Adjacent Cultures and Political Jugglery
In a period of intense political upheaval and uncertainty, many turned to the village conjuror for predictions, protection and a sense of stability and continuity. On a national level, Edmund Burke, alarmed by the political theology of Richard Price’s radical sermon of 1789, A Discourse on the Love of our Country, characterised the dissenting preacher as a conjuror who entranced his congregation with revolutionary rhetoric. Thomas Paine’s rejoinder was to accuse Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France itself of political jugglery in the form of Burke’s use of transformative metaphor. This chapter investigates the discourses of the Revolution Controversy, revealing how both revolutionaries and reactionaries armed themselves with a discourse that denoted their rivals’ proximity to popular magic.