Yorke, Philip (1720-1790) (DNB00)

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YORKE, PHILIP, second Earl of Hardwicke (1720–1790), eldest son of Lord-chancellor Hardwicke [see Yorke, Philip, first Earl of Hardwicke], was born on 19 March 1719–20. He was educated at Newcome's school, Hackney, afterwards under private tutors, of whom Samuel Salter [q. v.] was one, and at the university of Cambridge, where he matriculated from Corpus Christi College in 1737, and received the degree of LL.D. in 1749. In 1741 he was elected F.R.S. and in 1744 F.S.A. He contributed some English verses to the ‘Pietas Academiæ Cantabrigiensis in funere serenissimæ Principis Willelminæ Carolinæ’ (Cambridge, 1738, fol.), and with his brother Charles [q. v.] wrote the greater portion of the ‘Athenian Letters; or the Epistolary Correspondence of an Agent of the King of Persia, residing at Athens during the Peloponnesian War’ (London, 1741, 4 vols. 8vo). The work was projected as an academic exercise by Thomas Birch [q. v.], who himself wrote some of the letters and edited the whole. Other contributors were Henry Coventry (d. 1752) [q. v.], John Green [q. v.], Samuel Salter [q. v.], Catherine Talbot [q. v.], Daniel Wray [q. v.], Dr. Rooke (afterwards master of Christ's College), John Heaton (of Corpus Christi College), and John Lawry (prebendary of Rochester). The ‘Letters’ were printed for private circulation only, the first edition being limited to ten copies, and the second, which was deferred until 1781 (London, 1 vol. 4to), to a hundred copies; but the vivacity and verisimilitude, which, notwithstanding the diversity of authorship, characterised the entire collection placed it far above the ordinary level of academic compositions, and the vogue given to historic fiction by the appearance of Barthélemy's celebrated ‘Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grèce’ (Paris, 1788) at length procured for it the honour of piracy (Dublin, 1792, 2 vols. 8vo). The surreptitious edition was suppressed and superseded in 1798 by one having the imprimatur of the then (third) Earl of Hardwicke (London, 2 vols. 4to), and furnished with a geographical index, maps, and engravings. A new edition by Archdeacon Coxe appeared in 1810 (London, 2 vols. 4to). Another edition appeared at Basel in 1800 (3 vols. 8vo). There are also French translations by Villeterque and Christophe, published at Paris in 1803 (3 tom. 8vo and 4 tom. 12mo respectively). The vogue of the ‘Athenian Letters’ is long past, and few critics would endorse the encomiums lavished upon the work by Lord Campbell in his ‘Life of Charles Yorke.’ Depreciation is indeed now more easy than appreciation; but, nevertheless, the service which the ‘Athenian Letters’ rendered in an age which had no worthy English version of Thucydides and few translations of any kind from the Greek is hardly to be over-estimated. The work was greatly admired by Barthélemy.

Yorke represented Reigate, Surrey, in the parliament of 1741–7, and Cambridgeshire in subsequent parliaments so long as he remained a commoner. From 2 April 1754 he was styled Viscount Royston. Though an infrequent speaker, he was assiduous in attendance in the House of Commons, and kept an exact journal of the debates from December 1743 to April 1745, which was eventually incorporated in Cobbett's ‘Parliamentary History,’ vol. xiii. He was sworn of the privy council on the accession of George III, and took his seat in the House of Lords as Earl of Hardwicke on 16 March 1764. In politics he continued the family tradition, was a member (without office) of the first Rockingham administration, and was offered the northern seals on Grafton's resignation (14 May 1766). He declined office by reason of ill-health, which also prevented him from taking an active part in opposition during the Grafton and North administrations. He retained, however, the confidence of his party, whose meetings were commonly held at his town house, and was consulted during the arrangements which terminated in the formation of the second Rockingham administration. He was teller of the exchequer from 1738, lord-lieutenant of Cambridgeshire from 1757, and high steward of the university of Cambridge from 1764 until his death in London, at his house in St. James's Square, on 16 May 1790. He was also a trustee of the British Museum. He married, on 22 May 1740, Jemima, daughter of John Campbell, third earl of Breadalbane, afterwards suo jure Marchioness Grey and Baroness Lucas of Crudwell, by whom he left only female issue. The title accordingly devolved upon his nephew Philip Yorke, third earl [q. v.], eldest son of his brother Charles.

Hardwicke edited: 1. ‘Letters from and to Sir Dudley Carleton during his Embassy in Holland,’ London, 1757; 2nd ed. 1775; 3rd ed. 1780, 4to. 2. ‘Miscellaneous State Papers from 1501 to 1726,’ London, 1778, 4to [cf. Somers or Sommers, John, Lord Somers, ad fin.]. 3. ‘Walpoliana; or a few Anecdotes of Sir Robert Walpole,’ London, 1783, 4to. The last work, which was privately printed, must be carefully distinguished from the ‘Walpoliana’ subsequently edited by John Pinkerton [q. v.] From his autograph marginalia were derived the annotations marked ‘H’ in the Oxford edition of Burnet's ‘Own Time’ (1823) (cf. Addit. MS. 31954). Portions of Hardwicke's papers and correspondence are printed by Harris, ‘Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke,’ and Lord Albemarle, ‘Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham,’ and his contemporaries; others are contained in Egerton MS. 2180 ff. 76, 224, 234, 2184, 2185 f. 164; Additional MSS. 15946 f. 53, 15957 ff. 326–34, 32725–33070, and the Lansdowne, Rutland, and Dartmouth collections (see Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. App. p. 239, 6th Rep. App. i. 89, x. 211, 216, 221, 223, 239, 267, 270–1, and 15th Rep. App. i. 238, 263, 267–8). [Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, iv. 492; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Parl. Hist. vols. xiii–xvi.; Lists of the Royal Society and Society of Antiquaries; Walpole's Letters, ed. Cunningham; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. and Illustr.; Gent. Mag. 1790, i. 479, 1815 ii. 405; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual.]

J. M. R.