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The Patriot Opposition to WalpolePolitics, Poetry, and National Myth, 1725-1742$
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Christine Gerrard

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198129820

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198129820.001.0001

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Jacobites and Patriots: Johnson and Savage

Jacobites and Patriots: Johnson and Savage

(p.230) 8 Jacobites and Patriots: Johnson and Savage
The Patriot Opposition to Walpole

Christine Gerrard

Oxford University Press

By 1742, Robert Walpole had gone, only to be replaced by ‘politics as usual’, a Whig party reshuffle which in time came to include previous Patriot Whigs who abandoned their commitment to broad-bottom principles in pursuit of government places. Some of the most scathing definitions of Patriots, patriotism, and Whigs are supplied by Samuel Johnson. Patriot Whiggery and Jacobitism deployed overlapping sets of images and metaphors, especially those of redemptive kingship. But Patriot Whigs were rarely Jacobites. Patriot Whigs were remarkably consistent with their support for the House of Hanover, even if that support focused on the heir to the throne rather than its present occupant. This is not to deny that a few figures involved in Patriot politics later dabbled with Jacobite intrigue. But the fundamental tenet cherished by most opposition Whigs — defence of the Protestant succession — was ultimately irreconcilable with Jacobitism. Johnson's unusual oscillation between Whig Patriot idealism and stubborn Jacobite resentment was also characteristic of Richard Savage, perhaps the dominant influence on the young Johnson during his first years in London.

Keywords:   Samuel Johnson, Richard Savage, Patriot Whigs, patriotism, Robert Walpole, Jacobitism, politics

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