George Monck 1st duke of Albemarle

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Monck, George, 1st duke of Albemarle (1608–70). Monck, a stolid and taciturn soldier, played a crucial part in bringing about the Restoration of 1660. The younger son of a Devon gentry family, he had his career to make. In the 1630s he was in the Dutch service but at the outbreak of the Civil War joined the king. After a year in Ireland fighting against the rebels, he was captured at Nantwich in 1644 and sent to the Tower. At the end of the war, he returned to Ireland on the parliamentary side, fought a difficult campaign, and was captured by royalist forces in 1649. When released, Cromwell took him to Scotland, where he commanded the regiment that became the Coldstream Guards. When Cromwell pursued Charles II south to Worcester, Monck was left as commander-in-chief Scotland. In 1653 he was given naval command and had considerable success against the Dutch. Cromwell relied greatly upon him as a ‘simple-hearted man’ and nominated him to the ‘other house’ in 1657. On Cromwell's death, Monck's potential role as king-maker was obvious to all. The royalists began wooing him. When Lambert's troops in London expelled the Rump Parliament, Monck marched his men across the Tweed, brushing aside Lambert's forces. Parliament soon fell out with its deliverer and was forced to dissolve itself. Monck reopened negotiations with Charles II, effected his restoration, and met him on the beach at Dover. Next day he received the Garter and a week later his dukedom. He was again at sea in the second Anglo-Dutch war and served as a figurehead lord of the Treasury from 1667. His lack of ideology made him a consummate politician, moving with events. His wife, reputed a washerwoman, had great influence on him. Pepys found him ‘a very heavy, dull man’ and his devoted duchess ‘a plain, homely dowdy’.

J. A. Cannon

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George Monck, 1st duke of Albemarle, 1608–70, English soldier and politician. He took part (1625) in the disastrous expedition against Cádiz and fought against the Spanish in the Netherlands. After service in the Bishops' Wars, he was given a command in Ireland and was there when the English civil war began (1642). He returned to England to fight for Charles I, was captured (1644) at Nantwich, and was not released until 1646. He gained the confidence of Parliament and was commissioned to help subdue the Irish rebellion. In 1650 he accompanied Oliver Cromwell to Scotland and in 1651 was left to complete the subjugation of the Scots. In 1652 he became a general of the fleet in the first of the Dutch Wars, and in 1654 he resumed his command in Scotland, which he held until 1660. Monck believed in the supremacy of civil authority over the military, and when the Protectorate of Richard Cromwell collapsed (1659), he supported the reassembled Rump Parliament (what remained of the Long Parliament after Pride's Purge of 1648) against the army under Gen. John Lambert. Having marched (1660) on London and seized control, however, he ordered the Rump to fill its vacant seats and then dissolve itself prior to the election of a "free" Parliament. Monck was an effective diplomat as well as an able soldier. In the next months he applied himself to the delicate task of reconciling the army (largely republican) to growing public sympathy for a restoration of the Stuart monarchy. Following the election of the strongly royalist Convention Parliament, he finally declared openly for the Restoration of Charles II, convinced that it was the only alternative to anarchy. Acting on Monck's advice, Charles issued the Delcaration of Breda, and Monck secured an invitation for Charles to return. After the Restoration, honors were heaped upon Monck: he was appointed gentleman of the bedchamber, privy councillor, master of the horse, and commander of all military forces; created duke of Albemarle; and granted estates and a pension. In 1666 he shared with Prince Rupert command of the fleet in the second Dutch War. He was left in charge of London at the time of the great plague (1665) and the great fire (1666).

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Monck, George, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608–70) English soldier and diplomat. In the English Civil War, Monck fought for Charles I (1643–44). After his capture and imprisonment (1644–46), Monck changed sides and helped Oliver Cromwell quell an Irish rebellion. Cromwell rewarded him with command of the forces in Scotland (1651). Monck was a general in the Dutch Wars. After the collapse of the Protectorate, he supported the return of the Rump Parliament. Monck led the campaign for the Restoration of Charles II. His troops became the Coldstream Guards – the first permanent regiment of the British Army.