Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/417

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Legge
Legge
411

his treatment of the prisoner afford a favourable impression of his ability, impartiality, and humanity. In the conference of the judges on the Habeas Corpus Extension Bill of 1758 Legge opposed the measure. He died on 30 Aug. 1759. Legge married in 1740 Catherine, daughter of Jonathan Fogg, merchant, of London; she died on 25 Nov. 1759. By her Legge had issue a son, Heneage, who resided at Idlicote, Warwickshire, and married in 1768 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip Musgrave of Edenhall, bart., and two daughters: Catherine, married to Charles Chester, brother to William, first lord Bagot; and Ann, who died unmarried in 1752.

[Collins's Peerage (Brydges), iv. 121; Inner Temple Books; Harwood's Lichfield, p. 438; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. v. 329; Howell's State Trials, xviii. 290 et seq., 1118 et seq.; Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George II, ed. Lord Holland, iii. 118; Gent. Mag. 1759, pp. 442, 497; Hasted's Kent, ed. Drake, pt. i., 'Hundred of Blackheath,' Dartmouth Pedigree facing p. 244.]

J. M. R.


LEGGE, HENRY BILSON- (1708–1764), chancellor of the exchequer, fourth son of William, first earl of Dartmouth [q. v.], by his wife Lady Anne Finch, third daughter of Heneage, first earl of Aylesford [q. v.], was born on 29 May 1708. He appears to have matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 29 March 1726, and to have been created D.C.L. on 1 March 1733. Of this degree, however, there is some doubt, as the 'Hen. Leg' who graduated D.C.L. at this date is not further identified in the Register of Convocation. According to the Bisnop of Hereford, Legge entered the royal navy, but 'quitted it after one or two voyages.' and was subsequently 'received into the family and confidence' of Sir Robert Walpole, whose private secretary he became (Character, p. 4). Horace Walpole records that Legge was an 'immeasurable favourite 'of his father until he was discarded for 'endeavouring to steal his patron's daughter' (Reign of George II, i. 191). In October 1739 Legge was appointed by the Duke of Devonshire, then lord-lieutenant of Ireland, to 'the secretaryship of Ireland.' the holding of which, he tells Lord Dartmouth, 'will not interfere with his attendance on Sir Robert' (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. pt. v. p. 328). At a by-election in November 1740 Legge was returned to the House of Commons for the borough of East Looe, Cornwall, and at the general election in the following May he was elected for the borough of Orford, Suffolk, which he continued to represent until December 1759. Upon the downfall of Walpole's administration he was removed from his post in the treasury by Pulteney, but owing to the Duke of Bedford's intercession was appointed in July 1742 surveyor-general of the woods and forests north and south of the Trent (Bedford Correspondence, i. 1-12). On 3 May 1774 he seconded the attorney-general's motion to agree to the lords' amendments to the bill making it high treason to hold correspondence with the Pretender's sons (Parl. Hist. xiii. 866-8), and resigning his surveyorship, became on 20 April 1745 a lord of the admiralty, a post which he retained until February 1747. On 17 Oct. 1745 he moved the address of thanks for the king's speech (ib. xiii. 1328-31), and on 4 June 1746 was appointed a lord of the treasury. In January 1748 he was appointed, on the recommendation of the Duke of Newcastle, envoy extraordinary to the king of Prussia, by whom he 'was duped and ill-treated' (Chatham Correspondence, i. 27; Walpole, Reign of George II, i. 191). For taking the negotiations relative to the bishopric of Osnaburg out of the hands of George's agent at Berlin, and for an indiscreet expression imputed to him that George's arrival at Hanover had defeated this design, Legge was summoned to Hanover and severely reprimanded by the king. In a letter to his brother, Henry Pelham, the Duke of Newcastle says the king calls Legge 'fool every day, and abuses us for sending a man purely because he can make a speech in the House of Commons.' Henry Pelham, however, defended Legge's conduct in the negotiations, and the king's resentment gradually subsided (Coxe, Pelham Administration, 1829, i. 440-448). Legge was appointed treasurer of the navy in April 1749, on Lyttelton's refusal of the post in his favour (Phillimore, Memoirs of Lord Lyttelton, i. 410), and was succeeded at the treasury by Henry Vane, afterwards Earl of Darlington. On 6 April 1754 Legge, haying resigned the treasurership, was appointed chancellor of the exchequer in the Duke of Newcastle's administration, the king, however, stipulating that 'Legge should never enter his closet' (Walpole, Reign of George II, i. 381). On 14 Nov. following he took part in the debate upon the address (Parl. Hist. xv. 346-50), and a few days afterwards he declared in the house that he 'had been raised solely by the whigs, and if he fell sooner or later he should pride himself on nothing but in being a whig' (Walpole, Reign of George II, i. 408-9). Not long after this speech Pitt referred to Legge as 'the child, and deservedly the favourite child, of the whigs' (ib. ii. 41). Lepge became secretly leagued with the Leicester House party, and in August 1755, smarting under the Duke of Newcastle's