HERVEY, John (1696-1764), of East Betchworth, nr. Reigate, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Feb. 1739 - 1741
1754 - 30 July 1764

Family and Education

bap. 25 June 1696, 1st s. of Stephen Hervey, M.P., justice of Anglesey, by his cos. Anne, da. of John Hervey of St. Mary-at-Hill, London, Turkey merchant and treasurer of the Levant Co.1  educ. M. Temple 1709, called 1723, bencher 1745, treasurer 1753.  m. c.1731, Anne, da. of Sir Christopher Des Bouverie, 2s.  suc. fa. 1707.

Offices Held

Justice of Brecon 1745- d.


At the general election of 1754 Hervey stood at Wallingford against the Government candidates, Thomas Sewell and Lord Castlecomer, the other Opposition candidate being Richard Neville Aldworth, a Bedford Whig. ‘The affair of Mr. Hervey at Wallingford has given me a great deal of concern’, wrote Hardwicke, a close friend, to Newcastle on 4 Oct. 1753.2 He first heard of it from Henry Pelham and then talked

in the strongest style possible to the gentleman concerned. No person dependent upon, or connected with, the Administration had any hand in it; and Mr. Hervey, though a Welsh judge, with an estate of near three thousand pounds a year, might see himself in a different situation from what he was before, though he made a very weak and wrongheaded inference from it.

And here is the account which Hervey gave to Hardwicke of ‘the Wallingford affair’ in a letter of 10 Jan. 1753.3 He knew but one man in the corporation, ‘a person of unquestionable attachment to the Government’, who suggested that Hervey should stand for Wallingford and shortly before Christmas brought a paper ‘signed by 24 of the chamber’ that they would support him and Aldworth as candidates at the next election.

I asked my friend the political principles of these gentlemen ... he told [me] that about half was for, and half against, the Administration, that they never in any instance had been unanimous before, and added that the motive of this resolution was to recover the credit of the borough, and to get it out of the hands of the lower people.

Finding on inquiry that the signatories were ‘men of the best credit and substance at Wallingford’ he accepted their invitation and went down with Aldworth, ‘a stranger to me’, to solicit votes.

I declared to Mr. Aldworth that in case I was returned for Wallingford I should vote in Parliament on the side of the Administration ... Indeed, my Lord, it would have prejudiced my interest, if I had publicly declared my attachment to the Ministry, but it was so understood, which made some not so zealous in my interest as otherwise they would have been.

And on 20 Jan.:4

This morning I saw Mr. Pelham. We talked over the affair of Wallingford and I made him all the assurances I could, and sincerely, of my steady attachment to the Administration. He said he was persuaded it was so, but that I was so unhappily linked he must oppose me. At parting he called to me in this manner—Hearken, Hervey, we’ll fight it out in the country, and be good friends in town.

Hervey and Aldworth won the election, although Sewell was heavily financed by Administration, and according to Aldworth there was heavy bribery.5 Consequently Wallingford was entered in Newcastle’s election accounts as a loss, and Hervey as ‘doubtful’. But by 1761 he was accepted by Newcastle, and in October 1761 was sent the parliamentary whip through Hardwicke. In Bute’s list of December 1761 he was first entered as ‘Newcastle’; but this was crossed out by Bute who marked him as ‘independent’. On 9 Dec. 1762 Hervey voted against the peace preliminaries (which none of the Yorkes did), and he also voted against the Grenville Administration on Wilkes and general warrants.  He died 30 July 1764.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. N. Q. (ser. 9), iv. 51.
  • 2. Add. 32733, f. 16.
  • 3. Add. 35592, ff. 6-7.
  • 4. Ibid. f. 23.
  • 5. Bedford mss 30, f. 26.