The Full Wiki

Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt: Wikis

Advertisements
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

Advertisements

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1st Viscount Harcourt.

Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, PC (c. 1661 – 23 July 1727) was Queen Anne's Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He was her solicitor-general and her commisioner for arranging the union with Scotland. He took part in the negotiations preceding the Peace of Utrecht.

Contents

Origins

He was the only son of Sir Philip Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, by his first wife, Anne, daughter of Sir William Waller, was born about 1661 at Stanton Harcourt, and was educated at a school at Shilton, Oxfordshire and at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Career

He was called to the bar in 1683, and soon afterwards was appointed recorder of Abingdon, which borough he represented as a Tory in Parliament from 1690 to 1705. In 1701 he was nominated by the Commons to conduct the impeachment of Lord Somers; and in 1702 he became solicitor-general and was knighted by Queen Anne. He was elected member for Bossiney in 1705, and as commissioner for arranging the union with Scotland was largely instrumental in promoting that measure. Harcourt was appointed attorney-general in 1707, but resigned office in the following year when his friend Robert Harley, afterwards earl of Oxford, was dismissed.

He defended Sacheverell at the bar of the House of Lords in 1710, being then without a seat in Parliament; but in the same year was returned for Cardigan, and in September again became attorney-general. In October he was appointed lord keeper of the great seal, and in virtue of this office he presided in the House of Lords for some months without a peerage, until, on 3 September 1711, he was created Baron Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt; but it was not till April 1713 that he received the appointment of lord chancellor. In 1710 he had purchased the Nuneham Courtenay estate in Oxfordshire, but his usual place of residence continued to be at Cokethorpe near Stanton Harcourt, where he once received a state visit from Queen Anne.

In the negotiations preceding the Peace of Utrecht, Harcourt took an important part. There is no sufficient evidence for the allegations of the Whigs that Harcourt entered into treasonable relations with the Pretender. On the accession of George I however, he was deprived of office and retired to Cokethorpe, where he enjoyed the society of men of letters, Swift, Pope, Prior and other famous writers being among his frequent guests. With Swift, however, he had occasional quarrels, during one of which the great satirist bestowed on him the sobriquet of "Trimming Harcourt."

He exerted himself to defeat the impeachment of Lord Oxford in 1717, and in 1723 he was active in obtaining a pardon for another old political friend, Lord Bolingbroke. In 1721 Harcourt was created a viscount and returned to the privy councils; and on several occasions during the king's absences from England he was on the Council of Regency.

Private life

Harcourt enjoyed the reputation of being a brilliant orator; Speaker Onslow going so far as to say that "Harcourt had the greatest skill and power of speech of any man I ever knew in a public assembly." He was a member of the famous Saturday Club, frequented by the chief literati and wits of the period, with several of whom he corresponded. Some letters to him from Pope are preserved in the Harcourt Papers. His portrait was painted by Kneller; it was once at Nuneham House.

Harcourt married first Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Clark, his father's chaplain, by whom he had five children; secondly Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Spencer; and thirdly Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Vernon. He left issue by his first wife only. His son, Simon (1684–1720), who was MP for Wallingford, married Elizabeth, sister of Sir John Evelyn of Wotton, by whom he had one son and four daughters, one of whom married George Venables-Vernon, afterwards Baron Vernon. Simon Harcourt predeceased his father, the lord chancellor, in 1720, leaving a son, Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt.

References

  • Lord Campbell, Lives of the Lord Chancellors, vol. v. (London, 1846);
  • Edward Foss, The Judges of England, vol. viii. (London, 1848);
  • Gilbert Burnet, History of his own Time (with notes by earls of Dartmouth and Hardwicke, etc., Oxford, 1833);
  • Earl Stanhope, History of England, comprising the reign of Queen Anne until the Peace of Utrecht (London, 1870).

Many particulars concerning the 1st Viscount Harcourt, and also of his grandson, the 1st earl, are found in the Harcourt Papers.

External links

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir John Stonhouse, Bt
Member of Parliament for Abingdon
1690–1705
Succeeded by
Grey Neville
Preceded by
John Manley
William Hooker
Member of Parliament for Bossiney
with John Manley

1705–1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Bossiney
with John Manley

1707–1708
Succeeded by
Samuel Travers
Francis Foote
Preceded by
Grey Neville
Member of Parliament for Abingdon
1708–1709
Succeeded by
William Hucks
Preceded by
Lewis Pryse
Member of Parliament for Cardigan
1710
Succeeded by
John Meyrick
Preceded by
William Hucks
Member of Parliament for Abingdon
1710
Succeeded by
James Jennings
Political offices
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Keeper
1710–1713
Succeeded by
Lord Cowper
Lord Chancellor
1713–1714
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John Hawles
Solicitor General
1702–1707
Succeeded by
Sir James Montagu
Preceded by
Sir Edward Northey
Attorney General
1707–1708
Preceded by
Sir James Montagu
Attorney General
1710
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Northey
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Viscount Harcourt
1721–1727
Succeeded by
Simon Harcourt
Baron Harcourt
1711–1727


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message