SHUCKBURGH (afterwards SHUCKBURGH EVELYN), Sir George Augustus William, 6th Bt. (1751-1804), of Shuckburgh Park, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Aug. 1751, 1st s. of Lt.-Col. Richard Shuckburgh of Limerick by Sarah, da. of Capt. John Hayward, RN, of Plumstead, Kent, wid. of Edward Bate. educ. Rugby 1760; Balliol, Oxf. 1768-72; Grand Tour 1772-5. m. (1) 2 July 1782, Sarah Johanna (d. 10 Apr. 1783), da. of John Darker† of Gayton, Northants., s.p.; (2) 6 Oct. 1785, Julia Annabella, da. and h. of John Evelyn of Felbridge, Surr., h. in 1796 of her uncle George Medley† of Buxted Place, Suss., 1da. suc. fa. 1772; uncle as 6th Bt. 10 Aug. 1773; fa.-in-law 1793 and took additional name of Evelyn by Act of Parliament 17 Apr. 1794.
Shuckburgh, an independent country gentleman who in 1787 informed Pitt, ‘I feel I have the honour of the county of Warwick in my hands and I will surrender it to no individual on earth’,1 was returned unopposed for the county until his death. After supporting Pitt over the Regency, he voted with opposition on the Oczakov question, 12 Apr. 1791 (having been defeated in the ballot for the public revenue committee) and was listed ‘doubtful’ on Test Act repeal the same month. On 1 Mar. 1792, he was again in the minority on the Russian armament, but not subsequently, it seems, until 1795, when he voted for Fox’s motion for an inquiry into the state of the nation, 24 Mar., for Wilberforce’s peace motion, 27 May, and for Sumner’s amendment respecting the Prince of Wales’s debts, 1 June. He also supported Fox’s motion to defer the Austrian subsidy bill, 10 June. On 23 Aug. he informed his friend John Lloyd* that he was ‘sick’ of politics, but of the treason bills he remarked, 22 Nov. 1795: ‘They are pretty sturdy measures it must be confessed, but if their duration is limited to two or three years, the great sting of their objection I think will be removed’.2 He attempted to clear the gallery of the House when they were debated, but Sheridan foiled him: on 3 Dec. he joined his colleague in refuting Sheridan’s allegations about the obstruction of the Birmingham petition against the bills. He voted against the abolition of the slave trade on 15 Mar. 1796. The Treasury had doubts of his support by then. By 1797, Fox described him as voting ‘pretty steadily with us’, which he did on the Bank stoppage, 28 Feb., 1 Mar.; on Ireland, 23 Mar., and on the naval mutiny, 10 May. He was one of the ‘armed neutrality’ who tried through Lord Moira to secure a change of administration at that time. He voted for Harrison’s motion for retrenchment, 13 Mar.; against Pitt’s tax proposals, 4 Dec. 1797, 4 Jan., and against the land tax sale bill, 23 Apr. 1798. He was in a minority, in committee, against the grant for the Prince of Wales’s establishment, 8 Mar. 1799, and subsequently voted for Grey’s motions against the Irish union, 21, 25 Apr. 1800.3 He clashed with the Speaker, 21 Feb. 1801, over a petition he presented from some of his constituents complaining of the burden of poor relief in a time of manufacturing distress: he insisted that it was not a prayer for public money and secured its committal.
On 5 Mar. 1801 Shuckburgh Evelyn wrote to John Lloyd, lamenting the evils of the times:
What did you think of the ministers abandoning the helm in a moment of such danger, when the ship was striking upon the rock, to which they had conducted her? And for such a miserable pretext as the Catholic question? We have laws to prevent swindling—we have laws to prevent mutiny and desertion and do not you think that some of them should be put in force against these mutineers on board the sovereign?4
He was a silent friend of Addington’s administration (though absent on sick leave and believed to be at death’s door in the session of 1803) and was listed as such when Pitt returned to power shortly before his death, 11 Aug. 1804. One of the few subjects on which he spoke in the House was applied mathematics, on which he presented several papers to the Royal Society. As a member of the committee on Thomas Mudge’s timepiece, he spoke in the debate on Mudge’s public reward, 29 Apr. 1793, and on 9 Feb. 1796 he secured a committee on the public purchase of Dr John Hunter’s museum. He was also a keen astronomer and much surviving correspondence is on scientific matters. According to the Latin inscription on his tomb he exerted himself strenuously and indefatigably in Parliament, despite poor health.5 His only daughter married the Hon. Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson*.