Richard Onslow, 1st Baron Onslow

Richard Onslow, 1st Baron Onslow

Infobox Officeholder
name = Sir Richard Onslow

imagesize = 200px

caption =
order = Speaker of the British House of Commons
term_start = 1708
term_end = 1710
vicepresident =
viceprimeminister =
deputy =
president =
primeminister =
predecessor = John Smith
successor = William Bromley
order2 = Chancellor of the Exchequer
term_start2 = October 13, 1714
term_end2 = October 12, 1715
vicepresident2 =
viceprimeminister2 =
deputy2 =
president2 =
primeminister2 =
predecessor2 = William Wyndham
successor2 = Robert Walpole
order3 = Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty
term_start3 = June 5, 1690
term_end3 = April 15, 1693
vicepresident3 =
viceprimeminister3 =
deputy3 =
president3 =
primeminister3 =
predecessor3 =
successor3 =
order4 = Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
term_start4 = 1716
term_end4 = 1717
vicepresident4 =
viceprimeminister4 =
deputy4 =
president4 =
primeminister4 =
predecessor4 = John Campbell
successor4 = Thomas Onslow
birth_date = birth date|1654|6|23|mf=y
birth_place = flagicon|ENG Surrey, England
death_date = death date and age|1717|12|5|1654|6|23|mf=y
death_place =
constituency =
party = British Whig Party
spouse =
profession =
religion =

footnotes =

Richard Onslow, 1st Baron Onslow, PC (June 23 1654 – December 5 1717), was a British Whig member of parliament, known as Sir Richard Onslow, 2nd Baronet from 1688 until 1716. He served as the Speaker of the House of Commons from 1708 until 1710 and as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1714 until 1715. Onslow was a very unpopular figure amongst members of both political parties, particularly during his time as Speaker. He was extremely pedantic and showed an absolute devotion to principle, as a result he was given the nickname "Stiff Dick".

Onslow's father, Arthur, was a politician, as was his maternal grandfather Thomas Foot, who had served as the Lord Mayor of London in 1649. He was born in Surrey and attended St Edmund Hall, Oxford before being called to the Inner Temple, however he entered parliament as the member for Guildford in 1679 before he could be called to the bar. One of Onslow's first actions as a member of parliament was to support the Exclusion Bill, which aimed, unsuccessfully, to deny the Catholic James II of England the British throne.

Onslow was an active back-bencher during his early years in parliament, and his increasing notoriety as a moderate Whig led to him being nominated for the position of Speaker in 1701. He was unsuccessful in this bid, losing out to the Tory candidate, Robert Harley. However, Onslow managed to attain the position of Speaker seven years later, in 1708. He proved to be a poor Speaker as he made no effort whatsoever to show any kind of neutrality, a fact which upset all but the most fervent Whigs. Onslow's pedantism as Speaker also enhanced his unpopularity. The most famous incident during his Speakership came during the trial of the preacher Dr. Henry Sacheverell, in which Onslow played a large part. When Onslow took the Commons to the House of Lords to hear their judgment on the case he challenged Black Rod on a trifling point of privilege, delaying the proceedings somewhat, which infuriated almost everyone in attendance. Onslow's unpopularity by this point was such that he failed to retain his seat in the 1710 election. In order to remain in the Commons he was forced to sit for a rotten borough.

Onslow regained much of his political favour four years later. Upon the death of Queen Anne in 1714 Onslow was a vocal advocate of a Protestant successor, in return for his support Onslow was rewarded by being named as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position he held for around a year before resigning.



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