Harbord, William (DNB01)

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HARBORD, WILLIAM (1635?–1692), politician, born about 1635, was second son of Sir Charles Harbord by Mary Van Alst (Baker, Northamptonshire, ii. 172). Sir Charles Harbord, who was knighted by Charles I on 29 May 1636, was surveyor-general of the land revenues of the crown under Charles I and Charles II (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 194; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1633-4, p. 70). He represented Launceston in the parliaments of 1661, 1678, and 1679, and many of his speeches are printed in Grey's 'Debates' (cf. iii. 46, 358). Burnet describes him as very rich and very covetous (Own Time, ed. Airy, ii. 87), and his reputation is severely handled in a pamphlet termed 'A List of the principal Labourers in the great Design of Popery and Arbitrary Government,' 1677, 4to, p. 3. He died in June 1679.

William Harbord is described as aged 26 in July 1661 (Chester, London Marriage Licences, p. 621). During the Protectorate he travelled and was probably engaged in trade in Turkey (Grey, Debates, v. 41). His political career begins in 1672, when he became secretary to the Earl of Essex (Capel, Arthur), lord lieutenant of Ireland, and was charged to keep him informed of political affairs in England, and to act as his representative in parliament and court (Grey, Debates, ii. 437; Airy, Essex Papers, i. 184, 195, 205). Essex thought Harbord 'a very quick man for despatch of business,' but did not trust him too far (ib. i. 143).

In October 1673 Harbord signalised himself by attacking the speaker, Sir Edward Seymour, as unfit for the post he occupied (ib. i. 140; Letters to Sir Joseph Williamson, ii. 70; Grey, Debates, ii. 188; viii. 79). But though this made him unpopular at court he nevertheless was granted (28 May 1674) a pension of 500l. per annum on the Irish military establishment (Rawlinson MS. B. 492, f. 137). In the debates of 1676-8 Harbord spoke often against the alliance with France (Grey, iv. 176, 198, 387; v. 43), and pressed for the removal of all papists from the king's person (ib. vi. 87, 205, 258). He was a firm believer in the reality of the popish plot, and in concert with Ralph Montagu, afterwards Duke of Montagu [q. v.], whom he helped to get into parliament, took an important part in the attack on Danby (ib. vi. 345, 387). In the parliament of 1679, in which he represented Thetford, he spoke against Danby's pardon, attacked Lauderdale, and was eager for the disbanding of the army (ib. vii. 23. 64, 173, 193). Barillon in his letters describes Harbord as very serviceable, and states that he paid him 500 guineas, but it is possible that the money was embezzled by Coleman. Harbord's own remarks on Barillon, and his conduct with respect to Coleman, may be interpreted either as a proof of his corruption or the reverse (Dalrymple, Memoirs, i. 338, 382; Grey, v. 241, vi. 155, viii. 141; Sitwell, The First Whig, p. 25).

Harbord sat in the parliaments of 1680 and 1681 as member for Launceston, in place of his father, and was more violent than ever against popery, against the succession of the Duke of York, and against Tory petitioners. He attacked Halifax as responsible for the dissolution of the parliament of 1679, and urged his removal from the king's councils (Grey, vii. 387, 427, 439; viii. 24). He promoted the scheme for a protestant association, rejected all compromises, and persisted in demanding the acceptance of the exclusion bill (ib. viii. 155, 297, 324). But with more discretion than many of his friends, Harbord shrank from supporting Monmouth's claims to the throne, and said that the only thing to be done in case of the succession of a Roman catholic prince was to make William of Orange protector. He charged his friend Henry Sidney, afterwards Earl of Romney [q. v.], to tell William that no man in the kingdom wished him better, or was more his friend, and that none loved that 'honest plain-dealing people,' the Dutch, more than he did. As early as 1680 he thought of taking refuge in Holland with his family, and it is possible that he subsequently carried out this intention (Diary of Henry Sidney, i. 8, 80 ; ii. 24), for he seems to have been out of England during the whole of James II's reign. In January 1686 Harbord was summoned to appear before the privy council within fourteen days, but disobeyed the summons (Ellis, Correspondence, i. 27). In the same year he served as a volunteer in the imperialist army at the siege of Buda, fell ill, and, desiring to avail himself of James II's proclamation of general pardon, petitioned for an extension of time in his favour (Rawlinson MS. A. 189, f. 249 ; Savile, Correspondence, p. 297; Autobiography of Sir John Bramston, p. 236). This was evidently refused, and in November 1688 Harbord accompanied William of Orange in his expedition to England. William appointed him to act as commissary-general and to raise money in the west for the support of the army (Ellis, Original Letters, ii. iv. 180). Harbord was extremely bitter against James II, declaring publicly that he and other supporters of the prince had no need of the king's pardon, but that they would bring the king to ask pardon of them 'for the wrongs he had done' (Clarendon, Diary, ed. Singer, ii. 217, 219, 221). Yet in spite of his attachment to William he protested vehemently against the proposal to reduce Mary to the position of a queen consort, saying that he would never have drawn a sword on the prince's side if he could have imagined him capable of such usage to his wife (Works of John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, ed. 1739, ii. xxxi, Appendix).

William III appointed Harbord paymaster-general and a member of the privy council (Luttrell, Diary, i. 492, 510). In parliament he took little part in the constitutional debates, but was very active in representing the pecuniary necessities of the new government (Grey, Debates, ix. 12, 36, 54, 161, 178, 184). But he was eager to exclude delinquents from pardon, and proposed that a couple of judges should be hanged at the gate of Westminster Hall (ib. ix. 251-6, 316, 379). The language he used about the government of Charles II threatened to lead to a duel, which the intervention of the house prevented (ib. ix. 234). Harbord was prominent in all debates about Irish affairs, and advocated a drastic system of land confiscation (ib. x. 40). In September 1689 he followed Schomberg to Ireland, where he wrote a very detailed account of the condition of the English army (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1689-90, pp. 276, 293). Schomberg explained to Harbord his reasons for remaining in the entrenched camp at Dundalk instead of attacking the Irish army (ib. p. 299; Aylesbury, Memoirs, i. 252). According to him the sufferings of the English troops were largely due to Harbord's mismanagement or avarice (Dalrymple, Memoirs, ii. Appendix, pp. 177-80). Nevertheless, though Harbord was removed from his post of paymaster in March 1690, he was appointed vice-treasurer of Ireland in November (Luttrell. ii. 24; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1690-1, p. 167).

Harbord was also employed as a diplomatist. In July 1690 he was sent to Holland to apologise for the conduct of Torrington at the battle of Beachy Head (ib. pp. 51, 99; Luttrell, ii. 79, 91). In November 1691, at his own suggestion, he was appointed ambassador to Turkey in order to mediate between the sultan and the emperor, and to set the imperial forces free for the war with France (Luttrell, ii. 307, 362, 380, 499; Klopp, Fall des Hauses Stuart, v. 301, vi. 97; Burnet, iv. 178, ed. 1833). He died on his way at Belgrade on 31 July 1692 (Baker, ii. 172; Luttrell, ii. 555).

Harbord married twice: first, Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Arthur Duck of Chiswick, Middlesex, in 1661. Through her he obtained a part of Grafton Park, Northamptonshire, of which he afterwards purchased the remainder (Baker, ii. 172; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1671-2, p. 254). He married, secondly, Catherine, daughter of Edward Russell, and sister of Edward, earl of Orford.

By his first wife he had three daughters, viz., Margaret, married Robert King, second baron Kingston [q. v.] ; Mary, married Sir Edward Ayscough of South Kelsey, Lincolnshire ; Grace, married Thomas Hatcher of Kirby, Lincolnshire. Letitia, his daughter by his second wife, married Sir Rowland Winn of Nostell Priory, Yorkshire.

Harbord's younger brother Charles, who was knighted by Charles II, was first lieutenant of the Royal James, and fell in the battle of Southwold, 28 May 1672, refusing to desert his commander, Lord Sandwich. A monument to him is in Westminster Abbey (Pepys, Diary, ed. Wheatley, v. 124, viii. 164, 312; Dart, Westmonasterium, ii. 112).

[Baker's History of Northamptonshire, ii. 172; other authorities given in the article.]

C. H. F.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.295
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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387 ii 22 Harbord, William: for in 1672, when he read in 1661, when he was returned to the House of Commons for Clifton, Dartmouth, and Hardness borough. In 1672 he