John Wilkes

John Wilkes (17 October 1725 – 26 December 1797) was a British radical, journalist and politician. He was first elected a Member of Parliament in 1757. In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of his voters—rather than the House of Commons—to determine their representatives. In 1768, angry protests of his supporters were suppressed in the St George's Fields Massacre. 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.

During the American War of Independence, he was a supporter of the American rebels, adding further to his popularity with American Whigs. In 1780, however, he commanded militia forces which helped put down the Gordon Riots, damaging his popularity with many radicals. This marked a turning point, leading him to embrace increasingly conservative policies which caused dissatisfaction among the progressive-radical low-to-middle income landowners. This was instrumental in the loss of his Middlesex parliamentary seat in the 1790 general election. At the age of 65, Wilkes retired from politics and took no part in the social reforms following the French Revolution, such as Catholic Emancipation in the 1790s. During his life, he earned a reputation as a libertine.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes by Richard Houston (1769)
John Wilkes by Richard Houston (1769)
LanguageEnglish
Literary movementRadicalism
RelativesMary Hayley (sister)
Member of the British Parliament
for Middlesex
In office
1774 – 1790
In office
1768 – 1769
Personal details
Born17 October 1725
Clerkenwell, London, Great Britain
Died26 December 1797 (aged 72)
Westminster, London, Great Britain
Citizenship Great Britain
Political partyRadicals
Alma materUniversity of Leiden
OccupationMagistrate
Essayist
Journalist
MP
Soldier (militia)

Early life and character

Born in the Clerkenwell neighborhood of central London, John Wilkes was the third child of distiller Israel Wilkes Jr. and Sarah Wilkes, née Heaton. His siblings included: eldest sister Sarah Wilkes, born 1721; elder brother Israel Wilkes III (1722–1805); younger brother Heaton Wilkes (9 February 1727 – 1803); younger sister Mary Hayley, née Wilkes (1728–1808); and youngest sister Ann Wilkes (1736–1750), who died from smallpox at the age of 14.

John Wilkes was educated initially at an academy in Hertford; this was followed by private tutoring and finally a stint at the University of Leiden in the Dutch Republic. There he met Andrew Baxter, a Presbyterian clergyman who greatly influenced Wilkes' views on religion.[1][2] Although Wilkes remained in the Church of England throughout his life, he had a deep sympathy for non-conformist Protestants and was an advocate of religious tolerance from an early age.[3][4] Wilkes was also beginning to develop a deep patriotism for his country. During the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, he rushed home to London to join a Loyal Association and readied to defend the capital. Once the rebellion had ended after the Battle of Culloden, Wilkes returned to the Netherlands to complete his studies.

In 1747, he married Mary Meade (1715-1784) and came into possession of an estate and income in Buckinghamshire.[1] They had one child, Mary (known as Polly), to whom John was utterly devoted for the rest of his life. Wilkes and Mary, however, separated in 1756, a separation that became permanent. Wilkes never married again, but he gained a reputation as a rake. He was known to have fathered two other children, John Henry Smith and Harriet Wilkes.[5]

Wilkes was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1749 and appointed High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1754. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Berwick in the 1754 parliamentary elections but was elected for Aylesbury in 1757 and again in 1761.[6] Elections took place at St Mary the Virgin's Church, Aylesbury where he held a manorial pew. He lived at the Prebendal House, Parsons Fee, Aylesbury.

He was a member of the Knights of St Francis of Wycombe, also known as the Hellfire Club or the Medmenham Monks, and was the instigator of a prank that may have hastened its dissolution. The Club had many distinguished members, including John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and Sir Francis Dashwood. Wilkes reportedly brought a baboon dressed in a cape and horns into the rituals performed at the club, producing considerable mayhem among the inebriated initiates.[7]

Wilkes was notoriously ugly, being called the ugliest man in England at the time. He possessed an unsightly squint and protruding jaw, but he had a charm that carried all before it. He boasted that it "took him only half an hour to talk away his face", though the duration required changed on the several occasions Wilkes repeated the claim. He also declared that "a month's start of his rival on account of his face" would secure him the conquest in any love affair.

He was well known for his verbal wit and his snappy responses to insults. For instance, when told by a constituent that he would rather vote for the devil, Wilkes responded: "Naturally." He then added: "And if your friend decides against standing, can I count on your vote?"[8]

In an exchange with John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, where the latter exclaimed, "Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox," Wilkes is reported to have replied, "That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your lordship's principles or your mistress." Fred R. Shapiro, in The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), disputes the attribution based on a claim that it first appeared in a book published in 1935,[9] but it is ascribed to Wilkes in Henry Brougham's Historical Sketches (1844), related from Bernard Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk, who claims to have been present,[10] as well as in Charles Marsh's Clubs of London (1828).[11] Brougham notes the exchange had in France previously been ascribed to Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau and Cardinal Jean-Sifrein Maury.[10]

Radical journalism

JohnStuartBute
Lord Bute, Prime Minister between 1762 and 1763, and a major target for Wilkes' paper The North Briton. It angered Wilkes that Bute had displaced Pitt the Elder, and he attacked the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763).
William Hogarth - John Wilkes, Esq
A satirical engraving of Wilkes by William Hogarth, who shows him with a demonic-looking wig, crossed eyes, and two editions of his The North Briton: Numbers 17 (in which he attacked, among others, Hogarth) and the famous 45

Wilkes began his parliamentary career as a follower of William Pitt the Elder and enthusiastically supported Britain's involvement in the Seven Years War of 1756-1763. When the Scottish John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, came to head the government in 1762, Wilkes started a radical weekly publication, The North Briton, to attack him, using an anti-Scots tone. Typical of Wilkes, the title made satirical reference to the pro-government newspaper, The Briton, with "North Briton" referring to Scotland. Wilkes became particularly incensed by what he regarded as Bute's betrayal in agreeing to overly generous peace terms with France to end the war.[7]

On 5 October 1762, Wilkes fought a duel with William Talbot, 1st Earl Talbot. Talbot was the Lord Steward and a follower of Bute; he challenged Wilkes to a pistol duel after being ridiculed in issue 12 of The North Briton.[12] The encounter took place at Bagshot - at night to avoid attracting judicial attention. At a range of eight yards, Talbot and Wilkes both fired their pistols but neither was hit. Somewhat reconciled, they then went to a nearby inn and shared a bottle of claret. When the affair later became widely known, some viewed it as comical, and a satirical print made fun of the duelists. Some commentators even denounced the duel as a stunt, stage-managed to enhance the reputations of both men.[13]

Wilkes faced a charge of seditious libel over attacks on George III's speech endorsing the Paris Peace Treaty of 1763 at the opening of Parliament on 23 April 1763. Wilkes was highly critical of the King's speech, which was recognised as having been written by Bute. He attacked it in an article of issue 45 of The North Briton. The issue number in which Wilkes published his critical editorial was appropriate because the number 45 was synonymous with the Jacobite Rising of 1745, commonly known as "The '45". Popular perception associated Bute – Scottish, and politically controversial as an adviser to the King – with Jacobitism, a perception which Wilkes played on.

The King felt personally insulted and ordered the issuing of general warrants for the arrest of Wilkes and the publishers on 30 April 1763. Forty-nine people, including Wilkes, were arrested, but general warrants were unpopular and Wilkes gained considerable popular support as he asserted their unconstitutionality. At his court hearing he claimed that parliamentary privilege protected him, as an MP, from arrest on a charge of libel. The Lord Chief Justice ruled that parliamentary privilege did indeed protect him and he was soon restored to his seat. Wilkes sued his arresters for trespass. As a result of this episode, people were chanting, "Wilkes, Liberty and Number 45", referring to the newspaper.[14] Parliament swiftly voted in a measure that removed protection of MPs from arrest for the writing and publishing of seditious libel.[15]

Bute had resigned (8 April 1763), but Wilkes opposed Bute's successor as chief advisor to the King, George Grenville, just as strenuously. On 16 November 1763, Samuel Martin, a supporter of George III, challenged Wilkes to a duel. Martin shot Wilkes in the belly.

Outlaw

John Wilkes Esq before the Court of King's Bench
"John Wilkes Esq; before the Court of King's Bench", engraving from The Gentleman's Magazine for May 1768

Wilkes and Thomas Potter wrote a pornographic poem dedicated to the courtesan Fanny Murray entitled "An Essay on Woman" [16] as a parody of Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man".[17]

Wilkes's political enemies, foremost among them John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was also a member of the Hellfire Club, obtained the parody. Sandwich had a personal vendetta against Wilkes that stemmed in large part from embarrassment caused by a prank of Wilkes involving the Earl at one of the Hellfire Club's meetings; he was delighted at the chance for revenge. Wilkes had frightened Sandwich during a seance put on by the club. Sandwich read the poem to the House of Lords in an effort to denounce Wilkes's moral behaviour, despite the hypocrisy of his action. The Lords declared the poem obscene and blasphemous, and it caused a great scandal. The House of Lords moved to expel Wilkes again; he fled to Paris before any expulsion or trial. He was tried and found guilty in absentia of obscene libel and seditious libel, and was declared an outlaw on 19 January 1764.[18]

Wilkes hoped for a change in power to remove the charges, but this did not come to pass. As his French creditors began to pressure him, in 1768 he had little choice but to return to England. He returned intending to stand as a Member of Parliament on an anti-government ticket; the government did not issue warrants for his immediate arrest as it did not want to inflame popular support.[19]

Wilkes stood in London and came in bottom of the poll of seven candidates, possibly due to his late entry into the race for the position. He was quickly elected as a Radical Member of Parliament for Middlesex, where most of his support was located. He surrendered himself to the King's Bench in April. On waiving his parliamentary privilege to immunity, he was sentenced by Judge Joseph Yates to two years and fined £1,000; the Lords' sentence of outlawry was overturned.[20]

When Wilkes was imprisoned in the King's Bench Prison on 10 May 1768, his supporters appeared before King's Bench, London, chanting "No liberty, no King." Troops opened fire on the unarmed men, killing seven and wounding fifteen, an incident that came to be known as the St George's Fields Massacre. The Irish playwright Hugh Kelly, a prominent supporter of the government, defended the right of the army to use force against rioters, which drew the anger of Wilkes' supporters and they began a riot at the Drury Lane Theatre during the performance of Kelly's new play A Word to the Wise, forcing it to be abandoned.[21]

Middlesex election dispute

The Brentford Sweepstakes high
The Brentford Sweepstakes, drawing from Town and Country Magazine (13 April 1769) satirising the election. Wilkes' riderless horse labelled "1143" indicating he got a majority of the vote, while his opponents founder.

Parliament expelled Wilkes in February 1769, on the grounds that he was an outlaw when returned. His Middlesex constituents re-elected him in the same month with the support of John Wheble, editor of the Middlesex Journal, only to see him expelled again and re-elected in March. In April, after his expulsion and another re-election, Parliament declared his opponent, Henry Luttrell, the winner.

In defiance, Wilkes became an Alderman of London in 1769, using his supporters' group, the Society for the Supporters of the Bill of Rights,[22] for his campaign. Wilkes eventually succeeded in convincing Parliament to expunge the resolution barring him from sitting. While in Parliament, he condemned Government policy towards the American colonies during the American Revolution of 1775-1783. In addition, he introduced one of the earliest radical Bills to Parliament, although it failed to gain passage. On his release from prison in March 1770, Wilkes was appointed a sheriff in London, and in 1771 the law on publicity of the parliamentary discussions was voted in Parliament, of which Wilkes was a great defender and who authorized the literal reproduction of the interventions of the Parliament.

Later life

The Gordon Riots by John Seymour Lucas
Wilkes' popularity with radicals declined after he led militia to protect the Bank of England during the Gordon Riots in 1780. Wilkes became a supporter of William Pitt the Younger who became Prime Minister in 1783, and severed most of his former radical connections.

In 1774 he became Lord Mayor of London;[23] he was simultaneously Master of the Joiners' Company, where he changed the motto from "GOD GRANNTE US TO USE JUSTICE WITHE MERCYE" to "JOIN LOYALTY AND LIBERTY", a political slogan associated with Wilkes.[24] That year Wilkes was re-elected to Parliament, again representing Middlesex. He was one of those opposed to war with the American colonies. He was also a supporter of the Association Movement and of religious tolerance. His key success was to protect the freedom of the press by gaining passage of a bill to remove the power of general warrants and to end Parliament's ability to punish political reports of debates.[7] In 1779 he was elected to the position of Chamberlain of the City of London, a post of great responsibility which he was to hold until his death in 1797.

After 1780, his popularity declined as he was popularly perceived as less radical. During the uprising known as the Gordon Riots, Wilkes was in charge of the soldiers defending the Bank of England from the attacking mobs. It was under his orders that troops fired into the crowds of rioters. The working classes who had previously seen Wilkes as a "man of the people", then criticised him as a hypocrite; his middle-class support was scared off by the violent action. The Gordon Riots nearly extinguished his popularity.

While he was returned for the county seat of Middlesex in 1784, he found so little support that by 1790, he withdrew early in the election. The French Revolution of 1789 had proved extremely divisive in England, and Wilkes had been against it due to the violent murders in France. His position was different from that of many radicals of the time and was a view more associated with conservative figures, including expressed indifference as to Catholic Emancipation. Edmund Burke, who had also supported American Independence, made a similar switch.

Wilkes worked in his final years as a magistrate campaigning for more moderate punishment for disobedient household servants.

Between 1788 and 1797 he occupied a property named "Villakin" in Sandown, Isle of Wight. The site is marked by a blue plaque.[25]

StatueOfJohnWilkes
Statue of John Wilkes (Fetter Lane, London)

He was a member of the Oddfellows[26] and today, a statue in his memory stands at Fetter Lane EC4.

Wilkes died at his home at 30 Grosvenor Square, Westminster, London on 26 December 1797. The cause of death was a wasting disease known at the time as marasmus.[27] His body was buried in a vault in Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, London on 4 January 1798.[16]

Influence

A radical contemporary Irish politician Charles Lucas, who sat for Dublin City in the Irish Parliament, was known as the "Irish Wilkes".[28] The Dutch politician Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol (1741–1784), who advocated American independence and criticised the Stadtholder regime, was inspired by Wilkes.

British subjects in the American colonies closely followed Wilkes's career. His struggles convinced many colonists that the British constitution was being subverted by a corrupt ministry, an idea that contributed to the coming of the American Revolution. Wilkes was widely admired in the American colonies as a political journalist, a radical politician, and a fighter for liberty. He greatly influenced the revolutionaries who fought for American independence and played a role in establishing the right to freedom of the press in the United States.[29] In reaction, after the Revolution, representatives included provisions in the new American constitution to prevent Congress from rejecting any legally elected member and to proscribe general warrants for arrest.

John Wilkes's brother was the grandfather of U.S. Naval Admiral Charles Wilkes.

Eponyms

John Wilkes Plaque Grosvenor
John Wilkes plaque in Grosvenor Church, London. The plaque beneath is to his daughter.
  • The Wilkes Head, (public house) Eastergate, West Sussex

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b Simkin 2011.
  2. ^ Cash 2006, pp. 13–16.
  3. ^ McCarthy 2006.
  4. ^ Cash 2006, p. 9.
  5. ^ Almon's Correspondence of John Wilkes. The Monthly Review. R. Griffiths. 1806. p. 47.
  6. ^ Bloy 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Lynch 2003.
  8. ^ Cash 2006, p. 211.
  9. ^ Shapiro 2006, pp. 281–2.
  10. ^ a b Brougham 1844, p. 146.
  11. ^ Marsh 1828, p. 17.
  12. ^ Sainsbury 2006, p. 71.
  13. ^ Sainsbury 2006, p. 73.
  14. ^ Rudbeck, Jens (2012). "Popular Sovereignty and the Historical Origin of the Social Movement". Theory & Society. 41: 588. doi:10.1007/s11186-012-9180-x. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ Rounce, Adam (2005). "'Stuarts without End': Wilkes, Churchill, and Anti-Scottishness". Eighteenth-Century Life. 29 (3): 20. doi:10.1215/00982601-29-3-20. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  16. ^ a b An Essay On Woman In Three Epistles Gale Encyclopedia of Biography: John Wilkes entry. Accessed Feb 2014
  17. ^ The definitive scholarly edition of the "Essay on Woman" is that of Arthur H. Cash, titled An Essay on Woman by John Wilkes and Thomas Potter: A Reconstruction of a Lost Book, with a Historical Essay on the Writing, Printing, and Suppressing of This "Blasphemous and Obscene" Work, (NY: AMS Press), 2001. It includes Pope's text of the original poem with the Wilkes-Potter parody juxtaposed on the facing pages.
  18. ^ Cash 2006, pp. 151–79.
  19. ^ Cash 2006, pp. 179–208.
  20. ^ Cash 2006, pp. 204–26.
  21. ^ Cash 2006, pp. 216–26.
  22. ^ "The Society for the Supporters of the Bill of Rights (SSBR)".
  23. ^ "History of the Mayoralty". City of London. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013.
  24. ^ Joiners 2008.
  25. ^ Allan 2011.
  26. ^ Dennis 2008, p. 90.
  27. ^ Peter D. G. Thomas, ‘Wilkes, John (1725–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 19 Feb 2014
  28. ^ Thomas 2002, p. 111.
  29. ^ Mellen, Roger P. (2015). "John Wilkes and the Constitutional Right to a Free Press in the United States". Journalism History. 41 (1): 2. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  30. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 254. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.

Sources

Further reading

  • Bleakly, Horace (1917). The Life of John Wilkes. London: Bodley Head.
  • Trench, Charles Chenevix (1962). Portrait of a Patriot. Edinburgh: Blackwood.
  • Holdsworth, William (1938). A History of English Law. 10. London: Methuen. pp. 659–72. ISBN 0-421-05100-0.
  • Rudé, George (1962). Wilkes and Liberty: a social study of 1763 to 1774. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-881091-1.
  • Thomas, Peter D.G. (1996). John Wilkes: a friend to liberty. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-820544-9.
  • Williamson, Audrey (1974). Wilkes, a friend to liberty. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-923064-6.
  • Tugdual de Langlais, L'armateur préféré de Beaumarchais Jean Peltier Dudoyer, de Nantes à l'Isle de France, (2015), Éd. Coiffard, 2015, 340 p. (ISBN 9782919339280).
  • Trials at law with council pleadings : for John Wilkes vs. George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax : manuscript. Houghton Library, Harvard University. 1769.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Potter
John Willes
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
1757–1764
With: John Willes 1757–1761
Welbore Ellis 1761–1764
Succeeded by
Welbore Ellis
Anthony Bacon
Preceded by
Sir William Beauchamp-Proctor, Bt
George Cooke
Member of Parliament for Middlesex
1768–1769
With: George Cooke 1768
John Glynn 1768–1769
Succeeded by
John Glynn
Henry Luttrell
Preceded by
John Glynn
Henry Luttrell
Member of Parliament for Middlesex
17741790
With: John Glynn 1774–1779
Thomas Wood 1779–1780
George Byng 1780–1784
William Mainwaring 1784–1790
Succeeded by
William Mainwaring
George Byng
1768 British general election

The 1768 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 13th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

The election saw the emergence of a new political leadership in parliament, with the dominant figures of the previous parliament; the Earl of Bute, the Earl of Chatham, and the Duke of Newcastle all retiring from political life for various reasons. The new administration centred on the First Lord of the Treasury; the Duke of Grafton, and his leader in the commons; Lord North.The election also took place during a lull in political conflict, with there being a lack of any real political debate over policy or principle between the main parties. The two opposition parties; the Rockingham Whigs and the Grenvillites, owed their origins to the time when their respective leaders had been in office.Potentially the most important part of the election was the election of the radical John Wilkes for Middlesex. Wilkes election triggered a major political crisis, and marked the beginning of political radicalism in Britain.

Abraham Lincoln (1930 film)

Abraham Lincoln, also released under the title D. W. Griffith's "Abraham Lincoln", is a 1930 pre-Code American biographical film about Abraham Lincoln directed by D. W. Griffith. It stars Walter Huston as Lincoln and Una Merkel, in her second speaking role, as Ann Rutledge. Her first speaking role was in a short film, Love's Old Sweet Song (1923) filmed in the Phonofilm sound-on-film process. The script was co-written by Stephen Vincent Benét, author of the Civil War prose poem John Brown's Body, and Gerrit Lloyd. This was the first of only two sound films made by Griffith.

The film entered the public domain in 1958 when the initial copyright expired. The copyright holders did not elect to extend it for a second 28 year term.

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated by well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, while attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Shot in the head as he watched the play, Lincoln died the following day at 7:22 am, in the Petersen House opposite the theater. He was the first U.S. president to be assassinated, and Lincoln's funeral and burial marked an extended period of national mourning.

Occurring near the end of the American Civil War, the assassination was part of a larger conspiracy intended by Booth to revive the Confederate cause by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government.

Conspirators Lewis Powell and David Herold were assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt was tasked with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson.

Beyond Lincoln's death, the plot failed: Seward was only wounded and Johnson's would-be attacker lost his nerve. After a dramatic initial escape, Booth was killed at the climax of a 12-day manhunt. Powell, Herold, Atzerodt and Mary Surratt were later hanged for their roles in the conspiracy.

Assassins (musical)

Assassins is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman, based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr. It uses the premise of a murderous carnival game to produce a revue-style portrayal of men and women who attempted (successfully or not) to assassinate Presidents of the United States. The music varies to reflect the popular music of the eras depicted.

The musical first opened Off-Broadway in 1990, and the 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards.

Back There

"Back There" is episode 49 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on January 13, 1961 on CBS. It involves time travel, and stars Russell Johnson, who had appeared in another time-travel episode the previous season.

Booth Theatre

The Booth Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 222 West 45th Street (George Abbott Way) in midtown-Manhattan, New York City.

Architect Henry B. Herts designed the Booth and its companion Shubert Theatre as a back-to-back pair sharing a Venetian Renaissance-style façade.

Named in honor of famed 19th-century American actor Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, the theater's 783-seat auditorium was intended to provide an intimate setting for dramatic and comedic plays. It opened on October 16, 1913, with Arnold Bennett's play "The Great Adventure."

The venue was the second New York City theatre to bear this name. The first, Booth's Theatre, was originally owned by Edwin Booth, and built by the architectural partnership Renwick & Sands between 1867-69 on the corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue (see picture, below).

The Booth Theatre appeared in The West Wing episode Posse Comitatus as venue for a fictitious charity performance of War of the Roses which President Jed Bartlet attended during the assassination of the Qumari Defence Minister Abdul ibn Shareef.The box-office record was broken in 2013 by Bette Midler in I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers with a gross of $753,217 in just seven performances. Midler then broke her own record the week following with a gross of $865,144. The revival of The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper, topped Midler's record by grossing $1,058,547 for an eight-performance week ending December 28, 2014.

Boston Corbett

Thomas H. "Boston" Corbett (1832 – presumed dead c. September 1, 1894) was a Union Army soldier who shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Corbett was initially arrested for disobeying orders, but was later released on the orders of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who referred to Corbett as "the patriot" upon dismissing him. He was largely considered a hero by the media and the public.

Known for his devout religious beliefs and eccentric behavior, Corbett drifted around the United States before disappearing around 1888. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he died in the Great Hinckley Fire in September 1894, but that remains impossible to substantiate.

Edwin Booth

Edwin Thomas Booth (November 13, 1833 – June 7, 1893) was an American actor who toured throughout the United States and the major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays. In 1869, he founded Booth's Theatre in New York. Some theatrical historians consider him the greatest American actor, and the greatest Prince Hamlet, of the 19th century. His achievements are often overshadowed by his relationship with his brother, actor John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Harford County, Maryland

Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 244,826. Its county seat is Bel Air. Harford County is included in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area.

In the Days of Buffalo Bill

In the Days of Buffalo Bill is a 1922 American western film serial directed by Edward Laemmle. The film is considered to be lost.

John W. Kittera

John Wilkes Kittera (November 1752 – June 6, 1801) was an American lawyer and politician from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Kittera was born near Blue Ball, Pennsylvania. He was appointed by President John Adams as United States attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives from 1791 until 1801.

He is the father of Thomas Kittera.

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. He was a member of the prominent 19th-century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and a well-known actor in his own right. He was also a Confederate sympathizer, vehement in his denunciation of Lincoln and strongly opposed to the abolition of slavery in the United States.Booth and a group of co-conspirators originally plotted to kidnap Lincoln but later planned to kill him, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William H. Seward in a bid to help the Confederacy's cause. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered four days earlier, but Booth believed that the American Civil War was not yet over because Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's army was still fighting the Union Army.

Booth was completely successful in carrying out his part of the plot. He shot Lincoln once in the back of the head, and the President died the next morning. Seward was severely wounded but recovered, and Vice President Johnson was never attacked.

After the assassination, Booth fled on horseback to southern Maryland and, 12 days later, arrived at a farm in rural northern Virginia where he was tracked down. Booth's companion gave himself up, but Booth refused and was shot by Union soldier Boston Corbett after the barn in which he was hiding was set ablaze. Eight other conspirators were tried and convicted, and four were hanged shortly after.

Lincoln (novel)

Lincoln: A Novel is a historical novel, part of the Narratives of Empire series by Gore Vidal.

Set during the American Civil War, the novel describes the presidency of Abraham Lincoln through the eyes of several historical figures, including presidential secretary John Hay, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, his daughter Kate Chase, U.S. Representative Elihu B. Washburne, and conspirators John Wilkes Booth and David Herold.

The novel's emphasis is on the president's political and personal struggles, and not the battles of the Civil War. Though Lincoln is the focus, the book is never narrated from his point of view (with the exception of several paragraphs describing a dream Lincoln had shortly before his death). Vidal's portrait is drawn from contemporary diaries, memoirs, letters, newspaper accounts, and the biographical writings of Hay and John Nicolay, Lincoln's secretaries; and is buttressed by the work of both 19th- and 20th-century historians.

Raoul Walsh

Raoul A. Walsh (March 11, 1887 – December 31, 1980) was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the brother of the silent screen actor George Walsh. He was known for portraying John Wilkes Booth in the silent classic The Birth of a Nation (1915) and for directing such films as The Big Trail (1930), starring John Wayne, High Sierra (1941), starring Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart; and White Heat (1949), starring James Cagney and Edmond O'Brien. He directed his last film in 1964.

Super Best Friends

"Super Best Friends" is the third episode of the fifth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 68th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on July 4, 2001. In the episode, Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny discover the magician David Blaine performing in South Park and decide to join his cult, the Blaintologists. Stan quickly finds out that the Blaintologists are not as nice as everyone thinks and tries to convince the other boys they've been brainwashed, and have forsaken their friends and families. Teaming up with Jesus, Stan calls upon the Super Best Friends, a parody of the Super Friends, to destroy Blaine and thwart the mass suicide pact he has launched.

The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and is rated TV-MA in the United States. It depicts several religious figures, including Muhammad, whose appearance at the time of the original airing caused little to no controversy. Following Islamists' death threats regarding Muhammad's portrayal in the 2010 episode titled "201", the South Park Studios website no longer streams "Super Best Friends", nor is it available for streaming or purchase from online stores. The episode has been replaced on the South Park Studios with a notice: "We apologize that South Park Studios cannot stream Super Best Friends." The episode was also featured in syndication, but was permanently removed after the threats. It is one of three episodes which are unavailable on Hulu, along with season 14's "200" and the aforementioned "201."

In 2013, fans voted "Super Best Friends" as the best episode of Season 5.

The Day Lincoln Was Shot

The Day Lincoln Was Shot is a 1998 American television film based on the book by Jim Bishop. It is a re-creation of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, co-written and directed by John Gray, and stars Lance Henriksen as Abraham Lincoln and Rob Morrow as John Wilkes Booth.The book had previously been adapted in 1956 as a live television play starring Raymond Massey as Lincoln, Lillian Gish as Mary, and Jack Lemmon as John Wilkes Booth. It was telecast on the CBS anthology series Ford Star Jubilee.

The Prisoner of Shark Island

The Prisoner of Shark Island is a 1936 film loosely based on the life of Maryland physician Samuel Mudd, who treated the injured presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth and later spent time in prison after his controversial conviction for being one of Booth's accomplices. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, was directed by John Ford and starred Warner Baxter and Gloria Stuart.

Twentieth Century Pictures, before it merged with Fox, purchased the rights to the book The Life of Dr. Mudd by Nettie Mudd Monroe, the doctor's daughter. The film's credits, however, make no reference to Monroe or her book. Modern sources state that Darryl F. Zanuck, Twentieth Century's vice-president in charge of production, got the idea to make the film after he read an article in Time magazine about the prison camp for political prisoners on the Dry Tortugas island.

The Ridiculous 6

The Ridiculous 6 is a 2015 American western action comedy film directed by Frank Coraci and written by Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler. Starring Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider and Luke Wilson, the plot follows six men who discover that they share the same bank-robbing father (Nick Nolte), and thereafter set out to reunite with him.

Released worldwide on Netflix on December 11, 2015, the film was panned by critics and is one of few films to receive an approval rating of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Treehouse of Horror IV

"Treehouse of Horror IV" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season and the fourth episode in the Treehouse of Horror series of Halloween specials. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 28, 1993, and features three short stories called "The Devil and Homer Simpson", "Terror at ​5 1⁄2 Feet", and "Bart Simpson's Dracula". The episode was directed by David Silverman and co-written by Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Greg Daniels, Dan McGrath, and Bill Canterbury.

In "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Homer Simpson announces he would sell his soul for a doughnut, and the Devil appears to make a deal with Homer. Homer tries to outsmart the Devil by not finishing the doughnut but eventually eats it and is sent to Hell. A trial is held between Homer and the Devil to determine the rightful owner of Homer's soul. In "Terror at ​5 1⁄2 Feet", while riding the bus to school, Bart Simpson thinks he sees a gremlin disassembling the bus piece by piece. Nobody sees it except for Bart, so he tries to remove it by himself. In "Bart Simpson's Dracula", Mr. Burns is a vampire and Bart falls victim to his bite. Lisa and the rest of the family go to Burns' castle to kill Burns so Bart can return to normal.

As with the rest of the Halloween specials, the episode is considered non-canon and falls outside the show's regular continuity. The episode makes cultural references to television series such as The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and Peanuts. References are also made to films such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Lost Boys. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 14.5, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

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