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Bowood Circle



The Bowood Circle was a loose, international group of intellectual figures drawn around the Earl of Shelburne (British Prime Minister in 1782-83, made marquess of Lansdowne in 1784), named after his residence at Bowood House, near Calne in Wiltshire. All its members had a common interest in political reform, some of whom were gifted their place in Parliament through Shelburne's patronage of a powerful faction of Whig members in Parliament. Sometimes, proposals from the circle were publicized in its house journal 'The Repository', edited by Benjamin Vaughan (1788-89). Other members included Jeremy Bentham, Francois d'Ivernois, John Dunning, Thomas Jervis and Jacques-Antoine Duroveray.

For a good account of Shelburne's links with Geneva and France, see Derk Jarrett, 'The begetters of Revolution: England's involvement with France, 1759–1789' (1973).