Hervey, Frederick

, brother to the preceding, and fourth earl of Bristol, was born in August 1730. He was educated at Westminster school, and was admitted fellow commoner of Corpus Christi college, Cambridge, Nov. 10, 1747, where his application to study was as remarkable as it was unusual in persons of his rank. He took his master’s degree, as nobleman, in 1754. While at college his good sense, good nature, and affability, gained him the love and esteem of all who knew him. At first he was designed for the bar, and, leaving Cambridge, went to one of the inns of court, but he afterwards turned his thoughts to the church, and went into holy orders. He was perhaps a singular instance of a man of his learning, family, and connexions, that never attained any ecclesiastical preferment until he was made a bishop, although he held a lay office under government, and in his father’s department, that of & principal clerk of the privy seal.

On the death of Dr. Chapman in 1760, his lordship applied to his relation the countess of Portsmouth for the jnastership of Magdalen college, Cambridge, but she had | disposed of it. Having no clerical function at this time, he indulged his taste in visiting the continent; and being at Naples in 1766, when mount Vesuvius was in great agitation previous to its eruption, his curiosity led him into no small danger, for, approaching too near, Ue was very much wounded by an explosion, in one of his arms.

During his brother’s being lord lieutenant of Ireland, he was promoted to the see of Cloyne, in Feb. 1767, and translated to that of Derry in 1768. When appointed to the former, he refused to take an English chaplain over with him, but made choice of Mr. Skelton, with whom he was no otherwise acquainted than by his writings against deism and infidelity. 1 The rev. Philip Skelton, a very learned and pious divine, and author of many excellent works, is the person here intended; but Skelton, who had his oddities as well as his new patron, rendered this deSign abortive. Skelton’s principal work, “Deism revealed,” had been published some years, and was much admired by Dr. Hervey, who, before he got his bishopric, wrote to the author, informing him, that as he expected soon to be raised to a station of some eminence in the Irish church, he hoped then to be able to prove the high opinion he entertained’for the author of “Deism revealed.” Accordingly, on obtaining the bishopric of Cloyne, his lordship sent him another letter to this effect, that having some time before made a sort of an engagement with him, he begged leave now to fulfil it, aud therefore requested him to come up to Dublin (from Fintona in the county of Tyrone), and preach his consecration sermon, assuring him that, upon his compliance, he would promote him in the church as high as he was able. Skelton, in his answer, informed his lordship, he would comply with his request, though he was content with the living he had; and if he consented to go to the diocese of Cloyne, it would be only to be nearer the sun, and nearer his lordship. He then prepared a sermon for the occasion, but when the day approached, finding himself somewhat unwell, and the weather very cold, he thought he could not with safety go to Dublin, and of course the bishop was disappointed. However, he sent his lordship the sermon, who, though asta nished at the ability it displayed, was still offended with Mr. Skelton, as he imagined his excuse for his absence was not sufficient. Upon this, he informed him by letter, that the chain of their friendship was broken in two; to which | Mr. Skelton replied, that if it were broken, it was of hte lordship’s own forging, not of his. Yet the bishop, after his promotion to the see of Derry, came to Fintona to pay him a visit, and Skelton happening to be abroad, left word that he had come fifteen miles out of his road to see him. Of this visit Mr. Skelton took no notice, a rudeness certainly unpardonable in the case of a gentleman who had sought him out purely for his merit’s sake.

Soon after his translation to Derry, he made a parochial visitation, by which the residence of his clergy, and the erection of their parsonage-houses, were settled and provided for. He also instituted a fund for the support of the superannuated curates of his diocese, regulations which made him extremely popular in his diocese. In 1770, the corporation of Londonderry presented him with the freedom of their city, in a gold box, a compliment never before paid to his predecessors, “because his lordship had effected, what none of his predecessors had before so much as considered, the two most important points in this town a bridge and a colliery.” In this same year, he had the liberality to offer the Roman catholic, or titular bishop of Derry, a considerable sum of money, in order to build a chapel, that he might not be obliged to officiate to his congregation in the open air; with only this condition, that he should pray for the king and royal family. But, although the titular bishop had never failed to do so, he thought proper not to accept the donation, lest it should be said that his motive for loyalty was his lordship’s benefaction.

In 1779, on the death of his elder brother, he became earl of Bristol, with a noble estate, the produce of which he expended in acts of munificence and liberality. One of his first donations, after this accession of fortune, was 1000l. towards an augmentation of an endowment for the widows and clergy of his diocese. He became, however, about this time, rather eccentric in his political conduct, and was among the leaders of the Irish patriots, as they were called, during the A’merican war, and a member of the famous convention of delegates from the volunteers, held in Dublin in 1782; on which occasion he was escorted from Derry to Dublin by a regiment of volunteer cavalry, and received military honours in every town through which he passed in that long journey. As an amateur, connoissieur, and indefatigable protector of the fine arts, he was generally surrounded by artists, whose talents his | judgment directed, and whose wants his liberality relieved. His love of the sciences was only surpassed by his Jove to his country, and by his generosity to the unfortunate of every country; neither rank nor power escaped his resentment when any illiberal opinion was thrown out against England. At a dinner with the late king of Prussia and the prince royal of Denmark, at Pynnont, in 1797, he boldly said, after the conversation about the active ambition of England had been changed into inquiries about the delicacy of a roasted capon, that he did not like neutral animals, let them be ever so delicate. In 1798 he was arrested by the Frencb in Italy, and confined in the castle of Milan; was plundered by the republicans of a valuable and well-chosen collection of antiquities, which he had purchased with a view of transmitting to his native country; and was betrayed and cheated by many Italians, whose benefactor he had been. But neither the injustice nor the ingratitude of mankind changed his liberal disposition, he no sooner recovered his liberty, than new benefactions forced even the ungrateful to repent, and the unjust to acknowledge his elevated mind. The earl of Bristol was one of the greatest English travellers (a capacity in which his merits have been duly appreciated by the celebrated Martin Sherlock); and there is not a country in Europe where the distressed have not obtained his succour, and the oppressed his protection. He may truly be said to have clothed the naked, and fed the hungry; and, as ostentation never constituted real charity, his left hand did not know what, his right hand distributed. The tears and lamentations of widows and orphans discovered his philanthropy when he was no more; and letters from Swiss patriots and French emigrants, from Kalian catholics and German protestants, proved the noble use his lordship made of his fortune, indiscriminately, to the poor, destitute, and unprotected of all countries, of all parties, and of all religions. But, as no man is without his enemies, and envy is most busy about the most deserving, some of his lordship’s singularities have been the object of calumny and ridicule. He certainly did retain that peculiarity of character for which his family were formerly distinguished, and which induced the mother of the late marquis Townsbend, a woman of uncommon wit and humour, to say that there were three sorts of people in the world, “men, women, and /fewys.”His lordship died at Aibano, near | Rome, July 8, 1803, and his remains, being brought to England, were interred in the family vault at Ickworth, near Bury, where, at the time of his death, he was building a magnificent viila on the Italian model. His lordship married, in early life, Elizabeth, daughter of sir Jenny n Davers, bart. by whom he had several children. He was succeeded in titles and estate by Frederic-William, his second son, now fifth earl of Bristol. 1


Cole’s ms Atlienae in Brit. Mus. —Gent. Mag. vols. LXI. LXXIII. and LXXIV. Burdy’s Life of Skelton, p. 148.