After having completely encircled the globe (his was the last all-sail naval mission to do so), Wilkes returned to New York in June, 1842. In four years at sea he had logged some 87,000 miles and lost two ships and 28 men. His Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (5 vol. and an atlas) appeared in 1844. He edited the scientific reports of the expedition (20 vol. and 11 atlases, 1844-74) and was the author of Vol. XI (Meteorology) and Vol. XIII (Hydrography). Moreover, the specimens and artifacts brought back by expedition scientists ultimately formed the foundation for the Smithsonian Institution collection.
Despite his accomplishments, Wilkes acquired a reputation as an arrogant, cruel, and capricious leader. The impetuosity of his nature, for which he was twice court-martialed, was demonstrated when early in the Civil War, as commander of the San Jacinto, he stopped the British mail ship Trent and, contrary to all regulations, forcibly removed Confederate commissioners John Slidell and James M. Mason. The incident almost involved the Union in a war with England (see Trent Affair). Promoted to the rank of commodore in 1862, he commanded a squadron in the West Indies.
See biography by D. Henderson (1953, repr. 1971); W. Bixby, The Forgotten Voyage of Charles Wilkes (1966); R. Silverberg, Stormy Voyager (1968); A. Gurney, The Race to the White Continent (2000); N. Philbrick, Sea of Glory (2003).
Wilkes fled (1764) to Paris and was convicted of seditious libel in his absence. He returned in 1768 and was repeatedly elected to Parliament from Middlesex, but each time he was denied his seat by the king's party. The issue, in the eyes of the angry populace, became a case of royal manipulation of parliamentary privilege against Wilkes to restrain the people's right to elect their own representatives. Wilkes was supported by Edmund Burke and the unknown writer Junius, but he was not seated. After 22 months in prison for his libel conviction, he was elected sheriff of London (1771) and lord mayor (1774). In 1774 he was again elected and this time allowed to take his seat in Parliament, where he championed the liberties of the American colonies and fought for parliamentary reform. He lost popular favor for his vigorous action as chamberlain of London in suppressing the Gordon riots (1780). Although a demagogue, Wilkes was a champion of freedom of the press and the rights of the electorate.
See biographies by O. A. Sherrard (1930, repr. 1972), C. P. Chenevix Trench (1962), L. Kronenberger (1974), A. H. Cash (2006), and J. Sainsbury (2006); I. R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform (1962); G. F. E. Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty (1962).
Wilkes-Barre (or /-bɛri/) is the central city of the Wyoming Valley and county seat of Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania. Founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806, the city has an estimated population of 43,123, according to the 2000 census.
The city and valley are framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the west and the Lehigh Valley to the south. The Susquehanna River flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.
The initial settlers were aligned with Connecticut, which had a claim on the land that rivaled Pennsylvania's. Armed men loyal to Pennsylvania twice attempted to evict the residents of Wilkes-Barre in what came to be known as the Pennamite Wars. After the American Revolution, the conflict was resolved so that the settlers retained title to their lands but transferred their allegiance to Pennsylvania.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Wilkes-Barre attempted to repair the damage from Agnes by building a levee system that rises 41 feet; it has successfully battled less threatening floods of 1996, 2004, and 2006, and the Army Corps of Engineers has praised the quality of the levees.
On June 9, 2005, Mayor Thomas M. Leighton unveiled his I believe... campaign for Wilkes-Barre, which was intended to boost the city's spirits. Construction began on a planned downtown theatre complex which had a grand opening on June 30, 2006, and renovation of the landmark Hotel Sterling was being pursued by CityVest, a nonprofit developer. The expansion of Wilkes University and King's College has taken place. Also, the canopy and matching street lights in Public Square and across downtown were removed; the replacements are new green lampposts.
In 2006, the City of Wilkes-Barre celebrated its 200th anniversary. There were several events which were scheduled to commemorate this occasion over the July 4 weekend, including a free concert with the Beach Boys in the City's Kirby Park. However, due to extremely heavy rains, the Susquehanna River crested high enough that most of the City had to be evacuated on June 28, 2006, forcing the cancellation of the events. Afterwards, the City rescheduled their Bicentennial Blastoff, their Bicentennial Parade and the Bicentennial Gala to different dates throughout August. The Beach Boys graciously rescheduled their concert and played a Kirby Park concert on Labor Day Weekend, Sunday September 3, 2006, attended by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania sits at the Max Rosenn United States Courthouse in downtown Wilkes-Barre on South Main Street. The Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court, John J. Thomas, is son of Thomas C. Thomas, a prominent produce dealer whose terminal remains a prominent part of the Wilkes-Barre skyline.
The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.
Wilkes-Barre is located at (41.244581, -75.877918).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (18.6 km²).6.8 square miles (17.7 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it is water. The total area is 4.60% water.
Public transportation is provided by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority. In addition to servicing the main arteries of the city, it provides transportation for the northern half of the county, as well as a connecting bus to Scranton via an interchange at Pittston with COLTS, the public transit authority of Lackawanna County.
The city was at one time served by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (later Erie Lackawanna Railway), Delaware and Hudson Railway, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Wilkes-Barre and Eastern Railroad, and the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad (known as the Laurel Line). The Wilkes-Barre Traction Company formed a streetcar line from Georgetown to Nanticoke and over the river into Plymouth ceasing operations in the mid 1940s. At present, the Canadian Pacific Railway (successor to the Delaware and Hudson) and the Luzerne & Susquehanna Railroad (designated-operator of a county-owned shortline) provide freight service within the city.
|Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees||IL, Baseball||PNC Field||1937||New York Yankees||2|
|Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins||AHL, Ice hockey||Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza||1999||Pittsburgh Penguins||0|
|Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers||af2, Arena football||Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza||2002||N/A||0|