Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Herbert, Henry (1654-1709)

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HERBERT, HENRY, created Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1654–1709), son by his second marriage of Sir Henry Herbert [q. v.], was born 2 July 1654, in King Street, Covent Garden, in the house of George Evelyn, John Evelyn's brother, who had married his mother's sister. He entered Trinity College, Oxford, 13 Jan. 1670-1 (College Reg.), and was praised for his application by his tutor, Abraham Campion (Warner, pp. 75-7). By the dying wish of his father he contested his father's constituency of Bewdley on Sir Henry's death in April 1673. He was opposed by Thomas Foley, and, although he was returned 7 Nov. 1673, the seat was claimed by his opponent. The dispute was decided in Herbert's favour, 10 March 1676-7. In James II's reign Herbert sided with the opponents of the crown, and joined William III in Holland in 1688. He afterwards took up arms for William in Worcestershire, and sat as M.P. for Bewdley in the convention meeting in January 1688-9, and in the parliament elected in the following March. Herbert was always in pecuniary difficulties, and on 18 July 1691 petitioned William III for the office of auditor of Wales on the ground of former services (Warner, Epist. Curiosities, i. 147). On 28 April 1694 he was created Lord Herbert of Cherbury—the title which had been borne by his uncle Edward [q. v.], and had become extinct on the death of Henry Herbert, fourth lord Herbert of Cherbury, in 1691. On 27 Aug. 1695 the barony of Castleisland in the Irish peerage was also granted him. In 1697 he was disappointed of the office of deputy privy seal. (Luttrell, Rel. iv. 203-7). He zealously supported the whigs, but in a letter to Lord Somers (2 Jan. 1700-1) threatened to retire from politics unless he gained some personal profit from his fidelity. In October 1701 he signed an address to the king from the county of Worcester, asserting that if the county's representatives in parliament did not comply with the king's wishes they would elect ‘such as shall’ (ib. v. 99). On the death of William III he reminded Godolphin that he had voted for an increase in Anne's allowance when she was princess, and entreated the minister to secure him some lucrative office (11 April 1704). In 1707 he was made a commissioner of trade and plantations (ib. vi. 153), and frequently acted as chairman of committees in the House of Lords (ib. iv. 209). He died ‘of a fever’ 22 Jan. 1708-9, and was buried in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden. He married by license, dated 8 Feb. 1677-8, Anne, daughter of Alderman Ramsey of London (d. 1716). Many interesting letters from him or addressed to him are printed in Warner's ‘Epistolary Curiosities,’ 1818.

His only child, Henry, second Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1738), was educated at Westminster School; but on 19 Sept. 1696 the head-master, Thomas Knipe, wrote to his father complaining of his ‘insufferable negligence’ and constant ‘blubbering.’ In 1699 Abel Boyer [q. v.] was his tutor, and lamented his ‘averseness to books.’ His father was anxious to arrange for him a wealthy marriage; in 1706 offered him to the rich widow of Lord Dudley and Ward, who declined him: and in 1707-8 corresponded with Lord Hereford with regard to a union with his daughter, but Lord Herbert demanded a dowry of 10,000l., and Lord Hereford only offered 6,000l. Herbert finally married, towards the close of 1709,. Mary, daughter of John Wallop of Farley, Southampton, and sister of John Wallop, first earl of Portsmouth. He contested Bewdley unsuccessfully in 1705, and petitioned without result against the return of his rival, Salwey Winnington (Luttrell, vi. 18-19,184). In May 1707 he was returned for the seat at a new election, and a petition lodged by his old rival Wilmington failed (10 Feb. 1707-8) (ib. vi. 405-6). In January 1707-8 he succeeded to his father's place in the House of Lords. The pecuniary embarrassment which he inherited from his father increased rapidly in his hands. He was an ardent whig in politics, and spent more than he could afford in electoral contests. He was disappointed of hopes of office, and died suddenly (it is said by his own hand) at his house at Ribbesford in April 1738 (cf. W. Noake, Guide to Worcestershire). He had no issue, and his widow, who became lady of the bedchamber to Anne, George II's daughter and princess of Orange, died 19 Oct. 1770. His will is printed in the ‘Powysland Club Collections,’ vii. 157-9. He left his chief property, Ribbesford, to a cousin, Henry Morley (d. 1781), on whose death it fell to Morley's sister Magdalena. She died in 1782 and left it to a kinsman, George Paulet, twelfth marquis of Winchester, who sold it to Francis Ingram, esq.

[Powysland Club Collections, vii. 156 sq. and xi. 344sq.; Warner's Epistolary Curiosities, 1818; Chester's Marriage Licenses, ed. Foster, p. 669; Annals of Anne, viii. 361.]

S. L. L.