Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland (1772-1777)
Born 1714 Died 1777
Simon Harcourt predeceased his father, the Lord Chancellor, in 1720, leaving a son Simon Harcourt (1714-1777), 1st Earl Harcourt, who succeeded his grandfather in the title of viscount in 1727. He was educated at Westminster school. In 1745, having raised a regiment, he received a commission as a colonel in the army; and 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 he was appointed, in 1761, special ambassador to Mecklenburg-Strelitz to negotiate a marriage between King George and the Princess Charlotte, whom he conducted to England.
After holding a number of appointments at court and in the diplomatic service, he was promoted to the rank of general in 1772; and in October of the same year he succeeded Lord Townsend as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, an office which he held till 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, where he died in the following September.
He married, in 1735, Rebecca, daughter and heiress of Charles Samborne Le Bas, of Pipewell Abbey, Northamptonshire, by whom he had two daughters and two sons, George Simon and William, who succeeded him as 2nd and 3rd earl respectively.
For the earl, see also 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); also, for his viceroyalty of Ireland, see 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 Charlemont (2 vols., London, 1812); and for his genealogy, see Sir John Bernard Burke, Genealogical History of Dormant and Extinct Peerages (London, 1883). (R. J. M.)
Extracted from the entry for HARCOURT, SIMON HARCOURT 1ST VISCOUNT in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.