HARE, Hon. Hugh (1668-1707), of East Betchworth, Surr.
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Family and Education
bap. 2 July 1668, 1st s. of Henry Hare†, 2nd Baron Coleraine [I] by 1st w. Constantia, da. of Sir Richard Lucy, 1st Bt.† of Broxbourne, Herts. educ. Salisbury (Edward Hardwicke); Trinity, Camb. 1684; I. Temple 1686. m. bef. 1693, Lydia (d. 1704), da. and coh. of Matthew Carlton, merchant, of Edmonton, Mdx. 2s. 3da.
?Groom of gt. chamber to Queen Mary by 1692–4.
Destined never to inherit the title which his family had held since 1625, Hare nevertheless emulated many of the achievements of his predecessors. In particular, he followed his father’s example by combining an active interest in politics with a more energetic devotion to academic pursuits. However, rather than base his political career in Wiltshire, where his father had briefly held a seat at Old Sarum in 1679 and had unsuccessfully contested the county election in 1690, Hare chose to settle in Surrey. In the light of his family’s extensive landed interests in Wiltshire and Middlesex, this decision was somewhat surprising, but Hare’s holdings in Dorking permitted him to exert a political influence in south-east Surrey.1
Hare first came to prominence when, aged only 23, he wrote to the custos rotulorum of Surrey, the 1st Earl of Berkeley, to request that the county’s Easter quarter sessions be held at Dorking. He was subsequently elected as chairman of the court, and the charge which he served on 5 Apr. 1692 was so well received that the assembled gentry ordered him to publish it. Most notable for its attack on ‘the prevailing wickedness of the age’ and for its sturdy defence of the Revolution, the charge revealed Hare’s commitment to the maintenance of justice and his expert knowledge of, as he termed it, ‘the excellent model of our English government’. Much of his ire was reserved for Louis XIV, whom he reviled as ‘that ambitious, bloody and perfidious prince . . . with whom we are at this time engaged in a just and honourable war for the common safety, liberty and repose of Europe’. He was equally censorious of the government’s domestic critics, and confessed that he was reluctant to print his speech for fear of opening himself to the attack of ‘atheistical libertines and seditious malcontents’. However, encouraged by the Surrey bench’s praise for his ‘religious, learned and loyal charge’, he did venture into print for the first time, and his success can be judged by the pamphlet’s reissue in 1696.
Although Hare had disclaimed any desire for ‘profitable employments’ when publishing his charge, the loyalty which he professed for the court, and more particularly his concern for moral reform, may have swiftly earned him a post in the Queen’s household, for a ‘Mr Hare’ was cited by Chamberlayne in 1692 as one of the five grooms of her great chamber. Hare’s identification as a courtier is supported by the dedication to the Queen which preceded his next work, a translation of Agostino Mascardi’s An Historical Relation of the Conspiracy of John Lewis, Count de Fieschi against the City and Republic of Genoa (1693). In his dedication Hare provided another commentary on current affairs, confiding to his readership that he chose to translate this Italian history ‘because it bears so visible a resemblance to the late happy revolution’. In particular, he hoped that it would remind ‘the English malcontents’ of the dangers of French tyranny and duplicity, taking the opportunity once again to lambast the ‘insolence’ of Louis XIV.
Given his much-publicized interest in preserving the Revolution settlement, Hare’s emergence as a parliamentary candidate in July 1698 came as no surprise. His success at Bletchingley was masterminded by Sir Robert Clayton*, for the poll reveals a solid block-vote for the two Whigs. However, at Westminster itself, doubts were soon aired concerning Hare’s stance on the contentious issue of the standing army. On 24 Aug. he was forecast as a likely opponent of the standing army, but another list drawn up soon after actually cited him as an adherent of the Court. This confusion was to be resolved on 5 Jan. 1699 when Hare featured as one of only two MPs who signalled their strenuous opposition to standing forces by declaring that ‘they did not like the marines and saw no use of them’. In the next session he was granted a leave of absence on health grounds on 1 Feb. 1700. Illness may have been a factor in his decision not to stand at the election of February 1701, when he was replaced by another Clayton nominee, Sir Edward Gresham, 2nd Bt.2
Away from the House, Hare was content to follow scholarly pursuits, having perhaps already begun the translations which later appeared in John Dryden’s edition of The Works of Lucian (1711). Alongside the other contributors, Hare was acclaimed by Dryden as a scholar respected by ‘all the finer spirits of the age’. However, ill-health continued to affect him, and in March 1706 he was ‘so ill that he could not come up’ to Westminster to register his assent to a bill to settle the family estate. His father’s decision to put affairs in order may well have been prompted by Hare’s deteriorating health, and within a year of the passage of the Act, Hare had died, aged only 38. His son Henry, who became 3rd Lord Coleraine in July 1708, maintained the family tradition by serving briefly as MP for Boston and establishing his name in antiquarian circles.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Perry Gauci
- 1. IGI, Herts.; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700–15, p. 91; PCC 87 Poley; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 561.
- 2. Charge Given at General Quarter Sessions of Peace for Surrey (1692), dedication, pp. 3, 7; Surr. RO (Kingston), 60/9/23; Vernon–Shrewsbury Corresp. ii. 248.
- 3. The Works of Lucian ed. Dryden, i. The Life of Lucian, p. 49; HMC Lords n.s. vi. 429.