Author(s)CLAFFEY, HUGH JOSEPH
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AbstractDr. Sacheverell?s November 5th Memorial Sermon delivered in St. Paul?s in 1709 and the reaction to it unleashed a civic and political maelstrom. The published sermon sold in unpresented volumes, the impeachment of the parson by the Whig-Duumvir Ministry provoked rioting in London in March 1710, the elections in October saw the Tories swept to power, with the aim of ending the War of Spanish Succession and reversing religious toleration. G.M. Trevelyan summarised the view of historians that the change in public opinion signalled by Sacheverell ?found no adequate voice in literature, journalism or public speech? before 1709.This thesis will argue that such a change in public opinion was evident in the published sermons given at the officially mandated Thanksgiving services held throughout Queen Anne?s reign. The Queen, as head of both the established Church and the State, mandated the almost annual religious celebration of secular successes in accordance with the prevailing belief of the necessity of giving thanks to God for His providential assistance to the nation. The demand for sermons and the infrastructure for their publication and dissemination ensured that they formed a part of the lively political debate that was a feature of early modern England. It is the contention of this thesis that it is possible, through these sermons, to reconstruct the twists and turns of the independent, though interconnected strands of partisan opinion through the decade. Analysis of the one hundred and ninety two published sermons, from eleven Thanksgiving days, tracks changes in relation to Providence, the War and the reputations of the Queen, Marlborough and Louis. While the Whig point of view is unsurprising to a student of the era, the two other strands do contain some novelty ? the consistency of Dissenting Opinion and the significantly early point in the war at which Tory disenchantment began to manifest itself. Subthemes explored are the opinions of and about the Huguenot community and the role of patronage and pageantry in the preparation for the Thanksgiving ceremonies. This thesis argues that the published Thanksgiving sermons represent accountable opinion, in contrast to the sometimes anonymous and disingenuous pamphlet literature, wherein preachers must comment on the secular events being celebrated, reflecting the partisan views of their auditory and patrons while staying within the boundaries of acceptability. The sermons can therefore be argued to be both more reflective of and influential on public opinion than the more exhaustively studied pamphlet literature.