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MONTAGUE WILLIAM ROWTON

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 789 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MONTAGUE WILLIAM ROWTON LOWRY-CORRY, BARON (1838—1903), second son of the Right Hon. Henry Corry by his wife Harriet, daughter of the 6th earl of Shaftesbury, was born in London on the 8th of October 1838, educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and called to the bar in 1863. His father, a son of the 2nd earl of Belmore, re-presented County Tyrone in parliament continuously for forty-seven years (1826—73), and was a member of Lord Derby's cabinet (1866—68) as vice-president of the council and after-wards as first lord of the Admiralty. Montague Corry was thus brought up in close touch with Conservative party politics; but it is said to have been his winning personality and social accomplishments rather than his political connexions that recommended him to the favourable notice of Disraeli, who in 1866 made Corry his private secretary. From this time till the statesman's death in 1881 Corry maintained his connexion with Disraeli, the relations between the two men being more intimate and confidential than usually subsist between a private secretary and his political chief. When Disraeli resigned office in 1868 Corry declined various offers of public employment in order to be free to continue his services, now given gratuitously, to the Conservative leader; and when the latter returned to power in 1874, Corry resumed his position as official private secretary to the prime minister. He accompanied Disraeli (then earl of Beaconsfield) to the congress of Berlin in 1878, where he acted as one of the secretaries of the special embassy of Great Britain. On the defeat of the Conservatives in s88o, Corry was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Rowton, of Rowton Castle, Shropshire. He had rendered service of an exceptional order to his chief, and after Beaconsfield's removal to the House of Lords his private secretary became invaluable in keeping him in touch with the rank and file of his party. Lord Rowton was in Algiers when Beaconsfield was stricken with his last illness in the spring of 1881; but returning post-haste across Europe, he was present at the death-bed of his old chief. Beaconsfield (q.v.) bequeathed to Rowton all his correspondence and other papers. Lord Rowton will long be remembered as the originator of the scheme known as the Rowton Houses. Consulted by Sir 2 William Borne or Bird engaged to play with the Admiral's Men for three years from 1597. In 1600 he borrowed 30S. from Henslowe to pay for a new play, Jugurth, by W. Boyle (probably another name for himself). He helped S. Rowley in Joshua (16o1), and in additions (16o2) to Marlowe's Dr Faustus. His connexion with the theatre ceased about 1621. Edward Guinness (afterwards Lord Iveagh) with regard to Scotland, and he helped to bring about the union with England, being created duke of Roxburghe in 1707 for his services in this connexion. This was the last creation in the Scottish peerage. The duke was a representative peer for Scotland in four parliaments; George I. made him a privy councillor and keeper of the privy seal of Scotland, and he was loyal to the king during the Jacobite rising in 1715. He was again a secretary of state from 1716 to 1725, but he opposed the malt-tax, and in 1725 Sir Robert Walpole procured his dismissal from office. He died on the 24th of February 1741. His only son, ROBERT (c. 1709-1755), who had been created Earl Ker of Wakefield in 1722, became 2nd duke, and was succeeded by his son JOHN, 3rd duke of Roxburghe (1740-1804), the famous bibliophile. John was betrothed to Christiana, daughter of the duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; but when the princess's sister Charlotte was affianced to George III., reasons of state led to the rupture of the engagement, and he died unmarried on the 19th of March 1804. The duke's library, including a unique collection of books from Caxton's press, and three rare volumes of broadside ballads, was sold in 1812, when the Roxburghe Club was founded to commemorate the sale of Valdarfer's edition of Boccaccio. Roxburghe's cousin William, 7th Lord Bellenden (c. 1728-1805), who succeeded to the Scottish titles and estates, died childless in October 1805, and for seven years the titles were dormant. Then in 1812 Sir JAMES INNES, bart. (1736-1823), a descendant of the 1st earl, established his claim to them, and taking the name of Innes-Ker, became 5th duke of Roxburghe. Among the unsuccessful claimants to the Roxburghe dukedom was John Bellenden Ker (c. 1765-1842), famous as a wit and botanist and the author of Archaeology of Popular Phrases and Nursery Rhymes (1837), whose son was the legal reformer, Charles Henry Bellenden Ker (c. 1785-1871). The 5th duke's great-grandson, HENRY JOHN INNES-KER (b. 1876), became 8th duke in 1892. The duke of Roxburghe sits in the House of Lords as Earl Innes, a peerage of the United Kingdom, which was conferred in 1837 upon James Henry, the 6th duke (1816-1879).
End of Article: MONTAGUE WILLIAM ROWTON
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