Leigh, Edward (DNB00)
|←Leigh, Charles (1662-1701?)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32
LEIGH, EDWARD (1602–1671), miscellaneous writer, born at Shawell, Leicestershire, on 24 March 1602, was the son of Henry Leigh. He matriculated at Oxford from Magdalen Hall on 24 Oct. 1617 (Reg. of Univ. of Oxf., Oxf. Hist. Soc., vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 363), and graduated B.A. in 1620, M.A. in 1623 (ib. vol. ii. pt, iii. p. 388). Before leaving Oxford he entered himself at the Middle Temple, and became a laborious student of divinity, law, and history. During the plague of 1625 he spent six months in France, and busied himself in making a collection of French proverbs. He subsequently removed to Banbury, Oxfordshire, to be near William Wheatly, the puritan divine, whose preaching he admired. On 30 Oct. 1640 he was elected M.P. for Stafford in place of a member who had been declared 'disabled to sit' (Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt, i. p. 493). His theological attainments procured him a seat in the assembly of divines, and he was also a colonel in the parliamentary army. On 30 Sept. 1644 he presented to parliament a petition from Staffordshire parliamentarians complaining of cavalier oppression, and made a speech, which was printed. His signature is affixed to the letter written in the name of the parliamentary committee which granted to the visitors of the university of Oxford in 1647 practically unlimited power (Register, Camd. Soc., Introd. p. lxvi). Having in December 1648 voted that the king's concessions were satisfactory, he was expelled from the house. Thenceforward he appears to have avoided public life. He died on 2 June 1671 at Rushall Hall, Staffordshire, and was buried in the church there. His portrait was engraved in 1650 by T. Cross, and in 1662 by J. Chantry (Evans, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 206).
Leigh's writings are mostly compilations, and evince little scholarship or acumen. His reputation rests upon: 1. 'Critica Sacra, or Philologicall and Theologicall Observations upon all the Greek Words of the New Testament in order alphabeticall,' &c., 4to, London, 1639; 2nd edit, 1646. 2. 'Critica Sacra. Observations on all the Radices or Primitive Hebrew Words of the Old Testament in order alphabeticall, wherein both they (and many derivatives . . .) are fully opened,' &c., 4to, London, 1642, with a commendatory epistle by W. Gouge. Both parts were published together as a third edition in 1650, 4to (4th edit., fol., 1662). These useful compilations, to which succeeding lexicographers on the Old and New Testament have been as a rule indebted, won Leigh the friendship of Ussher. A Latin translation by H. a Middoch, accompanied with observations on all the Chaldee words of the Old Testament by J. Hesser, was issued at Amsterdam, 3rd edit., fol., 1696; 5th edit,, with appendix by J. C. Kesler, 4to, Gotha, 1706. There are also supplements by P. Stokkemark (1713) and M. C. Wolfburg (1717). The work was reconstructed by M. Tempestini for J. P. Migne's 'Encyclopédie Théologique' (vol. vii. pt. ii.), 4to, 1846, &c.
Leigh wrote also: 1. 'A Treatise of the Divine Promises. In Five Bookes,' &c., 4to, London, 1633 (4th edit., 8vo, 1657), the model of Clarke's 'Scripture Promises.' 2. 'Selected and Choice Observations concerning the Twelve First Caesars, Emperours of Rome,' 12mo, Oxford, 1635. The second edition, published as 'Analecta de xii. primis Caesaribus,' 8vo, London, 1647, has an appendix of 'Certaine choice French Proverbs.' An enlarged edition, 'containing all the Romane Emperours. The first eighteen by E. Leigh. The others added by his son, Henry Leigh,' appeared in 1657, 1663, and 1670. 3. 'A Treatise of Divinity, consisting of Three Bookes,' 3 pts., 4to, London, 1647. 4. 'The Saint's Encouragement in Evil Times, or Observations concerning the Martyrs in general, with some Memorable Collections about them out of Mr. Foxes three volumes,' &c., 8vo, London, 1648; 2nd edit. 1651. 5. 'Annotations upon all the New Testament, Philologicall and Theologicall,' &c., fol., London, 1650; translated into Latin by Arnold, and published at Leipzig in 1732. 6. 'A Philologicall Commentary, or an Illustration of the most obvious and usefull Words in the Law ... By E. L.,' &c., 8vo, London, 1652; 2nd edit. 1658. 7. 'A Systeme or Body of Divinity . . . wherein the fundamentals of Religion are opened, the contrary Errours refuted,' &c., fol., London, 1654; 2nd edit. 1662. 8. 'A Treatise of Religion and Learning, and of Religious and Learned Men,' &c., fol., London, 1656, which fell so flat that it was reissued as 'Felix Consortium, or a fit Conjuncture of Religion and Learning,' in 1663. To this treatise William Crowe was greatly indebted in his 'Elenchus Scriptorum,' 1672. 9. 'Annotations on five poetical Books of the Old Testament,' fol., London, 1657. 10. 'Second Considerations of the High Court of Chancery,' 4to, London, 1658. 11. 'England Described, or the several Counties and Shires thereof briefly handled,' 8vo, London, 1659, taken mostly from Camden's 'Britannia.' 12. 'Choice Observations of all the Kings of England from the Saxons to the Death of King Charles the First. Collected out of the best . . . Writers,' 8vo, London, 1661. 13. 'Three Diatribes or Discourses. First, of Travel, or a Guide for Travellers into Foreign Parts. Secondly, of Money . . . Thirdly, of Measuring of the Distance betwixt Place and Place,' 16mo, London, 1671 (another edition, entitled 'The Gentleman's Guide, in Three Discourses,' 1680), reprinted in vol. x. of 'Harleian Miscellany,' ed. Park.
With H. Scudder Leigh edited W. Whately's 'Prototypes . . . with Mr. Whatelye's Life and Death,' fol., 1640. He also published Christopher Cartwright's 'The Magistrate's Authority in matters of Religion,' 4to, 1647, to which he prefixed a preface in defence of his conduct for sitting in the assembly of divines and other clerical meetings. He assisted W. Hinde in bringing out J. Rainolds's 'The Prophesie of Haggai interpreted and applyed,' 4to, 1649; and edited by himself Bishop L. Andrewes's 'Discourse of Ceremonies,' 12mo, 1653. Some lines written by Leigh 'Upon the Marriage of an Over-aged Couple,' and printed by Bliss from Rawlinson MS. Poetry, No. 116, in the Bodleian Library, display no ordinary power.[Wood's Athenae Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 926-31; Fuller's Worthies; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England (2nd edit.), iii. 105, iv. 62; Commons' Journals, v. 57, 118; Allibone's Dict.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 164-6.]