church to inherit real property in the United Kingdom by right
of purchase or descent, â matters so far removed from the business
and bosoms of the mass, might perhaps have called together a
hundred people. But when vague rumours got abroad, that in
this Protestant association a secret power was mustering against
the government for undefined and mighty Durposes; when the air
was filled with whispers of a confederacy among the Popish powers
to degrade and enslave England, establish an inquisition in Lon-
don, and turn the pens of Smithfield market into stakes and caul-
drons; when terrors and alarms which no man understood were
perpetually broached, both in and out of Parliament, by one
enthusiast who did not understand himself, and bygone bugbears
which had lain quietly in their graves for centuries, were raised
again to haunt the ignorant and credulous; when all this was
done, as it were, in the dark, and secret invitations to join the
Great Protestant Association in defence of religion, life, and lib-
erty, were dropped in the public ways, thrust under the house-
doors, tossed in at windows, and pressed into the hands of those
who trod the streets by night; when they glared from every wall,
and shone on every post and pillar, so that stocks and stones ap-
peared infected with the common fear, urging all men to join toge-
ther blindfold in resistance of they knew not what, they knew not
why; â then the mania spread indeed, and the body, still increas-
ing every day, grew forty thousand strong.
So said, at least, in this month of March, 1780, Lord George
Gordon, the Association's president. Whether it was the fact or
otherwise, few men knew or cared to ascertain. It had never made
any public demonstration; had scarcely ever been heard of, save
through him; had never been seen; and was supposed by many to
be the mere creature of his disordered brain. He was accustomed
to talk largely about numbers of men â stimulated, as it was in-
ferred, by certain successful disturbances, arising out of the same
subject, which had occurred in Scotland in the previous year; was
looked upon as a cracked-brained member of the lower house, who
attacked all parties and sided with none, and was very little re-
garded. It was known that there was discontent abroad â there
always is ; he had been accustomed to address the people by placard,
speech, and pamphlet, upon other questions; nohing had come, in
284< BARNABY RUDGE
England, of his past exertions, and nothing was apprehended from
his present. Just as he has come upon the reader, he had come,
from time to time, upon the public, and been forgotten in a day; as
suddenly as he appears in these pages, after a blank of five long
years, did he and his proceedings begin to force themselves, about
this period, upon the notice of thousands of people, who had mingled
in active life during the whole interval, and who, without being
deaf or blind to passing events, had scarcely ever thought of him
'My lord,' said Gashford in his ear, as he drew the curtains of
his bed betimes; %y lord!'
'Yesâ who 's that? What is it?'
'The clock has struck nine,' returned the secretary, with meekly
folded hands. 'You have slept well? I hope you have slept well?
If my prayers are heard, you are refreshed indeed.'
'To say the truth, I have slept so soundly,' said Lord George,
rubbing his eyes and looking round the room, 'that I don't re-
member quite â what place is this?'
'My lord!' cried Gashford, with a smile.
'Oh! ' returned his superior. 'Yes. You 're not a Jew then?'
'A Jew!' exclaimed the pious secretary, recoiling.
'I dreamed that we were Jews, Gashford. You and I â both of
us â Jews with long beards.'
'Heaven forbid, my lord! We might as well be Papists.'
'I suppose we might,' returned the other, very quickly. 'Eh?
You really think so, Gashford?'
'Surely I do,' the secretary cried, with looks of great surprise.
'Humph!' he muttered. 'Yes, that seems reasonable.'
'I hope, my lord â ' the secretary began.
'Hope!' he echoed, interrupting him. 'Why do you say, you
hope? There 's no harm in thinking of such things.'
'Not in dreams,' returned the secretary.
'In dreams! No, nor waking either.'
â ' "Called, and chosen, and faithful," ' said Gashford, taking
up Lord George's watch which lay upon a chair, and seeming to
read the inscription on the seal, abstractedly.
It was the slightest action possible, not obtruded on his notice,
and apparently the result of a moment's absence of mind, not
BARNABY RUDGE 285
worth remark. But as the words were uttered, Lord George, who
had been going on impetuously, stopped short, reddened, and was
silent. Apparently quite unconscious of this change in his de-
meanour, the wily secretary stepped a little apart, under pretence
of pulling up the window-blind, and returning when the other had
had time to recover, said:
'The holy cause goes bravely on, my lord. I was not idle, even
last night. I dropped two of the handbills before I went to bed, and
both are gone this morning. Nobody in the house has mentioned
the circumstance of finding them, though I have been downstairs
full half an hour. One or two recruits will be their first fruit, I pre-
dict; and who shall say how many more, with Heaven's blessing
on your inspired exertions! '
'It was a famous device in the beginning,' replied Lord George;
'an excellent device, and did good service in Scotland. It was
quite worthy of you. You remind me not to be a sluggard. Gash-
ford, when the vineyard is menaced with destruction, and may be
trodden down by Papist feet. Let the horses be saddled in half an
hour. We must be up and doing!'
He said this with a heightened colour, and in a tone of such
enthusiasm, that the secretary deemed all further prompting need-
less, and withdrew.
' â Dreamed he was a Jew,' he said thoughtfully, as he closed
the bedroom door. 'He may come to that before he dies. It 's like
enough. Well! After a time, and provided I lost nothing by it, 1
don't see why that religion shouldn't suit me as well as any other.
There are rich men among the Jews; shaving is very troublesome;
â yes, it would suit me well enough. For the present, though, we
must be Christian to the core. Our prophetic motto will suit all
creeds in their turn, that 's a comfort.' Reflecting on the source
of consolation, he reached the sitting-room, and rang the bell for
Lord George was quickly dressed (for his plain toilet was easily
made), and as he was no less frugal in his repasts than in his Puri-
tan attire, his share of the meal was soon dispatched. The secre-
tary, however, more devoted to the good things of this world, or
more intent on sustaining his strength and spirits for the sake of
the Protestant cause, ate and drank to the last minute, and re-
286 BARNABY RUDGE
quired indeed some three or four reminders from John Grueby,
before he could resolve to tear himself away from Mr. Willet's
At length he came downstairs, wiping his greasy mouth, and
having paid John Willet's bill, climbed into his saddle. Lord
George, who had been walking up and down before the house
talking to himself with earnest gestures, mounted his horse; and re-
turning old John Willet's stately bow, as well as the parting salu-
tation of a dozen idlers whom the rumour of a live lord being about
to leave the Maypole had gathered round the porch, they rode
away, with stout John Grueby in the rear.
If Lord George Gordon had appeared in the eyes of Mr. Willet,
overnight, a nobleman of somewhat quaint and odd exterior, the
impression was confirmed this morning, and increased a hundred-
fold. Sitting bolt upright upon his bony steed, with his long,
straight hair dangling about his face and fluttering in the wind; his
limbs all angular and rigid, his elbows stuck out on either side
ungracefully, and his whole frame jogged and shaken at every mo-
tion of his horse's feet; a more grotesque or more ungainly figure
can hardly be conceived. In lieu of whip, he carried in his hand a
great gold-headed cane, as large as any footman carries in these
days; and his various modes of holding this unwieldly weapon â
now upright before his face like the sabre of a horse-soldier, now
over his shoulder, like a musket, now between his finger and thumb,
but always in some uncouth and awkward fashion â contributed in
no small degree to the absurdity of his appearance. Stiff, lank, and
solemn, dressed in an unusual manner, and ostentatiously ex-
hibiting â whether by design or accident â ^all his peculiarities of
carriage, gesture, and conduct, all the qualities, natural and arti-
ficial, in which he differed from other men; he might have moved
the sternest looker-on to laughter, and fully provoked the smiles
and whispered jests which greeted his departure from the Maypole
Quite unconscious, however, of the effect he produced, he trotted
on beside his secretary, talking to himself nearly all the way, until
they came within a mile or two of London, when now and then
some passenger went by who knew him by sight, and pointed him
out to some one else, and perhaps stood looking after him, or cried
BARNABY RUDGE 287
in jest or earnest as it might be, 'Hurrah, Geordie! No Popery! ' At
which he would gravely pull off his hat, and bow. When they
reached the town and rode along the streets, these notices became
more frequent; some laughed, some hissed, some turned their
heads and smiled, some wondered who he was, some ran along the
pavement by his side and cheered. When this happened in a crush
of carts and chairs and coaches, he would make a dead stop, and
pulling off his hat, cry, 'Gentlemen, No Popery!' to which the
gentlemen would respond with lusty voices, and with three times
three; and then, on he would go again with a score or so of the
raggedest, following at his horse's heels, and shouting till their
throats were parched.
The old ladies too â there were a great many old ladies in the
streets, and these all knew him. Some of them â not those of the
highest rank, but such as sold fruit from baskets and carried bur-
dens â clapped their shrivelled hands, and raised a weazen, piping,
shrill 'Hurrah, my lord.' Others waved their hands or handker-
chiefs, or shook their fans or parasols, or threw up windows and
called in haste to those within, to come and see. All these marks
of popular esteem, he received with profound gravity and respect;
bowing very low, and so frequently that his hat was more off his
head than on; and looking up at the houses as he passed along,
with the air of one who was making a public entry, and yet was not
puffed up or proud.
So they rode (to the deep and unspeakable disgust of John
Grueby) the whole length of Whitechapel, Leadenhall Street, and
Cheapside, and into St. Paul's Churchyard. Arriving close to the
cathedral, he halted; spoke to Gashford; and looking upward at
its lofty dome, shook his head, as though he said 'The Church in
Danger!' Then to be sure, the bystanders stretched their throats
indeed; and he went on again with mighty acclamations from the
mob, and lower bows than ever.
So along the Strand, up Swallow Street, into the Oxford Road,
and thence to his house in Welbeck Street, near Cavendish Square,
whither he was attended by a few dozen idlers; of whom he took
leave on the steps with this brief parting, 'Gentlemen, No Popery.
Good-day. God bless you.' This being rather a shorter address
than they expected, was received with some displeasure, and cries
288 BARNABY RUDGE
of 'A speech! a speech! ' which might have been complied with, but
that John Grueby, making a mad charge upon them with all three
horses, on his way to the stables, caused them to disperse into the
adjoining fields, where they presently fell to pitch and toss, chuck-
farthing, odd or even, dog-fighting, and other Protestant recre-
In the' afternoon ,Lord George came forth again, dressed in a
black velvet coat, and trousers and waistcoat of the Gordon plaid,
all of the same Quaker cut; and in this costume, which made him
look a dozen times more strange and singular than before, went
down on foot to Westminster. Gashford, meanwhile, bestirred him-
self in business matters; with which he was still engaged when,
shortly after dusk, John Grueby entered and announced a visitor.
Xet him come in,' said Gashford.
'Here! come in!' growled John to somebody without; ^You're
a Protestant, an't you?'
7 should think so,' replied a deep gruff voice.
You 've the looks of it,' said John Grueby. 'I 'd have known
you for one, anywhere.' With which remark he gave the visitor
admission, retired, and shut the door.
The man who now confronted Gashford, was a squat, thickset
personage, with a low^ retreating forehead, a coarse shock head of
hair, and eyes so small and near together, that his broken nose
alone seemed to prevent their meeting and fusing into one of the
usual size. A dingy handkerchief twisted like a cord about his
neck, left its great veins exposed to view, and they were swoln
and starting, as though with gulping down strong passions, malice,
and ill-will. His dress was of threadbare velveteen â a faded, rusty,
whitened black, like the ashes of a pipe or a coal fire after a day's
extinction; discoloured with the soils of many a stale debauch, and
reeking yet with pot-house odours. In lieu of buckles at his knees,
he wore unequal loops of packthread; and in his grimy hands he
held a knotted stick, the knob of which was carved into a rough
likeness of his own vile face. Such was the visitor who doffed his
three-cornered hat in Gashford's presence, and waited, leering,
for his notice.
'Ah! Dennis!' cried the secretary. 'Sit down.'
'I see my lord down yonder â ' cried the man, with a jerk of his
BARNABY RUDGE 289
thumb towards the quarter that he spoke of, 'and he says to me,
says my lord, "If you Ve nothing to do, Dennis, go up to my house
and talk with Muster Gashford." Of course I 'd nothing to do, you
know. These an't my working hours. Ha ha! I was a-taking the
air when I see my lord, that s what I was doing. I takes the air by
night, as the howls does, Muster Gashford.'
'And sometimes in the day-time, eh?' said the secretary â 'when
you go out in state you know.'
'Ha ha!' roared the fellow, smiting his leg; 'for a gentleman
as 'ull say a pleasant thing in a pleasant way, give me Muster
Gashford agin' all London and Westminster! My lord an't a bad
"un at that, but he 's a fool to you. Ah to be sure, â when I go out
'And have your carriage,' said the secretary; 'and your chap-
lain, eh? and all the rest of it?'
'You '11 be the death of me,' cried Dennis, with another roar,
'you will. But what 's in the wind now, Cluster Gashford,' he asked
hoarsely, 'Eh? Are we to be under orders to pull down one of them
Popish chapels â or what?'
â¢Hush!' said the secretary, suffering the faintest smile to play
upon his face. 'Hush! God bless me, Dennis! We associate, you
know, for strictly peaceable and lawful purposes.'
'/ know, bless you,' returned the man, thrusting his tongue into
his cheek; 'I entered a' purpose, didn't I!'
'No doubt,' said Gashford, smiling as before. And when he
said so, Dennis roared again, and smote his leg still harder, and
falling into fits of laughter, wiped his eyes with the corner of his
neckerchief, and cried 'Muster Gashford agin' all England hollow!'
'Lord George and I were talking of you last night,' said Gash-
ford, after a pause. 'He says you are a very earnest fellow.'
'So I am,' returned the hangman.
'And that you truly hate the Papists.'
'So I do,' and he confirmed it with a good round oath. 'Lookye
here, ]\Iuster Gashford,' said the fellow, laying his hat and stick
upon the floor, and slowly beating the palm of one hand with the
fingers of the other; 'Ob-serve. I 'm a constitutional officer that
works for my living, and does my work creditable. Do I, or do I
290 bar:naby rudge
'Very good. Stop a minute. My work, is sound, Protestant,
constitutional, English work. Is it, or is it not?'
'No man alive can doubt it.'
'Nor dead neither. Parliament says this here â says Parliament,
''If any man, woman, or child, does anything which goes again a
certain number of our acts" â how many hanging laws may there
be at this present time. Muster Gashford? Fifty?'
'I don't exactly know how many,' replied Gashford, leaning
back in his chair and yawning; 'a great number though.'
'Well, say fifty. Parliament says "If any man, woman, or child,
does anything again any one of them fifty acts, that man, woman,
or child, shall be worked off by Dennis." George the Third steps
in when they number very strong at the end of a sessions, and
says "These are too many for Dennis, I '11 have half for m^'self
and Dennis shall have half for ^^mself"; and sometimes he throws
me in one over that I don't expect, as he did three years ago, when
I got Mary Jones, a young woman of nineteen who come up to
Tyburn with a infant at her breast, and was worked off for taking
a piece of cloth off the counter of a shop in Ludgate Hill, and put-
ting it down again when the shopman see her; and who had never
done any harm before, and only tried to do that, in consequence of
her husband having been pressed three weeks previous, and she
being left to beg, with two young children â as was proved upon
the trial. Ha ha! â Well! That being the law and the practice of
England, is the glory of England, an't it, Muster Gashford?'
'Certainly,' said the secretary.
'And in times to come,' pursued the hangman, 'if our grandsons
should think of their grandfathers' times, and find these things
altered, they '11 say "Those were days indeed, and we 've been
going down hill ever since." â Won't they. Muster Gashford?'
'I have no doubt they will,' said the secretary.
'Well then, look here,' said the hangman. 'If these Papists gets
into power, and begins to boil and roast instead of hang, what
becomes of my work! If they touch my work that 's a part of so
many laws, what becomes of the laws in general, what becomes of
the religion, what becomes of the country! â Did you ever go to
Church, Muster Gashford?'
BARNABY RUDGE 291
'Ever! ' repeated the secretary with some indignation; 'of course.'
'Well/ said the ruffian, 'I 've been once â twice, counting the time
I was christened â and when I heard the Parliament prayed for,
and thought how many new hanging laws they made every sessions,
I considered that / was prayed for. Now mind. Muster Gashford,'
said the fellow, taking up his stick and shaking it with a ferocious
air, 'I mustn't have my Protestant work touched, nor this here
Protestant state of things altered in no degree, if I can help it; I
mustn't have no Papists interfering with me, unless they come to
be worked off in course of law; I mustn't have no biling, no roast-
ing, no frying â nothing but hanging. My lord may well call me an
earnest fellow. In support of the great Protestant principle of hav-
ing plenty of that, I '11,' and here he beat his club upon the ground,
'burn, fight, kill â do anything you bid me, so that it 's bold and
devilish â though the end of it was, that I got hung myself. â
There, Muster Gashford.'
He appropriately followed up this frequent prostitution of a
noble word to the vilest purposes, by pouring out in a kind of
ecstasy at least a score of most tremendous oaths; then wiped
his heated face upon his neckerchief, and cried, 'No Popery! I 'm a
religious man, by G â !'
Gashford had leant back in his chair, regarding him with eyes
so sunken, and so shadowed by his heavy brows, that for aught
the hangman saw of them, he might have been stone blind. He
remained smiling in silence for a short time longer, and then said,
slowly and distinctly:
'You are indeed an earnest fellow, Dennis â a most valuable
fellow â the staunchest man I know of in our ranks. But you must
calm yourself; you must be peaceful, lawful, mild as any lamb,
I am sure you will be though.'
'Ay, ay, we shall see, ^Muster Gashford, we shall see. You won't
have to complain of me,' returned the other shaking his head.
'I am sure I shall not,' said the secretary in the same mild tone,
and with the same emphasis. 'We shall have, we think, about next
month, or ^lay, when this Papist relief bill comes before the house,
to convene our whole body for the first time. My lord has thoughts
of our walking in procession through the streets â just as an inno-
292 BAHNABY rudge
cent display of strength â and accompanying our petition down
to the door of the House of Commons.'
'The sooner the better/ said Dennis, with another oath.
'We shall have to draw up in divisions, our numbers being so
large; and, I believe I may venture to say,' resumed Gashford,
affecting not to hear the interruption, 'though I have no direct
instructions to that effect â that Lord George has thought of you
as an excellent leader for one of these parties. I have no doubt you
would be an admirable one.'
'Try me,' said the fellow, with an ugly wink.
'You would be cool, I know,' pursued the secretary, still smiling,
and still managing his eyes so that he could watch him closely, and
really not be seen in turn, 'obedient to orders, and perfectly tem-
perate. You would lead your party into no danger, I am certain.'
'I 'd lead them, Muster Gashford,' â the hangman was beginning
in a reckless way, when Gashford started forward, laid his finger
on his lips, and feigned to write, just as the door was opened by
'Oh!' said John, looking in; 'here's another Protestant.'
'Some other room, John,' cried Gashford in his blandest voice. ^I
am engaged just now.'
But John had brought this new visitor to the door and he
walked in unbidden, as the words were uttered; giving to view the
form and features, rough attire, and reckless air, of Hugh.
The secretary put his hand before his eyes to shade them from the
glare of the lamp, and for some moments looked at Hugh with a
frowning brow, as if he remembered to have seen him lately, but
could not call to mind where, or on what occasion. His uncer-
tainty was very brief, for before Hugh had spoken a word, he
said, as his countenance cleared up;
'Ay, ay, I recollect. It 's quite right, John, you needn't wait.
Don't go, Dennis.'
'Your servant, master,' said Hugh, as Grueby disappeared.
BARNABY RUDGE 293
'Yours, friend/ returned the secretary in his smoothest manner.
'What brings you here? We left nothing behind us, I hope?'
Hugh gave a short laugh, and thrusting his hand into his breast,
produced one of the handbills, soiled and dirty from lying out of
doors all night, which he laid upon the secretary's desk after flat-
tening it upon his knee, and smoothing out the wrinkles with his
'Nothing but that, master. It fell into good hands, you see.'
'What is this!' said Gashford, turning it over with an air of
perfectly natural surprise. 'Where did you get it from, my good
fellow; what does it mean? I don't understand this at all.'
A little disconcerted by this reception, Hugh looked from the
secretary to Dennis, who had risen and was standing at the table
too, observing the stranger by stealth, and seeming to derive the
utmost satisfaction from his manners and appearance. Consider-
ing himself silently appealed to by this action, Mr. Dennis shook
his head thrice, as if to say of Gashford, 'No. He don't know any-
thing at all about it. I know he don't. I '11 take my oath he don't';
and hiding his profile from Hugh with one long end of his frowsy
neckerchief, nodded and chuckled behind this screen in extreme
approval of the secretary's proceedings.
'It tells the man that finds it, to come here, don't it?' asked
Hugh. 'I 'm no scholar, myself, but I showed it to a friend, and he
said it did.'
'It certainly does,' said Gashford, opening his eyes to their ut-
most width; 'really this is the most remarkable circumstance I
have ever known. How did you come by this piece of paper, my
'^Muster Gashford,' wheezed the hangman under his breath,
'agin' all Newgate!'
Whether Hugh heard him, or saw by his manner that he was
being played upon, or perceived the secretary's drift of himself, he
came in his blunt way to the point at once.
'Here!' he said, stretching out his hand and taking it back;
'never mind the bill, or what it says, or what it don't say. You
don't know anything about it, master, â no more do I, â no more
does he,' glancing at Dennis. 'None of us know what it means, or