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Old April 26th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #61
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Shivfan,

There's a couple of references there I'd not come across, so thanks for those.

It is good to see that more people are realising the standard view of Gordon is incorrect. I started with that myself, but quickly found things that just didn't hang together. And getting to the truth has been greatly helped by the amount of source material coming available on and through the net.

I count him as a major influence in his day, and one who's influence has affected our present time; his integrity is clear from his refusal to accept any bribes, sinecures, pensions or titles beyond his courtesy one as youngest son of a Duke. And he was a focus for reformers in the UK and abroad, an opponent of the war against the American colonists, and a constant thorn in the side of the highly corrupt establishment, government and aristocracy.

No wonder they set out to blacken his name and weaken his influence.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 10:47 AM   #62

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... Sanchez could hardly have distinguished between members of the PA and others, and all the others, according to witnesses, had blue ribands also.
It is Sancho, not Sanchez! His evidence is plain. Gordon and the Protestant Association advertised their intended protest march to the Houses of Parliament by circulating flyers. In them they advised those wishing to participate to assemble in St George's Fields and wear a blue riband or cockade to distinguish themselves. Gordon's own defence witnesses attested to this at his trial. Gordon wore a blue riband himself. Sancho stands witness to the fact that people sporting blue ribands were rioting through the streets. His account is independent corroboration of what witnesses at Gordon's trial claimed.
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Mocking about the Moorfields situation fails to understand what went on there. Locals had long resented the Irish immigrants for undercutting their pay rates; .... That the Irish were Catholics merely gave a sort of "cover" to their reasons and outburst of violence ...
I said in my first post that there was a certain anti-Irish aspect to the riots but that is not the issue for me. My focus is on the sectarian and anti-Catholic nature of the riots and that the repeal of those English laws that discriminated against Catholics constituted no threat to Protestant liberties. All the primary source material (be it court testimony, newspapers or other independent contemporary accounts) offer evidence of this. You argue that the Protestant Association had no involvement and that the previous events in Scotland had no bearing on what happened in London in June 1780. You say that 'neither the Protestant Association nor Gordon' caused the riots, that there was some kind of conspiracy going on and that Gordon's trial was politically corrupted. You have no evidence for any of that - merely supposition based on hearsay and your own willingness to believe it. You claim that the prosecution trial witnesses were 'demolished' by the defence. Certainly, their testimony was cleverly challenged on cross-examination and some of it seems to have been exposed as possibly rehearsed, and thereby compromised. However, the defence witnesses seemed equally rehearsed and were all at pains to aver that Lord George Gordon was always intent on bringing his petition to Parliamnent alone and without the organised crowd he advertised should assemble in St George's Fields. The defence claimed that Hay's testimony, using words of a military nature, was a thinly disguised attempt to characterise the PA assembly as a military excercise but their own first witness, Thomas Evans, himself used similar words to describe what he saw at St George's Fields! He stated that Gordon and his petition were found by him at the centre of the 'Scotch division' and others confirmed that the crowd had been organised into 'divisions'.
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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 defence witnesses all seem anxious to dissociate both Gordon and the PA from the riots. I can readily agree that the Crown failed to prove that Gordon was guilty of premeditated treason and that Erskine undermined the prosecution's case of constructive treason but the defence's own witnesses attest to the fact that the rioters and those that invaded the Commons lobby were acting in the name of the PA and its political agenda. Sancho tells us that blue cockaded rioters besieged the House on the Tuesday, 6th June.
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... 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!
I thought Mansfield conducted himself admirably at the trial. His summing up and instructions to the jury were delivered impartially. The case for treason (I stress, treason only) against Gordon was unsound. It only took the jury less than an hour to find him not guilty and, had I been a juror, I would have found in his favour.

But Gordon played with fire and the Protestant Association and many of its adherents and supporters were anti-Catholic sectarian bigots who constituted an indeterminable part of the 'London' mob in June 1780.

Have you evidence, not to suggest, but to prove that their was a conspiracy? You say the trial and the government were corrupt? You say that Catholics were involved in the riots. Maybe some were, but were they part of a conspiracy? What 'great men' were at the bottom of these events and to what end? I would like to know.

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Old April 26th, 2013, 03:02 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Garry_Owen View Post
It is Sancho, not Sanchez!
Forgive me - it is not the only thing on my mind.
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His evidence is plain. Gordon and the Protestant Association advertised their intended protest march to the Houses of Parliament by circulating flyers. In them they advised those wishing to participate to assemble in St George's Fields and wear a blue riband or cockade to distinguish themselves. Gordon's own defence witnesses attested to this at his trial. Gordon wore a blue riband himself. Sancho stands witness to the fact that people sporting blue ribands were rioting through the streets. His account is independent corroboration of what witnesses at Gordon's trial claimed.
I am not sure about flyers for that, but they certainly put advertisements in newspapers, as mentioned several times in both Houses of Parliament, when berating the government for its failures. George III is also scathing of the government's failures to act.

And are you seriously suggesting that no one but members of the Protestant Association could possibly be wearing blue ribands? Seriously?

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My focus is on the sectarian and anti-Catholic nature of the riots
I think you are wrong and fail to distinguish. The PA can certainly be accused of being sectarian and anti-Catholic, despite its protests. But I repeat, ad nauseam if need be, that there is such a dearth of evidence of the PA being involved in the riots as to beggar belief that that could be so when condemning the association and Gordon was the objective of government, yet absolutely no evidence was submitted - none that stood cross examination.

If you examine all the detail of the damage to property, you will see that in total far, far more damage was done to non-Catholic targets than to Catholic ones. This argues a classic London mob, rather than action by law abiding citizens whose concern was the law.

As I pointed out, many social matters made it clear that a flash point for the underprivileged was not difficult to ignite. Mob violence in London was not unusual. It is worth spending a bit of time trying to calculate how many people actually were rioters.

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and that the repeal of those English laws that discriminated against Catholics constituted no threat to Protestant liberties. All the primary source material (be it court testimony, newspapers or other independent contemporary accounts) offer evidence of this.
I am really not sure how this is relevant, particularly in hindsight. Both in Scotland and in England there was a massive antagonism to this law, not helped by the nature of its introduction and the speed of its passage through Parliament. What the real nature of the Papist Act was, and its dangers or lack of them is unimportant in relation to this discussion.

If you cannot understand English passion over the battles between Catholics and Protestants since Henry VIII, and the connection in the Protestant English mind between the religion and freedom, then you cannot understand how passionate the PA would be. Wordy rhetoric with religious overtones was common in all correspondence involving the religious believers.

And you must understand that Catholic attempts to invade and regain the crown for the Catholic interests were continuous until Culloden, only 25 years before. Of course it comes out in the rhetoric. The English stiff upper lip was invented in the following century. Scots feared a return of their Catholic landlords, as well as having their own battles to be concerned with.

Members of the Church of Scotland and breakaways from that body had reacted by May 25th 1778. Petitions from Scotland were not long in following - nearly 400 by the end of 1779. The London Protestant Association was set up in February 1779 - and you should read their booklets for virulence. Gordon's first involvement with Scottish Associations was in July or August 1779 and with the English ones in November 1779. Long after their courses were set.

Apart from the Government assurance in February 1779 to the Scots that the law would not be extended to them, the whole massive movement was ignored - only Lord George showed any interest.

Quote:
You argue that the Protestant Association had no involvement and that the previous events in Scotland had no bearing on what happened in London in June 1780. You say that 'neither the Protestant Association nor Gordon' caused the riots, that there was some kind of conspiracy going on and that Gordon's trial was politically corrupted.
I do.

[quote=You have no evidence for any of that - merely supposition based on hearsay and your own willingness to believe it. You claim that the prosecution trial witnesses were 'demolished' by the defence. Certainly, their testimony was cleverly challenged on cross-examination and some of it seems to have been exposed as possibly rehearsed, and thereby compromised. However, the defence witnesses seemed equally rehearsed and were all at pains to aver that Lord George Gordon was always intent on bringing his petition to Parliamnent alone and without the organised crowd he advertised should assemble in St George's Fields. The defence claimed that Hay's testimony, using words of a military nature, was a thinly disguised attempt to characterise the PA assembly as a military excercise but their own first witness, Thomas Evans, himself used similar words to describe what he saw at St George's Fields! He stated that Gordon and his petition were found by him at the centre of the 'Scotch division' and others confirmed that the crowd had been organised into 'divisions'.

The defence witnesses all seem anxious to dissociate both Gordon and the PA from the riots. I can readily agree that the Crown failed to prove that Gordon was guilty of premeditated treason and that Erskine undermined the prosecution's case of constructive treason but the defence's own witnesses attest to the fact that the rioters and those that invaded the Commons lobby were acting in the name of the PA and its political agenda.[/QUOTE]

There are two points about the trial that undermine your words above. First, that after eight months to prepare a case the government legal eagles did not produce one; and that this was clear, not only from Erskine's demolition job, but from the complete failure of the Solicitor General to answer any of those points, or indeed to make any useful case, in his summing up. He was no nouveau, as Erskine was, nor lacking in funds and resources, as Gordon was.

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Sancho tells us that blue cockaded rioters besieged the House on the Tuesday, 6th June.
Sancho tells us a lot in his letter, but there is no reason to believe that, not having seen the petitioners in St George's fields, nor having witnessed their numbers being swelled on their way through the City and in Westminster, that he would have had reason to think it was a mixed group. His evidence does not make the point you claim.

[quote]I thought Mansfield conducted himself admirably at the trial. His summing up and instructions to the jury were delivered impartially. The case for treason (I stress, treason only) against Gordon was unsound. It only took the jury less than an hour to find him not guilty and, had I been a juror, I would have found in his favour.]

You are very kind to Mansfield - and miss the point that as an interested party he should not have sat on the case. Today it would not be permitted in your country or mine. He should also have stood down since Erskine was a protege of his. Gordon criticises Mansfield's summing up and Mansfield does not defend himself or warn Gordon.

What does "I stress, treason only" mean? He was not charged with anything else. And had there been a case at all he would not have been let simply walk out of court. Nothing linked Gordon with the riots; nothing at all.

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But Gordon played with fire and the Protestant Association and many of its adherents and supporters were anti-Catholic sectarian bigots who constituted an indeterminable part of the 'London' mob in June 1780.
That is a mixed sentence. Gordon was lamb indeed, and unaware of the dangers, a point well made by Horace Walpole To Mann at the time, and by Erskine in court. Walpole rightly sees him as no more than a fool in this matter (but note the decision to gather and to attend the petition was not his). That PA members could be described as "anti-Catholic sectarian bigots" is to say nothing; it is a view from a strong opinion. There are many ways of describing them. It depends where you stand.

And, I repeat to you, there is no evidence that any PA members took part in the riots. There is no evidence, only supposition. Descriptions of independent onlookers strongly argue against this supposition. The Moorfields situation in particular lacks any sign of PA members, or any middle class people.

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Have you evidence, not to suggest, but to prove that their was a conspiracy? You say the trial and the government were corrupt? You say that Catholics were involved in the riots. Maybe some were, but were they part of a conspiracy? What 'great men' were at the bottom of these events and to what end? I would like to know.
Pardon? The view of the situation is interpretation; what else could it be? And that means you as well as me and others taking part in the thread. Conspiracy is notoriously difficult to prove - the suggestion of it means sifting all the evidence carefully. In that respect I note you have not made any reference to a strong indicator - government failure to act - nor to the words of Lord Petre months before. In the context of the conversation its meaning seems clear.

"Great men" is a reported and uncontested statement from the Lord Mayor. Are you suggesting you have not come across that? What great men was never stated by the Lord Mayor of London; and the detective work to see if any fit would be greater than my time allows. That the statement was made appears fact.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 04:08 AM   #64
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! had a quick glance at the start of this thread. It reminds me how I got where I am on the subject.

I have ended up being revisionist in the history of Lord George Gordon. I started where every one else does, with the "mad rabble rouser". But just checking a few facts faced me with inconsistencies that called for further research. The one that gave me most conviction of the standard, 250-year view of him being wrong was the thorny issue of his conversion to Judaism.

Four religions are involved in his spiritual journey; and that also needs some understanding of the times - one has to think 18th century, not 21st. The four are Scottish Calvinism (Presbyterians), Anglicanism, Quakerism and Judaism. While the Enlightenment was about 150 years old, and the Age of Reason about 50, the belief in religion was very strong and many people had no difficulty accepting both. This was long before Darwinism.

To discuss his journey here would need space and time, but I knew something of the latter three religions, and Calvinisim is well written up (and I have previously known modern Scottish Calvinists). His declared religion was Scottish Calvinism, he experienced the Church of England when he went to Eton at 7, met the Quakers of Pennsylvania and Virginia between 14 and 18 in the Royal Navy (and held Quaker Meetings at his home in Welbeck Street for some 10 years), and had his first deep conversation with an orthodox Jew in 1781 [by my reckoning of events] after being found not guilty of "Constructive" Treason.

If this was an understandable journey, and since his conversion to orthodox Judaism could not have been impulsive, then "mad" was a wrong description. If he was not mad in that then could his other actions be viewed in a different light? The answer was "yes". Take into account that the British establishment and aristocracy were then at their most corrupt, and the people as a whole at their most neglected, and the rest fits logically into my revisions. One example of how bad things were is that Lord North's government (1774 to 1784) is regarded as the worst British government ever, and Pitt the Younger's list of taxes still laughed over. Pitt followed North and stayed in office for 18 years.

It has not been possible to make my own "conversion" over George Gordon clear in my discussions with Gary. Gary writes from a Catholic viewpoint and he does show how strong religious feeling can be. At that time Britain was renowned as a democratic country with freedoms. The founding of the United States leapfrogged that, of course, and showed just how limited the British democracy and freedoms then were.

Since all the Roman Catholic countries of Europe still laboured under Feudalism and absolute monarchy while Protestant Britain had its freedoms under constitutional monarchy, the religious differences were inexorably tied to issues of freedom. And this was underlined by the 1688 Act of Settlement which tied democracy to the Protestant succession of the monarchy. This explains the Protestant Associations and petition (all the petitions); the state of the poor explains the rioters, and the failures of law and order explain the riots. Very broadly speaking, of course.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #65

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... are you seriously suggesting that no one but members of the Protestant Association could possibly be wearing blue ribands? Seriously?
Of course not. However, the corollory cannot be doubted: that all PA members and supporters wore blue cockades (ribands, ribbons). Even thoughthe PA and some establishment voices claimed that the PA had no involvement there is considerable evidence that people bearing blue cockades indulged in rioting and criminal behaviour - the attackers of the Sardinian chapel, for example - but, IIRC, only a youthful apprentice was actually arrested for throwing a book on the bonfire made in the street. If the people who destroyed the Sardinian chapel were merely rioters with criminal intent they showed extraordinary restraint. They were offered money not to burn paintings and other valuable chapel goods which they refused.

The British Museum engraving of the attack on Newgate Prison (already posted up in this thread, Message 17, p2) shows virtually all of the rioters wearing the blue cockade of the Protestant Association. Gordon encouraged those he asked to assemble in St George's Fields to wear a blue cockade and he wore one himself. Keeping in mind Hay's description of this assembly at Gordon's trial, it was independently reported in the following days in the popular Gentleman's Magazine that

'although the petitioners marched to Parliament in four discrete divisions, all wearing the blue cockades of the Protestant Association, the rally, and Gordon's subsequent dialogue with crowds from the gallery of the Commons, pinpointing those members who refused to consider the petition, were undoubtedly a tonic to disorder.'

While this was going on the records of the House of Lords noted as follows: 'Notice taken of a Tumultuous Assembly of People at the doors of this House and the Avenues thereto.' The House asked officials to investigate and they quickly reported back that 'the mob had assembled at the Guildhall and broken the windows'. The following day the Lords sent an address to the King to give directions 'for prosecuting, in the most effectual Manner, the Authors, Abettors and Instruments of the Outrages committed Yesterday in Old Palace Yard, Guildhall Westminster, and Places adjacent, and upon the Houses and Chapels of Ministers of Foreign States.'

Gordon played a disengenuous game urging the people to behave peacably and then supposedly saying that he did not want them to accompany him to Parliament with the petition but wished to go alone. In fact, he never brought the petition, a large roll of skins stitched together, in his carriage: it was carried at the head of the 'Scotch division' parading 'No Popery' banners and led by a kilted piper whose 'martial bagpipe spread around its harmonious sounds ... and on their approach to Charing Cross were joined by fresh Numbers of their own body, some on horsebach, and others in coaches.' These were not the lower orders (apprentices, etc.) but people wealthy enough to own horses and carriages. They were then reported as crowding the approaches to Parliament and attacking its members, 'many of whom were severely treated'. It was also reported that Lord North had been accosted on the staircase of the House by members of the Protestant Association and made to pledge his word in support of the petition.

Reports clearly show that this 'mob' was still being cajoled to leave the Commons lobby and disperse at 9 o'clock at night, a short time before the Sardinian chapel was attacked and burned. Some PA people were arrested at the scene. Gordon was accused by Lord Frederick Cavendish of delivering 'inflammatory Speeches' as, too, did the Privy Council who arrested Gordon on foot of a letter he tried to have published which they considered to be 'of a very infammatory tendency'. It was further reported after his arrest that he was interrogated and in answer to the question:

'... how he could so far degrade his dignity as ... a member of the legislature of England as to unite with a set of the lowest men in the kingdom, and to be instrumental in producing the most shocking disorders and irreparable injuries which had taken place, he only replied that he had not foreseen these effects in all the degrees to which they had extended, did not mean them, and was sorry for them.'

It is worth noting here that Gordon's only associates in all this business was the PA and its supporters and that despite the class snobbery that said that respectable people did not riot but only the lower sorts, the PA drew its support from all social strata.
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... there is such a dearth of evidence of the PA being involved in the riots as to beggar belief that that could be so when condemning the association and Gordon was the objective of government, yet absolutely no evidence was submitted - none that stood cross examination.
The government stupidly tried to get Gordon on treason when he was easily guilty of the lesser charge of incitement to riot and public disorder offences. I think the government quickly worked to get the PA on their side. Given the destruction wrought on London and the volatility of the people they must have realised the equal stupidity of demonising the PA and going after it. For political reasons they became as anxious to separate the PA from the mob violence as the PA itself who even went as far as to state that the military were deployed against the mob and not the PA. Thus the PA, who days before were marching on Parliament and threatening it, and whose president Lord George Gordon was arrested and on trial for his life, were brought on board by the government in order to conciliate the situation.
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The London Protestant Association was set up in February 1779 - and you should read their booklets for virulence.
I have, and it is difficult to see how the purveyors and readership of such material could have exercised restraint when their intentions were frustrated by Parliament on 2nd June and they were turned away.
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If you cannot understand English passion over the battles between Catholics and Protestants since Henry VIII, and the connection in the Protestant English mind between the religion and freedom, then you cannot understand how passionate the PA would be. Wordy rhetoric with religious overtones was common in all correspondence involving the religious believers.
Now you resort to a personal attack (not for the first time) and patronisingly question my understanding. I can assure you that I recognise and understand passion when I see it, but do you. Passion is not always pleasant. Your ambivalence is patently clear. You have already condemned the sectarianism of the PA and alluded to the scurrilous invective of its pamphlets, and the subject of this thread gives ample evidence of how all that passion translates into the destroyed property and lives of decent, hard-working people, for all intents and purposes minding their own business. You cannot now appear to be vindicating the PA as champions of liberty! In fact, their sense of liberty was a travesty of genuine liberty. It was liberty for the Protestant interest only and one that could only be realised at the expense of penal, discriminatory laws against Catholics, laws they wished to perpetuate. Their 'wordy rhetoric' - and that is putting it mildly - is one thing; wanton abuse and destruction another. As Sancho stated with respect to the 'worse than negro barbarity' of the Gordon rioters: 'This—this—is liberty! genuine British liberty!'
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... about the trial ... after eight months to prepare a case the government legal eagles did not produce one ...
You said yourself that the only crime Gordon was accused of, and tried for, was treason. However, he could easily have been convicted of lesser charges. One might ask why he was not?
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Sancho tells us a lot in his letter, but ... His evidence does not make the point you claim.
On top of what I have already said above about people with blue cockades, Sancho tells us that there were thousands of people in the streets 'all with blue cockades in their hats ... ready for any and every mischief.' Engravings were made at the time showing them at work.
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That PA members could be described as "anti-Catholic sectarian bigots" is to say nothing; it is a view from a strong opinion. There are many ways of describing them. It depends where you stand.
Ambivalence, again? There are many ways to describe them, I'm sure. You yourself described them in similar terms and agreed with me.
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The view of the situation is interpretation; what else could it be? And that means you as well as me and others taking part in the thread.
You obviously feel strongly about this subject. Afterall, you chose to open an account on Historum just to engage in this thread and no other.
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Conspiracy is notoriously difficult to prove - the suggestion of it means sifting all the evidence carefully. In that respect I note you have not made any reference to a strong indicator - government failure to act - nor to the words of Lord Petre months before. In the context of the conversation its meaning seems clear.
Government failed to act? The words of Lord Petre? I am afraid it is not clear. Of course, I have some inkling of how you might be interpreting these snippets of information but I would need you to sketch the outlines of the conspiracy you see in these matters.
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"Great men" is a reported and uncontested statement from the Lord Mayor. Are you suggesting you have not come across that? What great men was never stated by the Lord Mayor of London; and the detective work to see if any fit would be greater than my time allows. That the statement was made appears fact.
Absolutely. It was. But again, could you sketch the conspiracy for me? I accept that you may not have much spare time and that a lot of detective work would be required to uncover and prove a conspiracy but, at least, give me the bare bones of it - the participants, their motivation and opportunity, their machinations, etc. Forgive me if I am mistaken but you did hint previously at some aspects of the whole sordid business. You mentioned that Catholics were involved and that the corrupt government, incapable of framing an innocent man, was engaged in some kind of dirty tricks, etc.. How do you see it?

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Old April 28th, 2013, 11:01 AM   #66

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Gary writes from a Catholic viewpoint and he does show how strong religious feeling can be.
Personalising things again. I never made comments about your possibly being 'Protestantism'. It has nothing got to do with this thread.

I have no 'religious feeling' of any kind and never had. I was reared, rather badly and unsuccessfully, as a Catholic, and quickly renounced it when I came of age to do so, not because Catholicism is bad, but because I reject all religion. My first love in life has always been history. History tought me that religion has done more harm than good and, in many cases, the greatest harm has been done by those professing to be the most religious.

However, I would have to admit to having 'Christian' sensibilities but some of my friends are humanists and argue with me that my sensibilities could be viewed as being as equally Humanist as they are Christian.

If JCR Harris can demonstrate where in any of my posts I have exhibited 'strong religious feeling' I would be most interested.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 11:23 AM   #67

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At that time [1780] Britain was renowned as a democratic country with freedoms.
I would challenge the assertion that Britain was a democratic country back then. You are using the word democracy in a disengenuous manner here with all of its modern connotations. If you open another thread on this topic I will be delighted to elaborate my position on this rather than send this one off on a tangent.
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Since all the Roman Catholic countries of Europe still laboured under Feudalism and absolute monarchy while Protestant Britain had its freedoms under constitutional monarchy, the religious differences were inexorably tied to issues of freedom.
Ireland was a predominantly Roman Catholic country whose majority population were labouring under considerable religious disabilites and whose freedom to prosper and pursue happiness was greatly restricted.
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And this was underlined by the 1688 Act of Settlement which tied democracy to the Protestant succession of the monarchy.
That's where the problem lay and there's that word 'democracy' again! I think you need to define your terms. When you say a 'democracy', what do you mean?

Religious freedom only extended to Protestants of a particular hue and British democracy was in the back pocket of an oligarchy.

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Old April 29th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #68
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Gary,

I have said practically all that usefully contributes to the discussion. But I will deal with one or two or more points.

First you should re-read your posts. Or better have someone else read them and comment on the bias your words have. You haven't commented on any Protestant leanings by me because I am neither a Protestant nor a Christian and did not start with any sympathy for George Gordon. You appear to interpret everything as antagonistic to Gordon and the PA, and dismiss any other interpretation with mere repetition of the 250 year old dirty tricks version.

You cannot logically both acknowledge that others could wear blue cockades, and still claim that wearing them proves membership of the Protestant Association or proves the wearer a Protestant or signer of the petition. There were (and still are) many "sects" of British and Anglican Protestants, many of them then "Dissenters", including Gordon's own.

Attacks on the Sardinian and Bavarian Chapels [both attached to foreign embassies] were the very first signs of riot. I cannot imagine the rioters expected to be undisturbed, which they virtually were. Late there was clear evidence of some leadership, though no information on who the leaders were, apart from the ones at Newgate and Jessie Jackson on the horse. They were clearly different from the later riots, as they were not followed up on Saturday, and the Moorfields action was on Sunday afternoon. Even then there was a statement in Parliament on the Monday expressing gratitude that they were not as bad as the Ediburgh riots nearly 18 months before.

It is doubtful, from independent witness, that any of those in the lobby were PA or petitioners. None of what you quote on the mob implicates Gordon, the PA or petitioners. These are your inferences and interpretations.

Are you seriously using the woolly questioning of the Ministers as proof of something?

NO, there was no case for incitement; indeed his words were always for order. Only discredited witnesses affected to have heard any such. And they were all out of keeping with his normal behaviour. There is nothing strong enough to support your certainty.

If they could have forced a guilty verdict on anything they would re-arrested him to do so; your supposition has no basis in fact. What, for goodness sake, do you imagine was possible?

The PA hardy supported or joined with the government; I'd need something to make that clear. The PA was distancing itself AND Gordon from the riots from the Monday before they really got going. Their letter to him after his acquittal also bears careful study.

I have studied this subject in far greater depth than I ever intended. Precisely what implication are you suggesting in my taking part only in this thread at present? It seems a disgraceful one.

I or you or any member of Historium can go out in any clothes they like, that does not mean any one of us is a hoodie, or a police officer or football cheer leader. The wearing of blue cockades proves nothing whatsoever. think about it.

Quote:
Your ambivalence is patently clear. You have already condemned the sectarianism of the PA and alluded to the scurrilous invective of its pamphlets, and the subject of this thread gives ample evidence of how all that passion translates into the destroyed property and lives of decent, hard-working people,
Ambivalence? It is called research and accepting that things have difficulties to resolve. Passion can exist without destructive action. The virulence over some centuries does not simply get put aside. Northern Ireland is struggling to overcome a sectarian divide. It is not easy. The Catholic IRA has always represented a tiny group of activists, as did the Protestant activists. Now the IRA has accepted the peace path there are still outbreaks of violence from tiny groups of extremists. Peace and tolerance are hard to achieve after problems. Even while the petitions were being presented in 1779 there was an invasion attempt by French, Spanish and American fleets.

Conspiracies are not easy to discern. But understanding of the corruption of the time and the manner in which "fixing" is done helps. A recent case here is of Dr David Kelly; supposed suicide, but still awaiting an inquest after ten or more years. I see a London mob, known for rioting, not faced with precautionary measures, nor meeting any real action until King George III insisted that his ministers act after eight days of riots and massive damage. If that alone is not suspect I don't know what might convince you.

You might note how Gordon was got into prison, and how he was prevented from becoming a free man - clear conspiracy between the government, then led by Pitt, and the judiciary. And compare Gordon's treatment against others convicted of the same crime, both before and after him.

What Britain actually was is not the point of its democratic nature and freedoms. It is what was believed, and what was true in the times - 18th century, not 21st. It is worth noting the French feel that the "English" system was to be envied that offers most support for the idea that Britain had a more open and free society. It was that that the American Revolutionaries built on.

As to Ireland, it had a system not far off feudalism, imposed by the English, rather than even the British. But that was without any absolute monarch. Ireland is a special case, and even its inclusion into a United Kingdom in 1800 did not improve its lot; its treatment at the hands of the English over many centuries does give meaning to the IRA and even the few remaining terrorists. At the time I write of Ireland was not part of Britain and (nominally at least) had its own parliament.

[QUOTE] That's where the problem lay and there's that word 'democracy' again! I think you need to define your terms. When you say a 'democracy', what do you mean?

Religious freedom only extended to Protestants of a particular hue and British democracy was in the back pocket of an oligarchy.[?QUOTE]

Think 18th century, as explained above. Not quite an oligarchy - The Extraordinary Black Book counts a few hundred that determined some 487 of 650 seats in the House of Commons. But I keep referring to the corruption. Religious freedom was not as limited as you say, not by a long way.

Catholics had very real problems, but existing Catholics were legally entitled to worship; in fact they were pretty free and did many of the things forbidden by the 1688 law. The British did not persecute them, and the petition was about preventing the regularisation of that laxity. The Church of England was, and is, the state religion; but Christian dissenters were also allowed to worship without restraint, though they were in some ways more legislated against than Catholics. Jews were not hampered in religious terms, and at his time there were three synagogues in London [Bevis Marks, The Great Synagogue and Hambros] and other synagogues in the provinces.

No other religions were then present in Britain.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 05:17 AM   #69

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Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
First you should re-read your posts. Or better have someone else read them and comment on the bias your words have.

So, contrary to your claim, you have not been able to find evidence of ‘strong religious feeling’ in my posts and now you are inviting others to take your part to do so.
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Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
You haven't commented on any Protestant leanings by me because I am neither a Protestant nor a Christian …

No. The reason is even simpler than that. I haven’t commented because, unlike you, I do not indulge in ad hominem attacks on posters.
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Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
You appear to interpret everything as antagonistic to Gordon and the PA, and dismiss any other interpretation with mere repetition of the 250 year old dirty tricks version.

I have asked you to explain, without providing normal proof, your interpretation of what these ‘dirty tricks’ were. I am still waiting. I googled ‘dirty tricks Gordon riots’ and found that the 2nd and 3rd hits linked to this very discussion on Historum. The first hit was this site but it gave no explanation: http://jcrharris.com/welcome-to-the-dirty-tricks-book For the second time I ask you, what is the conspiracy you see surrounding the Gordon riots and Gordon’s trial?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
You cannot logically both acknowledge that others could wear blue cockades, and still claim that wearing them proves membership of the Protestant Association or proves the wearer a Protestant or signer of the petition.

No. I have to admit that anyone could put on a blue cockade and go on the rampage - even a non-Protestant, disaffected, lower class, ne’er-do-well wishing to get into the Commons lobby and go a-rioting from the moment the PA marchers reached Westminster! The issue for me is who were the initial rioters in and around Westminster? Who forced their way tumultuously into the House lobby? Who broke the windows in the Guildhall? Who criminally attacked members of Parliament? 13 lords were assaulted. Who were motivated to destroy the Sardinian RC chapel? And who rejected substantial bribes not to burn the valuable contents of thatchapel? A non-Protestant, disaffected, lower class, ne’er-do-well wearing a blue cockade?!?! Or can we take the primary evidence on face value and interpret it accordingly?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
It is doubtful, from independent witness, that any of those in the lobby were PA or petitioners. None of what you quote on the mob implicates Gordon, the PA or petitioners. These are your inferences and interpretations.

So, in the House lobby Lord George Gordon was addressing a rabble of the lower orders and not his own supporters, or supporters of the petition, or members of the Protestant Association.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
I have studied this subject in far greater depth than I ever intended. Precisely what implication are you suggesting in my taking part only in this thread at present? It seems a disgraceful one.

In the context of you stating that there was a conspiracy and that the issue is one of interpretation, I merely stated the above in evidence of your obvious strong feeling about the matter. I implied nothing sinister, only the fact that you were motivated strongly enough to register on Historum to debate only this issue and have not posted to any other thread since you registered. Don’t you think that that tends to indicate someone with strong feelings on an issue?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCR Harris View Post
I have said practically all that usefully contributes to the discussion.

You have merely made assertions here without any recourse to evidence. I have repeatedly quoted primary sources in support of my ‘interpretation’ of events. In all of my posts I have provided primary source evidence to substantiate all of my assertions.

This thread has now strayed too far off topic (current affairs, etc) for me to continue engaging with you. We shall have to agree to differ. However, not only have you agreed with me about the nature and character of the Protestant Association but you also have stated that my view of the Gordon riots affair is the traditional view. I have supported my interpretation by directly quoting contemporary eye-witness accounts, unlike you.

I regret that you had to personalise this debate by questioning my understanding, referring to my Irishness and my supposed Catholicism, and accusing me of ‘strong (Catholic) religious feelings’ and of bias. Presumably, the traditional view that you say I hold can be characterised in the same fashion?

Last edited by Garry_Owen; April 30th, 2013 at 06:33 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 05:57 AM   #70
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Gary,

Ad Hominem or pointing out biases? We all have biases, it is a matter of how we recognise and allow for them. But you make a point of primary sources. Well, let me then offer them in relation to the centrepiece of your argument, the petitioners presenting their petition.

From St George's Fields the route of the petition was over Westminster Bridge; the two hour long procession went by London Bridge, through the City of London, down Whitehall to the Parliament, not the same as it is today except for Westminster Hall - about two or more miles.

Thomas Evans tells Mr Kenyon “I am a member of the Protestant Association.
“I was in St. George’s Fields on the second of June. I was coming through Bridge Street Westminster, in my carriage, when I was stopped by Mr. Smith, the Guildhall keeper at Westminster. He told me, that some journeymen weavers, and other low people, had been observed to assemble; and that he was apprehensive there would be a riot.”
“I went into St. George’s Fields, and saw Lord George in the middle of the Scotch division. I had never seen him before. I got to him, mentioned to him that Smith had told me of the assembling of the journeymen weavers, and that there would be a riot, if more than twenty or thirty people came up with the petition. I then asked the prisoner, if the whole body was to attend him?
“He said, by no means. His plan was to go alone, and present it. I told his lordship I was glad of it and asked him, whether I might tell the people so? He said, ‘ with all my heart.’ I immediately told them, that they were to remain in the fields, and that the prisoner was to go alone.”
But it was different at other end of the Fields, “I found to my great surprise the people formed in a marching order, six in a row, with their faces towards the Borough. I got out of my coach, went up to them, and asked them, what they were going to do?
“They said, to march through the City. I told them, they must not go out of the Fields; and repeated to them what Smith had told me. They answered, I need not be afraid, for they were determined not to make any riot.” [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]
John Spinnage swore to seeing Gordon in St George’s Fields and asking if he was bringing the assembly over the bridge.
“He answered ‘I mean to go to the House alone. The people were then very quiet and peaceable, and were decently dressed; they had no weapons, and they did not appear to me to be of the lower class.” [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]
Richard Hall, sees the main assembly of marchers from his house and haberdashery shop at One, London Bridge beside St Magnus the Matyr Church, as they enter the City of London from London Bridge. Only recently have the houses been removed from the bridge, and the restriction caused by the road going though an archway in the Church building been remodelled. The petitioners are able to walk six abreast without difficulty.
“A very fine day,” Hall is writing to a friend, “and very warm. A remarkable day, for a vast concourse of persons going up to the House of Commons with a petition to repeal the late Acts made in favour of the Papists.”
John Turner, John Humphrys and Sampson Hodgkinson all said they had heard Lord George tell the assembly to be peaceful and that there might be troublemakers. John Robinson said he had seen the crowd “very peaceable” at St George’s and he did not think they were the same people he saw make the riots in Palace Yard. [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]
Schoolboy Frederick Reynolds, watching from a City rooftop, is excited by the sight of the petitioners in such a long body of people. He notes that “many thousands of disorderly persons are joining the marchers as they go through the City. The greatest part of the marchers, is composed of persons decently dressed.”
Alexander Fraser was another petition signer and crossed Westminster Bridge before the body of the association; “I then saw many people on the Westminster side of the bridge; they looked shabby, had blue cockades, but I do not think they were of the association, because many of them were in liquor, though it was not more than twelve o’clock.
Fraser asked one if he was of the association. “His answer was, ‘No, by God, this is my association,’ shewing a great club.”
On cross examination he added “I think the confusion began about one one o’clock. People were pulled out of their carriages,by persons who had blue cockades ; but they were not such persons as I had before seen near Westminster Bridge. [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]
Sir Philip Jennings Clerke [Member of Parliament] said he was in St George’s on horseback and saw many people going different ways. “They were pretty well dressed, and seemed to be of the better sort of tradesmen. I asked several of them why they assembled, and what they wanted to have done: they said they wanted an end put to the public teaching, and preaching of the Papists.”
He had seen the same sort of people in Palace Yard later. But the people in the House of Commons lobby later “appeared to me to be a different class of people, and of a lower sort.” [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]
John Turner, John Humphrys and Sampson Hodgkinson all said they had heard Lord George tell the assembly to be peaceful and that there might be troublemakers. John Robinson said he had seen the crowd “very peaceable” at St George’s and he did not think they were the same people he saw make the riots in Palace Yard. [Gurney Court report of the treason trial]

At the very least that casts considerable doubt on the idea that the PA, its members or Gordon were rioters or involved in those riots in any way. Combined with evidence of both Gordon's lifelong behaviour, and the explosive nature of the London poor, leaves little real support for the standard history.
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