Hyde, Jane (DNB00)
|←Hyde, Henry (1710-1753)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28
HYDE, JANE, Countess of Clarendon and Rochester (d. 1725), was one of the two daughters of Sir William Leveson-Gower, bart.,andhis wife the daughter of John Granville, earl of Bath. Though her father was a whig (he had been one of Monmouth's bail in 1683; see Collins, Peerage of England, 5th ed. v. 141), she was married, 3 March 1693, to Henry, lord Hyde, eldest son of Laurence Hyde, first earl of Rochester [q.v.] Her husband's career was undistinguished; for a time he was joint vice-treasurer for Ireland, and he enjoyed a pension of 4,000l. a year on the post office, conferred in 1687 for ninety-nine years upon his father and himself (Ellis Correspondence, i. 212). In 1711 he succeeded to the earldom of Rochester, and in 1724 to that of Clarendon, both of which titles became extinct by his death on 10 Dec. 1753. At the time of their marriage Lord and Lady Hyde were described as a singularly fine couple (Correspondence of Clarendon and Rochester, ii. 341), and among their eight children, two daughters became in time 'top toasts ' for their beauty, viz. Jane, afterwards Countess of Essex (see Swift, Journal to Stella, 18 July 1711, 29 Jan. 1712), and Catherine, celebrated as Duchess of Queensberry [see under Douglas, Charles, third Duke of Queensberry]. But even they were considered inferior in beauty to what their mother had been before them. Accordingly, she was complimented in verse both bv her kinsman, George Granville, lord Lansdowne, and by Prior, who extolled her as Myra in ' The Judgment of Venus;' while Swift condescended to call her his 'mistress,' and Pope tried to make Martha Blount jealous by praising her beauty (Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, vii. 188, ix. 277 n.) She paid the penalty of fame in the scandalous aspersions which, many years after her death, are cast upon her conjugal fidelity by the venomous tongue of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (Letters and Works, ed. Lord Wharncliffe, ii. 274. Swift seems to allude to the scandal in the letter cited above). She died on 24 May 1725. Her husband survived her till 10 Dec. 1753. Her portrait was painted by Kneller and Dahl. There are two portraits by the latter in the Clarendon gallery at the Grove, Watford.[Lady Theresa Lewis's Descriptive Catalogue of the Portraits at the Grove, in Lives of Friends and Contemporaries of Lord Chancellor Clarendon illustrative of Portraits in his Gallery, 1852, iii. 412-15; Doyle's Official Baronage of England, i. 406.]
HYDE, LAURENCE, Earl of Rochester (1641-1711), second son of Edward Hyde, first earl of Clarendon [q.v.], and of his second wife, was born in March 1641. On the return of the family to England at the Restoration, Laurence entered parliament as member for Newport in Cornwall, but from April 1661 to the dissolution in July 1679 sat as representative of the university of Oxford. In October 1661 he took part in an embassy to congratulate Louis XIV on the birth of a dauphin, and from May 1662 till 1675 was master of the robes. In 1665 he married Lady Harrietta, daughter of Richard Boyle, first earl of Burlington [q.v.], who proved herself a devoted though perhaps not a discreet wife. Hyde, who with his elder brother Henry (1638-1709) [q.v.] warmly defended their father on his impeachment (1667), afterwards described himself as having been 'much exposed to his own free choice and direction for seven years by his father's banishment and his mother's death,' and as having been 'absolutely left to it' after his father's death (9 Dec. 1674). The unfinished 'Meditations,' composed by him on the first anniversary of that event (printed in Diary and Correspondence, i. Appendix, 645-50), prove his anxiety for his father's fame, which he pretends to have to some extent jeopardised by advising him to quit England. He adds that during the seven years of his father's exile he attended him but twice, spending with him not more than five weeks in all (cf. Pepys, v.100).
In June 1676 Hyde was named ambassador extraordinary to John III (Sobieski),