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d TALE OF THE RIOTS OF ''EIGHTY'
WITH FORTY-SIX I LI U STR A T 1 N S B Y F. BARNARD
LONDON: CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193 PICCADILLY
^HE late Mr. Waterton having, some time ago, expressed his opinion that ravens are
gradually becoming extinct in England, I offered the few following words about my
experience of these birds.
The raven in this story is a compound of two great originals, of whom I was, at
ifferent times, the proud possessor. The first was in the bloom of his youth, when he
was discovered in a modest retirement in London by a friend of mine, and given to me.
He had from the first, as Sir Hugh Evans says of Anne Page, " good gifts," which he improved
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by study and attention in a most exemplary manner. He slept in a stable — generally on horse-
back — and so terrified a Newfoundland dog by his preternatural sagacity, that he has been known,
by the mere superiority of his genius, to walk off unmolested with the dog's dinner from before
his face. He was rapidly rising in acquirements and virtues, when, in an evil hour, his stable \vas
newly painted. He observed the workmen closely, saw that they were careful of the paint, and
immediately burned to possess it. On their going to dinner, he ate up all they had left behind,
consisting of a pound or two of white-lead ; and this youthful indiscretion terminated in death.
While I was yet inconsolable for his loss, another friend of mine in Yorkshire discovered an
older and more gifted raven at a village public-house, which he prevailed upon the landlord to
part with for a consideration, and sent up to me. The first act of this Sage was, to administer to
the effects of his predecessor by disinterring all the cheese and halfpence he had buried in the
garden — a work of immense labour and research, to which he devoted all the energies of his
mind. When he had achieved his task, he applied himself to the acquisition of stable language,
in which he soon became such an adept, that he would perch outside my window, and drive
imaginary horses with great skill, all day. Perhaps even I never saw him at his best, for his
former master sent his duty with him, " and if I wished the bird to come out very strong, would I
be so good as to show him a drunken man ? " — which I never did, having (unfortunately) none
but sober people at hand. But I could hardly have respected him more, whatever the stimulating
influences of this sight might have been. He had not the least respect, I am sorry to say, for me
in return, or for anybody but the cook ; to whom he was attached — but onlv, I fear, as a Police-
man might have been. Once, I met him unexpectedly, about half a mile from my house, walking
down the middle of a public street, attended by a pretty large crowd, and spontaneously exhibit-
ing the whole of his accomplishments. His gravity under those trying circumstances I can never
forget, nor the extraordinary gallantry with which, refusing to be brought home, he defended
himself behind a pump until overpowered by numbers. It may have been that he was too bright
a genius to live long, or it may have been that he took some pernicious substance into his bill, and
thence into his maw — which is not improbable, seeing that he new-pointed the greater part of the
garden wall by digging out the mortar, broke countless squares of glass by scraping away the putty
all round the frames, and tore up and swallowed, in splinters, the greater part of a wooden stair-
case of six steps and a landing — but after some three years he too was taken ill, and died before
the kitchen fire. He kept his eye to the last upon the meat as it roasted, and suddenly turned
over on his back with a sepulchral cry of " Cuckoo !" Since then I have been ravenless.
No account of the Gordon Riots having been to my knowledge introduced into any Work of
Fiction, and the subject presenting very extraordinary and remarkable features, I was led to
project this Tale.
It is unnecessary to say, that those shameful tumults, while they reflect indelible disgrace
upon the time in which they occurred, and all who had act or part in them, teach a good lesson.
That what we falsely call a religious cry is easily raised by menwho have no religion, and who
in their daily practice set at nought the commonest principles of right and wrong ; that it is
begotten of intolerance and persecution; that it is senseless, besotted, inveterate, and unmerciful;
all History teaches us. But perhaps we do not know it in our hearts too well to profit by even so
humble an example as the " No Popery'' Riots of Seventeen Hundred and Eighty.
However imperfectly those .disturbances are set forth in the following pages, they are impar-
tially painted by one who has no sympathy with the Romish Church, though he acknowledges, as
most men do, some esteemed friends among the followers of its creed.
In the description of the principal outrages, reference has been had to the best authorities of
that time, such as they are ; the account given in this Tale, of all the main features of the Riots, is
Mr. Dennis's allusions to the flourishing condition of his trade in those days have their
foundation in Truth, and not in the Author's fancy. Any file of old Newspapers, or odd volume
of the Annual Register, will prove this with terrible ease.
Even the case of Mary Jones, dwelt upon with so much pleasure by the same character, is no
effort of invention. The facts were stated, exactly as they are stated here, in the House of
Commons. Whether they afforded as much entertainment to the merry gentlemen assembled
there, as some other most affecting circumstances of a similar nature mentioned by Sir Samuel
Romilly, is not recorded.
That the case of Mary Jones may speak the more emphatically for itself, I subjoin it, as
related by Sir William Meredith in a speech in Parliament, " on Frequent Executions," made
in 1777 : —
" Under this act," the Shop-lifting Act, " one Mary Jones was executed, whose case I shall
just mention; it was at the time when press warrants were issued, on the alarm about Falkland
Islands. The woman's husband was pressed, their goods seized for some debts of his, and she,
with two small children, turned into the streets a begging. It is a circumstance not to be for-
gotten, that she was very young (under nineteen), and most remarkably handsome. She went to
a linendraper's shop, took some coarse linen off the counter, and slipped it under her cloak ; the
shopman saw her, and she laid it down : for this she was hanged. Her defence was (I have the
trial in my pocket), ' that she had lived in credit, and wanted for nothing, till a press-gang came
and stole her husband from her ; but since then, she had no bed to lie on ; nothing to give her
children to eat ; and they were almost naked ; and perhaps she might have done something wrong,
for she hardly knew what she did.' The parish officers testified the truth of this story; but it
seems there had been a good deal of shop-lifting about Ludgate ; an example was thought neces-
sary; and this woman was hanged for the comfort and satisfaction of shop-keepers in Ludgate
Street. When brought to receive sentence, sh.e behaved in such a frantic manner as proved her
mind to be in a distracted and desponding state; and the child was suckling at her breast when
she set out for Tyburn."
" How THE ACCOMPLISHED GENTLEMAN SPENT THE EVENING IN THE MIDST OF A DAZZLING AND
BRILLIANT CIRCLE" Frontispiece
" Then, seating himself under a spreading honeysuckle, and stretching his legs across
THE threshold SO THAT NO PERSON COULD PASS IN OR OUT WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE, HE
TOOK FROM HIS POCKET A PIPE, FLINT, STEEL, AND TINDER-BOX, AND BEGAN TO SMOKE "
To face page 177
" RAISING HIMSELF UPON HIS HANDS, HE GAZED AT HIM FOR AN INSTANT, WITH SCORN AND HATRED
IN HIS LOOK" ^l3
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT.
'•Stand — let me see your face "
"Does the boy know what he's a saying of?'
cried the astonished John Willet .
" I can't touch him ! " cried the idiot, falling back
and shuddering as with a strong spasm ; "he's
" Those lips within Sim's reach from day to day,
and yet so far off " 20
"If I am ever," said Mrs. V. — not scolding, but
in a sort of monotonous remonstrance — "in
spirits, if I am ever cheerful, if I am ever
more than usually disposed to be talkative and
comfortable, this is the way I am treated " . 32
" He melts, I think. He goes like a drop of froth.
You look at him, and there he is. You look
at him again, and — there he isn't " . . 40
" Chester," said Mr. Haredale after a short silence,
during which he had eyed his smiling face
from time to time intently, " you have the head
and heart of an evil spirit in all matters of
deception" ....... 49
Father and son
" Come, come, master," cried the fellow, urged on
by the looks of his comrades, and slapping
him on the shoulder ; "be more companion-
able and communicative. Be more the gentle-
man in this good company " .
" With that he advanced, and bending down over
the prostrate form, softly turned back the head
and looked into the face " .
Emma Haredale and Dolly Varden
"Huff or no huff," said Mr. Tappertit, detaining
her by the wrist. " What do you mean,
Jezebel } What were you going to say ?
Answer me ! " ......
ILL USTRA TIONS.
" Now he -would call to her from the topmost
branch of some high tree by the roadside "
" She sat here, thoughtful and apart, until their
time was out "
" I beg pardon — do I address Miss Haredale ? " . 113
*' Finished by driving him with surprising swiftness
against a heap of spittoons in one corner " . 120
"If they're a dream," said Sim, "let sculptures
have such wisions, and chisel 'em out when
they wake. This is reality. Sleep has no such
limbs as them " 124
Lord George Gordon leaving the Maypole . . 141
"Ha, ha!" roared the fellow, smiting his leg;
" for a gentleman as 'uU say a pleasant thing
in a pleasant way, give me Muster Gashford
agin all London and Westminster ! " . . 145
A nice trio ........ 152
Gabriel Varden 157
" He retort ! " cried Haredale. " Look you here,
my lord. Do you know this man .? " . , 168
" A brave evening, mother ! If we had chinking
in our pockets but a few specks of that gold
which is piled up yonder in tlie sky, we should
be rich for life " ...... 173
"In the name of God, no ! " shrieked the widow,
darting forward. " Barnaby — my lord — see —
he'll come back — Barnaby, Barnaby ! " . . 188
" Tlie pole swept the air above the people's heads,
and the man's saddle was empty in an instant " 192
" It flitted onward, and was gone "
" You have been drinking," said the locksmith
" Flung itself upon the foremost one, knelt down
upon its breast, and clutched its throat with
both hands " . . . . . .217
" Putting his staff across his knees in case of alarm
or surprise, summoned Giip to dinner " .
" Looked moodily on as she flew to Miss Hare-
dale's side ".....,.
" Will you come } "
" I ! ". said the Lord Mayor most emphatically.
" Certainly not "......
" Stop 1 " cried the locksmith in a voice that made
them falter — presenting, as he spoke, a gun.
" Let an old man do that. You can spare him
The burning of Newgate
"No offence, no offence," said that personage in a
conciliatory tone, as Hugh stopped in his
draught, and eyed him, with no pleasant look,
from head to foot ......
"Tender-hearted!" echoed Dennis. "Tender-
hearted ! Look at this man. Do you call this
constitootional .'' Do you see him shot through
and through, instead of being worked off like
a Briton ? Damme if I know which party to
side with ".......
" I shall bless your name," sobbed the locksmith's
little daughter, " as long as I live "
" Sat the unhappy author of all — Lord George
He rose from his bed with a heavy sigh, and
wrapped himself in his morning gown.
" So she kept her word," he said, " and was con-
stant to her threat ! " . . . . .
" You ought to be the best, instead of the worst,"
.said Hugh, stopping before him. " Ha, ha, ha !
See the hangman when it comes home to him ! "
"The locksmith's ruddy face and burly form could
be descried, beating about as though he was
struggling with a rough sea " .
" Reclining, in an easy attitude, witl_ his back
against a tree, and contemplating the ruin with
an expression of pleasure " . . . .
N the year 1775 there stood upon the
borders of Epping Forest, at a dis-
tance of about twelve miles from
London — measuring from the Stand-
ard in Cornhill, or rather from the
spot on or near to which the Stand-
ard used to be in days of yore — a house
of public entertainment called the May-
.pole ; which fact was demonstrated to all such
travellers as could neither read nor write (and
sixty-six years ago a vast number both of travel-
lers and stay-at-homes were in this condition) by
the emblem reared on the roadside over against
Barnaby Rudge, I.
the house, which, if not of those goodly propor-
tions that Maypoles were wont to present in
olden times, was a fair young ash, thirty feet in
height, and straight as any arrow that ever Eng-
lish yeoman drew.
The Maypole — by which term from henceforth
is meant the house, and not its sign — the May-
pole was an old building, with more gable-ends
than a lazy man would care to count on a sunny
day; huge zigzag chimneys, out of which it
seemed as though even smoke could not choose
but come in more than naturally fantastic shapes,
imparted to it in its tortuous progress ; and vast
stables, gloomy, ruinous, and empty. The place
was said to have been built in the days of King
BARNAB Y R UDGE.
Henry the Eighth ; and there was a legend, not
only that Queen Elizabeth had slept there one
night while upon a hunting excursion, to wit, in
a certain oak-panelled room with a deep bay-
window, but that next morning, while standing
on a mounting block before the door with one
foot in the stirrup, the virgin monarch had then
and there boxed and cuffed an unlucky page for
some neglect of duty. The matter-of-fact and
doubtful folks, of whom there were a few among
the ]\Ia)^pole customers, as unluckily there always
are in e\'ery little community, were inclined to
look upon thi2 tradition as rather apocryphal ;
but, whenever the landlord of that ancient hos-
telry appealed to the mounting block itself as
evidence, and triumphantly pointed out that
there it stood in the same place to that very day,
the doubters never failed to be put down by a
large majority, and all true believers exulted as
in a victory.
Whether these, and many other stories of the
like nature, were true or untrue, the Maypole
was really an old house, a very old house, per-
haps as old as it claimed to be, and perhaps
older, which will sometimes happen with houses
of an uncertain, as with ladies of a certain, age.
Its windows were old diamond-pane lattices, its
floors were sunl-titn and uneven, its ceilings
blackened by the hand of time and heavy with
massive beams. Over the doorway was an
ancient porch, quaintly and grotesquely carved ;
and here on summer evenings the more favoured
customers smoked and drank — ay, and sang
many a good song too, sometimes — reposing on
two grim- looking high-backed settles, which,
like the twin dragons of some fairy tale, guarded
the entrance to the mansion..
In the chimneys of the disused rooms swallows
had built their nests for many a long year, and
from earliest spring to latest autumn whole
colonies of sparrows chirped and twittered in
the eaves. There were more pigeons about the
dreary stable-yard and out-buildings than any-
body but the landlord could reckon up. The
wheeling and circling flight of runts, fantails,
tumblers, and pouters were perhaps not quite
consistent with the grave and sober character of
the building, but the monotonous cooing, which
never ceased to be raised by some among them
all day long, suited it exactly, and seemed to
lull it to rest. With its overhanging stories,
drowsy little panes of glass, and front bulging
out and projecting over the pathway, the old
house looked as if it were nodding in its sleep.
Indeed, it needed no very great stretch of fanc}-
to detect in it other resemblances to humanity.
The bricks of which it was built had originally
been a deep dark red, but had grown ycllovv and
discoloured like an old man's skin ; the sturdy
timbers had decayed like teeth ; and here and
there the ivy, like a warm garment to comfort it
in its age, wrapped its green leaves closely round
the time-worn walls.
It was a hale and hearty age, though, still :
and in the summer or autumn evenings, when
the glow of the setting sun fell upon the oak and
chestnut trees of the adjacent forest, the old
house, partaking of its lustre, seemed their fit
companion, and to have many good years of life
in him yet.
The evening with which we have to do was
neither a summer nor an autumn one, but the
twilight of a day in INIarch, when the wind
howled dismally among the bare branches of the
trees, and rumbling in the wide chimneys and
driving the rain against the windows of the May-
pole Inn, gave such of its frequenters as chanced
to be there at the moment an undeniable reason
for prolonging their stay, and caused the land-
lord to prophesy that the night would certainly
clear at eleven o'clock precisely, — which, by a
remarkable coincidence, was the hour at which
he always closed his house.
The name of him upon whom the spirit of
prophecy thus descended was John V\'illet, a
burly, large-headed man with a fat face, which
betokened profound obstinacy and slowness of
apprehension, combined with a very strong re-
liance upon his own merits. It was John A\'illet's
ordinary boast, in his more placid moods, that
if he were slow he was sure ; which assertion
could, in one sense at least, be by no means
gainsaid, seeing that he was in everything un-
questionably the reverse of fast, and withal one
of the most dogged and positive fellows in exist-
ence — always sure that what he thought or said
or did was right, and holding it as a thing quite
settled and ordained by the laws of nature and
Providence, that anybody who said or did or
thought otherwise must be inevitably and of
Mr. Willet walked slowly up to the window,
flattened his fat nose against the cold glass, and,
shading his eyes that his sight might not be
affected by the ruddy glow of the fire, looked
abroad. Then he walked slowly back to his old
seat in the chimney-corner, and, composing him-
self in it with a slight shiver, such as a man
might give way to, and so acquire an additional
relish for the warm blaze, said, looking round
upon his guests :
" It'll clear at eleven o'clock. No sooner
and no later. Not before and not artenvards."
" How do you make out that?" said a little
man in the opposite corner. " The moon is
past the full, and she rises at nine."
John looked sedately and solemnly at his
questioner until he had brought his mind to bear
upon the whole of his observation, and then
made answer, in a tone which seemed to imply
that the moon was peculiarly his business and
nobody else's :
'• Never you mind about the moon. Don't
you trouble yourself about her. You let the
moon alone, and I'll let you alone."
" No oftence I hope?" said the little man.
Again John waited leisurely until the obser-
vation had thoroughly penetrated to his brain,
and then replying, " No offence as yet," applied
a light to his pipe and smoked in placid silence ;
now and then casting a sidelong look at a man
wrapped in a loose riding coat with huge cuffs
ornamented with tarnished silver lace and large
metal buttons, who sat apart from the regular
frequenters of the house, and wearing a hat
flapped over his face, which was still further
shaded by the hand on which his forehead
rested, looked unsociable enough.
There was another guest, who sat, booted and
spurred, at some distance from the fire also, and
whose thoughts — to judge from his folded arms
and knitted brows, and from the untasted liquor
before him — were occupied with other matters
than the topics under discussion or the persons
vvho discussed them. This was a young man of
about eight-and-twenty, rather aboA'e the middle
height, and though of a somewhat slight figure,
gracefully and strongly made. He wore his own
dark hair, and was accoutred in a riding dress,
which, together with his large boots (resembling
in shape and fashion those worn by our Life
Guardsmen at the present day), showed indis-
putable traces of the bad condition of the
roads. But travel-stained though he was, he
was well and even richly attired, and, with-
out being overdressed, looked a gallant gentle-
Lying upon the table beside him, as he had
carelessly thrown them down, were a heavy
riding whip and a slouched hat, the latter worn,
no doubt, as being best suited to the inclemency
of the weather. There, too, were a pair of
pistols in a holster case, and a short riding
cloak. Little of his face was visible, except the
'long dark lashes which concealed his downcast
eyes, but an air of careless ease and natural
gracefulness of demeanour pervaded the figure,
and seemed to comprehend even these slight
accessories, which were all handsome, and in
Towards this young gentleman the eyes of
Mr. Willet wandered but once, and then as if
in mute inquiry whether he had observed his
silent neighbour. It was plain that John and
the young gentleman had often met before.
Finding that his look was not returned, or
indeed observed by the person to whom it was
addressed, John gradually concentrated the
whole power of his eyes into one focus, and
brought it to bear upon the man in the flapped
hat, at whom he came to stare in course of time
with an intensity so remarkable, that it affected
his fireside cronies, who all, as with one accord,
took their pipes from their lips, and stared with
open mouths at the stranger likewise.
The sturdy landlord had a large pair of dull
fish-like eyes, and the litde man who had
hazarded the remark about the moon (and who
was the parish clerk and bell-ringer of Chigwell ;
a village hard by), had little round black shiny
eyes like beads ; moreover, this little man wore
at the knees of his rusty black breeches, and on
his rusty black coat, and all down his long
flapped waistcoat, little queer buttons like
nothing except his eyes ; but so like them,
that as they twinkled and glistened in the light
of the fire, which shone too in his bright shoe-
buckles, he seemed all eyes from head to foot,
and to be gazing with everj^ one of them at the
unknown customer. No wonder that a man
should grow restless under such an inspection
as this, to say nothing of the eyes belongii^ to
short Tom Cobb the general chandler and post-
office keeper, and long Phil Parkes the ranger,
both of whom, infected by the example of their
companions, regarded him of the flapped hat no
The stranger became restless ; perhaps from
being exposed to this raking fire of eyes, per-
haps from the nature of his previous meditations
— most probably from the latter cause, for, as
he changed his position and looked hastily
round, he started to find himself the object of
such keen regard, and darted an angry and sus-
picious glance at the fireside group. It had the
effect of immediately diverting all eyes to the
chimney, except those of John Willet, who,
finding himself, as it were, caught in the fact,
and not being (as has been already obser\'ed)
of a very ready nature, remained staring at his
guest in a particularly awkward and disconcerted
'•' Well ? " said the stranger.
Well. There was not much in well. It was
not a long speech. " I thought you gave an
order," said the landlord, after a pause of two
or three minutes for consideration.
The stranger took oft" his hat, and disclosed
the hard features of a man of sixty or there-
abouts, much weather-beaten and worn by time,
and the naturally harsh expression of which was