MILDMAY, Carew Hervey (1691-1784), of Marks, Essex, and Hazlegrove, Som.
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Family and Education
bap. 6 Mar. 1691, 1st s. of Carew Hervey alias Mildmay of Marks by Anne, da. of Richard Barrett Lennard of Belhus, Essex. m. (1) 6 Jan. 1718, Dorothy (d. 1743), da. and h. of John Eastmont of Sherborne, Dorset, 4s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) 17 May 1744, Edith (d. 1772), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Phelips* of Montacute, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1743.1
Equerry to Prince George of Denmark 1706; gent. of privy chamber 7 Dec. 1710–14, 1727–?2
A forerunner of Mildmay’s colourful character, though not his political convictions, can be found in his great-grandfather, Carew Mildmay. The latter had been adopted in 1622 as the heir of Sir Gawen Hervey, by whom he was directed to take the name of Hervey before Mildmay, a practice adopted by his heirs. He had served in the Parliamentary army, escaping capture only by swimming across the moat of his manor, but had pleaded at the Restoration that he had commanded troops against the Royalist forces only to preserve order, and successfully petitioned for reinstatement to office in the Jewel House. His descendant seems to have possessed the same skill with words, and it was said that his ‘lungs, and memory, and tongue will never wear out’. Fond of society, and such a gifted dancer that he was once selected to perform a minuet before Queen Anne, he continued to hold large social gatherings at his house well into old age, no doubt making the most of 86 hogsheads of French wine that he was allowed to keep after a shipwreck in 1743. ‘This extraordinary person’, as his obituary described him,
spent the earlier part of his life at the court of Hanover, and was a particular favourite of the Princess Sophia. On his return to England such was the reputation of his extensive abilities, that his acquaintance was sought by all the great men of that age,
including Lord Bathurst, Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Bt.*, Pope, and Joseph Addison*.3
More importantly, he was also the ‘much esteemed friend of Lord Bolingbroke’ (Henry St. John II*), for whom it has been suggested that he acted as private secretary. Although there is no direct evidence supporting this claim, the relationship between the two men was apparently a very close one, and although it is possible that it was his father who served as sheriff of Essex in 1712–13, it was Carew junior that Lord Bolingbroke appointed to the commission of the peace in March 1714. This move was probably designed to bolster the young man’s status immediately prior to the Commons’ investigation into the double return of Mildmay and Thomas Heath II that had been made after the 1713 Harwich election. The case was heard on 6 Apr. 1714, when evidence was received about a letter from Bolingbroke recommending Mildmay, with further information that the latter ‘knew nothing of his coming to Harwich ’til his lordship bid him go, and assured him the business was done’. The House nevertheless resolved in Mildmay’s favour, but the troubled corporation was almost immediately disturbed by another disputed election after the death of the town’s second MP, Sir Thomas Davall. On 29 June, when the matter came before the Commons, Mildmay again opposed the Whig Heath’s claims to a seat, acting as teller for those who supported Benedict Leonard Calvert’s* return. Mildmay was marked as a Tory on the Worsley list. He appears to have sought re-election at Harwich in January 1715, when he and his partner, one Godfrey, were said to be ‘treating like madmen’, but his conviviality does not appear to have been able to compensate for his politics, and two Whigs were returned.4
Although no longer in the House, Mildmay maintained a keen interest in politics. He is reported to have ‘had a principal hand in composing the Guardian, Craftsman, and other periodical papers of that time’; and in 1755 he is recorded as having talked for two and a half hours to a sick friend about a Poor Law, bringing on a near relapse of the latter’s illness. Despite such avid concern for the political issues of the day he was of ‘so singular a turn of mind . . . that although he was often pressed to accept the greatest civil offices, he constantly refused, choosing rather to preserve the untainted character of an independent country gentleman’. He ‘retained his faculties to the last’, dying at the age of 93 on 16 Jan. 1784. He had inherited estates in Somerset and Dorset after the death of his first wife, and left his ‘immense possessions’ to his spinster daughter Anne, though on her death five years later, the estates passed to his great-niece Jane, wife of Sir Henry Paulet St. John Mildmay.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Mark Knights
- 1. H. A. St. John Mildmay, Brief Mem. Mildmay Fam. (1913), 163; Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 1, ii. 263–6.
- 2. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Harley) mss PW2 Hy 1063, list ; info. from Prof. R. O. Bucholz.
- 3. Mildmay, 144, 147, 159, 162.
- 4. Gent. Mag. 1784, p. 74; VCH Essex, v. 276; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 224; Add. 46966, f. 170.
- 5. Gent. Mag. 74; Mildmay, 159.