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Walter ( Wat) Montagu, 1603?-1677

Secret agent; converted to Catholicism and defended it in England; Henry, the son of Charles I, was put under his care.

Entered Cambridge, 1617-1618; toured Europe, employed by Duke of Buckingham on a secret mission in France to arrange marriage between king and French Princess Henrietta Maria, formed a life-long friendship with Henrietta, 1624:

`Wat Montagu brings word that all is forward, and the lady shall be delivered in thirty days.' (Bukingham).

Embassies to France, 1625; sent to Italy and Lorraine to incite against the French, 1627; reported to Charles that he would have no allies against the French, 1627; arrested in Lorrain, sent to Paris and imprisoned in the Bastille, freed (how?); present at the assassination of the Duke of Bukingham, 1628; negotiated with Richelieu for exchange of prisoners with the French, 1628; paid a large sum `for his Majesty's secret service in France', 1631; in France until 1633; converted to Catholicism upon seeing the exorcisms of the Ursuline nuns, 1635; made abjuration in Rome at the hands of the Pope himself;

Allowed to return to England, urged Queen Henrietta to propagate Catholicism in England, 1639; acted as agent for the Queen in collecting money to finance the royalist army, 1639; a House of Commons inquiry required him to escape to France, 1639; a coded letter from the king to Montagu was intercepted, 1642; Montagu was captured in Rochester and imprisoned in the Tower (a `close prisoner', the DNB reports), 1643; letters from the French government to the king and queen were discovered on him; all his possessions were sold to support the Parliamentarian army; from prison engaged in written religious dispute; released from the Tower but effectively under house arrest, 1647; expelled from the country, 1649; made abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Nanteuil by the Queen-dowager of France, frequently consulted on state affairs.

The son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, Henry, duke of Gloucester, was committed to his care, 1654; (he tried very hard to indoctrinate him to the catholic cause); secretly visited England, upon risk of death, to visit his brother, 1660;

He greatly helped refugees of all faiths from the war in England; died in Paris at the Hospital of the Incurables, 1677;

Had the ear of three great princesses: The queen-mother of France, Mary de Medicis; Henrietta Maria, queen of England; and the Duchess of Orleans.

Walter wrote what is apparently an interminable 8-hour play:

The Shepheard's Paradise, Published in London by Thomas Dring, 1629.

The play has been lambasted by critics of literature. However, the purpose of the play was not so much to entertain, but to teach Henrietta, the new queen, English. Wat had escorted Henrietta to London and was apparently in charge, to some extent, of her acculturation. She apparently enjoyed acting.

Check-List or Brief Catalogue of the Library of Henry E. Huntington, Cole.

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