Percy Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford
He was the son of Lionel Smythe, 5th Viscount Strangford (1753–1801) and Maria Eliza Philipse. In 1769, his sixteen-year-old father left Ireland, joined the army and served during the American War of Independence. While quartered in New York in the winter of 1776 to 1777, he met and courted Maria. She was the daughter of Frederick Philipse III (1720–1785), the third and last Lord of Philipsburg Manor and a descendant of the Dutch founder of the city. At first, her father rejected Lionel, however, as Philipse was a Loyalist during the war, the New York Legislature confiscated his estate, one of the largest in the province, and Philipse changed his mind. They married in September 1779 at Trinity Church in Manhattan and they returned to the United Kingdom. Upon the withdrawal of the British troops from New York in 1783, Philipse also went to England, where he later died.
Smythe was educated at Harrow and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1800, entered the diplomatic service, and in the following year succeeded to the title of Viscount Strangford in the Peerage of Ireland.
Ambassador to Portugal
In 1806, he served as chargé d'affaires under the Earl of Rosslyn and the Earl of St Vincent, the Extraordinary Envoys of the United Kingdom to Portugal. In 1807, he was appointed British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal under the reign of King George III. In 1807, as Britain's envoy to Portugal, Lord Strangford coordinated the Portuguese royal family's flight from Portugal to Brazil. Lord Clinton, as he was known in Brazil, he arrived with the Royal Family in Salvador in January 1808 and soon they moved to Rio de Janeiro where they arrived on March 8, 1808. Lord Clinton and the Brazilian accountant Dom Fernando José de Portugal had a hard work to do in the Brazilian Imperial Palace. They had to raise the money moved from Portugal to Brazil under the English escort. Their work was during thirty days. The tax service of 2% was according the Prize Money (the law had been canceled in 1803 and was re-edited in 1807). They counted one hundred million Pounds and two million pounds in taxes. (In that year, with that money would be possible to buy two hundred million bags of coffee, nowadays it is U$20 billion). After that, the payment delayed fourteen years to be paid after the English recognizance of the Brazilian Independence. That was the money Napoleon wanted to finance his war against England. Napoleon said in his memoirs that Don Jon was the only one to trick him.
Ambassador to Sweden
He was British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Stockholm in Sweden from 1817 to 1820, during the reign of Charles XIII of Sweden and Charles XIV John of Sweden.
Ambassador to Ottoman Turkey
The Levant Company nominated Lord Strangford and his appointment was confirmed in 1820 as the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. As ambassador to the Sublime Porte, he had opportunities to assemble fragments of Greek sculpture. Among his collection of antiquities was the "Strangford Shield", a 3rd-century CE Roman marble that reproduces the shield of Athena Parthenos, Phidias' sculpture formerly in the Parthenon. The "Strangford Shield" is conserved in the British Museum. He left Turkey in 1824.
Ambassador to Russia
From 1825 to 1826, he served as British Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg, Russia, when he was created Baron Penshurst, of Penshurst in the County of Kent, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, enabling him to sit in the House of Lords. His diplomatic career went into decline after he was caught falsifying dispatches to the British government and revealing confidential documents to the Austrian ambassador in St Petersburg.
In 1817, he married Ellen Burke Browne (1788–1826), daughter of Sir Thomas Burke, 1st Baronet (d. 1813) and sister of Sir John Burke, 2nd Baronet. Ellen had previously been married to Nicholas Browne, Esq., of Mount Hazel, in Galway, with whom she had Katherine Eleanor Browne (d. 1843) who married High-Sheriff Robert French (b. 1799) of Monivea Castle. Together, Percy and Ellen had five children.
- George Augustus Frederick Percy Sydney Smythe (1818–1857), later the 7th Viscount Strangford who had a scandalous relationship with Lady Dorothy, daughter of Horatio Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford, and who married Margaret Lennox-Kincaid-Lennox, daughter of John Lennox-Kincaid-Lennox shortly before his death. After Smythe's death, she married Charles Bateman-Hanbury-Kincaid-Lennox.
- Philippa Eliza Sydney Smythe (1819–1854), who married Henry James Baillie (1803–1885), the Under-Secretary of State for India.
- Lionel Philip Thomas Henry Smythe (1821–1834), who died young of tuberculosis
- Louisa Ellen Frances Augusta Smythe (1823–1852), who married George Browne, 3rd Marquess of Sligo in 1847.
- Percy Ellen Algernon Frederick William Sydney Smythe (1825–1862), later the 8th Viscount Strangford, who married Emily Anne Beaufort (1826–1887).
- Ellen Sydney Smythe (d. 1852)
After the death of his wife in 1826, Smythe had three children by Katherine Benham (1813–1872), the eldest of whom was the artist .
- Lionel Percy Smythe (1839–1918), the artist
On his death on 29 May 1855, he was succeeded by his eldest son George Smythe, 7th Viscount Strangford, who was an active figure in the Young England movement of the early 1840s. After his death, Benham married William Morrison Wyllie, the artist with whom she had William Lionel Wyllie and Charles William Wyllie, also artists.
He was made Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1815 and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order (GCH) in 1825. In February 1825, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society He translated the Rimas of Luís de Camões in 1825.
A window in his family chapel in St. Mary's Church, Ashford, Kent, commemorates him, mentioning the monarchs whom he served and the countries to which he was dispatched.
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- J. Haydn, Book of Dignities (1851), 83-4
- Alfred C. Wood, A History of the Levant Company, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1935, pp. 183-184.
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- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 396. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- thepeerage.com Rt. Hon. Colonel Henry James Baillie
- "Paintings by William Lionel Wyllie - Hole Haven and the Estuary". Canvey Island Archive. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- Women Painters of the World on Project Gutenberg
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.
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|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Penshurst