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ster, York, Bristol, Gloucester and Hereford, with the towns of Nottingham, Reading, Cambridge, Bridgewater and Newcastle upon Tyne. Northamptonshire declined petitioning, but voted resolutions and instructions to their representatives, including the purport of the petitions. The measure of forming committees and entering into associations, was a great stumbling-block in some of the counties, and was omitted by several. The mem, bers of administration and men in office, were not wholly deficient in their endeavors to prevent the county meetings; but they were generally overborne by the torrent.
[Feb. 8.] The Yorkshire petition, subscribed by upward of eight thousand freeholders, was the first presented. Sir George -Saville introduced it, and in his speech said," It was first moved in a meeting of six hundred gentlemen and upward. In the halt where that petition was conceived, there was more property than in the walls of this house" of commons. The freeholders comprised within the compass of that single hall, possessed landed property to the amount of eight hundred thousand pounds sterHing a year. The house of commons. [April 6.] took into consideration the petitions of the people of England and Wales, ae mounting to about forty, and signed by above a hundred thousand electors. Mr. Dunning opened the business in an accurate and weighty speech, and then moved—“That the influence of the crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.” The lord-advocate of Scotland, to obtain a negative, .. ·moved an amendment, in the following words-" That it is now pecessary to declare,” the opposition readily agreed to it, and the question, thus amended, was carried by a majority of 18-233 to 215. Mr. Dunning then moved a second proposition
That it is competent to this house to examine into, and to corject abuses in the expenditure of the civillist revenues, as well as in every other branch of the public revenue, whenever it shall seem expedient to the wisdom of this house so to do-whici 'was carried without a division. Mr. Thomas Pitt then moved the following resolution—"That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is the duty of this house to provide, as far as may be, an immediate and effectual redress of the abuses complained of in the petitions presented to this house from the different counties, cities and towns in this kingdom,” which was carried in the affirmative without any apparent dissent. - ; • The house, which had been in a committee, being resumel, · Mr. Fox moved that the resolutions should be immediately re
ported. This was opposed by the minister, with all the force he yet retained; but the stream was too strong to be resisced. The
resolutions were severally reported and received, agreed to and confirmed by the house without a division. Such was the complete and decisive victory gained by the opposition, in behalf of the petitions on that extraordinary and memorable day. Without doors, the joy and triumph in most parts of England was great and general; and perhaps would scarcely have been exceeded on occasion of the completest victory over a foreignenemy.
[April 24.] A motion of Mr. Dunning's, which had been postponed, was taken up. It was for an address to his majesty, requesting that he would not dissolve the parliament, nor prorogue the present session, until proper measures should be taken by that house to diniinish the influence of the crown, and to correct the other evils complained of in the petitions of the people. After great and long debates, thie motion was rejected by a majority of :51---254 to 203. Thus all hopes of obtaining any redress for the people in that house was at an end. But tbough the freemen of England could obtain no relief from their bure dens by a house of representatives, the non-freemien of France were relieved by their grand monarch, who issued scveral edicts for the better administration of his finances, and for the suppression of divers places and offices.
The commmittee in London for raising and applying monies for the relief of the American prisoners, began in March to call upon the public afresh, for new subscriptions, as the war continued beyond expectation; the same was readily made. Maury individuals exhibited a compassion and liberality to the Americans that does honor to human nature. '
On the 28th of April, Don Joseph Solano sailcd from Cadiz with 12 ships of the line and several frigates, and convoyed a fleet of 83 transports, having eight regiments of Spanish intaritry, of two battalions each, and a considerable train of artillery on board; the whole land force, including 100 enginecrs, amounted to 11,460 effective men. They are to join the French in the West-Indies; and in that case will bring the British fleets and islands into the most imminent danger. Jamaica is generalJy supposed to be the first and principal object. .
In the beginning of June, the cities of London and Westminster were convulsed from end to end by some of the most extraordinary risings that ever happened. When the law for relieving the English Roman Catholics was passed, in May 1778; a number of persons in Scotland, actuated by a mistaken zeal, associated for the preservation of the Protestant religion, and called themselves a protestant association, at the head of which was a lord George Gordon. The associators became so formidable; that the Scotch
Papists were greatly alarmed, and begged that the laws relating to them might not be altered. The success which had attended the association in North-Britain, might give the hint for forming a similar one in London, to those whose jealousy for the Protestant interest was increased by the apparent growth of Popery, which of late years had been esteemed very considerable. A society accordingly was formed in the metropolis, which in a few months gathered great consequence from the numbers that professed their adherence to the cause it supported, and lord George Gordon was elected president. The first object of the association, after a committee had been chosen, was to draw up and present a petition to the liouse of commons, requesting å repeal of the above law. The petition was publicly advertised to be signed by all who approved of it. The alarm which the act gave had reached various parts of the kingdom, and similar petitions came from many of them, most of which were presented to the house by lord George. The associators met (May 29.] at Coachmaker's hill, when the president addressed them for half an hour. His speech was received with the loudest acclamations, on which his lordship moved the following resolution-" That the whole body of the Protestant association do attend in St. George's-fields on Friday next at ten o'clock in the morning, to accompany his lordship to the house of commons on the delivery of the ProIcstant petition, which was carried unanimously. His lordship then informed them, that if he was attended by less than 20,000 men on the appointed day, he would not present their petition. He also directed that they should be formed in four divisions, three of which were to answer to their belonging either to London, to Westminster or Southwark, the fourth was to be composed wholly of his own countrymen the Scotch, resident in London and its environs. To prevent mistakes, the whole were to be distinguished by blue cockades. . [June 2.] The grand divisions of the associators being drawn by different routes from the rendezvous, filled the ways through which they marched in ranks, with a multitude that excited wonder and alarm. When arrived at the place of destination, they occupied the streets and avenues to both houses, and soon begani to compel the meinbers to cry out" no Popery,” to wear blue cockades, and some to promise their assistance for the repeal of the new Popery act, as they called it. Upon the appearance of the prelates and court lords, their violence increased to the highest pitch, and several of them were treated with the greatest indignities, the lives of two were in imminent danger. It is iinpossible to describe the astonishment, sense of degradation, horror
and dismày which prevailed in both houses. Meanwhile lord George Gordon having obtained leave to bring up the petition, afterward moved for its being taken into consideration. This brought on a debate, and the associators being in possession of the lobby, the commons were kept confined for several house before they could divide on the question. The arrival of the magistrates and guards having removed the impediment, it was rejected by à majority of 196 to 6 only. Before the rising of the house, seve, ral parties filed off, and proceeded to the demolition of the insides of the chapels belonging to the Sardinian and Bavarian mi. nisters. The commons adjourned to the 6th ; but the lords met on the following day, and agreed on an address, requesting the king to give immediate orders for prosecuting the authors and
abettors of the outrages. On the fourth the mob assembled in - and about Moorfields, and repeated their outrages on a Romish
chapel and school in the neighbourhood. The military were present, having been sent for ; but the lord mayor, through timi dity, would neither order them to act, nor venture to interfere with the civil power that attended him. Toward the evening of the next day, different parties collected and attacked various houses. Between twelve and one o'clock at night, a large body assembled before Sir George Saville's house, and after breaking all the windows, stripped it of the most valuable furniture, which they burnt before the door. They dispersed on the arrival of a party of horse.
[June 6.] About two hundred members had the courage to make their way into the house, through the vast crowds that filled the streets, and that were interlaced and surrounded by large detachments of the military on foot and horseback. They passed some resolutions; but intelligence being received of the contlagra. tions which were commenced in the city, a hasty adjournment took place. . Some of the lords met, but soon adjourned to the 12th. It was observed of the mob which surrounded the parliament house this day, that it consisted of different persons from those who attended the petition on Friday, being composed almost wholly of men and boys of the lowest rank. Early in the afternoon the keeper of Newgate was informed by a small party, that
the jail would be forced open, if the rioters confined in it were not * released at a certain hour when applied for. He acquainted his civil superiors with it, who neglected the precaution of sending a
few armed men, who, with a sufficient stock of powder and ball, : might, from the top of the prison-walls, have defended it against
all the rioters. About seven in the evening, they came and de• manded the release of their comrades, which not being com
plied with, they took all the jailer's furniture, piled it before the prison door, and burned it; they also fired his house, carried off their comrades in triumph, set at liberty all the other prison. ers, to the number of about soo, and fired the inside of the jail, which was wholly consumed. They afterward went to Newprison Clerkenwell, and to Clerkenwell Bridewell, and released the several prisoners at these places. From the moment that the great number of prisoners was let loose, the spirit of the depredations took a different turn. Religion was no longer the sole subject of resentment; the jails, the police and plunder, were also incentives. A party appeared before justice Fielding's house about midnight, and breaking into every room, seized all they could meet with, brought the same into the street, and making three fires the whole was consumed. Another party went to lord Mansfield's; all the furniture, his lordship’s invaluable papers and library of books, his pictures, and every moveable, was brought into the street and burnt, after which the house itself was set on fire. A party of the guards fired on the mob several times, and a few were killed and several wounded; but the con flagration was not thereby prevented, nor would the rioters disperse till the destruction was completed. Many other houses belonging to Papists, were also destroyed, : ; 1. The directors of the Bank took the precaution to obtain, in time, a party of soldiers to secure that grand repository of the national treasure ; which was a happy circumstance, as the attention of the mob was invited toward it by a paragraph in one of the public papers, mentioning that the papists had carried all their plate to the Bank for 'security ; though this was false, the 'assertion was calculated to produce the same effects as if true.
It is said that the officer who commanded the soldiers, was jesJous whether he could depend upon them in case of an emergency, because of their being chiefly Scotch, and possessing the national bigotry of their country against the act for relieving the Papists. He was glad when freed from his apprehensions, by the arrival of the mititia in the metropolis. ! [June 7.] The house of commons inet at twelve, but instantly adjourned to the 19th. Though the military weré pouring into the town on every side, the mob continued, even during the daytine, in different parties. In the evening and night, the capital * exhibited such a dreadful spectacle of calamity and horror, and
experienced such real danger, terror and distress, as it had never before known. A vast number of rioters assembled before the Fieet prison in the evening and set fire to its different apartments, so that it was wholly consumed. A party went from thence and