Open main menu

Herbert, Henry (1734-1794) (DNB00)

HERBERT, HENRY, tenth Earl of Pembroke and seventh of Montgomery (1734–1794), general, eldest son of Henry, ninth earl of Pembroke [q. v.], was born 3 July 1734. He travelled for several years on the continent, was appointed cornet in his father's regiment of dragoon guards, 12 Oct. 1752, and became captain therein in 1754, and captain and lieutenant-colonel 1st foot-guards in 1756, having previously taken his seat in the house and been made lord-lieutenant of Wiltshire. He was also appointed a lord of the bedchamber to the Prince of Wales (November 1756), in which he was confirmed on the accession of the prince to the throne as George III. He was made aide-de-camp to George II (8 May 1758). On the formation of Eliott's famous light horse (now 15th hussars) in 1759, Pembroke, who appears to have been regarded as an authority on the manége, was appointed lieutenant-colonel. He took the regiment out to many in 1760, but on arrival was made adjutant-general to Lord Granby, which post he vacated on his promotion to the rank of major-general the year after, and appears to have had no share in the brilliant achievements in the field of the 15th, or, as it was called when the newly raised regiments of light horse were numbered separately, the 1st light dragoons. He commanded the cavalry brigade under Lord Granby in 1760-1761. He resumed his court duties, and in 1762 published his ‘Method of Breaking Horses,’ a very sensibly written treatise on the handling and treatment of horses as first practised in Eliott's light horse, on which is based the system since generally adopted in the British cavalry. The work went through three editions.

In 1762 he caused great scandal by throwing up his place at court and eloping (in a packet-boat) with Miss Hunter, daughter of Charles Orby Hunter, then one of the lords of the admiralty (H. Walpole, Letters, iii. 486, 490, 496, 500). He afterwards returned to his wife, and the young lady, who had a child by him, is said to have married the future field-marshal, Sir Alured Clarke [q. v.] (ib. iv. 59). He was restored to favour at court, was appointed colonel 1st royal dragoons in 1764, reappointed a lord of the bedchamber in 1769, and became a lieutenant-general in 1770. He was made colonel of the Wiltshire militia in 1778. In January 1779 he entertained George III and Queen Charlotte with great splendour at Wilton House (Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Rep. (ii.) 380-1), but in February 1780 was deprived of the lieutenancy of Wiltshire for voting in favour of a motion of Lord Shelburne, afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne, for an independent parliamentary inquiry into public expenditure and particularly the method of granting contracts (ib. p. 383; also Parl. Hist. vols. xx. xxi.) He was restored to the lieutenancy of Wiltshire, was appointed governor of Portsmouth, and attained the rank of general in 1782. He died 26 Jan. 1794. His portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and has been engraved.

Pembroke married, in 1755, Elizabeth, second daughter of Charles Spencer, second duke of Marlborough, by whom he had a family. His heir, George Augustus, eleventh earl, is separately noticed.

[Doyle's Official Baronage; Foster's Peerage; Collins's Peerage, 1812 ed., iii. 142-5; H. Walpole's Letters, passim; Cannon's Hist. Records 1st Royal Dragoons and 15th King's Hussars; Lord Pembroke's Art of Breaking Horses, preface to 3rd ed., 1778; 6th and 9th Reps. Hist. MSS. Comm.]

H. M. C.