John Horne Tooke

Address on Libels, Case of John Horne
John Horne Tooke
1777

John Wilkes led Horne into politics, and in 1765 he brought out a scathing pamphlet on Bute and Mansfield, entitled "The Petition of an Englishman". The name Tooke was adopted in honor of a close friend by that name.

John Horne was an English Whig who played an influential role in British politics during the American War of Independence. He founded with John Wilkes an influential association, called "The Society for Supporting the Bill of Rights," mainly through the exertions of Horne, in 1769, but the members were soon divided into two opposite camps, and in 1771 Horne and Wilkes, their respective leaders, broke out into open dispute.

Early in 1771 he claimed for the public the right of printing an account of parliamentary debates, and after a long struggle, the right was definitely established. In the same year, Horne argued with the anonymnous Whig "Junius", to some effect.

For his conduct in signing the advertisement soliciting subscriptions for the relief of the relatives of the Americans "murdered by the king's troops at Lexington and Concord," he was tried at the Guildhall on 4 July 1777, before Lord Mansfield, found guilty, and committed to the King's Bench Prison in St George's Fields, from which he only emerged after a year's durance, and after a loss in fines and costs amounting to £1200. The document below is a report of that trial.

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Original date: 2005/7/12 —