Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/389

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Lee
Lee
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when he visited her, to be always more mindful of her knitting than of his presence. He taught his brother James and others to work under him, and for two years practised his new art at Calverton. He then removed the machine to Bunhill Fields, St. Luke's, London, and Queen Elizabeth, to whose notice it had been brought by Lord Hunsdon, came to see it in action. She was, however, disappointed by the coarseness of the work, having hoped that he would make silk stockings, and refused to grant the patent of monopoly which Hunsdon asked. Lee now altered the machine, and in 1596 produced a pair of silk stockings, which he presented to the queen. But both Elizabeth and James I feared that the invention would prejudice the hand-knitters, and it was consequently discouraged. Henry IV invited Lee to settle in France, promising him great rewards. Accordingly, he, his brother, and nine workmen established themselves with as many frames at Rouen, where they carried on the manufacture of stockings with success and approbation, under the king's protection. The assassination of Henry IV and the troubles which ensued in France disappointed Lee's hopes of obtaining promised privileges; and he died of grief at Paris in or soon after 1610. Uponhis death seven of his workmen returned to England, and they, with one Aston of Calverton, who had been Lee's apprentice, laid the foundation of the manufacture in this country.

In the Stocking Weavers' Hall, Red Cross Street, London, there was formerly a picture, by Balderston, representing a man in collegiate costume in the act of pointing to an iron stocking-frame, and addressing a woman who was knitting with needles bynand. It bore this inscription: 'In the year 1589 the ingenious William Lee, A.M., of St. John's College, Cambridge, devised the profitable art for stockings (but being despised, went to France), yet of iron to himself, but to us and to others of gold; in memory of whom this is here painted.' The original picture seems to be lost. An engraving from it is in the 'Gallery of Portraits of Inventors, Discoverers, and Introducers of Useful Arts in the Museum of the Commissioners of Patents at South Kensington.'

The 'Origin of the Stocking-Loom' formed the subject of a painting by Alfred Elmore, A.R.A., exhibited in 1847 at the Royal Academy. The picture has been engraved by F. Holl.

[Cornelius Brown's Lives of Nottinghamshire Worthies, pp. 121–7; Beckmann's Hist. of Inventions (Francis and Griffith), ii. 368–76; Cat. of Gallery of Portraits of Inventors, &c., 5th edit. pp. 16–18; Deering's Nottingham, pp. 99, 303; Henson's Hist. of the Framework Knitters, i. 38–52; Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 141; Illustrated Exhibitor, p. 107; Letters written by Eminent Persons, 1813, ii. 432; Seymour's London, i. 603; Shuttleworth's Accounts, p. 1017; Thoroton's Nottinghamshire, p. 297.]

T. C.

LEE, Sir WILLIAM (1688–1754), judge, was second son of Sir Thomas Lee, hart., of Hartwell, Buckinghamshire, by Alice, daughter of Thomas Hopkins, and brother of Sir George Lee [q. v.] His grandfather, Sir Thomas Lee (d. 1691), was created a baronet on 16 Aug. 1660, and sat in parliament as M.P. for Aylesbury from 1661 to 1681, as M.P. for Buckinghamshire in the Convention parliament, and as M.P. for Aylesbury in William III's first parliament until his death in February 1690-1. He was a well-known parliamentary debater in Charles II's reign, and, although often voting with the opposition, was credited with taking bribes from the court (cf. Marvell, Satires, ed. Aitken, pp. 31,83, 183; Burnet, Own Time; Burke, Extinct Baronetage). The judge's father, the second baronet, was M.P. for Aylesbury in the Convention parliament and from 1690 to 1698, when he was unseated on petition. He was re-elected in 1700 and 1701. William, born at his father's seat, Hartwell, I on 2 Aug. 1688, entered in 1703 the Middle Temple, where he was afterwards called to the bar. He spent some time, but without graduating, at Oxford, and in 1717 removed to the Inner Temple, of which he was elected a bencher in 1725. He appears to have practised at first chiefly in the courts of petty and quarter sessions in his native county, and in 1717 distinguished himself by the manner in which he argued a knotty point of law arising in a case of pauper settlement removed thence into the court of king's bench. It is noticeable that on this occasion he was opposed by Yorke, afterwards lord Hardwicke (Rex v. Inhabitants de Ivinghoe, 1 Strange, 90). In the following year he was appointed recorder of Wycombe, and in 1722 he succeeded William Denton [q. v.] as recorder of Buckingham. From 1718 to 1730 he held the office of Latin secretary to the king. On 17 Aug. 1727 he entered parliament, in the whig interest, as member for Chipping Wycombe. In 1728 he was made a king's counsel, and about the same time attorney-general to the Prince of Wales. In 1729 he was one of the prosecuting counsel in Castell v. Bambridge [see under Bambridge, Thomas], but failed to obtain a conviction, although displaying great ability in his arguments. Lee's reputation as a thorough lawyer was now established,