Herbert, Henry William (DNB00)

HERBERT, HENRY WILLIAM (1807–1858), a writer under the name of Frank Forester, elder son of William Herbert, D.C.L. [q. v.], dean of Manchester, was born at No. 10 Poland Street, Oxford Street, London, on 3 April 1807. He was educated under a private tutor till 1819; afterwards at a school near Brighton, kept by the Rev. Dr. Hooker, where he remained one year; and then at Eton from April 1820 till the summer of 1825. In 1825 he matriculated from Caius College, Cambridge, where he obtained two scholarships and several prizes, and graduated B.A. in 1830. Having lost his property through the dishonesty of a trustee, he in November 1831 emigrated to America and was for eight years Greek and Latin preceptor in the Rev. R. Townsend Huddart's classical institute, 5 Beaver Street, New York. Annoyed at the rejection of articles offered by him to the ‘Knickerbocker Magazine’ and to the ‘Parlour Journal,’ he, in conjunction with his friend A. D. Patterson, established in 1833 the ‘American Monthly Magazine,’ in which he wrote largely. For a time this periodical was successful, but on Charles Fenno Hoffman succeeding Patterson as the co-editor, the two men disagreed and Herbert retired. In 1834 he sought admission to the New York bar, but, finding that it would be necessary to become an American citizen, gave up the idea. He soon became a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers, and it has been calculated that, if collected, his fugitive pieces would probably fill about forty duodecimo volumes. In 1834 his first novel, entitled ‘The Brothers, a Tale of the Fronde,’ was issued anonymously. The edition was sold in a few weeks; it is, with the exception of the ‘Roman Traitor,’ the most carefully written of his numerous romances. On 31 Dec. 1839 he married Sarah, daughter of John Barker, mayor of Bangor, Maine; she died in March 1844, leaving a son, William George Herbert. After his marriage Herbert devoted himself solely to authorship and field-sports. Under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Forester’ he began in 1834 in the ‘American Turf Register’ a series of articles entitled ‘The Warwick Woodlands,’ which were afterwards collected into a volume. He followed up this success with ‘My Shooting Box’ for ‘Graham's Magazine,’ Philadelphia; ‘American Game in its Season,’ with illustrations by himself: ‘The Deerstalker;’ ‘Field Sports’ (one of the best of the series); and ‘Fish and Fishing in the United States and the British Provinces.’ In 1846 he produced ‘The Roman Traitor, or the Days of Cicero, Cato, and Catiline,’ which, attaining a limited circulation in the United States, was very well received in England. His first historical work, issued in 1851, the ‘Captains of the Old World,’ was not successful. His most profitable literary work was the translation of French romances. Of the novels of Eugène Sue he brought out ‘Matilda,’ ‘The Wandering Jew,’ ‘The Mysteries of Paris,’ ‘John Cavalier,’ ‘Atar-Gull,’ and ‘The Salamander,’ besides translating several of Dumas's shorter romances. Though making three thousand dollars a year, he was improvident and in debt. He quarrelled with and estranged many friends. During the last twelve years of his life his home was on the banks of the Passaic, where he owned a cottage and a small piece of land. This spot he called The Cedars, and here he lived most of his time alone, surrounded by his dogs. In February 1858 he married a second wife, Adela de Budlong of Providence, Rhode Island, the divorced wife of an actor. In three months time she applied for a divorce. On 16 May 1858 Herbert, quite heartbroken, invited his friends to a dinner at Stevens House, an hotel in the Broadway, New York. Only one person came. After dining, Herbert shot himself through the head very early in the morning of 17 May. He was buried in Mount Pleasant cemetery, where a stone, bearing the word ‘Infelicissimus,’ marks the spot.

The following list is believed to contain the titles of all of Herbert's most important publications:

  1. ‘The Magnolia,’ an illustrated annual (edited by H.W. Herbert), New York, 1835, 1836.
  2. ‘Cromwell, an Historical Novel,’ 1837, 2 vols.; other editions 1840, Aberdeen, 1848.
  3. ‘Marmaduke Wyvil, or the Maid's Revenge,’ London, 1843, 3 vols.
  4. ‘The Brothers, a Tale of the Fronde,’ London, 1844.
  5. ‘Guarica, the Charib Bride,’ London, 1844.
  6. ‘The Roman Traitor,’ London, 1846, 3 vols.
  7. ‘The Miller of Martignè,’ New York, 1847.
  8. ‘The Prometheus and Agamemnon of Æschylus, translated,’ 1849.
  9. ‘The Captains of the Old World,’ New York, 1851,12mo.
  10. ‘The Cavaliers of England,’ 1852.
  11. ‘The Quorndon Hounds,’ Philadelphia, 1852.
  12. ‘The Knights of England, France, and Scotland,’ New York, 1852, 12mo.
  13. ‘The Chevaliers of France,’ New York, 1853.
  14. ‘American Game in its Season,’ New York, 1853, 12mo.
  15. ‘The Puritans of New England,’ 1853; reissued as ‘The Puritan's Daughter.’
  16. ‘The Captains of the Roman Republic,’ New York, 1854.
  17. ‘Persons and Pictures from French and English History,’ 1854.
  18. ‘History of the French Protestant Refugees,’ by C. Weiss (a translation), 1854.
  19. ‘Sherwood Forest,’ 1855.
  20. ‘Memoirs of Henry VIII of England and his Six Wives,’ New York, 1858, 12mo.
  21. ‘Fugitive Sporting Sketches’ (edited by William Wildwood), 1879.
  22. ‘Poems’ (edited by Morgan Herbert), 1887.
  23. ‘The Royal Maries of Mediaeval History’ (left in manuscript).

The works published under the name of Frank Forester were:

  1. ‘My Shooting Box,’ Philadelphia, 1846, 12mo; another edition 1851.
  2. ‘Field Sports of the United States and the British Provinces of America,’ London,1848,2vols.; 4th edition,New York, 1852.
  3. ‘The Warwick Woodlands,’ 1849; new edition 1851.
  4. ‘Frank Forester and his Friends,’ London, 1849,3 vols.
  5. ‘Fish and Fishing in the United States and British Provinces of North America,’ London, 1849-1850, 2 vols.
  6. ‘The Deerstalker,’ 1850.
  7. ‘Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen,’ 1852.
  8. ‘The Old Forest Ranger’ (edited by F. Forester), 1853.
  9. ‘Young Sportsman's Complete Manual of Fowling, Fishing, and Field Sports in general,’ 1852.
  10. ‘Sporting Scenes and Characters,’ Philadelphia, 1857, 2 vols.
  11. ‘Horse and Horsemanship of the United States and British Provinces,’ New York, 1857, 2 vols.; abridged as ‘Hints to Horse-keepers,’ 1859.
  12. ‘The Dog,’ by Dinks, Mayhew, and Hutchinson (edited by F. Forester), 1857.

[Judd's Life and Writings of F. Forester, 1882, 2 vols., with portrait; Picton's Frank Forester's Life and Writings, 1881; International Mag. New York, 1 June 1851, pp. 289-291, with portrait; Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1877, iii. 179-80, with portrait ; Allibone, i. 830; New York Herald, May 1858; Duyckinck's Cyclop. of American Lit. 1877, pp. 289-90, with portrait.]

G. C. B.