CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 118
TitleJohn Henley, preacher and lecturer: notes for sermons and orations
Date1748 - 1749
Extent1 volume (0.02 linear metres)
Creator NameHenley; John (1692-1756); preacher and lecturer
Administrative HistoryJohn Henley was born in Leicestershire in 1692, the son of a clergyman. He graduated BA from St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1712 and MA in 1716. He took a post as a teacher in his home town of Melton Mowbray and was later ordained, then moved to London in 1721. He was a noted orator but not a great scholar: his sermons were extremely popular, but his eccentric ideas, particularly concerning education, were not acceptable in the church and Henley moved to Suffolk where he resolved to break away and become an independent preacher and lecturer. In this he was successful, though ridiculed by some like Alexander Pope, and returned to London to pursue this career in 1729. He also wrote on ecclesiastical and political subjects and his own oratorical art, as well as producing rather poor poetry. He died in London in 1756.

Henley argued that the British should give up Gibraltar to the Spanish as it was no longer needed by them as a fortification against pirates from the North African coast.
SourceSource unknown. The manuscript was deposited in or acquired by Aberdeen University Library before 1870, and bears the old shelfmark C . 3.76.
DescriptionVolume of notes belonging to John Henley, for sermons or orations. The manuscript consists of 65 folios excluding endpapers. The date '1749 Jan 15' is written in ink on the outside of the front board and appears again at the top of folio 2. Folios 14, 23, 35, 39, 41 and 42 have small portions missing, but this does not interfere with the text, which is written on the recto of each folio, with additions and corrections on the verve of the previous folio. The contents are as follows:

Inscription, in a later hand: 'Part of Orator Henley's Remains' (folio 1)

List of the subjects referred to, partly scored through except for three scriptural texts and notes on giving up Gibraltar and smuggling (folio 2)

Blank page (folio 3)

Notes of a sermon or oration on text 2 Chronicles x.16, paginated 1-30 (folios 4 - 33); after comment on text expresses opposition to unduly flattering tone of addresses to the Crown made by towns, counties and academic bodies; suggests preaching against misconduct in public and private life.

Notes on 'one reason for giving up Gibraltar'; argues that if smugglers and pirates in the Mediterranean become Britain's friends Gibraltar will not be required as a base against them; paginated 1-30 (folios 34 - 63)

Notes on farming and taxes in Europe, finance in Holland and Vienna and returns to the subject of addressing the Crown discussed on 95.4 et seq; ends: 'We like our Kings, as well as they (the French), when they are under their Monuments - only we love to address them, when they are alive - and they, when they are dead - in which I own, they have more wit than we have.' (folios 63 - 64)

Blank page (folio 65)

[John Henley was also known as 'Orator' Henley. The notes, although written in a somewhat disconnected fashion appear to fall into three groups with separate pagination, the third being brief and perhaps incomplete.]
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.
AccrualsNone expected.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionThe volume measures 18.5 x 15 cm and is bound in boards with thin leather or vellum spine.
Publication NoteA detailed account of Henley's career and writings with a bibliography of manuscripts and published works will be found in G. Midgely, 'The Life of Orator Henley' (Oxford, 1973).
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