Hyde, Henry, Viscount Cornbury
PAPERS RELATING TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRECY, MOSTLY CONCERNING SECRET SERVICE AND OTHER GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE, IN FIVE BUNDLES:
i) "A further report of the Commission of Secrecy", investigating the costs of military operations in the Americas in the early stages of the War of Jenkins's Ear, 55 pages, with an additional 16 appendices including summary financial accounts, witness depositions, and related details, 79 pages (134 pages in total), folio, c.1742; bundled together with eight miscellaneous summaries of specific government expenditures, including summary accounts of Secret Service expenditure, 1707-1720 and 1731-41, expenditure on bounties (with names of recipients), 1731-41, and subsidies for government-supporting newspapers, 1731-41;
ii) Bundle of about twenty summary estimates of specific expenditures, mostly military, including regiments of marines, German troops in British pay, troops in the colonies, ordnance, navy, and other costs, with other related papers, 1740s;
iii) Bundle of six papers relating to remittance of funds to British forces in Flanders, including proposals and Cornbury's draft pencil notes, early 1740s;
iv) Bundle of four summaries of government surpluses for the Aggregate Fund, folio, 1745-46;
v) Report on the military forces of France, 31 pages, folio, 1738
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).