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Old 30 July 2014, 04:48 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
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Icon19 "You shall either die of the pox or on the gallows"

Comment: I have seen a bowdlerized version of this quote attributed to
Benjamin Disraeli, who was far too much of a gentleman to have said this.
The quote is about about 100 years older (around 1763) and is an exchange
between John Wilkes MP, political firebrand, publisher of the North Briton
and member of Francis Dashwood's Hellfire Club, to which Benjamin Franklin

Here is the exact quote:

Earl of Sandwich . . ."You shall either die of the pox or on the gallows"

John Wilkes . . . "That, sir depends on whether I embrace your mistress or
your politics”
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Old 31 July 2014, 07:37 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
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Posts: 23,514

Netizens regularly attribute quips to well-known comedians, such as George Carlin or Redd Foxx. A hundred or even two hundred years ago, Wilkes was one person whose name was attached to witty sayings and comebacks, even if there was no evidence he'd ever said such a thing. This quote is one of those. As William Fraser Rae put it in Wilkes, Sheridan, Fox: The Opposition Under George the Third, written in 1874, on the same page where he recounts the OP story (without authentication, of course),
Pages might be filled with the clever sayings attributed to Wilkes, and pages of discussion would be necessary to settle their authenticity. Many things which were palpable hits and excellent jokes a century ago, appear pointless and silly now.
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