Herbert, Henry John George (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 26
Herbert, Henry John George

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HERBERT, HENRY JOHN GEORGE, third Earl of Carnarvon (1800–1849), born 8 June 1800, was eldest son of Henry George Herbert, the second earl, by Elizabeth Kitty, daughter of Colonel John Dyke Acland of Pixton, Somerset. His grandfather, Henry Herbert (1741–1811), was elder son of William Herbert, the fifth son of Thomas Herbert, eighth earl of Pembroke [q. v.], and was created Lord Porchester of Highclere 17 Oct. 1780, and Earl of Carnarvon 3 July 1793. Henry John George, at first known as Viscount Porchester, was educated at Eton and matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 22 Oct. 1817, but did not proceed to a degree. A love of adventure led him from an early age to spend much time abroad. He travelled in Barbary, and subsequently for many years in Portugal and in Spain, where he was imprisoned by the Christinos in consequence of displaying active sympathy with the Carlists. Although no learned archæologist Porchester was an intelligent observer and an excellent linguist. He was much attracted by Spanish history and literature, and in 1825 published ‘The Moor,’ a poem in six cantos, and in 1828 ‘Don Pedro, King of Castile,’ a tragedy, which was successfully produced at Drury Lane during his absence abroad, on 10 March 1828, when Macready and Miss Ellen Tree filled the chief parts. On returning home he published the results of his observations in ‘The Last Days of the Portuguese Constitution,’ 1830, and in ‘Portugal and Galicia,’ 1830; 3rd edition, 1848. In 1831 he was elected M.P. for Wootton Basset, Wiltshire, and on 4 July of the same year delivered one of the most effective speeches in opposition to the Reform Bill (Hansard, 3rd ser. iv. 711), and another in committee on the discussion regarding the disfranchisement of Wootton Basset (ib. v. 378). The former speech was separately published. He succeeded his father as third earl 16 April 1833, and continued his opposition to liberal measures in the House of Lords. In 1839 he made an extensive tour through Greece, at a time when the country was suffering from the effects of war and civil disturbances. In 1869 his son and successor published, with a preface, his interesting notes of the tour, under the title ‘Reminiscences of Athens and the Morea in 1839.’ His health was never very good, and he died at the house of his brother-in-law, Philip Pusey, M.P., of Pusey, Berkshire, on 9 Dec. 1849. In 1841 he began the restoration of the family seat, Highclere, Berkshire, on a very elaborate scale. He was a popular landlord, although jealous of his rights. In 1844 he established in the law courts his claims to free-warren over the manors of Highclere and Burghclere—i.e. the exclusive right of killing game on those estates. In private life he was singularly kind and unassuming. His portrait was painted by E. Walker.

Carnarvon married, on 4 Aug. 1830, Henrietta Anne, daughter of Lord Henry Molyneux Howard. By her, who died 26 May 1876, he had three sons: Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, fourth earl [q. v.]; Alan Percy Harty Molyneux Herbert, M.D.; and Auberon Edward William Molyneux, D.C.L.; together with two daughters, of whom the elder married Isaac Newton Wallop, fifth earl of Portsmouth.

[Annual Register, 1849, p. 249; Gent. Mag. 1850, i. 205; Carnarvon's Reminiscences of Athens and the Morea, edited by his son, 1869; Doyle's Official Baronage.]