Charles Montague, earl of Halifax, a British statesman, born at Horton, Northamptonshire, April 16, 1661, died May 19, 1715. His father was a younger son of the earl of Manchester. Charles was destined for the church, and was sent to Trinity college, Cambridge. lie wrote there in 1685 some verses on the death of King Charles II., and in 1687 joined Prior in the composition of a parody in prose and verse on Dryden's "Hind and Panther" under the title of " The Hind and the Panther Transversed to the Story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse." He signed in 1688 the invitation to the prince of Orange, was a member of the convention parliament, and soon afterward, having married the countess dowager of Manchester, gave up the church, and purchased the place of one of the clerks of the council. In 1690 he was again returned to the house of commons, where for some years his life was a series of triumphs. He was soon called to the treasury board and the privy council, and in 1694 was appointed chancellor of the exchequer, in reward for having devised the establishment of the bank of England, the plan of which had been proposed by William Patterson three years before, but not acted upon. Montague was the originator of the great re-coinage act (1695), of exchequer bills (1696), and of the tax on windows.
On May 1, 1697, he was made first lord of the treasury, and appointed one of the regency during the king's absence on the continent; but on the reorganization of the ministry in 1699 he was removed to the auditorship of the exchequer. In 1700 he was created Baron Halifax. In April, 1701, he was impeached by the commons, together with Portland, Oxford, and Somers, for advising the king to sign the partition treaties and for other alleged offences; but the prosecution was dropped. After the accession of Queen Anno he was accused by the lower house of breach of trust in his management of the public accounts while chancellor of the exchequer; but he again escaped by the protection of the house of lords. He proposed and negotiated the union with Scotland in 1707, and was one of the judges in Sachever-ell's trial, when he voted for a mild sentence. On the death of the queen he acted as one of the regents, and after the accession of George I. (1714) was made earl of Halifax and first commissioner of the treasury.