John Wilkes
Historical Figure
Nationality: United Kingdom
Date of Birth: 1725
Date of Death: 1797
Cause of Death: Natural causes - marasmus
Religion: Anglicanism
Occupation: Politician, Author of Non-Fiction, Journalist, Judge, Poet, Police, Soldier
Spouse: Mary Meade (separated 1756, d. 1784)
Children: Three
Political Party: Radicals
Political Office(s): Member of Parliament for Aylesbury, then Middlesex;
Lord Mayor of London
Fictional Appearances:
The Two Georges
POD: c. 1763
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
Date of Death: Unrevealed

John Wilkes (17 October 1725 - 26 December 1797) was an English radical, journalist and politician.

In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of voters — rather than the House of Commons — to determine their representatives. In 1771 he was instrumental in obliging the government to concede the right of printers to publish verbatim accounts of parliamentary debates. In 1776 he introduced the first Bill for parliamentary reform in the British Parliament. Wilkes' increasing conservatism as he grew older caused dissatisfaction among radicals and was instrumental in the loss of his Middlesex seat at the 1790 general election. Wilkes then retired from politics and took no part in the growth of radicalism in the 1790s.

John Wilkes in The Two Georges[]

John Wilkes was depicted in the Thomas Gainsborough painting The Two Georges, even though he was not actually present at the event depicted.[1]


  1. The Two Georges, pgs. 28-29, MPB.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Potter, John Willes
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
1757-1764 (shared position)
Succeeded by
Welbore Ellis, Anthony Bacon
Preceded by
Sir William Beauchamp-Proctor, George Cooke
Member of Parliament for Middlesex
1768–1769 (shared position)
Succeeded by
John Glynn, Henry Luttrell
Preceded by
Frederick Bull
Lord Mayor of London
Succeeded by
John Sawbridge
Preceded by
John Glynn, Henry Luttrell
Member of Parliament for Middlesex
1774-1790 (shared position)
Succeeded by
William Mainwaring, George Byng