George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield

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George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield
For other people named George Parker, see George Parker (disambiguation).

George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield, PRS (c. 1695 or 1697 – 17 March 1764) was an English peer and astronomer.

Styled Viscount Parker from 1721 to 1732, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Wallingford from 1722 to 1727, but his interests were not in politics. In 1722 he became a fellow of the Royal Society, and he spent most of his time in astronomical observations at his Oxfordshire seat, Shirburn Castle, which had been bought by his father in 1716; here he built an observatory and a chemical laboratory.

He was very prominent in effecting the changeover to the Gregorian calendar, which came into effect in 1752. His action in this matter, however, was somewhat unpopular, as the opinion was fairly general that he had robbed the people of eleven days. When his son ran for parliament as a Whig in 1754, resentment over his role in the calendar reform was one of many issues raised by the son's Tory opponents; a famous 1755 Hogarth painting influenced by the events of these elections is the main historical source for the "Give us our eleven days" slogan.

From 1752 until his death, Macclesfield was president of the Royal Society, and he made some observations on the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

In 1750 Macclesfield was offered the honorary position of vice president of the Foundling Hospital, which he accepted and kept until his death in 1764. The Foundling Hospital was a charitable institution created a decade earlier, dedicated to saving London's abandoned children. The Earl seems to have taken his position seriously, as he commissioned the artist Benjamin Wilson to paint a full size portrait of him, which he then donated to the Hospital. The portrait is still in the Foundling Hospital Collection and available to view at the Foundling Museum.

In 1755, Parker was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He also was a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • R.H. Nichols and F A. Wray, The History of the Foundling Hospital (London: Oxford University Press, 1935).
  1. ^ Hill, Elisabeth (1961). Whyte, Lancelot Law, ed. "Roger Boscovich: A biographical essay". Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J., F.R.S., 1711-1787: Studies of his life and work on the 250th anniversary of his birth: 41. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Hucks
Henry Grey
Member of Parliament for Wallingford
1722–1727
With: William Hucks
Succeeded by
William Hucks
George Lewen
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Torrington
Teller of the Exchequer
1719–1763
Succeeded by
George Grenville
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Parker
Earl of Macclesfield
1732–1764
Succeeded by
Thomas Parker