have prevented the late atrocities, it a case be followed than the appointwas the opinion of government that ment of a committee composed of genthese shocking occurrences afforded of tlemen possessing local knowledge, and themselves sufficient ground for en vested with powers to collect all the quiry. All intention of resorting to a information which could be brought military police was anxiously disclaim together on the subject. ed, not only on account of the danger Sir Samuel Romilly, who is somewith which such a measure would be times accused of being more partial to attended to the liberties of the coun. a fine theory, than to an obvious and try, but on account of its inefficacy to practical remedy for an existing griesecure even those objects for which vance, complained much of the narrow some timid persons might be willing view of the subject which had been tato surrender their rights. It was re ken by government, and proposed that marked, that even in countries where an enquiry should be instituted, not on. the preservation of the peace

is com ly into the state of the nightly watch, mitted to the car of an armed police, but into the causes of the alarming in. furnished with all the powers of the crease of felonies and crimes. He remost vigorous despotism, atrocities marked, that there had been a great such as those which had thrown this and alarming increase of late years in country into a state of consternation, the trials for felonies of various kinds ; were frequently committed. It was a a circumstance which was the more melancholy fact, however, that, ma- surprising, that in other countries, one king all due allowance for the exagge advantage, at least, derived from a rations which at this time prevailed, state of war, had always been a dimioffences, though not of the deepest nution in the number of crimes. He enormity, had been multiplied beyond imputed this singular phenomenon the experience of former years; and it partly to the frequency of capital puwas this circumstance which imperi- nishments, but chiefly to the circumously called upon parliament to insti- stance of promiscuous imprisonment; tute the proposed enquiry. The most the youngest and the oldest felons are prominent defects in the police esta- often confined together, and when dişblishment arose out of the improper charged, no means of gaining a live. appointment of weak and disabled per. lihood are provided for them. He sons for the nightly watch, many of thought that the late unusual diswhom, it was generally known, had charge of convicts from the hulks had procured their nominations to prevent greatly increased the number of crimes; them from becoming burdens upon and that the evil bad been greatly agthe parish.-It appeared that an im. gravated by many radical defects in the provement in the state of the watch system of police. He disapproved of had, in one instance at least, been at the rewards given to police officers for tended with the most signal benefit. the detection of crimes of a certain magThe parish of Christ Church, Spital. nitude, which gave them an interest to fields, which had formerly exhibited a encourage the growth of offences, till scene of riot, uproar, and crime, had, they had attained that pitch when it by a parochial exertion tending to im. might be convenient for the officers prove the nightly watch, become of to put them down.

Rewards ought late almost proverbial for its good or not, in general, to be given to police der and regularity. But, at all events, officers; but, if given at all, should be a more proper course could not in such confined to accessaries after the fact,

by means of whom useful discoveries tee of penitentiary houses, and with might sometimes be made. He impu. the grave and difficult question as to ted the great increase of crimes, and the expediency of granting rewards as the corruption of public morals, to a part of the police system. He re. the mischievous effects of the lottery, marked, that the supposed familiarity which was encouraged by government betwixt the officers and delinquents for the paltry revenue which it afford. (which was at all events not new, since ed. He censured the familiarities said it been a subject of common place conto exist betwixt the police officers and versation for a century past) could not their prey; and stated, that the offi. have been the immediate causes of the cers were accustomed to go into places late unprecedented outrages; and ex. open for the reception and entertain. pressed some doubt, whether a refiment of common thieves and other ned expedient of Sir Samuel Romilly abandoned characters, much in the to enable police officers to take up same way as a gentleman would go to persons, not for the crimes which they that part of his manor where he ex had actually committed, but on suspected to start game.-Mr Smith, who picion of others which they might posconcurred with Sir Samuel Romilly, sibly commit, could well be carried moved an amendment, to extend the into effect.-Lord Cochrane ascribed power of the committee to an enquiry, the late atrocities to the pension list ; into the state of the police as well as of and Sir Francis Burdett, who concur. the nightly watch.-Mr Perceval re. red in opinion with him, thought that plied to these speakers; but declined no adequate remedy could be provided entering the wide field of speculation for evils so great, except by the abowhich they had opened. He insisted lition of sinecures, and by a recurrence that the proposed remedy, if a good to the old and wholesome laws of Ed. one in itself, should not be disregard. ward the First.--Mr Sheridan ridied, because other plans might also beculed the proposal to enquire into the attended with advantage, and main- state of the nightly watch, as totally tained, that, as the evil was pressing, inadequate to the object in view ; he it would be very absurd were the le. maintained, that the act already con. gislature to wander for the present in. ferred all the powers which were neto an extensive and embarrassing en. cessary to make the watch efficient, quiry, such as that which had been and professed to discover in the proproposed by the preceding speakers. position of Mr Ryder, a most alarming He ridiculed the notion of refusing attempt to break in upon the charter of immediate protection to the metropo- the city of London. He censured the lis, because the surrounding country conduct of the magistrates during the might afterwards suffer from the de- late enquiry; they had been foolish predations of the expelled criminals ; enough, he said, to countenance all the and wisely thought that the prospect prejudices of the mob against Irishof a future and contingent evil could men ; they had shewn themselves so afford no ground for refusing to cor deficient in prudence, as to seize upon rect one, which, in fact, had already every one who had a torn coat and grown to an enormous magnitude, and dirty shirt to justify suspicion. which the legislature had the power The alarm of the country was great, of at least alleviating. He protested the exigency was pressing, and the de. against encumbering the present en- sire of government to provide a remequiry with the business of a commit, dy was at least sincere; while the reme

dy proposed by the ministers was one sing that the introduction of machi. which had been found of great practi- nery had been the chief cause of the cal benefit in a parish in the metropo. difficulty which they had felt in findlis in which it had formerly been in- ing employment, proceeded with that troduced. These were strong reasons ignorant fury which always characin support of the motion, while the terises the operation of a mob, thus to necessity of dispatch, in a case in which destroy the very sources of public prothe public feeling had been so strong. sperity. By degrees they became more ly expressed, could admit of no dis. numerous and more formidable, and, pute. The motion of Mr Ryder was, having obtained arms, disturbed the therefore, agreed to by the House; whole country between Nottingham the committee was appointed ; a large and Mansfield, destroying frames alstock of useful information was ob- most without resistance. --A new ma. tained, and a solid foundation laid for chine had been invented, by which the those measures which the public safe- manufacturers were enabled to avail ty at this period so strongly demanded themselves of the assistance of women,

A very alarming disposition to riot for work in which men had been beand disorder had manifested itself in fore employed; and this circumstance different parts

of England towards the tended still further to inflame the spiclose of the last year. The commer. rit of riot and disorder. It is probacial difficulties to which the country ble that the bands of rioters who first was at this time exposed, the scarcity took the field, consisted of persons of work, and the high price of provi- who had been actually thrown out of sions, might, in the first instance, have employment by the improvements of excited this unhappy spirit ; but there machinery ; and their operations were, can be no doubt, that, when once rai. in the first instance, confined to the sed, it was powerfully fostered and sus- destruction of frames, owned or work. tained by factious publications disse. ed by those who were willing to laminated


the people, and by de bour at reduced prices. A vigorous clamatory harangues which charged resistance, however, was made to these their sufferings upon the government, outrages; an armed force, consisting and attempted to justify the atrocities at first of local militia and yeomanry, to which some deluded wretches had was assembled, to which were added proceeded. The disposition to a sys- about four hundred special constables ; tem of combined operations first mani. the rioters were dispersed, and it was fested itself in the neighbourhood of hoped that the disturbances were at an the town of Nottingham, in the destruc- end. But this expectation proved fal. tion of some newly-invented stocking- lacious ; for, about the end of Novemframes by small parties of men, prin. ber, the outrages were renewed in a cipally stocking-weavers, who had as more serious and systematic form ; sembled from the neighbourhood. The money was levied by the rioters on the first object of the rioters, therefore, villages in which they destroyed the was of the most detestable character, frames, and as the number of the insurthe destruction of an improved machi- gents increased, the outrages were by nery, by wbich the manufacturers of the month of December, extended over the country obtained so great an advan- Derbyshire and Leicestershire. New tage over those of other nations, both measures for suppressing the disorders in the cheapness and quality of their were adopted; the armed force at Nota goods. The rioters, however, suppo- tingham was increased, the command


ancient system

ing officer of the district was ordered middle of April, and a regular system to repair to that place, and two of the of discipline was established among most experienced police magistrates insurgents. A meeting of rioters on a were sent down from London to assist heath, about two miles from Stock. the local authorities.

port, for the purposes of military disBut the execution of the law was cipline, was discovered and dispersed found to be very difficult ; for the on the morning of the 15th of April. rioters were too well aware of the Manchester now became a scene of advantages of system in their opera- disorder; on the 26th and 27th of tions, and had become too great fa. April, some thousands of strangers apvourites with the mob, to be either peared in the town; the local militia easily apprehended or convicted. At was called out, and a considerable mithe spring assizes, however, in Not- litary force assembled, but the strantingham, seven persons were convicted gers had dispersed by the 28th. Nocand sentenced to transportation. The turnal meetings, however, were held

of watch and ward was for the purposes of military exercise ; renewed in the disturbed counties, and arms were seized in various places by the legislature interfered to increase the disaffected, and contributions in the punishment for the destruction money were levied. Bolton in the of frames. But the spirit of insur Moors, Newcastle-under-Line, Wirection and disorder still extended in gan, Warrington, and other towns, spite of every precaution ; at Stock. exhibited


of disturbance; a port in Cheshire subscriptions were spirit of tumult also appeared at Carinstituted for the persons in custody lisle; and at Huddersfield, in Yorkin Nottinghamshire ; anonymous let. shire, the proceedings of the rioters ters were circulated threatening still were marked with peculiar atrocity. farther devastations on machinery, and A large manufactory at West Houghattempts were made to carry these ton, in the neighbourhood of Bolton threats into execution. The spirit of in the Moors, was, with great dexteridisorder rapidly spread through the ty, destroyed on the 24th of April, in neighbourhood; inflammatory pla- spite of every effort which could be cards, inviting the people to tumults, made for its protection. The plan of were dispersed ; illegal oaths were ad attack was in this instance executed ministered ; riots were excited in vari- with singular ability. The rioters first ous places ; houses were plundered by of all assembled; but, on the appearpersons in disguise, and a general ri ance of a military force, they immedising was threatened early in the month ately dispersed. The military having of May. Aston-under-Line, Eccles, returned to their quarters, however, and Middletown, became scenes of con- the rioters reappeared, assailed and fusion. At the last-mentioned place, a forced the manufactory, set it on fire, most daring attack was, on the 20th of and again dispersed, before the military April, made on the manufactory of a could be brought to the spot. At Mr Burton, in which the rioters were Huddersfield, in the west-riding of at first repulsed, and five of their num- Yorkshire and throughout that neigh. ber killed by the military assembled bourhood, the destruction of dressing to protect the works; but a second and shearing machines began early in attack was made two days afterwards, the month of February; fire-arms were in which Mr Burton's dwelling house seized in the course of March ; and a was burned to the ground.At Stock. constable was shot in his own house. port, the riots were renewed about the various attempts were made to destroy

the mills in the neighbourhood, in wright. The proprietor, however, with some of which the rioters were suc the assistance of three of his servants cessful; but they did not confine their and five soldiers, defended the place operations to such objects. Mr Horse with courage, and the rioters, probafall, a respectable merchant and mill bly from the want of ammunition, were owner in the neighbour od of Hud. compelled to retire. Two of their numdersfield, was shot about five o'clock ber were left in the fields desperately in the afternoon of the 28th of April, wounded, and were secured, but soon when returning from market, and died afterwards died : neither of these peron the 30th of the same month; and sons would make any confession. The although a reward of 20001. was offer- rioters, when retiring, expressed their ed for the apprehension of the murder- determination to take Mr Cartwright's ers, a considerable time elapsed before life at all hazards ; and the people in any discovery could be made. When the neighbourhood joined in expressing Mr Horsefall was shot, the populace their regret that the former attempt had surrounded and reviled him; and al. failed. A vast concourse of persons lowed the assassins to retire to an ad. attended the funeral of one of the men joining wood. To such a pitch were who died of his wounds; and there the atrocities of these miscreants car was found written on the walls in maried, that they nearly killed a young ny places, “ Vengeance for the blood woman in the streets of Leeds, he- of the innocent. On the 18th of cause she had been seen near the April, Mr Cartwright was twice shot spot where a murder was committed, at on the high road ; shots were also and might have been able to give evi- fired at a constable and magistrate; dence to lead to the discovery of the and several attempts were made to asmurderers. At this place, also, the sassinate General Campbell who comrioters determined on the destruction manded the troops at Leeds. On the of all goods which had been prepared 9th of April, about 300 armed men otherwise than by manual operation, attacked some mills near Wakefield, and proceeded to execute their purpose and destroyed the valuable machinery with unusual dexterity. Some mills at and property. They were seen some Rawdon, a village about eight miles time before this on the road marchfrom Leeds, were, on the morning of ing in regular sections, preceded by the 24th of March, attacked by a body a mounted party with drawn swords, of armed men, who proceeded with and followed by the same number the greatest circumspection to seize mounted as a rear-guard. The inhathe watchmen, and to place guards at bitants were intimidated; the watch every neighbouring cottage ; they af- and ward act could not be put in exeterwards entered the premises and de- cution ; the lower orders were to a stroyed the machinery. Other build man either abettors of, or participa. ings were entered at this place and tors in, these outrages.-The storein the neighbourhood, and the goods house of arms for the local militia at which they contained were cut to Sheffield was surprised in the month pieces and destroyed. -At Leversedge, of May, and the arms were destroyed in the neighbourhood of the moors and carried off.-In Yorkshire, the seiwhich divide Lancashire from York- zure of arms was carried to an alarmshire, an attack was made on the morn ing extent ; and although the magising of the 12th of April by a body of trates used their best efforts to disco. ctwo or three hundred armed men, on a ver the robbers, they failed almost in valuable mill belonging to a Mr Cart- every instance. In the district which

« ForrigeFortsett »