The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas


History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780.

History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780.


Perhaps no prince ever received the reins of government under more happy circumstances, or amidst more universal applause from his subjects, than his late majesty. As soon as proper notice was given of the king's death, the privy council assembled, to give orders for proclaiming his successor; and next day the new sovereign was proclaimed, before Saville House, in Leicester-fields, in presence of the great officers of state, the nobility, the lord mayor and


aldermen of the city of London, and a great number of persons of the distinction; and the proclamation was repeated at the usual places in the metropolis, with the accustomed ceremonies, amidst the acclamations of a vast concourse of spectators.

On the , the lord mayor and aldermen of London attended the king, at Leicester-house, with compliments of condolence and congratulation; an address was presented to him by the citizens, in their corporate capacity; as also another to the princess dowager of Wales, his mother. This example was followed by the merchants and traders of the city, the clergy of London and , and all the bodies politic and corporate in the kingdoms.

The lord mayor's day happening this year on a Sunday, sir Matthew Blackiston, the mayor elect, was not sworn into his office till the day following; when, on account of the recent death of the king, who was not yet interred, the usual ceremonies were omitted, and he went privately in his coach, attended by the aldermen, to be sworn into his office.

In the evening of the same day, the remains of his late majesty were removed from Kensington palace, where he died, to the prince's chamber, and there lay in state till the next night, when they were interred, with great funeral pomp, in the royal vault under Henry VIIth's chapel, in ; his youngest son, the duke of Cumberland, attending as chief mourner.

About this time, causes were tried in the court of King's bench, , respecting the right of the city to take toll for provisions exposed to sale before houses in the markets. They were tried before a jury of non-freemen; and the parties in the were, the citizens of London, plaintiffs, and Edward Smith and Ralph Twyford, salesmen, in Newgate market, defendants. The other parties were the same plaintiffs, and John Cope, a salesman, defendant, for the sale of provisions in White-hart-street, an avenue or passage leading to Newgate market. In each of these causes, the jury gave a verdict for the city; by which the citizens ultimately established their right to the tolls, not only in the markets, but also in the avenues or passages leading thereto.

At a court of common-council, held the , a motion was made to present the freedom of the city to sir John Philips, bart. and George Cooke, esq. members for Middlesex, for their singular service in supporting such resolutions of the city as required the aid and authority of parliament. As there had not been any previous intimation given to the members, that such a question would be moved, it was considered by many, as a motion intended to be carried by surprise, and was opposed, by some, with great warmth, as an irregular proceeding; but, on the question being put, it was carried by against . The court, however, though they were not averse to the compliment bestowed on those gentlemen, determined to guard against any such hasty measure in


future; and therefore unanimously resolved, that no person should have the freedom of the city presented to him, unless the motion was made at a court preceding that in which the question should be put.

Among the acts of parliament passed during this session, was for laying an additional duty on strong beer. Loud clamours were excited by this tax among the class of labouring people, especially in the metropolis, where some few publicans attempted to raise the price double the amount of the tax; but, as they did not act in concert, those houses in which the experiment was made, were immediately abandoned by their customers. The streets resounded with the noise of vulgar discontent, which did not even respect the young sovereign; and, if the price of strong beer had been actually raised to the consumer, in all probability some dangerous tumult would have ensued.

The business of the session being brought to a close, the parliament was dissolved on the , and writs were issued out for the election of a new . Previous to this, Arthur Onslow, esq. who had filled the chair of the house of commons with great abilities and dignity, signified his intention of retiring from that station, on which occasion, the house addressed his majesty, to confer some mark of his royal favour upon him, for his great and eminent services, for the space of years, and upwards; which the king complied with, by settling an annual pension of upon him, for his own life and that of his son. And the court of common-council, desirous of testifying their high sense of the merits of this venerable patriot, voted him the freedom of the city: which was presented to him in a gold box, of the value of guineas.

A treaty of marriage having been concluded between his majesty and the princess Charlotte Sophia, of Mecklenburgh Strelitz, the nuptials were solemnized by the archbishop of Canterbury, on the , in the presence of the royal family, and the principal part of the nobility.

The whole nation united in testifying their joy on this occasion; the amiable character of the princess promising future felicity both to her royal consort and his subjects. On the , the lord mayor, aldermen, and common-council, presented their congratulations to the royal pair on their nuptials; as also to the princess dowager of Wales, which were graciously received by the royal parties. It was on this occasion that the common-council appeared in mazarine blue silk gowns, agreeable to an order of that court, made a short time before; which greatly contribute to heighten the solemnity and grandeur of their public appearance.

On the , his majesty's coronation was performed in the abbey church at , with the usual solemnities. Their majesties and the princess dowager went, in the morning, through the park, from St. James's, in chairs, and their attendants in coaches, to


Westminster-hall, from thence they walked, about o'clock, in grand procession, to the abbey. After the ceremony, which lasted hours, they returned to the hall, where they dined most magnificently, in the presence of numberless spectators richly dressed. All the way of the procession was lined with crowded scaffolds, and the abbey also was as full and splendid as possible. On the queen's entrance into the hall, wax tapers were all lighted in less than minutes. The royal standard was hoisted at the Tower, the ships in the river displayed their flags, the streets were universally illuminated, and there was an entire stagnation of all sorts of business.

A little before the procession began, proceeded that of her royal highness the princess dowager of Wales, from the house of lords, across Old Palace-yard, on a platform erected for that purpose, to the south-cross of . She was led by the hand by his royal highness prince William Henry, dressed in white and silver. Her train, which was of silk, was but short, and her hair flowed down her shoulders in hanging curls.

The rest of the princes and princesses, her highness's children, followed in this order:

His royal highness prince Henry Frederick, also in white and silver, handing his sister, the princess Louisa Anne, dressed in a slip with hanging sleeves. Then his royal highness prince Frederick William, in the same dress, handing his youngest sister, the princess Caroline Matilda, dressed also in a slip with hanging sleeves.

The other persons who made up this procession were those who had not a right to walk with their majesties.

The procession was closed by Mahometan ambassadors, in the proper dresses of their country, having turbans of fine muslin on their heads, and long gowns of flowered and laced silk; their sabres were crimson, and in each of them were enclosed a dagger and poniard.

The great diamond in his majesty's crown fell out in returning from the abbey to Westminster-hall, but was immediately found and restored.

The nation in general, and the corporation of London in particular, being greatly discontented at the measures of the court, and particularly at the resignation of Mr. Pitt, whose conduct in administration they highly esteemed, the court of common-council, on the d of October, unanimously resolved to instruct the city members on the sense of the citizens respecting the present critical conjuncture. Accordingly, instructions were drawn up and delivered to the members; the principal articles in which were: to endeavour at a repeal or amendment of the late act for the relief of insolvent debtors, in respect of the inconveniences arising from the compulsive clause (which was accordingly done by stat. Geo. III. cap. ). To promote all necessary measures for the establishing good economy in the distribution of the national treasure: to


oppose all attempts for giving up such places as might tend to lessen our present security, restore the naval power of France, and expose us to fresh hostilities; particularly to preserve our sole and exclusive right to our acquisitions in North America, and its fisheries; and lastly, to concur in prosecuting the war with the utmost vigour, so as to obtain a safe and honourable peace.

At the same time another motion was made, that the thanks of the court be given to the right hon. Mr. Pitt, for the many and important services rendered to his king and country. And a motion was made, that the committee, in their thanks to Mr. Pitt, do lament his resignation, &c. These motions, with the exception of the last, on which there was a division, being for it, and only against it, were unanimously carried in the affirmative.

According to ancient custom, the lord mayor who is elected to that office after a coronation, invites the king and queen, if there is at the time, to dine at on lord mayor's day. Sir Samuel Fludyer, being chosen to that office, had the honour of entertaining their majesties on this occasion. The ceremonial was conducted with the greatest magnificence, all ranks striving with each other to manifest their loyalty and attachment. The pageants and decorations were more pompous than had been on any former occasion; and the entertainment was elegant, sumptuous, and well-conducted. The whole expense was His majesty and all the royal family expressed their entire approbation of it; and the nobility and foreign ministers acknowledged it to have been far beyond any they had ever seen.

In the beginning of the year , the inhabitants of London and were alarmed by an imposture of a singular nature, carried on in the house of Parsons, clerk of the parish of St. Sepulchre, and resident in , . His daughter, a girl of years of age, being tutored for the purpose, pretended to be visited by the spirit of a young woman who had formerly lived in the house, and had died about a year and a half before this period. This woman, who went by the name of Fanny, had lived with a Mr. Kent, a broker, who had been the husband of her sister, and would willingly have taken Fanny to wife, but this union being forbidden by the canon law, the parties agreed to dispense with the ceremonies of the church, and lived together until, to the great grief of her lover, she died of the small pox. Kent, it seems, had incurred the resentment of Parsons by pressing him for the payment of some money he had lent him: and this is supposed to have been the source of this diabolical contrivance. His daughter, who had been a favourite of Fanny's, pretended to see her spirit; she was seized with apparent fits and tremblings, strange noises of knocking, scratching, whispering, fluttering, &c. were heard in the presence of the girl; and a woman who lived in the house and was an accomplice in the scheme, pretended to explain these different


noises, all of which tended to show that she had been poisoned by her admirer. The circumstances of this strange visitation being reported, with many idle exaggerations, interested the public to such a degree, that nothing was talked of in all assemblies, from the highest to the lowest, but the ghost; to which there was a continual flux and reflux of people of all ranks: even some of the dignitaries of the church lent a countenance to the fraud by joining in the superstitious throng who daily flocked to hear it. To such a height did this silly infatuation at length arrive, that all the suggestions of reason proved ineffectual to stop it: the most glaring inconsistencies were reconciled in support of the supernatural visitation, while the unfortunate object of it was universally detested as an infamous murderer; who having robbed a poor girl of her innocence, and become satiated with her person, had consigned her to an untimely end. In vain he published the affidavits of the physician and apothecary, who attended her in her last illness; in vain he availed himself of the testimony of those who were with her in her last moments, and saw the tender parting between her and the man whom her spirit was now supposed to impeach. The more pains he took in his own justification, the more deeply were the people impressed with the conviction of his guilt. Under this dreadful persecution, he had recourse to the protection of the law, by commencing a suit against the father of the child, an ecclesiastic who had been very instrumental in promoting the imposture, and some others who had been more or less active in ruining his reputation and fortune. They were indicted for a conspiracy, and tried before lord chief justice Mansfield, who resisted an attempt that was made to prove that the visitation was supernatural. He treated such a supposition with the contempt it deserved, and pronounced the whole to be an infamous imposture, contrived and carried on to effect the ruin of an innocent person; and the jury before whom it was tried convicted all the parties of the conspiracy. Parsons was condemned to stand in the pillory times in month, and to be imprisoned for years; his wife was imprisoned for year, the woman who acted as interpreter was committed to , to be kept to hard labour for months, and the clergyman and another person who had been active in the transaction were dismissed with a severe reprimand, after having compromised the affair with the prosecutor, to whom they paid a considerable sum of money, as a reparation for the injury he had sustained.

In this session of parliament an act was passed for new paving the streets, and removing the posts and signs that had long been a blemish to the principal parts of this metropolis. , before, was exceedingly inconvenient, as well to foot passengers as those who were obliged to travel in the highway; but by virtue of this act, they were both altered, and the principal parts of the cities of London and were paved in the elegant as well as convenient manner in which they now appear.


A scheme had been projected to reduce the price of fish, by bringing it from distant ports to London and by land carriage. This scheme being laid before the parliament, an act was obtained for carrying it into execution; but, after having tried it for some years, the expenses were found to exceed the produce so greatly, that it was discontinued.

On the came on at , a cause which had been long depending between the city and the dissenters, concerning the eligibility and obligation of the latter to serve the office of sheriff; when, after several learned pleadings, the judges gave their opinion, that dissenters were not obliged to serve that office. This determination was afterwards confirmed by the house of lords.

On the , about o'clock in the morning, her majesty was safely delivered of a prince, which event was immediately announced by a discharge of the Tower guns. Soon after her majesty was delivered, the waggons loaded with the treasure of the Hermione (a Spanish register ship, taken by the Active and Favourite, English frigates) entered , in their way to the Tower; on which his majesty and the nobility went to the windows over the palace-gate to see them, and joined their acclamations on such joyful events. The waggons, in number, were preceded by a company of light horse, with kettle drums, trumpets, French horns, and hautboys. Each waggon was escorted by marines, with bayonets fixed, and decorated with Spanish colours beneath those of England. The treasure was conveyed to the Bank, and was estimated at millions dollars, besides other valuable effects.

On the , the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council, waited on his majesty with a congratulatory address on the birth of a prince, who, on the , was created prince of Wales, &c. and on the following, was baptized by the name of George Augustus Frederic.

The negociations for peace, which had been some time in hand, having been brought to an issue, the secretary of state sent, on the , to inform the lord mayor, that the preliminaries of pacification were signed on the d instant; in consequence of which, a cessation of arms was proclaimed at London, on the ; and, on the d of , the definitive treaty, which had been signed at Paris on the , was proclaimed at the usual places in London; but so dissatisfied were the citizens with the terms of it, that the common council could not be prevailed on to address; and that which was obtained from the aldermen, was carried up by of that body, with a at their head.

There being a bill at this time depending in the house, not only for granting additional duties on wine, cyder, and perry, but also to subject the makers of those articles to the excise laws, the court


of common council, on the very day that peace was proclaimed, resolved to petition the house of commons against it; and the next day they prepared instructions for their members to oppose this new attempt,

as being inconsistent with those principles of liberty which had hitherto distinguished this nation from arbitrary governments.

In short, so strenuously did the citizens exert themselves to crush this destructive bill, that, on the , they petitioned each branch of the legislature, separately, against it; notwithstanding which, it passed into a law. The bill, however, was found to be productive of such universal disturbance, not only in the cyder counties, but also throughout the kingdom, that it was altered, and afterwards repealed.

We come now to an event, which, whatever heat and party rancour it might have generated at the time, was productive of the genuine spirit of British liberty.

Through various concurrent circumstances, and the anti-liberal conduct of the administration, the metropolis at this period was in a complete ferment; the members of the cabinet were lampooned and assailed with political publications, couched in strong terms of reprehension; to counteract the effects which these might produce, a periodical pamphlet, denominated

The Briton,

was published, under the patronage of government. This was answered by another periodical paper, called

The North Briton,

in allusion to the earl of Bute, who had supplanted and succeeded Mr. Pitt. The writers of the North Briton, the principal of whom was the celebrated John Wilkes, esq. M.P. for Aylesbury, were composed of those characters who considered the then administration to be wholly unworthy of the public confidence, and were therefore determined to expose its measures and their authors to the ignominy and contempt which they deserved. The number of the North Briton contained such severe reflections upon the king's closing speech to the parliament in April, that the ministry, who had been sedulously lying in wait for a fit opportunity to crush their avowed enemy, thought that the time was now arrived; and Mr. Wilkes was apprehended on the , under an illegal warrant, signed by the principal secretary of state. Application was immediately made to the court of Common Pleas, and a writ of obtained; yet, in despite of this, Mr. Wilkes was committed to the Tower, where he continued till the , when his case having been solemnly argued before that firm friend to constitutional liberty, lord chief justice Pratt, the court directed him to be discharged.

A dreadful calamity happened on on his majesty's birth-day, . It was usual at that time to exhibit fireworks in honour of the occasion, a practice, however, which was


discontinued during the American war. The concourse of people that assembled to view the fireworks this year was so great, that a railing which surrounded the postern well gave way, and many fell down a precipice feet in depth; were instantly killed, died of their wounds, and a vast number were bruised and maimed.

Shortly after Mr. Wilkes was released from the Tower, he established a printing press in his own house, situated in , , and republished all the numbers of the obnoxious paper. This provoked the ministry so highly, that an information was filed against him in the court of King's Bench, at his majesty's suit; and in the house of commons,

The North Briton, No.



was voted to be

a most seditious and dangerous libel,

and ordered

to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman.

When the appointed officers attended at the to execute this order, they were violently assailed by the populace, and dispersed in different directions; and the glass of Mr. Sheriff Harley's chariot was broken by of the billets snatched from the fire. The pieces of the


which the assailants snatched from the flames, were carried away in triumph, and in the evening were displayed at Temple-bar, at which place a bonfire was made to consume a large Jack-boot, as it was called, in allusion to the prime minister. This riot being reported to the houses of parliament, they entered very seriously into the consideration of its consequences; and, after Mr. Alderman Harley had been examined by the lords, resolved,

that the rioters were perturbators of the public peace, dangerous to the liberties of the country, and obstructors of the national justice.

At the same time, the sheriffs received the thanks of both houses.

Some time afterwards Mr. Wilkes retired to France, to avoid the persecution which threatened him. For this conduct, which the house of commons adjudged to be

a contempt of their authority,

he was expelled on the ; in the following month, his trial, notwithstanding his absence, was brought on before lord chief justice Mansfield, in the court of King's Bench, where he was found guilty of re-publishing the libellous paper, and was subsequently outlawed.

The benevolence of the inhabitants of London was strongly excited in the course of this year, by the distresses of about Palatines and Wurtzburghers, men, women, and children, who had been deluded from their native homes by a German adventurer named Stumple, to form a settlement in the islands of St. John and Le Croix, in America. After they had been shipped for England, Stumple abandoned them, and they arrived in the port of London during the month of August, in the most deplorable condition, and in imminent danger of perishing for want. About , who were able to discharge their passage, were permitted to come on shore, and they retired to the fields in the


neighbourhood of Stepney and Bow, where they continued some days without the least shelter, and wholly destitute of the common necessaries of life: the situation of those on ship-board was almost equally deplorable.

The intimation which the public received of the wretched state of these poor fugitives, was through the generous act of a baker, who, passing along the road, near Bow, where the distressed Germans were languishing for food, and perceiving their forlorn condition, threw his basket from his shoulder, and distributed its contents (-penny loaves) among them, for no other return than

signs of gratitude and tears of joy ;

observing, whilst thus employed, that

his customers must fast a little longer that day.

For several days afterwards the only assistance these poor people received

was what could be gathered from the different German churches and chapels about the metropolis; but this was far from being sufficient to relieve so great a number. At length, the Rev. Mr. Wachsel, minister of the German Lutheran church in



Goodman's fields

, laid their case before the public in the newspapers, in so true and affecting a manner, that it immediately attracted the attention, not only of the great, but also of royalty itself. Before


o'clock on the same day,

one hundred

tents were sent them from the Tower, by order of his majesty; the passage of those who were detained in the ship was defrayed, and


was sent for their immediate support. Subscriptions were opened, and considerable sums of money gathered for their relief. Physicians, surgeons, and midwives, offered their service for the sick and those in travail, for the latter of whom proper apartments were hired.

The means of immediate subsistence having been thus obtained, a plan was suggested for their permanent settlement in South Carolina; whither they were sent towards the end of the following year, with every thing necessary for their accommodation during their voyage, and proper requisites for their comfortable establishment on their arrival.

On the , Mr. John Williams, bookseller, in , stood on the pillory, in New Palace-yard,


, for republishing the North Briton in volumes. A few minutes after he mounted the stage, amidst the acclamations of more than people, who preserved an incessant shout during the whole time of his standing. The intention of the ignominy was greatly defeated by the populace, who testified their resentment by displaying a burlesque exhibition of a very singular, but intelligible, nature. They suspended, near the pillory, a large jack-boot, a Scots bonnet, and an axe : which having hung for some time, they chopped off the top of the boot, and, with great triumph, committed that and the bonnet to the flames : a fire having been prepared for that purpose.

In , considerable confusion was excited in London by the Spitalfields weavers, many thousands of whom had been thrown out of employ through the introduction of French manufactured silks, and were now with their wives and families in great distress. A petition, which they had presented to the parliament, not having been attended to as they wished, they assembled before Bedford house, in , and denounced vengeance against the duke of Bedford, by whom they supposed the relief they petitioned for had been obstructed. Whatever mischief they had purposed, was this time prevented by a party of the military ; yet on the next day they again assembled in still greater numbers, and committed various outrages. Bedford house was much damaged, and others threatened: but the exertions of the magistrates, aided by the soldiery, and the assurances of the master weavers that the importation of French silks should be discontinued, prevented any further disorders.

On the , a dreadful fire broke out about o'clock in the morning, at the house of a peruke-maker, named Rutland, in , adjoining to the corner of . The flames quickly spread to the corner house, and, the wind being high, from thence soon communicated to the opposite corners; so that the were on fire at the same time, and of them were totally destroyed. All the houses from to the church of St. Martin Outwich, in , were burnt down, and the church and parsonage-house considerably damaged, as well as the back part of Merchant hall, and various houses in . The White Lion tavern, which had been purchased only on the preceding evening for , and all the houses in White Lion-court, were entirely consumed, together with houses in , and several others in . Several lives were lost, not only by the fire, but by the falling of chimnies and walls; and on the following day persons were killed, and some others had their limbs broken, by the sudden fall of a stack of chimnies. By


this accident nearly houses were destroyed or greatly damaged.

The beginnings of the years and were both distinguished by a very severe frost, through which the price of provisions was greatly enhanced. The navigation of the river Thames was stopped, and the river below bridge had all the appearance of a general wreck ; ships, boats, and small craft, lying in confusion amidst the ice, whilst others were either driven on shore or sunk by the driving shoals. Many persons perished by the severity of the weather both on the water and on shore. During the latter frost the price of butcher's meat grew so exorbitant, that the Hon. Thomas Harley, lord mayor, proposed that bounties should be given for bringing fish to market; and of the poor were greatly alleviated, by the cheap rates markets were supplied.

The beginning of the year was also the commencement of an era of discontent and political violence. At the election for representatives of the city of London, in March, Mr. Wilkes suddenly arrived from France, appeared on the hustings at , and declared himself a candidate. Popular indignation having now a shrewd and bold chieftain, assumed an alarming extent of opposition to government, and though Mr. Wilkes was the last on the poll for London, he was the on that for the county of Middlesex; on this success his partizans committed the most extravagant outrages, and not satisfied with having destroyed the windows of such of the nobility and gentry as they deemed obnoxious to them, they also exercised their spleen in demolishing the windows, glass chandeliers, and other parts of the furniture of the Mansion-house.

In conformity to a promise given by Mr. Wilkes on his return, he made his appearance in the court of King's-bench on the ; but as his surrender in that manner was irregular, and not in compliance with any process issuing out of that court, the judges declined taking any cognizance of it, on which he retired. On the he was taken into custody by a writ of , and was brought up, under a , to be bailed; but the court being of opinion that no person is intitled to be bailed after conviction, he was ordered to be conveyed to the King's-bench prison; but, in his way thither,


the mob stopped the coach on Westminster-bridge, took off the horses, and drew it along , , &c. to Spitalfields. Here they turned the tip-staves out of the coach, and would have treated them indecently had it not been for Mr. Wilkes, who successfully exerted his influence in their favour. They then drew the coach to the Tuns tavern, where Mr. Wilkes got out, and from an upper window earnestly entreated them to retire, which they accordingly did; and when they dispersed he went privately and delivered himself to the marshal of the King's-bench prison.

The next day the prison was surrounded by a prodigious number of people, who, it was expected, would have committed some outrage; but no disturbance happened till night, when they pulled up the rails that enclosed the footway, with which they made a bonfire, and obliged the inhabitants of the Borough to illuminate their houses; but a captain's guard of men arriving about o'clock, they all dispersed.

The discontent of the populace at this time was considerably increased by the excessive price of provisions; on which account, many disturbances happened that were attended with the most disagreeable consequences. A large body of coal-heavers went on board the colliers in the river, and obliged the men immediately to quit their work. They complained of the ill usage practised by their employers, who they said curtailed their wages, and, instead of paying them with money, only gave them liquor and goods of a bad quality; and that these undertakers got fortunes, while they, who did the work, were starving. This tumult was productive of much mischief, for the rioters meeting with a strong opposition, the fray became so desperate that several lives were lost, and others were so maimed as to be ever after incapable of executing their business.

The sailors belonging to the outward bound vessels in the river, imbibed the contagion, and refused to proceed on their voyages without an increase of wages. On the d of May great numbers of them assembled in Stepney-fields and Deptford, from whence they proceeded, in a riotous manner, and boarded those ships in the river that were preparing to sail; they unrigged the vessels and forced away the men, declaring, that no ships should sail before the merchants had agreed to advance their wages. On the they again assembled in fields, from whence they proceeded to with colours and music before them, and presented a petition to the king, setting forth their grievances, and praying relief.

But the event which created the strongest sensation at this time, was the following :--In the afternoon of the , a great body of people assembled about the King's-bench prison, in expectation that Mr. Wilkes was to go from thence to the



parliament house (it being the day of opening the new parliament,) and designing to convey him thither. They demanded him at the prison, and grew very tumultuous; whereupon the Riot Act was begun to be read, but the populace threw stones and brick-bats while it was reading, when William Allen, son of Mr. Allen, master of the Horse-shoe-inn, in , , being singled out, was pursued by the soldiers, and shot dead on the spot. Soon after this, the crowd increasing, an additional number of the guards was sent for, who marched thither, and also a party of horse-grenadiers; when, the riot continuing, the mob was fired upon by the soldiers, and were killed on the spot, and about wounded. women were among the wounded, of whom afterwards died in . The next day an inquisition was taken by the coroner for Surrey, on the body of the above William Allen, when a verdict was given by the jury that Donald Maclane was guilty of wilful murder, and Donald Maclaury, and Alexander Murray, the commanding officer, were aiding and abetting therein. This inquest was held at the house of Mr. Allen; and it appeared on the examination, that the deceased was only a spectator, and, on seeing some persons run, he ran also, but was unhappily mistaken, and followed by the soldiers yards, into a cow-house, where he was shot. Donald Maclane was committed to prison for the murder, but his associates were admitted to bail. inquisitions were afterwards taken in the Borough, on persons killed by the soldiers in quelling the above riot; on the body of Mary Jeffs, who, having a basket of oranges to sell, was shot dead in removing them; the other on William Bridgeman, who was shot on the top of a hay cart, as he was looking at the fray at a distance; on both these inquisitions, the jury brought in their verdict chance medley. It appeared by the evidence, that, on the justices taking down a paper that had been fixed against a wall of the prison, the mob grew riotous, and cried Out,

give us the paper ;

which the justices not regarding, stones began to be thrown, and the cry

give us the paper

grew louder; the drums beat to arms; the proclamation was read; the justices were pelted who read it; great pains were taken to persuade the people to disperse; the horse-guards were sent for, and it was not till the last extremity that the soldiers received orders to fire. Maclane was afterwards tried at the Surrey assizes held at Guildford, and acquitted.

The next day, the mob assembled before the house of Edward Russel, esq. distiller, in the Borough, broke open the door, staved some casks of liquor, drank it immoderately, and began pulling down the house; but the military interposing, some of the most intoxicated were seized, and the rest made their escape. At the same time the front of the house of Richard Capel, esq. in , was demolished, and Mr. Capel himself wounded.


These outrages were occasioned by the activity of the above gentlemen, in suppressing the tumults in Fields.

The same day, upwards of sailors went through the city to petition the parliament for an augmentation of their wages. When they were in Palace-yard, they were addressed by gentlemen, mounted on the roof of a hackney coach, and were told that they could receive no immediate answer to their petition, but that it would be considered in due time; on which they gave cheers and dispersed. Their chiefs afterwards waited on a committee of merchants, and matters were accommodated to their general satisfaction.

A very considerable body of coal-heavers assembled in Stepney-fields, and proceeded from thence to all the coal-wharfs from Shadwell to Essex-stairs, carrying with them a writing which they presented to the masters of the wharfs to sign, signifying their consent to raise their wages; which having accomplished, they next day waited on the lord mayor, at the Mansion-house, to obtain a confirmation of this agreement; but his lordship thought proper to decline intermeddling with their affairs.

A terrible fray happened on the , between the coal-heavers and sailors belonging to the colliers in the river, in which many were killed. The sailors, having been long detained in the river by the coal-heavers refusing to work, had begun to deliver their ships themselves; upon which, a body of coal-heavers fell upon some of the sailors by surprise, and killed several of them. The sailors took the alarm, the quarrel became general, and the consequences were the loss of many lives.

On the , another fray happened in Stepney-fields, between the same parties, when several of the sailors were killed. The coal-heavers marched off in triumph, with colours flying, drums beating, &c. offering guineas for a sailor's head. The ships below bridge were obliged to keep constant watch day and night; and to so great a height was this insurrection got, that the inhabitants of were perpetually under the most dreadful apprehensions. A party of guards constantly attended for some days, during which several disturbances arose, and many coal-heavers were taken up by the soldiery and carried before sir John Fielding, who, on examination, committed them to Newgate. of them were afterwards tried at the , for the murder of Battie, a seaman, and being convicted, were executed at Tyburn. others were also executed in the Suntavern-fields (near where the riot was committed) for shooting at Mr. Green, the master of the Roundabout-tavern in Shadwell. These examples produced the wished--for effect; the tumults immediately ceased, and peace and industry were happily restored.

The king of Denmark being on a visit to his majesty, the citizens of London were desirous of showing their respect to him ;


in consequence of which, it was resolved, in a court of common-council, to invite him to an entertainment at the Mansion-house, which being accepted, the d of September was the day appointed for receiving the royal guest, who intimated his desire of coming to the city by water.

In consequence of this a committee was chosen to conduct the entertainment, who were empowered to draw on the chamberlain for money to defray the expenses. On the appointed day, the city barge, attended by the companies' barges, proceeded to New-palace-yard, where the king embarked; and, in order to give him a more extensive view of the banks of the river, a circuit was made as high as , and then down to the Steel-yard, after which, they returned to the , and, on landing, were conducted to the Middle Temple Hall, where an elegant collation was prepared by the benchers of the societies.

From the Temple, his majesty was conducted to the Mansion-house in the city state coach, followed by the noblemen of his suite, and the aldermen and sheriffs in their carriages; on alighting, he was received by the committee appointed to manage the entertainment, in their mazarine gowns; and, being conducted into the great parlour, received the compliments of the city, to which his majesty returned a very polite answer. The dinner, which was exceedingly magnificent, was served in the Egyptian-hall; the galleries of which were filled with the ladies of the common-councilmen, elegantly attired, and an excellent band of music was stationed in an orchestra erected for the occasion. His majesty took leave of the corporation about o'clock, having expressed his highest satisfaction at the elegance of the entertainment. And, at a court of common-council, held on the , the freedom of the city was unanimously voted to the king of Denmark, to be presented in a golden box of guineas value. His majesty was admitted into the Grocers' company, and his freedom being afterwards given to his ambassador here, was by him transmitted to Copenhagen.

The death of George Cook, esq. having occasioned a vacancy for Middlesex, sir W. B. Proctor, who had been the unsuccessful candidate at the former election, and serjeant Glynn, Mr. Wilkes's leading council, were put in nomination on the . The poll proceeded quietly till the afternoon, when a mob broke into the hustings, attempted to seize the poll-books, and put an entire stop to the election. Many persons were considerably hurt in the scuffle, and the remainder of the day was a scene of confusion. The poll was again proceeded in on the , and, on the following day, terminated in favour of serjeant Glynn.

George Clarke, an attorney's clerk in Mary-le-bone, who had received a severe blow on the head at Brentford, on the day of the riot, died soon after, and an inquest was held on his body before the coroner for the county of Middlesex and a very respectable jury of


neighbours, who brought in a verdict of wilful murder by some person or persons unknown. Soon after this, Irish chairmen were apprehended and tried for the murder; and it being proved that they had been hired for the purpose of creating a riot, and been very instrumental in it, they were both convicted; but were afterwards pardoned on an opinion of the master, wardens, and examiners of the company of surgeons, who agreed unanimously that the blow was not the cause of Mr. Clarke's death.

The last public transaction of the year was the institution of the Royal Academy of Arts, which was established on the , under the immediate patronage of his majesty. This society was held in a large house in ; after which, the king granted them apartments in Somerset-house.

At this period, the citizens of London eagerly seized every opportunity of showing their attachment to Mr. Wilkes. On the , the election for alderman of the ward of Farringdon Without, came on at ; the candidates were Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Bromwich: but on the close of the day's poll, the disparity of numbers was so great, that the latter gentleman declined the contest, and the lord mayor declared Mr. Wilkes duly elected. Some doubts, however, were started respecting the legality of closing the books before the time appointed for that purpose, and a wardmote was held for a new election on the , when no opponent appearing, Mr. Wilkes was again declared duly elected.

On the , the house of commons passed a resolution of expulsion against Mr. Wilkes, as the author of

an insolent, scandalous, and seditious libel,

contained in the prefatory remarks he had published, with a letter written by lord Weymouth to the chairman of the quarter sessions of the county of Surrey; and a new writ was consequently ordered for the election of a member for Middlesex. This produced an immediate meeting of the freeholders at the Assembly-room at Mile-end, where they unanimously resolved to confirm their former choice, and to support Mr. Wilkes entirely at their own expence.

Frequent meetings were at this time held, not only by the freeholders of Middlesex, but also by the electors of , those of , and the livery of London, in order to concert proper measures for vindicating the rights of election, and instructing their particular members to support them in their parliamentary capacity. On the , a common hall was held for this purpose, when a string of resolutions, expressive of the desires of that court, was unanimously agreed to, and ordered to be presented to their representatives in parliament.

The most material articles in these instructions were in substance as follow:--To be particularly careful of the Act, and to enquire into and censure any attempt to elude the force of that law. To preserve equally inviolate the privilege of parliament,


and the rights of election in the choice of their representatives. To prevent all application of the public money to influence elections of members to serve in parliament. To use their utmost endeavours that the civil magistracy of the kingdom be put on a respectable footing, and thereby remove the pretence of calling in a military force. To use their best endeavours for having a standing committee appointed from time to time, to examine and state the public accounts. To promote a bill for limiting the number of placemen and pensioners in the house of commons, and that an oath, to prevent bribery and corruption, be taken, not only by the electors, but also by the candidates, at the opening of the poll. And, lastly, that they use their utmost endeavours to obtain an act to shorten the duration of parliaments.

The new election came on at Brentford, on the , when Mr. Wilkes being put in nomination, he was chosen without opposition. Notwithstanding this, when the return was made, the next day, to the house, it was resolved,

that Mr. Wilkes, having been expelled this session, was, and is, incapable of being elected a member of the present parliament.

In consequence of this resolution, the election was declared void, and a new writ was issued for another.

In the interim, a meeting of Mr. Wilkes's friends was held at the London tavern, in , for the support of his cause; when the sum of was immediately subscribed for that purpose; and the subscribers afterwards formed themselves into a society, under the appellation of

Supporters of the Bill of Rights;

which, they asserted, had been infringed by the proceedings against Mr. Wilkes.

On the , another election came on at Brentford, for a member for Middlesex; when Mr. Wilkes being the only candidate, he was again returned. The house of commons, however, persevered in their objections, and, on the same evening, declared the election null and void; and a new writ was issued for another.

Addresses were at this time presented to his majesty from almost every part of the kingdom; among which was that of the merchants of the city of London, who waited on his majesty, on the d; and, being introduced by the earl of Hertford, lord chamberlain of the household, they presented the same, and were most graciously received. When they set out from the , in order to present the address, the populace showed their resentment by throwing of mud, &c.; they shut the gates at Temple-bar, and did every thing possible to impede their progress. When some of the coaches got to Exeter-change, a hearse came out of , and preceded them, drawn by a black and a white horse; the driver of which was dressed in a kind of rough coat, resembling a skin, with a large cap, on side black, the other white, whose whole figure was very grotesque. On side of the hearse was


painted, on canvas, a representation of the rioters killing Mr. Clarke, at the Brentford election; and on the other side, was a representation of the soldiers firing on young Allen in the cow-house. The populace were so outrageous, that some of the merchants were obliged to quit their carriages, and take shelter in the houses; and others, whose clothes were entirely covered with mud, retired home to shift themselves, before they could proceed with the address.

When they came to St. James's, it was discovered they had lost the address they came to present; and, while a messenger was dispatched in search of it, they began hastily to sign a copy of it. This accident was occasioned by the gentleman, in whose possession it was, being obliged to take shelter in Nando's coffee-house, in order to avoid the indignation of the populace; when, in his hurry and fright, he left the address in the coach, and ordered his coachman to return home. The address, however, being found, was forwarded to St. James's, and the addressers, at length, accomplished their wishes (though attended with such singular difficulties), of testifying their distinguished loyalty.

Several of the rioters were seized at St. James's-gate, of whom were detained for prosecution; and, the same evening, an extraordinary gazette was published, containing a proclamation for suppressing riots, tumults, and unlawful assemblies.

The final election for Middlesex took place on the . The candidates were, Mr. Wilkes, colonel Luttrell, serjeant Whitaker, and Mr. Roche; and, at the close of the poll, the numbers were, for Mr. Wilkes, ; Colonel Luttrell, ; Serjeant Whitaker, ; and Mr. Roche, : whereupon, Mr. Wilkes was declared duly elected. On the following day, the house of commons, after considerable debates, determined, that Mr. Wilkes was still incapable of being a member of this parliament, and that colonel Luttrell should be the sitting member: in consequence of which, colonel Luttrell took the oaths and his seat, as knight of the shire for the county of Middlesex.

This decision was far from being agreeable to the nation; and, perhaps, no measure, since the accession of the present royal family, has created such universal discontent. Petitions and addresses flowed in from every part of the kingdom; in which the county of Middlesex, as being most immediately concerned, took the lead. A petition, signed by freeholders of that county, was presented to his majesty, on the , containing a long catalogue of grievances, relative to the infringements on the constitution, from the prosecution of Mr. Wilkes, to his being expelled the house of commons; and concluding thus:

Most Gracious Sovereign,

Such are the grievances and apprehensions, which have long discontented and disturbed the greatest and best part of your majesty's subjects. Unwilling, however, to interrupt your royal repose, though ready to lay down our lives and fortunes for your majesty's service, and for the constitution, as by law established, we have waited patiently, expecting a constitutional remedy by the means of our own representatives; but our loyal and free choice having been frequently rejected, and the right of election now finally taken from us, by the unprecedented seating of a candidate who was never chosen by the county, and who, even to become a candidate, was obliged fraudulently to vacate his seat in parliament, under the pretence of an insignificant place, invited thereto by the prior declaration of a minister, that, whoever opposed our choice, though but with four votes, should be declared member for the county. We see ourselves, by this last act, deprived even of the franchises of Englishmen, reduced to the most abject state of slavery, and left without hopes or means of redress, but, from your majesty or God.

Deign, then, most gracious sovereign, to listen to the prayer of the most faithful of your majesty's subjects, and to banish from your royal favour, trust, and confidence, for ever, those evil and pernicious counsellors, who have endeavoured to alienate the affection of your majesty's most sincere and dutiful subjects, and whose suggestions tend to deprive your people of their dearest and most essential rights, and who have traitorously dared to depart from the spirit and letter of those laws, which have secured the crown of these realms to the house of Brunswick; in which, we make our most earnest prayers to God, that it may continue, untarnished, to the latest posterity.

The citizens of London were equally anxious to show their disapprobation of this proceeding, and, early in May, had requested the lord mayor to call a common-hall, for the purpose of taking the sense of the livery on the measures to be pursued in the existing circumstances; but this his lordship declined, until he could procure the opinion of the common-council upon it. A court was accordingly summoned for this purpose; when a motion was made,

that the right honourable the lord mayor be desired to issue a precept to assemble the livery in common-hall, pursuant to their application to his lordship;

which was carried in the negative, by a majority of .

But this disappointment only increased their eagerness; and, on Midsummer-day, when a common-hall was held for the choice of sheriffs, and other city officers, the hall was crowded; and so fearful were the livery of not obtaining their wishes, that they would not permit the business of the day to be entered upon, till they were assured by the lord mayor, that as soon as that was finished, he would listen to any motion they might choose to bring forward. This declaration was received with great applause, and the elections


proceeded as usual: after which, a petition to the king being produced and read, it was unanimously agreed to, with the exception of the title, which originally stood thus:

The humble petition of the

lord mayor, aldermen, and

livery of London ;

but, on the suggestion of the lord mayor, the words in Italics were omitted.

In August and September, great disturbances arose among the weavers, in Spitalfields, occasioned by a body of handkerchief weavers, who, conceiving themselves not sufficiently paid, refused working, unless their masters would increase their wages. In order to support those, who were out of employment in consequence of this proceeding, they levied a contribution of a week from every loom that was at work; and if their more industrious brethren did not comply with this imposition, they destroyed their work, and cut their looms to pieces; from which they received the appellation of cutters. On the a desperate conflict took place, between a body of them and a party of the military, who were called in to assist the civil magistrate. of the soldiers and of the rioters were killed; and some of the latter being taken, of them, Doyle and Valline, were tried at the ensuing October sessions, and, being capitally convicted, sentence was passed upon them in the customary form. The execution of these men occasioned a curious correspondence between the lord chancellor, the secretary of state, and the sheriffs. According to the sentence passed upon them by the recorder, they were to suffer at the usual place of execution; but the warrant transmitted to the sheriffs, signified that it was his majesty's pleasure that the sentence should be executed in the most convenient place near Bethnal-green church. The sheriffs, not knowing how they ought to proceed, under the circumstances of this variation from the sentence, laid the case before serjeant Glynn, who, in his opinion, said he was unacquainted with any authority which could justify an alteration of the sentence of a court of justice, and advised them to represent their doubts to his majesty.

Upon the case being laid before the king, he ordered the prisoners to be respited till the opinion of the judges could be taken upon it; which was soon after given to the following effect:

that the time and place of execution are, in law,

no part

of the judgment; and that the recorder's warrant was a lawful authority to the sheriffs, as to the time and place of execution.

In reply to this, the sheriffs wrote to the lord chancellor, to say, that, though their doubts were over-ruled, they were not satisfied: on the , however, a letter was received by the sheriffs, informing them, from authority, that, as the judges had determined their warrant was legal, it was his majesty's pleasure that there should be no farther respite for the convicts. Accordingly, on the , they were executed on Bethnal-green, attended only by the peace officers, the sheriffs having refused the assistance of the military; but the mob was so outrageous, that it was found necessary


to order the unhappy sufferers to be turned off before the usual time allowed on such occasions, to prevent a rescue.

The citizens of London not having received any answer to their petition, presented to the king, relative to the Middlesex election, determined to renew their solicitations on the subject. On the , a committee of the livery laid a memorial before the court of common-council, in which they stated, that, though a petition had been presented by them to his majesty, no answer or redress had been obtained; they therefore applied to that court, to join in a request to the lord mayor to call another common-hall, that further measures might be taken for the re-establishment of their ancient rights and privileges. The question being put, was carried in the affirmative, and, in consequence, a common-hall was held on the , when a application to his majesty was read, and unanimously agreed to; the title of which ran thus:

The humble Address, Remonstrance, and Petition, of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery, of the City of London, in Common-hall assembled.

The substance of this remonstrance was, a repetition of the grievances mentioned in their former petition, and an earnest request to his majesty to dissolve the parliament.

This address and remonstrance was presented on the ; and his majesty returned the following answer:

I shall always be ready to receive the requests, and to listen to the complaints of my subjects: but it gives me great concern to find, that any of them should have been so far misled as to offer an address and remonstrance, the contents of which I cannot but consider as disrespectful to me, injurious to parliament, and irreconcilable to the principles of the constitution.

I have ever made the law of the land the rule of my conduct, esteeming it my chief glory to reign over a free people: with this view, I have always been careful, as well to execute faithfully the trust reposed in me, as to avoid even the appearance of invading any of those powers which the constitution has placed in other hands. It is only by persevering in such a conduct that I can either discharge my own duty, or secure to my subjects the free enjoyment of those rights, which my family were called to defend; and while I act upon these principles, I shall have a right to expect, and I am confident I shall continue to receive, the steady and affectionate support of my people.

At a court of aldermen, held on the , the legality of this address, and the propriety of its title, were strongly objected to, and a motion was made that it should be disavowed in that court; which occasioned a warm altercation. Next day, the following protest appeared in all the public papers.

We, the aldermen of the city of London, whose names are hereunto subscribed, observing that the address, remonstrance, and petition, agreed upon by the livery, who met at


, on Tuesday, the


of this inst. March, is intituled,

The Address, Remonstrance, and Petition, of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery, of the City of London, to the King's most Excellent Majesty,

do declare, that we were not assenting to, nor signified our approbation of the said address, remonstrance, and petition. Dated the

13th of March, 1770


Robert LadbrokeThomas Halifax Robert AlsopJohn Shakespear Richard GlynnJames Esdaile Thomas HarleySamuel Plumbe Samuel TurnerBarclay Kennet Henry BankesJ. Kirkman Richard PeersJames Rossiter William NashJohn Bird.

The example of the majority of the court of aldermen was followed by of the city companies, who disputed the power of the lord mayor, in calling common-halls, on any other occasion than merely for the election of city officers. At a court of assistants of the goldsmiths' company, held the d of March, the following resolution was agreed to:

The right honourable the lord mayor having issued precepts for summoning the livery of this city to meet at Guildhall, on Tuesday, the 6th inst. to consider of a farther application for a redress of grievances; at which meeting, a most indecent remonstrance was ordered to be presented to his majesty;

Resolved and ordered, That, for the future, the wardens of this company do not summon the livery thereof to attend at any meeting in the Guildhall (except for the purpose of elections), without the express approbation or consent of this court.

The companies of grocers and weavers followed the example of the goldsmiths, and, at their next court days, passed resolutions of a like tendency. On the , a common-hall was held at , by virtue of a precept from the lord mayor, to receive the report of his majesty's answer to the address, remonstrance, and petition, of the lord mayor, aldermen, and livery, of London; as also to hear the resolutions and addresses of the houses of lords and commons thereupon; and to take into consideration the late proceedings of the companies of goldsmiths, weavers, and grocers; and, in particular, their resolution not to obey the orders of the lord mayor, for summoning the livery of the respective companies to attend at common-halls. The last committee of the livery were appointed to consider what would be the proper mode of proceeding against these refractory companies, and to report their opinion to the court of common-council.

In the month of November, the long-contested question of the legality of general warrants was brought to a decided issue, by the result of the prosecution which Mr. Wilkes had instituted against the earl of Halifax; and which was tried in the court of common pleas, before sir John Eardley Wilmot, and a special jury, by whom


a verdict of damages was given for the plaintiff. In , Mr. Wilkes was discharged from confinement; on which occasion the metropolis was illuminated, and transparencies with No. , blue candles, &c. were exhibited, from respect to the man whom the people regarded as the martyr of liberty.

On the , a court of common-council was held, to consider of a address, petition, and remonstrance, to his majesty, which was presented on the d; when his majesty was pleased to return the following answer;

I should have been wanting to the public, as well as to myself, if I had not expressed my dissatisfaction at the late address.

My sentiments on that subject continue the same; and I should ill deserve to be considered as the father of my people, if I could suffer myself to be prevailed upon to make such an use of my prerogative, as I cannot but think inconsistent with the interest, and dangerous to the constitution, of the kingdom.

It was on this occasion that the lord mayor, Beckford, made that reply to the king, so much spoken of at the time, for its promptitude and spirit, but which is now asserted to have been composed by Mr. Horne Tooke, and entrusted to his lordship's memory.

Her majesty having been happily delivered of a princess, on the d of May, the lord mayor went to St. James's, on the , with the customary congratulations, and was informed,

that, as his lordship thought fit to speak to his majesty, after his answer to the late remonstrance, as it was unusual, his majesty desired that nothing of the kind might happen for the future.

On the following day, the lord mayor, attended by the sheriffs and several of the aldermen, went in state to the , and laid the stone of the present prison of Newgate. This was the last public transaction of Mr. Beckford's life, which was terminated by a rheumatic fever, on the . The high opinion in which he was held, at that time, by his fellow-citizens, was evinced by the common-council held after his death; in which a resolution was passed for erecting a statue to his memory, in .

The recorder having given great offence to the corporation, by refusing to attend the presentation of the late addresses and remonstrances, motions were carried, in the court of common-council, on the , for taking the recorder's conduct into consideration at the next court, and for printing and distributing a copy of his oath to the members.

In consequence of hostilities committed by the Spaniards, by forcibly taking possession of a small British settlement on the Falkland Islands, government gave orders for immediate preparations for a war with that power; and press-warrants were issued to all the sea-ports and principal towns in England. Application being made by the lords of the admiralty to the lord mayor, to back these warrants, he refused, on the ground that this was an unusual procedure, unless when the lord mayor received intimation of its necessity


immediately from the privy council; when the request was made through that channel, the lord mayor complied; but it produced much dissension in the corporation.

A court of common-council was held on the , at which the case of the recorder was taken into consideration. That gentleman attended, and justified his conduct, declaring, that should a similar case occur, he would act as he had done: in consequence of which, the court came to a resolution,

that the recorder, by refusing to attend the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of this city, with their humble address, remonstrance, and petition, acted contrary to his oath and the duty of his office,

and the further consideration was adjourned to the ; when it was resolved, that he should be no more advised with, retained, or employed, in any affairs of the corporation; he being deemed unworthy of their future trust or confidence.

On the , a court of common-council was held at , when it was unanimously agreed and resolved, that the sum of for every able seaman, and for every ordinary seaman, over and above the bounty granted by his majesty, be given during the pleasure of the court, and not exceeding month from this day, to every such seaman as shall enter at the of this city into the service of his majesty's navy. It was also resolved and ordered, that the remembrancer do immediately wait on the right honourable sir Edward Hawke, lord commissioner of the admiralty, with a copy of the resolution fairly transcribed, and signed by the town-clerk, and signify the request of the court, that his lordship will, at a proper opportunity, lay the same before his majesty, as an humble testimony of their zeal and affection for his most sacred person and government.

At the same court, a motion was made and carried, that another humble address, remonstrance, and petition be presented to his majesty, touching the violated right of election, and praying for a dissolution of parliament. This address was presented on the ; and his majesty returned the following answer.

As I have seen no reason to alter the opinion expressed in my answer to your address upon this subject, I cannot comply with the prayer of your petition.

The lieutenants employed in the impress service attended the lord mayor, on the , to have their warrants backed by his authority; but his lordship refused, and told them, that the bounty given by the city was intended to prevent such violence. The opposition to the impress service was carried to such a height in the city of London at this period, that on the , a motion was made in the court of common-council to censure alderman Harley, for having backed the warrants; and, on the , the following resolution was carried:

That if any person shall be impressed within this city or liberty into his

majesty's service, by virtue of any warrant granted or backed by any of his majesty's justices of the peace for this city, that this court will immediately direct their solicitor, at the city's expense, to prosecute, in the name of the person so impressed, if he desires it, not only the justice of the peace who granted or backed the said warrant, but the constable or peace-officer who executes the same.

This question, however, was put to rest by a letter from the secretary of state to the lord mayor, informing him that the dispute between the governments was amicably adjusted.

There seemed to be, at this period, a determination in some of the city magistrates to oppose and thwart every measure which originated with the government; and, under the plausible pretence of upholding the privileges of the corporation, they sought opportunities of counteracting all their proceedings. In , complaint had been made to the house of commons, by some of its members, that their speeches had been grossly misrepresented in the public newspapers, a practice which prevailed too generally on both sides; and, as the insertion of the proceedings of the house is a direct violation of their standing orders, a motion was made, and carried by a great majority, for ordering Messrs. Wheble and Thompson, the printers of of the papers, to the bar. This order was not obeyed, and, in consequence, another was made for taking them into the custody of the serjeant at arms, which proved equally ineffectual. A royal proclamation was therefore issued, offering a reward for apprehending them. Soon afterwards, Mr. J. Wheble, of the offenders, was taken by a journeyman printer, and carried before Mr. Wilkes, who happened to be the sitting alderman at . Finding that there was no other authority for the detention of Wheble than the proclamation, Mr. Wilkes ordered him to be discharged, and then bound him over to prosecute the man who had forcibly taken him.

Mr. Miller, the printer of the Evening Post, having been also complained against, was taken into custody by a messenger of the house of commons, at his own house, by virtue of a warrant from the Speaker. Mr. Miller sent for a constable, who carried both him and the messenger before the lord mayor, who was assisted by aldermen Wilkes and Oliver. They not only discharged the printer, but compelled the messenger to give bail to answer the assault and imprisonment of a citizen, without the order of a city magistrate.

The house of commons resented this contempt of their authority, and ordered the lord mayor and the aldermen to appear before them. Mr. Crosby and Mr. Oliver attended, as members of the house; but Mr. Wilkes refused to appear, except as member for Middlesex. The house, not choosing to enter again into this question, adjourned over the day appointed for his attendance; but, in the mean time, they committed the lord mayor and


alderman Oliver to the Tower, where they remained to the end of the session.

The conduct of these magistrates, on this occasion, was so highly approved by the citizens, that a vote of thanks to them was passed in the court of common council, and a committee was appointed to assist them in their defence; and, after their committal, they were brought before every court of judicature at , by , at the city expence, in order to procure their enlargement; but the courts refused to interfere with the privileges of the house of commons; and they were remanded to the Tower.

At length, the day arrived, when, by the prorogation of parliament, the power that detained them expired, and their liberation was the consequence. Some days previous to it, the court of common-council had resolved to attend their enlargement, accompanied by the city officers. Accordingly they assembled at , and proceeded to the Tower in carriages; the procession being augmented by the artillery company, who attended in their uniform. When the lord mayor and Mr. Oliver were brought to the Tower-gate, they were saluted by pieces of cannon belonging to the artillery company, and from thence to the Mansion-house received the loudest acclamations of an innumerable concourse of spectators.

At a court of common-council, held the , it was resolved and ordered,

That it be referred to the committee appointed to assist the lord mayor and alderman Oliver, in the Tower, to state cases, and take opinions, whether there is any, and what, method to bring into a course of trial, the legality of an imprisonment by a vote of either house of parliament.

It was farther resolved,

That, in case the said committee should be advised that the legality of the commitment of the lord mayor and alderman Oliver can be put into a due course of trial by law, they be authorized so to do.

At another court of common-council, held the , the opinions of the counsel, who had been consulted by the committee above-mentioned, were read to the court; when it appeared they did not think any action could be commenced on that account. At the same time, the report was made from the committee, who had been appointed to consider of a proper mode of proceeding against the Goldsmiths, Grocers, and Weavers' companies, for their disobedience to the lord mayor's precepts. The report stated, that queries had been submitted to counsel, on the following heads; namely, the power of the lord mayor to call common halls; the obligation of the masters and wardens of the several companies to obey the lord mayor's precepts; and the methods of punishment, in case of refusal.

The answers to these questions were as follow:--


conceive it to be the duty of the proper officers of the several companies, to whom precepts for summoning their respective liveries have been usually directed, to execute those precepts; and that a wilful refusal on their parts is an offence punishable by disfranchisement. If it be thought proper to prosecute with that view, in the present case, we think it most advisable to proceed in the usual way, by information, to be filed by the common serjeant, in the mayor's court; which the common serjeant may file

ex officio

, if he pleases, or at the instance of either of the bodies mentioned in the query.

Alex. Wedderburne, J. Glynn,

J. Dunning, T. Nugent.

A common-hall was held, as usual, on Midsummer-day, for the election of city officers for the year ensuing. This business being adjusted, a motion was made for presenting another humble address, remonstrance, and petition to his majesty, setting forth the many grievances already complained of, and still unredressed; together with the injurious and unconstitutional behaviour of the house of commons, during the last sessions, who had imprisoned the person of the lord mayor, their chief magistrate, and Mr. alderman Oliver, of their representatives. The remonstrance being read to the livery, it was unanimously approved of, and ordered to be presented by the lord mayor, aldermen, sheriffs, the city members, the common-council, and the livery of London, attended by the city officers. Another motion was made and carried,

That the livery of London do desire the common council to present a silver cup to the right honourable the lord mayor, of the value of

two hundred pounds

, with the city arms engraved thereon; and to the aldermen Wilkes and Oliver,


each, of the value of

one hundred pounds

, as marks of their gratitude for their upright conduct in the affair of the printers, and for supporting the city charters.

Though this motion was readily agreed to by the livery, it met with some obstacles in the court of common-council; and so long was it before it was carried, that the cups were not presented to the different parties till the month of January following.

On the , came on at , the trial of Edward Twine Carpenter, for an assault, in seizing and taking up the person of J. Wheble, according to the royal proclamation for that purpose; when he was found guilty, fined , and ordered to be imprisoned for months in compter.

On the , the sheriffs waited on the king, to know when he would be pleased to receive the city remonstrance; when his majesty appointed the , at o'clock. The lord mayor, therefore, issued precepts for the attendance of the aldermen, common-council, and livery; but in the evening preceding the day appointed, his lordship received the following letter:


My Lord,

As, in consequence of the notice given of the time, your lordship proposes setting out to-morrow, the livery may be induced to attend your lordship to St. James's, I have the king's commands to acquaint you, that, it being unprecedented to admit the livery upon such occasions, as well as impracticable to introduce so numerous a body, no persons, beyond the number allowed by law to present petitions to the throne, will be admitted, except your lordship, the aldermen, common-council, and city officers. I am, my lord, with the greatest respect, your lordship's most obedient, humble servant,


Grosvenor-street, July 9, 1771.

This letter being read to the livery, who had assembled in , a committee of (the number allowed by act of parliament made in the reign of Charles II.) were appointed to attend his lordship on the occasion. When the town-clerk had done reading the remonstrance, his majesty returned the following answer:

I shall ever be ready to exert my prerogative, as far as I can, constitutionally, in redressing any real grievances of my subjects; and the city of London will always find me disposed to listen to any of their well-founded complaints: it is, therefore, with concern that I see a part of my subjects still so far misled and deluded, as to renew, in such reprehensible terms, a request, with which I have repeatedly declared, I cannot comply.

In the beginning of October, the city solicitor filed informations of disfranchisement, in the mayor's court, against the masters and wardens of the refractory companies of Goldsmiths, Grocers, and Weavers, for refusing to obey the lord mayor's precept for a common hall.

The refractory city companies having removed the above informations from the mayor's court to the court of King's Bench, and the city solicitor having obtained rules for them to shew cause why the several writs of for removing the same should not be quashed, the matter was argued in that court on the , when lord Mansfield gave the opinion of the court thereon; which was, that the writs had been improvidently granted; that causes of that nature had no business in Westminster-hall; that every corporation, , was the sole judge of its own rights and franchises; and that the corporation of London had the right and power of determining the present cause solely in their own hands. In consequence of this, on the , the city solicitor signed judgment of disfranchisement against the masters and wardens of the companies, in the mayor's court; but, in the afternoon, the recorder set the



judgment aside, in order, as he alledged, to give the parties an opportunity of trying the merits of the cause at large.

In the morning of the , there happened of the greatest fogs in London that had ever been remembered; through which great damage was done. The darkness was so great, that the carriages of the nobility and gentry were attended by lights, the same as at midnight. Many accidents occurred during the continuance of the fog, which lasted through the night; and, in the morning, several people were found dead in the fields round the metropolis, who, not being able to find their way, were supposed to have perished from the inclemency of the weather,

On the , a common-hall was held, by virtue of the lord mayor's precepts for that purpose, to consider of a further application to the throne, for a redress of grievances; when an address, petition, and remonstrance was agreed to, which, by his majesty's appointment, was presented on the . After it had been read by the recorder, his majesty returned the following answer:

I have the satisfaction to think that my people don't doubt of my readiness to attend to their complaints, or of my ardent desire to promote their happiness; which I cannot more effectually do than by resisting every attempt to sow groundless jealousies among them.

Your petition is so void of foundation, and is, besides, conceived in such disrespectful terms, that I am convinced you do not seriously imagine it can be complied with.

At a court of common-council held the , the recorder's salary was augmented to per annum, during the pleasure of the court, and, at the same time, an additional salary of per annum was granted to the common-serjeant.

On the , the cause between the common serjeant, on behalf of the city of London, and Samuel Plumbe, esq. prime warden, or master of the Goldsmiths' company, was tried at . The suit was instituted against the defendant, for refusing to obey a precept, issued in , by the then lord mayor, to convene the livery of the said company to a common-hall; and, after a patient hearing, it was determined in favour of the plaintiff.

The dreadful calamities occasioned by the American war occurred about this period. This destructive contest was entered into against the wishes and interests of the people, and in defiance of every constitutional principle by which the country had ever been governed; but the public sentiment had no influence with administration; and, on the , the war was publicly declared at the usual places in London, by a proclamation for

suppressing rebellion and sedition.

The lord mayor, Mr. Sawbridge, however, being inimical to the general proceedings of the


court, but particularly to a contest in which his brother subjects were concerned, ordered that the usual official attendances of the mace, &c. should not be complied with; and further to evince his detestation of such an unnatural conflict, he refused to back the press warrants issued from the admiralty in the October following.

In the beginning of the year , sir Stephen Theodore Janssen resigned his situation as chamberlain of the city; the vacant office was strongly contested between aldermen Benjamin Hopkins and Wilkes; but the election was determined in favour of the former: after whose decease in , Mr. Wilkes was elected without opposition, and held the office till the time of his death.

In , much damage was done in and near the metropolis, by a hurricane, by which most of the ships in the river were driven from their moorings, and some destroyed. Several houses were blown down, and others stripped of their roofs; the stacks of chimnies that fell were numerous. Many lives were lost, and a great number of persons considerably maimed and bruised by the fall of the buildings.

A cause was tried in the court of King's Bench, on the , respecting the right of a claim set up by the city of London, to a duty of per load, on hay sold in Smithfield, not the property of freemen of London. This was disputed by the inhabitants of Finchley, who pleaded an exemption in favor of the bishop of London and his tenants, granted by king John; but as it did not appear that the manor of Finchley belonged to the bishop at the time of the grant, a verdict was given for the city of London.

The attention of all ranks of people, both in the metropolis and in the rest of the kingdom, was, in the beginning of the year , strongly directed to the general misconduct of government in the administration of public affairs, to the encroachments that had been made on civil liberty, and to the wasteful and extravagant expenditure of the public money. Petitions, having for their object, not only a change of ministry, but also some very essential alterations in the constituted body of the house of commons, poured in from all parts of the country; and different committees were appointed in the cities of London and , to give due effect to the prayer of the petitioners. Mr. Burke, who, at that time, was esteemed of the most active of the patriotic


band, proposed his celebrated plans of economy and efficient controul, some of which were eventually carried into effect, in opposition to ministerial influence; but the greatest triumph which the popular party attained over the premier of the day, lord North, was in the month of April, when Mr. Dunning, afterwards lord Ashburton, obtained a majority on his famous resolution,

that the influence of the crown had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished.

This was followed by several other motions branching out from the former, and calculated to restore the administration of affairs to a state of greater political probity; all which were carried in direct opposition to the will of the minister. A recess of days, however, in the meetings of the house, on account of the indisposition of the speaker, afforded the government an opportunity to exert the acts of corruption and intrigue; by which means, when the parliament again assembled, the minister was enabled to counteract all the measures which were afterwards proposed for the public good. Mr. alderman Sawbridge, who was of the city representatives, publicly charged lord North with exercising such corrupt influence on some of the members, and offered to prove his charges at the bar of the house; but his lordship thought it most convenient to avoid the challenge. Though somewhat discouraged by this retardation of success, the popular leaders continued their efforts, and prepared to introduce the important motions for

annual parliaments,


a more equal representation of the people in the house of commons.

At this time, associations had been formed in almost every quarter of the kingdom, for the purpose of consolidating the public sentiment; and it was at least expected, that some concessions in favour of constitutional liberty would have been wrested from the arbitrary controul of the administration.

About this period, some very unexpected events, which chiefly took their rise from the weakest and most unenlightened men that the nation could produce, rendered nugatory all those constitutional efforts. These events were the

Protestant Association,

the tumultuous meetings which it occasioned, and the riots and conflagrations in the metropolis, that resulted from the attempts made to carry the object of the association into effect.

In the year , it having become the general opinion of liberal-minded men, that the laws against papists were much too rigorous to be enforced in an enlightened age, an act of parliament had been passed for

relieving his majesty's subjects, professing the Romish religion, from certain penalties and disabilities imposed upon them in the




years of the reign of king William the



This act, at the time, did not appear to excite any great alarm among persons of any class; nor would it,


perhaps, have ever given birth to such extraordinary results, had not the Catholics acted very indiscreetly, in taking more liberties in the public exercise of their religion than what they had been previously accustomed to, and in proceeding to the yet greater length of proposing to open public schools for the education of youth in the Romish faith.

The sensation produced by these occurrences, led many of the lower class of rigid protestants to express great apprehensions of the increase of popery, and to exclaim against the late act, by which they thought it was countenanced and supported. These persons, who for the most part were chiefly methodists and bigotted calvinists, at length formed themselves into a body in London, under the title of the

Protestant Association,

and chose for their president lord George Gordon, younger brother to the duke of Gordon, and at that time member of parliament for Ludgershall. This young man had been educated in the rigid doctrines of presbyterianism; and from imbibing a sort of hereditary repulsion to popery, was a fit head for such a community. Under his direction, a petition was framed for a repeal of the obnoxious act, and so much industry was employed to procure signatures, that the names of upwards of persons were affixed to it; among them, however, were those of many women and children.

The petition being thus prepared, a general meeting of the Association was held on the evening of , at Coachmakers'-hall, ; when lord George, after stating his opinion,

that the indulgence given to popery by the repeal of the act of William the


, was inconsistent with the principles of the revolution, dangerous to the Hanoverian succession, and destructive to the civil and religious liberties of the country;

and stated his conviction, that

the only way to stop it was by going in a firm, manly, and resolute manner to the house of commons, and shewing their representatives that they were determined to preserve their religious freedom with their lives;


for his part, he would run all hazards with the people; and if the people were too lukewarm to run all hazards with him, when their conscience and their country called them forth, they might get another president; for he would tell them candidly, that he was not a lukewarm man himself, and that if they meant to spend their time in mock debate and idle opposition, they might get another leader.

This speech was received with the loudest applause, and his lordship then moved the following resolution:

That the whole body of the Protestant Association do attend in

St. George's

Fields, on Friday next, at


of the clock in the morning, to accompany his lordship to the house of commons, on the delivery of the protestant petition.

This was carried unanimously. His lordship then said, that

if less than

twenty thousand

of his fellow-citizens attended him on that day, he would not present

their petition;

and, for the better observance of order, he moved,

that they should arrange themselves into


divisions; the protestants of the city of London on the right, those of the city of


on the left, the borough of



, and the people of Scotland resident in London and its environs to form the last division;


that they might know their friends from their enemies,

he added, that

every real protestant and friend of the petition should come with a blue cockade in his hat.

Accordingly, on Friday, , the day appointed, about o'clock in the morning, a vast concourse of people from all parts of the city and suburbs, assembled in Fields, near the obelisk, where they awaited the arrival of their president, who came about ; and having, in a short speech, strongly recommended the necessity of a peaceable deportment, he marshalled them into ranks, and gave directions for the conduct of the different divisions. His lordship then left them, proceeding in his carriage to the house of commons over Westminster-bridge; and the committee of the association, with many other members, went the same way: but the main body, amounting to at least , took their route over London-bridge, marching in tolerable order, or in a rank, through , , and . Each division was preceded by its respective banner, having the words

No Popery

written on it, with other sentiments expressive of the business of the day; the petition itself, with the skins of parchment containing its numerous signatures, and which had been tacked together by a tailor in Fields, was carried at the head of the procession. At Charing-cross, the multitude was increased by additional numbers on foot, on horseback, and in carriages; so that, by the time the different parties had met together, all the avenues to both houses of parliament were entirely filled with the crowd.

Till this period, every thing had been conducted with proper decorum; but a most lamentable change took place as soon as the members of parliament began to assemble. Among such an immense concourse of people, it could not be imagined that every would be equally peaceable; yet the scenes of confusion and riot which ensued, went far beyond all possible calculation, and most forcibly impressed the reflecting mind with the never-to-be-forgotten lesson of the imminent danger that attends the expression of the from a congregated multitude. The Protestant Association appeared to recede from its avowed purpose, and to assume all the properties of a seditious mob. Both peers and commons were insulted in their progress to the parliament-house, and it was with great difficulty that some of them escaped with their lives.

The archbishop of York was the attacked; the bishop of Litchfield had his gown torn; the wheels were taken off the bishop of Lincoln's carriage, and his lordship narrowly escaped with life; the lord president of the council, lord Bathurst, was treated very roughly; the windows and pannels of lord Mansfield's coach were


broken to pieces; the duke of Northumberland's pocket was picked of his watch; the lords Townshend and Hillsborough came together, and were grossly insulted; lord Stormont's coach was broken to pieces, and himself in the hands of the mob for near half an hour; lords Ashburnham and Boston were treated with the utmost indignity, particularly the latter, who was so long in their power, that it was proposed to the house, to go in a body, and endeavour, by their presence, to extricate him; but, in the interim, his lordship escaped without any material hurt. Many others of the peers were personally ill-treated; and Wellbore Ellis, esq. was obliged to take refuge in the of , whither he was pursued, the windows broken, the doors forced, and justice Addington, with all the constables, expelled. Mr. Ellis escaped with the greatest hazard.

During these unwarrantable proceedings, lord George Gordon came several times to the top of the gallery stairs, and harangued the mob, informing them of the bad success their petition was likely to meet with, and pointing out the members who opposed it. It was considered as a mark of pusillanimity in the house of commons, that, upon the arrival of the guards at night, they did not commit of their own body, who had so shamefully violated their privileges, and brought them into such unequalled disgrace and danger, to the Tower: but it is doubtful whether such an attempt, on that day, would not have increased the fanatic fury of the populace to such a height, which might have overpowered every endeavour to restrain it.

Further outrage to the parliament itself was now prevented by the arrival of the guards; and the house of commons, on the motion of lord George, seconded by Mr. alderman Bull, of the city representatives, agreed to the bringing up of the petition; but his lordship's subsequent motion, that it should be taken into immediate consideration, was negatived by against . It was resolved, however, that it should be debated on the Tuesday following, and the house then adjourned. These decisions were not satisfactory to the mob; yet, as the presence of the military restrained them from violence on the spot, they separated into parties, and commenced the work of destruction by partly demolishing the Romish chapels in , Lincoln's-inn-fields, and , ; and all the furniture, ornaments, and altars of both chapels were committed to the flames. This was effected before the guards could arrive, when of the rioters were taken up. No further outrage of importance was committed during that night.

On the next day, Saturday, the tumult appeared to have subsided, and the rage of bigotry and lawless violence was thought to be allayed; but this expectation proved eminently fallacious. On Sunday afternoon, a mob of many thousands assembled in


; and with the cry of

No Papists!

Root out Popery!

they attacked the popish chapel in Ropemaker's-alley; and having demolished the inside, they carried the altars, pulpits, pictures, seats, &c. into the street, and committed them to the flames. More mischief was prevented by the arrival of a party of the guards, when the rioters immediately began to disperse. Early on the following morning, however, they assembled again on the same spot, and demolished the school, and dwelling houses belonging to the priests, in Ropemakers'-alley, together with a valuable library. They now divided into parties; and threatening destruction to all who should oppose them, they proceeded to different quarters of the town. party went to , , and another to ; Cast Smithfield, where they severally destroyed the Catholic chapels, and committed many other outrages. The house of sir George Saville, (who had introduced the obnoxious bill into parliament) in Leicester-fields, was, to use the vulgar but descriptive phrase of the mob, completely


by a party; as were also the houses of Mr. Rainsforth, tallow-chandler, of , , and Mr. Maberly, of Little Queenstreet, Lincoln's-inn-fields; the latter persons having appeared as evidences against some of the rioters, who were taken up on the preceding Friday, and of the most active of whom had been committed to Newgate. In all these cases, the furniture and effects were burnt before the doors of the dilapidated dwellings.

On Tuesday, the day appointed for taking the petition into consideration, all the military in London were ordered on duty; yet a knowledge of this fact did not appear to intimidate the populace, and a multitude no less numerous than had assembled on the Friday, again choaked up every avenue to the parliament-house. In vain had the committee of the Protestant Association circulated a resolution, requesting

all true Protestants to shew their attachment to their best interests, by a legal and peaceable deportment.

The storm which they had raised, it was beyond their power to allay. As the day advanced, the mob grew more tumultuous; they demolished the carriage of lord Sandwich, and seized his person; but he was fortunately rescued from their violence by a party of horse. The residence of lord North, in , was also attacked; but the assailants were repulsed by a body of light horse.

In the midst of this alarming state of things, the house of commons acted with firmness and decision; they declared, that

no act of theirs could be legal while the house was beset with a military force, and under apprehensions from the daring spirit of the people;

and on this principle they adjourned, having previously voted among other resolutions, that it was a

high and dangerous breach of the privilege of parliament to insult or attack members coming to

attend their duty in that house.

The peers also adjourned after a slight conversation.

On the rising of the house, lord George Gordon acquainted the multitude with what had been done, and advised them to depart quietly; in return, they unharnessed his horses, and drew him in triumph to the house of Mr. alderman Bull. Whilst body of the rioters was thus employed, justice Hyde, with a party of the horse-guards, attempted to disperse the rest, and after some opposition, he succeeded; yet they only separated to re-assemble other places. The activity of the justice was highly resented by the mob, and about in the evening, a detached party despoiled his house in of all its furniture, and burnt it before the doors: on the approach of the military, the looters immediately fled.

The prison of Newgate was the next object of attack; but the mob, like

regular assailants, did not proceed to storm before they had offered terms.

They demanded from the keeper, Mr. Ackerman, the release of their confined associates, as the only means to save his mansion. He refused to comply; yet, dreading the consequence, he posted to the sheriffs to know their pleasure. On his return, he found that his house was in flames; and the gaol itself was soon in a similar situation. The doors and entrances had been broken open with pick-axes and sledge-hammers; and it is scarcely to be credited with what celerity the gaol was destroyed:

nor is it less astonishing, that, from a prison thus in flames, a miserable crew of felons in irons, and a company of confined debtors, to the number in the whole of more than

three hundred

, could all be liberated, as it were by magic, amidst flames and firebrands, without the loss of a single life; some from the gloomy cells of darkness, in which the devoted victims to public justice were confined, and others from inner apartments, to which the access in tranquil times were both intricate and difficult.

The devastations of this night were now only begun. The release of the Newgate ruffians gave an increase of strength and ferocity to the mob, which despised intimidation; and the ministers of justice and law were among the ed out for vengeance. The public-office in , and the house of that active magistrate, sir John Fielding, adjoining, were presently attacked by the rabble, and all their furniture and effects, books, papers, &c. committed to the flames. Justice Coxe's, in , Lincoln's-inn-fields, was similarly treated; the prisons at Clerkenwell were set open, and the prisoners liberated; the houses of Mr. Lyon, in , and a pawnbroker in , were dilapidated, the goods, &c. being burnt before the doors; and to complete the melancholy catalogue, the elegant mansion of lord Mansfield, in , was plundered and burnt to ashes, together with an invaluable collection of rare manuscripts, notes on


law eases, pictures, books, deeds, &c. Here the mob met with some resistance from a small party of the military, headed by a civil magistrate, who read the Riot Act, and afterwards ordered the detachment to fire, by which men and woman were killed, and several other persons wounded. Many of the mob having made their way to his lordship's cellars, suffered from intoxication.

Not content with the mischief done to lord Mansfield's property in , a large body of the rioters marched off to his lordship's seat at Caen Wood; but here their destructive intentions were frustrated by a party of horse, which had arrived about half an hour before them; and they retired without commencing an attack.

The violence of the populace, instead of diminishing, or being glutted with the destruction, horror, and consternation they had already spread, seemed to be considerably increased on the Wednesday; which is not so much to be wondered at, when it is considered hat all the prisoners of Newgate, Clerkenwell , and , had been let loose on the terrified inhabitants of the panic-struck metropolis. Some even had the audacity to go into public houses, and call for what provisions and drink they thought proper, without paying for any; nor dared the affrighted publicans ask for payment; on the contrary, they thought themselves happy that they had not their houses pulled down. Others still more daring, even knocked at the doors of private houses in noon-day, and extorted contributions from the inhabitants. man, in particular, was mounted on horseback, and refused to take any thing but gold.

Many outrages were committed in the borough of ; several Popish chapels and private dwellings were burnt in various parts, particularly about and its environs. The , with houses adjoining, a tavern, and the , were also set on fire, and almost entirely consumed. An attempt was likewise made to set fire to the Marshalsea; but here the rioters were repelled by the soldiery; and another large body of the insurgents were put to flight in , after several had been killed and wounded, and others made prisoners, by an armed association of many of the substantial inhabitants of .

On the preceding night, the inhabitants of most parts of the town had been obliged to illuminate their windows; and, in the course of this day, they were compelled to chalk up the words

No Popery!

on their doors and window shutters: blue ribbons and pieces of silk,


by way of flags, were hung out at most houses with intent to deprecate the fury of the insurgents, from whom no person thought himself wholly secure. Those whose business called them into the streets, were likewise emulous to mount a blue cockade, in order to preserve themselves from personal insult.

The outrages of this day were excessive. The rioters appeared to consider themselves as superior to all authority; and not only openly avowed their intention to destroy certain private houses of the Catholics, but also declared an intention to burn the remaining public prisons, and demolish the Bank, the Temple, Gray's-inn, Lincoln's-inn, the New-river-head, the royal palaces, and the arsenal at Woolwich. The attempt upon the Bank was made twice in the course of the day, but both attacks were feebly conducted, and the rioters easily repulsed, several of them falling by the fire of the military, and many others being wounded. An unsuccessful attempt, in which several fell, was also made upon the Pay Office.

The threats of the insurgents, with the endeavours thus made to accomplish their purposes, seem at last to have awakened the latent energies of government, and vigorous measures were now taken to repress the disorders which had raged so long without controul. The military had hitherto acted under the guidance of the civil power, but an order was this day issued by the authority of the king in council, for

the military to act without waiting for directions from the civil magistrates, and to use force for dispersing the illegal and tumultuous assemblies of the people.

As no man could foresee what might be the effect of a discretionary power vested in such hands, in a populous city, and in the centre of trade, the greatest alarm prevailed; all shops were shut up, and the approach of night was awaited in the most fearful suspense.

As soon as the day was drawing towards a close, of the most awful and dreadful spectacles this country ever beheld was exhibited. The mob had not only declared their resolution of firing the prisons, and some private houses, but had avowed their intention to destroy all the public offices. An universal stupor had seized the minds of men; they looked at another, and waited, with a resigned consternation, for the events which were to follow. Government, indeed, had exerted itself to the utmost, as far as their power, under the direction of the civil magistrates, would extend. Now, however, it was become necessary to make use of the royal prerogative, and give discretionary power to the military.

Nothing could convey a more awful idea of the mischief which was dreaded, than the strong guard which was placed at the for the protection of the Bank, as nothing could have equalled the national desolation, had the purposes of the insurgents upon this place succeeded. Soldiers were distributed at , in the inns of court, in almost every place tenable as a


fortification, and in some private houses; and the cannon was disposed to the best advantage in the park.

With minds thus predisposed to terror by so many objects of devastation, and in a city which but a few days before enjoyed the most perfect tranquillity, let those who were not spectators judge what the inhabitants felt, when they beheld at the same instant of time, the flames ascending and rolling in vast voluminous clouds from the King's Bench and Fleet prisons, from , from the toll-gates on , from houses in every quarter of the town, and particularly from the bottom and middle of , where the conflagration was horrible beyond description. The houses that were set on fire at this last-mentioned place, both belonged to Mr. Langdale, an eminent distiller, and contained immense quantities of spirituous liquors. It is easy to conceive what fury these would add to the flames, but to form an adequate idea of the distresses of the neighbouring inhabitants, and indeed of the inhabitants in every part of the city, is perhaps impossible. Men, women, and children, were running up and down with beds, glasses, bundles, or whatever they wished most to preserve; and in streets where there were no fires, numbers were removing their goods and effects at midnight. The shouts of the rioters were heard at instant, and at the next the dreadful report of soldiers' muskets, as if firing in platoons, and at various places: in short, every thing which could impress the mind with ideas of universal anarchy and approaching desolation seemed to be accumulating. Sleep and rest were things not thought of; the streets were swarming with people; and uproar, confusion, and dismay, reigned in every part. -and- fires were all to be seen blazing at time in the metropolis during the night.

These devastations, however, were no longer committed with impunity, and numbers of the rioters fell in the course of this night by the musket and the sword. Many of these misguided wretches died also with inebriation in different parts, but especially at the distilleries of Mr. Langdale, from whose vessels the liquor poured in streams down the kennels, and

was taken up in pails, and held to the mouths of the besotted multitude.

Others were killed with drinking non-rectified spirits; and many became so miserably intoxicated, that they were either burnt in the flames which themselves had kindled, or buried in the falling ruins. In some streets

men were seen lying upon bulks and stalls, and at the doors of empty houses, drunk to a state of insensibility, and to a contempt of danger; boys and women were in the same condition, and many of the latter with infants in their arms.

The numerous victims to insulted justice which military interference had thus spread before the eyes of the rioters, and the continual arrival of fresh troops from all parts of the country within or miles of the metropolis, had their full effect of intimidation.


The riots were quelled; and many inconsiderate wretches who had engaged in them were secured on the Thursday in various parts of the town. On this day, London may be said to have borne great similarity to a city recently stormed. The , the public buildings, the squares, and the principal streets, were all occupied by troops; the shops were closed, and business was entirely at a stand, whilst immense volumes of dense smoke were still rising from the ruins of consumed buildings. No disturbance occurring during the night, the alarm gradually subsided, and on Friday business was began to be transacted as usual. In the course of the day, lord George Gordon underwent a long examination before the privy council, and in the evening he was committed to the Tower, to which he was conveyed by a most numerous escort. On the following day, the secretary of the Protestant Association, an attorney, named Fisher, was also sent under a strong guard to the above fortress. Upwards of soldiers were at this time supposed to have their quarters in London; the guards were afterwards encamped in , and the marching regiments and militia in . The idea of being governed by martial law excited much discontent, particularly among the citizens, whose rights were shamefully invaded by an order from lord Amherst to colonel Twisleton, who commanded the regular forces stationed in the city, to disarm all persons who did not belong to the militia, nor bore arms under the royal authority, and to detain their arms. This measure became the subject of parliamentary debate, and the duke of Richmond moved that it should be declared

expressly contrary to the fundamental laws of the constitution;

but this motion was negatived by the ministry. The uncontrolled ascendancy of the military force, however, was found to excite such general dissatisfaction, that the king in a speech from the throne to the parliament on the , judged it expedient to advert to the necessity of the measure; and to give

his solemn assurances that he had no other object but to make the laws of the realm, and the principles of our excellent constitution in church and state, the rule and measure of his conduct.

The number of lives that were lost during the continuance of the riots was never, perhaps, correctly ascertained. The return given of the killed and wounded by the military, was as follows: killed by the association, militia, and guards, ; ditto by the light


horse, ; died in hospitals, ; total . Prisoners under cure, . Within a few days after the suppression of the mob, a special commission was issued for trying the rioters in ; but those of London were left to the regular course of the sessions at the , which chanced to be near. The number of persons tried for rioting in the latter court was , of whom were capitally convicted; in , persons were tried as rioters, of whom were adjudged guilty. Between and of the most active of the convicted rioters were executed in a few days after their trials, in different parts of town, but immediately contiguous to the scene of their respective devastations.

The new influence which these unfortunate events threw into the grasp of the ministry was very great; and that ardour which had appeared for promoting popular meetings and associations for opposing the encroachments of government, subsided into a lukewarm indifference.


[] Mr. Wilkes afterwards brought an action against Robert Wood, esq. under secretary of state, for illegally seizing his papers, &c. and obtained 1000l. damages, with full costs of suit.

[] Malc. Anec. &c. of Lon. p. 39.

[] To what a dreadful situation the poor sufferers had been reduced, may be estimated from the following passage in the first letter which Mr. Wachsel addressed to the public:-- That their distresses were unutterably great, I myself have been too often a mournful witness, in my attendance on them to administer the duties of my situation: with one instance of which I shall conclude this melancholy detail. One of the poor women was seized with the pangs of labour in the open fields, and was delivered by the ignorant people about her in the best manner they were able; but from the injury the tender infant received in the operation, it died soon after I had baptized it; and the wretched mother, after receiving the sacrament at my hands, expired from the want of proper care and necessaries suitable to her afflicting and truly lamentable condition.

[] Lambert's London, ii. p. 202.

[] A gentleman who ventured among the ruins next day, thinking that some persons might still be among the rubbish, waved his hat to engage the attention of the spectators, and declared that he was sure many were actually under the spot on which he stood. Upon this the firemen went immediately to work with their pick-axes, and on removing the rubbish, they drew out alive two men, three women, a child about six years old, two cats, and a dog.

[] The illegality of impressing freemen of the city of London proved a fertile source of discord at this period between the administration and the city magistrates. Whilst the disputes continued, several naval officers on the impress service were charged with assaults, and taken into custody by individuals whom they had seized within the city's jurisdiction. In these cases, the impressed men were immediately discharged, and the officers held to bail or committed for trial.

[] Brayley's Hist. of London, i. 527.

[] The case of this female was a very pitiable one. She lived servant with a Mr. Dubois, and was going towards the street door, when she was killed by a ball which passed through it into the passage. Several bullets also entered the parlour window at the same time, yet no other person was hurt, though several were in the room.

[] The outrages committed by bands of desperate and abandoned men in various parts of the metropolis, said his majesty, who broke forth with such violence into felony and treason, had so far overborne all civil authority, and threatened so directly the immediate subversion of all legal power, and destruction of all property, and the confusion of every order in the state, that I found myself obliged by every tie of duty and affection to my people, to suppress in every part those rebellious insurrections, and to provide for the public safety by the most effectual and immediate application of the force intrusted to me by parliament.

[] Brayley's History of London, from the New Annual Register, &c. i. 540.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London