Osler, Edward (DNB00)
OSLER, EDWARD (1798–1863), miscellaneous writer, born at Falmouth, Cornwall, on 30 Jan. 1798, was the eldest son of Edward Osier (d. 1832), by his wife Mary, daughter of Edward Paddy, master of a packet at Falmouth. She died in April 1864, aged 91. Their son 'was brought up as a dissenter, and educated under the roof of a dissenting minister.' As he was intended for the medical profession, he was apprenticed to Carvosso, a surgeon at Falmouth, and trained at Guy's Hospital, subsequently qualifying in 1818 as M.R.C.S. From about 1819 to 1826 he held the appointment of resident house-surgeon to the Swansea infirmary, and was also surgeon to the Swansea house of industry. He then became a surgeon in the navy, and visited the West Indies, writing on the passage, and while engaged there on his medical duties, the poem of 'The Voyage,' which was published in. 1830, with the addition of some papers on natural history. During his residence in Swansea he had been admitted to the friendship of Lewis Weston Dillwyn [q. v.], and had enjoyed through this intimacy the advantage of a scientific library. Through the medium of that gentleman, Osier communicated to the 'Philosophical Transactions' two valuable papers: 'On Burrowing and Boring Marine Animals,' 1826, pp. 342-71; and 'Observations on the Anatomy and Habits of Marine Testaceous Mollusca, illustrative of their Mode of Feeding,' 1832, pp. 497-515. He was duly elected a fellow of the Linnean Society.
Osier soon abandoned dissent, and on his return to England became associated with Prebendary William John Hall, then editor of the 'Christian Remembrancer,' in the production of a volume published in 1836 as 'Psalms and Hymns adapted to the Services of the Church of England,' but generally known in its later issues as the 'Mitre Hymn-book.' He contributed to this collection fifteen versions of the Psalms and fifty hymns, some of both sections being adapted from previous authors. These, with several fresh productions, afterwards appeared in his work of 'Church and King,' The best known of his compositions, 'O God unseen, yet ever near,' finds a place in most hymn-books. Other pieces by him are in Lord Selborne's 'Book of Praise,' and Orby Shipley's 'Lyra Eucharistica.'
About this period in his life Osier was on the staff in London and Bath of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. He published in 1836 a volume on 'Church and Dissent considered in their Practical Influence,' which was afterwards included in a larger work called 'Church and King,' issued at the request of the Bath Conservative Association in a periodical form, and liberally supported by its members. It ran through twelve folio numbers in all, and comprised: (1) 'The Church and Dissent;' (2) 'The Church established on the Bible;' (3) 'The Catechism explained and illustrated;' (4) 'Psalms and Hymns on the Services and Rites of the Church.' An address which he delivered in the lecture-room of the Bath General Instruction Society on 1 Feb. 1839 was printed, with the title 'The Education of the People: the Bible the Foundation, and the Church the Teacher,' A few years later, apparently in 1841, he was called to Truro in Cornwall as editor of the 'Royal Cornwall Gazette,' the leading conservative journal in the county, and remained in that position until his death. Several special articles contributed by him to its columns, such as the 'Packet Question: Falmouth or Southampton,' and 'History of the Cornwall Railway,' were reissued in a separate form. Osier died at the Parade, Truro, on 7 March 1863, and was buried at Kenwyn. One of the smaller painted-glass windows in the chancel of that church was erected by his friends to his memory (Parochial Hist, of Cornwall, ii. 327).
Osier married at Swansea parish church, on 8 Feb. 1821, Jennette, daughter of Mr. W.Powell, architect and builder, at Mount-peasant, Swansea. She died there about 1828, leaving issue a son and a daughter. The second part of his poem, 'The Voyage,' concludes with a rhapsody on his 'loved and lost Jennette,' He remarried at Gluvias, Cornwall, in 1837, Sarah, daughter of Mr. Atkinson of Leeds; she died at Truro, on 31 Jan. 1842, aged 37, leaving four children. His third wife was Charlotte Free, niece and adopted daughter of Captain Britton of Stratton Place, Falmouth. Her death occurred at Truro on 19 Jan. 1868, without Osier's most important work was a 'Life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth,' in the preparation of which he was assisted by the family. It came out in 1835, and revised editions appeared in 1841 and 1854. A translation into Russian from the second edition was printed at St. Petersburg in the printing office of the ministry of the marine in 1857. Osier drew up a small treatise on the 'Administration and Improvement of the Poor Laws,' which was printed by the Poor Law Commission as an appendix to its report. 'A Popular Introduction to Medicine, which he announced in 1837 as in course of preparation for the press, does not seem to have come out.
[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Boase's Collectanea Cornubiensis; Julian's Hymnology; Royal Cornwall Gazette, 13 March 1863.]