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Osborne
Osborne
288

and Austria, and to destroy the existing connection between France and Austria. He, however, defended Pitt's commercial treaty with France in the House of Lords on 5 March 1787 as a measure 'which he was firmly convinced would prove of infinite advantage to this country' (Parl. Hist. xxvi. 571). On 3 March 1789 Carmarthen was personally thanked by the king 'for his affectionate behaviour during his illness' (Political Memoranda, p. 142), and on the 23rd of the same month he succeeded his father as fifth Duke of Leeds. He was elected and invested a knight of the Garter on 15 Dec. 1790, but was never installed (Nicolas, History of the Orders of British Knighthood, 1842, vol. ii. p. lxxiii). In consequence of a disagreement with his colleagues on the question of 'the Russian armament,' Leeds resigned office on 21 April 1791 (Political Memoranda, pp. 148–74). During the debate in February 1792 on Lord Fitzwilliam's resolutions with respect to our interference between Russia and the Porte, Leeds referred at some length to the change of opinion in the cabinet, which had caused his resignation (Parl. Hist. xxix. 805–6). In the summer of this year Leeds, at the instance of the Duke of Portland, took part in some abortive negotiations for forming a coalition between Pitt and Fox (Political Memoranda, pp. 175-200, see also pp.2016) While speaking in support of the second reading of the Alien Bill on 21 Dec. 1792, Leeds declared he 'would always be so much of an Englishman as to believe it unlikely that a Frenchman should be a friend to England' (Parl. Hist. xxx. 160). In February 1793 he expressed his approbation of the war with France {ib. xxx. 423), and in February 1794 opposed Lord Lansdowne's motion in favour of peace {ib. xxx. 1415-16). Later on, however, he became more placable. At the opening of parliament on 30 Dec. 1794 he refused to vote for the address, 'because it went to pledge the house never to be in amity with France whilst that nation continued a republic' (ib. xxxi. 99l; Political Memoranda, p. 213), and on 27 Jan. 1795 he supported the Duke of Bedford's motion that 'any particular form of government which may prevail in France should not preclude negotiation or prevent peaces consistent with the interest, the honour, and the security of this country' (Parl. Hist. xxxi. 1277). In the following May he spoke in favour of an inquiry into the circumstances of Lord Fitzwilliam's recall from Ireland (ib. xxxi. 1506). He spoke for the last time in the House of Lords on 30 May 1797, during the debate on the Duke of Bedford's motion for the dismissal of the ministry, when he ridiculed the idea that 'the existence of the constitution was inseparably connected with the continuance of the present ministry in power,' and expressed his opinion that parliamentary reform was 'a most dangerous remedy to resort to' (ib. xxxii. 762-3). He died at his house in St. James's Square, London, on 31 Jan. 1799, aged 48, and was buried in All Saints Church, Harthill, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on 15 Feb. following.

Leeds was an amiable nobleman of moderate abilities and capricious disposition. His vanity was excessive and his political conduct unstable. While secretary of state for the foreign department the chief despatches, though formally signed by him, were really the composition of Pitt. According to Mrs. Montagu, he was 'the prettiest man in his person ; the most polite and pleasing in his manners, with a sweet temper and an excellent understanding, happily cultivated' (Doran, A Lady of the Last Century, 1873, p. 258; and see Selections from the Letters and Corresp, of Sir James Bland Barges, p. 62).

Leeds was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 1 April 1773, and a Busby trustee on 22 April 1790. He was appointed governor of the Scilly Islands on 11 June 1785, high steward of Hull on 11 April 1786, vice-admiral of the county of York on 5 March 1795, and colonel of the East Riding regiment of provisional cavalry on 24 Dec. 1796. Though generally styled Francis Godolphin Osborne in the peerages, Godolphin was not one of his names (Gent. Mag. 1799, pt. i. p. 286; see also Journals of the House of Lords, xxxiv. 732). His 'Political Memoranda,' edited by Mr. Oscar Browning, throw an important light on fragmentary portions of English history of the latter part of the last century. They form apart only of the valuable collection of the 'Osborne Papers' preserved at the British Museum, which includes eight volumes of his official correspondence (Addit. MSS. 28059-68). Two comedies written by him (ib. 27917) and several of his letters (see Indices of ib. 1854-75 and 1882-7) are preserved in the same place. A portion of his political correspondence in 1784-5 and 1787-1790, including a number of letters to him from Pitt, is in the possession of the present Duke of Leeds (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. vii. pp. 2, 63-6).

Leeds married first, on 29 Nov. 1773, Lady Amelia, only daughter and sole heiress of Robert D'Arcy, fourth earl of Holderness, afterwards Baroness Conyers in her own right, from whom he was divorced by Act of Parliament on 31 May 1779. By his first marriage he had two sons — viz. George William Frederick, born on 21 July 1775,