Egerton, Francis, first Earl of Ellesmere 1800-1857, statesman and poet, born at 21 Arlington Street, Piccadilly, London, on 1 Jan. 1800. He was the younger son of George Granville Leveson-Gower, second marquis of Stafford, who was created Duke of Sutherland in 1833, the year of his death, by Elizabeth, countess of Sutherland, only daughter of William Gordon, seventeenth earl of Sutherland. Francis was at Eton from 1811 to 1814, when he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford. On 6 Aug. 1819 he became a lieutenant in the Staffordshire regiment of yeomanry, and was promoted to a captaincy on 27 Sept. in the same year. He was elected M.P. for Bletchingley, Surrey, 19 Feb. 1822, and commenced his public career as a liberal-conservative of the Canning school. He spoke eloquently in behalf of free trade more than twenty years before Sir Robert Peel had embraced that policy; carried in the House of Commons a motion for the endowment of the catholic clergy, and warmly supported the project of the London University. On 26 June 1826 he became M.P. for Sutherlandshire, was re-elected for that county in 1830, and afterwards sat for South Lancashire in the parliaments in 1835, 1837, 1841, and until July 1846. In the meantime he had held office as a lord of the treasury (April to September 1827), under-secretary of state for the colonies (January to May 1828), chief secretary to the Marquis of Anglesey, lord-lieutenant of Ireland (21 June 1828 to 30 July 1830), and secretary at war (30 July to 30 Nov. 1830). He was named a privy councillor 28 June 1828, and a privy councillor for Ireland 9 Aug. 1828. At an early age he attempted literature, and in 1823 brought out a poor translation of Faust, a drama, by Goethe, and Schiller's song of the Bell. On the death of his father in 1833 he assumed the surname and arms of Egerton alone, 24 Aug., in the place of his patronymic of Leveson-Gower, and under the will of his uncle, Francis Henry Egerton [qv.], eighth earl of Bridgewater, became the owner of a property estimated at 90,000l. per annum. At the commemoration at Oxford on 10 June 1834 he was created Doctor of Civil Laws, named a trustee of the National Gallery on 26 Feb. 1835, and rector of King's College, Aberdeen, in October 1838. He spent the winter of 1839 in the East, proceeding in his own yacht to the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. The result of his observations appeared in Mediterranean Sketches, 1843. A portion of his wealth was put to a generous use in his support of men of genius and in his building a gallery at his town residence in Cleveland Row, to which the public were very freely admitted, for the magnificent collection of paintings which he had inherited. On 30 June 1846 he was created Viscount Brackley of Brackley and Earl of Ellesmere of Ellesmere, and on 7 Feb. 1855 was made K.G. He was first president of the Camden Society in 1838, and president of the British Association at Manchester in 1842, of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1849, and of the Royal Geographical Society 1854-1855. He was lord-lieutenant of Lancashire from 1856 to his death. He died at Bridgewater House, London, on 18 Feb. 1857, and was buried at Worsley, near Manchester, on 26 Feb., where a monument, by G. G. Scott, R.A., was erected in 1860. He married, 18 June 1822, Harriet Catherine (1800-1866), only daughter of Charles Greville, by Charlotte, eldest daughter of William, third duke of Portland. She was the author or translator of: 1. Questions on the Epistles, parts vii. and viii., 1832. 2. Journal of a Tour in the Holy Land in May and June 1840, with lithographic views from original drawings by Lord F. Egerton, 1841. 3. The Believer's Guide to the Holy Communion, by J. H. Grand-Pierre; a translation, 1849. Ellesmere was the author, translator, or editor of the following works: 1. Faust, a drama, by Goethe, and Schiller's song of the Bell, 1823. 2. Translations from the German and original Poems, 1824. 3. Boyle Farm, 1827. 4. Wallenstein's Camp and original Poems, 1830. 5. Dramatic Scenes, founded on Victor Hugo's tragedy of Hernani. Printed in the Club Book, 1831. 6. Catherine of Cleves and Hernani, tragedies translated from the French, 1832, another edit. 1854. 7. The Paria, a tragedy; by M. Beer, 1836. 8. Alfred, a drama, 1840. 9. Blue Beard, a tragedy, 1841. 10. Mediterranean Sketches, 1843. 11. The Campaign of 1812 in Russia, by Charles Clausewitz, 1843. 12. The Siege of Vienna by the Turks, from the German of K. A. Schimmer, 1847; new edit. 1861. 13. National Defences, letters of Lord Ellesmere, 1848. 14. A Guide to Northern Archæology, 1848. 15. History of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, by Michael Amari, 1850. 16. Military Events in Italy, 1848-9; translated from the German, 1851. 17. Solwan, or the Waters of Comfort, by Ibn Zafer, 1852. 18. On the Life and Character of the Duke of Wellington, 1852; second edition, 1852. 19. History of the two Tartar Conquerors of China, from the French of Père J. d'Orléans, 1854. 20. Addresses to the Royal Geographical Society of London, 2 vols. 1854, 1855. 21. The War in the Crimea, a discourse, 1855. 22. The Pilgrimage and other Poems, 1856. 23. Essays on History, Biography, Geography, Engineering, &c., contributed to the Quarterly Review, 1858. 24. King Alfred and Blue Beard, reprinted in T. H. Lacy's Juvenile Plays, 1871. 25. Donna Charitea, poems. 26. The Mill. Some of these works were privately printed, and others after publication were withdrawn from circulation. His version of Alexandre Dumas' tragedy, Henri III et sa Cour, entitled Catherine of Cleves, was performed with much success at Covent Garden, Charles Kemble and his daughter Fanny appearing in the piece.
Gent. Mag. March 1857, p. 358
Illustrated London News, 24 Jan. 1846, p. 60, with portrait, 21 Feb. 1857, p. 160, and 15 Dec. 1860, pp. 563, 568
Times, 19 Feb. 1857, p. 9, and 27 Feb., p. 10
Fraser's Mag. July 1835, p. 43, with portrait
Bates's Maclise Portrait Gallery (1883), pp. 323-5, with portrait
Doyle's Official Baronage, i. 679, with portrait
J. Evans's Lancashire Authors (1850), pp. 85-8
Quarterly Journal Geological Soc. of London, xiv. pp. xlv-xlvii (1858)
Proceedings Royal Geographical Society of London, 25 May 1857, pp. 377-83
St. Vincent Beechy's Sermons on Death of Earl of Ellesmere (1857).
Contributor: G. C. B. [George Clement Boase]