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Thomas Wakley

(1795—1862) medical journalist and politician


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(1795–1862), politician, medical reformer, founder and editor of the Lancet. Wakley first achieved notoriety when, as a young surgeon, he was falsely accused of decapitating the bodies of the Cato Street conspirators on the scaffold [see insurrection]. Friends of the hanged men assaulted him and burnt his house to the ground. His insurance company subsequently claimed that he was the arsonist, a charge he successfully defended in court. Wakley's sensational legal battle brought him into contact with William Cobbett, who encouraged him to embark on a career in medical journalism. In 1823 he founded the Lancet, a weekly newspaper which soon became a powerful vehicle for medical improvement and reform [see medicine, 18].

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From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).


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