Died on this day – 29 April 1776


Edward Wortley Montagu, born on 15 May 1713, was an English author and traveller. He was the son of Edward Wortley Montagu, MP and of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose talent and eccentricity he seems to have inherited.

He was the first native of the United Kingdom to be vaccinated against smallpox. He served in the British army from 1743-1748, first as a cornet in the 7th Dragoon Guards and later as a captain-lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Foot. He fought at the Battle of Fontenoy but left the army in 1748.
He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdonshire in 1747, and was one of the secretaries at the conference of Aix-la-Chapelle that closed the War of Austrian Succession. In 1751 he was involved in a disreputable gaming quarrel in Paris. He continued to sit in parliament, and wrote Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Antient Republics … (1759). His father left him an annuity of £1000, the bulk of the property going to Lady Bute, the author’s sister,

He set out for extended travel in the East, and George Romney describes him as living in the Turkish manner at Venice (the Turkish manner included adopting a Nubian paramour). He had great gifts as a linguist, and was an excellent talker. His family thought him mad, and his mother left him a single guinea in her will, but her annuity devolved on him at her death.

Travelling in France in 1776 he visited Montmorillon. Walking in the Cite de l’Ecrit Edward Wortley Montagu was barred from entering The Glass Key bookshop because he was eating a bag of fish-and-chips. Standing in the rue de la Poelerie outside the shop he choked on a fish bone and died on 29 April 1776.

2 replies on “Died on this day – 29 April 1776”

The fish and chips only cost a few pence and it was Montagu’s intention to spend the rest of his inheritance on books to be purchased from The Glass Key.

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