Richard Oswald

1705 - 1784


One of the 'Citizens of the World', and co-owner of the Bance Island slave-trading factory in West Africa. Richard Oswald (1705-1784) was advisor to the British government on trade regulations and the conduct of the American War of Independence and was a British peace commissioner who negotiated the Peace of Paris in 1782. His wife, Mary Oswald was the daughter of Alexander Ramsay, and grew up in Jamaica. On her father's death she inherited his substantial estate and business. She returned to Britain with her mother, leaving the business in the hands of trustees. She died in 1788. She is the subject of a portrait by Johann Zoffany, 'Mrs Oswald' (1763-64) which is in the National Gallery. Her will, as Mary Oswald or Ramsay of Auchencruvie proved 19/12/1788, deals in detail with the settlement by her husband and her property but is silent on slave-property in Jamaica.


David Hancock, Citizens of the World (1995); PROB 11/1173/185.

Further Information

Mary Ramsay

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Portrait of Mrs Oswald by Zoffany, about 1763-4, acquired in 1938 by the National... 
notes →

Relationships (4)

Business partners
Business partners
Great-uncle → Great-nephew
Son-in-law → Father-in-law