Item MS087 - John Wilkes letter

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John Wilkes letter

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  • 22 October 1764 (Creation)
    Wilkes, John

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Manuscript, 22 p.

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Biographical history

John Wilkes, politician, man of fashion, and dilettante, was born in Clerkenwell on 17 October 1727 and educated by a Presbyterian minister, Leeson, at Alylesbury, Buckinghamshire before going on to the University of Leyden. Through marriage he gained an estate at Aylesbury and was before long separated from his wife. As a supporter of Pitt, he was returned in the general election of 1761, and together with Pitt's brother-in-law, he organized the Bucks. militia of which he was appointed colonel in June 1762. Foiled in his plan to either become an ambassador or the governor of Quebec, he began to write pamphlets, published anonymously, against the government. He was answered by Smollet in The Briton and helped to found The North Briton in order to have a vehicle for response. Its first issue was published on 5 June 1762. Wilkes had a very chequered career with repeated arrests, a conviction for libel, and a successful return to the House of Commons. The manuscript of 22 October 1764 was written in response to his conviction. He spent several years in exile in France. He died in London on 26 December 1796.

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Scope and content

A letter written by John Wilkes to "the worthy electors of the borough of Aylesbury in the county of Bucks" on 22 October 1764.

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A previous owner was Dan. Spurgeon of Emanuel College, Cambridge. Later provenance and date of acquisition are not known.


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Bound with the periodical The North Briton, 1-46.

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