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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,josepp A Ghost Story (34) RE: A Ghost Story 19 May 12

Did you know Wilkes-Barre was named after the British statesman John Wilkes who championed the cause of American independence along with Sir Francis Dashwood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was his cohort in the secret society called the Friars of St. Francis of Wycomb but more infamously (and incorrectly) known as the Hellfire Club, which Ben Franklin also joined?

Wilkes is one of the few men in history to successfully face down his king (George III) and win. He published a paper that championed Scottish independence in which he accused George of numerous offenses, made fun of his increasing madness, wrote a skit concerning a true incident which a trained horse backed up to the throne instead of away, and caused a riot by accusing the Earl of Bute of having an affair with the Queen Mother. He was exiled to France for a time after the Earl of Sandwich (another Hellfire member) declared him a traitor. At one point, he was introduced to Madame Pompadour and who asked him, "Monsieur Wilkes, how many times can an Englishman insult his king and still live?" To which Wilkes bowed low and replied, "That, madame, is what I am attempting to find out."

The common people turned against him after a riot in which they attempted to destroy the Bank of England which Wilkes prevented by assembling a ragtag militia and firing on the agitators. Destroying the Bank meant destroying the Empire--not that the rabble gave a shit since they were poor anyway.

Wilkes was so loved in America that Wilke-Barre and Wilkes County were named after him. Many Americans often named their male children John Wilkes including the parents of the man who would assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

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