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Encyclopedia > William Vernon Harcourt (politician)
Sir William Harcourt
Sir William Harcourt

Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt (October 14, 1827 - October 1, 1904) was a British Liberal statesman. Image File history File linksMetadata Sir_William_Harcourt. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Sir_William_Harcourt. ... October 14 is the 287th day of the year (288th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Naval Battle of Navarino by Carneray 1827 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... The term statesman is a respectful term used to refer to diplomats, politicians, and other notable figures of state. ...

Contents

Background

He was the second son of the Rev. Canon William Vernon Harcourt, of Nuneham Park, Oxford, himself the fourth son and eventually heir of Edward Harcourt, Archbishop of York. William George was therefore born a Vernon, and by his connection with the old families of Vernon and Harcourt was related to many of the great English houses, a fact of which he was proud. In later life his descent from the Plantagenets was joked about by his political opponents. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became an Apostle, graduating with first-class honours in the classical tripos in 1851. He was called to the bar in 1854, became a QC in 1866, and was appointed Whewell professor of international law at the University of Cambridge in 1869. He quickly made his mark in London society as a speaker; he contributed largely to the Saturday Review, and wrote some famous letters (1862) to The Times over the signature of "Historicus," in opposition to the recognition of the Southern States as aggressors in the American Civil War. William Vernon Harcourt (1789 - April, 1871) was founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. ... Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 ( 2001 census). ... Edward Venables Vernon Harcourt(October 10,1757-February 5,1847) was an English clergyman who was Bishop of Carlisle from 1791 to 1807, and then Archbishop of York until his death. ... Arms of the Archbishop of York The Archbishop of York, Primate of England, is the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, and is the junior of the two archbishops of the Church of England, after the Archbishop of Canterbury. ... Angevin is the name applied to two distinct medieval dynasties which originated as counts (from 1360, dukes) of the western French province of Anjou (of which angevin is the adjectival form), but later came to rule far greater areas including England, Hungary and Poland (see Angevin Empire). ... Full name The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity Motto Virtus vera nobilitas Virtue is true Nobility Named after The Holy Trinity Previous names King’s Hall and Michaelhouse (until merged in 1546) Established 1546 Sister College(s) Christ Church Master The Lord Rees of Ludlow Location Trinity Street... Trinity College Great Court. ... The University of Cambridge, England, divides the different kinds of honours bachelors degree by Tripos, a word which has an obscure etymology, but which may be traced to the three-legged stool candidates once used to sit on when taking oral examinations. ... The Whewell Professorship of International Law is a professorship in the University of Cambridge. ... The University of Cambridge, located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... The Times is a national newspaper published daily in the United Kingdom since 1785, and under its current name since 1788. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Lincoln, President Ulysses S. Grant, General Jefferson Davis, President Robert E. Lee, General Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action...


He married, first, in 1859, Thérèse (d. 1863) Lister, by whom he had one son, Lewis Harcourt (b. 1863), afterwards First Commissioner of Works both in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's 1905 ministry (included in the cabinet in 1907) and in Asquith's cabinet (1908); and secondly, in 1876, Elizabeth Ives, a widow and the daughter of John Lothrop Motley, the historian. By his second wife he had another son, Robert (b. 1878). Lewis Vernon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (31 January 1863 - 24 February 1922) was a British politician who held the Cabinet office of Secretary of State for the Colonies during 1910-1915. ... The First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings replaced the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1851. ... Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (7 September 1836 – 22 April 1908) was a British Liberal statesman who served as Prime Minister from December 5, 1905 until resigning due to ill health on April 3, 1908. ... The Right Honourable Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852–15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... John Lothrop Motley (April 15, 1814 - May 29, 1877), was an American historian. ...


Career

He entered parliament as Liberal member for Oxford, and sat from 1868 to 1880, when, upon seeking re-election after acceptance of office, he was defeated by Hall. A seat was, however, found for him at Derby, by the voluntary retirement of Samuel Plimsoll, and he continued to represent that constituency until 1895, when, having been defeated at the general election, he found a seat in West Monmouthshire. He was appointed solicitor-general and knighted in 1873; and, although he had not been a strong supporter of Gladstone in opposition, he became Secretary of State for the Home Department on the return of the Liberals to office in 1880. His name became connected with the passing of the Ground Game Act 1880, the Arms (Ireland) Act 1881, and the Explosives Act 1883. As Home Secretary at the time of the dynamite outrages he took a firm attitude, and the Explosives Act was passed through all its stages in the shortest time on record. Moreover, as champion of law and order against the attacks of the Parnellites, he was constantly in conflict with the Irish members. In 1884 he introduced an abortive bill for unifying the municipal administration of London. He was recognized as one of the ablest and most effective leaders of the Liberal party; and when, after a brief interval in 1885, Gladstone returned to office in 1886, Harcourt was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, an office which he again filled from 1892 to 1895. Oxford was a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom. ... Derby is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. ... Memorial to Samuel Plimsoll on Victoria Embankment London Samuel Plimsoll (February 10, 1824 - June 3, 1898) was a British politician and social reformer, now best remembered for having devised the Plimsoll line. ... Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is both a principal area and a traditional county in south-east Wales. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... The Secretary of State for the Home Department (the Home Secretary) is the chief United Kingdom government minister responsible for law and order in England and Wales; his or her remit includes policing, the criminal justice system, the prison service, internal security, and matters of citizenship and immigration. ... Charles Stewart Parnell, the uncrowned King of Ireland Charles Stewart Parnell[1] (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish political leader and one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and the United Kingdom; William Ewart Gladstone described him as the most remarkable person he had... The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British cabinet minister responsible for all financial matters. ...


Between 1880 and 1892 Sir William Harcourt acted as Gladstone's political deputy. A first-rate party fighter, his services were of inestimable value; but in spite of his great success as a platform speaker, he was generally felt to be speaking from an advocate's brief, and did not impress the country as possessing much depth of conviction. It was he who coined the phrase about "stewing in Parnellite juice", and, when the split came in the Liberal party on the Irish question, even those who gave Gladstone and Morley the credit of being convinced Home Rulers could not be persuaded that Sir William had followed anything but the line of party expediency. In 1894 he introduced and carried a memorable budget, which equalized the death duties on real and personal property. After Gladstone's retirement in 1894 and Rosebery's selection as prime minister, Sir William became the leader of the Liberal party in the House of Commons, but it was never probable that he would work comfortably in the new conditions. He had been ignored as Gladstone's successor, and it was evident that Lord Rosebery's ideas of Liberalism and of the policy of the Liberal party were not those of Sir William Harcourt. Their differences were patched up from time to time, but the combination could not last. However the one significant legacy of the government was the introduction of a high uniform rate of death duties in Harcourt's 1894 budget. As Harcourt himself was a second son, and thus unlikely to ever have to pay such duties himself (though this proved to not be the case), it was often quipped that this introduction was a "second son's revenge". At the general election of 1895 it was clear that there were divisions as to what issue the Liberals were fighting for, and the effect of Sir William Harcourt's abortive Local Veto Bill on the election was seen not only in his defeat at Derby, which gave the signal for the Liberal rout, but in the set-back it gave to temperance legislation. Though returned for West Monmouthshire (1895, 1900), his speeches in debate only occasionally showed his characteristic spirit, and it was evident that for the hard work of Opposition he no longer had the same motive as of old. In December 1898 the crisis arrived, and with John Morley he retired from the counsels of the party and resigned his leadership of the Opposition, alleging as his reason, in letters to Morley, the cross-currents of opinion among his old supporters and former colleagues. The split excited considerable comment, and resulted in much heart-burning and a more or less open division between the section of the Liberal party following Lord Rosebery and those who disliked that statesman's Imperialistic views. Devolution or Home rule is the pooling of powers from central government to government at regional or local level. ... Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (May 7, 1847 - May 21, 1929) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister. ... Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is both a principal area and a traditional county in south-east Wales. ...


Though now a private member, Sir William Harcourt still continued to vindicate his opinions in his independent position, and his attacks on the government were no longer restrained by even the semblance of deference to Liberal Imperialism. He actively intervened in 1899 and 1900, strongly condemning the government's financial policy and their attitude towards the Transvaal; and throughout the Second Boer War he lost no opportunity of criticizing the South African developments in a pessimistic vein. A great parliamentary debater, he sprinkled his speeches with humour. In 1898-1900 he was conspicuous, both on the platform and in letters to The Times, in demanding active measures against the Ritualistic party in the Church of England; but his attitude in this was reflected in his political advocacy of Disestablishment. In March 1904, just after he had announced his intention not to seek election again to parliament, he succeeded, by the death of his nephew, to the family estates at Nuneham. He found that the estate was in crisis, especially after having to pay the death duties he himself had introduced, and he died suddenly there in the same year. Flag of Transvaal For the Russian theme park, see Transvaal Park. ... |conflict=Second Boer War |partof=the Boer Wars |image= |caption=Boer guerillas during the Second Boer War |date=1899 – 1902 |place=South Africa |result=British Pyrrhic victory |casus=Jameson Raid |territory=Treaty of Vereeniging |combatant1= United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand |combatant2= Orange Free State, South African Republic |commander1=Frederick... The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... See also civil religion. ...


Sir William Harcourt is also the source for the character of Sir Ethelred in Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent.


Summary

Sir William Harcourt was one of the great parliamentary figures of the Gladstonian Liberal period. He was essentially an aristocratic type of late 19th century Whig, with a remarkable capacity for popular campaign fighting. He had been, and remained, a brilliant journalist in the non-professional sense. He was one of those who really made the Saturday Review in its palmy days, and in the period of his own most ebullient vigour, while Mr Gladstone was alive, his sense of political expediency and platform effectiveness in controversy was very acute. But though he played the game of public life with keen zest, he never really touched either the country or his own party with the faith which creates a personal following, and in later years he found himself somewhat isolated and disappointed, though he was free to express his deeper objections to the new developments in church and state. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Whigs (with the Tories) are often described as one of two political parties in England and later the United Kingdom from the late 17th to the mid 19th centuries. ...


Sir William's only surviving son was Lewis Harcourt,1st Viscount Harcourt. Lewis Vernon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (31 January 1863 - 24 February 1922) was a British politician who held the Cabinet office of Secretary of State for the Colonies during 1910-1915. ...


See also

The Harcourt interpolation was a minor scandal of Victorian London. ...

External links

  • Sir William Harcourt 1827-1904 biography from the Liberal Democrat History Group
  • Genealogy
  • Harcourt family in french Wikipedia
Political offices
Preceded by:
Sir Richard Cros
Home Secretary
1880–1885
Succeeded by:
Sir Richard Cros
Preceded by:
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1886
Succeeded by:
Lord Randolph Churchill
Preceded by:
George Goschen
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1892–1895
Succeeded by:
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach
Preceded by:
William Gladstone
Leader of the House of Commons
1894–1895
Succeeded by:
Arthur Balfour
Preceded by:
The Earl of Rosebery
Leader of the British Liberal Party
1896–1898
Succeeded by:
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Leader of the Opposition
1896–1898
Leaders of the Liberal Party
  1859-1916  House of Lords: Granville | Russell | Granville | Kimberley | Rosebery | Kimberley | Ripon | Crewe
House of Commons: Palmerston | Gladstone | Hartington | Gladstone  | Harcourt | Campbell-Bannerman | Asquith
  1916-1988  Asquith | Maclean | Asquith | Lloyd George | Samuel | Sinclair | Davies | Grimond | Thorpe | Grimond | Steel

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Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead, OM, PC (November 11, 1920 – January 5, 2003) was a British politician and a prominent Labour Member of Parliament in the 1960s and 1970s, and founding member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). ... The Right Honourable Iain Macleod, PC (1913 – 1970) was a UK Conservative politician. ... Anthony Barber, interviewed as the results of the 1970 general election are declared The Right Honourable Anthony Perrinott Lysberg Barber, Baron Barber, PC (4 July 1920 – 16 December 2005), was a British Conservative politician who served as a member of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. ... Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey, CH, MBE, PC (born 30 August 1917), is a British Labour politician, regarded by some (especially in the Labour Party) as the best Prime Minister we never had.[1] He was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, and given his middle name in honour of Winston Churchill. ... Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, CH, PC, QC (born 20 December 1926), usually known until 1992 as Sir Geoffrey Howe, is a senior British Conservative politician. ... Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC (born March 11, 1932), was a British politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer between June 1983 and October 1989. ... Sir John Major, KG, CH (born 29 March 1943) is an English politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997. ... Norman Stewart Hughson Lamont, Baron Lamont of Lerwick, PC (born 8 May 1942) was Conservative Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Thames, England from 1972 until 1997. ... Kenneth Harry Clarke, QC, MP, (born 2 July 1940) is a leading Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. ... James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a Labour Party politician. ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... This article is about the British House of Lords. ... Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (May 11, 1815 - March 31, 1891) was a British Liberal statesman. ... John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC (18 August 1792–28 May 1878), known as Lord John Russell before 1861, was a British Whig and Liberal politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century. ... Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (May 11, 1815 - March 31, 1891) was a British Liberal statesman. ... John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1826-1902), English statesman, was born on 7 January 1826, being the eldest son of the Hon. ... Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, KG, PC (7 May 1847–21 May 1929) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister, also known as Archibald Primrose (1847-1851) and Lord Dalmeny (1851-1868). ... John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1826-1902), English statesman, was born on 7 January 1826, being the eldest son of the Hon. ... George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon (24 October 1827 - 9 July 1909) was a British politician who served in every Liberal cabinet from 1861 until his death forty-eight years later. ... Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st and last Marquess of Crewe (12 January 1858–20 June 1945) was an English statesman and writer. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... The Right Honourable Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (October 20, 1784 - October 18, 1865) was a British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid 19th century. ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire (23 July 1833 - 24 March 1908) was a British Liberal statesman, previously known (1858-1891) as Marquess of Hartington (a courtesy title). ... William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (7 September 1836 – 22 April 1908) was a British Liberal statesman who served as Prime Minister from December 5, 1905 until resigning due to ill health on April 3, 1908. ... Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852–15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852–15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... Sir Donald Maclean (January 9, 1864 – June 15, 1932), was a Liberal politician in the United Kingdom. ... Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852–15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman who guided Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations through World War I and the postwar settlement as the Liberal Party Prime Minister, 1916-1922. ... Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel GCB OM GBE PC (November 6, 1870 - February 2, 1963) was an Anglo-Jewish politician and diplomat. ... Archibald Henry Macdonald Sinclair, 1st Viscount Thurso KT CMG PC (October 22, 1890 – June 15, 1970), known as Sir Archibald Sinclair from 1912 until 1952, was a Scottish politician and leader of the British Liberal Party. ... Clement Edward Davies (February 19, 1884–March 23, 1962) was a UK politician and leader of the Liberal Party between 1945 and 1956. ... Joseph Jo Grimond, Baron Grimond (July 29, 1913 - October 24, 1993) was a British politician, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967 and again briefly in 1976. ... John Jeremy Thorpe (born April 29, 1929) is a British politician, who was leader of the Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976. ... Joseph Jo Grimond, Baron Grimond (July 29, 1913 - October 24, 1993) was a British politician, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967 and again briefly in 1976. ... David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood KT PC KBE (born March 31, 1938) is a British and Scottish politician and a Liberal Democrat member of the UK House of Lords. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the 11th edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


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William Vernon Harcourt (politician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1220 words)
He was the second son of the Rev. Canon William Vernon Harcourt, of Nuneham Park, Oxford, himself the fourth son and eventually heir of Edward Harcourt, Archbishop of York.
William George was therefore born a Vernon, and by his connection with the old families of Vernon and Harcourt was related to many of the great English houses, a fact of which he was proud.
As Harcourt himself was a second son, and thus unlikely to ever have to pay such duties himself (though this proved to not be the case), it was often quipped that this introduction was a "second son's revenge".
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