HERBERT, Richard (1704-54).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



11 Feb. 1727 - 1741
30 Dec. 1743 - 17 May 1754

Family and Education

bap. 13 Dec. 1704, 2nd s. of Francis Herbert of Oakley Park, Mont., and bro. of Henry Arthur Herbert. unm.

Offices Held

Entered army as lt.-col. 4 Oct. 1745; warden of the mint Apr. 1754-d.


Herbert, who was returned on the interest of his brother, voted for the Administration on the civil list in 1729, but his name does not appear on the other six extant division lists of that and the succeeding Parliament. He was not put up in 1741, but was brought in again in 1743, voting for the Hanoverian troops in 1744 and 1746, and was classed as a government supporter in 1747. In 1752 his brother Lord Powis, who had been urging his preferment for ten years, applied on his behalf to Henry Pelham for the post of clerk comptroller of the King’s Household. Pelham replied (7 Oct.):

I have a true regard for him ... and a sincere affection for your Lordship. Nobody could therefore have stood, in my good wishes in competition with Mr. Herbert, but you may remember I told you the difficulty that would arise, in Mr. Herbert’s having retired from the world so long, and of consequence never having appeared in Parliament, or even in London, I believe from almost the time this Parliament was first chosen. I took the liberty to say to you that I even doubted whether in these circumstances, it was right for your Lordship to ask for an employment of attendance for your brother ... I was in hopes Mr. Herbert would have passed one winter in London, mixed with his friends, and attended public business as others do. Had that been the case I should not have hesitated one moment in recommending him to the King. But as the King knows everything that your Lordship or I do, and perhaps is told much more than is true, how can I propose one in these circumstances to an office, that has a monthly attendance upon his Majesty at court, and into which I know the King is every day more and more inquisitive.1

To Newcastle, then in Hanover with the King, Pelham wrote (19 Oct.):

I should have been for Mr. Herbert ... had not his misfortune been such ever since his duel with Lord Belfield, that sometimes, as I am told, he does not know what he does. This I have hinted to Lord Powis several times, when he has recommended his brother, but he says it is not so, and that he is perfectly well in health, but uneasy to see he is not taken notice of. You may imagine this is a very tender point to talk upon.2

When Powis insisted, Pelham played for time by suggesting that the matter should rest until the King’s return in November; though he had to admit that the names of several persons seeking the office had already been sent over to Hanover. This enabled him to postpone forwarding Herbert’s name until the very day that word of Sir Francis Drake’s appointment to the office reached him. To Powis’s further remonstrance, he replied:

Notwithstanding this, I let my letter go, hoping that your brother being mentioned on this occasion, may the more easily succeed upon another, if your Lordship continues your resolution of bringing him into business, and his attending the House.3

Apparently Powis did continue his resolution, for immediately after Pelham’s death Newcastle was trying to satisfy Herbert by the offer of the wardenship of the mint. But as a second vacancy among the clerk comptrollers of the Household had been simultaneously set aside for John Grey, who was not even in Parliament at that time, Herbert considered it beneath his dignity to accept the wardenship unless the salary was made equal to Grey’s. On 2 Apr. a private addition of £400 p.a. was arranged,4 but one month after the general election Herbert died, 17 May 1754.5

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: J. B. Lawson


  • 1. Powis mss.
  • 2. Add. 32730, f. 142.
  • 3. 14, 26 Oct. 1752, Powis mss.
  • 4. Add. 32995, ff. 110, 130, 180.
  • 5. Mont. Coll. viii. 6.