Nothing without a Grievance

P.D.G. Thomas

  • Gentleman Radical: A Life of John Horne Tooke 1736-1812 by Christina Bewley and David Bewley
    Tauris, 297 pp, £42.00, June 1998, ISBN 1 86064 344 2

John Horne Tooke enjoyed two distinct political careers, under two different names: as John Horne in the age of the American Revolution, and as John Horne Tooke in that of the French Revolution. In both identities he attracted notoriety or fame, according to the prejudices of commentators. Extolled as a champion of liberty and mocked as a mischief-maker in countless cartoons and ballads, pamphlets and newspapers, Horne Tooke was a man who was well known in his own lifetime, but who made no permanent contribution to the cause of British liberty. After an initial flurry of attention in the early 19th century, he faded from historical consciousness.

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