OSBORNE, Francis Godolphin D'Arcy, mq. of Carmarthen (1798-1859), of 16 Bruton Street, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1826 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 21 May 1798, 1st and o. surv. s. of George William Frederick, 6th duke of Leeds, and Lady Charlotte Townshend, da. of George Townshend†, 1st Mq. Townshend. educ. privately by John Page, fellow of Brasenose, Oxf.;1 Christ Church, Oxf. 1815. m. 24 Apr. 1828, Louisa Catherine, da. and coh. of Richard Caton, merchant, of Baltimore, USA, wid. of Sir Felton Elwell Hervey Bathurst, 1st bt., s.p. styled mq. of Carmarthen 1799-1838; summ. to the Lords in his fa’s barony as Lord Osborne 2 July 1838; suc. fa. as 7th duke of Leeds 10 July 1838; took name of D’Arcy before Osborne by royal lic. 6 Aug. 1849. d. 4 May 1859.

Offices Held

Cornet 10 Drag. 1817; ensign (half-pay) R.W.I. Rangers 1820; lt. (half-pay) 10 Drag. 1821, lt. (full-pay) 1823; capt. army 1825; capt. 2 Life Gds. 1826; ret. 1828.

Col. N. York militia 1846-d.


Carmarthen’s father, who was summoned to the Lords in his mother’s barony of Conyers in 1798 and succeeded as 6th duke of Leeds the following year, took little active part in politics, but he abandoned his father’s Foxite allegiance and went over to Pitt; his younger brother, Lord Francis Godolphin Osborne*, remained true to Whig principles. Leeds was a favoured crony and trusty drinking companion of George IV, and was sometimes the worse for wear in public: in March 1828, according to Thomas Creevey*, he and the king ‘got so drunk as to be nearly speechless’, and the following year Lady Granville encountered him in the royal entourage at Ascot races, ‘drunk as a fish [and] quite incoherent’, though she observed that ‘scarlet strawberries in private conversation are very agreeable to meet with occasionally’.2 Carmarthen travelled in France in the summer of 1816 and again in 1825, while his desultory army career took him to Ireland in 1824. In 1826 he was one of the young men who accompanied the duke of Devonshire on his lavish mission to represent Britain at the coronation of the new tsar.3 Two years later he ‘deeply mortified’ his father, so Lady Holland reported, by marrying the profoundly stupid American-born widow Lady Hervey Bathurst, sister of Lord Wellesley’s second wife, who was nine years his senior. Lady Williams Wynn had earlier commented of her that ‘never was there ... so great a Bicky, though some people say ... much of it is assumed as naivete’, and, according to Lady Holland, it was held that she ‘wanted six qualifications, youth, beauty, character, fortune, birth, sense’. Lady Holland thought the only consolations for the duke were the ‘improbability’ of his daughter-in-law producing any children and the fact that his younger son, Lord Conyers George Thomas Osborne, who in that event would inherit the title after Carmarthen, was ‘a very fine young man ... just what such a father would be proud of’.4

At the general election of 1826 Carmarthen had been returned for Helston on his father’s controlling interest, and he subsequently received a formal request for attendance from Canning, the leader of the Commons in Lord Liverpool’s ministry.5 He made no mark in the House, and is not known to have uttered a syllable in debate. He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and for the duke of Clarence’s annuity, 16 Mar. 1827. In May 1827 his father became master of the horse in Canning’s coalition ministry and, in keeping with an arrangement concluded before the demise of Liverpool’s government, received one of the three vacant garters; the duke remained in his post under Lord Goderich and the duke of Wellington.6 Carmarthen voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. However, he and his father were at odds over Catholic relief: whereas he paired against it, 12 May, the duke voted for it in the Lords, 10 June. He divided with Wellington’s administration on the ordnance