LEGGE, Hon. Arthur Charles (1800-1890), of 12 Berkeley Square, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

10 Feb. 1826 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 25 June 1800, 3rd s. of George Legge†, 3rd earl of Dartmouth (d. 1810), and Lady Frances Finch, da. of Heneage Finch†, 3rd earl of Aylesford; bro. of Hon. Heneage Legge*. educ. Eton 1814. m. (1) 14 June 1827, Lady Anne Frederica Catherine Holroyd (d. 31 Aug. 1829), da. of John Baker Holroyd†, 1st earl of Sheffield [I], 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 29 Aug. 1837, Caroline, da. of James Charles Bouwens of Welbeck Street, Mdx., 1s. 1da. d. 18 May 1890.

Offices Held

Ensign 28 Ft. 1816; ensign and lt. Coldstream Gds. 1817, half-pay 1818; lt. 1 Life Gds. 1820, capt. 1822, half-pay 1837; major, army 1837; lt.-col. 1851; col. 1854; maj.-gen. 1865; lt.-gen. 1874; gen. 1877.

Lt.-col. Staffs. rifle vols. 1860; col. S. Staffs. Regt. 1868-d.

Biography

Legge, whose father had succeeded as 3rd earl of Dartmouth in 1801 and died as lord chamberlain in 1810, had an uneventful career in the Guards. In the autumn and winter of 1819-20 he was in Paris with his younger brother Charles. He had an ‘encounter with so unpleasant a gentleman as the rheumatism’, and was quite ill for a time, but on 10 Jan. 1820 told his mother:

I gain strength much faster this frosty weather, than I did in the warm damp weather which we had a fortnight ago, though the sudden change did not agree with me at first. I have taken quantities of bark, and continue to take some daily; and feel as well as possible.1

He joined the Life Guards in July 1820. From the family home in Staffordshire he wrote to Charles, who was with his ship in South America, 14 Dec.:

The queen is doing her best to create a revolution in the country, and I should not be very much surprised if the radicals were to gain ground through her; hitherto small parties of our men have kept London tolerably quiet; but I hate to talk about the ‘Jezebel’. You will be glad to hear that I ‘carry on’ well with my new regiment and like it much.2

In February 1826 Legge quietly replaced his elder brother Heneage, who had been appointed a commissioner of customs, as Member for Banbury on the interest of their kinsman, the 5th earl of Guilford.3 He voted with the Liverpool ministry against reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr., and came in again without incident at the 1826 general election.4 He made no mark in the House, where he is not known to have spoken in debate. He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He presented a Banbury petition against Catholic claims, 6 May, and voted against relief, 12 May 1828. Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted in February 1829 that he would vote ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, but he opposed it, 6, 18, 30 Mar. He lost his first wife, a niece of Guilford, in July that year. He presented petitions from Banbury corporation for repeal of the beer and malt taxes, 11 Feb., and from the inhabitants for mitigation of the severity of the criminal code, 30 Mar. 1830. He voted for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 24 May, but apparently reversed this vote in the division of 7 June, when he also sided with government in defence of the grant for South American missions. He voted against Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May 1830. Guilford had died in 1827, and at the 1830 general election his successor as patron of Banbury, the 2nd marquess of Bute, replaced Legge with a kinsman of his own.

He remarried in 1837, shortly after going on the captain’s half-pay on which he still remained when seniority saw him attain the rank of general 40 years later. He died at his then residence at Caynton, Shropshire in May 1890. By his will, dated 24 Feb. 1880, he left all his property to his wife and only surviving son, the Rev. Alfred Arthur Kaye Legge (1839-1906).

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Staffs. RO, Dartmouth mss D 1778/V/1044, Legge to Lady Dartmouth, 24 Oct. [1819], 1, 10 Jan. 1820.
  • 2. Ibid