FRANCO, Ralph (1788-1854), of Roborough, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. 10 Sept. 1788, o.s. of Abraham de Raphael Franco, coral merchant, by Esther, da. of Mordecai Rodrigues Lopes of Clapham, Surr., sis. of Manasseh Masseh Lopes*. educ. Tonbridge sch. 1798; Winchester 1803-7; Brasenose, Oxf. 1807-11. m. 8 May 1817, Susan Gibbs, da. of Abraham Ludlow of Heywood House, nr. Westbury, Wilts., 5s. suc. fa. 1799; uncle Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes by spec. rem. as 2nd Bt. 26 Mar. 1831 and took surname of Lopes only by royal lic. 7 May 1831.
Mayor, Westbury 1829-30; dep. warden of stannaries 1852-d.
Capt. 4 Devon militia 1808; maj. N. Devon militia 1821.
Raphael Franco was descended on both sides of his family from Sephardic Jews. His father died at Lucknow when he was ten1 and under the tutelage of his childless uncle Manasseh Masseh Lopes, who made him his heir, he was baptized (as Ralph) in 1802. (Sir) William Elford* professed to see in his face the ‘very essence of Judaism distilled from a thousand Jews’.2 He assisted in his uncle’s electoral adventures and in 1814 became his nominee in Parliament for Westbury, which he later represented on his own interest. He gave a silent support to administration in his first Parliament, voting with them on 1 Mar., 14 Apr., 8 and 31 May 1825 and on 8 Mar. 1816. He joined opposition on the property tax, 18 Mar., but was in the government majority on 24 May, 14 and 20 June. He opposed Catholic relief, 21 May 1816. No vote of his is known in 1817, but he supported ministers on their employment of informers against sedition, 11 Feb., 5 Mar., and on the Duke of Clarence’s marriage grant, 15 Apr. 1818. He was then on the ministerial list ‘for dinner parties’.3
At the election of 1818 Franco’s uncle withdrew him at Penryn4 and put him up at Newport (Cornwall), but he was defeated and fell back on Westbury. There is no evidence of activity in Parliament during the next session, when he obtained leave of absence on 26 Mar. 1819 and made way for a paying guest of his uncle a month later. He died 23 Jan. 1854.