SHUM, George (?1751-1805), of 29 Bedford Square, Mdx. and Berry Hill, nr. Dorking, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1796 - 28 Feb. 1805

Family and Education

b. ?Nov. 1751,1 s. of George Shum of Peckham, Surr. m. lic. 24 Aug. 1773, Ann, da. of Harman Samler, sugar refiner, of St. Andrew’s Hill, Thames Street, London, 1s. 4da.2 suc. fa. 1789.3

Offices Held

Dir. Phoenix Fire Office and Pelican Life Office.


Shum’s family was probably of German origin. By 1774 the firm of Shum and Son were in business as sugar refiners at 42 Lime Street, London. By 1791 it was known as Shum and Glover and three years later it had become Shum and Gibson. Shum’s son George, who made a runaway marriage with a neighbour’s daughter in 1795,4 was apparently also involved in the business, but the Shums seem to have withdrawn from it by 1804 when the firm became Gibson, Son & Co.

By 1791 Shum was also a partner in Gyfford’s brewery at Castle Street, Longacre. One of the other partners was Alderman Harvey Christian Combe*, whose opposition politics he shared. He joined the Whig Club in 1786 and, unlike his partner Thomas Gibson, did not sign the London merchants’ declaration of loyalty in 1795. He contested Wootton Bassett, unsuccessfully, with George Tierney in 1790. In 1796, when he assisted at Combe’s election for London,5 he stood as the third man for the venal borough of Honiton. Mary Anne Burges, a local resident, told her brother, 27 May:

the dissenters who form the third party in the town ... [have] produced a Mr Shum, said to have been sent them by one of the Jacobin clubs, and furnished with more money than either of his competitors.

On 31 May James Bland Burges replied:

Citizen Shum is a brewer and member of the Whig Club. By what I have heard of him his style of expense is such that he stands a good chance of soon trying how long a brewer may subsist upon Jacobin politics after his brew-house is run away.6

One of his ministerialist opponents took fright at the last minute and he was returned unopposed.

Shum, who was elected to Brooks’s on 19 Oct. 1796, voted with the Foxite opposition in the first session of the new Parliament and was in the minority in favour of Grey’s parliamentary reform motion, 26 May 1797. He participated in the Whig secession, his only recorded votes during the next three years being against the triple assessment, 4 Jan.; for inquiry into Ireland, 14 June 1798; in condemnation of the refusal to negotiate peace, 3 Feb., and against the Union, 21 Apr. 1800. He voted with opposition for a call of the House, 12 Nov.; for inquiry into the state of the nation, 27 Nov. 1800, and on the address, 2 Feb., the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb., and the state of the nation, 25 Mar. 1801; but he did not oppose Addington’s repressive legislation, and his next recorded votes were in support of the Prince of Wales’s claims to duchy of Cornwall revenues, 31 Mar., and an address of thanks for Pitt’s removal from office, 7 May 1802.

He was mentioned as a possible opposition candidate for London at the subsequent general election,7 but in the event he stood again for Honiton and topped the poll. He voted in favour of the Prince of Wales’s financial claims, 4 Mar., and for a council of general officers to accommodate the Prince’s military ambitions, 2 Aug. 1803. In March 1804 he was listed as a Foxite, but shortly before he had been named as one of the Whigs who, with Sheridan and Erskine, were threatening to desert Fox if he coalesced with the Grenvilles,8 and he is not known to have voted in the combined attack on the Addington ministry. In May and September 1804 ministers listed him as one of the Carlton House party. He opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804 and voted for an inquiry into the national defences, 21 Feb. 1805. Shum died suddenly, ‘aged 53’, 28 Feb. 1805.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. According to Farington, ii. 187.
  • 2. London mar. lic. For his children see his will (PCC 303 Nelson) and Gent. Mag. (1793), ii. 955; (1811), i. 288; (1815), i. 466; (1816), ii. 273.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1789), ii. 1058.
  • 4. Ibid. (1795), ii. 967; (1796), i. 80.
  • 5. Morning Chron. 4 June 1796.
  • 6. Bland Burges mss.
  • 7. Morning Chron. 19 June 1802.
  • 8. T. Moore, Sheridan, ii. 324.