Thursday, May 10, 2007

Imprisonment of John Wilkes provokes rioting

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1768 English journalist, political theorist and campaigner, John Wilkes, was imprisoned for writing an article for the North Briton severely criticizing King George III. This action provoked rioting in London.

Wilkes (1727 - '97) was an English radical, born in London, the son of the distiller Israel Wilkes. He was educated at Leiden, a school in Hertford and also privately. In 1747 he married Mary Meade and so came into possession of an estate and income in Buckinghamshire. He soon gained the reputation as something of a rake and was a member of The Hellfire Club, a club that celebrated sex and drinking and was attended by Benjamin Franklin. Wilkes was also the instigator of a prank that may have hastened its dissolution.

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