Ireland, Philadelphia and the Re-Invention of America, 17601800. By Maurice J. Bric. (Portland, OR: Four Courts Press, 2008. Pp. xix, 363. Cloth, $65.00.) John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty. By Arthur H. Cash. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006. Pp. xiii, 482. Illustrations. Cloth, $37.50.) Reviewed by Andrew Shankman Some momentous developments occurred during the last third of the eighteenth century, and John Wilkes was certainly part of them. Arthur Cash has written an enjoyable biography of the libertine, civil libertarian, and popular symbol of protest. Cash's treatment seeks to remind those who might have forgotten that Wilkes was the eighteenth century's principal champion of free speech and a free press and the primary reason for the end of general warrants, warrants for arrest that did not need to name the parties charged. Cash's book, in part, seeks to explain how a Whig functionary became ``In May 1763 . . . what in English history is called a radical'' (118). Cash re-creates the bizarre, self-indulgent, and usually scatological circles in which Wilkes was happiest. These circles included leading lords, gentlemen, and cultural luminaries such as Diderot, Dr. Johnson and Boswell, Smollett, Garrick, and Hogarth. One
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Aug 19, 2010
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