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Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1810, Sunday, December 5, 1830

Accounts from the
Disturbed Districts.

We are happy to announce that, by the latest accounts from different parts of the country, the incendiary and riotous proceedings which have caused such a lamentable destruction of property, and stagnation to trade, are at length nearly suppressed. We are fully sensible that the most lawless violence have actually been committed, and property to a considerable amount has been wantonly destroyed; but we are also assured that threats had been magnified into realities, and the most trifling ebullition of popular feeling has been most fearfully amplified. The firmness of the Magistracy in apprehending delinquents; the determination of Government to put the law in force; the resolution of the most influential gentleman and yeomen in the different countries to oppose every effort at intimidation; the decision and resistance which had been generally manifested to lawless violence; the consideration with which farmers have listened to the complaints of the labourers, have meliorated their distresses, and in many instances redressed them—all have tended to lessen the disposition to outrage; and we may safely trust that the general excitement, which has prevailed, is in a great measure subsiding. The following statements of the further demolition of property, and other acts of violence, have reached us since our last publication, which we trust will be the last we shall hear of:—


Ampthill.—Eleven stacks, consisting of clover, hay, beans, wheat, &c. together with all the outbuilding attached to the premises of Mr. Benson, of Wotton Pillinge, were, at six o'clock on the evening of Saturday, destroyed by fire. The farm-house was preserved, and the cattle removed in safety.

Biggleswade, Nov. 29.—A fire was in the parish of Eaton last night, at Storrydon's; the farm was destroyed; the person who occupied it was the acting overseer; no doubt it was set on fire. Part of the property was saved.


High Wycombe, Monday, Nov. 29.—The calm which succeeded the disturbances of Friday last, as was anticipated, was the prelude to a melancholy catastrophe. On Saturday and Sunday, measures had been concerted for the paper makers to meet as early as five o'clock on the morning of Monday. Accordingly at that time, a great number were congregated together by sound of horn, on Hakwell Heath, about four miles from Wycombe, armed with sledge hammers, crows bar, pickaxes, &c. They proceeded through Woburn and Loudwater to the paper mill of Messrs. Lane, and on a shot being fired to intimidate them, they became infuriated, and the entrance which had resisted their efforts for above half an hour, was attacked with redoubled fury, and shortly broken open; when another gun was discharged; the contents of which lodged in the arm of and the elderly man named Bryant. About four gallons of vitriol were showered on them, and many were severely burnt. Notwithstanding this the work of destruction commenced, and in less than 15 minutes the machine was wholly destroyed. The person who threw the vitriol was ducked by the rioters, and narrowly escaped with life. During this time the Magistrates sent expresses to Windsor, and to the Marquis of Chandos, for the assistance of the military. From Messrs. Lanes[sic], the more proceeded through the town, levying contributions on the shopkeepers, until they arrived at the paper-mill of Mr. Hay, where the machinery was also destroyed, notwithstanding Mr. Hay had informed them that they should not again be used until some arrangement was made between the masters and men. He also told them that he employed no less than fifty-three hands; and that if they injured his property, the men must of necessity be thrown out of employ. One of Mr. Hay's mend vainly attempted to oppose the rioters with a red hot poker, but he was glad to make his escape. The Riot Act was read by the Rev. Mr. Vincent, when the rioters crossed to the farm of Mr. Landsdale, whose threshing-machine was shortly broken to pieces; and that of Mr. Collins, who witnessed the operation, threatened. The rioters, after regaling themselves at the Red Lion with beer, proceeded to Mr. Plaistow's paper-mill at Loudwater. This gentleman had issued a notice that his machine should not be worked; but they were not content with this, and it met the fate of the others. By this time Colonel Vyse, the High Sheriff, had arrived, who, with a number of gentlemen, attempted to oppose the rioters, when they were saluted with a shower of stones, and Colonel Vyse was much cut in the face. A medical gentleman, from Burnham, with difficulty escaped with his life. He had armed himself with a sword, and in endeavoring to escape rode over two females, and was thrown from his horse. He, however recovered his seat, and got off. The rioters now entered Hedge Mill, and destroyed the machine. By this time many of them were overcome by fatigue, and several of them were in a state of intoxication. Several gentlemen, who accompanied his Majesty's stag-hounds, came up and made head against the rioters; several shots were fired; one man was wounded in the breast, two were taken away apparently lifeless, and about nine were taken prisoners. At this period some grenadiers of the Foot Guards arrived in post chaises, and escorted the prisoners into Wycombe, where they were placed in safe custody. The damage done is estimated at about 12,000l.


CAMBRIDGE, Dec. 2—One of the most awful fires that has been for some time witnessed is yet raging at the village of Coton, within a mile of Cambridge. The farm on which it broke out is in the occupation of Mr. Angier, and belongs to King's College. The occupier kept a thrashing machine. Thirty stacks of corn, all the out-buildings—every thing, in short, on the premises, except the honse[sic]—have been destroyed, including even the cows, horses, and the rest of the live stock. It was impossible to stop the progress of the flames, as no water was to be had; indeed, fears were at one time entertained that part of the village must be involved in destruction. All Cambridge, University and town alike, lent every assistance possible, but all was in vain. It is a fact that the Colleges of St. Peter Downing, and St. John, have received threatening letters; also three farmers in the neighbourhood, who persist in keeping machines at full work. Their names are Finch, Collins, and Nutter.


CARLISLE, Dec. 1.—The incendiary system, which has devastated the southern counties, has at length extended to Cumberland. About half-past eight o'clock the windward of three wheat stacks belonging to a farmer named M'Cutcheon, close on the outskirts of the town, was discovered to be on fire; and shortly after the flames were seen issuing from a very large hay-rick, situated about half a mile out of the town, in a large meadow belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, and farmed by Mr. Andrew. The police, with two fire engines, were speedily at the fires. There was no extinguishing the wheat-stack, but the stack next to it was removed, and the fire prevented from extending. But about ten o'clock a rabble assailed the police with stones, cut the hose of the engine, and threw the buckets and cans into the fire. At the hay-rick the engine was unserviceable, but water being close at hand the fire was nearly got under. About twelve o'clock, however, when the police had left, a rabble assaulted those who were extinguishing the remains of the fire, drove them off, and set the rick on fire again. It is burning at this moment. These events took place within sight of the castle, and almost under its walls.


Dorchester.—There have been some alarming proceedings in this town with a few days past, and much of the time of the magistrates has been occupied in arrangements to counteract the rioters. On Thursday last some labourers went to Milborne St. Andrew, near Dorchester, and broke several thrashing machines, but they fled precipitately on the approach of the yeomen. On the same night two ricks belonging to Mr. Harding, of Stinsford?, were set on fire; the inhabitants, however, rendered much assistance, and the flames were preventing from spreading.

There was some rioting in the neighbourhood of Blandford, on Friday last, but, in consequence of the formidable preparations made to repel the misguided men, not much mischief was done. Parties of labourers have proceeded to various villages in this county, demanding money, and destroying machines. In some instances they succeeded in obtaining money, but in others they were courageously repulsed. A squadron of the 3d Dragoon Guards and two troops have been stationed in Blanford to protect the inhabitants.

A hay-rick on the farm of Mr. Wallis, of Preston, was consumed on Monday night; and intelligence has also been received of a fire at Bere Regis. It is mentioned as a proof of the bad state of things in this direction, that there are upwards of two hundred men at present confined in the county prison in Dorchester.


On Sunday evening a party of from 40 to 50 men assembled in the village of Sawtry, and destroyed the threshing machines without molestation. On Thursday evening a party of about 400 commenced this work of destruction on other machines in the neighbourhood of Upton, Alconbury, &c., after which they levied contributions at the farm-houses. They proceeded on to Buckworth, where they sawed and broke to pieces two threshing machines, and obtained food and drink at the clergy-man's house. On Saturday 18 of the ringleaders were captured by a party of gentlemen who had gone out to meet them, after a severe skirmish. In the course of the night 25 more were secured, together with three poachers, making a total of 50 in one day.


It is stated that numbers of "Swing" letters continue to be received by the farmers in the Isle of Thanet, which create continual alarm. On Saturday a man named Goulden was committed for setting fire to the cinqe-foil stack at Alland-grange. It appears three men were concerned in the infamous act stated the others are not yet in custody.

On Monday the prisoners charged with setting fire to the farming-stock of Mr. Wraite, of Denstrood, underwent a third examination before the magistrates, when one of them, named Bishop, made a full confession of their guilt, and applied to be admitted King's evidence.

The neighbourhood of Blackheath and Greenwich has been thrown into a state of great alarm by threatening letters which have been sent to the principal factories about Greenwich and Deptford, stating that 700 men would march from Kent (we believe about Seven Oaks) to Deptford, for the purpose of destroying all descriptions of machinery. The magistrates for the county had a meeting on Wednesday night, at the Green Man, when a number of respectable householders were sworn in as special constables.


Alford, Nov. 29.—A large quantity of corn was consumed by fire yesterday morning, a few miles from this place.

GRANTHAM—On Monday night the stack-yard of Mr. Woodroffe, at Easton, near Stamford, was set on fire, but such were the exertions used by the armed gentry, and the people who collected, that the loss was very trifling.

LOUTH Nov. 29.—Two incendiary fires have taken place; one at South Reston, Mr. Mawer's, where nine corn stacks were destroyed yesterday morning; the other at Swabey, Mr. Kemp's, where the whole of the corn stacks are destroyed. The loss to Mr. Mawer is about 600l. but that to Mr. Kemp is not ascertained.

Spalding.—On Monday night a hay-rick, belonging to the Rev. Dr. Johnson, was consumed by fire, the work of incendiaries. Several suspicious-looking persons had been seen about some days preciously. The neighbourhood was in a state of excitement, and the persons in the neighbouring villages had come eagerly forward to enroll themselves as special constables.

Spilsby, Nov. 29.—At Irby, near this place, a hay-stack was fired on Tuesday evening.

STAMFORD, Nov. 30.—About half-past nine yesterday a fire broke out in the stack-yard of Mr. Woodroffe, at Easton, within half a mile of Wothorpe. The armed gentry repaired mounted to the scene of conflagration, followed by the engines from Stamford, and by prompt exertions soon reduced the flames; and by the good conduct of the assembled multitude, who flocked from all the adjacent country, was so effective, by removing other stacks that were contiguous, and confining the damage to one stack fired, which fortunately was only some thrashed rye-straw, the loss is very trifling.

A large stack-yard has been consumed at Stickford, and such alarm prevails, that the county magistrates are in constant communication with the Secretary of State


On Monday evening, between 7 and 8 o'clock, a barn belonging to Mr. Benjamin Rogers, of Lampton, near Hounslow, was set on fire, and notwithstanding the efforts used, it was completely burnt to the ground. It is stated that a great many farmers in the neighbourhood of Hownslow, Heston, and Lampton, have received threatening letters, warning them against the use of machinery.

Fire at Preston, near Harrow.—The neighbourhood of this place on Monday night was thrown into great alarm by the reports that incendiaries had been at work, and about this time (six o'clock) their fears were proved to be well-grounded, by a great glare of light appearing near the farm-yard occupied by Mr. John Higgs. Instant assistance was tendered by the inhabitants, and on their approach to the farm the following ricks were observed burning :—Three bean-ricks, containing about 100 quarters of beans; and hay in ricks, consisting of 80 loads. The strength with which the fire had hold of them prevented the possibility of quenching it until nearly exhausted. One rick of hay was saved, with a shed adjoining. On the instant of alarm of fire, a messenger was sent to London for the engines, which arrived about nine o'clock, but too late to render any assistance.


Norwich, Nov. 30.—.Several men were apprehended yesterday, and lodged in Wymondham gaol.

On Saturday, a mob of several hundreds, armed with hammers, saws, &c., attacked the paper-mills at Tronham, and completely destroyed the machinery, which was of nearly the valise of 2,000l. They proceeded from that place to Lyng paper-mill, and committed damage to the amount of 700l. Similar acts of violence have been committed in other parts of the neighbourhood, and the loss of the damage in machinery alone, within the last few days, is estimated at almost 5000l. As soon as the alarming proceedings were made known in Norwich, a large body of the military proceeded to the spot, and apprehended ten of the party concerned in the outrage at Farnham, who have been since lately lodged in the county prison.


Oundle.—A very serious disturbance took place here on Sunday. Three rioters were brought to the gaol here, previous to their final commitment to Northampton, when several hundreds of the labouring classes assembled, and attempted a rescue. Many respectable inhabitants were mounted on horseback to protect the escort, but they met with a desperate resistance. The mob tore up the pavement and hurled it at them, at the same time using the most inflammatory language. Several gentlemen were seriously wounded, and, altogether, it is stated that more alarm was created than had ever before been experienced in Oundle. The prisoners were, however, ultimately safely immured in gaol. Our last accounts, which are up to Wednesday, represent the town as quite tranquil at that period. Many special constables have been sworn in, and the inhabitants have formed a well armed and well mounted patrol amongst themselves.


Banbury, Dec. 2.—The disturbances continue. Sir. Pain's machine was burnt on Monday night but the rioters took it to a field, where there was no danger of any other property. Mr. Wildon's machine was burnt on Tuesday at Bodriath, and last night at Tadmorton, the machines were destroyed with axes and hammers.


Two fires took place within two miles of Epsom, or Sunday night, one at Banstead, of a large hay stack, belonging to Mrs. Howarth; another, at a very short distance from the above, of two-corn stacks of large dimensions, belonging to a gentleman farmer, which were destroyed.


Salisbury, Dec. 1.—Twenty-nine persons were this day examined at the Town-hall for the attack on Mr. Benett's place on the 25th. of November. Eleven of the prisoners were committed for trial at the Special Commission; nine were discharged, and nine are ordered to find bail, or are released on their own recognizances. Many of the prisoners received excellent characters. A strong detachment of the 9th Lancers left Salisbury this morning for Bristol.

A Supplement to the London Gazette was published late on Saturday evening, containing the appointment of Special Commissions to try the several persons in custody in the counties of Hants, Wilts, and Berks, which will be opened next week. In addition to which the following circular letters have been addressed by Lord Melbourne, as Secretary for the Home Department, to the Lords Lieutenants and Magistrates of the counties in which disturbances have appeared :


To the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Whitehall, Nov.25, 1830

In consequence of the acts of outrage and violence which have taken place, and still continue to take place in different parts of the country, I am commanded by his Majesty to urge upon your in the strongest manner the necessity of taking, with the least possible delay, such measures as may be effectual for the repression of tumult, the preservation of the public peace, and the protection of the properties and lives of his Majesty's subjects. For these purposes I am assured that your will feel that the, utmost diligence and energy should be exerted in concerting measures with the gentry and yeomanry of the county, in assembling and strengthening the civil force, and in disposing and arranging it in such a manner as may secure its general union and co-operation. In order that your efforts may receive the must effectual support and assistance, I have the honour of enclosing the copy of a letter which I have addressed to all justices of the peace, mayors, and other magistrates having jurisdiction within the county over which you preside. Reposing the firmest reliance upon your zeal, it is unnecessary for me to recommend the most prompt and immediate personal superintendence of those parts of the county in which insubordination and disorder may unfortunately prevail but it is my duty to represent, that if any circumstances could prevent your actual presence in such disturbed districts, it is greatly to be desired that your should lose no time in appointing a Vice-Lieutenant under the provisions of the 46th Geo. III., c.90. sect. 46. Under the present circumstances, I shall wish to hear from your as speedily as possible after the receipt of this, and

I remain, with great respect,

Your most obedient and faithful servant,


Whitehall, Nov. 25, 1830.

Sir,—In the present disturbed state of the country, I am commanded by his Majesty to express his confident expectation that all magistrates will act with the promptitude, decision, and resolution which circumstances so imperiously require.

The open acts of violence, and the secret and malicious destruction of property, which are both of them daily taking place, demand that the powers entrusted to the magistracy should he exercised with a firmness and a vigour which are not required in more ordinary times.

At the same time, therefore, that you will maintain a strict observance of the law, you will not fail to use the greatest activity for the detection of those offenses which have unfortunately been lately of so frequent occurrence, and for the securing of persons of suspicious character; always bearing in mind that the law invests justices of the peace with the fullest powers for these purposes, and affords the most ample protection to those of them who act with a view to the furtherance of public justice, and with out any corrupt or malicious motive.

It is unnecessary for me to observe, that measures which may strengthen the civil force of the country, by uniting and bringing it together, and giving it the power of efficiency which arise from communication and union, are loudly called for; and for the purpose of assisting this object, I beg leave to inclose a plan which has been adopted in the western district of the county of Sussex, and which has hitherto repressed tumult and maintained the public tranquillity in that part of the country.

In the discharge of your duty, and in your exertions to maintain the authority of the law, you may rely upon the most steady and effectual support. It is the determination of those whose duty it is to advise his Majesty, by all lawful means to repress outrage, and preserve the public tranquillity: and as, on the one hand, your efforts for these purposes will be acknowledged as they deserve, so, on the other, any remissness or inactivity in the fulfillment of functions so vitally important will necessarily incur his Majesty's severest displeasure. I have the honour to be,

Sir, Your obedient servant,

(Signed) MELBOUNE.

An order has been issued, directing the out-pensioners and registered men of Chelsea Hospital, residing within the several excise collections in Great Britain, to render their services as special constables, or in such other way a may be considered expedient by any magistrates who may call upon them, for the purpose of aiding in the preservation of the public peace.