The Great Rising of the People
November 1837 to August 1838
23rd March 1838
It is said that the troopers of the Parliament of the Idle are continuing the suppression of the people of Wales with great ferocity, acting more like wild beasts than men. Yet it is known that in expending such furious energy against our valiant Welsh Brethren that the tyrants do weaken themselves while the rest of the country remains grasping at its liberty. The spirits of the nation cannot be crushed.
The Great O’Connor, The Lion of the Freedom, issues forth a call for elected representatives from the Free Counties and Boroughs to be sent to Leeds for the constitution of a True National Parliament of the Industrious. The Heroic One-Hundred-and-Sixty-Three Seceders from the Parliament of the Idle are to be accepted amongst them.
The Democratic Association of Derbyshire, declares the following: “After Eight Hundreds of Years of Usurpations and Injustices against the Common Folk of Our County, We do declare that Chatsworth House and its surrounding forests, enclosed fields and parklands be re-enshrined as To Be Held in Common as Common Land by the Aforesaid Working Folk of the County, to Till, Gather and Labour therein freely as is enshrined through their grievously infringed Ancestral Rights.”
The Post from Ireland brings the Great News that an Assembly of the Irish People has met at the Hill of Tara, with the aim of throwing off the Royal Yoke and reclaiming their ancient freedoms. The People of Britain stand in brotherhood with them.
Dispatch of William Ewart Gladstone, MP (1809-1838)
To Sir Robert Peel, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer
19th August 1838
I beg to forward to Your Lordship the following report, which contains only the gravest of news. The fury of the mob cannot be denied. It is well known that Ireland was lost some time ago and that the North and Wales remain in a state of chaos. It is now with the deepest regret that I must inform Your Lordship that the violence has overtaken London itself. Armed with pikes, muskets and even their own hand-tools - turned away from productive labour for the sake of mindless destruction - the rioters have seized control of Southwark, Holborn and much of the City, and are now parading down the Strand. I have been informed that a larger number of dishevelled and intemperate cut-throat-looking ruffians could not be imagined - too busy looting wine-cellars and dancing “La Carmagnole” to appreciate the catastrophes they have unleashed.
The volunteer constables, Friends of Order to a man, are fighting running battles in the streets and arcades with the demoralized and dejected hordes. Yet still, homes are broken into and looted, shops burned down, property despoiled … and worse.
It has been further reported that the King, already in weak health, has fled to France. The possibility of offering the Crown to his nineteen year-old niece, even had she not escaped to the safety of Saxe-Coburg some months ago, is widely considered too ridiculous to contemplate under the present terrible circumstances.
I do not know what has occurred for Providence to see fit for our once proud country to have such disasters visited upon her, but conditions are now as if the earth under our feet has turned to water, with all that has been built over the centuries ready to be submerged beneath the howling of a descending tempest.
I Remain Your Lordship's Most Obedient Servant,
W. E. Gladstone.
Great Paperstore of the Commonwealth, Series OCS/5/63/2311.