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Hervey, John, Lord

Hervey, John, Lord (1696–1743). The second son of the 1st earl of Bristol, Hervey was elected to represent Bury St Edmunds (1723), supported Walpole, and was rewarded with the posts of vice-chamberlain and privy counsellor. His quarrel with Pulteney, formerly a friend but prominent in opposition, led to a duel. A favoured companion of Queen Caroline, Hervey had considerable influence at the court of George II, where life and intrigue furnished ready material for his cynical and witty Memoirs, a superb and sustained piece of writing. His epicene beauty and use of cosmetics to cover hypochondriacal pallor prompted Pope's spiteful brilliance of ‘Let Sporus tremble’. Hervey, a fluent writer, skilled pamphleteer, and more than useful debater, was elevated to the House of Lords in his father's barony in 1733 to strengthen Walpole's position after the Excise crisis. He was briefly lord privy seal 1740–2.

A. S. Hargreaves

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