HYDE, HENRY, second Earl of Clarendon (1638–1709), eldest son of Edward Hyde, the first earl [q. v.], and his second wife, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury, was born 2 June 1638. Both he and his brother Laurence [q. v.] spent part of their boyhood under their mother's care at Antwerp and Breda (Lister, i. 300, ii. 40). Of their attachment to their father they afterwards gave ample proof. Clarendon during several years before the Restoration made frequent use of his eldest son as copyist, decipherer, and confidential secretary, entrusting him with part of his correspondence with distant royalists. Many of Henry Hyde's letters from this period are among the 'Clarendon Papers' in the Bodleian Library; the earliest paper in his handwriting is dated Cologne, 2 Aug. 1655. His father (9 May 1661) calls him 'as secret as he ought to be' Douglas, i. x, xiii seqq.)
Very soon after the return of his family to England in 1660 Hyde married Theodosia, daughter of Lord Capel, and sister of the Duchess of Beaufort. He lost his wife as early as February 1662, and nearly forty years afterwards, 17 May 1701, described to Pepys a strange supposed instance of second-sight connected with her death (Pepys, Diary and Correspondence, ed. Bright, vi. 207). In 1665 he married Flower, widow of Sir William Backhouse, bart., through whom he became possessed of the manor and house of Swallowfield, Berkshire (see Evelyn, ii. 316, and note, and iii. 5; cf. Diary and Correspondence, i. 237, 407). The second Lady Clarendon, who in her later years became first lady of the bedchamber to her niece by marriage (the Princess Anne), is tartly described by a junior colleague as one who 'looked like a mad-woman and talked like a scholar' (Account of the Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough, p.10).
In 1661 Lord Cornbury (such being his style after his father's elevation to the earldom of Clarendon in April) was elected to parliament for Wiltshire, which he continued to represent till the death of the first earl in 1674. In 1662 he was appointed private secretary to the new queen, Catherine, whose lord chamberlain he became in July 1665. Burnet asserts with questionable accuracy (i. 473) that she 'thought herself bound to protect him in a particular manner,' because of 'his father being so violently prosecuted on the account of her marriage.' He seems to have been a vigilant guardian of her interests (cf. Reresby, p.193), although many years later an interminable lawsuit arose between them concerning certain arrears which he considered due to himself in respect of his office (Diary and Correspondence, i. 195 (1685), ii. 155 et al.) With many of the most prominent members of the court and council, however, and with the king himself, the son was not more popular than the father, whom in disposition he much resembled. The company in which he took pleasure was such as Evelyn's, who as early as 1664 helped him to plant the park at Cornbury (Evelyn, ii. 174, 168-9). In parliament, where he spoke neither unfrequently nor ineffectively, he like his brother courageously raised his voice on behalf of his father on the occasion of his impeachment in 1667 (Lister, ii. 426), and after his fall Lord Cornbury became a steady opponent of the court party and the cabal (cf. Pepys, v. 179). Not less than twenty speeches by him are extant from 1673 alone (in Grey's Debates, vol. ii.; cf. Douglas, i. xi), and his denunciation of the scandalous immorality of Buckingham and his attack upon Arlington are alike to the credit of his courage. On his father's death in 1674 he succeeded to the earldom of Clarendon (as to his visit to France at this time see the Abbé Montagu's letter, ap. Lister, iii. 488); but it was not till 1680, when the state of parties was more equally balanced, that he was, through the influence of his brother-in-law, the Duke of York, made a privy councillor. About the same time he was named keeper of Denmark (Somerset) House and treasurer and receiver-general of the queen's revenues, and the duke would have willingly seen him made secretary of state (Diary and Correspondence, i. 49). At this, as in most other seasons of his life, he seems to have been much hampered by pecuniary troubles (ib. i. 18-19, and note; cf. Burnet, i. 472).
The friendship of the Duke of York led to his inclusion with his brother among those against whom the commons early in January 1681 addressed the king as persons inclined to popery (Reresby, p. 198; Burnet, ii. 255). In Clarendon's case the accusation is absurd on the face of it, but it may for a time have