Hervey, Augustus John

, third earl of Bristol, second son of the preceding, was born May 19, 1724. Chusing a maritime life, he passed through the subordinate stations, and was a lieutenant in the year 1744. In the same year he first saw miss Chudleigh at the house of Mrs. Hammer, her aunt, in Hampshire, where they were privately married, Aug. 4, in that year. A few clays after, Mr. Hervey was obliged to embark for Jamaica in vice-admiral Davers’s fleet. At his return his lady and he lived together, and were considered by their relations as man and wife. In January 1747, he was advanced to the rank of post-captain, and in the same year his lady brought him a son, | though she continued a maid of honour to the year 1764. This circumstance gave occasion to the following amigmatical epigram by the late lord Chesterfield:

"A wife., whom yet no husband dares to name,

A mother, whom no children dare to claim;

All this is true, but it may yet be said,

This wife, this mother, still remains a maid"

Soon after this event, a coolness arose between captain Hervey and his wife, which increased till they both became desirous of a separation. In Jan. 1747, he was appointed to the command of the Princessa, and served in the Mediterranean under admirals Medley and Byng and after the peace, in Jan. 1752, he obtained the Phoenix of 22 guns. In the course of two wars, the courage, zeal, and activity of captain Hervey were distinguished in the Mediterranean, off Brest, at the Havannah, and in other places. During the same period he was gradually advanced to the command of a 74 gun ship; and at the peace in 1763 he was appointed one of the grooms of the bed-­chamber to the king. In 1771 he was created one of the lords of the admiralty; and in 1775, on the death of his brother without issue, he became earl of Bristol, after having represented the borough of Bury St. Edmund’s in four parliaments. He now resigned his places, and was created an admiral. In the beginning of the American war, captain Hervey was a strenuous advocate for the measures of the ministry; but, changing his politics in the year 1778, continued to the end of it as violent an opponent j not without very striking appearances of inconsistency on several occasions. He died in 1779, when his titles, and as much of his estate as he could not leave away, devolved to his brother the bishop of Derry, as he left no legitimate heir. The affair of his marriage, which attracted much public notice at the time, was briefly thus: After nine years of preparation, his wife, who had long lived with the Juke of Kingston, obtained her suit in the commons, in 1768, by which it was decided that their marriage never had been legal, and was void. She then was married to the duke of Kingston in 1769. But, it appearing afterwards that the decision had been fraudulently obtained, she was indicted in 1775 for bigamy, tried in the House of peers, and found guilty, but, as a peeress, was discharged from corporal punishment. She afterwards died abroad in 1788, The following well-drawn character of lord Bristol, written | by a contemporary peer in the sea-service, lord Mulgrave, seems to justify the insertion of his name in this place; though it may be in some degree heightened by personal partiality.

"The active zeal and diligent assiduity with which the earl of Bristol served, had for some years impaired a constitution naturally strong, by exposing it to the unwholesomeness of variety of climates, and the infirmities incident to constant fatigue of body and anxiety of mind. His family, his friends, his profession, and his country, lost him in the 56th year of his age.

"The detail of the merits of such a man cannot be uninteresting, either to the profession he adorned, or the country which he served; and the remembrance of his virtues must be pleasing to those who were honoured with his esteem; as every hour and every situation of his life afforded fresh opportunities for the exercise of such virtues, they were best known to those who saw him most. But however strong and perfect their impression, they can be but inadequately described by one who long enjoyed the happiness of his friendship, and advantage of his example, and must ever lament the privation of his society.

u He engaged in the sea service when he was ten years old: the quickness of his parts, the decision of his temper, the excellency of his understanding, the activity of his mind, the eagerness of his ambition, his indefatigable industry, his unremitting diligence, his correct an-d extensive memory, his ready and accurate judgment, the promptitude, clearness, and arrangement with which his ideas were formed, and the happy perspicuity with which they were expressed, were advantages peculiar to himself, His early education under captain William Hervey and admiral Byng (two of the best officers of their time), with his constant employment in active service from his first going to sea till the close of the last war ,*

*

This was written in 1180.

had furnished ample matter for experience, from which his penetrating genius and just observation, had deduced that extensive and systematic knowledge of minute circumstances and important principles^ which is necessary to form an expert seaman and a shining officer: with the most consummate professional skill, he possessed the most perfect courage that ever fortified an heart or brightened a character; be | loved enterprize, he was cool in danger, collected in distress, decided in difficulties, ready and judicious in his expedients, and persevering in his determinations; his orders in the most critical situations, and for the most various objects, were delivered with a firmness and precision which spake a confidence in their propriety, and facility in their execution, that ensured a prompt and successful obedience in those to whom they were addressed.

"Such was his character as an oiVicer, which made him deservedly conspicuous in a profession, as honourable to the individual as important to the public: nor was he without those qualifications and abilities which could give full weight to the situation in which his rank and connections had placed him in civil life; his early entrance into his profession had indeed deprived him of the advantages of a classical education; this defect was however more than balanced by the less ornamental, but more solid instruction of the school he studied in as a member of parliament, he was an eloquent, though not a correct speaker those who differed from him in politics, confessed the extent of his knowledge, the variety of his information, and the force of his reasoning, at the same time that they admired the ingenuity with which he applied them to the support of his opinions.

"He was not more eminent for those talents by which a country is served, than distinguished by those qualities which render a man useful, respected, esteemed, and beloved in society. In the general intercourse of the world, he was an accomplished gentleman and agreeable companion his manners were noble as his birth, and engaging as his disposition he was humane, benevolent, compassionate, and generous his humanity was conspicuous in his profession when exercised towards the seamen, the sensibility and attention of a commander they adored, was the most flattering relief that could be afforded to the sufferings or distresses of those who served with him; when exerted towards her enemies, it did honour to his country, by exemplifying in the most striking manner that generosity which is the peculiar characteristic and most distinguished virtue of a brave, free, and enlightened people. In other situations his liberality was extensive without ostentation, and generally bestowed where it would be most felt and least secn/upon modest merit, and silent distress. His friendships were warm, and permanent | beyond the grave, extending their influence to those who shared the affections or enjoyed the patronage of their objects. His resentment was open, and his forgiveness sincere; it was the effect, perhaps the weakness, of an excellent mind, that with him, an injury which he had forgiven was as strong a claim to his protection, as a favour received could be to his gratitude.

* e This bright picture is not without its shades; he had faults: the impetuosity of his nature, and the eagerness with which he pursued his objects, carried him sometimes to lengths not justifiable; and the high opinion he justljr entertained of his own parts, made him too easily the dupe and prey of interested and designing persons, whom his cooler judgment would have detested and despised, had they not had cunning enough to discover and flatter his vanity, and sufficient art to avail themselves of abilities which they did not possess. But let it be remembered, that his failings were those of a warm temper and unguarded disposition; his virtues those of an heart formed for every thing amiable in private, every thing great in public life." 1

1 Collins’s Peerage by Sir E, Brydges, —Gent. Magazine, 1782 and 17*3; see ludex,