HERVEY, Hon. Carr (1691-1723).
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Family and Education
b. 17 Sept. 1691, 1st s. of John Hervey*, being o. s. by his 1st w. educ. privately at home; Clare, Camb. 1708–10, MA 1710; travelled abroad (France, Flanders, Holland, Germany, Italy) 1711–13. unm. Styled Ld. Hervey aft.1714.1
Gent. of bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1714–d.
Hervey, whose father (in typical vein) expected him to become ‘so pious, charitable, just and useful a member in your generation that not only you may be the joy and support of my age and family, but one of the shining ornaments of your country’, applied himself seriously to his studies at Cambridge and when he began his grand tour was considered by his tutor to be ‘so blessed by nature as to have few or none evil inclinations to subdue . . . One would think he had chosen Sir Philip Sidney† for his model.’ Although he visited the men and places his father desired him to see, attending the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) on both the outward and return legs of his tour, spending several months at Hanover, and being suitably impressed with the ‘sobriety and prudence’ of his father’s friend (Sir) Thomas Hanmer II* (4th Bt.), whom he met in France, there were some small signs, most notably in his prolonging his stay in Paris contrary to parental wishes, of the side of his character that would later become dominant. By the time he returned to England in December 1713 he had reached his majority, coming into the Lincolnshire estate of Aswarby inherited from his mother, and had already been elected to Parliament in his absence by the corporation of Bury St. Edmunds, thanks to his father’s efforts. The two defeated candidates were intending to petition against him and his partner, but this did not prevent Bury corporation from formally congratulating him ‘upon his arrival into England’, a gesture he reciprocated with a grand supper at the guildhall.2
Hervey voted on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele. He was probably the ‘Mr Harvey’ who told for the Whigs on 20 Apr. in the disputed election for Brackley, and likewise in two divisions on the schism bill on 1 and 23 June. In the Worsley list, and two other comparative analyses of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments, he was classed as a Whig. After his appointment as a gentleman of the bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1714, Hervey developed into an archetypal courtier and man of fashion. A spendthrift and gambler, he aggravated his financial troubles by speculating in South Sea stock, and suffered heavy losses when the Bubble burst. By the time of his death, at Bath on 14 Nov. 1723, he was on the verge of being ‘utterly ruined’ and was making final arrangements for the sale of Aswarby. His father wrote:
Though he had . . . fine natural parts . . . and in the former part of his life he had carefully cultivated them by study, and had acquired more general knowledge than most young noblemen of that age ever attain, was allowed to be nicely well-bred, and whose humanity was as flowing as the natural eloquence he was endowed with; yet . . . he had the misfortune to live till he had drowned most of those good qualities by being fatally engaged in company which, by admiring his ready wit and entertaining conversation, insensibly led him into a course of life destructive of his constitution and character.
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
Unless otherwise stated, this biography is based on the sketch of Hervey's life and character in D. A. Ponsonby, Call a Dog Hervey, 20-33.