CHILD, Robert (1739-82), of Osterley Park, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. Feb. 1739, 2nd surv. s. of Samuel Child, M.P., and bro. of Francis Child. educ. Westminster, Feb. 1747, aged 8; Magdalen, Oxf. 9 Feb. 1758, aged 18. m. 6 Oct. 1763, Sarah, da. of Gilbert Jodrell of Ankerwyke, Bucks., 1da. suc. bro. 23 Sept. 1763.
Robert Child became a partner in the family banking business in 1760, and in 1763 succeeded his brother as titular head of the firm—it is not certain that he was ever an active partner.
At the by-election at Aylesbury in January 1764 Child came forward as a candidate with the support of the Grenville Administration, but owing to illness was forced to withdraw.1 At Wells in December 1765 he stood on the interest of Clement Tudway, and after a contest was returned on petition.
His politics on entering Parliament are not known; he did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Rockingham in November 1766 and Townshend in January 1767 classed him as ‘doubtful’. He voted against the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and the nullum tempus bill, 17 Feb. 1768. At the general election of 1768 he fought another contest at Wells.
The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘attends but seldom, and votes in opposition’. The first statement seems correct: he appears in none of the 23 division lists between January 1769 and March 1780. But Robinson, in his lists on the royal marriage bill in 1772 and the contractors bill in 1779, classed him as a Government supporter. On Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr. 1780, Child voted with Opposition; and was classed by Robinson in his survey for the general election of 1780 as ‘doubtful’. In the divisions of February-March 1782 Child twice voted against North’s Administration: 27 Feb. 1782, on Conway’s motion against the war, and 15 Mar. 1782, on Rous’s motion of no confidence. The large share which his firm had in the Government loan of February 1782 had no effect on his political conduct. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.
Child died 28 July 1782, aged 43. The Gentleman’s Magazine (1782, p. 406), wrote in its obituary of him: ‘He has died worth £15,000 per annum in landed property, exclusive of his seat at Osterley Park, which is deemed the most superb and elegant thing of its kind in England. His share of the profits in the banking business has never been estimated at less, for some years, than £30,000 per annum.’ He was in addition a considerable holder of Government stock.2