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present were Mr. Canning, prince Polignac, baron Citto, count D'Algie, prince Paul Esterhazy, count Villa Real, marquis Palmella, Mr. Hush, sir John Doyle," marchioness of Palmella, lady Hampden, the dowager marchioness Londonderry, Mrs. Canning, countess de Front, &c. 24. Disturbances In LanCashire.—On Monday forenoon, a large assembly of weavers took place on a hill at Henfield, a place where the four roads leading to Blackburn, Burnley, Wlialley, and Haslingden meet. After remaining some time in discussion, they left the ground, and a very large body of them proceeded to Accrington, where some indications of riot occurred a week before, and where considerable alarm had been excited in the morning by about an hundred armed men passing through the village on their way to Henfield. Amongst the mob there assembled, no fewer, it is asserted, than 500 were armed with knives and pieces of iron ground sharp fastened to the end of sticks; some carried scythes; others had large sledge-hammers; and a few had pistols and guns. The messenger, who had been despatched to Blackburn for military aid, had not returned, when, about 12 o'clock, the mob proceeded to Messrs. Sykes's new mill, which they immediately broke open. In the course of 15 or 20 minutes they completely demolished the powerlooms, 60 in number, with the whole apparatus, and the warps and cloths in the looms; besides doing much injury to the throstles and the steam-engine. The shops of the provision dealers were almost cleared of their contents. They next proceeded to a place called Wood Nook, where there were about 20 looms; these likewise they destroyed. They then went to Mr. B. Walmsley's, at Rough Hey, where also they broke 20 looms, and did considerable other damage; they did not however do any wilful injury to the spinning part of the machinery. From Rough Hey they proceeded to Mr. J. Bury's, at White Ash, where they destroyed 60 or 80 looms. Such was the rapidity of their operations, that it was not until they had gone to this place that the first account of the rioters having actually proceeded to violence, reached Blackburn. A party of the Queen's Bays immediately set out for White Ash, but the work of destruction had been completed before their arrival. A second demand for military aid had been sent from Accrington. At length 18 of the dragoons were despatched, and on their way to Accrington they met and passed through a large body of five or six thousand of the rioters, who were then proceeding to Blackburn, after having broken all the looms at White Ash. When this body reached Blackburn, a large number enteredthe Bay Horse Inn, amarket house, demanding bread and beer. The landlady, with some difficulty, got her doors closed, and having distributed a considerable quantity of liquor, and all the bread she had in the house, amongst those who had come in, they rejoined their companions in the street, and proceeded onwards without doing any further injury. The next place which the mob visited, was the extensive power-loom factory of Messrs. Bannister, Eccles, and Co. in Darwin-street Blackburn, where they arrived shortly after three o'clock. A party of dragoons arrived there as soon as the rioters; but could not prevent them from S
entering the factory. It was there, however, that the soldiers and the mob first came into collision. The former were violently stoned by the latter, who were themselves screened from attack, and one soldier was considerably hurt. Some fire-arms also were discharged by the mob. In consequence of this the riot act was read about halfpast three o'clock. The whole of Mr. Eccles's power-looms and dressing machines were reduced to a wreck; the warps and cloth on the beams were also destroyed, but no injury was done to the spinning machinery. During the time the rioters were in Mr. Eccles's mill, the military had so ranged themselves about the entrance, and on three sides of the building, that the escape of the former was rendered a matter of difficulty. Finding they could not effect their retreat by the door, many of them actually jumped out of a window two stories high, and escaped by crossing a stream on a side where no soldiers were posted. From Messrs. Eccles and Co.'s, the rioters proceeded to the mill belonging to Messrs. Fielden,ThropandTownly, in King-street, which was erected for power-looms, but as none had yet been set up, they departed without committing any violence. A party, however, proceeded to Mr. Houghton's, at Grimshawpark (whither, also, some of the dragoons were detached), where there were about 25 looms. Notwithstanding the presence of the soldiers, they effected an entrance into the building, entirely destroyed the looms, and threw the twist, the warps, and the beams on which they were wound, into the canal. At this place, the soldiers being severely pelted with stones, and in some instances fired
on, several of them, in return, discharged their fire-arms. One rioter in the building was shot dead; and another man was shot through the ear, the ball coming out at his mouth, and another was desperately wounded in the back. Altogether, two or three lives were lost, and four or five of the rioters were seriously or dangerously wounded.
The devastation at Mr. Houghton's terminated the lawless proceedings of the rioters on Monday; not, however, until not a single power-loom was left standing in Blackburn, or within six miles of it. A very large number of people, not fewer than 10,000, kept parading the streets of Blackburn in the evening, and displayed so much excitation, that it was deemed necessary to read the riot act twice. About eight o'clock the dragoons were ordered to clear the streets, which they did by striking with the flat edges of their swords, but, in no instance, inflicting personal injury.
On Wednesday morning, the rioters, having assembled in considerable numbers at Rawtenstall, attacked the mill of Messrs. Thomas Whitehead and Brothers, of that place. The mill contained about 100 looms, the whole of which were utterly destroyed. They then proceeded to the factory of Mr. Thomas Kay, at Long Holme, and destroyed the whole of his power-looms (about 40); and afterwards proceeded to the attack of the newly-erected mill of Messrs. Laurance and John Rostron, at Dearden Clough, near Edenfield, and destroyed all the power-looms it contained, being 216. They then directed their course towards Chadderton, and proceeded in a body to the mill of Mr. Aiken,
containing about ninety looms, which they were in the act of destroying when the military came up. On their approach, the insurgents retired, and made some show of being about to disperse. This, however, was merely a feint, for no sooner had the soldiers abandoned their post, than the rioters unexpectedly returned, and before the military could again come to the rescue of the property, the work of destruction had been nearly completed. When the military approached, that part of the mob who remained outside began to pelt the soldiers with stones, an ample supply of which they readily obtained from a heap of about two cart-loads, which had been laid down near the mill for the purposes of paving. A number of soldiers were seriously hurt, and major Eckersley received a heavy blow upon the body. As the rioters now resolutely kept their ground, without any appearance of an intention to disperse, and poured upon the soldiers an incessant shower of missiles, the latter were at length reluctantly compelled to fire upon them. Even this last resource failed for a time to produce the desired effect. They received the first discharge of musketry without flinching in the least, and it was not until an indiscriminating fire had been kept up for above ten minutes, that they were driven from their post. During the affray, the men within the mill continued the work of demolition, which, having completed, they escaped through the windows on the further side of the building, and fled to the neighbouring hills. On this occasion, nine persons met their death. A considerable number were likewise wounded, with Vol. LXVIII.
various degrees of severity, and fifteen prisoners were taken.
Notwithstanding the discomfiture of this body of rioters, the work of destruction was by no means terminated. About halfpast two on the same day, a mob of persons came over Holcome-hill, in the direction of Durween. They entered almost every respectable dwelling-house in their way, and seized whatever they could find in the shape of provisions. They proceeded to Summerseat, near Bury, and destroyed 36 looms in the factory of Messrs. R. Hamer and Sons, without meeting with any attempt at resistance. They next directed their course to the mill at Woodhill, belonging to Mr. James Hutchinson. The gates of this factory were barricadoed, but the rioters forced them open, and, entering by the windows, commenced operations. They had not been engaged, however, above five or six minutes, when the military made their appearance; and the insurgents hastened to escape through the windows at the back of the building, and fled across the fields. They were pursuedby the soldiers, and ten were taken prisoners. Two of the mob were armed with guns, one of which was left behind, and, upon examination, it was found to contain three marbles, besides being heavily charged with powder. Mr. Hutchinson's factory contained about 400 looms, 50 of which were destroyed; and cloth and yarn, in the act of being woven, were cut from ten other looms, and rendered useless.
Only three establishments using power looms escaped the fury of the mob; and a competent military force was stationed in each of them in case of any attempt at further;
outrage. There is no doubt but the check experienced by the rioters at Mr. Aiken's mill proved the safety of that of Messrs. Ashton, which is in the immediate vicinity. On the Thursday following these lawless proceedings, similar excesses commenced in Manchester. On the evening of that day, a mob of between 6,000 and 7,000 persons having assembled in St. George's-fields, were addressed by speakers, who exhorted them to destroy the steam-looms, and urged, as a strong motive to instant action, the absence of any military force sufficient to restrain them. Part of this multitude departed quietly, under the influence of more moderate or more prudent orators; but the remainder went on with the execution of the design recommended by their leaders, and by the example of the rioters at Blackburn. They first proceeded to the power-loom factory at Ancoats, belonging to Messrs. Clarke and Harbottle; but, as these gentlemen had taken the precaution of garrisoning their factory with armed men, the mob effected no other mischief than breaking the windows. They next attacked the power-loom manufactory of Mr. Beaver in Jerseystreet. Having wrested the iron stancheons from the windows in the lower part of the building, some of their number entered, and set fire to the premises in six different places. They then forced their way into the store room, in a building detached from the factory itself; and, having set it on fire, about 2,000 pieces of manufactured calico were consumed.
In the mean time, a detachment of the mob had marched to the attack of Mr. Motterhead's factory, in Miller-street; and having broken
the windows, proceeded onwards to that of Clegg, Norris, and Co., but as these gentlemen had stationed armed men within their premises, who now announced their presence by firing their muskets and pistols, the rioters retreated, after discharging a volley of missiles. They had just decamped, when Lavender, the head officer of police, arrived on the spot, accompanied by a strong body of regular and special constables. As there was here no longer any crowd or disturbance, the police proceeded to the premises of Mr. Beaver, in Jersey-street, which, as has been stated above, were alreadyin flames. But, unable to penetrate or disperse the mob, the assistance of the military was at last called in; on the appearance of which, accompanied by several magistrates, who immediately read the Riot-act, further violence ceased. But, although fire-engines had now arrived, few of the crowd would assist in working them; and even men who were carrying water had their buckets violently taken from them by the rabble.
On the morning of the following day, a crowd of idlers assembled about the New Cross. Their numbers continued to increase during the day, till all the streets in that neighbourhood were completely blocked up. Instead, however, of attempting to destroy mills and machinery, they contented themselves with entering the shops of bakers, butchers, &c. and carrying off provisions. Every well-dressed individual, moreover, who was so unfortunate as to fall in their way, was attacked and plundered; and the number of street robberies committed was such, as, in broad day, and in the centre of a great town, was never before heard of.
Although, in the course of the day, 200 of theCheshire Yeomanry, and a company of the Rocket brigade, had entered Manchester (the latter, after being severely pelted with stones), yet the mob, towards evening, had increased to such a degree, that the magistrates thought themselves bound to interfere; for all the streets between Piccadilly and the New Cross were now filled with an unbroken mass of idle and riotous people. They proceeded to the spot, accompanied by cavalry, and the Riot-act was read. Part of the mob then dispersed; but those who had taken their station about the New Cross persisted in remaining, and the military were compelled to fire. A considerable number were wounded, for the street was afterwards found to be much stained with blood. No acts of violence took place during the night, or in the course of the next day; and, on the succeeding Monday, in consequence of the troops which were now pouring, from every quarter, into the disturbed districts, the riotous assemblages were at an end. Fifteen of the rioters were committed for trial, seven of whom were well known to the police as common thieves.
Similar dispositions were manifested in other places of the same districts; but, as they appeared after the magistracy and the military had been put upon their guard, they were quelled without any serious mischief having been inflicted. In consequence of a numerous assemblage of persons in Wigan on Sunday 30th, apprehensions were entertained that some disturbance might take place, and an express was sent off to Manchester for a
troop of horse. Accordingly, a troop of the 1st Dragoon Guards arrived at Wigan about half-past seven oh Monday morning. About nine o'clock on that night, a mob, consisting of from five to six thousand persons, assembled near the extensive factory of Mr. William Woods, containing 130 powerlooms. Mr. Woods, however, had previously been on his guard, and put his premises into a complete state of defence. Six pieces of cannon were planted round the factory, and nearly 100 loaded muskets were in readiness to be presented through the windows, Mr. Woods having procured the assistance of all the pensioners about the town and neighbourhood. A troop of the Wigan cavalry, strengthened by a detachment of the Dragoon Guards, were also placed in an advantageous position; and the formidable array so much intimidated the mob, that, on the reading of the Riot-act, they rapidly dispersed, having committed no other damage than the breaking of a few windows. At a quarter past ten tranquillity was perfectly restored.
The following is the number of power-looms destroyed during the past week:—In the factories of Messrs. Sykes and Co. Henfield, 60; Mr. Walmesley, Rough Hey, 20; Mr. Bury, White Ash, 80; Messrs. W. and R. Turner, Helmshore, 100; Mr. Whitehead, Ramtonstall, 100; Mr. Kaye, Longholm, 20; Roston and Sons, Edenfield, 100; Bannister, Eccles, and Co. Blackburn, 170; Messrs. Hamer and Son, Summerseat, 48; Mr. Whitehead, Woodhill, 6'7; Messrs. Ashworth, Holt Mill, 6; Messrs. Hargreaves, Bacup, 28; Mr. Munn, Bacup, 51; Messrs. Mason, Gargrave, 25; 865; exclusive of those destroyed at the