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Selwyn, George Augustus

SELWYN, GEORGE AUGUSTUS (1719-1791), English wit, son of Colonel John Selwyn (d. 1751) of Matson, Gloucestershire, was born on the nth of August 1719. Educated at Eton and Oxford, he became member of parliament for the family borough of Ludgershall in 1.747, and from 1754, three years after he inherited Matson, to 1780 he represented Gloucester. In parliament he took no part in debate, but he managed to obtain two or three lucrative sinecures; in society he was very popular and won a great reputation as a wit. He is said to have been very fond of seeing corpses, criminals and executions, and Horace Walpole says he loved " nothing upon earth so well as a criminal, except the execution of him." He died in London on the 25th of January 1791. Like the eccentric duke of Queensberry Selwyn claimed to be the father of Maria Fagniani, who became the wife of Francis Charles Seymour, 3rd marquess of Hertford.

See T. H. Jesse, George Selwyn and his Contemporaries (1843-1844; newed., 1882); and S. P. Kerr, George Selwyn and the Wits (1909).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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