User:Charles Matthews/Junius

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According to Alan Frearson[1] there is scholarly consensus in favour of Philip Francis; he divides the evidence into four classes, and reports that each class "points most strongly to Francis".

Joseph Parkes, author with Herman Merivale of the Memoirs of Sir Philip Francis (1867), gave a list of more than forty persons who had been supposed to be Junius.[2]

Candidate Comments
David Campbell Bannerman
Isaac Barré John Britton (1848), The authorship of the letters of Junius elucidated: including a biographical memoir of Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Barré, M. P.[3]
Hugh Macaulay Boyd
Edmund Burke Burke denied authorship consistently, claiming: “I could not if I would, and I would not if I could”. In 1770 he taunted the government in parliament for their inability to capture Junius. A Rockingham Whig, he was against the shortened parliaments that Junius had favoured. Later Burke seems to have discovered Junius's true identity but refused to reveal his name.
William Burke
Dr Butler
Wolfram Cornwall
John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
Henry Flood
Dr. Philip Francis John Taylor at first had been inclined to attribute the letter to Sir Philip's father, Dr Francis, author of translations of Horace and Demosthenes.
Sir Philip Francis In 1816 John Taylor was led by a study of Woodfall's edition of 1812 to publish The Identity of Junius with a Distinguished Living Character Established, in which he claimed the letters for Sir Philip Francis. Taylor approached to Sir Philip for leave to publish, and received evasive answers. Charles Chabot was convinced of the identity of Junius and Sir Philip Francis, based on the handwriting and other collateral evidence.[4] The similarity of his handwriting to the disguised hand used by the writer of the letters is close. His family maintained that Sir Philip addressed a copy of verses to a Miss Giles in the handwriting of Junius. The similarity of Junius and Francis in regard to their opinions, their likes and dislikes, their knowledge and their known movements, is also close.

In 1962, a computer-aided analysis by Alvar Ellegård examined the styles and word-usages of the Junius letters. This allowed some statistical conclusions to be drawn about the author—they used "among" thirty-five times, but never used "amongst", for example. Comparing this to the writings of some of the suspects proved informative; Sir Philip Francis used "among" 66 times, and "amongst" only once. A group of general writers of the time, tested as a control, used "among" 512 times and "amongst" 114. Several hundred such words and phrases were found that could be tests of style—"farther" or "further", for example. Whilst the results for any one phrase are inconclusive, when a large sample is tested it becomes easy to see if there is a statistical link to any one candidate; in this case, Ellegård concluded that there was a 30,000 to one chance in favour of the hypothesis that Junius was, in fact, Sir Philip Francis.

A weaker case is made for Francis with regards to content and motive (against Grafton, North, Bedford and others), claiming that Junius' attacks on certain figures was simply due to party politics. In the 1780s there would have been good cause for the opposition (Lord North's cronies) to label Francis as Junius, to discredit him as a witness in the Warren Hastings impeachment trial. Warren Hastings' second in charge as governor-general of India was John Macpherson, who was once an anti-Junius pamphleteer, and may have begun the first rumour of Francis being Junius in defense of Hastings.

Edward Gibbon
George Grenville
James Grenville
Richard Grenville-Temple, Lord Temple
W. E. Hamilton
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
William Greatrakes Greatrakes acquired some posthumous importance from his supposed connection with the authorship of the letters of Junius. Gordon Goodwin in the Dictionary of National Biography.
Richard Glover
Henry Grattan
James Hollis
Sir William Jones
A junto or committee of writers who used a common name Horace Walpole's idea.
John Kent
Charles Lee General in the American War of Independence.
Lord Littleton
Charles Lloyd absurdly suspected by Lord North of being the author of the ‘Letters of Junius.’, according to G. P. Moriarty in the Dictionary of National Biography. Edmund Henry Barker (1828), The claims of Sir Philip Francis, K. B., to the authorship of Junius's letters disproved [...].
Jean-Louis de Lolme A Swiss political philosopher, who moved to England in the late 1760s. He wrote his works in his native French even after becoming a British subject, and the fact that English was not his first language would account for Junius' somewhat awkward prose and curiously Latin style of writing. In political sympathies, he was close to moderate intellectuals of his time, both Tories and Whigs. In his other works, he advocated a system of government based on extended, but not universal, suffrage, modelled after the political system of Britain in the latter half of the 18th century.
Catherine Macaulay (1733-91)
Laughlin Maclean
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
Thomas Pownall
Lieut.-General Sir R. Rich
John Roberts
Philip Rosenhagen
Daniel Wray
Horace Walpole
Alexander Wedderburn (Lord Loughborough)
George Sackville, 1st Viscount Sackville
John Horne Tooke A case for John Horne Tooke is based on Tooke’s involvement with the Society of the Supporters of the Bill of Rights. This organisation existed during the same years as the appearance of the Letters of Junius.It propagated almost exactly the same messages as those expressed by Junius, and during the same period.
John Wilkes

Other candidates:

Candidate Comments
Benjamin Franklin Franklin was in London at the times that these papers were being published.

The Junius Papers also have a ring of Benjamin Franklin in them. Franklin had recently been severely dressed down in Parliament by some of the very people involved in the Case---something he never forgot and had his revenge some years later. It was this dressing down that turned him from a loyal British subject to a rebel and one of the fathers of the American Revolution. Franklin had rebelled against his brother by writing a column in the newspaper writing under the pseudonym of the widow Mrs. Silence Dogood. Dogood was filled with advice, very critical of the world around her especially how women were treated. After too many inquiries as to who Silence was, Franklin finally confessed. The style of writing and word usage in the Junius papers have much in common with the widow Silence Dogood.

John Miller According to family Records of the John Miller Family and descendants; John Miller published the Junius Letters in The London Evening Post (one of the more important newspapers of the 18th century) of which he was either owner or part owner ---this publication became what is today The Times. John himself was accused of being the Junius of these letters and he was brought to trial in 1770 at the Guild Hall along with Almon, a bookseller and Woodfall. John Miller was found not guilty while the other men were. The punishments then that were enforced could be death or transportation. The punishments did not always fit the crime and often excessively severe: for instance in the records of Newgate Prison we find that an 11 year old girl was sentenced to death because she caused another girl to fall and break the jar of water she was carrying.

Family records indicate that Miller continued living in London after being found not guilty, but he is known to have moved to the United States within twelve years of the trial. There he founded the first newspaper of South Carolina and settled in Pendleton, South Carolina after leaving Charleston. His daughter married one of the sons of John C. Calhoun. He also founded The Messenger which is still being published in upstate South Carolina.

Searches at Old Bailey (as of 2007) and Newgate Prison (although John was supposed to be imprisoned at Old Bailey) or at Guildhall, where the trial was held, have not turned up any records of this trial. Family descendants are trying to trace and verify the information that was published in the 1920s as the Miller-Calhoun History ---a very rare limited edition book. Many of these records are online and can be searched. The only Millers listed online thus far found who were arrested and confined in prison are people who were arrested and tried thieves, and there is a case in which a John Miller was found guilty of counterfeiting coinage. None of which seem to be the correct John Miller. John was from Dublin, Ireland.

Thomas Paine An 1872 book by Joel Moody, Junius unmasked: or Thomas Paine the author of the letters of Junius.



  1. ^ Alan Frearson, The Identity of Junius, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies Volume 7 Issue 2, Pages 211 - 227, Published Online: 1 Oct 2008.
  2. ^ Source, 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. ^ Online text.
  4. ^ Chabot (1871)