LELAND, John (d.1808), of Strood Park, Suss. and Woodcote Grove, Surr.

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



29 Oct. 1796 - 3 Jan. 1808

Family and Education

s. of Ralph Leland of Dublin by w. Hannah née Cooke. m. 26 July 1763, Anne (1722-97), da. of Richard Upton, capt. of the East Indiaman London and h. of her uncle Edward Cowper of Strood, s.p.

Offices Held

Capt. 58 Ft. 1755, brevet maj. 1761; maj. 58 Ft. 1762, lt.-col. 1772; capt. and lt.-col. 1 Ft. Gds. 1774, brig.-gen. (America) 1779, brevet col. 1780; col. 80 Ft. 1782, maj.-gen. 1787; col. 64 Ft. 1790, lt.-gen. 1797; gen. 1802.

Lt.-gov. Cork 1796-d.


Leland, whose tradesman grandfather migrated from Wigan to Dublin, served under Wolfe at Quebec, and in the West Indies (1762), after which he was for a time on half-pay. Having married a Sussex heiress, he thought of contesting Horsham in 1765, but gave it up.1 On 16 June 1766 he applied to the Duke of Newcastle through Lord Ligonier to be lieutenant-governor of Hull: ‘I shall be happy to convince your Grace, either when I am in Parliament, or upon any occasion that may arise in the county of Sussex with how much truth I have the honour to be your Grace’s most devoted and obliged servant’.2 Nothing came of this and he contented himself with the life of a country gentleman and magistrate at Strood. He served in America.3 On 9 Jan. 1790 he wrote to Pitt, asking for the 41st regiment, then vacant, and offering him ‘whatever influence I possess in Sussex’.4 He obtained another regiment.

Leland was returned for Stamford by the Earl of Exeter, as a family friend, on a vacancy in 1796, the year he became lieutenant-governor of Cork. He canvassed in person, though the seat was a safe one.5 He was, if present, an unobtrusive supporter of administration until 1804. He then joined the opposition to Addington on defence, 23 and 25 Apr. In September 1804 he was listed a follower of Pitt and in July 1805 a doubtful one, although he had appeared in the government minority against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. Applying to Sir Arthur Wellesley for a clerk’s place in the Irish secretary’s office for his nephew and heir Edward Litton, 25 Apr. 1807, he explained, ‘I must add that I supported the present administration on the two divisions in the House of Commons and mean to support them in the new Parliament, should there be a dissolution’. As ‘an old acquaintance’ of the viceroy, the Duke of Richmond, he was sure that his regime would prove popular in Ireland by curbing Catholic agitation.6

Leland died 3 Jan. 1808, ‘at an advanced age’. He had sold Strood in 1801 and settled in Surrey. Nearly all his surviving correspondence is on military matters.7

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Albery, Parl. Hist. Horsham, 115.
  • 2. Add. 32975, f. 420.
  • 3. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxxiii. 120; Elwes and Robinson, Castles and Mansions of Western Suss. 205, 207, 251; Horsfield, Suss. ii. 167; Pargellis, Military Affairs in N. America, 451; The Baurmeister Jnls. 359, 432; Add. 38307, f. 107.
  • 4. PRO 30/8/151, f. 132.
  • 5. Morning Chron. 4 Aug. 1796.
  • 6. Wellington mss.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1808), i. 89; PCC 123 Ely; Add. 21807-8.