LEADER, William (1767-1828), of 14 Queen Street, Westminster and Lower House, Putney Hill, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1812 - 1818
20 Feb. 1823 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 19 Oct. 1767, o.s. of William Leader, coachmaker to the Prince of Wales,1 of 37 Liquor Pond Street, St. Andrew’s, Holborn and 32 Bedford Row, Mdx. by w. Mary.2 (His sis. Mary Rose m. John Maberly*.) educ. Eton 1779-81. m. Mary (d. 7 May 1833, aged 72), 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1798.

Offices Held


Leader, whose father prospered as coachmaker to the Prince of Wales, inherited all his real estate. Leader’s sister and brother-in-law Maberly were left £35,000 in investments.3 By then Leader was established as a ‘malt distiller’ at Wandsworth, in partnership with John Falconer Atlee and James Langdale, and so he continued until his death, by which time he also had an interest in Pellatt and Green, wholesale china, glass and earthenware dealers of St. Paul’s Churchyard.4 He was an investor in East India Company stock, and died worth £300,000.

Leader’s father signed the London merchants’ declaration in 1795 in favour of administration and subscribed £2,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797, but his son’s sympathies lay with opposition. He was returned for Camelford in 1812 not, as his son John later alleged, on the interest of the Earl of Darlington, but on that of John Phillipps Carpenter, the patron who died a year later and whose interest was purchased in 1815 by Darlington. Leader was allegedly returned by Carpenter at the instigation of Lord de Dunstanville and would have been expected to support government. He appeared on the Treasury list after the election: but he proved unreliable in that respect and in 1818 the Treasury view was ‘Mr Leader was never in communication with us, and he frequently, indeed almost always, voted against us’. Starting on 23 Feb. 1813 with the division on the Regency question (Burdett’s motion), that was how he voted. He was moreover connected with Henry Brougham*: his son, John Temple Leader (1810-1903), later a radical MP, recalling his father’s parliamentary career, stated that he never spoke in the House ‘except to present a petition from his constituents’, while his friend Brougham ‘spoke every night’. ‘My father used to say jestingly "My colleague and I make more speeches than other two Member of Parliament".'5 This must refer to the 1820s when they both sat for Winchelsea, though Brougham had preceded Leader in a seat at Camelford too.

Leader voted steadily for Catholic relief throughout the Parliament of 1812. He voted against the blockade of Norway, 12 May 1814, and against altering the Corn Laws, 16, 23 May 1814 and 10 Mar. 1815; against the transfer of Genoa, 21 Feb., 27 Apr. 1815; against the continuation of the militia in peacetime, 28 Feb., against the civil list, 14 Apr., and possibly against the resumption of war, 25 May 1815. In the session of 1816 he voted against the army and navy estimates, 6 and 27 Mar., opposed the continuation of the property tax, 18 Mar., and was against the Bank restriction bill, 3 May. He opposed the aliens bill, 10, 20 May, the unconstitutional use of the military, 13 May, and the civil list and public revenue bills, 24 May, 17 June. In the next session he continued to vote for retrenchment, except on 17 Feb. 1817. On 20 May he voted for Burdett's motion for parliamentary reform; on 23 June he voted for, but on 26 and 27 June opposed, the habeas corpus suspension bill, and a further vote of 10 Feb. 1818 underlined his hostility. On 6 Mar. 1818 he voted for Althrop's motion for the reduction of the army and on 15 Apr. against the grant to the Duke of Clarence on his marriage.

Leader did not seek re-election in 1818. He died 18 Jan. 1828 'in his 61st year'. A will proved on 1 Feb. 1828 was subsequently revoked in favour of another, signed on 13 Jan. 1828.6 By this, he left his real estate to his surviving son John and, among other legacies, £2,500 to his nephew William Leader Maberly*.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


J. T. Leader, Rough and Rambling Notes Chiefly on My Early Life (Florence 1899); Manning and Bray, Surr. iii. 298.

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1798), i. 449; Prince of Wales Corresp. ii. 665.
  • 2. He remembered in his will Robert Lucas, ‘my wife’s relation, now my partner’.
  • 3. PCC 417 Walpole.
  • 4. VCH Surr. ii. 393, 396; P. Mathias, Brewing Industry in England, 75.
  • 5. Leader, 25, 26; see CAMELFORD; Add. 40279, f. 62.
  • 6. MI at Putney; PCC 111 Sutton, 167 Liverpool.