Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/O'Hara, James

O'HARA, JAMES, Lord Kilmaine and second Lord Tyrawley (1690–1773), born in 1690, was the only son of Sir Charles O'Hara, first baron Tyrawley [q. v.]. He was appointed lieutenant in his father's regiment, the royal fusiliers, on 15 March 1703, and served at the siege of Barcelona in 1706. At the battle of Almanza he was on the staff, and was wounded; he is said to have saved Lord Galway's life. He afterwards served under Marlborough, and was severely wounded (Lodge, Peerage of Ireland, iv. 202 n.) in the wood of Tasniere, near Tournai, during the battle of Malplaquet, 11 Sept. 1709 (cf. Murray, Marlborough's Despatches, iv. 594, 606). He was with the regiment in Minorca, and on 29 Jan. 1713 succeeded his father as colonel. On 2 Jan. 1722 he was rewarded with an Irish peerage, and assumed the title of Baron Kilmaine from one of the baronies of co. Mayo. He took his seat on 29 Aug. 1723. In 1724 he succeeded his father as second Lord Tyrawley, and was sworn of the privy council on 25 June.

He appears to have been employed for some time in Ireland and Minorca, till 1727, when he was made aide-de-camp to George II, and on 20 Jan. 1728 appointed envoy-extraordinary to the court of Portugal, where he remained as ambassador till 1741. He was extremely popular, and on his departure received from the king of Portugal fourteen bars of gold (Lodge, op. cit. 203 n.) He returned to England ‘with three wives and fourteen children’ (Walpole, Letters, ed. Cunningham, i. 215), and at once gained a reputation for wit at the expense of Lords Bath and Grantham and the House of Commons. Meanwhile he had been promoted to be brigadier-general (1735), major-general (1739), and lieutenant-general (1743), and was transferred to the colonelcy of the 5th (now 4th) dragoon guards in August 1739, quitting it in April 1743 for the captaincy and colonelcy of the second troop of horse-grenadiers.

From November 1743 to February 1745 he was ambassador-extraordinary in Russia. On his return he received the command of the 3rd troop of life-guards, with the office of gold-stick (30 April 1745), from which, in 1746, he was transferred to the 10th foot; thence, in 1749, to the 14th dragoons; in 1752 to the 3rd dragoons; and finally, in 1755, to the colonelcy of the 2nd (Coldstream) foot-guards. He became general on 7 March 1761, and field-marshal on 10 June 1763, and was also governor of Portsmouth.

In 1752 he returned to Portugal as ambassador, and was also governor of Minorca until 1756, when he was sent out on the Gibraltar expedition (Walpole, Letters, iii. 19, George II, ii. 190, 216). On 14 Dec. 1757 he was president of the court-martial on Sir John Mordaunt (1697-1780) [q. v.] (Walpole, ib. iii. 78), having been relieved at Gibraltar on 16 April 1757. In 1758 an attempt was made by Lord George Sackville and Sir J. Philipps to censure him in the House of Commons for his expenditure on works at Gibraltar. Tyrawley demanded to be heard at the bar, and prepared a memorial, on which Lord George took fright, and procured a secret report. Tyrawley appeared before a committee of the house, which he treated with great freedom, and so browbeat his accusers that the house declared itself satisfied of 'the innocence of a man who dared to do wrong more than they dared to censure him' (ib. iii. 108-9). Walpole characterises him as 'imperiously blunt, haughty, and contemptuous, with an undaunted portion of spirit,' and attributes to him a 'great deal of humour and occasional good breeding.' Tyrawley professed not to know where the House of Commons was; and his 'brutality' was again exhibited when he was president of the court-martial on Lord George Sackville in 1760.

When a Spanish invasion of Portugal was threatened in 1762, Tyrawley was appointed plenipotentiary and general of the English forces (Walpole, Letters, iv. 23; Chatham Corresp. ii. 174), but was soon superseded as too old, and returned to England disgusted in 1763 (Walpole, George III, i. 44). He does not appear to have held any important post after this, though he was sworn of George III's privy council on 17 Nov. 1762. Lord Chatham, with whom he had long been on friendly terms (Chatham Corresp. i. 218, ii. 174), writes to Lady Chatham to make a 'How-do-you call' on his 'fine old friend Lord Tyrawley' in 1772, and a note acknowledging the visit is preserved (ib. iv. 208). Tyrawley, who had a seat at Blackheath (Lodge, l.c), died at Twickenham on 14 July 1773, and was buried at Chelsea Hospital.

Tyrawley married Mary, only surviving daughter of Lieutenant-general Sir W. Stewart, second viscount Mountjoy, but left no legitimate issue. He was considered 'singularly licentious, even for the courts of Russia and Portugal' (Walpole, George III, i. 144) ; and 'T——y's crew 'is coupled with 'K[innou]l's lewd cargo' by Pope (Imitations of Horace, Epistles, i. 6, 201). An illegitimate son Charles (1740?-1802) [q. v.], who was much with him, rose to distinction in the army. A large mass of his official despatches of various periods from Ireland, Minorca, Portugal, Russia, and Gibraltar is in the British Museum (Tyrawley Papers, Addit. MSS. 23627-23642; see also Newcastle Papers, 32697-32895).

[Lodge's Peerage of Ireland; Cannon's Historical Records of the British Army, 7th Foot, 10th Foot, 4th Dragoon Guards, &c.; Walpole's Works and Chatham Correspondence, as above; Ann. Reg. and Gent. Mag. 1773; Tindal's Rapin, iv. 10 n.; dates can be checked by the lists of Brit. Mus. Cat. Addit. MSS.]

H. E. D. B.