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General Sir John Oswald, Paternal 2nd Cousin & His Link to Napoleon & The French Revolution

My 2nd cousin, General Sir John Oswald (1771-1840) is one of my more fascinating cousins (no offense to my living cousins!)  on my paternal side. Born in Scotland to a family of politicians (his father, my 1st cousin James Townsend Oswald) was an MP in the British Parliament, as was his father (the husband of my 8th great aunt) and grew up in Dunnikier House (now a hotel - picture to follow). His grandfather was also a Scottish politician.


John Oswald grew up in a privileged lifestyle and went to the prestigious French military academy, Brienne-Le-Chateau in 1785. While there he became close friend to Louis-Antoine Favelet de Bourrienne, the future secretary to Napolean. During his time in France John developed many close friendships and a love for the language and the country. The French Revolution resulted in the deaths of many of John's close friends and subsequently he developed a life long hatred for the French Republic and their beliefs.


In 1788 John returned to England and purchased a commission (a common practice in the 18th century) as a 2nd lieutenant in the 23rd Regiment of Foot.


John's military career was storied and too detailed to list here. However, it should be noted that John fought against the French during the Napoleonic wars and was instrumental in many significant victories. I often wonder if he thought of his good friend, Louis-Antoine whom he knew was with his enemy, Napoloen.


John was knighted Grand Cross of the Order of Bath as well as knighted Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.


John Oswald remained a popular figure in British society and politics until his death. John was noted for his bravery, good looks, public speaking abilities and literary tastes. John was married twice; first, in January 1812, to Charlotte, eldest daughter of the Rev. Lord Charles Murray-Aynsley, uncle of the Duke of Atholl, and when Charlotte died on February 22, 1827, he married her cousin, Emily Jane, daughter of Lord Henry Murray, in October of 1829.


One of John's daughters, Mary, married Richard Trotter, 10th of Mortonhall and 1st of Chaterhall (as listed in The Peerage), and their son, Henry Trotter became Major General Sir Henry Trotter. More about my cousin John's family will come in future posts.

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