Howard, Sir Robert

, an English writer of some abilities and learning, born Jan. 1626, was a younger son of Thomas earl of Berkshire, and educated at Magdalen | college, Cambridge. During the civil war he suffered with his family, who adhered to Charles I. but at the Restoration was made a knight, and chosen for Stockbridge in Hampshire, to serve in the parliament which began in May 1661. He was afterwards made auditor of the exchequer, and was reckoned a creature of Charles II. whom the monarch advanced on account of his faithful services, in cajoling the parliament for money. In 1679 he was chosen to serve in parliament for Castle Rising in Norfolk; and re-elected for the same place in 1688. He was a strong advocate for the Revolution, and became so passionate an abhorrer of the nonjurors, that he disclaimed all manner of conversation and intercourse with persons of that description. His obstinacy and pride procured him many enemies, and among them the duke of Buckingham; who intended to have exposed him under the name of Bilboa in the “Rehearsal,” but afterwards altered his resolution, and levelled his ridicule at a much greater name, under that of Bayes. He was so extremely positive, and so sure of being in the right upon every subject, that Shadwell the poet, though a man of the same principles, could not help ridiculing him in his comedy of the “Sullen Lovers,” under the character of Sir Positive At-all. Jn the same play there is a lady Vaine, a courtezan which the wits then understood to be the mistress of sir Robert, whom he afterwards married. He died Sept. 3, 1698. He published, 1. “Poems and Plays.” 2. “The History of the Reigns of Edward and Richard II. with reflections and characters of their chief ministers and favourites; also a comparison of these princes with Edward I. and III.” 1690, 8vo. 3. “A letter to Mr. Samuel Johnson, occasioned by a scurrilous pamphlet, entitled Animadversions on Mr. Johnson’s answer to Jovian,1692, 8vo. 4. “The History of Religion,1694, 8vo. 5. “The fourth book of Virgil translated,1660, 8vo. 6. “Statius’s Achilleis translated,1660, 8vo.

Edward Howard, esq. likewise, his brother, exposed himself to the severity of our satirists, by writing bad plays and the hon. James Howard, probably a relative, wrote two plays about the same time, called “All Mistaken,” and “The English Monsieur,” which were successful; but little else is recorded of him. 1

1 Cibber's Lives. Biog. Dram. Nichols’s Poems, Ellis’a Specimens.­Malone’s Drydtn, Vol. I. 398, II, 34, 1 17, 145, 155.