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the preservation of the property, for the welfare of his children, and for his own happiness, it was desirable his son should act in his stead. To give effect to this resolution, Lord Cornbury was put in as complete possession of his father's estates as if they had already devolved upon him by inheritance. For this purpose a deed poll was executed, November 18, 1749, between Henry Earl of Clarendon and his son Henry Viscount Cornbury, by which all property was transferred to the latter, with full power to make marriage settlements and any testamentary bequest he thought fit, without reference to his father's continued existence. The year following the execution of this deed poll, Lord Cornbury, finding the debts by which he became encumbered demanded the sacrifice of Cornbury House, determined on selling it; and an agreement was concluded with the Duke of Marlborough, by which he became the purchaser of the whole estate. This was a great sacrifice, and felt to be so both by Lord Clarendon 3
Lord Clarendon seems to have been a very willing party to the execution of a deed poll and other arrangements of property. His letters to his son are full of tenderness and affectionate expressions of gratitude for the dutiful care and attention he uniformly received at his hands.
? An annuity of 20001., arising from the profits of the General Post Office, was reserved for the exclusive use of the Earl of Clarendon. This sum was the moiety of the annuity of 40001. given by James II. to Lawrence Earl of Rochester.
* Lord Clarendon writes thus to his son, August 22, 1751:-" I wish “ Cornbury House could have been kept for you to enjoy, but as matters “ were I think you have taken a prudent course, and am glad you have got “ through it. It is a fine and pleasant thing to be out of debt; but as I “ told you before, you may comfort yourself with the thoughts that it has “ not been your fault.”—Unpublished MS.
and Lord Cornbury. Nor was it the only one contemplated by Lord Cornbury, from the honourable wish to pay the debts he had now taken upon himself. He had even determined on selling great part of the pictures ;? fortunately, it afterwards proved unnecessary to make this further sacrifice, and they remained in cases at Cornbury House, labelled with Lord Hyde's name, and sealed with his own seal, to mark their being his property. Lord Clarendon expressed his satisfaction with his son's intention to keep the pictures, and also with the arrangement to which the Duke of Marlborough acceded.
Nothing could more distinctly show that Lord Clarendon considered the pictures to be then the property of his son, and that his son believed them to be his own; and of this belief the will and codicils made by Lord Hyde afforded the most conclusive evidence. To Lady Charlotte Capell, as the eldest daughter of his eldest sister (deceased), Jane Countess of Essex, were bequeathed all his estates real and personal. The disposal of the pictures, books, and plate formed the subject of one codicil, the disposal of the MSS. of another. These were dated August 11, 1751. The pictures, plate, and books were left as heirlooms, so far as the law will admit, to the person who for the time being should be in possession of the estate, and a sum not exceeding 10,0001. was to be laid out in the purchase of a mansion-house in London, built for duration, convenient and handsome, and large enough to contain the library and the pictures entailed with the estátes. The drafts of the will and codicils were carefully drawn up by a lawyer, and read to Lord Clarendon, who entirely approved of them. They were then left with him, that he might have time to consider them by himself, and no alteration appears to have been suggested.
Lord Cornbury was called up to the House of Lords by the title of Baron Hyde.
• For that purpose they were inventoried and appraised.
3 The Duke of Marlborough gave permission for these cases, containing pictures, MSS., and books, to remain at Cornbury House.
+ “My dear Son-I received your letter of the 7th of September (N.S.); “ it was very agreeable and very welcome to me. I thank you very kindly “ for it, and for communicating to me what you had done, and what you “ propose to do with yourself. I am glad you have preserved the pictures, " for they may be an handsome furniture for you. Your intended journey “ is well and discreetly designed, and will, I hope, refresh your mind after “all its terrible anxieties, and confirm your health by the blessing of God “ for many years.”—MS. unpublished.
On the 30th March, 1752, Lady Charlotte Capell
There were a few legacies of pictures as exceptions :—“ The Head of “ a Saint, said to be painted by Vandyck, to the Duke of Queensbury; to “my nephew Charles Douglas, the picture of his mother, by Vanloo; to “ the Hon. Mr. Thomas Villiers" (not then married), “ brother to the Earl “ of Jersey, one of my whole-length pictures of George Villiers, Duke of “ Buckingham, part of the Cornbury collection, which of the two he shall " choose
“ To the Hon. Mr. Murray, his Majesty's Solicitor-General, my four “ pictures of the Muses, painted by Rosalba ; to Lord Foley, my two Fruit " and Flower Pieces, by Snyers.”
was married to the Hon. Thomas Villiers. In the month of May, 1753, Lord Hyde was killed by a fall from his horse at Paris.? His surviving sister, Catherine Duchess of Queensberry, was much offended at her brother's disposition of his property, and determined to dispute the validity of the deed poll, and consequently his power of bequeathing the property that had been transferred to him by his father. In November, 1753, Lord Clarendon died. The Duchess of Queensberry became administratrix to her father's affairs. A Chancery suit was instituted by the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry, in order to set aside the whole effect of the deed poll. This suit lasted till 1763. They entirely failed in shaking the validity of the deed poll or any part of the will or codicils that related to the real estates. But however clear the intention might appear to be respecting the personalty, legal evidence
'Mr. Villiers was a friend of Lord Hyde's, and had been mentioned in his will, and named as one of his executors, some time before there had been any question of his marriage with Lady Charlotte Capell. He was created Baron Hyde of Hindon in 1756, and Earl of Clarendon in 1776.
? The author of ‘Historical Inquiries' has fallen into a strange error respecting the cause of Lord Hyde's death :-“ He is believed,” says he, “ to have died by suicide at Paris on the 23rd of May, 1753, though the “ complaisant · Peerages ' say that his death was occasioned by a fall from “ his horse.” The ‘Peerages' are perfectly correct in their statement, and a reference to family papers might have easily satisfied any doubts on the subject. A full account of the accident was written home by Lord Albemarle, then ambassador at Paris; and the post-mortem examination of several physicians and surgeons in the possession of the Earl of Clarendon. could leave no room for any such suspicion.
was wanting to prove the deed of gift, and the Court declared that the pictures, books, plate, and MSS. did not pass by the same deed poll as the real estates had done, and consequently that they were the property not of Lord Hyde, but of Henry Earl of Clarendon and Rochester, at his death; and it was further declared “ that the sum of 10,000l. ought not therefore to be “ laid out in the purchase of a mansion-house in “ London, to contain the same library, books, and “ pictures.” The Duchess of Queensberry had been in no way influenced by the clearly expressed wishes and intentions of both her father and her brother, and the legal distribution was made of the personalty to the next of kin of Lord Clarendon, giving one half to the only living representatives of his eldest daughter (long deceased), Jane Countess of Essex, and the other half to Catherine Duchess of Queensberry, as his only other surviving child. The object of Lord Hyde's will, in making heirlooms of these things, and of purchasing a house that might have preserved unbroken the collection of pictures and books, was at once defeated. The younger daughter of Lady Essex (Lady Mary Forbes) appears to have respected the feelings of her uncle and grandfather, and not to have accepted the partition of the half that was assigned to her with her sister, as the co-representatives of their mother, and that portion of the pic
| Though the Court of Chancery thus assigned the personalty to the next of kin to Henry Earl of Clarendon and Rochester, they being all females and married, the property belonged at once to their respective husbands.