Open main menu


HOBART, VERE HENRY, Lord Hobart (1818–1875), governor of Madras, son of the Hon. and Rev. Augustus Edward Hobart (later Hobart-Hampden), afterwards sixth earl of Buckinghamshire, by Mary, daughter of John Williams, was born 8 Dec. 1818, at Welbourn, Lincolnshire. He went to Dr. Mayo's school at Cheam, Surrey. In 1836 he was elected to an open scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford, proceeded B.A. 3 Dec. 1840, and was appointed in the same year to a clerkship in the board of trade. In 1842 he accompanied Sir H. Ellis as secretary on a diplomatic mission to the emperor of Brazil, and about 1850 began to write many political articles upon Irish questions. In 1849, on his father's accession to the earldom, he succeeded to the courtesy title of Lord Hobart. In 1854 he became private secretary to Sir George Grey [q. v.], who was then secretary of state for the colonies, but resigned this post in 1855 in order to be free to oppose the continuance of the Crimean war. He advocated peace in a striking letter to the ‘Times’ of 22 Feb. of that year. In 1861 he was promoted from the senior clerkship at the board of trade to investigate and advise on the condition of Turkish finance, together with Mr. Foster, ‘deputy paymaster-general,’ his superior in office, and after making a report returned to Constantinople to carry out the measures he had proposed. Subsequently he was director-general of the Ottoman Bank, and in February 1872 was appointed governor of Madras. At Madras, despite his shy manner and scholarly tastes, he secured the esteem alike of the natives and of the English residents. He was anxious to improve the social status of the natives, and exerted himself in the promotion of education among all classes. He also busied himself in agitating for a harbour and an improved drainage system. He died at Madras of typhoid fever on 27 April 1875. Hobart appears to have been an unaffected lover of nature; he was a fluent, lucid, and forcible writer on political questions. He married, 4 Aug. 1853, Mary Catherine, daughter of Thomas Carr, bishop of Bombay.

His works are: 1. ‘Remarks on the Law of Partnership Liability,’ a pamphlet, 1853. 2. ‘Essay on the Alabama Claims,’ 1870. 3. ‘Political Essays,’ 1866; reprinted (with short biographical sketch), 1877. 4. ‘Fragments, &c.’ (in prose), Madras, 1875. 5. ‘Essays and Miscellaneous Writings’ (a collection of many of his articles and letters), with biographical sketch, ed. by Mary, lady Hobart, his widow, 2 vols. 1885.

[Biog. Sketch, 1877–85; Times, 11 Oct. 1876.]

N. D. F. P.