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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Foxites were both affable and scurrilous; resolute opponents of an encroaching executive, they were equally determined in their pursuit of pleasure. They took particular delight in satire, drawing inspiration from Pope and Churchill, while retaining a thoroughly Whiggish admiration for Milton. Poetry in a sense provided a consolation for a lack of political power after George III ousted them from office in 1784. This essay examines the literary works of the Foxites’ best writers—Sheridan, Tickell, and Richardson. Their diverse and innovative work, much of it written and published collectively, intervened in both political and cultural controversies, from the contested Westminster election to the appointment of Thomas Warton as poet laureate. Personal abuse is heaped on William Pitt and his ministers, all of whom are reviled as inept, effeminate, and insinuating. But there is fun too at the expense of modish literary forms as well as the ponderous nature of parliamentary procedures.

Keywords: Whigs, Esto Perpetua Club, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Richard Tickell, parliament, newspapers, Thomas Warton, William Pitt

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