George Augustus Selwyn (politician)
George Augustus Selwyn (11 August 1719 – 25 January 1791, age 71) was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Parliament of Great Britain.
He was the eldest surviving son of John Selwyn, MP of Matson House by Mary, the daughter of General Thomas Farrington. He was educated at Eton College and Hart Hall, Oxford (1739) and studied law at the Inner Temple (1737). He succeeded his father in 1751, including the inheritance of Matson House in Gloucester.
Selwyn spent 44 years in the House of Commons without being recorded as making a speech. He put his electoral interest, as the person who controlled both seats in Ludgershall and one in Gloucester, at the disposal of the King's ministers (whoever they might be), because he was financially dependent on obtaining (a total of three) sinecure offices and a pension, which offset his expenses of bribing the electorate, and his gambling debts.
He was MP for Ludgershall in 1747–1754 and for the constituency of Gloucester 1754–1780. After he lost his interest in Gloucester, Selwyn was again member for Ludgershall from 1780 until his death in 1791. He was Mayor of Gloucester for 1758 and 1765.
He was also elected for the Scottish constituency of Wigtown Burghs in 1768, when he thought he might be defeated at Gloucester. He was the first Englishman to be elected to Parliament by a constituency in Scotland. He chose to retain the English seat.
He was known for his fascination with the macabre and other forms of sexual eccentricity. When Selwyn visited a dying Henry Fox, he was refused admission. When Fox learned of this he quipped, "If Mr. Selwyn calls again, show him up. If I am alive, I shall be glad to see him, and if I am dead, I am sure he will be delighted to see me!"
He died unmarried in 1791 and was buried in the Selwyn vault at St. Katherine's church, Matson, Gloucester on 6 February 1791. However, the vault has since been filled in and the brass plate from his coffin is now to be found on a wall inside the church. He left his estate to his adopted daughter, Maria Emilia Fagnani, who married Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford.
- George Augustus Selwyn and Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (c.1770) by Sir Joshua Reynolds is in the possession of the present Earl of Carlisle at Castle Howard, Yorkshire.
- George Augustus Selwyn at the age of fifty-one by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, a pastelle drawn in 1770. This drawing is also in the possession of the Earl of Carlisle at Castle Howard.
- George Augustus Selwyn (1776) by Sir Joshua Reynolds was displayed at the Tate Gallery between 26 May and 18 September 2005 in the exhibition Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity
- History of Parliament: House of Commons 1754–1790, by Sir Lewis Namier and James Brooke (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1964)
- Jesse, John Heneage, George Selwyn and his contemporaries, London : Bickers & Son, 1882, 2nd ed.; 1st edition, 1843–1844
- George Selwyn; his letters and his life, edited by E.S. Roscoe and Helen Clergue, London, 1899.
- Sherwin, Oscar, A gentleman of wit and fashion: the extraordinary life and times of George Selwyn, New York : Twayne Publishers, (1963).
- George Augustus Selwyn (1719–1791) and France : unpublished correspondence, edited by Rex A. Barrell, Lewiston, N.Y., USA : E. Mellen Press, (c. 1990).
- The Ghosts of Piccadilly, Chapters IV & XIV, by G. S. Street, London: Constable & Company Ltd.
- Wilson, Colin (1988). The Misfits: A study of Sexual Outsiders. Grafton. p. 17.
- BBC History Magazine. February 2011 vol 12 no 2 pp 53–54. "George Selwyn, a necrophiliac, gay transvestite, sat mute, loved, and undisturbed in the House of Commons for 44 years."
- Tillyard, Stella (1995). The Aristocrats. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- "Review of George Selwyn; his letters and his life edited by E.S. Roscoe and Helen Clergue". The Athenæum (3768): 75–76. 20 January 1900.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Augustus Selwyn.|
- Works by George Augustus Selwyn at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about George Augustus Selwyn at Internet Archive
- "Selwyn, George Augustus (1719-1791)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- "Selwyn, George Augustus. An English wit". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Selwyn, George Augustus (wit)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 615.
- George Selwyn: His Letters and His Life, E. S. Roscoe and Helen Clergue eds., London, 1899
- George Selwyn and the Wits, S. Parnell Kerr, London, 1909
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
With: Thomas Farrington
Sir John Bland
|Member of Parliament for Gloucester
With: Charles Barrow
Sir Peniston Lamb
Lord George Gordon
|Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
With: Sir Peniston Lamb 1780–1784
Nathaniel Wraxall 1784–1790
Hon. William Assheton Harbord 1790–1791
Hon. William Assheton Harbord