Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

usually kept. Thither, tlien, they burried, lieve even then that he should be able and, in a short tiine, some six hundred of “ to walk them away.” So equivocal did them returned armed with sticks, and at his conduct appear to the city authorities, tacked the constables, who, after a sharp that he was asked by the town clerk struggle, routed them., and then, save for whether he had secret instructions from a few desultory skirmishes, peace being the government which conflicted with the apparently restored, the civil force, wea- orders of the magistrates. He had none ried and hungry, retired into the Mansion such,” was the reply; "he was to attend House,

to the orders of the magistrates." Still Gradually, however, the mob again col. the only orders that he would give were lected, and as the daylight waned, the to “walk away the rioters." * rioting in the front of the mayor's resi- About eleven at night, however, the dence was renewed ; sticks and stones mob became so aggressive that a troop of were thrown at the windows, and the vio- Hussars were ordered to charge along the lence continued until the rioters were Quay, using," was the order, “the flat warned that if it did not cease the military of their swords as much as possible, and must be called in to quell it. No sooner, not proceeding to extremities until abso. however, was it dark than the mob re- lutely necessary.. This order, however, assembled in force, attacked the house, was soon rescinded, and even when the pelted the magistrates as they came out troops were incessantly pelted by those of to urge them to be quiet, and at last hurled the mob who had got into barges in the an iron rail at the mayor as he read the Hoat, and could not be got at, Colonel Riot Act and called on the people to dis- Brereton gave peremptory orders “not to perse. The civil force was powerless fire.". The offer of a half-pay officer to against the mass of rioters. The shutters attack these fellows with a small party of and frames of the windows were smashed; twenty-five constables, if supported by the the panels of the front door driven in: the troops, was peremptorily refused by the hall and dining-room raked with bricks colonel, who still protested that, if the and stones taken from the walls of the mob were not interfered with, they would fore-courts of the neighboring houses; return to their houses, and that he would and a determined attempt made to storm be answerable for the peace of the city the house and seize the recorder.* during the night.

Foiled in this attempt by the stout re. The opinion of the colonel was by no sistance offered by its inmates, the mob means endorsed by the officers under his prepared to set the Mansion House on command, who, when they had the opportu. fire, throwing bundles of straw through nity, adopted a far more successful course t.be broken windows of the dining-room, of action. When a portion of the mob and shouting loudly for a light. At this were demolishing the windows and doors critical moment two magistrates, with a of the Council House in Broad Street, troop of the Dragoons, came to the res. Captain Gage, of the Hussars, to whom its cue, and the mob backed into the open defence had been entrusted, so promptly space of the square. Colonel Brereton and effectively charged them that for some coming into the Mansion House, was in time after the rioters cautiously avoided formed that the Riot Act had been read, that part of the city. Whilst thus enand called upon to disperse the mob and gaged, Captain Gage, noticing a man who restore the

peace of the city. In his had been most active in pelting his men, opinion it was sufficient to order the come out, again and again, from an alley troops “to march about the square, ride in Wine Street, take a deliberate aim be. through, and walk away the rioters." fore throwing a stone, and then retreat, The mob were in a far too excited state fired at him. The captain's pistol flashed for sucio measures to have any effect. As in the pan, and one of his men at once they were moved from one spot they con- levelled his piece and shot the man. The gregated in another, and continued to hurl immediate effect of this act was that the bricks and stones at the soldiers as well rioters slowly dispersed. Thus, by a lit. as at the house, by which two of the Hustle after two on the Sunday morning, transars, who had lately come on the ground, quillity was apparently restored, and with were seriously wounded. Still Colonel the exception of a small picket at the Brereton persuaded himself that the mob was good-natured, and professed to be. * Evidence of Serieant Ludlow, the town clerk, on Mansion House, and another at the Coun- form impediments to the movements of cil House, the troops were withdrawn the troops, or to arm themselves for future from the streets.

the first and second days of the court-martial on Colo

nel Brereton. Evidence of the mayor on the second • It was about this time that the recorder managed day. The inayor was not cross-examined by Colonel to escape by the back of the house.

Brereton.

acts of violence. Still Colonel Brereton

did not assuine the offensive. It was all Sunday. Destruction of the Gaols and in vain that the Riot Act was again read, the Bishop's Palace.

and the mob warned that the troops must Until between 7 and 8 o'clock on the be called upon to fire, and their colonel Sunday morning the pickets were not again ordered to put down the rioting molested, and no further mischief was and clear the square. He peremptorily attempted. At that time, however, on the refused to act as he was required, proplea that the men were too fatigued for testing that the men and horses were too further duty, and only likely to irritate fatigued to be able to contend with the the mob by their presence, the picket of mob, and that, if they fired, they might be Hussars was withdrawn from before the overcome, and the city given up to slaugh. Mansion House, and, apparently by a con. ter.* “It would be beiter,” he said, "to certed signal, the rioters poured again into keep the mob in temper until the next Queen's Square. The Mansion House morning, when a reinforcement of troops was now successfully attacked; the barri. might be expected.” cades that had been erected in front of it

Carrying out this fatal policy, Colonel speedily torn down; and complete pos- Brereton ordered the Hussars to return to session taken of its lower rooms. The their quarters. As the Hussars left the work of destruction and plunder at once square, the mob, naturally interpreting commenced. With the utmost difficulty this movement as a proof of fear, fol. the mayor and sheriffs, with a few consta lowed closely on their heels groaning and bles tivat had remained on guard, effected pelting them, and again drawing on themtheir escape ; whilst the mob, more infuri. selves their fire. "When told of this, ated by their success, were breaking and Colonel Brereton returned in haste to the carrying off the valuable furniture, forcing Mansion House, and declared to those open the wine-cellars, and rapidly intoxi- few of the magistrates who were still there cating themselves with their choice stores. on duty, that ihe Hussars must be at once As soon as it was rumored that the cellars removed from the city, so irritated were had been forced, the mob increased in the mob at their vigorous conduct. It numbers, rushing to the spot on all sides was all in vain that the magistrates re. to indulge in drunkenness and plunder. monstrated, urged that the city would be Whilst some of the fellows threw the fur. left defenceless, and referred him to those niture from the windows, others handed of their body who, with the mayor, had the wine out from the cellars, or drank assembled at the Guildhall. Thither the themselves mad drunk or stupid by the colonel went and reiterated his demand. side of the casks. At this time not a Here again the authorities refused to trooper was to be seen in Queen's Square.* consent to the removal of more than one

The inayor and some of the magistrates half of the little force at his command, hastened to the quarters of Colonel Brere. and distinctly told Colonel Brereton that, ton, and ordered him to bring out the “if it was done at all, it must be on his troops. Whilst the men were saddling sole authority.” Sad to say, the colonel and mounting, the mayor and brother persisted in his policy, and now, at the magistrates went about the Green and St. very moment when the mob was increas. Augustine's Back calling on the inhabi- ing in numbers and violence, the Hussars tants, in the king's name, to collect their were sent by him to Kenysham, some six servants and neighbors and assist the miles from the city, and its protection left civil power; a call but little regarded by to the fragment of Dragoons.f the citizens. When at length the troops In the hope, vain as it proved, of quietappeared on the scene of destruction, the ing the mob, placards were issued an. mob sullenly retired, and the constables re. nouncing that the obnoxious recorder had occupied the dismantled residence. Soon, left the city at midnight on the Saturday; however, the rioters were back again in that the Riot Act had been read, and that greater force than before, tearing up the all persons found tumultuously assembled iron railings in the front of the houses to were guilty of a capital offence.

In anIt was about this time that Major Mackworth told other placard, the mayor entreated bis the mayor that "it was time for them to be going," and, when the mayor hesitated, added, “as a soldier, I * On his court-martial Colonel Brereton admitted told him it was right for him to go - it was even his that they were fit for any duty. duty." — Evidence of Major Mackworth on the Mayor's † Evidence of Sheriff Haré. Trial of the mayor, 5th Trial.

day.

*

fellow-citizens to assemble without delay | been sent out of the city, the keeper asked at the Guildhall and assist in restoring the them what they wanted. “The prisoners peace of the city. As these latter notices committed on the previous night,” cried were torn down by the mob almost as the mob. It was worse than useless to soon as they were posted, letters and mes. resist the demand. Throwing down the sages to the same import were sent round keys of the prison, he escaped over the to the churches and chapels, with the roofs with his family. In a few moments miserable result that not more than a after the whole of the prison was in hundred and fifty citizens obeyed the sum- flames. mons, and, when at last assembled, not Encouraged by their victory, with undaturally expressed themselves unwill- largely increased numbers, the mob now ing to risk their lives unless they were marched to the New Gaol, situated in the supported by the military.

suburb of Wapping, the only approach to In the mean time the drunkenness of which was by a bridge at the farther end the mob bad assumed a brutal forin, the of Queen's Square, crossing the floating square being filled with roaring parties, basin. Warned of the intentions of the menacing the Mansion House, and fra- rioters, the governor of the gaol bad, pre. ternizing with the small party of Dragoons viously to their arrival, gone to the magis. that was drawn up in its front. Well trate for assistance, and two aldermen and informed of the action of Colonel Brere. about sixty citizens had returned with ton, the mob had no fear of the troops him. Unable to obtain any assistance now that the Hussars had been with from the many respectably dressed perdrawn, solely, as they knew, because they sons who were now crowding the streets bad fired on the rioters. Thus embold. as idle spectators, this small force was eoed, and acting apparently on the orders powerless against the infuriated mob that of their leaders, they determined on the surged round the gaol; and after a short rescue of these of their comrades who had but sharp struggle, in which several of been captured, and the destruction of the the citizens were injured, they were forced city prisons.

to retire. Messengers had been sent to An excuse for these new tactics was Colonel Brereton, ordering him to bring readily found in the report that a boy had bis troops to the assistance of the magisbeen arrested for stone-throwing. "Restrates. For three-quarters of an hour the cue! rescue! Down with the Mansion mob worked with bars and hammers, House!” shouted the mob, until con. when at last a hole was made in one of vinced of the falsity of the report. And the gates, just large enough for a man to then treating an act of the magistrates as creep throughi

, who got in and drew back due to fear, they at once raised the cry, the bolts. Through the opened gates the To the Bridewell! we will have out the mob rushed unimpeded into the gaol yard. prisoners.” * To the Bridewell, then, a and the governor's house. From the large section of the rioters at once pro house one section of the mob took every ceeded, on their way thither breaking movable piece of furniture, and together open a smith's shop, arming themselves with the prisoners' van, threw them into with bammers and crowbars, and taking the river. Another party of the rioters handfuls of bricks from a stack in Bride- released the prisoners. At this moment well Lane. Thus armed, on reaching the Cornet Kelson with about tiventy Dra. prison they forced in the gate on the Nel goons rode up at a foot's pace. At the son Street side, drove the keeper and his mere sight of them the rioters fled, leav: turnkey into the prison-house, and un-ing about two hundred of their comrades hinged the gates and threw them into the in the gaol-yard, where they could have Frome. Then, with their crowbars broke been easily secured had the troops only open an old window, before which they guarded the entrance. The turnkey, in. had been kept at bay for some time by the deed, closed the gates and bolted them, threat of the keeper to shoot the first man and thus for a time secured them as pris. tbal tried to move a stone. When, how. oners; but at this critical moment orders ever, he had heard that the Hussars had were given to the Dragoons to wheel

about and return to quarters, and the vic• The Bride well was situated on the side of Bride- tory of the mob was secured. Cornet we'l Lane, running out of Nelson Street toward St. James' churchyard, in a courtyard, through which there Kelson had strictly obeyed Colonel Brere. was a passage by day, but ihe gates were closed at ton's orders “to use no violence; to go night. The prison was on one side of the yard and the 10 the gaol and do nothing."* governor's house on the other. The locality offered a complete trap in which to catch the rioters, had the * Evidence of Corpet Kelson; Brereton court-mar. lane been closed by an adequate force.

tial. VOL. XLVIII. 2452

LIVING AGE.

cess.

As the soldiers trotted away, the cry wards the lower green, was defenceless, was raised, “ The soldiers are with us!" save for the yard gates, which had been The release of the prisoners was speedily closed. These, however, were soon prised completed, some of them stripping off from their hinges; the door of the palace their clothes and running away all but forced; the furniture of the dining-room naked, amidst the cheers of the excited broken up and set on fire; the feathermob. Money was given to many of them beds ripped open and live coals from the by one of the leaders – Davis — who, grate put into them, and the kitchen grate, raising his hat on his umbrella, shouted, with its burning fuel, lifted on to the “ We will have Reform! this is what we dresser and surrounded by a pile of wood. ought to have done years ago." Like the For a brief period the work of destruction Bridewell the New Gaol was set on fire, was arrested by the arrival of some magis. and, with its governor's house, was soon trates, with a small party of citizens, and completely in flames. To ensure the inore the appearance on the scene of Colonel rapid destruction of the gaol chapel, the Brereton with the Dragoons. The fire benches in it were rubbed with some in was then stamped out, the mob easily flamınable liquid, which the rioters had scattered, and a few of them arrested, and, brought with them in tins, and then raised for the lack of a more secure prison, tied up on end, so that the flames might more to large casks in the palace cellar. Had readily reach the ceiling. It was evident the troops only remained, in all probabil. from the materials for firing with which ity the palace would have been saved by the rioters were provided, and the skilful the civil force. Whilst, however, the citi. arrangements by which it was carried out, zens were doing good work within the that there were persons in the background palace, they heard a loud cheering from by whose directions everything had been the mob, and learnt, to their dismay, that so previously arranged as to ensure suc. the troops had been suddenly drawn off,

as had been the case at the New Gaol. It From the New Gaol a section of the was in vain that the citizen party charged rioters turned westward, towards the the mob, suffering severely in the strug. Cumberland Basin, close to the ferry at gle. Eventually they were driven back Rowenham, threw the toll-gates at the into the palace, and were glad to escape bridge into the water, and, having made with their lives from the ever-increasing the keeper of the gates remove his furni- masses of the rioters. ture, smeared the floor of the toll-house

The vigorous resistance offered by this with oil, and then set it on fire with hot small party of citizens, however, some. coals from the grate. Thence they re- what daunted the mob. They hesitated turned to Prince's Bridge, where the toll. I to renew the attack. Then it was that an houses and gates met with the same fate active leader, who afterwards suffered as those at the Basin, and then moved, death for his share in the riots, took a evidently by orders, to the eastern boun- party into a neighboring public-house for dary of the city, where, at Lawford's Gate, food and drioks, and then led them back to stood the prison of the county of Glouces the palace refreshed, and, it is believed, ter. Here no resistance was offered to encouraged by gifts of money; The their demands; the few prisoners were palace was again entered; the few serreleased, and then every part of the prison vants that still remained in it driven out; that could be burnt was rapidly destroyed. the fires rekindled, and the whole edifice Three prisons were now burning.

given to the flames. Whilst the palace The burning of the gaols by no means was burning, a section of the mob made completed the work which their leaders its way into the adjoining chapter-house, had marked out for the rioters. In three destroyed a number of valuable books and columns they now marched to College manuscripts, and would have set it on fire, Green, where the Bishop's Palace had had not its thick Saxon walls and its been doomed to destruction. Davis, the stone floor defied all the efforts of the inleader of one of these columns, incited his cendiary. followers by abusing the bishop, and de. claring that it was a sin for bim to have

The Destruction of Queen's Square. forty thousand a year (the income of the Whilst the greater portion of the riotsee was really only one thousand) whilst ers were engaged in the rifling and burnso many poor persons were starving, amid ing of the episcopal palace, the section the shouts of the crowd, of “ The king of them which had remained in front of and no bishops!” The palace, which the Mansion House, for the protection of abutted on the cathedral on the side to- which only six dragoons were left, contented itself with getting wine from the fied inhabitants from their burning dwellcellars, to which the dragoons did not ings. offer any opposition. Gradually, however, By midnight the flames of the burning the palace incendiaries returned to the houses were so rapidly approaching the army of observation in Queen's Square, Custom House that the officers, some and attempted to set fire to the mansion fifty in number, were busy removing the from its back premises. In this attempt books and papers, when the rioters arthey failed; when a ruffian in the mob at rived and ordered them to “clear out.” the front of the house, getting a light from In vain one of the officers appealed to a neighboring gas-lamp. (after a parley them that “this was the king's house with the guard, at the close of which he the good king.” With curses

on the said, “ Well, you will not fire !"), entered king, and an order from the leader to at. the cellar under the kitchen, the imme- tack, the mob rushed in, and every room diate rise of smoke from which proved was soon filled with roaring rioters, all that he had effected his object. The clearly acting under orders. Whilst one house was soon on fire in every floor; set broke open the desks, another smeared still the mob, mad with drink, rushed in, the window-frames and large doors with destroyed or carried off the fuaniture, and the inflammable paste brought by them in with difficulty escaped with their lives kettles, and others nailed up linen prewhen the front wall of the building fell viously smeared with the same composiwith a crash.

tion. In five minutes the long room was Wbilst the conflagration was raging, in flames, and at the saine time the lower and the pitiless destruction at its height, offices were set on fire. Resistance was Colonel Bereton arrived in the square useless; the house was untenable. The with a detachment of Dragoons. Again officers escaped with difficulty; not so the old tactics were carried out. The some fifty of the rioters, who were crowd. Dragoons leisurely walked their horses ing the rooms or swarming on the roof. about the square, and after remaining for A large party was burnt to death as they about a quarter of an hour, as spectators sat at supper in the housekeeper's room; rather than as repressors of the outrages, and of three who had dropped from the were marched off by their commander's burning roof, one fell into the molten lead orders. From that moment not a soldier that poured from it, and met an agonizing was to be seen. It was now ten o'clock deatli. Another was so fearfully bruised at night. At this awful period,” said by his fall on the stones that he died, Sir Charles D. Albiac, at the court-martial, exclaiming, with almost his last breath, “ Colonel Brereton, at a time when the • Oh, that I bad taken my wife's advice, city seemed doomed to destruction, and not come to Bristol; but I was sent thought fit to retire to his quarters and go for.to bed.” It was useless to attempt to

These dreadful incidents had no effect save the building, and the valuable por. in checking the violence of the rioters. traits of old Bristol worthies which were The whole of the houses on the northern in it would have been destroyed, save for side of the square had now been reduced the presence of mind of one individual, to a mass of burning ruins, and the incenwho had them cut out of their frames, diaries turned to the western side. There rolled up, and, with other valuables, car. the excise office, the customs bonding ried to a place of safety,

warehouse, and the whole of the houses, Hitherio public buildings alone had with the exception of two, were sacked been the object of attack and destruction, and burnt. The scene is said to have whilst thousands of persons, by their now become a demon revel. Round the dress to be considered as respectable, statue in the square, tables were spread, looked on apparently but little displeased at which the rioters feasted in turn on the with the destruction of the corporate food and ardent spirits stolen from the property. But the rioters were still unsat- burning houses, yelling with horrid blasisfied. Convinced that the troops would phemies and loathsome ribaldry as not be allowed to act against them, they other and another house was commenced to assail private property, at- burst into flame. The rioters and released tacking the houses adjoining the Mansion gaol-birds, maddening each other with House, breaking through the party walls, drink, beld unresisted possession of the so as more readily to speed the flames; square. To deal with such an infuriated increasing the fire with turpentine and mass, the civil power, unaided by the other combustibles; throwing the furni. military, would have been powerless; and ture into the square, and driving the terri. | the military were either in their quarters

66

an. seen to

ܕ

« VorigeDoorgaan »