Hoby, Edward (DNB00)
|←Hobson, Thomas||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 27
HOBY, Sir EDWARD (1560–1617), diplomatist and controversialist, born at Bisham, Berkshire, in 1560, was eldest son of Sir Thomas Hoby [q. v.], by Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, Essex. He was educated at Eton, where he formed a lasting friendship with Sir John Harington [q. v.] (Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, trans. by Harington, ed. 1607, p. 393), he matriculated at Oxford as a gentleman-commoner from Trinity College on 11 Nov. 1574 (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 57). He was allowed to graduate B.A. on 19 Feb. 1575–6, after keeping only eight terms, and before he had completed ten terms proceeded M.A. on 3 July of the same year, being the senior master in the comitia (ib. vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 55). At college Thomas Lodge [q. v.], the dramatist, was ‘servitour or scholar’ under him (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 382). In June 1576 he obtained a dispensation for two years and two terms in order to travel on the continent (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., vol. ii. pt. i. p. 69). Subsequently, as he states in his ‘Counter-snarle’ (pp. 61, 72), he entered himself at the Middle Temple. Under the auspices of his uncle, Lord Burghley, he rose into high favour at court, and was frequently employed on confidential missions. His fortunes were further advanced by his marriage, on 21 May 1582, with Mary, or Margaret, daughter of Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon [q. v.] The day after the wedding he was knighted by the queen (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 134). In August 1584 he accompanied his father-in-law on a special mission to Scotland (cf. Cal. State Papers, Scottish, pp. 483, 485). His affability and learning greatly impressed James VI, and after attending the Scottish ambassador, Patrick, master of Gray, as far as Durham, Hoby received from the Scottish king a flattering letter, dated 24 Oct. 1584, in which James intimated his longing for his company, and how he had ‘commanded his ambassador to sue for it.’ Arran also wrote to the same effect, and enclosed a ‘small token,’ which he begged Hoby to wear in ‘testimony of their brotherhood’ (ib. Scottish, p. 489). These amenities proved displeasing to Elizabeth, and Hoby found it convenient for a time to plead the ague as an excuse for not attending the court. Domestic troubles also harassed him (ib. Dom. 1581–90, p. 213). On 24 Sept. 1586 he was returned M.P. for Queenborough, Kent, and gained distinction as a speaker in parliament. On 31 Oct. following he complained that he had been ‘not only bitten but overpassed by the hard hand of’ Walsingham, and appealed to Secretary Davison to use his influence with the queen in his behalf (ib. Dom. 1581–90, p. 365). Being ultimately restored to favour, Hoby in July 1588 was chosen to report to the queen the progress of the preparations against the Armada (ib. Dom. 1581–90, p. 503). In the ensuing October he was elected M.P. for Berkshire. He was made J.P. for Middlesex by a special renewal of the commission on 17 Dec. 1591 (ib. Dom. 1591–4, p. 144). In 1592 the queen visited him at Bisham (Nichols, Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 130–6). He was chosen M.P. for Kent in February 1592–3, and in 1594 was granted letters patent for buying and providing wool for sale in England for ten years, and the grant was ratified in the succeeding reign (ib. Dom. 1603–10, p. 134). Hoby accompanied the expedition to Cadiz in 1596, was made constable of Queenborough Castle, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, on 9 July 1597, and on the following 28 Oct. received a commission to search out and prosecute all offences against the statute prohibiting the exportation of iron from England, his reward being half the forfeitures arising therefrom (ib. Dom. 1595–7, pp. 455, 523). He represented Rochester in the parliaments of 1597, 1601, February 1603–4, and 1614. James I made him a gentleman of the privy chamber, forgave him, by warrant dated 7 Jan. 1604–5, the arrears of rent of the royal manor of Shirland, Derbyshire, amounting to over 500l., and on 21 Aug. 1607 granted him an exclusive license to buy wool in Warwickshire and Staffordshire (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10, pp. 186, 368). He frequently entertained the king at Bisham.
Hoby died in Queenborough Castle on 1 March 1616–17 (Probate Act Book, P. C. C., 1617–18), and was buried at Bisham. By his wife (d. 1605) he had no issue, but he left by Katherine Pinkney a natural son, Peregrine Hoby (1602–1678), whom he brought up, made his heir, and at his death committed to the care of Archbishop Abbot (cf. his will registered in P. C. C. 24, Weldon). Peregrine sat for Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in the parliaments of 1640, 1660, and 1661, and in 1666 his eldest son, Edward, was created a baronet. The Baronetages erroneously make Peregrine the lawful son of Sir Edward Hoby by a third wife (cf. Burke, Extinct Baronetage, p. 265).
An excellent scholar himself, Hoby cultivated the friendship of learned men, especially that of William Camden, who eulogises his bounty and accomplishments in his ‘Britannia’ (under ‘Bisham’ and ‘Queenborough’). Camden also dedicated his ‘Hibernia’ (1587) to him. In 1612 Hoby presented to the library of Trinity College, Oxford, Sir Henry Savile's sumptuous edition of ‘St. Chrysostom.’ Hoby was also a keen theologian, as his contests with the papists Theophilus Higgons [q. v.] and John Fludd or Floyd [q. v.] sufficiently prove. He wrote: 1. ‘A Letter to Mr. T[heophilus] H[iggons], late Minister: now Fugitive … in answere of his first Motive,’ 4to, London, 1609, which was answered by Higgons during the same year. 2. ‘A Counter-snarle for Ishmael Rabshacheh, a Cecropidan Lycaonite,’ 4to. London, 1613, being a reply to ‘The Overthrow of the Protestants Pulpet Babels,’ by ‘J. R.’ (John Floyd). Floyd forthwith rejoined with his ‘Purgatories triumph over Hell, maugre the barking of Cerberus in Syr Edward Hobyes “Counter-snarle”’ (1613). 3. ‘A Curry-combe for a coxe-combe … In answer to a lewd Libell lately foricated by Jabal Rachil against Sir Edward Hobies “Counter-Snarle,” entituled “Purgatories triumph over Hell,”’ 4to, London, 1615, written under the ponderous pseudonym of ‘Nick, groome of the Hobie-Stable Reginoburgi,’ in the form of a dialogue (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10 p. 586, 1611–1618 p. 269).
Hoby translated from the French of M. Coignet ‘Politique [discourses on] trueth and lying,’ 4to, London, 1586, and from the Spanish of B. de Mendoza, ‘Theorique and Practise of Warre,’ 4to [London], 1597.
A few of Hoby's letters are contained in the Lansdowne and Birch MSS. in the British Museum (cf. Court and Times of James I). His portrait, a small oval, representing him at the defeat of the Spanish Armada, has been engraved. He collected and placed in Queenborough Castle portraits of many of the constables, including his own. These were removed before 1629, and Hoby's portrait taken to Gillingham vicarage, Kent (Johnson, Iter Plantarum). The others passed into the library at Penshurst (Gent. Mag. vol. lvi. pt. i. pp. 5–6).[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 194–7; Townshend's Historical Collections; Cat. of Lansdowne MSS.; Ayscough's Cat. of MSS.; Nichols's Progresses of James I; Lysons's Mag. Brit. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 243; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, ii. 203; Warton's Life of R. Bathurst, pp. 188–9.]