The late-18th century was remarkable for radical and revolutionary fervour, fierce controversy, strident polemic, violent uprising, revolution and revolutionary war, and John Horne Tooke's life mirrored this ferment and turbulence. He was the only man in England to be imprisoned for supporting the American Revolution; his enthusiasm for the French Revolution landed him in court; he was a principal agitator for parliamentary reform; and his support for John Wilkes in the famous victory in the Middlesex election was vital. He was a close associate of the greatest radicals of the time, including Burdett, Godwin and Tom Paine, and an unrivalled polemicist and brilliant conversationalist. Drawing on manuscript sources in Britain and America, and contemporary newspapers and periodicals, this biography provides an account of a central figure in the ministerial, extra-parliamentary and journalistic politics of his day.
Christina Bewley and David Bewley are historians specializing in the eighteenth century.
Early life; Wilkes and liberty; quarrels with Wilkes and Junius; trial for libel - support of American Revolution; life renewed -parliamentary reform, William Tooke; the radical movement during the French Revolution; social life and sunday dinners, political polarisation; war with France; arrest and imprisonment in the Tower; trial for treason; last election campaign - Burdett; election to Parliament; the diversions of Purley; social life, more Westminster politics; last years.