OSBORN, Sir George, 4th Bt. (1742-1818), of Chicksands Priory, Beds.
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Family and Education
b. 10 May 1742, 1st s. of Sir Danvers Osborn, 3rd Bt., M.P., by Lady Mary Montagu, da. of George, 1st Earl of Halifax. educ. Westminster 1750; Trinity, Camb. 1759. m. (1) 1771, Elizabeth (d. 16 Mar. 1773), da. and coh. of John Bannister, 1s.; (2) 22 Aug. 1778, Lady Heneage Finch, da. of Daniel, 7th Earl of Winchilsea, s.p. suc. fa. 27 Dec. 1753.
Ensign 24 Ft. 1759; capt. 16 Lt. Drag. 1759; maj. 18 Ft. 1762; capt. 3 Ft. Gds. and lt.-col. 1765; col. army 1777; maj.-gen. 1779; col. 40 Ft. 1786- d.; lt.-gen. 1787; gen. 1797.
Groom of the bedchamber 1770-1812.
In 1766 Osborn approached the Duke of Bedford about standing for Bedfordshire at the general election, but was told that Bedford, ‘being perfectly well satisfied’ with Robert Ongley, would continue to support him.1 Yet Osborn was determined to stand, and his grandmother, Sarah Osborn, wrote to his brother, 12 Aug. 1766: ‘I am sure his fortune cannot support opposition to Ongley, but he acts by [his uncle] Lord Halifax’s advice.’ On the death of Lord Tavistock, the other county Member, 22 Mar. 1767, Osborn immediately offered himself, but the leading families were ‘so softened by the Duke’s affliction’2 that they would not oppose his nephew Lord Upper Ossory, and Osborn withdrew. In 1768 he was returned for Northampton on Halifax’s interest after an expensive contest; but in February 1769, as part of a compromise, vacated his seat. Two months later he was brought in for Bossiney by Administration on Lord Edgcumbe’s interest. In Parliament he followed his cousin Lord North, and voted with him till the end. Between 1769 and 1771 seven speeches by him are recorded, but they contain nothing of note.
In 1774 he was transferred to Penryn and returned head of the poll, but in 1780 Robinson wrote in his electoral survey that Osborn wished ‘to come in for a quieter borough’. Attempts were made to find another seat for him, presumably in one of the Isle of Wight boroughs, for on 3 Oct. Robinson wrote to Jenkinson: ‘Lord North has some gentlemen thrown on his hands who must be taken care of, as Sir George Osborn, thrown out by a manoeuvre of Mr. Holmes’s.’3 A seat was eventually found for him at Horsham on Lady Irwin’s interest.
Osborn voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. But when Pitt took office he deserted North: in January 1784 he was classed by Robinson as ‘doubtful’, and by Stockdale in March as Administration. He did not stand again in 1784. He died 29 June 1818.