HERBERT, James I (1660-1704), of Tythrop House, Kingsey, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

14 Apr. 1677 - 8 Jan. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 1690
1695 - 11 Nov. 1704

Family and Education

bap. 27 Apr. 1660, 1st s. of Hon. James Herbert† by Jane, da. and h. of Sir Robert Spiller† of Laleham, Mdx.; bro. of Philip Herbert*.  educ. travelled abroad (France) 1675–8.  m. 1 July 1674, Lady Catherine (d. 1708), da. of Thomas Osborne†, Earl of Danby, and sis. of Peregrine Osborne†, 3s. 4da.  suc. fa. 1677.1

Offices Held

Receiver-gen. of prizes 1689–99.2

Biography

Having been prominent in supporting his father-in-law at the Revolution, Herbert was made receiver-general of prizes in August 1689. However, he was defeated at Queenborough in 1690 despite his ‘interest and fortune in the island and hundred’. He next attempted to enter Parliament for Aylesbury at a by-election in April 1691, using both his local interest and the Osborne connexion, in the person of his brother-in-law. No doubt one reason for his petition to the crown for a grant of the parsonages and rectories of Milton and Harston in Kent, granted in 1693, was their value to his interest at Queenborough. Rumours that he was to be given a lucrative tellership of the Exchequer in September 1694 proved ill-founded. He stood for Aylesbury in 1695 with the support of his father-in-law (now Duke of Leeds) and his ‘near relations’ the earls of Carnarvon and Abingdon, all large landowners in Buckinghamshire, defeating a protégé of Hon. Thomas Wharton*. Also, it is almost certain that he was the ‘Mr Herbert’ who stood at Queenborough, with the support of the Duchess of Leeds, mistakenly referred to as his ‘grandmother’, rather than his mother-in-law, especially as she later wrote of being ‘so busily employed’ in her son Herbert’s affairs.3

In his first session Herbert had to survive an attempt to unseat him on petition; the confirmation of his election in January 1696 being seen by John Ellis* as an indication that Leeds was gaining ground in the Commons. Herbert was also forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, but signed the Association, and voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In May he became one of the four trustees of the large grants of lands made to his father-in-law for 31 years from the estate of Queen Catherine of Braganza. He did not vote in the division on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. In the last session of the Parliament he acted as a teller on 22 Mar. 1698 against going into committee on the land tax. He received a short leave of absence on 18 Apr., but was back in the Commons by the end of the month.4

Re-elected in July 1698, Herbert appears on a list of placemen for that month, and around September was classed as a supporter of the Country party in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments. In the 1698–9 session he was forecast as likely to oppose the standing army. However, the presence in the Commons of Francis Herbert, with the exception of the 1701 Parliament, makes it difficult to identify his activities from the Journals. Not surprisingly, an analysis of the House in early 1700 grouped Herbert among the Leeds ‘interest’. He may have been the teller on 1 Apr. 1700 against adding a clause on behalf of Edgworth to the bill applying Irish forfeitures to the use of the public, although his electoral ally, the lord of the manor of Aylesbury, Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt., was a teller on the opposite side. Re-elected again in January 1701, he was listed in February as willing to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. After the dissolution of this Parliament, he was blacklisted as an opponent of the preparations for war against France, but this did not hinder his re-election in November 1701. Robert Harley* listed Herbert as a Tory and on 26 Feb. 1702 he voted for the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of William III’s Whig ministers. In June 1702 he was reported by Luttrell to have been reappointed receiver-general of the prizes, but in the event that office went to John Brewer*. As a trustee, Herbert petitioned the Commons on 25 Jan. 1704 to have the grants to his father-in-law exempted from the resumption bill. In mid-March he was listed by Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) as a likely supporter over the Scotch Plot.5

Herbert died on 11 Nov. 1704 at Kingsey and was buried at Thame, Oxfordshire. Only one of his executors, his father-in-law, the Duke of Leeds, chose to act, probably because the estate was heavily encumbered and there were other problems to deal with, such as his outstanding accounts as receiver-general of prizes. Indeed, Leeds was still in correspondence with the Treasury about them in June 1712.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Han