Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th earl of

Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th earl of, 1718–92, British politician. He served variously as secretary of state (1763–65, 1770–71) and first lord of the admiralty (1748–51, 1763, 1771–82). He earned (1763) great unpopularity for his charges of obscenity against John Wilkes, because not only had he been Wilkes's friend but he was himself notoriously dissolute. His reputation has suffered chiefly, however, and somewhat unjustly, because he presided at the admiralty over the British defeats of the American Revolution. In fact, he was an able, if corrupt, administrator, and his naval policy was apparently sound. He was shackled, however, by the stringent economies of Lord North and unable to expand the navy as needed. The Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands were named after him by Capt. James Cook. The sandwich was also named after him; he supposedly ate food in that form rather than leave the gaming table.

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