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LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY 5, 1873.
The magistrates behaved well, and were very active in
amounted to about 4000 persons, who clamoured loudly
about the importation of foreign silks and calicoes, which,
they said, had reduced thousands of weavers' families to
starvation, and thrown whole streets of them out of employ.
The Lord Mayor, alarmed at the disturbance, closed the
coffined in Cement-Rclics of Charles I.-The Fifth Monarchy till 1764), and then the drums sounded to beat up the not
An order was at once issued for the Horse Grenadiers and
ings-Names of City Churches - Portraits on Coins-Ancient
rode about to and fro among the fermenting weavers who
were at first inclined to be mischievous; but one weaver, who
tried to drag a Life Guard from his saddle, being promptly
Society - London and Middlesex Archäological Society his shuttle, having his hand lopped off, the rioters began
to listen to reason and to disperse. A band that had
set out for Lewisham to destroy some calico mills there,
found the Life Guards riding down on them with most de.
monstrative sabres. Two of the ringleaders were captured
their barracks, tired, but pleased with the success of their
labours, about 4 a.m. Yet, after all, their work was not
done, for the Original Weekly Journal of June 20, 1719,
“Last Friday 7-night, when the Guards were returned to
Whitehall, the weavers got together again, tearing all the
a strong detachment of the guards to be sent again into the
heighten their insolence; whereupon one of the train’d.
mitted to Newgate for a riot, and on Sunday night two
more were committed to the same prison for felony, in
The attempts to rescuc captured weavers were very frie
But even this was by no means the end, for rumours now the offender dead with his cleaver.
arose that the keeper of the cook-shop, Holywell Street, had The next great riot in Spitalfields arose about quite a
a certain Irish son-in-law who kept a cook-shop in Quaker different subject, but the motive cause was still the same Street, Spitalfields, who had offered a gang of Irishmen five trade jealousy. The contractors for the building of Shore- guineas to beat the English. The irritation was increased ditch Church, being pressed for time and, probably, money, by a fight on Holloway Mount, between parties of English had resolved to employ any Irish labourers who worked for and Irish, when the latter, being defeated, pulled out their lower wages than the English. Bad blood arose. The
knives and wounded several persons. It was also reported Craftsman of July 31, 1736, thus describes the first out that the Irishmen had met together in several places and break of the quarrel, into which the Spitalfields weavers soon scythe-blades were pretty things in close quarters; and it was
resolved to send for all the haymakers round London-and struck with hearty good will.
also believed by the excited weavers that the Irish had taken “On Monday,” says the writer, "some labourers, part of an execrable oath “to wash their hands in the blood of every whom were English and part Irish, met at a cook’s-shop in Englishman who opposed them." The result was that the Holywell-street, Shoreditch, and having words on the English, irritated at these rough intruders into their fields of occasion of the latter doing labouring work cheaper than the labour, went round to many of the Irishmen's houses and English, a quarrel arose, in which the landlord, who was broke their windows, battered their doors, and demolished an Irishman, taking part with his countrymen, laid a wager their furniture, and finally a general battle took place in the of six guineas that four of them would beat six Englishmen, fields near Hackney, between the two nations, when many and they were to decide it next day. These disputes drew persons on both sides were wounded with stones, bludgeons together a large mob, and each siding as his country or and knives. opinion listed him, great disorders were then committed, On the Wednesday the ferment still continued. The and the same increasing, on Tuesday evening grew at mob, furious at the discharge of the belligerent landlord, length to such head, that the mob attacked the cook's-shop, insulted the Train Bands who had captured eight rioters. broke the windows, put the landlord to flight, and, in all That night, soldiers patrolled the streets, and about midnight probability, would certainly have pulled down the house, i two troops of Horse Grenadiers rode through Shoreditch and had not the magistrates, who were prudently assembled, Hackney and dispersed several angry crowds; and in the prevented the further effects of their rage there. The mob morning four companies of the Foot Guards marched from ihen determined to extirpate the Irishmen, repaired to the Park to the Tower with a good deal of ball cartridge several other houses where they were lodged, and coming, with them to be ready for all emergencies. amongst the rest, to the Two Brewers in Brick-lane, in On the Thursday a mad Irishman named Earl, threw Spittlefields, the landlord, who was an Irishman, and some himself, or rather 'ran a muck,' among a company of the others who were in his house, put themselves on their desence, somewhat cumbrous Train Band, and desperately wounded fired out at the window, and, unhappily, shot a lad, son to one of them, and was then overpowered. Some armed comMr. Blake, a sieve-maker in the Little Minories, and wounded panions of his fled when they found that Earl could not six or seven others. Several persons had been likewise defeat the whole body of Train Bands, and that more wounded in the fray at the other houses; and the crowd, Saxon troops were coming up. Foot Guards patrolled from being by this time swelled to some thousands in number, tlie Tower towards the fields all that night, and orders were and in the utmost fury, much mischief might have followed, sent to the Colonels of regiments in Kent to keep watchbut for the wisdom of the gentlemen in the commission of ful eyes on all vagrom” persons and unquiet spirits who the peace, who appeared amongst the thickest, and read the should happen to show themselves. The militia also kept proclamation for dispersing them. They likewise called out guard in Spital Square and Shoreditch. the Trained Bands, and procured two parties of the Foot On the l'riday the effervescent weavers
grew again Guards to be sent from the Tower, who, marching through volcanic. About it p.m. a mob suddenly got together Spittlefields and Shoreditch, the mob retired home and every in Goodman's Fields and attacked an Irish cook-shop in Millthing was quiet.”
yard, and from thence they pushed to the “Bull and The Old IVhig, of August 5, 1736, gives rather a different great difficulty, escaped with their lives. Another part of
Butcher" ale-house in Rag Fair, where the inmates, witlı version of the attack on the “ Two Brewers."
the mob threatened everybody in Goodman's Fields who " The mob,” says the writer, “had determined to have refused or delayed to illuminate. They then broke windows out iwo Irish lodgers of the landlord's, alive or dead, and, and also began to demolish the house of a Mr. Atkin, in accordingly, they attempted to force the door, and some Leman Street. The frightened people, however, sending to broke the windows, whilst others attempted to get in the a justice, that gentleman at once procured a guard from the back way. The master and lodgers, who had provided them- Tower, and marched, sword drawn, upon the rioters, and selves with pistols, blunderbusses, and daggers, thercon fired scized some of the ringleaders with his own hand. Nine of on the populace seven times, and wounded several of them, the rioters were at once taken to the watch house in Roseand particularly two boys, who are said to be mortally mary Lane, and the mob dispersed. The next day one of wounded; likewise, one James Brown, a labouring man, these men was examined at the Tower and committed to received several wounds on his head, arms, and breast, so Newgate for felony-which then meant death. The troops that he is given over; a woran was also wounded on her still patrolled nightly, 300 Horse Guards on Tower Hill, left side with a dagger, but there were hopes of her recovery. while parties of the Horse Grenadiers dispersed riotous At last the populace forced in, broke almost everything in crowds collecting in Radcliffe Highway. the house, seized the three reputed Irishmen, tapped the A day after this, a poor woman was found nearly dead beer that was in the house, and, in short, would have killed from blows and wounds in an alley, called the Wall, near their antagonists, had it not been for the Guards of the Virginia Court, somewhere in Shoreditch. She had been Tower, who by this time arrived to appease the tumult, stabbed and beaten by two Irish women (with one of together with the Trained Bands of the Tower Hamlets. I whom she lodged), because she had argued in favour of the
English. This so exasperated the weavers, their comrades, of constables, headboroughs, &c., marched from Hicker's that a
massacre of the Irish might have been the con- Hall and Moorsields, as it was rumoured that the sailors, sequence, had not the Train Bands cleared the streets. butchers, and dyers, had determined to come to the aid of the The last we hear of these riots is in Reed's Weekly Journal, weavers, who were determined a second visit to WestAugust 7, 1736, to this effect :
minster. The great spokesman of the rioters seems to have "On Sunday evening last, some mobs arose in South- been Jones, a Welshman, to whom the Earl of Northumwark and Lambeth, and another by Oxford Road, but they berland had sent special messages from the Lords, and did no damage, only taking upon themselves to interrogate who, after drawing off the weavers to the Green Park; the people that went that way --If they were for the English harangued them from a tree, and also addressed the mob or Irish?"
in the Old Palace Yard with “modesty and decorum,” and The riots of 1765 were much more alarming, as they succeeded in persuading them to disperse. The St. James's proceeded from real distress, and were entirely confined Chronicle, of May 16, 1765, somewhat sympathizing with to the Spitalfields weavers. The outbreak began on the weavers, writes :the night of May 6, 1765, when about 5000 weavers, “ It is said that several French hairdressers and friseurs, armed with pickaxes and other weapons, appeared in French milliners and mantua-makers, have raised good Bloomsbury Square, where one of the cabinet ministers fortunes since the late peace, by artfully introducing and then lived ; and after parading an hour, left, threatening to selling the silk manufactures of their own country to the return if their grievances were not speedily redressed. The gentry, &c., they had business for, which has been the next day, upwards of 50,000 weavers and their wives principal cause of the present miserable situation of the poor asembled by beat of drum in Spitalfields. The Reformers' Spitalfields weavers ; and, notwithstanding seizure now Chronicle says
and then has been made of French goods, the said illicit • They proceeded, in three large bodies, to Westminster. trade is daily carried on by means of the easy access they One corps took the route of Gracechurch Street and London have to the ladies and gentlemen who employ them.” Bridge, from whence they passed over St. George's Fields. From Lloyd's Evening Post, of May 22, 1765, we get a Another corps marched along Ludgate Hill and ihe Strand, very graphic picture of the general alarm the riotous weavers while the third proceeded by way of Holborn and Covent had created in London, which, for a time, had formed into Garden. When united again in Westminster, the crowd a camp. The newspaper writer says :was so great that the members could scarce get to their
“ Monday night the guards were doubled at Bedford respective Houses. All Old Palace Yard, New Palace House; and in each street leading thereto were placed six or Yard, and the streets adjoining quite as far as Westminster seven of the Horse Guards, who continued till yesterday at Bridge, were filled with these poor petitioners, besides ten with their swords drawn. A strong party of Albemarle's multitudes of others that were in the park. Before them, dragoons took post in Tottenham Court Road, and patrols in their march, flags of various colours were borne by the of them were sent off towards Islington and Marylebone, women, particularly a French silk handkerchief, with a and the other environs on that side of the town; the Duke golden border on it and a cross of gold in the middle, a of Bedford's new road by Baltimore House was opened, large piece of French spotted silk, said to have been pro- when every hour a patrol came that way and round Bloomscured from the shop of a mercer in town, and three or four bury Square to see that all was well. pieces of French lace, &c., &c. The men wore red cock
Proper precautions were yesterday taken to prevent the ades and shreds of silk in their hats. In Westminster they weavers from joining and marching in bodies, by placing a stopped the carriages of the members as they went to the strong body in the following manner :-Two troops of horse House, praying them to take pity on the poor weavers, but were drawn up in Moorfields in order of battle, with colours, beliaved in all other respects with the greatest good order. I standards, &c., in the centre was a battalion of the Guards. To prevent any tumult, however, the first troop of Horse | They continued under arms all day A troop of horse was Guards, with a party of Horse Grenadiers and three companies stationed at the foot of London Bridge to prevent their of Foot Guards, drew up before Westminster, and cleared a passing that way, and another troop of horse did duty at the way to the House for the members, about two p.m. The foot of Westminster Bridge. Lords sent out to the weavers to tell them next session every “The same morning a large detachment of the Foot Guards, possible endeavour should be made to redress their griev- joined by a party of horse Grenadier Guards, were drawn up ances,
but that further consideration till then was impos- under arms in St. James's Park, to prevent any riots or sible, which was somewhat cold comfort, it must be allowed. obstructions to the members or peers passing or repassing This not satisfying them, the weavers remained till four p..n., to and from the house, but everything continued in perfect when their leaders pacified them and persuaded them to tranquillity. disperse. In the mean time Sir John Fielding, the third “ Parties of horse and foot continue still to do duty in justice, and a relation of the novelist, had waited at the new Bloomsbury Square, and soldiers are quartered in all the Guildhall
, where 400 weavers had held a conference with public-houses in Spittlefields and parts adjacent. their masters and the mercers, the latter of whom had
“ This week, a number of printed handbills, setting forth promised to immediately recall all their contracts for foreign the miserable situation of the poor journeymen weavers, silks, and set the Spittlefields weavers immediately to work. from the great encouragement of French silks in this king. But the more riotous spirits were not to be drawn off by mere dom, were thrown into the carriages of the principal nobility promises, and trusted more to the sometimes salutary and gentry at the west end of the town.” effects of fear. They threatened to get the watermen to
These riots were succeeded by others still more dangerous join them, and pulled down the stone posts and part of the in 1767, when the “cutters," as they were called, broke wall before the obnoxious Duke of Bedford's house, into houses, cut the work off the looms, and shot several Bloomsbury Square, besides ploughing up the ground in the centre of the square. They then tore up the pavement, 1 disturbances of the same kind in 1768 and '69, the rioters
persons who attempted to hinder them. There were also and pelted the Horse Guards who rode against them. Many occasionally killing a soldier and resisting all attempts to soldiers were wounded, and several of the weavers trampled down. A party of horse that night guarded Mr. Carr's put them down. On December 6, 1769, iwo rioters were, house, and parties of the Guards patroled Moorfields to the rage of the weavers, hung at Bethnal Green.
After this the weavers either resigned themselves paand Spittlefields, where the mob had been breaking the tiently to their misfortunes or prepared boldly, like true windows of all master weavers known to have French silk in Englishmen, to outdo their rivals in trade, for we hear little stock."
more of any open disturbance. The next morning the Guards, attended by a great number
(To be continued.)