Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hobhouse, Henry

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HOBHOUSE, HENRY (1776–1854), archivist, only son of Henry Hobhouse of Hadspen House, Somerset, barrister, who died 2 April 1792, by Sarah, daughter of the Rev. Richard Jenkyns, canon residentiary of Wells, was born at Clifton, near Bristol, on 12 April 1776, and went to Eton in 1791. He matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 10 April 1793, graduated B.A. 1797, M.A. 1799, and was created D.C.L. 27 June 1827. On 23 Jan. 1801 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, was solicitor to H.M. Customs from 1806 to 1812, and then became solicitor to the treasury. He was appointed permanent under-secretary of state for the home department on 28 June 1817, and held that office until July 1827, when he retired on a pension of 1,000l. a year. He was also keeper of the state papers from 23 May 1826 to his death. On 28 June 1828 he was gazetted a privy councillor. He was one of the ecclesiastical commissioners for England, and chairman of the Somerset quarter sessions. He resigned the chairmanship in 1845. In the formation of the record commission he rendered valuable service to Peel when home secretary, and became commissioner 10 June 1852. The commission published ‘State Papers of Henry VIII,’ in eleven volumes quarto, the last appearing in 1852. Hobhouse superintended the editing, and took great pains to produce an accurate text. Under his direction a permanent system of arrangement of the state papers was laid down, based upon a plan existing in the offices of the secretaries of state. His death took place at Hadspen House on 13 April 1854. He married, 7 April 1806, Harriett, sixth daughter of John Turton of Sugnall Hall, Staffordshire; she died at Bournemouth on 7 May 1858, aged 73, having had eight children. The fourth son, Arthur, was created Baron Hobhouse in 1885, and died 6 Dec. 1904.

[Gent. Mag. 1854, ii. 79–80; Dod's Peerage, 1854, pp. 301–2; Times, 18 April 1854, p. 9.]

G. C. B.