Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt
The Earl Harcourt
|Lord Lieutenant of Ireland|
29 October 1772 – 7 December 1776
|Preceded by||The Viscount Townshend|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Buckinghamshire|
Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, PC FRS (1714 – 16 September 1777), known as Viscount Harcourt between 1727 and 1749, was a British diplomat and general who became Viceroy of Ireland.
Life and work
Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt, was educated at Westminster School. He succeeded his grandfather Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt in 1727. In 1745, having raised a regiment for service during the Jacobite Rebellion, the 76th Foot (Lord Harcourts Regiment), he received a commission as a Colonel in the army. The regiment was disbanded on 10 June 1746.
In 1749 he was created Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt. He was appointed governor to the prince of Wales, afterwards George III, in 1751; and after the accession of the latter to the throne, in 1761, he was appointed as special ambassador to Mecklenburg-Strelitz, to negotiate a marriage between King George and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Charlotte), whom he conducted to England.
He held a number of appointments at court and in the diplomatic service. He was the British ambassador to Paris from 1768 to 1772. He was promoted to the rank of general in 1772; and in October of the same year he succeeded Lord Townshend as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, an office which he held until 1777. His proposal to impose a tax of 10% on the rents of absentee landlords had to be abandoned owing to opposition in England; but he succeeded in conciliating the leaders of Opposition in Ireland, and he persuaded Henry Flood to accept office in the government. Resigning in January 1777, he retired to Nuneham Park, where he died on 16 September, apparently by drowning in a well while trying to rescue his dog.
He married, on 16 October 1735, Rebecca Samborne Le Bas (died 16 January 1765), daughter and heiress of Charles Samborne Le Bas, of Pipewell Abbey, Northamptonshire, by whom he had two daughters, Lady Elizabeth (18 June 1739 – 21 January 1811, buried at Hartwell), married on 20 June 1763 Sir William Lee, 4th Baronet, of Hartwell (12 September 1726 – 6 July 1799) and Lady Anne (1741–1746), and two sons, George Simon and William, who succeeded him as 2nd and 3rd earl respectively.
- George Simon Harcourt, 2nd Earl Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt (Cokethorpe, 1 August 1736 – Cavendish Square, 20 April 1809), married at Nuneham on 26 September 1765 his cousin the Hon. Elizabeth Venables-Vernon (21 January 1746 – Portman Square, 25 January 1826), daughter of George Venables-Vernon, 1st Baron Vernon and Martha Harcourt, without issue.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Harcourt, Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 939.
- Horace Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II (3 vols., 2nd ed., London, 1847), Memoirs of the Reign of George III (4 vols., London, 1845, 1894)
- Henry Grattan, Memoirs of the Life and Times of the Right Hon. H. Grattan (5 vols, London, 1839–1846)
- Francis Hardy, Memoirs of J Caulfield, Earl of Charlemout (2 vols., London, 1812)
- Sir John Bernard Burke, Genealogical History of Dormant and Extinct Peerages (London, 1883)
|New office|| Master of the Horse to Queen Charlotte
1761 – 1763
The Viscount Weymouth
The Earl of Northumberland
| Lord Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte
1763 – 1768
The Earl De La Warr
The Viscount Townshend
| Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1772 – 1776
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
The Earl of Rochford
| British Ambassador to France
1768 – 1772
The Viscount Stormont
|Peerage of Great Britain|
|New creation|| Earl Harcourt
1749 – 1777
George Simon Harcourt
| Viscount Harcourt|
1727 – 1777