Hyde, Henry

, Lord Hyde and Cornbury, eldest son to Henry earl of Clarendon and Rochester, was the author of a few pamphlets published without his name: of some tragedies still in manuscript, and of a comedy called “The Mistakes or, The Happy Resentment,” printed in 1758 at Strawberry Hill, with a preface by lord Orford. This was a juvenile performance, of no great merit, never acted, and printed for the benefit of an actress. His lordship was killed by a fall from his horse, in France, May 2, 1753. Pope has neatly complimented the virtuous taste of lord Cornbury, by making it a criterion of merit to “disdain whatever Cornbury disdained.” “He was,” says lord Orford, “upright, calm, steady his virtues were of the gentlest complexion, yet of the firmest texture vice could not bend him, nor party warp him even his own talents could not mislead him. Though a master of eloquence, he preferred justice and the love of his country to all the applause which the violence of the times in which, he lived was so prodigal of bestowing on orators who distinguish themselves in any faction; but the tinsel of popularity and the intrinsic of corruption were equally his contempt. He spoke, nor wrote, nor acted, for fame.” He wrote the paper dated Feb. 12, 1737, in the periodical paper entitled “Common Sense,” and “A Letter to the vice-chancellor of Oxford.1751. His lordship had represented the university in parliament, and in this letter announces his resignation, in consequence of being called up to his father’s barony in the house of peers. This was followed by a “Letter to his Lordship,” from several members of the university, acknowledging his merits. He was succeeded by sir Roger Newdigate. But of all his compositions, that which did his lordship most credit, was his “Letter to David Mallet, on the intended publication | of lord Bolingbroke’s Manuscripts,” which was printed in Dr. Havvkes worth’s edition of Swift’s works; and it is a monument, says that editor, that will do more honour to the writer’s memory than all that mere wit or valour has achieved since the word began. Mallet, it is well known, did not profit as he ought to have done by this advice. Pope’s allusion of “disdain,” &c. is said, by Ruffhead, to have arisen from the following circumstance: when lord Cornbury returned from his travels, the earl of Essex, his brother-in-law, told him he had got a handsome pension for him; to which lord Cornbury answered with a composed dignity, “How could you tell, my lord, that I was to be sold; or, at least, how came you to know my price so exactly?1


Park’s Royal and Noble Authors. Biog. Dram. Bowles’s edition of Pope’s Works. Cox’s Memoirs of Walpole.