Lees, Harcourt (DNB00)

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LEES, Sir HARCOURT (1776–1852), political pamphleteer, born 29 Nov. 1776, was eldest son of Sir John Lees, bart. (created 1804), by Mary, eldest daughter of Robert Cathcart of Glandusk, Ayrshire. He graduated B.A. at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1799, and proceeded M.A. in 1802. His father saw service in Germany under the Marquis of Granbv, and had been private secretary to Lord Townshend during his administration of Ireland, where he was secretary to the post-office from 1784 until his death in 1811. Sir Harcourt Lees took holy orders, and was preferred to the rectory and vicarage of Killaney, co. Down, was collated to the prebend of Fennor in the church of Cashel 21 Nov. 1800, and to that of Tully-corbet in the church of Clogher in 1801. He resigned both stalls in July 1806. He died at Blackrock, near Dublin, on 7 March 1 852. He married, in or about October 1812, Sophia, daughter of Colonel Lyster of Grange, co. Roscommon, by whom he had four sons and four daughters. His fourth son William Nassau is separately noticed. Lees was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John Lees, who died 19 June 1892, and whose eldest son, Harcourt James, is the fourth and present baronet.

Lees published several pamphlets, chiefly in support of protestant ascendency. They are distinguished by extreme animation of style. Their titles are: 1. The Antidote, or Nouvelles a la Main. Recommended to the serious attention of the Right Hon. W. C. Plunket and other advocates of unrestricted civil and religious liberty,' Dublin, 1819, 8vo; reprinted with a supplement entitled 'L'Abeja, or a Bee among the Evangelicals.' Dublin, 1820, 8vo. 2. 'Strictures on the Rev. Lieutenant Stennett's Hints to Sir Harcourt Lees by the Anti-Jacobin British Review for September; to which is prefixed A Short Introduction, containing a most important Letter from a Gentleman educated and intended for the Popish Priesthood.' Dublin, 1820, 8vo. 8. 'The Mystery: being a short but decisive counter-reply to the few friendly hints of the Rev. Charles B. Stennett, at present an officiating priest in the Religious College of Maynooth, and late a lieutenant of grenadiers in the North York Regiment of Militia.' Dublin, 1820, 8vo; 14th edit. 1821. 4. 'A Letter to Mr. Wilberforce, containing some Reflections on a late Address of Lord John Russell's and the Past and Present Conduct of the Whigs.' Dublin, 1820. 6. 'An Address to the King's Friends throughout the British Empire on the present Awful and Critical State of Great Britain, containing just and necessary Strictures on a late Speech of Henry Brougham, esq., in the House of Lords in defence of the Queen.' Dublin, 1820, 8vo; 11th edit. 1821. 6. 'A Cursory View of the Present State of Ireland.' Dublin, 1821, 8vo. 7. 'Nineteen Pages of Advice to the Protestant Freemen and Freeholders of the City of Dublin, containing Observations on the Speeches and Conduct of a late Aggregate Meeting in Liffey St. Chapel, the first of June; recommended to the deep and serious consideration of every Protestant in Ireland.' Dublin, 1821, 8vo. 8. 'Most Important. Trial of Sir Harcourt Lees, Bart. Before Chief Justice B and Serjeant Flummery on Saturday, the 11th January, 1823, by a jury of Special-Dust Churchmen, on charges of Barratry and Eavesdropping.' Dublin, 8vo. 9. 'Theological Extracts selected from a late Letter written by a Popish Prelate to his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, with Observations on the same, and a well-merited and equally well-applied literary flagellation of the titular shoulders of this mild and humble Minister of the Gospel; with a complete exposure of his friend the Pope and the entire body of holy impostors,' Dublin, n.d.

[Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hibern. i. 64, iii. 103; Gent. Mag. 1764 pt. ii. p. 558, 1804 pt. i. p. 590, 1811 pt. ii. p. 292, 1812 pt. ii. p. 493, 1852 pt. i. p. 518; Beatson's Polit. Index, iii. 368; Lib. Hibern. pt. iii. p. 52; Graduati Cantabr.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

J. M. R.