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In Their Own Words

February 05, 1741

Oglethorpe Challenged for Parliament Seat

Though James Oglethorpe’s family home was in the Surrey County town of Godalming, he was elected to the House of Commons from the nearby community of Haslemere. [See map] During his stay in Georgia, Oglethorpe remained a member of Parliament, but on this day his friend and fellow-Trustee, the Earl of Egmont, learned some sad news. Egmont’s son had decided to challenge Oglethorpe for his Haslemere seat, as noted in Egmont’s diary:

“My son told me this day that he was to go next Sunday with Mr. Boon to offer his service at Haslemere at next election, being both invited by the greatest number of voters. That he had 43 sure votes and the whole number are but 69. I told him, I was very sorry for it, because he would fling out Col. Oglethorpe, but his friends refused, and after all, it was as good he should be elected as another, for they had been hawking the borough, and if he had not stood another would, for the Colonel’s managers, who are two attorneys, had received the money given at former elections, and divided nothing to the electors but sunk it in their own pockets. That he agreed for a sum, but no purchase, no pay.”

Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. III, p. 188.