Edward Leigh (writer)

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Edward Leigh
Member of Parliament
for Stafford
In office
1645–1648
Preceded by Richard Weston
Succeeded by Seat vacant
Personal details
Born (1602-03-24)24 March 1602
Shawell, Leicestershire
Died 2 June 1671(1671-06-02) (aged 69)
Rushall Hall, Rushall, Staffordshire
Resting place Parish Church of St Michael, Rushall
Nationality English
Relations Henry Leigh (father)
Children Henry Leigh
Alma mater Magdalen Hall, Oxford
Occupation Author
Military service
Allegiance Parliament
Service/branch Parliamentary army
Rank Colonel

Edward Leigh (24 March 1602 – 2 June 1671) was a versatile English lay writer, known particularly for his works on religious topics, and a politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1645 to 1648. He fought for the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War

Life[edit]

Leigh was born at Shawell, Leicestershire, the son of Henry Leigh. He matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford on 24 October 1617, and graduated B.A. in 1620, M.A. in 1623.[1] Before leaving Oxford he entered the Middle Temple, and became a painstaking student of divinity, law, and history. During the plague of 1625 he spent six months in France, and busied himself in making a collection of French proverbs. He subsequently moved to Banbury, Oxfordshire, to be near William Wheatly, whose preaching he admired.

In the Civil War, Leigh became a colonel in the parliamentary army. On 30 September 1644 he presented to parliament a petition from Staffordshire parliamentarians complaining of cavalier oppression, and made a speech, which was printed. In 1645 he was elected Member of Parliament for Stafford in the Long Parliament as one of the replacements for the members who had been declared 'disabled to sit'.[2] His theological attainments procured him a seat in the Westminster Assembly. His signature is affixed to the letter written in the name of the parliamentary committee which granted powers to the visitors of the university of Oxford in 1647. Having in December 1648 voted that the king's concessions were satisfactory, he was expelled from the house under Pride's Purge. From then he appears to have avoided public life.

Leigh died at Rushall Hall, Staffordshire, at the age of 69 and was buried in the church there.

Works[edit]

Leigh's writings are mostly compilations. His major works are

  • 'Critica Sacra, or Philologicall and Theologicall Observations upon all the Greek Words of the New Testament in order alphabeticall,' &c., London, 1639; 2nd edit, 1646.
  • 'Critica Sacra. Observations on all the Radices or Primitive Hebrew Words of the Old Testament in order alphabeticall, wherein both they (and many derivatives . . .) are fully opened,' &c., London, 1642, with a commendatory epistle by William Gouge.

Both parts were published together as a third edition in 1650, (4th edit., 1662). These compilations were used by later lexicographers of the Old and New Testaments, and won Leigh the friendship of James Ussher. A Latin translation by Henricus à Middoch, accompanied with observations on all the Chaldee words of the Old Testament by J. Hesser, was issued at Amsterdam, 3rd edit., 1696; 5th edit, with appendix by J. C. Kesler, Gotha, 1706. There are also supplements by P. Stokkemark (1713) and M. C. Wolfburg (1717). The work was reconstructed by M. Tempestini for J. P. Migne's Encyclopédie Théologique (vol. vii. pt. ii.), 1846, &c.

Leigh wrote also:

  • 'A Treatise of the Divine Promises. In Five Bookes,' &c., London, 1633 (4th edit., 1657), the model of Samuel Clarke's Scripture Promises.
  • 'Selected and Choice Observations concerning the Twelve First Caesars, Emperours of Rome,' Oxford, 1635. The second edition, published as 'Analecta de xii. primis Caesaribus,' London, 1647, has an appendix of 'Certaine choice French Proverbs.' An enlarged edition, 'containing all the Romane Emperours. The first eighteen by E. Leigh. The others added by his son, Henry Leigh,' appeared in 1657, 1663, and 1670.
  • 'A Treatise of Divinity, consisting of Three Bookes,' 3 pts., London, 1647.
  • 'The Saint's Encouragement in Evil Times, or Observations concerning the Martyrs in general, with some Memorable Collections about them out of Mr. Foxes three volumes,' &c., London, 1648; 2nd edit. 1651.
  • 'Annotations upon all the New Testament, Philologicall and Theologicall,' &c., fol., London, 1650; translated into Latin by Arnold, and published at Leipzig in 1732.
  • 'A Philologicall Commentary, or an Illustration of the most obvious and useful Words in the Law ... By E. L.,' &c., London, 1652; 2nd edit. 1658.
  • 'A Systeme or Body of Divinity . . . wherein the fundamentals of Religion are opened, the contrary Errours refuted,' &c., London, 1654; 2nd edit. 1662.
  • 'A Treatise of Religion and Learning, and of Religious and Learned Men,' &c., London, 1656, which fell so flat that it was reissued as 'Felix Consortium, or a fit Conjuncture of Religion and Learning,' in 1663. To this treatise William Crowe was greatly indebted in his 'Elenchus Scriptorum,' 1672.
  • 'Annotations on five poetical Books of the Old Testament,' London, 1657.
  • 'Second Considerations of the High Court of Chancery,' London, 1658.
  • 'England Described, or the several Counties and Shires thereof briefly handled,' London, 1659, taken mostly from William Camden's 'Britannia.'
  • 'Choice Observations of all the Kings of England from the Saxons to the Death of King Charles the First. Collected out of the best . . . Writers,' London, 1661.
  • 'Three Diatribes or Discourses. First, of Travel, or a Guide for Travellers into Foreign Parts. Secondly, of Money . . . Thirdly, of Measuring of the Distance betwixt Place and Place,', London, 1671 (another edition, entitled 'The Gentleman's Guide, in Three Discourses,' 1680), reprinted in vol. x. of 'Harleian Miscellany,' ed. Park.

With Henry Scudder Leigh edited William Whately's 'Prototypes . . . with Mr. Whatelye's Life and Death,', 1640. He also published Christopher Cartwright's 'The Magistrate's Authority in matters of Religion,' 1647, to which he prefixed a preface in defence of his conduct for sitting in the assembly of divines and other clerical meetings. He assisted William Hinde in bringing out John Rainolds's The Prophesie of Haggai interpreted and applyed, 1649; and edited by himself Lancelot Andrewes's 'Discourse of Ceremonies,' 1653.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Ralph Sneyd
Richard Weston
Member of Parliament for Stafford
1645-1648
With: John Swinfen
Succeeded by
Not represented in Rump Parliament