James Townsend Oswald

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James Townsend Oswald (23 February 1748 – 3 January 1814) was a Scottish politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1768 and 1779.

Oswald was the son of James Oswald a politician of Kirkcaldy.[1] The Oswald family became the dominant force in Kirkcaldy politics in the 18th century and Dysart, the second largest burgh was controlled by the St. Clair interest. The combined Oswald and St. Clair influence often decided who was to be elected.

Oswald was elected Member of Parliament for Dysart Burghs in succession to his father in 1768 and was Secretary for the Leeward Islands in 1772. He lost the seat in 1774[2] when to his surprise a rich outsider bribed his way into Parliament. In 1776 Oswald was elected MP for Fife until he resigned on being appointed he was appointed Auditor of the Exchequer Scotland on 2 July 1779.

About 1790 he had built Dunnikier House, "a handsome mansion beautifully situated in a richly-wooded demesne".[3]

Oswald died at the age of 65. He married Janet Grey of Skibo Sutherland, who died in 1843. Their son was General Sir John Oswald and their daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.


Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Oswald
Member of Parliament for Dysart Burghs
Succeeded by
John Johnstone
Preceded by
John Scott
Member of Parliament for Fife
1776 – 1779
Succeeded by
Robert Skene