On 20 October George was crowned at Westminster Abbey but when loyalists celebrated the coronation they were disrupted by rioters in over twenty towns in the south and west of England. The rioters were supporters of High Church and Sacheverellite notions. The Tory aristocrats and gentry absented themselves from the coronation and in some towns they arrived with their supporters to disrupt the Hanoverian proceedings.
The celebrations of the coronation—balls, bonfires and drinking in taverns—were attacked by rioters who sacked their properties and assaulted the celebrants.
The general election of 1715, which was also accompanied by riots, produced a Whig majority in the House of Commons. In response to these riots, the new Whig majority passed the Riot Act to put down disturbances like these.
Eleven days after the riots, Henry Sacheverell published an open letter:
The Dissenters & their Friends have foolishly Endeavour’d to raise a Disturbance throughout the whole Kingdom by Trying in most Great Towns, on the Coronation Day to Burn Me in Effigie, to Inodiate my Person & Cause with the Populace: But if this Silly Stratagem has produc’d a quite Contrary Effect, & turn’s upon the First Authors, & aggressors, and the People have Express’d their Resentment in any Culpable way, I hope it is not to be laid to my Charge, whose Name…they make Use of as the Shibboleth of the Party.
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