Junius, English political author, known only by the signature Junius, which he signed to various letters written to the London Public Advertiser from Jan., 1769, to Jan., 1772, attacking George III and his ministers. The letters, centering on John Wilkes and the controversy over the Middlesex election, were written by a passionate opponent of the government familiar with secret government matters. Junius used scandal and invective rather than argument as his major tools of attack. The letters were reprinted by the publisher of the Advertiser in 1772, and a new edition, with additional letters, appeared in 1812. Although the identity of Junius has never been definitely established, the political beliefs, handwriting, and life of Sir Philip Francis have led many to ascribe the authorship to him. Arguments have also been offered in favor of the authorship of Lord Shelburne and of Laughlin Macleane, British army surgeon and secretary to Shelburne.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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