George Selwyn  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

George Augustus Selwyn (11 August, 171925 January, 1791) was a British politician and member of the Hellfire Club. He served as a model for Edmond de Goncourt's novel La Faustin as the archetypical British sadist. See The Romantic Agony.


Selwyn was a man who 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 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.



  • 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.
  • 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  • George Augustus Selwyn (1719–1791) and France : unpublished correspondence, edited by Rex A. Barrell, Lewiston, N.Y., USA : E. Mellen Press, (c. 1990).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "George Selwyn" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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