James Wilson

Male, Deceased Person

1760 – 1820


Who was James Wilson?

James Wilson, commonly known as "Perley Wilson," was a Scottish revolutionary, born in the parish of Avondale in Scotland, a prominent figure in the Radical movement seeking electoral reform. He was a weaver from the town of Strathaven in Lanarkshire, but as the Industrial Revolution affected the weaving trade he had to find alternative work.

A free-thinking man, he was sceptical of religion and disliked the government of the day. He read Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and started to become active in lobbying for political reform. When the Society of the Friends of the People was formed by a group of Whigs he joined the Strathaven branch, although he doesn't appear to have been extremely active initially.

However, when it became clear that the local nobleman, the Duke of Hamilton, objected to the aims of the Friends of the People, many members withdrew and Wilson became more active in trying to maintain the local society.

The Friends of the People eventually folded across the country, but Wilson maintained his Radical reformist activities. In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars many returning soldiers faced unemployment.

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Aug 30, 1820

on July 23, 2013


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