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Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

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Hyde, Henry, Viscount Cornbury
THE MISTAKES, OR THE HAPPY RESENTMENT A COMEDY
autograph draft manuscript of a play in five acts, with title page and dramatis personae, extensive revisions throughout, loose in bifolia, 64 pages, plus blanks, folio (varying sizes), final leaves torn with loss, elsewhere with occasional nicks, tears, and dust-staining
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Provenance

This is one of 22 lots that have been removed from Holywell House, Hampshire, the home of the Villiers family, Earls of Clarendon. They chiefly relate to the life and careers of two contemporaries: Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury (1710-53), and Thomas Villiers (1709-86), created successively Baron Hyde of Hindon (1756) and Earl of Clarendon (1776).

Cornbury was the last heir to the Earldom of Clarendon that had been created for the statesman and historian Edward Hyde (1609-1674). Cornbury had Jacobite sympathies but was MP for the University of Oxford – with which his family had powerful connections – from 1732 until 1751. He became disillusioned with politics in the later 1740s and spent his final years in France. Cornbury counted Pope and Swift amongst his friends, and was himself the author of pamphlets and at least two plays (see lots 6 and 7). He died, unmarried, in Paris in 1753. Most of Cornbury’s property was inherited by his niece, Charlotte (née Capel). Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, was her husband. Villiers had spent the 1730s and ‘40s as a diplomat mostly in the German-speaking world (none of his diplomatic papers are included in this offering) and, following his retirement from the diplomatic service, he entered government in the 1760s. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1771-82 and 1783-86), Clarendon was in Cabinet during the American War of Independence (see lots 14-19).

Catalogue Note

This play was published posthumously in 1758 with a two-page prefatory advertisement by Horace Walpole, in which he explains that the author gave permission to the retired actress Mary Porter to publish a subscription edition of this "a very juvenile Production". Walpole continues with a eulogy on Cornbury's virtues:

"He was 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."

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

|
London