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Rochester, Laurence Hyde, 1st earl of

Rochester, Laurence Hyde, 1st earl of (1642–1711). Laurence Hyde was the second son of the historian and lord chancellor and younger brother of the 2nd earl of Clarendon, lord privy seal and lord-lieutenant of Ireland in James II's reign. His sister Anne married the duke of York (later James II) in 1660 and died in 1671. Hyde served in the House of Commons 1660–81, was employed on diplomatic missions, and was made 1st lord of the Treasury 1679–84 (not the post it later became). He was rewarded with a viscountcy in 1681 and an earldom the following year. When James succeeded in 1685, Rochester and Clarendon, brothers-in-law to the king, carried all before them. Rochester was given the Garter, appointed lord president of the council 1684–5, and then lord treasurer. But James dismissed him, though with a generous pension, in 1686 when he refused to convert to catholicism. A fierce high Tory, he accepted William and Mary after the Revolution, was lord-lieutenant of Ireland 1700–3 and lord president of the council again 1710–11. Burnet thought him ‘of far greater parts’ than his brother and for years he and Nottingham were regarded as the pillars of high Toryism. A capable and experienced politician, Rochester was said to be handicapped by a quick temper: ‘when he was in a rage,’ wrote Macaulay, ‘and he very often was in a rage, he swore like a porter.’

J. A. Cannon

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