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James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury

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Title: James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury  
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Subject: Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, Arthur Balfour, George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, Hugh Cairns, 1st Earl Cairns
Collection: 1807 Births, 1889 Deaths, Alumni of Oriel College, Oxford, British Secretaries of State, British Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, Earls in the Peerage of Great Britain, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Leaders of the Conservative Party (Uk), Lords Privy Seal, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, People Educated at Eton College, Uk Mps 1841–47
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James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Malmesbury
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
27 February 1852 – 28 December 1852
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Preceded by The Earl Granville
Succeeded by Lord John Russell
In office
26 February 1858 – 18 June 1859
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Preceded by The Earl of Clarendon
Succeeded by Lord John Russell
Personal details
Born 25 March 1807 (2016-06-20T18:31:24)
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter.
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) (1) Lady Corisande Emma Bennet (d. 1876)
(2) Susan Hamilton (d. 1935)
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford

James Howard Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury GCB, PC (25 March 1807 – 17 May 1889), styled Viscount FitzHarris from 1820 to 1841, was a British statesman of the Victorian era.


  • Background and education 1
    • Family 1.1
  • Political career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
    • Citations 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2
  • External links 5

Background and education

James Howard Harris was born on 25 March 1807 in London, the eldest son and heir of James Harris, 2nd Earl of Malmesbury, and his wife, Harriet Susan Dashwood, daughter of Francis Bateman Dashwood, of Well Vale, Lincolnshire, and his wife, Teresa March, daughter of John March, of Willeslet Park, Cambridgeshire.[1] Having been educated privately, he went to Eton College, a Public school, and Oriel College, Oxford, graduating from the latter in 1828 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.[2][3] In the years that followed his graduation, he went travelling around Europe and making acquaintance with aristocratic circles, becoming familiar with Prince Louis Napoleon, who would later become Napoleon III of France.[2]


Harris married, firstly, on 13 May 1876, Lady Corisande Emma Bennet, daughter of Charles Augustus Bennet, 5th Earl of Tankerville, and his wife Corisanda, daughter of Antoine, duc de Gramont and sister of Agenor, duc de Gramont, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs for France in 1870.[4] She died in 1876.[1] After the death of his first wife, Malmesbury married a second time, on 1 November 1880, to Susan Hamilton, daughter of John Hamilton of Fyne Court, Somerset.[1]

Political career

In 1841 he had only just been elected to the House of Commons for Wilton as a Conservative, when his father died and he succeeded to the peerage. Malmesbury served as Foreign Secretary under the Earl of Derby in 1852 and again from 1858 to 1859 and was also Lord Privy Seal under Derby and Benjamin Disraeli between 1866 and 1868 and under Disraeli between 1874 and 1876. In 1852 he was admitted to the Privy Council. He was regarded as an influential Tory of the old school in the House of Lords at a time when Lord Derby and Disraeli were, in their different ways, moulding the Conservatism of the period.

In his two brief terms as foreign secretary, Malmesbury pursued a cautious, Conservative policy. His friendship with the exiled Louis Napoleon helped lead to quick British acquiescence in the Prince-President's decision to restore the Empire in 1852, but did not prevent Malmesbury from pursuing a policy relatively sympathetic to Austria during the crisis leading up to the Italian War of 1859. Malmesbury was particularly horrified by the behavior of Cavour, and at the fact that a small country like Piedmont was able so easily to threaten the European peace.

His long life, and the publication of his Memoirs of an Ex-Minister in 1884, contributed to his reputation. The Memoirs, charmingly written, full of anecdote, and containing much interesting material for the history of the time, remain his chief title to remembrance. Lord Malmesbury also edited his grandfather’s Diaries and Correspondence (1844), and in 1870 published The First Lord Malmesbury and His Friends.

Personal life

Lord Malmesbury died childless in May 1889, aged 82, and was succeeded in the earldom by his nephew, Edward Harris.



  1. ^ a b c G.E. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 5, p. 203
  2. ^ a b D. Steele, "Harris, James Howard, third earl of Malmesbury (1807–1889)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
  3. ^ J. Foster, Alumni Oxonienses: 1715-1886, vol. ii, 1887, p. 613
  4. ^ G.E. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 5, p. 203 ; ODNB


  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Malmesbury
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Baker
Member of Parliament for Wilton
Succeeded by
Viscount Somerton
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Lord John Russell
Preceded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Lord John Russell
Preceded by
The Duke of Argyll
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Leader of the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Preceded by
The Viscount Halifax
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Lord Cairns
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Harris
Earl of Malmesbury
Succeeded by
Edward James Harris
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