Hyde, Henry

, earl of Clarendon, eldest son of the chancellor, was born in 1638. Having received the rudiments of education, he early entered into business; for his father, apprehending of what fatal consequence it would be to the king’s affairs, if his correspondence should be discovered by unfaithful secretaries, engaged him, when very young, to write all his letters in cypher; so that he generally passed half the day in writing in cypher, or decyphering, and was so discreet, as well as faithful, that nothing was ever discovered by him. After the restoration, he was created master of arts, at Oxford, in 1660; and, upon settling the queen’s household, appointed chamberlain to her majesty. He was much in the queen’s favour; and, his father being so violently prosecuted on account of her marriage, she thought herself bound t. protect him in a particular manner. He so highly resented the usage his father met with, that he united himself eagerly to the party which opposed the court, and made no inconsiderable iigure in the list of speakers. Mr. "Grey has preserved a great number of his speeches. On his father’s death in 1674, he took his seat in the House of Lords; still | continued his opposition, and even signed a protest against an address voted to the king on his speech. He still, however, held his post of chamberlain to the queen; and afterwards, shewing himself no less zealous against the bill of exclusion, was taken into favour, and made a privycounsellor, 1680. But he soon fell under the displeasure of the prevailing party in the House of Commons; who, unable to carry the exclusion bill, shewed their resentment against the principal opposers of it, by voting an address to the king, to remove from his presence and councils, the marquis of Worcester, and the earls of Halifax, Feversham, and Clarendon.

On the accession of James II. he was first made lord privy-seal, and then lord-lieutenant of Ireland: but being too firmly attached to the protestant religion for those times, he was recalled from his government to make room for lord Tyrconnel; and soon after removed from the privy-seal, that lord Arundel, of Wardour, another papist, fhight succeed him. About this time he was made highsteward of the university of Oxford. After the landing of the prince of Orange, he was one of the protestant lords, summoned by the king, when it was too late, to repair the ill consequences of his popish councils, and had spirit enough to take the lead, and to speak his mind frankly and openly in that memorable assembly. Yet though he had so great a regard to the constitution as to oppose king James’s encroachments, he would not transfer his allegiance to the new establishment, nor take the oaths to king William: on which account he was, with some others, suspected of designs against the government; and, when the king was in England, and the French fleet appeared on the English coast, the regency thought proper to secure him in the Tower. After some months he was released, and spent the remainder of his days privately at his own house in the country; where he died Oct. 22, 1709, aged seventy -one.

His State Letters, during his government of Ireland, and his Diary for the years 1687, 1688, 1689, and 169O, were published in 2 vols. 4to, 1763, from the Clarendon press in Oxford. “This diary,” says the editor, “presents us with a picture of the manners of the age in which the writer lived. We may learn from it, that at the close of the seventeenth century, a man of the first quality made it his constant practice to go to church, and could spend | the day in society with his family and friends, without shaking his arm at a gaming-table, associating with jockies at Newmarket, or murdering time by a constant round of giddy dissipation, if not of criminal indulgence.” Besides the above, lord Clarendon drew up “Some account of the tombs and monuments in the cathedral church of Winchester, Feb. 1683,” which was continued and printed with Gale’s history of that church; and there are three tracts attributed to him, printed in Gutch’s “Collectanea.1


Collins’s Peerage. Park’s Royal and Noble Authors. Biog. Brit,