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John Horne Tooke

(1736—1812) radical and philologist


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(1736–1812)

British radical politician and philologist. In 1769 Tooke founded the Society of Supporters of the Bill of Rights, which was largely designed to pay John Wilkes's debts and get him into Parliament. In 1771 he founded the Constitutional Society to agitate for British parliamentary reform and self‐government for the American colonists. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, he associated himself with a denunciation of the British forces there as murderers, for which he was imprisoned. He supported the independent Whigs under William Pitt the Younger against the rival Whig faction of Charles Fox from 1783 until 1790, but the French Revolution led to public hostility to reformers, and as a leading member of the London Corresponding Society he was tried for treason but was acquitted in 1794.

Subjects: history.


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