Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trevor, Robert Hampden-

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TREVOR, ROBERT HAMPDEN-, first Viscount Hampden and fourth Baron Trevor (1706–1783), born on 17 Feb. 1705–6, was third son of Thomas Trevor, baron Trevor of Bromham [q. v.], being his first son by his second wife, Anne, daughter of Colonel Robert Weldon, and widow of Sir Robert Bernard, bart. He was educated privately and at Queen's College, Oxford, whence he matriculated as gentleman-commoner on 21 Feb. 1723, and graduated B.A. on 20 Oct. 1725. He was nominated fellow of All Souls' 20 Nov. 1725. He was appointed clerk in the secretary of state's office in 1729, and from 1734 to 1739 acted as secretary to the legation at The Hague under Horatio Walpole. In September 1739 he was appointed envoy extraordinary, and in 1741 was raised to the rank of minister plenipotentiary. In February 1736–7 he stood as parliamentary candidate for Oxford University, but was defeated by William Bromley (1699?–1737) [q. v.] (An Exact Account of the Poll, &c., 12mo, 1736), and in 1743 he was offered a seat in the house by the Duke of Newcastle, but declined (Newcastle to Trevor, 25 Oct. 1743, Trevor Corresp.)

During the whole period of Trevor's residence in Holland from 1734 to 1746 he kept up a regular and almost weekly correspondence with Horatio Walpole. These letters are preserved in the Trevor collection in the possession of the Earl of Buckinghamshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 14th Rep. pt. ix.), which also includes a considerable correspondence between Trevor and the British representatives at foreign courts.

The difficulties attending Trevor's position as minister became greatly increased in 1744, and are well described in a long letter to Henry Pelham on 15 May 1744 (ib. p. 95), in which he explained that the real discouragement to vigour in the conduct of the war by the government of Holland was ‘its want of a due reliance upon our royal master through its discovery of the prevalency of his electoral bias;’ he complained that he was reproached by the government of Holland with the perpetual dodging between the king's two qualities. ‘When any guaranty or advantage is the question, all the allies of the British crown are to be deemed allies of the electorate; but when any danger or onus is the question, Hanover is a distinct independent state and no wise involved in the measures nor even fate of England’ (Trevor to Henry Pelham, 26 May 1744, Trevor Corresp.) These candid communications on the part of Trevor were well received by the ministers at home. In July 1745 some delicate negotiations with regard to the bribery of the ministers of the elector of Cologne and the elector himself were placed in Trevor's hands, Pelham instructing him that he might venture to engage 20,000l. on this account (ib. 20 July 1745). In August 1745 Trevor expressed himself strongly in favour of opening negotiations with France: ‘the only string left to our bow … before Europe is absolutely flung off its old hinges, is to try whether there may still be a party left in the French cabinet for peace’ (ib. 3 Aug. 1745). He drew up a plan for ‘a general accommodation by means of a preliminary treaty between France and the maritime powers.’ This was generally approved by the ministers, but was not adopted and led to no results, and Trevor's position became almost untenable. ‘In public conferences which I cannot avoid I am baited unmercifully, and am told that if every time France pleases to send over a single battalion to Scotland she can operate a diversion of thirty thousand men in England's quota to the combined army, England is not an ally for the republic’ (ib. 25 Feb. 1745–6). It was at first intended that Trevor should act as the British plenipotentiary at Breda (Weston to Trevor, 14 Aug. 1746, p. 146 ib.), but Lord Sandwich was ultimately sent. On the arrival of the latter's credentials in November 1746, Trevor sent in a request for his recall. On 22 Nov. he was promised a commissionership of the revenue in Ireland, which he received in 1750.

Trevor, whose great-grandmother, Ruth, was the daughter of John Hampden, the patriot, succeeded to the estates of John Hampden of Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire, in 1754, and took the name of Hampden by royal license on 22 Feb. 1754. On 2 June 1759 he was appointed joint-postmaster-general, and held the office till 19 July 1765. On the death of his half-brother, John Trevor, on 27 Sept. 1764, he became fourth Baron Trevor of Bromham, Bedfordshire. He was created Viscount Hampden on 8 June 1776. He died on 22 Aug. 1783 at Bromham, where he was buried.

Trevor married, on 6 Feb. 1743, at The Hague, Constantia, daughter of Peter Anthony de Huybert, lord of Van Kruyningen, by whom he left four children—Constantia, Thomas, second viscount Hampden, John Hampden-Trevor, third viscount Hampden [q. v.], and Anne.

Trevor was a good scholar and a collector of drawings and prints. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 13 Dec. 1764. He was the author of Latin poems entitled ‘Britannia,’ ‘Lathmon,’ and ‘Villa Bromhamensis,’ written between 1761 and 1776. These poems were published, under the title ‘Poematia Hampdeniana,’ by his son John in sumptuous style at Parma in 1792, and dedicated to George III. There is a vignette portrait of him prefixed to the volume. A portrait in oils, ascribed to Opie, is at Bromham Hall.

[Gent. Mag. 1783, ii. 718; Doyle's Official Baronage, s.v. ‘Hampden;’ Hist. MSS. Comm. 14th Rep. pt. ix., 10th Rep. pt. i.; Coxe's Memoirs of Horatio, Lord Walpole; Trevor's Despatches at the Record Office.]

W. C.-r.