Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > European History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

European History European History Forum - Western and Eastern Europe including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 24th, 2013, 06:45 AM   #51

Ancientgeezer's Avatar
Revisionist
 
Joined: Nov 2011
From: The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
Posts: 8,318

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
While doing my research into why black Londoners did not embrace the Sierra Leone Resettlement Scheme the way Black Pioneers from the US and Canada did, I discovered quite a lot of articles in newspapers back in the 1780s which led me to the conclusion that the main deciding factor in black Londoners turning their back on this Scheme was the advice of Lord George Gordon himself....

A lot of black men in London at the time were sailors, and this profession strongly supported Gordon during the Gordon riots. So, when black men were being persuaded to leave the streets of London to start a new African colony, a lot of them sought the advice of Gordon, according to these newspapers, and Gordon strongly advised against it, because of his strong anti-colonial and anti-slavery stance. As a result, even though bout 700 black Londoners had registered for the Scheme, that number dramatically fell to little more than 400.
Shivan--have you any source material to support your claim?
First of all 1780 was at the height of the American War and one of the main years of the "hot press". Hardly an able-bodied sailor could be found in any town or village within ten miles of the coast. There was ABSOLUTELY no such thing as shore leave during this period.
Secondly, the big numbers of blacks did not arrive in Britain until after the Treaty of Paris--still some three years hence.
While the records show that three "blacks" were tried and sentenced to hang out of 450 arrested--none were sailors, they were John Glover, Benjamin Bowsey and Charlotte Gardiner. However, only Gardiner was executed. (She had been one of 20 women tried.) Glover’s master, ‘Counsellor’ John Philips, thought enough of his servant to give evidence on his behalf at the trial on 11 July, and succeeded in having him reprieved and given “his Majesty’s pardon, on condition of absenting himself from this kingdom for three years”. Benjamin Bowsey appealed to two of his ex-employers, Lord Earlsbury and General Honeywood, as well as to Alderman Woolridge, who interviewed him and enlisted the help of the Lord Mayor. On 9 August it was announced that “his Majesty has been pleased to respite the execution of Benjamin Bowsey... until further signification of his Majesty’s Pleasure”.
Ancientgeezer is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 24th, 2013, 07:32 AM   #52
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: London, England
Posts: 17

Gary,

I fully understand your position, and in no way intend to add my approval to the matters of 1778 to 1781 regarding the petitions and the riots. Careful reading of the court reporters' books - particularly Gurney, but also Vincent (who offers a little more colour if less detail) is very revealing, as are the researches of the Protestant Association regarding their members activities. As regards newspaper reports you need to understand the postions of each paper - The Times didn't exit till 1785 under another name for three years, and most papers feared government prosecutions.

Your claim that your preferred interpretation is "This is indisputable. The evidence is irrefutable" is both disputable and refutable. No members of the Protestant Association, nor petition signers are shown to have been in any way involved in the riots. The records of arrest and of those found guilty do, alarmingly, include Catholics.

There are good accounts by those like Joseph Reynolds, the portrait painter, that the marchers of the Protestant Association were joined by very large numbers of thieves, vagabonds, troublemakers, disaffected poor and working class people. The riots did not, in fact, start immediately on the crowd round parliament dispersing. This raises questions; note particularly that of the two chapels attacked that night, one was of the Bavarian Ambassador, a smuggler for all forty years of his appointment. There the intent was to "liberate" such goods. There the burning was token.

The nature of the riots is bound up with many social problems. Among them were the fact of Irish labourers who worked particularly in silk weaving and brick laying and undercut the already low wages of the indigenous. They happened to be catholic, and the attack in Moorfields was both the first large action, and the one most obviously about social conditions. It was a matter of fact that Irish immigrants were Catholics, which fitted the anti-Papist rhetoric of the Protestant Association perfectly.

The continuation of the riots had nothing to do with Gordon, but was the product of weak action by both government and by magistrates. It becomes clear most rioters were opportunists who joined in as the official reaction was so spineless. The attacks on the prisons were clearly motivated by the experience of the lower classes in the harsh treatment meted out to them at a time when there were 200 offences, mostly minor, that attracted the death penalty.

Gordon was recognised by most people because he had long been known for his helpfulness to the ordinary people, and earned the epithet "The Party of the People" for that reason. He never did anything that showed him not, nonetheless, to be law abiding and a reformer, but never a revolutionary.
JCR Harris is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #53
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2013
From: Brigadoon
Posts: 4,508

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
To All those Who Have Posted Threads: Thanks! I've learned a lot from reading
your comments.
I agree. It's turned out to be an informative thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
Gary,

I fully understand your position, and in no way intend to add my approval to the matters of 1778 to 1781 regarding the petitions and the riots. Careful reading of the court reporters' books - particularly Gurney, but also Vincent (who offers a little more colour if less detail) is very revealing, as are the researches of the Protestant Association regarding their members activities. As regards newspaper reports you need to understand the postions of each paper - The Times didn't exit till 1785 under another name for three years, and most papers feared government prosecutions.

Your claim that your preferred interpretation is "This is indisputable. The evidence is irrefutable" is both disputable and refutable. No members of the Protestant Association, nor petition signers are shown to have been in any way involved in the riots. The records of arrest and of those found guilty do, alarmingly, include Catholics.

There are good accounts by those like Joseph Reynolds, the portrait painter, that the marchers of the Protestant Association were joined by very large numbers of thieves, vagabonds, troublemakers, disaffected poor and working class people. The riots did not, in fact, start immediately on the crowd round parliament dispersing. This raises questions; note particularly that of the two chapels attacked that night, one was of the Bavarian Ambassador, a smuggler for all forty years of his appointment. There the intent was to "liberate" such goods. There the burning was token.

The nature of the riots is bound up with many social problems. Among them were the fact of Irish labourers who worked particularly in silk weaving and brick laying and undercut the already low wages of the indigenous. They happened to be catholic, and the attack in Moorfields was both the first large action, and the one most obviously about social conditions. It was a matter of fact that Irish immigrants were Catholics, which fitted the anti-Papist rhetoric of the Protestant Association perfectly.

The continuation of the riots had nothing to do with Gordon, but was the product of weak action by both government and by magistrates. It becomes clear most rioters were opportunists who joined in as the official reaction was so spineless. The attacks on the prisons were clearly motivated by the experience of the lower classes in the harsh treatment meted out to them at a time when there were 200 offences, mostly minor, that attracted the death penalty.

Gordon was recognised by most people because he had long been known for his helpfulness to the ordinary people, and earned the epithet "The Party of the People" for that reason. He never did anything that showed him not, nonetheless, to be law abiding and a reformer, but never a revolutionary.
Some great information, thanks. It seems to me that the causes of the Gordon riots can be argued endlessly. Just as the more recent London riots are argued about, and will continue to be argued about. Trying to understand the motivations of "the mob" can be difficult to ascertain. One man's bigoted Protestant can be another man's disaffected labourer.
jackydee is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 08:09 AM   #54
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: London, England
Posts: 17

jackydee,

There's a brilliant gathering in Violent London, 2,000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts by Clive Bloom - Pan Books, 2004. It gives a good introduction to consideration of riots, and the tinderbox nature of cities that attract those made homeless or poor.

Socially the riots were at a time of great social stress, when clearances and enclosures were creating rootless families and individuals all over Britain.
JCR Harris is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 08:22 AM   #55
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: London, England
Posts: 17

"One man's bigoted Protestant can be another man's disaffected labourer."

One other point, Jackydee, the fact of being a Protestant is not the same as being connected to The Protestant Association or the petition. The Church of England - Protestantism (even though it includes very catholic wings!) - is the state religion of the United Kingdom. Unless a different status is claimed, all citizens are considered Protestant. Other forms at that time would be Protestant Dissenters [Gordon was one as a Calvinist]. Roman Catholics, or of the very small population then [around 10,000 or more] of Jews.
JCR Harris is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #56

Garry_Owen's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
From: Thomond, Ireland.
Posts: 674

JCR, it is not merely an interpretation - the primary evidence (some of which I have already and will again allude to) speaks for itself. I understand your perspective but it is not correct to absolve the Protestant Association, and Protestantism in general, from responsibility for the Gordon Riots. It may be possible to ascribe blame to certain Protestant denominations over others but I would not like to go down that road at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
No members of the Protestant Association, nor petition signers are shown to have been in any way involved in the riots. The records of arrest and of those found guilty do, alarmingly, include Catholics.

The members of the PA were 'respectable' middle class types who, of course, would never indulge their prejudices and succumb to a mob mentality - certainly not in such frustrating circumstances where, having worked themselves up into a lather and come in their thousands to physically invade the House of Commons in order to force a petition upon it, they are told that the House is adjourning without even giving a hearing to the 'voice of the people'. One eye-witness (Sancho) refers twice to the rioters wearing the blue ribbon emblem of the Protestant Association. He described thousands of such PA activists parading the streets ‘ready for every and any mischief’. Of course, as I have already said, as the riots progressed all the world and his mother got involved and jumped on the bandwagon. Many within the establishment were only too glad to point at Catholic rioters - it played into their political and religious agenda. Afterall, the Protestant Association was claiming exactly that - that you cannot trust the Catholics, they are politically and socially subversive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
There are good accounts by those like Joseph Reynolds, the portrait painter, that the marchers of the Protestant Association were joined by very large numbers of thieves, vagabonds, troublemakers, disaffected poor and working class people.

I am aware of this, but the 'thieves, vagabonds, troublemakers and disaffected poor' of whom you speak showed uncharacteristic restraint at the outset of the rioting by only attacking members of the House who were considered sympathetic to Catholics and by burning (but not looting) Catholic chapels. In one instance they physically prevented all attempts to put out a fire they had set to a Catholic chapel while helping to prevent the spread of their fire to adjoining buildings! Hardly the actions of poverty stricken vagabonds intent on thieving!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
The nature of the riots is bound up with many social problems. Among them were the fact of Irish labourers who worked particularly in silk weaving and brick laying and undercut the already low wages of the indigenous. They happened to be catholic, and the attack in Moorfields was both the first large action, and the one most obviously about social conditions. It was a matter of fact that Irish immigrants were Catholics, which fitted the anti-Papist rhetoric of the Protestant Association perfectly.

Presumably, there were no Catholics convicted of attacks on Catholics in the Moorfield area! Continuing to trade on stereotypes, I should not be surprised if 'Irish Catholics' were convicted of sacking the Catholic owned Holborn distillery, drank themselves to death or died drunkenly in the inferno.

All that aside, and whatever else they may have been, we cannot escape the fact that the Gordon Riots were anti-Catholic and were carried out by sectarian Protestants against Catholics. Others may have gotten involved for criminal or political or antisocial reasons. Some may have been expressing a purely anti-Irish animocity (as recorded by Sancho) but there is ample evidence that much of the rioting was solely directed at Catholics or their property or their political sympathisers.

Last edited by Garry_Owen; April 24th, 2013 at 12:47 PM.
Garry_Owen is offline  
Old April 24th, 2013, 04:07 PM   #57
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2013
From: Brigadoon
Posts: 4,508

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
jackydee,

There's a brilliant gathering in Violent London, 2,000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts by Clive Bloom - Pan Books, 2004. It gives a good introduction to consideration of riots, and the tinderbox nature of cities that attract those made homeless or poor.

Socially the riots were at a time of great social stress, when clearances and enclosures were creating rootless families and individuals all over Britain.
I'll have a look out for the book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
"One man's bigoted Protestant can be another man's disaffected labourer."

One other point, Jackydee, the fact of being a Protestant is not the same as being connected to The Protestant Association or the petition. The Church of England - Protestantism (even though it includes very catholic wings!) - is the state religion of the United Kingdom. Unless a different status is claimed, all citizens are considered Protestant. Other forms at that time would be Protestant Dissenters [Gordon was one as a Calvinist]. Roman Catholics, or of the very small population then [around 10,000 or more] of Jews.
Fair enough. As I said earlier, its difficult to accurately understand the motivation of the mob. Was an agitator who happened to be Protestant primarily rioting because of his Protestant religion was under threat? Or because his economic well being was under threat via cheaper labour? Im sure there were a mix of motivations involved, some of them contradictory. Add a few ne'er do wells and you have an event which is almost inexplicable to modern historians. At least that's what I am lead to believe, historians havent quite gotten a handle on the causes of the Gordon Riots, or at least why they were quite so destructive.
jackydee is offline  
Old April 25th, 2013, 08:14 AM   #58
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: London, England
Posts: 17

Gary,

I am not trying to put the Protestant case, nor to attack Roman Catholics; I have no reason to do either. From a Protestant perspective the events were a disaster, and from a Roman Catholic one little more than an irritation - the Act was not repealed.

The first thing it is necessary to do is to separate the orderly, well-dressed petitioners from the disorderly rabble. Only if, then, you can re-unite the two are your linkings valid. Blue ribands were hardly impossible for the rabble to adopt, and originally signified nothing more than an attempt to distinguish the Protestants. The reason for assembling the petitioners, was to prove the signers existed; it was a common dismissal by the MPs that all petitions to the Parliament were fictitious.

The evidence for the rioters to be led by "well-dressed men" is substantial, and I have no doubt of organisation to some extent at least. What is not known is by whom that organising was done. My own belief, on careful reading of the trial and prosecution case, and how it was demolished by Erskine, is that Government dirty tricks were very involved.

The idea, that there was Catholic support for disturbances as well, comes strongly from the statement by Lord Petre to Lord George some months before that "if the petition goes ahead there will be riots." While capable of other interpretations, the context lends support to the least happy. At the same time the issue of what religion the rioters were is to my mind not overly significant, *if* one accepts these were mainly not "respectable". The Protestant Association point was not about all Protestants anyway - they just wanted to be sure no petitioner or member of the assocaition had rioted - and if they had, why?

There is no evidence that the lobbies of the House were invaded by respectable petitioners, since several witnesses - including MPs - point out the ones crowding the lobby were of a "lower" sort. It is also clear the ones assaulting MPs and Lords were the rougher elements of the now mixed gathering.

From most evidence - significantly that of Magistrate Addison backed by some troops - the "well-dressed" petitioners were largely gone by the early evening. The first incident - the two chapels - did not take place before 11 at night, when dark had long descended. Reports of those making their way to the two sites indicate the make-up fitted the "lower elements" of society.

Apart from Gordon's naivety, one sees nothing that connects him to the destruction, nor connects the Protestant Association, nor any of the "better dressed" tradesmen and shopkeepers. And after prosecution witnesses are demolished, it is clear there is no evidence of any sort, after keeping Gordon in the Tower of London for eight months. The court system was heavily biased - corrupted in my opinion - to the establishment, and they would have needed only one, even flimsy link to get their way.

With all the trials of rioters in that eight months, not one, not even to save their own skin, mentioned Gordon or the Protestant Assocaition as leading or taking part in or encouraging the riots.

I have not noted one other point in this matter in this thread. I have previously pointed out how explosive the anger and resentment of the poor, but for the Protestants there was a Constitutional issue. To them Protestantism meant freedom [such as it was then], while Rome and the Pope meant absolutism. They feared in England the destruction of the 1688 settlement of the Protestant succession to the throne, and additionally in Scotland the re-imposition of bad and currently absent chiefs who had fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie only a quarter century before.

Scots fear was well founded. The land was soon returned to those banned after Culloden.

One last point, while it was mainly Catholic houses that were fired, there were many Protestants and eminent ones at that, whose homes the mob attacked. Many of those were symbols of the justice system - which was an intolerable one for the poor - including Lord Mansfield's - he was the Lord Chief Justice, who sat on the Gordon treason trial. How's that for prejudice!

Fielding's home, court and cells were also fired; Fielding had taken over from his brother management of the Scarlet Runners in Bow Street. It is a long list and included the prisons; also a matter of concern to the poor.
JCR Harris is offline  
Old April 25th, 2013, 08:57 AM   #59
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: London, England
Posts: 17

Gary,

I failed to respond to two points. Sanchez could hardly have distinguished between members of the PA and others, and all the others, according to witnesses, had blue ribands also.

Mocking about the Moorfields situation fails to understand what went on there. Locals had long resented the Irish immigrants for undercutting their pay rates; this was an opportunity to seek restitution. On the day before the ransacking and firing a crowd had gathered and threatened action.

I refer back to the fact of the riots being a failure of government. Despite this prior warning *no action whatsoever* was taken by any authorities to be present or near in order to prevent what took place. That the Irish were Catholics merely gave a sort of "cover" to their reasons and outburst of violence at that moment. That the situation was added to by others, and by any seeking havoc - organised or otherwise, seems without doubt.

In fact the Irish silk manufacturer and merchant went to the Lord Mayor to seek protection. The response he got and the reported words "there are great men at the bottom of this" leaves a lot of questions. The Lord Mayor had, in fact, also received government instructions to prepare. As I say, there are many questions left hanging about who caused the riots, and who massaged them; what is clear is that it was neither the Protestant Association nor Gordon.

And, remember, the "Wilkes and Liberty" riots were only a dozen years before. The need for preparation was obvious.
JCR Harris is offline  
Old April 26th, 2013, 03:13 AM   #60

shivfan's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Hertfordshire
Posts: 984

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Shivan--have you any source material to support your claim?
First of all 1780 was at the height of the American War and one of the main years of the "hot press". Hardly an able-bodied sailor could be found in any town or village within ten miles of the coast. There was ABSOLUTELY no such thing as shore leave during this period.
Secondly, the big numbers of blacks did not arrive in Britain until after the Treaty of Paris--still some three years hence.
While the records show that three "blacks" were tried and sentenced to hang out of 450 arrested--none were sailors, they were John Glover, Benjamin Bowsey and Charlotte Gardiner. However, only Gardiner was executed. (She had been one of 20 women tried.) Glover’s master, ‘Counsellor’ John Philips, thought enough of his servant to give evidence on his behalf at the trial on 11 July, and succeeded in having him reprieved and given “his Majesty’s pardon, on condition of absenting himself from this kingdom for three years”. Benjamin Bowsey appealed to two of his ex-employers, Lord Earlsbury and General Honeywood, as well as to Alderman Woolridge, who interviewed him and enlisted the help of the Lord Mayor. On 9 August it was announced that “his Majesty has been pleased to respite the execution of Benjamin Bowsey... until further signification of his Majesty’s Pleasure”.
My previous post was clumsily phrased...when I said sailors and seamen supported Gordon in the Riots, I didn't mean that they were actually among the rioters. I just meant to make reference to the issue of them being among his supporters. After all, hundreds of them complained to Gordon of being unemployed, and being promised employment, and he took up their cause in that regard. (Please see Percy Colson, "The Strange History of Lord George Gordon", pp140-1).

Lord George Gordon's activity spanned more than just being the inspiration for the riots of 1780. His activity went beyond the riots themselves, and he was a thorn in the flesh of the authorities for a decade afterwards....

Yes, the three identified black Londoners who were tried after the Riots were not sailors (Marika Sherwood, "Blacks in the Gordon Riots", p25).

The profession of seamen was the largest employer of black men at the time (Norma Myers, "Reconstructing the Black Past", p68).

Gordon had a strong appeal to certain aspects of the working class, and newspaper reports said that as much as 30,000 people assembled to support him during his arrest (Public Advertiser, 11 July 1780).

Gordon publicly announced his abhorrence for slavery during a period of time when he was based in Jamaica (Robert Watson, "The Life of Lord George Gordon", p5, p126), and he even took up cases of slaves which Wilberforce was not interested in (Public Advertiser, 5 Feb 1788).

As to the advice Gordon gave to black people about not going to Sierra Leone, they can be found in the newspapers of the day (Public Advertiser, 18 Dec 1786; Morning Herald, 2 Jan 1787; Morning Herald, 29 Dec 1786; Public Advertiser, 18 Dec 1786; Morning Herald, 13 Jan 1787).

Last edited by shivfan; April 26th, 2013 at 03:56 AM.
shivfan is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > European History

Tags
george, gordon, gordon riots, lord



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Did George Washington really add "so help me God" to his oath of office? Mick Jagger American History 12 June 3rd, 2016 09:51 PM
George G. Meade, "The Old Snapping Turtle" Viperlord American History 59 April 6th, 2013 07:53 AM
Gordon Rhea Salah History Book Reviews 1 August 18th, 2012 05:16 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.