Richard Rigby - Encyclopedia

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RICHARD RIGBY (1722-1788), English politician, was the only son of Richard Rigby (d. 1730) of Mistley Hall, Essex, a merchant who made a fortune through his connexion with the South Sea Company. Young Rigby became an associate of Frederick, prince of Wales, and entered parliament in 1745. He is chiefly known to fame through his connexion with John Russell, 4th duke of Bedford, and the "Bloomsbury gang," his audacity earning for him the title of the "brazen boatswain" of the "crew." In 1758 he became secretary to Bedford, who was lord lieutenant of Ireland, and in the following year he was given the sinecure office of master of the rolls for Ireland. Following the political fortunes of the duke he became vicetreasurer of Ireland in 1765, and in 1768 he obtained the lucrative position of paymaster-general of the forces. Rigby often spoke in parliament, and in 1769 he shared in the opposition to Wilkes. In 1784 he was obliged to resign his position as paymastergeneral, and he was somewhat surprised and embarrassed when he was requested to pay over the large sum of public money which was in his possession. He left a great fortune when he died at Bath on the 8th of April 1788. A rapacious and unscrupulous politician, Wraxall says Rigby "possessed talents for addressing a popular assembly which were sustained by a confidence that nothing could abash."

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