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44
Original Anecdotes.---John Wilkes, Esq.

(Jan in the management of public affairs, and lifh liberty. It was the latter circumstance, t that the jealousies which he occasioned be indeed, that gave a colouring to the future tween king and people, gave rise to many pursuirs of his life ; to the former, he was if not a l the misfortunes of the prosent indebted for a seat in parliament, aod a reign. Certain it is that his conduct regiment of militia. created a most formidable opposition, bot A standing army has always been contoined on constitutional motives, and that sidered as the opprobrium of liberty, and the most zealous advocates for the house a disgrace to a free country. To counterof Brunswick, entrenching themselves in balance this palpable defect in the system the revolution principles of 1688, com (for it is not inherent in our polity) Tome bated the doctrines and proceedings of generous spirits conceived the idea of a the favourite, with the same zeal that national and constitutional defonce. This that their ancestors had opposed the ty- plan, fo long scouted, and since, in a great ranny of the house of Stuart. It was this incafure, emalculated by subsequent regusingular circumstance that gave birth to the lations, was at length carried into cica, political career of the subject of these me. but not without inuch opposition, din moirs; and not only his own biography, considerable dissatisfaction on the side of but the history of the present times, is inti. the people. mately connected with the foregoing events. Mr. Wilkes, who was a great stickler

The father of Mr. Wilkes was an emi- for thic mcafure, made an offer of his fer nent distiller in Clerkenwell, where John vices in Buckinghamshire on this occa. is supposed to have been born, on the fion; and as he lived in great intimacy 28th of October, 1725. The elder fon with earl Temple, the then lord lieutenani, Ifracl, who is still alive, followed the same he foun became member for Aylesbury, business, and ultimately failed. The re- and colonel of the county regiment. Iz is cond, of whoin we now ircat, and who to be recorded among the other singula had received a liberal education early in anecdotes of his life, that nearly at the life, was a brewer ; but as he had, in a same time, he was expelled from the coe great nieasure, become unfitted by claf. office by the Houle of Commons, and disa fical pursuits from obtaining wealth as a mified from the other by a mandate from tradelian, it is more than probable that the first cxecutive magistrate. he would not have succeeded in his com The inember for Aylesbury soon para inercial pursuits. For, is it poflible to ticipated in the general resentmeni againk suppose, that the enthusiastic admirer of Jord Bute, and, poffeting a happy talent the elegant Tibullus, should relili the for fatire, contributed not a little to isdull round of business, in the neighbour. crease one hatred which lic hadevery where hood of St. Sepulchre's ! that he who excited. But this was not all; in th: banished care like Anaccron, and daily bitterness of his relentment, he accused quaffed the Falernian of Horace, fhould the nation, among whom that noblemen pay such a sedulous attention to the pro. was born, of an hereditary attachment to cels of fermentation, and be conversant in slavery, and, without much ceremony, ak all the properties of two-penny,porter, and tacked certain persons, who fondly hop ! brown-itout ? Disgust, accordingly, soon that their rank was not only too lofty has succeeded, as a necesary consequence, and plebeian animadversions, but even citthe golden dreams arising from the min- folsed all connection between guilt ad gieu fumes of hops and malt, vanished with thame. the mash-tub and the compting-houle. Mr. Wilkes began his carcer, as at

Mr. Wilkes was calculated, by nature, author, in 1762, and his first political education, and habit, for far different pur- publication, ar prefent known with cersuits, and he soon gratitied his inclinations. tainty, was intitled, “ Observations on Having married a daughter of the celebrat- che Paperi relative to the Rupture witů ed Dr. Mcad, the author of the Treatise on Spain." On the sth of Junc, in the same Poisons we find him exchanging the dull and year, he became the editor of a period. foggy atmosphere of the city for the thin- cal paper of much potoriety, called the ner and politer air of the west end of the “ North Biiton," which gare a particu.sk town. Possessed of a genteel fortune, clc- turn co, and not only influenced, the fugant manners, and a sparkling wit, he ture progress of his affairs, but actual y easily obtained the acquaintance of many decided the tenour of his whole life. No of the most fashionable people of the age. publication that ever came from the Eng. Educated in Whig principles, he was at lilh preis was read with more intereit, the same time an ardent affertor of Eng. or circulated with greater avidity than mbis,

3

798.] Original Anecdotes. John Wilkes, 19.

45 he Letters of Junius, and the works The crown - lawyers were accordingly of Paine, alone excepted. Nor were the on the watch, and some unguarded, per. etfccts disproportionate either to the end haps, improper expressions in No. 45– with which it was launched on the ocean for I write not an eulogium--afforded of popular opinion, or the high expec. ample opportunity for a profecution. titions that were conceived of its success.

It has luckily been always the fortune It was in vain that the minitters attempted of arbitrary councils, not only to render to oppofe its progre's, by means of the the means disproportionate to the end, buc * Briton t"and the " Auditor;' the lat to have recourse to odious measures for ter of which was conducted by Mr. Mure the attainment of their object. It was pay, a man of considerable parts, who, this very circumstance, that, in one age, in the course of his variegated life, has bercaved Charles of his life, James of his defended the arbitary principles inculcated crown; and, in another, endeared Mr. by a Tory adminiftration, and presented Wilkes to the nation. us with a Whig version of Tacitus. His Had a common action taken place against pen, however, on this occasion, was made the editor of the North Briton, and, after to drop from his hand, by the mere force due conviction, a moderate sentence been of ridicule alone, and his journal itself indicted, Mr. Wilkes would have been expired in the tiamcs of his own Florida. branded as a recorded libeller. It was durf t. He, however, did not fall alone, the illegal proceedings which occasioned for his patron foun lay protrate by his that gentleman to be considered as a sufside ; and although he was suspected of fering patriot, through whose fides the regulating the notions of the ministerial liberties of a whole nation were wounded. puppets long after he left the stage, yet, His, therefore, from that moment, ceased so obnoxious had he rendered himielf, to be a private cause--it was the cause of that, from this moment, he was forced to

the people. bid adieu, ac leati, to the oitensible ex On the soth of April, 1963, he was ercise of power.

arrested in the street, by a king's messenThe Thane was succeeded by Mr. ger, in consequence of a general warrant", Grenville, the father of the present lord against the authors, printers, and pub

Grenville and the marquis of Bucking- lishers of the North Briton, No. 45; and = ham ; who, partly from hatred to the au. carried to his own house. The publicity

thor, and partiv from animosity to his of the act having occalioned much noise, owo brother, with whom he had quar- he was instantly visited by a number of his relled (he is also said to have been insti- friends, and, among others, by Charles gated by another motive) determined, if Churchill, a fellow-labourer in the pohe could not suppress, the publication, litical vineyard, whom he saved from imthat he should, at least, punish the editor. prisonment, by that presence of mind

which never deferted hiin on trying oco * Smollet was the editor.

casions. In the mean time, he delired two + Such as wish to be better acquainted with other gentlemen to repair to tne court this infance of literary jockeyshift, are referred of Common Pleas, and I've out a writ to a note in p. 52, vol. 1, of Bell's second of Habeas Corpus, in consequence of his edition of Churchill's works, or to the Nurth being detained a prisoner in his own Briton. Here follows the epitaph occafioned houle, by an illegal arrest. by the discomfiture of the “ Auditor;" and it

As lord Halifax did nor choose to promay be necessary to premise that this event was produced by a waggish letter signed Viator," in which the advantages derived from the por

* (Copy) sellion of Florida (obtained by the peace of

L. S. “George Mountague Dunk, Earl of Paris) are ironically pointed out, particularly

“ Halifax, Viscount Sunbury, &c. the peats and turf, that were to warm the poor

“ These are in his majetty's name to authoAmerican planters in the winter season!

rise and require you (taking a constable to your

allistrace) to make itrict and diligent search Siste, VIATOR,

after the authors, printers, and publishers of a fe. “ Deep in this bog, the Auditor lies fill, His iabours finithod, and worn-out his quill; Britón, Number 45, Saturday April 23d, 1763,

ditious and treasonable paper, entitled the North His fires extinguisn'd, and his works unread,

printed for George Kearlley, Ludgate-street, In peace he sleeps with the forsaken dead! With heath anú jedge, oh! may his tomb London, and them or any of them having found,

to apprehend and seize, together with their be diert,

papers, and to bring in safe custody before me,
And his own turf lie light opon his breaft."
Er quocunque volunt animum Auditorisagunto. “ Dire led to Nathan Carrington, &c.

HOR.
(Signed)

Dunk Halifax.”

cced

&c.

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Original Anecdotes.- Johx Wilkes, Esq. ceed dire&tly to extremities, he sent fe- all the rigour of royal vengeance, havia veral polite messages to Mr. W. requeft. been actually diliniiled from his situati ing his company; but the latter resolutely of colonel of the Buck's Militia, by retused, and could not be prevailed upon mandare *, with which the lord lieuterze to repair to his lord thip’s house, until he reluctantly complied. But this was st was threatened with personal violence, all; an attempt to disgrace, was foon fo and given to understand, that a regiment lowed by another, calculated to ruin him of guards would, if necessary, be called it proved, however, contrary to ali hiin. On this, he proceeded in a chair, at man calculation, to be the basis on whics tended by the mellengers and their fol. he erected the cdifice of his future fa. lowers ; he, however, refuled to answer tune. any questions whatever, and treated lord In the course of next term, an informi. Egremont, the other secretary of fate, arion was filed a ainst him, in the King's who exhibited too much of the intolence of Bench, as author of the North Brico, office, in his demeanour, with great No. 45 ; and, on the meeting of paris fpirit.

ment, being voted “a fa se, scandalon, On his being committed to the Tower, and sedirious libel," it was ordered to he was presied to stier bail; but he stre: burned by the hands of the common hang. nuoully reruted, as it would have looked man; a sentence which was carried out like an acquiescence in the injustice of ex cut on, with much difficulty,in the cit ; the proceedings again't him, al: hough two when Mr. Sheriff Harley, who displayed. noblemen offered to become fureties to the great ze l on the ocGion, was mal-treates : amount of 100,000!. each. In confe- and even wounded by the populace. quence of frict orders for that purpole, Mr. Wilkes haviny, in his turn, corr. he was kept a close profoner; and earl Tein- plained to the house of a breach of pripi. ple, and the rest f his friends, denied ac- le ze, was not only refufel redress, out a ceis to him, until two bubrajis were relclurion paffert, "that the privilege of " ifiued, the first having been evased vy parliament des not extend to the cate of cicnery. At, Jengi, on Tuetulay, the writing and publithing sedirious libek, 3rd of Vav, he was brought up to the bar noir ought to be allowed to obitruct the of in Common Pleas, where, in an ap- ordinary course of the laws, in the steady pofie freich, he c m larved of the vio- and effectual protecution of so heinous and latinn ri the laws, ank' aliere!, that he dangerous an offence.” hai itin titatud thru if he liar Somit word 11.14 poffit on this occa. ban a Scotch ribel."

fion, in conjuntiata with usage in the I he coure having taken time to det- North Brion, occafired a duei between berare, he was remanded, and brough? Mr. Wick and Mr. Martin, meinber top once more, on the hill, when the lord for Cumelferd, and late secretary to the chief jistice, fir Charles Pratt, afte: wards Treatury, wnich took place ir: Hyde Park, ford Cimden, ordered him to be dif. the 16th of D..cnber. The representas charged. Fluthed with this victory, in tive of Aylesbury behrved with great gathe course of that very night, he wrote a lanty on this occation, and the wound he bitter and farcastic letter to the two fecre- reccised in the groin greatly encreased taries of state, in which, after recapitu- the number of his partisans, who were Jaring the circumitances relative in the plealed with his fpirit, and considered him feizure of his paper's, be demanded the as a inartyr in the public caule. reftitution of thein, under the title of Soon after he found it neretary. to re“ftolen gonds, and rciuaily applicd to tire to France; but this did not in the Bow-freer, for a warrant to search their Ical tend to abaze the viodictive spirit of houses, in order to recover poffeffion of his property, which had been felonio'sly

(Copy) iaken aivay. It may be calily lupporei!,

“ My lord, Whitehall, May 4, 1763. ! 1ht a magistrare, under the immediate

“ The king having judged it improper, that influence of the ministry, refuted his John Wilkes, Esq. th muld any longer continue countenance to this proceding; bit re to be colonel of the militia for th: county of Creife was soon his to a lugher autho- Buckingham, I am commanded to fignify his riy, and airple farissaction secuived. majesty's pleasure to your lordship, that you do

While Mr. Wilkes wis yet in the forthwith give the necesiary orders for displac. Tower, unlawfully imprisoned, and un- ing Nir. Wilkes as an officer for the militia, convicted, therefore, in the eye of the for the county of Buckingham

“ I am, &c. law, fuppused to be it once innocent and

• To the Earl Ter.ple." " EOREMONT 0;pesc, he was deemed to experience

his

ins, he

98.]

Original Anecdotes.--- John Wilkes, Esq. 47 enemies : for on the 19th of January, bench itself, although surrounded by mace 64, we find him expelled the Com- bearers and tipstaves, sacred from the ins, and a new writ was immediately fury of an incensed multicude. dered to be issued for Aylesbury. The No sooner was this neceflary prelimi, base of Peers also thought its privi- nary achieved, than the action against lord jes violated, in the persons of the bie Halifax, who had hitherto pleaded the әр of Gloucester, whose name had been out-lawry as a bar, was recomıncnced, ixed, as editor to an obscene pamphlet, and a verdiet of 40001. obtained. This inted at Mr. Wilkes's private press and fum, together with 1000l. recovered from hibited a remarkable relentinent on that Mr. Wood, the under secretary of state, count. In addition to this, he was

and the amount of the verdicts, damages, and guilty, in the court of King's and costs of fuit, were all paid out of the mich, of the republication of the “North civil lift, by an express order of couniron, No 45, with notes," and for cil! inting and publishing the “Eflay on To balance the victory, he was doomed lomao.” Of the firit of these produc- to suffer a fresh profecution. His long

was avowelly the editor ; and rigorous imprisonment having coit as to the second, which is a parody on sured the indignation of all liberal and inpe's Eflay on Man, he was no fariber dependent men, and enflamed large boimunal than by allowing twelve copies to dies of the populave to a degree of frenzy printed at his apartments : the realau. little short of madnets, many riots cvok or was a son of an archbishop of Can- place, and St. George's-filds became the rbury! In both instances, the works scene of much confufion. There were question were obtained by the bafest

two legai modes of proceeding in this aud, his own servants having been cafe. The first, most gracious and af. ibed and fuborned for that very pur. furedly most politic, would have been a ple.

spontaneous exercise of the royal mercy, At length, a change of ministry having which, by its extenson' to the prisoner, ken place, and the parliament being would have diffolved the affociations eniffolved, Mr. W. returned iú his native tered into for his protection and support, untry; and not withstanding me terrors and left himn without complaint, and, Fan outlawry, actually stood candidate confequentiy, without aducrents. The ar the firft city in the empire, and only ficond was the constitutional employment oft his clction by a mall majority. He of the civil power, in order to keep the roved more tuccessful in the first county, peace, and, in cate of infraction, to punish she was returned a knight of the thic the otkinders. A third was, however, or Middlesex, after a great and decitive recurred to, unknown to our ancient law:, onteft.

equivocal in its nature, and problema:i. Tbe violated laws were, however, till calin its application ; this was the calling

be atoned for, and!, accordingly, the in a military force, a measure ftrenuously jew member, with his usual intrepidity, recuminended by lord Weymouth, then oluntarily furrendered himself, in the Secretary of late, and as warnıly comourt of King's Bench, on April 20h, bated bv Avr. Wilkes. This produced 768; and on Saturday moming, June a second expulsion, and as one injustice. 8ın, fentence was pronounced; in con- naturally leads to anor iner, gave birth to equence of which he was imprisoned for the noniination of Mr. Lutereil

, now wenty-two calendar months, and oblig, lord Carhampton, as the fitting inemter ::d to pay a fine of roocl. He found for Middles x, alchnuch Mr. Wilkes was neans, however, to get his out-lawry duly returned i;y the thuriffs, and fairly "everied, and this was accomprished clected by an imienie majority. with less difficulty than had been ex If be was excluded however from

pected, as lord Mansfield, who, on great parliamentary, civic hon: vurs poured occasions, exhibited evident symptoms of thick, upor hiin. While immured with timidity, was alarmed at the odium at. in the walls of a prifon (in 1759) ne tached to all those cocernou in the pro was elected alderman of Farringdon ceedings, and did not, perhaps, think the Withiour, the most contiderable and.

patriotic ward in the metropolis. Tivo A similar case to that of Capt. Perry, kiu years afterwards, he aspired to and obe Languishing in the prison of Newgate, had not then tained the dignity of the shrievalty, ard occurred, or it might have been urged as a pre- in 1974, he wa elevated to the city choice tedent!' The situation of this gentleman is in all thete sillerene itirons, he exerparticularly hard.

cik1

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48

Original Anecdotes. Mr. Wilkes.

(Ja

cised the magisterial functions, with hare considered himself as an AIR
great fpirit and integrity, and in the guilhed volcano !" !
last of them, he incurred freth * debts, In his person, Mr. Wilkes was tz!
by supporting the honour of his station.

agile, and so very thin towards the la.
While oppressed by the accusation of ter part of his life, that his limbs (teniei
ministers, the gale of popular attachment cadaverous. His complexion was fr
fet in strongly in his favour, and he was low, and he had an unfortunate cast of t:
never so great, or perhaps so happy, eyes, that rendered his face particular
as when afflicted by the persecution of liable to be caricatured. The ministry
the court. His causc was supported by of that day were fo sensible of the 26-
the best and ablelt men in the kingdom; vantages to be derived from this specs
his debts were more than once paid by the of ridicule, that Hogarth * was adie
generous care of his friends, and every bought off from the popular party, by
immediate want was anticipated by the means of a penfion, and earned a ..
ardour of their bounty to Bur this was honourable reward, by employing
not all: they were determined to procure graver in facrising his former friend
him a more permanent provifion, and Norwichitanding the defects of his perka
according.v started him as a candidate for Mr. Wilkes at one time actually set
the lucrative office of chamberlain of the fashions, and introduced blue iar printing
city of London. Mr. Hopkins however on his return from France in 1769.
prevailed, notwithfanding his character Towards the latter part of his life, to
was tainted rep:Eling fome money ne became regardless of his dress, and I,
gotiations with a minor; and an annual wardrobe for the last fifteen years
contett took place until his death, which to have confiliud of a faded liarlet (
occurred in 1779, fince which period white cloth waistcoat and breeches, and
Mr. Wilkes cccupied that fituation, for a pair of military boots, in which he sa
the remainder of his lite.

accustomed to walk three or four timo'
Duricg the whole of the American a week, from Kensington to Grofvoor'
war, he was a ftrenuous opposer of lord square, and from Grosvenor square **,
North's adminitration, and heartily Guildhall. Like most of the old felis, to
joined his own personal cncmies in op- never descended from the dignicy of a cari
posing the measures, aud displaying the bat, and it is but of late that he abjured one
guilt of that justly odious ftatelman. long exploded fathion of wearing a guit
No sooner was the noble lord hunted burton and loop.
into the toils, and brought within the His ready vit was proverbial, and it
reach of a punillament, from which he never mited an opportunity of tzing
e!caped, in consequence of the cagerness jocular, at the expence of his colleagues
displayed in dividing the spoils of the Sometimes lie would disconcert the gizei
delinquent, than Mr. Wilkes seized that vity of a city feast by his fatire ; and
opportunity of procuring justice to the when he told the late alderman Burro
public and to himself, respecting the (formerly a bricklayer) who seemed
Middlesex election. The day this scan- be unable to manage a koife, in the fo.
dalons decision was rescinded from the
journals of the house of commons, may " When that great charter which va
be faid to have been the last of his poli- With thcir beit blood, was into question brogle

fathers bought,
tical career. Indeed, from that moment,
he seems to have fupposed his milion at

When big with ruin, o'er each Englith head, an end, and in his own expreis words to

Vile llavery hung fufpended by a thread,
When liberty, all tren.bling and aghaft,

Fcard for the future, knowing what was pafi. * These were the only debes incurred in the When ev'ry breaft was chill'd with deep deipat, public fervice, and I underttand that they have TH' reason pointed out that Pratt was there, been all liquidated.

Lurking most ruffian-like behind a screen,
† Among other presents received by him So plac'd all things to see, himself unseen,
was a cup of cool. value, made by Mr. Ste Virtuc with due contempt saw Hogarth ftanl.
phenson, of Ludgare hill, on which he cauted The murd'rous pencil in his pally'd hand
the following lines to be engraved:

What was the cause of liberty to him,
u Proud Buckingham, for law too mighty grown, Or what was honour' let them fink or swim,
A patrio! dosse prob'd, and from the throne So he may gratify without control,
Sever'd its mirion. In lecceding times,

The mean relentments of his felfith foul:
May all those favourites who adopt his crimes Lci freedom perith, if to freedom true,
Partake his fate, and ev'ry Villiers teel In the same ruin Wilkes may perish too."
The keen deep learchings of a Feltoo's steel.”

Churchill's cpif. to Hogarth

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