George Duckett (politician)

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George Duckett (19 February 1684 – 6 October 1732) was a British Member of Parliament (MP), attorney, and literary combatant of Alexander Pope's.

Early life[edit]

The heir of a very rich Lord Mayor of London, Lionel Duckett (1511-1587), Duckett was educated at Trinity College, Oxford before being admitted to the Middle Temple.

Career[edit]

In 1705, Duckett was elected as one of the two members of parliament for Calne, in Wiltshire. He was re-elected in 1708 and 1722, and between 1722 and 1732 served as a commissioner of excise.

On 23 March 1711, he married Grace Skinner (c. 1690-1755), and the couple had nine children, eight of whom survived to adult life.

Duckett was a Whig who was a friend of Joseph Addison's, and he entertained Addison and some of Addison's "little senate" at his estates in Wiltshire. He was also a close friend of Thomas Burnet, and he and Burnet would collaborate on numerous satirical and political writings. In particular, the two teamed up to oppose Alexander Pope after the latter's disaffection with Addison and dispute with Ambrose Philips.

In 1715, Burnet and Duckett wrote Homerides, or, a letter to Mr. Pope, occasion'd by his intended translation of Homer; by Sir Iliad Doggerl, and in 1716 they wrote Homerides, or, Homer's First Book Moderniz'd. Pope accused them of attacking his translation of Homer prior to anything even being written, and with some justice, and Duckett continued the battle with An Epilogue to a Puppet Show at Bath Concerning the same Iliad by himself. Edmund Curll, in his battle against Pope, published the Epilogue. Pope's revenge appeared in The Dunciad of 1728, and in particular in the Dunciad Variorum. Because of their positions in government, Pope did not attack Duckett and Burnet by name in Dunciad itself, and he did not directly impugn them until the Variorum. Duckett and Burnet also funded and contributed to two weekly journals, The Grumbler and Pasquin. He was also the patron of one of Pope's other enemies, John Oldmixon.

In 1717, Duckett published an apolitical, professional work entitled A Summary of All the Religious Houses in England and Wales. It was an accounting of the values of each of the monasteries and convents at the time of the dissolution and their present value, if they were still available. It was this work that brought Duckett to the attention which led to his appointment as a commissioner of excise.

In 1729, Duckett and John Dennis together wrote anti-Popery booklet called Pope Alexander's Supremacy and Infallibility Examin'd.

He died at home on his Calne estate in 1732.

References[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Henry Chivers
Sir Charles Hedges
Member of Parliament for Calne
1705–1707
With: Edward Bayntun
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Calne
1707–1710
With: Edward Bayntun
Succeeded by
James Johnston
William Hedges
Preceded by
Sir Orlando Bridgeman
Richard Chiswell
Member of Parliament for Calne
1722–1723
With: Benjamin Haskins-Stiles 1722-1723
Edmund Pike Heath 1723
Succeeded by
Edmund Pike Heath
Matthew Ducie Moreton