of Steam (Percival Marshall, 1962).