RepositoryRoyal Archives
ReferenceGEO/MAIN/53088-53977
CollectionJohn Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey
TitleManuscript of "Memoirs of the Reign of George II"
Date[1781-1815]
DescriptionIn the introduction to his edition of "Some Materials toward Memoirs of the Reign of George II" (1931, London), Romney Sedgwick records that the manuscript of Hervey's "Memoirs" passed from Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol 'via an illegitimate son to another brother, General Hervey, subject to the condition that they should not be published during the lifetime of George III.' (p xi). General William Hervey, in turn, left the original copy of the manuscript to his nephew Frederick Hervey, later 1st Marquess of Bristol. John Wilson Croker edited and published this manuscript in 1848 although there is some implication that the text had been redacted probably by family members. It is now held at Bury St Edmunds Record Office (BSERO ref 941/47/14). However, a copy of the "Memoirs" was made at some point after 1781 and sent to George IV by 1st Marquess of Bristol following General Hervey's death in 1815 (p xii). Although Croker believed this manuscript still existed, it was only following the transfer of George III and George IV's papers from Apsley House to the Royal Archives in 1912 that this document was 'discovered'. In his 1931 edition, Sedgwick collates the version held at the Royal Archives with the original held in Suffolk. He notes, '[t]he new matter available amounts to about a hundred pages, excluding a number of political speeches and similar matter which Croker left out or consigned to an appendix on the ground of their lack of interest.' The papers are written in several hands, a point ignored by Sedgwick. One of these is General William Hervey (GEO/MAIN/53088), however, a substanial portion is written by at least one Italic hand (GEO/MAIN/53104) with additions and corrections later being made by General Hervey. It has not been possible to identify the writers of these hands during cataloguing
Extent470 documents
LevelCollection
Admin HistoryJohn Hervey, later 2nd Baron Hervey, began his association with the Hanoverian court in Hanover on meeting Prince Frederick, grandson of George I. On returning to England, Hervey embarked on a career in politics as MP for Bury St Edmunds and a supporter of Sir Robert Walpole - and despite an extended trip to continental Europe in 1728-9 - was appointed Vice-Chamberlain to the Household of George II and a member of the Privy Council in May 1730. Here at Court, he developed a close friendship with Caroline, Queen Consort to George II, which would be a contributing factor to the later breakdown in his friendship with her son Frederick, Prince of Wales whom he had met some 10 years before. In 1733, Hervey began writing "Memoirs of the Reign of King George II", a project which ceased with the death of Queen Caroline in 1737. Hervey retained his role of Vice-Chamberlain until 1740 when he was elevated to the role of Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal although this he retained for only 2 years being dismissed from office following Walpole's fall in 1742. Ill-health had periodically plagued Hervey throughout his life; in spring 1743 he took ill and died several months later on 5 August 1743.
ArrangementImages for these documents have been divided into several PDFs for ease of use. To a certain extent, the PDFs reflect the numbering within the manuscript: 1727 - 1730 (GEO/MAIN/53088-53195), 1732 - 1734 (GEO/MAIN/53196-53496), 1735 - 1736 (GEO/MAIN/53497-53676), 1736 (GEO/MAIN/53677-53691), 1736 - 1737 (GEO/MAIN/53692-53977). Papers for 1730 - 1732 are missing from this manuscript. No further arrangement has been undertaken
Publications"Some materials towards memoirs of the reign of King George II" by John, Lord Hervey (ed. Sedgwick, London, 1931)
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