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Bosville, William (1745–1813), society host and radical, was born on 21 July 1745, the eldest son of Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite, Yorkshire, and his wife, Diana, the eldest daughter of Sir William Wentworth, baronet, of West Bretton. Bosville was able to trace his family back to the reign of ...

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Charles Buller (1806–1848) by Edward Scriven, pubd 1840 (after Bryan Edward Duppa) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Buller, Charles (1806–1848), politician and wit, was born in Calcutta on 6 August 1806, the son of Charles Buller (1774–1848), civil servant in India and politician, and his wife, Barbara Isabella Kirkpatrick (d. 1849), daughter of Major-General William Kirkpatrick of the East India Company...

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Dick, Quintin (1777–1858), politician and socialite, was born in March 1777 in Dublin, the eldest of four children of Samuel Dick (d. 1802), East India proprietor and merchant, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Nicholas Forster of Tullaghan, co. Monaghan, Ireland. Educated at ...

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Earle, Giles (c. 1678–1758), politician and wit, was born about 1678 at the family residence, Eastcourt House, Crudwell, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, the sixth son of Sir Thomas Earle MP, a merchant and mayor of Bristol, and his wife, Elizabeth Ellinor Jackson. He was educated at the ...

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James Hare (bap. 1747, d. 1804) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, c. 1774–5 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hare, James (bap. 1747, d. 1804), social celebrity and politician, was baptized on 9 April 1747 at Somerton, Somerset, the second son of Joseph Hare, an apothecary at Wells, and his wife, Frances. For many years he was wrongly identified as the son of one ...

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Hay, Robert William (1786–1861), civil servant and dilettante, was born and baptized on 9 January 1786 in Brodsworth, Yorkshire, the eldest child of George William Auriol Hay-Drummond (1761–1807)—himself the youngest son of George Henry Hay, eighth earl of Kinnoull—author, poet, prebendary of ...

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Selwyn, George Augustus (1719–1791), wit and politician, was born on 11 August 1719 and baptized at Chislehurst, Kent, on 25 August, the second son of the three children of John Selwyn (1688–1751) of Matson, near Gloucester, and Mary (1690/91–1777), daughter of General Thomas Farrington...

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George Augustus Selwyn (1719–1791) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766 private collection

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Sharp, Richard [called Conversation Sharp] (1759–1835), politician and wit, was born in the garrison of St John's, Newfoundland, the elder son of Richard Sharp (1737–1765), a British army officer, and Elizabeth Adams (1739–1799), a citizen of St John's. He was related to the ...

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Villiers, George, second duke of Buckingham (1628–1687), politician and wit, was born on 30 January 1628 at Wallingford House, Westminster, the third child of George Villiers, first duke of Buckingham (1592–1628), courtier and royal favourite, and Lady Katherine Manners (later Katherine MacDonnell; 1603?–1649), eldest daughter of the ...

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George Villiers, second duke of Buckingham (1628–1687) by John Michael Wright, 1669 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London