JACOBITES AND NON-JURORS
THE subject of Jacobitism and the movement associated with the name of the Non-Jurors may appear to be of slight importance in comparison with the striking and outstanding developments which mark the progress of what is justly styled "the Augustan Age." Jacobitism, as viewed from the political standpoint, may be regarded as a perverse reaction; and the strongly worded denunciation of the Non-Jurors by Macaulay, who accused them of sacrificing "both law and order to a superstition as stupid and degrading as the Egyptian worship of cats and onions," will probably indicate the attitude of indifference which is commonly assumed to this subject, even by those who are interested in the various social, religious, and political problems which vexed the souls of our forefathers in the glorious years of the eighteenth century. It may be said, nevertheless, that the study of small and apparently trifling movements of human belief and practice, or even of eccentricity, has been known to yield valuable results, and I hope to be able to maintain the position that no account of the history of our country in the eighteenth century can be considered to be complete in which no place is found for the story of the devotion to the house of Stuart, and the far-reaching development in religious thought exhibited by the Non-Jurors. At the beginning of the era with which these lectures are concerned Jacobitism was a political problem of the highest importance, reached its most acute point of crisis at the death of Queen Anne, broke into new life in the rising of the '45, and did not cease to be a matter of concern to the British Government until the death of Prince Charles in 1788. The Non-Juror movement in the same way continued in a more or less organised form during the whole of the century, the last congregation, which met in a watchmaker's shop in Manchester, being dissolved in the year 1805.