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This page relates to the section about Thomas Whittaker (1808 — 27 March 1878). The information was sent to me by June Vasey, who is a direct descendant of Thomas Whittaker. Copyright, of course, remains with her.
|THE RIOTS AT NOTTINGHAM
The intelligence of the rejection of the Reform Bill reached Nottingham on Saturday night at a late hour. The next day various groups congregated in different parts of the town and towards evening assumed a threatening aspect. SUTTON, the Editor of the Radical Journal, having published a list of some twenty names who had signed the Petition against Reform afforded the mob an excellent opportunity of singling out individuals to visit their hostility upon. The house of Mr. WRIGHT, a most respectable Bookseller in the Market-place, was amongst the first attacked. The front windows were destroyed, the shop door forced, and a valuable collection of books and general stock torn, destroyed or carried off. His politics were always considered to savour of Whiggism, but the he dared to sign the Anti-Reform Address.
Mr. STRETTON's windows (the proprietor of the Nottingham Journal), Dr. MANSON's and those of many others distinguished for their virtues or their Tory principals, were similarly visited. Dr. MANSON, whom we may truly designate as one of the most amiable and best men in Nottingham, was intended to be waylaid on his return home from the evening lecture at St. Mary's Church where he usually attends. Their design, however was happily frustrated by his accidental attendance at St. Peter's in consequence of a charity sermon being preached there.
Notwithstanding those infamous excesses no arrests took place. The Hussars had been summoned to Derby, where the County Gaol was forced and the prisoners set at liberty. This was an incorrectly stated to have occurred here; but then we have a police of whose efficacy we hear continual boast. With a mixture of weakness and folly, which has only its parallel to be found in the memorable proceedings of your sapient DON KEY, the Mayor of Nottingham, a grocer named BARBER, held a meeting the very next day in the Market-place to petition the KING to retain the Ministry in office under any circumstances. It is supposed more than 16,000 were present. Of course the usual Addresses were made and the usual incitements administered. Colonel WILDMAN, the friend of the illustrious Duke of SUSSEX, and Mr. NORTON of Elton, a magistrate for the county, were present. Previous to the assembling of the meeting a rabble proceeded through the principal streets, attended by a band of music with a flag trimmed with black crape and inscribed "The Bill, and no Lords. " And yet the Mayor presided, and the Corporation assisted in drawing together these elements of sedition.
After the business of the day was over it was quite evident that some frightful violence would be committed. About five an indiscriminate multitude were observed moving in the direction of Sneinton, towards Colwick Hall, the seat of JOHN MUSTERS, Esq. On their way they pulled up the iron railings in front of Mr. SHELTON's house, which they divided, and armed themselves with the fragments. On arriving at Colwick, they were informed Mr. MUSTERS was away from home, and that his Lady (the Mary of Lord Byron and the heroine of his Dream) was laid in bed of sickness. Unawed, however, by these circumstances the miscreants burst into her chamber, from which she was carried by some attached domestics, and put into a temporary bed over the stables. And now the work of demolition began; and in a very short space of time the house was gutted, and the splendid furniture, pictures (including the inimitable Hebe of REYNOLDS), jewellery, family papers, superb glasses & &c. were either carried off or entirely destroyed; even the feather beds were brought onto the lawn, ripped open, and the feathers scattered to the winds. The only cause of enmity that can be alleged against Mr. MUSTERS is that he has always been active in discharging his magisterial duties, and particularly in convicting some daring gangs of poachers; with politics he never interfered and was not on Mr. SUTTON's proscribed list. After attempting the fire at the mansion, an attempt however that did not succeed, this villainous multitude proceeded to Nottingham; there the demolition of windows again began, and continued uninterruptedly until seven o'clock, when cries of 'To the Castle' resounded through the Market-place. Onwards these desperadoes moved, flush with conquest and encouraged by the seeming apathy with which their movements were regarded. The Castle lodge gates soon yielded to the assailants; these were taken from the hinges and laid prostrate. Lights were here procured, and numbers ran with them up the flight of steps which lead to the grand entrance. In half an hour this magnificent structure was in a blaze of frightful effulgence which will never be forgot by those who witnessed it. As the flames moved through the grand suite of state apartments, which were lined with cedar and hung with tapestry, the scene was terrific. The streams of boiling lead came down in torrents, and it is said two persons were dreadfully scalded. So powerful light was shed around that Sneinton, two miles distant, it resembled an universal illumination of the atmosphere, and the falling of different portions of the roof resembled the report of the loudest thunder.
It will seem almost incredible that no interruption was given to these incendiaries; all night were they employed in the work of destruction, and might be plainly heard in the middle of the town breaking up wood to fire those parts which had escaped the fury of the first conflagration.
On Tuesday so little opposition had been offered to these wretches that they were emboldened to visit Beeston, where they destroyed a silk mill belonging to Mr LOWE, which will throw three hundred persons out of employ. they threatened Lord Middletons splendid mansion but precautions had been taken to assemble the colliers, and to plant some cannon at the gate; thus intimidated, the mob moved forward.
Wednesday - The return of Colonel THACKVILLE and the exertions of the Cavalry and Magistrates, have succeeded in restoring quiet; persons are required to close their houses by five — the avenues to the Market-place closed — constables parading the streets all night.
Thursday - The night passed without an attempt at repetion of these traitorous movements - No time for comments.
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