Westminster riots in favour of Wilkes

(128 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Wilkes returned from his Paris exile to London in February 1768 and sought a parliamentary seat for the Cty of London, and failed. He then stood for a seat in the County of Middlesex. Ably supported by the radical Horne Tooke, he succeeded in the election, not least by calling upon an intimidating army of 6000 Spitalfields weavers to cow any opposition. No sooner was Wilkes elected than on 27th April 1768 he surrendered to Lord Mansfield, the Chief Justice, but he was promptly freed on the grounds that the warrants were invalid. On 14th June 1768 he was finally sentenced to two years imprisonment for his 1764 convictions, notably for publishing The North Briton and his pornographic essay.

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Editors. "Westminster riots in favour of Wilkes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 March 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=12908, accessed 30 September 2016.]