Edgcumbe, George (DNB00)

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EDGCUMBE, GEORGE, first Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe (1721–1795), son of Richard, first baron Edgcumbe [q. v.] and brother of Richard, second baron [q. v.] was born 3 March 1720–1. In 1739, while serving as midshipman in the Mediterranean fleet, he was made lieutenant by Vice-admiral Haddock, and in 1742 was promoted to be commander of the Terrible bomb. In the course of 1743 he was appointed acting captain of the Kennington of 20 guns, was confirmed in August 1744, and commanded her in the Mediterranean till 1745, when he was advanced to the Salisbury of 50 guns on the home station. In her he remained till the peace of 1748. From 1746 to 1761 he was M.P. for Fowey, although he rarely attended the house. In 1751 he went to the Mediterranean as senior officer in the Monmouth, and the following year in the Deptford of 50 guns. He was still in her and with his small squadron at Minorca, when the French invaded the island on 19 April 1756. He hastily landed the marines and as many of the seamen as could be spared, and sailed the next day for Gibraltar, before the French had taken any measures to block the harbour. At Gibraltar he was joined by Admiral John Byng [q. v.], by whom he was ordered to move into the Lancaster of 66 guns. In the battle off Cape Mola on 20 May the Lancaster was one of the ships in the van, under Rear-admiral West, which did get into action, and being unsupported suffered severely. In 1758, still in the Lancaster, he was in the fleet under Boscawen at the reduction of Louisbourg. On his return to England, with the despatches announcing this success, he was appointed to the Hero of 74 guns, in which he took part in the blockade of Brest during the long summer of 1759, and in the crowning battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 Nov. He continued in the Hero attached to the grand fleet under Hawke or Boscawen, till on the death of his brother on 10 May 1761 he succeeded to the title as third Lord Edgcumbe; and on 18 June was appointed lord-lieutenant of Cornwall. On 21 Oct. 1762 he was promoted to be rear-admiral; was treasurer of the household 1765–6; and from 1766 to 1770 held the command-in-chief at Plymouth. On 24 Oct. 1770 he was advanced to be vice-admiral, and in 1773 again held the chief command at Plymouth, whence in June he went round to Spithead and commanded in the second post when the king reviewed the fleet. He held no further appointment afloat, though on 29 Jan. 1778 he was advanced to the rank of admiral. On 17 Feb. 1781 he was created Viscount Mount-Edgcumbe and Valletort, in compensation, it was said, for the damage caused to the woods of Mount-Edgcumbe in strengthening the fortifications of Plymouth. From 1771 to 1773 he was one of the vice-treasurers of Ireland; from 1773 to 1782 captain of the band of gentlemen pensioners; and from 1784 to 1793 again one of the vice-treasurers of Ireland. On 31 Aug. 1789 he was created Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe. He died 4 Feb. 1795. He married, in 1761, Emma, only daughter of Dr. Gilbert, archbishop of York, by whom he had one son, Richard [q. v.], who succeeded to his titles. A manuscript journal, kept by Edgcumbe and Captain William Marsh, from 30 April 1742 to 1 June 1744, is in the Bodleian Library. A letter from Edgcumbe to Garrick is printed in the latter's ‘Private Correspondence,’ ii. 109.

[Charnock's Biog. Navalis, v. 293; Naval Chronicle, xxii. 177, with a portrait.]

J. K. L.