On 29 June 1678, Huntingdonshire natives residing in or visiting London had the opportunityto witness a glittering entertainment, The Huntington Divertisement, or, an Enterlude For the Generall Entertainment at the County-Feast, held at Merchant-Taylors Hall. On 27 March 1690, Yorkshire natives, also feasting in Merchant Tailors Hall, were treated to a triumphant song by Thomas D'Urfey and Henry Purcell. These elaborate pieces, presented a dozen years apart and admittedly unrepresentative of the sermons, processions, and huzzas that graced usual natives feasts, are nonetheless worth analyzing for the issues and rhetoric that the artists and their patrons thought relevant. By examining these pieces of high culture as well as more typical fare, this essay delineates one aspect of natives feasts-their localist rhetoric-and places this rhetoric in its political and social context.
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