LEIGH, Francis (1758-1839), of Rosegarland, co. Wexford
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Family and Educationbap. 18 Jan. 1758, 1st s. of Robert Leigh† MP [I] of Rosegarland and Arabella, da. of Robert Leslie of Glasslough, co. Monaghan. educ. by Rev. Benjamin Hobart, Carlow; Trinity, Dublin 10 Feb. 1775, aged 17. m. Dec. 1788, Grace, da. of Richard Baldwin, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1803. d. 1839.
MP [I] 1785-97, Feb.-Dec. 1800.
Collector of excise, co. Wexford c.1791-9, co. Dublin 1801-18.
Sovereign, New Ross 1796-8.
Col. Wexford militia.
In the summer of 1818 Leigh applied to government for permission to retire with a pension from his excise collectorship. He was ‘past sixty years of age’, had complied with the requirements of the Superannuation Act, and was anxious, above all, to take his ailing wife ‘to a climate more suited to her constitution’.1 His wish was granted, and he was later reckoned to be in receipt of a pension of £1,384 per annum.2 Leigh was co-patron with Charles Tottenham† of the borough of New Ross. It was his turn to nominate the Member at the 1820 general election but, for whatever reason, he did not exercise his right until early the following year, when he returned himself as a supporter of government. An inconspicuous Member, who is not known to have spoken in debate, he was inaccurately described by a radical commentary of 1823 as an ‘absentee’.3 He voted against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 20 Apr. 1822. On 6 Mar. 1821 he was granted six weeks’ leave on account of the death of his second son. He divided against tax reductions, 21 Feb., and presented a petition for repeal of the Irish window tax, 17 Apr. 1822.4 He was credited with a vote in a minority of 16 against a clause of the London Bridge bill, 20 June 1823. In 1824 he retired to accommodate a prominent Irish barrister.
Leigh, who lost his eldest son in 1827, died in 1839, when he was succeeded by his grandson, Francis Augustus Leigh (1822-1900).