Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Herbert, Philip (1584-1650)

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652042Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 26 — Herbert, Philip (1584-1650)1891Sidney Lee

HERBERT, PHILIP, Earl of Montgomery and fourth Earl of Pembroke (1584–1650), born 10 Oct. 1584, was younger son of Henry Herbert, second earl of Pembroke [q. v.], by his third wife, Mary Herbert [q. v.] He seems to have been named Philip after his mother's brother, Sir Philip Sidney. With his elder brother William, third earl of Pembroke [q. v.], he matriculated at New College, Oxford, on 9 March 1592-3, when nine years old (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., ii. ii. 195). He only stayed at the university three or four months. In April 1597 ‘little Mr. Philip Harbert’ was reported to be a suitor for the hand of Mary Herbert, heiress of Sir William Herbert of St. Julians, who ultimately married another kinsman, Edward, the well-known lord Herbert of Cherbury [q. v.] (Sydney Papers, ii. 43). On his first visit to court in April 1600 his forwardness caused general amazement (ib. p. 190). In the following year his father offered the queen 5,000l. if she would allow a royal ward, daughter of Sir Arthur Gorges, to marry him, but the offer was declined. After ‘long love and many changes,’ he was, in October 1604, ‘privately contracted to my Lady Susan [Vere, third daughter of Edward, seventeenth earl of Oxford], without the knowledge of any of his or her friends’ (Lodge, Illustrations, iii. 238). On 27 Dec. the marriage took place at Whitehall with elaborate ceremony, in which the king took a prominent part (Winwood, Mem. ii. 43). James gave the bride land worth 500l., and the bridegroom land to the value of 1,000l. a year.

Philip is said to have been a handsome young man, and in the early years of James's reign was acknowledged to be the chief of the royal favourites. ‘The comeliness of his person’ and his passion for hunting and field-sports, writes Clarendon, rendered him ‘the first who drew the king's eyes towards him with affection.’ ‘He pretended to no other qualifications than to understand dogs and horses very well.’ In May 1603 he became a gentleman of the privy chamber, on 23 July was appointed a knight of the Bath, and from 1605 to the end of the reign was a gentleman of the bedchamber. He was member for Glamorganshire in the parliament of 1604, and on 4 May 1605 was created Baron Herbert of Shurland in the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and Earl of Montgomery. On 9 Feb. 1606-7 James I bestowed on his favourite the castle of Montgomery, which he took from its rightful owner, Edward Herbert, lord Herbert of Cherbury, but in July 1613 the new earl restored it to his kinsman on payment of 500l. From 1608 onwards he received lavish grants of land from James. Montgomery accompanied the king to Oxford in August 1605, and was created M.A. In 1606 it was rumoured that he was deep in debt, and that the king was compounding with his creditors (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603-10, pp. 334, 348). In court-tournaments and in masques he was always a prominent figure (cf. ib. 1611-18, pp. 428, 512). The distinction which he gained when accompanying the king in the hunting-field or in the pursuit of other outdoor sports gave new currency to the old lines:

The Herberts every Cockepitt day
Doe carry away
The gold and glory of the day

(Lodge, iii. 291). But Montgomery was very choleric and foul-mouthed. In 1607, according to Osborne's scandalous memoirs, a Scottish courtier, John Ramsay, afterwards Viscount Haddington and Earl of Holderness, switched ‘him on the face’ at Croydon races, and ‘Herbert not offering to strike again, there was nothing spilt but the reputation of a gentleman.’ In 1610 he had a quarrel with the Earl of Southampton at a game of tennis, but the king compounded the quarrel (Winwood, iii. 154). In 1617 he accompanied James I to Scotland, and had a violent dispute on the journey with Lord Howard de Walden (ib.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1611-1618, p. 443). The king's favour, however, was never alienated by his surly temper. He was made a knight of the Garter on 23 April 1608, and high steward of Oxford University 10 June 1615. In the latter year he also received a share in the glass monopoly; on 4 Dec. 1617 became keeper of Westminster Palace, Spring Gardens, and St. James's Park; on 17 March 1623-4 lord-lieutenant of Kent, and in December 1624 a privy councillor. In his last illness James I recommended Montgomery to the favourable notice of his successor, Charles, and in the first month of the new reign he was despatched to Paris as one of the embassy to conduct the Princess Henrietta Maria to England. This was the only occasion on which he left England. Montgomery bore the spurs at Charles's coronation, 2 Feb. 1625-6, and on 3 Aug. 1626 succeeded his brother as lord chamberlain of the household.

Like his brother, Montgomery interested himself in New England and other colonial settlements. He was a member of council for the Virginia Company in 1612, and was one of the incorporators of the North-West Passage Company (26 July 1612), and of Guiana, South America, 19 May 1626. He became a member of the East India Company in 1614 (Alexander Brown, Genesis of the United States, 1890, ii. 920). On 2 Feb. 1627-8 he received a grant of certain islands between 8 and 13 degrees of north latitude, called Trinidado, Tobago, Barbadoes, and Fonseca, with all the islets within ten leagues of their shores, on condition that a rent of a wedge of gold weighing a pound should be paid to the king or his heirs when he or they ‘came into those parts’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1627-8, p. 573). Montgomery's rights were soon disputed by James Hay, earl of Carlisle, who sent out ships to take possession of Barbadoes in 1629. In 1628 he was with Buckingham at Portsmouth, when the duke was assassinated by Felton, and protected Felton from the violence of the duke's retainers immediately after the murder. Two years later he became fourth earl of Pembroke, on the death (10 April 1630) of his brother William, the third earl [q. v.], and succeeded him as lord warden of the Stannaries (12 Aug. 1630). According to Clarendon, he extended the jurisdiction of that office ‘with great fury and passion,’ to the oppression of the people of Cornwall and Devonshire. The third earl had also been chancellor of Oxford University, and Philip desired to succeed to the dignity. His religious views, which do not seem to have much affected his conduct, inclined to Calvinism, and his candidature was opposed by Laud, who was elected by a narrow majority. He accompanied Charles to Oxford in August 1636, when Laud entertained the royal party, and until the civil war Pembroke entertained the king every summer at Wilton, where he was engaged in elaborate building operations, which greatly interested Charles. But Pembroke's rough manners continued to make him numerous enemies at court. In February 1634 he broke his staff over the back of Thomas May (Strafford Letters, i. 207). The queen disliked him, and he was generally credited with strong popular sympathies. When with the expedition against the Scots in 1639, he strongly recommended peace, and in 1640 was one of the commissioners appointed to negotiate a pacification with the Scots at Ripon. In October he, with two fellow-commissioners, Holland and Salisbury, laid before Charles at York the terms offered by the Scots and recommended their acceptance. The king directed Pembroke to return to London and raise 200,000l. to meet the expenses of the northern expedition.

Pembroke's alienation from the court was thenceforth rapid. At the elections to the Longparliament (November 1640) he used his influence to secure the return of many popular burgesses, and in 1641 he voted against Strafford. In the summer of 1641 he quarrelled violently with Lord Maltravers, son of the Earl of Arundel, while both were attending a committee of the House of Lords (cf. report of quarrel in Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. pt. vi. p. 143). The House of Lords committed the disputants to the Tower. The king resented Pembroke's attitude towards Strafford; the queen recommended his dismissal from the office of lord chamberlain, and in July 1641 advantage was taken of his recent outburst of temper to remove him from the post (23 July 1641). He was succeeded by the Earl of Essex. Pembroke thenceforth identified himself with the parliamentary opposition. Clarendon, who states that he had ‘a great kindness’ for the earl on account of civilities shown him in early life, attributes his action to cowardly fear that the royalists were a losing party and to the persuasions of his friend Lord Say. But he was chiefly influenced by personal pique, and the flattery of his new allies doubtless carried him further in opposition to the king than he at first intended (Clarendon, Hist. iii. 214, vi. 399-401). Before the end of the year the commons petitioned the king to appoint him lord steward, but the request was refused (December 1641).

On 9 March 1641-2 Pembroke and Holland were sent to the king at Royston to lay before him the parliament's ‘declarations of his misgovernments and actions.’ In July 1642 Hyde endeavoured to win him over to the king's cause, and Pembroke availed himself of the opportunity to send assurances of his loyalty to Charles (Clarendon StatePapers, ii. 144-9). In the same month Pembroke was nominated a member of the committee of safety. On 8 Aug. 1642 a parliamentary ordinance appointed him governor of the Isle of Wight in the place of the Earl of Portland, the king's governor. ‘Pembroke,’ says Clarendon, ‘kindly accepted the post as a testimony of their favour, and so got into actual rebellion, which he never intended to do’ (cf. his speech to citizens of London after Edgehill in Old Parl. Hist. xi. 481, 488). On 11 Nov. 1642 he and Northumberland, with three members of parliament, were deputed to present a petition to the king at Colnbrook, Buckinghamshire, entreating him to join parliament in staying the horrors of a civil war. In January 1643 he was one of the commissioners sent by parliament to the king at Oxford with propositions for peace, and on 2 Nov. was appointed by parliament a commissioner for the plantations. In January 1644-5 he was present at the Uxbridge conferences. At Uxbridge he talked freely with Hyde, one of the king's commissioners, and, while urging Hyde to induce the king to yield to the parliamentary demands, characterised his own colleagues as ‘a pack of knaves and villains.’ Hyde asserts that Pembroke's adherence to the parliament and his regular attendance at Westminster through 1644 and 1645 were now mainly inspired by a fear of losing Wilton, and that his influence with his party was steadily declining. In April 1644 he accompanied a parliamentary deputation to the city of London, and addressed the common council on the resolve of parliament to bring the war to a speedy issue (cf. speech ib. xiii. 161). In July the parliament nominated him lord-lieutenant of Somerset, and in 1645 a commissioner of the admiralty. In December 1645, when peace propositions were again under discussion, it was proposed that Pembroke should be made a duke. On 7 July 1646 he was reappointed a commissioner to treat for peace, and in January 1646-7 was one of the parliamentary delegates who received the king's person from the Scots and conducted him to Holmby. A charge that he had given money to the king was investigated by the House of Lords on his return, and was dismissed. On 27 July 1648 he was appointed by parliamentary ordinance constable of Windsor Castle and keeper of the Great Park, and in the autumn of 1648 represented the parliament at the renewed negotiations opened with the king at Newport.

On 25 June 1641 Laud, then a prisoner in the Tower, had resigned the chancellorship of Oxford University, and Pembroke had succeeded him. An eulogistic broadside in verse, adorned with a portrait, was published by William Cartwright in honour of Pembroke's accession to the office. But on 7 Sept. 1642, when the vice-chancellor, Dr. Pinke, entreated Pembroke to protect the city and university from the attack of the parliamentary army, he brusquely replied that their safety would be assured if all cavaliers were dismissed and delinquents yielded up to the parliament (Ellis, Orig. Lett. 2nd ser. iii. 300-1; Rushworth, Hist. Coll. v. 11-13). When Oxford became the king's headquarters, Pembroke was superseded in the chancellorship by the Marquis of Hertford, but on 3 Aug. 1647 parliament issued an ordinance for his restoration, which was quickly followed by an ordinance for the visitation and reformation of the university. The visitors, headed by Sir Nathaniel Brent, began operations at Oxford in September, and a committee of lords and commons, sitting in London under Pembroke's presidency, directed them to act vigorously and to administer the solemn league and covenant to all university officials. The heads of houses proved contumacious in their dealings with the visitors, and Pembroke's committee summoned them before them in London in November. Pembroke reproached the offenders in characteristically foul language, but some delay elapsed before he proceeded to extremities. On 18 Feb. 1647-8 he nominated Dr. Reynolds, a member of his own party, vice-chancellor, together with new proctors and many new heads of houses. On 11 April 1648 he arrived at Oxford in person, and forcibly ejected those heads of houses and prebendaries of Christ Church who had declined to obey the visitors. On the same day he presided in convocation, when Reynolds was installed as vice-chancellor and degrees conferred. Thenceforth the visitors met with little opposition. Pembroke himself intervened to protect Philip Henry [q. v.] at Christ Church from ejectment. Clarendon assigns Pembroke's conduct at Oxford to ‘the extreme weakness of his understanding and the miserable compliance of his nature.’ Wood describes him as better fitted by ‘his eloquence in swearing to preside over Bedlam than a learned academy.’ ‘He would make an excellent chancellor for the mews were Oxford turned into a kennel of hounds,’ writes the author of ‘Mercurius Menippeus,' variously identified with Butler and Birkenhead. Similar sentiments find expression in numerous satires issued at the time of Pembroke's visit; of these the best known are ‘An Owleat Athens,’ 1648 (verse), ‘Pegasus, or the Flying Horse from Oxford,’ and ‘Newes from Pembroke to Montgomery, or Oxford Manchestered,’ with Pembroke's speech ‘word for word and oath for oath.’

Pembroke's reputation with the parliament was now very high. On 14 Feb. 1648-9 he was appointed a member of the first council of state, and on 16 April 1649 was returned to the House of Commons as member for Berkshire. The House of Commons approved the electors' choice, and received him with great respect. This ‘ascent downwards’ excited the ridicule of numberless royalist wits, who published mock speeches, attributed to ‘the late Earl of Pembroke,’ in which his habitual violence of language is amusingly satirised. The pamphleteers represent that all his speeches were written by his secretary, Michael Oldsworth, M.P. for Salisbury. In May 1649 his enemies attacked him unmercifully in a mock ‘Thanksgiving for his recovery from a pestilent feaver, which after turn'd into the Fowl disease.’

Pembroke died on 23 Jan. 1649-50, ‘in his lodgings in the Cockpit,’ Whitehall, and was buried in the family vault at Salisbury Cathedral on 9 Feb. following. By order of the council of state all members of parliament accompanied the cortège two or three miles on the journey from London (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649-50, p. 505). The royalist pamphleteers again venomously assailed his memory, and in their mock accounts of his ‘last will and testament’ dwelt at length on his blasphemous speeches, his libertinism, and his absorbing affection for dogs and horses (cf. Butler, Posthumous Works, 1715, vol. ii.) His income, including his receipts from his offices, had often amounted to 30,000l. a year (Aubrey), and he left a large fortune.

The earl accepted the dedication of numerous books, often in conjunction with his brother William. To ‘the incomparable pair of brethren’ the first folio of Shakespeare's works was inscribed in 1623, and to Massinger, Montgomery, like his mother and brother, was a constant patron throughout his life, continuing a pension to Massinger's widow. Pembroke seems to have been fond of scribbling irrelevant remarks on the margins of his books. In the British Museum Library is a copy of Chapman's ‘Conspiracie of Byron’ (1625), with numerous manuscript notes ascribed to him, but the binder has so cropped the edges as to make few of the notes intelligible. Walpole mentions similar treatment by Pembroke of a copy of ‘Sir Thomas More's Life.’ But the earl's tastes did not incline to books or poetry. Apart from his sporting proclivities he was devoted to painting and building. At the instigation of Charles I (according to Aubrey) he rebuilt the front of Wilton House on an elaborate scale in 1633. The king recommended him to employ Inigo Jones as his architect. Although Jones, who had been in the earl's service, was too busily employed at Greenwich to accept the commission, Solomon de Caus, who undertook the work [see De Caus], received many suggestions from him. In 1647 the south side of the house was burnt down, and it was rebuilt by Webb, who married Inigo Jones's niece. According to Walpole, Pembroke quarrelled with Jones over the plans. In a copy of Jones's ‘Stonehenge,’ once in the Harleian Library, Pembroke scribbled in the margin disparaging remarks of the author, whom he called Iniquity Jones. The stables were of Roman architecture, with a ‘court and fountain…adorned with Caesar's heads’ (Evelyn, ii. 59), and there were kept racehorses (some from Morocco) and carriage horses for six coaches, besides all manner of dogs and hawks. The gardens, according to Evelyn ‘the noblest in England,’ were laid out by Solomon de Caus's son or nephew Isaac, who published an elaborate series of etchings of them, with a French text, dedicated to Pembroke, in 1647. Within the house Pembroke placed a magnificent collection of paintings. He employed an agent, Mr. Touars, to collect works of art on the continent at a salary of 100l. a year. The ceiling of one of the rooms was painted by John de Critz [q. v.], and examples of Giorgione and Titian adorned the walls. But Pembroke is best known as the patron of Vandyck. ‘He had,’ says Aubrey, ‘the most of his paintings of any one in the world.’ A family portrait by Vandyck of himself, his wife, and children is now at Wilton House, together with two other separate paintings by Vandyck of himself.

Pembroke's domestic arrangements were much complicated by his immorality. In 1622 a daughter of the Earl of Berkshire lived with him as his mistress, and caused him annoyance by suddenly running away (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619-23, p. 366). In his last years the royalist pamphleteers constantly made offensive references to his mistress Mrs. May. His first wife died in January 1628-9. On 1 June 1630 he married his second wife, Anne, daughter of George Clifford, earl of Cumberland, and widow of Sackville, earl of Dorset [see Clifford, Anne], By his first wife he had seven sons and three daughters. The eldest daughter, Anne Sophia, married Robert Dormer, earl of Carnarvon [q. v.] The third son, Charles, was created K.B. in 1626; married, at Christmas 1634, Mary, daughter of George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, and died at Florence in the following month. Massinger addressed to his father an elegy on his death.

Philip Herbert (1619-1669), the fourth and eldest surviving son, became fifth Earl of Pembroke. Like his father he sided with the parliament, was M.P. for Glamorgan through the Long parliament, and on his father's death succeeded to his seat in the House of Commons for Berkshire. He was elected a member of the council of state 1 Dec. 1651, and was president of the council from 3 June to 13 July 1652. He made his peace with Charles II at the Restoration; was appointed a councillor for trade and navigation (7 Nov. 1660), and bore the spurs and acted as cupbearer at Charles II's coronation, 23 April 1661. He sold the chief books and pictures collected by his predecessors at Wilton, and died 11 Dec. 1669, having married (1) Penelope, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Naunton, and widow of Paul, viscount Bayning, and (2) Catherine, daughter of Sir William Villiers, bart., of Brooksby, Leicestershire. The only son of the first marriage, William, who was M.P. for Glamorgan from 1660 to 1669, became sixth earl of Pembroke, and died unmarried, 8 July 1674. The eldest son of the second marriage, Philip Herbert (1653-1683), became seventh Earl of Pembroke, and his barbarous conduct made him notorious. He nearly killed a man in a duel in November 1677 (Hatton Correspondence, i. 158-9). He was committed to the Tower by the king in January 1678 ‘for blasphemous words,’ and was only released on the petition of the House of Lords. On 5 Feb. 1678 one Philip Rycaut petitioned the upper house to protect him from Pembroke's violence, and Pembroke entered into recognisances to keep the peace. Meanwhile he killed one Nathaniel Cony in a drunken scuffle in a Haymarket tavern (4 Feb. 1678). After being committed to the Tower, he was tried by his peers for murder, and was convicted of manslaughter (4 April). He was, however, pardoned (State Trials. vi. 1310-50). On 18 Aug. 1680 he killed an officer of the watch while returning from a drinking bout at Turnham Green. Many pamphlets described the incident, and denounced Pembroke as one who had drunk himself into insanity (cf. Great and Bloody Newes from Turnham Green, 1680; Great Newes from Saxony, or a New and Straunge Relation of a mighty Giant, Koorbmep, by B. R., 1680). ‘An Impartial Account of the Misfortune’ (1680) is an attempt to exculpate Pembroke. On 21 June 1681 he came into court, pleaded the king's pardon,and was discharged (Luttrell). The earl, like his predecessor in the title, ‘espoused not learning, but was addicted to field-sports and hospitality’ (Aubrey). He died on 29 Aug. 1683, and was buried at Salisbury. He married Henrietta de Querouaille or Keroual, sister of the Duchess of Portsmouth, but had no issue, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas as eighth earl [q. v.]

[Doyle's Baronage; Collins's' Peerage, ed. Brydges, iii. 127-40; Aubrey's Natural History of Wiltshire, ed. Britton, 1847; Clarendon's History; Whitelocke's Memorials; Register of the Visitors of the University of Oxford, 1647-1658. ed. Professor Burrows (introd.); Osborne's James I; Nichols's Progresses of James I; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603-50; Sydney Papers, ed. Collins; Winwood's Memorials; Gardiner's Hist.; ‘A True Memoriall of Lady Ann Clifford’ in Archæolog. Institute Proc. York, 1846; Waipole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum.]

S. L. L.