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MASONIC BIOGRAPHIES
FAMOUS FREEMASONS
HELL-FIRE CLUB
John Wilkes
John Wilkes
Detail from a political flyer, 1768.
October 17, 1725 - December 26, 1797
"English political reformer known as the "Friend of Liberty." He led a profligate life. Founded The North Briton in 1762 and attacked Lord Bute and charged George III with falsehood. Was prosecuted for libel, but obtained verdict with damages for illegal arrest. Member of Parliament from 1757-64, being expelled the latter year for seditious libel. He then fled to the continent to escape trial, but returned in 1768; was elected to parliament; stood trial and was imprisoned from June, 1768 to April, 1770. He was then reelected to parliament and expelled three times, but finally gained his seat. He became the idol of the mob, rioting for "Wilkes and liberty." He was lord mayor of London in 1774. He championed the colonial rights in the American Revolution.
While in prison, on March 3, 1769, "Ye members of ye Lodge held at ye Jerusalem Tavern, in Clerkenwell, attended at the King's Bench Prison, and made Mr. Wilkes a Mason." This is now Jerusalem Lodge No. 197. The Gazeteer and New Advertiser at that time added that the ceremony was performed in the King's Bench Prison in the presence of the grand officers, whom the minutes show to have included Thomas French, the grand secretary. Mystification arose when the same paper officially denied the dispensation and presence of the grand officers four days later.
Initiated : March 3, 1769
Jerusalem Lodge No. 197

Source: 10,000 Famous Freemasons.

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