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Onslow, Richard (1654-1717) (DNB00)


ONSLOW, RICHARD, first Lord Onslow (1654–1717), speaker of the House of Commons, eldest son of Sir Arthur Onslow of West Clandon, Surrey, bart., by his first wife, Mary, second daughter of Sir Thomas Foot, bart., lord mayor of London in 1649, was born on 23 June 1654. He matriculated at Oxford from St. Edmund Hall on 7 June 1671, but took no degree. In 1674 he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple, but he was never called to the bar. Returned to parliament for Guildford, Surrey, 1 March 1678–9, he represented that borough until the dissolution of 2 July 1687. On 14 Jan. 1688–9, having in the preceding year succeeded to the baronetcy (21 July), he was returned to the Convention parliament for the county of Surrey, which he continued to represent (with the exception of a brief interval, 1710–13, during which he sat for St. Mawes) until his elevation to the peerage as Lord Onslow, baron of Onslow in the county of Salop and of Clandon in Surrey, on 6 July 1716. Onslow was a lord of the admiralty, 23 Jan. 1690–1 to 15 April 1693, and speaker of the House of Commons in the third parliament of Queen Anne, 16 Nov. 1708 to 21 Sept. 1710. He was sworn of the privy council on 15 June 1710, was resworn on 12 Oct. 1714, and held office as lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer from 13 Oct. 1714 to 11 Oct. 1715. Onslow is described by Burnet as a ‘worthy man,’ which means that he was a staunch whig. His abilities do not appear to have been of an eminent order. He proved himself competent, however, to repress the insolence of black rod, who on 23 March 1709–10 attempted, by interposing first his rod and then his person, to obstruct him on his way to the House of Lords to demand judgment against Sacheverell, but recoiled before the speaker's awful threat to return to the House of Commons immediately. On resigning political office he was made, on 4 Nov. 1715, one of the tellers of the exchequer for life. On 6 July 1716 he was appointed lord lieutenant of Surrey. He died on 5 Dec. 1717, and was buried at Merrow, Surrey.

Onslow married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry Tulse, lord mayor of London, by whom he had (besides daughters) three sons—Thomas, who succeeded him; and Daniel and Richard, both of whom died young.

[Collins's Peerage (Brydges), v. 477–8; Doyle's Official Baronage; Courthope's Historic Peerage; Manning's Lives of the Speakers; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 54–6; Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs, ii. 50, iii. 54, vi. 373, 595, 646; Members of Parliament (Official List); London Gazette; Commons' Journals, 1708–10; Hatsell's Precedents, iii. 316; Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1717; Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby.]

J. M. R.