Born just John Horne in London in 1736 and educated at Eton and Cambridge, this man became firstly a lawyer and then later a vicar. In 1771 he formed the Constitutional Society, a movement of radical British "political gentlemen" which had the aim of supporting the American colonists who were growing increasingly dis-satisfied with British rule. In addition to stirring up trouble across the Atlantic he also pressed for reform of Parliament in Britain, and his opposition to an enclosures bill earned him the favour of the rich Mr Tooke of Purley in Surrey, whose surname he adopted. Imprisoned in 1782 for supporting the American cause, he wrote a number of important political pamphlets whilst in jail, and in 1794 he was tried for high treason. After being acquitted of this he entered Parliament as an MP seven years later, where he served until his death in 1812.