John Wilkes was a distinguished statesman and member of Parliament. Also, he was a fearless political writer who was violently opposed to the oppressive measures of Great Britain against her American Colonies. In 1763 he published a severe attack on the government in the "North Briton" newspaper. As a result, he was sent to the Tower where he was ultimately acquitted. Later, he sued for and recovered five thousand dollars damages and then went to Paris. In 1768 he returned to England where he was elected a member of Parliament. In his private character he was licentious, but his eminent talents, energy, and fascinating manners made him a great favorite with the people. He died at his seat in the Isle of Wight in 1797, aged seventy years. Wilkes County North Carolina was named for him.
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