‘The Friends of Peace and Order’ 1 : Invasion, Riots, and Internal Policing
Abstract and Keywords
The response of volunteers to invasion and internal disorder is central to the argument that they constituted a ‘force of order’. This chapter shows that several cases of volunteer insubordination and unreliability in the face of riots suggests that the force could not always be trusted in a repressive or policing role.
The response of volunteers to invasion and internal disorder is central to the argument that they constituted a ‘force of order’. From the beginning, the volunteers were not actively a political force, despite their connections with the loyalist association movement. Yet they all carried to a greater or lesser extent some political connotations, and these were mostly loyalist. Volunteers’ loyalty was conditional; the view that they, and especially the yeomanry, were reliable riot-control forces because they were composed of the gentry and their dependants is undermined by the evidence of a much more socially mixed composition. Several cases of volunteer insubordination and unreliability in the face of riots suggest that the force could not always be trusted in a repressive or policing role. Loyalist politics appear to have been compatible with the acceptance by volunteers of limitations to their civic duty and with attachment to their rights as civilians. Yet when the general trustworthiness of corps is taken into account and compared with the record of the militia and regular army, magistrates’ continued readiness to employ the volunteers in riot-control duties is more readily understood. Examples of the volunteers in action show how the new and ubiquitous force was used in conjunction with the regular forces in their established riot-control role. Policing duties were closely related to the volunteer force’s planned role in the event of an invasion. It was to act both as a reinforcement for the regular forces and to take over their policing and evacuation duties in order to free soldiers to face an invasion.
Though the primary objective of volunteer corps was defence against an invasion, in practice they were unlikely to see active service except against rioters. In June 1797, commanding officers of volunteers and yeomanry were issued with copies of a proclamation specially directing them to assist civil magistrates in apprehending and securing persons concerned in treasonable and rebellious proceedings. 2 The primacy of (p. 231 ) defence against invasion in individual corps’ planning is clearly apparent. Despite the widely publicized plans to employ the volunteers in evacuating the coasts, they continued to train for an encounter with an invading army, paying little attention to the problems of an evacuation.
Though in general corps sought to avoid partisan allegiances, their commitment to internal peace-keeping meant that the movement operated in a loyalist atmosphere. Volunteers’ willingness to face an invasion was seldom questioned, but their commitment to public order was much more equivocal. A small but significant number of volunteers, particularly during food rioting in 1795 and 1800–1, refused to act, or avoided involvement in action, against rioters. Many resigned, and a few were involved in rioting themselves. It appears that many volunteers drew a clear distinction between policing duties, to which they did not believe they were committed, and anti-invasion duties, which they believed they were.
The maintenance of internal order was an integral part of the planning for the employment of volunteers during an invasion. The intention of most of the changes made to volunteer organization by succeeding governments was to make it an effective part of the armed forces and integral with preparations for national and internal defence. The first corps were raised essentially for local defence and to relieve regular forces of local duties. Most corps were willing to waive conditions of purely local service in 1798 in order to be incorporated in a national strategy against invasion. The internal peace-keeping role helped to give the volunteers an initial identity and purpose until they began to be integrated with national defence plans from 1798 onwards. The rapid formation in 1798 of several hundred strictly parochial armed associations, on very limited terms of service and without rights to official allowances, acknowledged that the role of the main volunteer force had become a national one. 3
When the volunteer force was revived in 1803, it effectively was reconstituted by the conditions required under the regulations of the successive ‘June’ and ‘August Allowances’, that corps be willing to serve to the limits of their military district, and then under the latter regulations, anywhere within Great Britain. The regulations of 1803 and 1804 changed the nature of the movement from one composed of a variety of relatively autonomous and self-supporting corps to a largely government-funded one under close official control and army inspection, committed to regular training, with each corps liable to act beyond its own district. Volunteers remained free to resign and were not under army control and military discipline unless (p. 232 ) called on to permanent duty. Yet they were invited periodically to assemble for several weeks’ permanent duty under regular military command, and were liable to inspection by inspecting field officers seconded from the army. Regular army control was finally asserted in 1807 by the thorough reorganization of the auxiliary forces to create ‘a more efficient establishment’. The volunteers were largely supplanted by the Local Militia, raised by ballot and subordinate to military authority. Volunteers accepted their displacement with relatively little complaint; the organization had outlived its usefulness, was generally considered inefficient, and was unable to meet the requirements made of it. 4
From the beginning, the peace-keeping and anti-invasion roles of the volunteers were complementary. The formation of volunteer corps was closely related to the need for the maintenance of local order, and official policy initially encouraged volunteers to see their duties primarily as local. Several had been formed in response to specific local threats of disorder rather than the general threat of French invasion, particularly in the wake of the food rioting of 1795. The Kettering and Rothwell Associations were recommended to the lord lieutenant of Northamptonshire entirely in terms of their usefulness against disturbances. A food riot in Kettering in 1795 had pointed to the need for a volunteer military presence, while it was feared that an invasion would encourage an insurrection by the poor and escape attempts by French prisoners held in the district. 5 Not surprisingly, when Henry Hunt looked back on his membership of the Wiltshire Yeomanry with a radical perspective in his memoirs written from a Somerset prison in the early 1820s, he remembered having joined the Everly troop in order to fight the expected invasion. He instead found to his disquiet that the yeomanry saw its purpose as conservative and domestic. 6
After some initial ambiguity, the government made clear that the defensive and policing aspects of the volunteer force were to be treated as two quite distinct roles. On proposing the armed associations in 1798, Dundas suggested that their presence in populous towns in periods of emergency, when regular forces were needed elsewhere, might be useful to relieve them in the preservation of internal tranquillity and the maintenance of a proper police. 7 From the earliest stages, a policing role had been part of the plans (p. 233 ) for internal defence. The committee organizing internal defence in Hampshire in 1794 had considered forming an apparently non-military county-wide association for assisting the civil power to suppress seditious tumults and disperse unlawful assemblies, at the call of the civil magistrates. 8
Although sometimes accused of being unprepared or unsuitable, volunteers were not believed to be unwilling to face an invasion. Their readiness to suppress internal disorder was much more questionable, and, in the instances where volunteers themselves were involved in rioting, alarming. The widespread formation of volunteer corps and armed associations ‘equipped the state with an unprecedented, tailor-made opponent of riot in almost every locality’. 9 Frequent recourse to military force by local authorities during food disturbances from 1794 to 1796 encouraged dependence on the regular and volunteer forces as ‘the most efficacious repressive agency’. However, confidence in the volunteers’ policing capacity was partly undermined by incidents in which they were unreliable, but was, Roger Wells argues, destroyed by the desertion and involvement of urban infantry corps in riots in 1795–6 and 1800–1. 10 In both the south-west and the industrial regions of the north of England in 1800 and 1801 volunteers resigned or were implicated in rioting. Widespread reluctance to act against riots was compounded by large-scale resignations from volunteer corps; they were ‘essentially compromised and therefore suspect’. 11
Roger Wells concludes that the northern English urban volunteer establishment ‘defected’ in 1800–1. The ministry was largely unaware of the degree of disaffection among volunteers, as officers sought to conceal the extent of insubordination. In June 1800 one of the Sheffield corps disbanded, disingenuously claiming that no symptoms of riot were then apparent. The following September, many volunteers left town to avoid being called on to deal with food disturbances, and to avoid ‘the very great inveteracy of the People’. Only a tenth of the men assembled, and they were brought forward only ‘with great difficulty’. In London, even the Light Horse Volunteers ‘virtually collapsed as an effective force’, large numbers resigning or failing to appear on duty. 12 Yet absenteeism must be distinguished from disaffection. Low attendances were general from 1800 onwards, and appear to bear little relationship to the (p. 234 ) incidence of rioting. The attendance of the whole corps was in any case not normally considered necessary to suppress riots. Only about thirty men had been required to suppress a riot in Leicester in 1795, for example, when the mayor could have drawn on as many as 600. 13 To characterize the period as one of ‘a crisis of control with the Volunteer movement’ is to exaggerate the significance of their part in the riots of 1800 and 1801 in the country as a whole. 14 Volunteers could not be commanded to act against riots or insurrection except when called on to active service, so avoidance of policing activity is not necessarily a clear sign of insubordination or disaffection, and was legally not mutinous. Refusal to act against rioters was, however, considered one of the most serious offences by most corps. While members of the Malmesbury troop of Wiltshire Yeomanry Cavalry were liable to a fine of 10 shillings and 6 pence for failing to attend training and exercise, the penalty for not attending when called upon to suppress riots and tumults was 20 pounds, and 50 pounds for officers. 15
None the less, on a small but significant number of occasions, volunteers proved unreliable when faced with internal disorder. When required by magistrates to suppress rioting, a few volunteers refused outright to follow orders and returned their weapons; on other occasions they made excuses for non-attendance or simply did not attend the corps’ muster. In a few instances, notably in Devon and Scotland, volunteers were themselves involved in election or food rioting, as participants and organizers. In Devon, where some volunteers were involved in organizing riots, it has been argued that volunteer corps provided the most important county network that united rioters. The incipient social autonomy of volunteers and their experience in acting in disciplined bodies were important sources of collective solidarity. 16 As local residents, volunteers were understandably more circumspect than militiamen or regular soldiers when required to suppress disturbances. Earl Fitzwilliam thought the Sheffield Volunteers unreliable when required to suppress food riots in September 1800 because they might face ‘their particular friends and mess mates, perhaps even their own wives and children, calling out for Bread’. Early the following year, he thought they ‘would be as likely to turn their arms against (p. 235 ) the magistrates, as to support them in any disturbance’ over food prices. 17 When the North Shields and Tynemouth Volunteers were asked if they would turn out against a riot, they told their commanding officer they would be damned if they would against their neighbours. 18 Several Sheffield volunteers attended a political meeting in September 1800, later abusing and stoning those fellow-volunteers who had appeared on duty. 19 After riots in Errol in the Carse of Gowrie in 1800 in which several local volunteers were implicated, many men resigned from the corps, claiming that they could not follow their vocations in peace and without fear of their lives from the violence of their neighbours. 20 A few weeks after the Newcastle Volunteers had been called out against crowds of pitmen protesting against corn prices in 1795, a bandsman in. his uniform jacket encountered a group of pitmen who beat him so severely that he died. 21
Not only did the volunteers fear the consequences of involvement in repression, they also were unsympathetic to the aims of the civil authorities. A distinction commonly was drawn by volunteers between their commitment to face foreign invasion and the resulting internal disorder, and the magistrates’ requirement that they suppress food rioting. Lord Clifford complained in 1801 that ‘An unfortunate distinction has taken place in the minds of many Volunteers. They fancy they have complied with their oath of allegiance when they declare they will fight for their King and Country against the Common Enemy, but think they have a right to withhold their assistance when called upon to support the Civil Magistrate in the execution of what they disapprove.’ 22 The members of the Dartmouth Volunteer Artillery expressed this distinction; Captain Henry Studdy believed they were firmly attached to their king and country, and ready to come forward in their defence, but were unanimous in their refusal to quell riots caused by high prices. 23 Some, like the Auchtermuchty Volunteers, believed that dealing with rioters was simply no part of their duty. 24
(p. 236 ) The government placed great importance on distinguishing those corps that could be relied upon for use against disturbances. Lords lieutenant were asked in March 1798 to determine how far volunteers’ assistance could be called on against the invading enemy, and on the other hand to what extent they would be effectual for the police and internal tranquillity of the country. Henry Dundas thought it essentially important to discriminate between those two objects. 25 Some anticipated difficulties: the captains of the Gosport corps took care to select only resident propertied men as members in the belief that men who would readily march against a foreign enemy might not feel equally disposed to assist in the preservation of good order in a place where they were only itinerant or without family and property. 26 Yet problems could arise even in the most socially exclusive corps. At its re-formation in 1794 the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers intentionally omitted any reference to ‘Riots’ in its conditions of service, substituting ‘Insurrection’. Nevertheless, their commanding officer insisted, they had not refused to act against riots when requested. 27 When asked by the lord mayor to parade to forestall a riot in August 1794, the adjutant reminded him that it was not an occasion for which the Light Horse Volunteers had pledged their services, but he could depend on them to turn out in defence of the peace of the city, 28 Yet when asked to assemble against rioters in September 1800, many Light Horse Volunteers ‘either paid no attention to the summons, or chose to judge for themselves the urgency of the service’. 29
The volunteer force occupied an ambiguous position with regard to food shortages. The institution, particularly that of the yeomanry, was widely seen as one designed to protect the interests of farmers and landowners. The gentlemen farmers in the yeomanry were the very men the food rioters accused of hoarding and profiteering. 30 Henry Hunt claimed later that his fellow-yeomen in the Everly Troop in Wiltshire were preoccupied with ‘keeping up the price of corn, keeping down the price of wages, and at the same time keeping in subjugation the labourers, and (p. 237 ) silencing their dissatisfaction’. 31 However, poorer volunteers were believed to be sympathetic to the aims of rioters because they, too, suffered during food shortages. About eight married men of the Parkham volunteer company in Devon complained in April 1801 that they and their families were almost starving, as the farmers would not spare them any corn. 32 Others, however, expressed sympathy with the sufferings of the poor, with the implication that they were not necessarily poor, or suffering, themselves.
A commonly expressed feeling was that the farmers were taking advantage of the volunteers, who became known as ‘the Farmers Bull Dogs’. 33 Arthur Young criticized selfish landowners whose extravagant prices caused riots, from which they were protected by men of very different feelings. 34 An anonymous notice suggested that the private men of the West Bromwich Volunteers were ‘poor fellows’ who were being exploited by their officers: ‘What they want you for is to protect their lives and their liver, and their ill gained property and to dam [sic] you to death, and when you have done all you are able you may go to hell for all they care.’ 35 The Finchdean Volunteers believed that the volunteers themselves were the cause of the high price of provisions; in Chichester the idea ‘was gone abroad & had been industriously propagated vizt. that the several Volunteer Corps were the cause of keeping up the high price of Provisions, by inducing the Shopkeepers &c. to charge what they pleas’d in the confidence of being protected from ye effects of Riots &c. by the Volunteers’. 36 Six members of the Wells Loyal Volunteers in Norfolk resigned in 1801 for this reason. The corps had been abused by a skittles player at the Bowling Green Public House who’ “d——nd them as the cause of the high price of bread”—and said that “he wished their hearts were broiling on the fire or words to that effect’. 37 Several gentlemen, members of armed associations in the neighbourhood of Bilston, near Wolverhampton, declared in May (p. 238 ) 1800 that they had joined in, order to protect their king and constitution, not ‘to give Security to the inhuman Oppressor, whilst the Poor are starving in the midst of Plenty.’ 38
Volunteers publicly announced their unwillingness to oppose food riots. A junior officer in a London corps announced in July 1801 to the Common Council of his Ward that he would not turn out to cpell any disturbance over the expense of provisions, and was suspended by his commanding officer. 39 In the aftermath of volunteer rioting in 1801, all Devon corps were required to state whether they were willing to suppress civil disturbances. After an incident in March 1801 in which the Dartmouth Volunteer Artillery was implicated in food rioting, its commander asked the men whether they were willing to defend their king and country against the common enemy. They all said they would. He then asked them if they were willing to repress and quell riots and keep the peace of the country, to which they replied, ‘No, not to starve our own families’. 40 The Sheffield Volunteers met in companies during the summer of 1800 to discuss whether they should obey their officers and turn out at the requisition of the magistrates against food riots. Three-quarters were reported to have decided against doing so. 41 Some Exeter volunteers declared simply that ‘they would not protect the farmers’, and returned their arms. 42
The effectiveness and plausibility of threats of volunteer disaffection are illustrated by a letter purporting to be from ‘A poor private’ sent to Captain Isaac Pratt of the Loyal Birmingham Volunteers, setting out the possible consequences of volunteers’ attitudes towards food shortages. He considered a rumoured plan to send corn out of the county to create an artificial shortage ‘a wicked ungrateful return for our loyalty’, and warned Captain Pratt that there were ‘murmurs among us and discontent is beginning: the End might be Dreadful: every man can now use arms: to a man we are determined not for ourselves and families to starve again in the midst of plenty’. The whole county was to suffer for the sake of a few rich landowners and corn jobbers, and poor volunteers ‘are not to be any longer wantonly (p. 239 ) oppressed’. Most ominously, ‘We know & can see our freinds [sic] now, & which way to point our muskets’ There were doubts that the letter was actually from a volunteer since there had been no other sign of discontent in the corps. Nevertheless, the letter reached Pitt, indicating that popular discontent at food shortages was thought to be shared by poor volunteers, and that a threat of violence by them, though unusual, was believable and was taken seriously at a high level. 43
More common than outright refusal to act on riot duty was absenteeism or persistent evasion. Typically, volunteers failed to attend musters when policing duties seemed likely. Because attendance was essentially voluntary, unless specifically ordered out against rioters, it was difficult to punish absence or identify it with disloyalty. Selective absenteeism was common enough in Henry Hunt’s Wiltshire yeomanry troop that it was known as ‘going to Boreham’, after the transparent excuse given by the captain on an occasion when he wanted to avoid policing duty in the market at Salisbury. Expecting trouble and following the captain’s example, the lieutenant went to London so as to be away for the day. The troop, arriving at the remaining officer’s house, found him in a long flannel dressing gown and a pair of scarlet slippers, complaining of a violent pain in the bowels. The troop never reached Salisbury. 44 The commander of the Sheffield Volunteers also was absent when his corps proved reluctant to turn out against a riot over corn prices. Fewer than 50 of the regiment of 500 men appeared; the commanding officer queried how long arms ought to be entrusted to men of such a turn of mind. 45
Riot duty could lead to serious divisions within corps. Few members of the Peterhead corps mustered when required to protect the shipping of a cargo of oatmeal in February 1800. Nearly all came instead in their working clothes, offering to return their arms and uniforms and abusing those who had attended in uniform. They would defend their officers, and all property in the town, they declared, but would not assist in shipping the meal. 46
It was, however, of much greater consequence than reluctance to suppress rioting, when volunteers themselves actively were involved in riots. Their involvement made otherwise insignificant disturbances of (p. 240 ) major concern to the authorities. 47 Roger Wells has described as crucial the role of volunteers in the food riots of 1800–1801 in the south-west of England. 48 In Devon in particular, several volunteers as individuals or in groups joined or led riots to fix food prices. The corps structure itself provided the nucleus for some riots in 1800. 49 Sir Robert Wilson, Inspecting Field Officer of the south-western volunteers, reported in February 1804 that ‘The Volunteers are resigning, disputing, and daily becoming a more fearful force for this country. If want should menace to pinch them, it is my firm opinion that this immortal deed of the Doctor’s will establish a maximum by beat of drum and cram the bellies of the land proprietors with cold iron,’ 50
The ministry’s fears that volunteer organization could be used for subversive purposes gave volunteers’ involvement in riots additional significance and prominence. Specifically, it was feared that the volunteers would act as an group, armed and in an organized military fashion, and in military clothing. When members of the Knaresborough Volunteers were reported to have taken an active part in an election riot in August 1804, the lord lieutenant considered the essential question was whether they had acted as individuals or whether they had associated together as military men would do, as a corps and in uniform. 51 When the majority of three volunteer companies joined rioting crowds at Newton Abbot in 1801, the yeomanry of the neighbourhood were unwilling to come forward because they were unable to resist the volunteers who had been trained to arms. 52
Volunteers’ experience in acting in disciplined bodies made them well suited to organizing price-fixing crowds, and their regular meetings provided opportunities for planning. The sergeant of one Devon corps was identified as the leader of a crowd which contained nearly all the members of the corps. Price fixing was also believed to be organized by correspondence among meetings in all the large towns of Devon in which volunteers were prominent as organizers. One of the officers of the (p. 241 ) Brixham Volunteers allegedly went to Dartmouth to get instructions on how to act from the leaders of a mob there, in which volunteers were also involved. 53 A crowd from Brixham went around the neighbouring farms in March 1801 to point out the distress of the poor and to induce the farmers to sell their provisions at the prices established at Dartmouth, The crowd, ‘a general Assembly of all the lower Order of the People’, included all the Sea Fencibles and many of the volunteers, and was led by three volunteer officers. One of them was reported to have requested a farmer to sign a paper that listed the prices fixed for different articles of produce, said to have been copied from one prepared by a committee at Dartmouth. The officers explained that they were actuated by the best motives, going along with the crowd and with two constables at the ‘earnest Solicitation of many respectable Inhabitants’ in order to prevent intoxication, confusion, outrage, and violence. Despite protestations of loyalty to king and constitution and readiness to come forward in their defence, the Brixham corps was rapidly disbanded. 54 The Black Torrington Volunteers took the opportunity of their weekly meeting for exercise on a Sunday to discuss assembling to lower the price of corn. The following Thursday, four of the volunteers headed a crowd of men and women which intimidated farmers in the neighbourhood of Sheepwash. Their commanding officer nevertheless assured the lord lieutenant that none of his men except the two leaders of the riot was involved or even knew of the plans. 55
Much volunteer involvement in Devon, as at Sheepwash and Brixham, took the form of intimidation of farmers to induce them to sell their grain at set prices. The presence of volunteers, even if unarmed, in these crowds probably helped to imply that there would be future retribution on farmers if promises were not kept. Organization by volunteers was highly visible, and the more alarming to the county administration in consequence. Yet other organized groups were sometimes involved in co-ordinating price-fixing. A large friendly society, possibly a front for a union lodge, met at Sheepwash on the same day in April 1801 as the riot in which the Black (p. 242 ) Torrington Volunteers were involved, and an organizational connection was apparent. 56
The question of who was involved in these disturbances is particularly significant because the behaviour of the volunteers has been attributed largely to their social position. Most reports refer to the rioters as common men and women, and imply that the volunteers involved were their social equals; urban artisans and labourers, but presumably not farmers. The majority of the riots were not rural, but rather mainly involved urban men and women who were dependent on town markets. Volunteer corps composed of urban working men included those hardest hit by food shortages, so could not be expected to remain willing to suppress food riots. Rural cavalry corps, recruited from farmers, landowners, and their dependants, remained comparatively reliable. 57 Miners in the Tavistock Volunteers would not turn out against a group of fellow-miners who threatened to take corn from a store house at their own price. The other members of the corps, whom their lieutenant-colonel described as the principal inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood, did however assemble when required to by a magistrate. 58
The connection between labourers and tradesmen and support for food rioters is suggested by other instances. Among the tradesmen assembled to fix corn prices at Dartmouth in March 1801 were reported to have been ten or twelve members of the Associated Corps. 59 The men of both the Peterhead and Auchtermuchty Volunteers who disobeyed orders were described as wearing their working clothes, implying that they were artisans or labourers. 60 Tradesmen volunteers were prominent among the leaders of a crowd at Dartmouth, including three cordwainers, a wheelwright, a mason, a sadler, a woolcomber, a master tailor, and a victualler. At Banbury, rioting volunteers included merchants and retailers: a coal merchant, a salesman, a baker, a grocer, and a druggist. 61 None of these groups is untypical of what is known of the membership of the volunteer force in general, so it is unlikely that their social composition alone made these corps more likely than others to take part in disturbances.
(p. 243 ) The participation of officers in the Brixham disturbances was considered far more significant than cases where only private men were involved. The unreliability of the Brixham corps in general has been attributed to the inadequate influence and status of their officers. The commanding officer was a tavern keeper and post office official, and was on the occasion of the riot absent on business. The other captain, a butcher, was forced to join the crowd by threats to pull down his house. Two other officers, both lieutenants, were implicated: a shopkeeper and a schoolmaster. 62 However, many other volunteer corps appear to have had officers of similar social rank without adverse effects on their reliability. Nearly all volunteer corps contained significant numbers of labouring men and artisans, who were on the whole reliable against riots. When a corps was involved in a riot, usually only a small number of its members were implicated. Usually no apparent social grouping distinguished them from the remainder of the corps. None the less, social rank was at the time commonly taken to be an explanation for disorderly behaviour. For example, an anonymous correspondent complained to Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham, in 1802 that the local volunteer corps had introduced great mischief and done incalculable injury to the police of Durham. This he attributed to the corps’ lately having admitted apprentices, who appeared on Sunday nights staggering along the streets in a state of extreme intoxication. 63
An alternative social sub-group that might explain the tendency of corps to riot is provided by religious allegiance. The deputy lieutenants of the Carse of Gowrie district of Perthshire believed religious divisions more significant than social. Food rioting in 1801 appeared to them to be the result of a concerted system among fewers, or holders of feudal land tenures, and among people not of the established church. Dissenters, relief people, and seceders were, they believed, hostile to every establishment in church and state. Many of the volunteers were of the same description, but the deputy lieutenants did not point out any instances of their involvement in disorders. 64 Nor were religious adherences suggested elsewhere as an explanation for solidarity among volunteer rioters.
Dissenters were sometimes seen as a potential source of disaffection within the volunteers. Those men of the Dickering Volunteers in the East (p. 244 ) Riding who refused to extend their terms of service in 1798 were reported to be Methodists. 65 In some places following the invasion scare of 1797–8, efforts were taken to eject dissenters from volunteer corps. 66 Yet the loyalty of dissenters could equally well be stressed: the Reverend George Whytock argued that only the requirement to swear an oath prevented seceders from joining volunteer corps, though many had an aversion to arms. He stressed their loyalty, pointing out that in 1745 seceders had been embodied as volunteers in support of the government without any requirement to swear oaths. 67
The nature of the community within which the volunteers lived has been proposed as an explanation for their readiness to protest. The insubordination of some Devon corps has been contrasted with the reliability of their Manchester counterparts during the same period. Members of the latter were chosen for their political loyalty from all parts of a large town, whereas corps in Devon institutionalized existing social bonds of a small town’s working men. 68 Most of the Devon corps involved in riots, other than those in Exeter, were small and from relatively small towns. Devon as a whole had a high proportion of volunteers to adult male population, and they were organized in a large number of small corps. Most of the volunteers throughout the country were in corps of around a hundred men, although it is generally difficult to tell whether their members were urban or rural inhabitants. 69 Yet too much can be made of the connection between the plebeian independence of the Devon volunteers and their propensity to riot. Small corps in country towns composed of labouring men and commanded by minor members of the urban middle classes were by no means unique to the south-west. Similarly constituted corps existed in many other parts of the country, and the vast majority did not become involved in rioting. Furthermore, the involvement of the Exeter volunteers cannot be explained merely by relating corporate independence to small urban communities.
The nature of the volunteers’ communities should be considered in relation to the sense of corporate independence within the corps themselves. Habits of corporate independence probably help to explain the readiness of some of the Devon corps to become involved in popular (p. 245 ) protest. A disproportionate number of the long-established corps were implicated in the disturbances. The Exeter, Teignmouth, Seaton and Beer, and Newton Abbot and Newton Bushell corps had all been first gazeted in 1794. Their long experience of autonomy, and possibly greater freedom in the choice of their officers allowed by earlier regulations, may have encouraged independence of activity, but presumably no more so than equally old corps elsewhere. Unlike several other counties, corps in Devon were not grouped in larger regional regiments. The consequent fragmentation of command and lack of co-ordination may explain why volunteers there found it easier to participate in food protests than volunteers elsewhere. It is unfortunately difficult to discover whether the corps implicated in rioting received official allowances or not. If not, they presumably would have felt their freedom of action less circumscribed than if reliant on official favour. None of these conditions was unique to Devon, nor to the corps elsewhere involved in riots; this helps to illuminate the justifiable wariness of the administration with regard to the reliability of volunteer corps in general.
Apart from the corps directly implicated in rioting, disbandments were few. Possibly it was felt that the value of volunteers in the event of an invasion outweighed the potential threat from their unreliability in the face of civil disorder. That unreliability was in any case not remarkably greater than that of the militia, although, given the nature of volunteer membership and corps’ autonomy, its implications were more worrying. Moreover, the central and local authorities feared that a disbanded corps of trained volunteers would be far more dangerous than one kept under regulation and employed with circumspection. Lord Rolle pointed out in 1797 that the volunteers had kept Devon quiet during a troubled period, but would be politically reliable only so long as they were kept together. 70 When enquiries were made into the reliability of the Sheffield Volunteers in the aftermath of food rioting in 1801, the Home Office was told they were not to be trusted. In this case, and several others, the action recommended was not to disband the corps, but to avoid calling it on active duty. It was probably preferable to keep them under military control than to attempt to disarm them. 71 Nevertheless, measures were taken to expel suspect members and to discourage the formation of potentially unreliable corps.
Volunteer rioting was only the most spectacular symptom of their readiness to take direct and sometimes violent action on behalf of their corps. (p. 246 ) Their corporate independence was further shown by their response to external attacks on their members. When in 1804 a naval impress gang at Chester pressed one of the town volunteers, it was reported that 400 of his corps paraded to the gaol and demanded his return, threatening violence. Initial reports claimed mistakenly that when their commanding officer tried to stop them, some of the volunteers called out to have his sword broken over his head. The volunteers were reported to have forced in the doors and windows of the gaol, released their comrade, and chaired him through the city. They next attacked the naval rendezvous house; four companies of the Shropshire Supplementary Militia were called in to restore peace. The volunteers’ commander subsequently reported to the Commander-in-Chief that there had been no more than fifty volunteers present, and that most of them had played no part in the riot, though they were conspicuous because of their uniforms. Nevertheless, William Cobbett used this incident to attack the volunteer system in general. Hyperbolically, he compared the Northgate Gaol in Chester to the Bastille, concluding that if nothing was done to prevent the repetition of such events, historians would record, ‘here the revolution of England began’. 72
Rivalry between different corps could lead to major controversy and public disturbances, particularly because the organizations were large and their activities public. The two volunteer corps in Reading were long-standing rivals, and the first was considered to have acquired much eclat by volunteering into the Local Militia in 1809 while the second remained part of the volunteer establishment. After a parade of local corps for the king’s birthday that year, a dispute arose over the payment of I guinea for marching expenses to the local militiamen. Their commanding officer asked the Woodley Volunteer Cavalry to parade about to keep order. A crowd nearby, consisting mostly of volunteers, encouraged the local militiamen to resist their officers, lay down their arms, and ‘stick out for your Rights, & have your Guineas’. The crowd pressed on the sentinels, and one of the volunteers was wounded by a militia sergeant, who was then pulled out by the crowd and had to be rescued by a constable. When two non-volunteers who were encouraging the riot were taken into custody, the volunteers drew their bayonets and declared their intention to rescue them. The Reading Volunteers were accused of inciting the Local Militia to mutiny, and consequently were disbanded by the Secretary of State for War. Yet the lieutenant (p. 247 ) of the military district could complain that the secretary of state’s action was extraordinary and unnecessarily harsh, and his readiness to act on partisan and unofficial information was due to his eagerness to get rid of the volunteers in favour of the Local Militia. 73
The picture created by instances of volunteer involvement in riots must be qualified by the general reliability of volunteer corps when faced with civil disorder. The widespread employment of volunteers to suppress riots, mount patrols, and assist revenue officers demonstrates that the force’s usefulness and ready availability was sufficient to overcome any uneasiness about individual corps’ unreliability. Concentration on instances in which volunteers joined riots explains why magistrates were sometimes reluctant to call upon their assistance, but it gives a misleading impression contrasting with the general reliability of most corps. The number of volunteer corps actively involved in rioting was comparatively small In most reported cases where volunteer corps were called upon to face civil disturbances, they were willing to act, and often proved effective.
The standing army, formerly seen as a threat to the constitution, had become accepted as playing a vital part in the maintenance of internal order by the time of the Luddite disturbances. 74 While the militia traditionally had been promoted as the ‘constitutional’ force in contrast to the regular army, by the turn of the century the distinction between the two had become less pointed. During its long wartime embodiment, nearly all the militia regiments were stationed away from their home counties, losing their local ties, and came to be treated as a source of recruits for the army. In some senses, the volunteers took the place of the militia in its former territorial role, influential in local society and with social functions and responsibilities beyond its immediate military purposes. Volunteers increasingly were employed in a range of duties formerly usually performed by the regular army. In a published collection of essays, Captain Francis Eliot of the Staffordshire Volunteer Cavalry argued that the yeomanry were incomparably preferable to the militia and regular forces for internal defence because they were of use in more than their ostensible, military character. They also provided a ‘preventive service’ in their private situations; while pursuing their usual occupations in civil life, they would select the dangerous and designing from among their neighbours. By making them feel (p. 248 ) marked characters, the off-duty yeomen would repress the disaffected and overawe the ill-disposed. 75 Carefully selected Inverness volunteers who were workmen in large local factories were given superior uniforms and equipment in the expectation that this would make them proud of the distinction and so act as checks on those of their fellow-workmen who might be seditiously inclined. Their example and the propriety of their conduct was reported to have visibly improved the morals of the other workmen. 76
The usual response by local magistrates to civil disorder that they could not deal with alone was to request the presence of regular soldiers. Throughout the eighteenth century, the army was employed to a wide extent in internal policing and peace-keeping duties. The maintenance of civil order was given priority in peacetime over the army’s military requirements. Soldiers were regularly employed in the revenue service, and kept widely dispersed for much of the time. With the embodiment of the militia and the raising of volunteers in 1794, two further types of force were available to civil magistrates for peace-keeping at a time when regular troops were less readily available. Of these, the infantry volunteers and yeomanry were both the more widely available and had been specifically raised with the maintenance of internal order in mind. In a compilation of 202 food-related disturbances in England and Wales during the years 1795, 1796, 1800, and 1801, volunteers appear to have opposed crowds on 86 occasions, while regular soldiers were used in 62 incidents, and both forces on 26 of these occasions. 77
In many instances, magistrates called on yeomanry cavalry corps rather than volunteer infantry. This may be interpreted as an indication that the infantry were considered to be less reliable than the cavalry. Such seems to have been the case when the Woodley Cavalry was called in to deal with the disorder involving the Reading Volunteers and Local Militia. 78 Earl Fitzwilliam pointed out that the food riots of 1800 had shown both the utility of the yeomanry cavalry, and that the same dependence could not be placed on the local corps of volunteer infantry. 79 During the Luddite disturbances in Shropshire in 1812, it was considered inadvisable to call out (p. 249 ) any Local Militia regiment in its own neighbourhood, but instead magistrates readily sought the assistance of yeomanry cavalry troops. 80 Earl Fitzwilliam pointed out that the food riots of 1800 had both demonstrated the utility of the yeomanry cavalry and shown that the same dependence could not be placed on the local corps of volunteer infantry. 81 It seems, however, that in most cases yeomanry cavalry corps were employed against disturbances because they were more suited to the task, not because their infantry counterparts were necessarily unreliable. The experience of the Gordon Riots showed that cavalry were more likely to be effective than foot soldiers in dealing with urban disturbances. They were more useful for patrol duty and were better able to catch and disperse crowds. Small mounted troops were more manageable and could respond faster than foot soldiers, whose course of action against crowds was usually limited to threats to shoot. Combined forces of horse and foot soldiers, though, were most successful against determined, armed rioters. 82
Ignorance of the law relating to riots was widespread, particularly with regard to the degree of force permitted. It was commonly believed, without legal basis, that armed force could not be used against riots except in self-defence as a last resort. 83 Many volunteer officers, even when they were themselves justices of the peace, felt unable to act against disturbances unless ordered to do so by a magistrate. R. A. Athorpe, however, acted as both magistrate and colonel of the Sheffield Volunteers during a riot in Sheffield in August 1795. 84 After several incidents implicating volunteers in rioting, the lord lieutenant of Devon in 1801 took legal advice on whether the presence of a justice of the peace was necessary for volunteers to act against a breach of the peace. He was told that though it was not essential for a peace officer to be present, it was advisable to procure one as the known authority of a magistrate’s orders was both more likely to carry weight with rioters, and would prevent any unneccessary violence by the military. 85
(p. 250 ) Some officers acted on their owe initiative to guard against the development of potential disturbances. When in 1800 the mayor of Henley received an anonymous letter threatening to burn and pillage the town, he asked the local armed association to carry out nightly patrols. 86 The Hambledon and Wickham Volunteers in Hampshire were ordered by their commanding officer to be in constant readiness in case of tumult over high grain prices in March 1800, and he instituted a nightly patrol by the corps. Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer claimed to have received information that disaffected persons intended to carry out threats contained in a variety of anonymous papers scattered in the neighbourhood, five of which he sent to the acting magistrate for the Portsdown division. The lord lieutenant, however, thought Palmer alarmist. The inflammatory papers, Lord Bolton believed, should have created no more reasonable alarm in the area of Hambledon than had been felt in the many other areas of the county in which similar menaces had been made. The War Office’s principal objection was not to the patrols themselves, but to paying for them. 87
More usually, volunteer corps were called out to face a disturbance already in progress, to forestall one about to break out, or to carry out policing after disturbances had been suppressed. Unless on permanent duty; volunteers could not be directed to suppress riots, but could only be requested to act. As the commanding officer of the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers reminded the First Lord of the Treasury in 1810, the corps was liable to be called out only in the event of an invasion or the appearance of invasion or insurrection. For this reason, the Duke of Portland confined his command for the corps to assemble to ‘such part of them as may be voluntarily disposed to act in aid of the Civil Power at the present conjuncture’. 88
The majority of requests for volunteer service came from civil magistrates, not the military authorities. Typically, magistrates would request a commanding officer to assemble his corps in readiness to act against anticipated breaches of the peace. In London, these requests came normally from the lord mayor or the magistrates of the seven Public (p. 251 ) Offices. The captain commanding the Knight Marshal’s Volunteers received a note in October 1800 from the two magistrates of the police office in Queen Square. They explained that as there was reason to apprehend that attempts would be made to renew recent disturbances of the public peace, it was thought proper that the volunteers should be in readiness at their quarters to assist the magistrates if necessary. 89 The response to such a request was sometimes rapid, since the volunteers nearly always lived nearby. The Loyal Leicester troop of Volunteer Cavalry was reported to have assembled fully armed and accoutred within about 10 minutes of an instruction from the mayor in 1795. 90 Rural cavalry troops, however, could take a few hours to assemble. By 1810, military planning envisaged metropolitan volunteer corps acting in concert with regular soldiers when dealing with riots. In the event of a serious tumult, 200 infantrymen were to be attached to the Light Horse Volunteers in Gray’s Inn Lane, which would provide detachments for the Charterhouse and Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Neighbouring military stations, at the British Museum and in Finsbury Square and Worship Street, were to be manned by regular soldiers, 91 The survival of a large collection of the corps’ papers means the example of the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers is unusually well documented. Although a large corps, the Light Horse Volunteers acted in small divisions, usually of around a dozen men, which could be assembled relatively quickly. They were part of a much larger civil and military force under the direction of the lord mayor, who asked for military assistance only if magistrates and constables alone were unable to stop riots. Brook Watson, lord mayor in 1795, called the Light Horse Volunteers his ‘Sheet Anchor’. 92 Between August 1794 and September 1800, the corps was called out, or asked to be in readiness, at least twenty-six times, almost half of these occasions being in 1795. 93 Many of these requests were made at short notice by police magistrates or the lord mayor, and often in the evening. The Light Horse Volunteers and Honourable Artillery Company appear to have had close links with the Public Office in Worship Street in Finsbury, close to both the Honourable Artillery (p. 252 ) Company’s ground and one of the volunteers’ stables. On. occasions when disturbances could be anticipated, the volunteers offered their services in advance. 94
A typical incident is one reported for July 1795. Patrick Colquhoun, political economist and one of the magistrates at the Worship Street office, heard from a witness that a crowd was assembling to demolish a public house in nearby Chiswell Street. He sent a note to the commanding officer of the Light Horse Volunteers, after nine in the evening, suggesting that the presence of a few of his corps would prevent the crowd’s threatenings being put into execution. 95 The volunteers found that the crowd had fled on the arrival of thirty Life Guards, and that the Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry and some regular infantry and cavalry had already assembled in St. George’s Fields, so they were not needed. The officer in charge of the detachment reported that one of the objects of the crowd had been to harass and weary the military, rather than to confront them. 96
It appears that the volunteers seldom knew in advance how much assistance, if any, they were to receive in such circumstances. When sufficient warning was received of potential civil disorder, the volunteer corps and armed associations in London formed an integral part of the Home Office’s planning. The Home Office co-ordinated military precautions before the general meetings of the London Corresponding Society, directing the lord mayor to request the metropolitan volunteer corps, and requesting the Light Horse Volunteers and the St James’s Association directly, to maintain a state of readiness to assist the civil authorities. 97 When the London Corresponding Society advertised a general meeting at St George’s Fields for late June 1795, the Home Secretary asked the lord mayor to take steps to ensure the preservation of public peace and tranquillity. He suggested requesting the gentlemen of the volunteer cavalry and the Honourable Artillery Company to be ready to assist the civil authorities if called upon. The quarter-master general was also asked to prepare the regular forces at the Savoy, the Tower, and Horse Guards. They too were asked to assist the civil magistrates, but the volunteers appear not to have been told of the (p. 253 ) regulars’ likely presence. 98 In preparation for subsequent meetings of the London Corresponding Society, requests were made by the Home Office directly to the commander of the Light Horse Volunteers and the committee of the St James’s Volunteers for assistance, 99 Requests for aid directly from other corps were exceptional, as in the case of the disturbances at Reading in June 1809, when the Marquis of Blandford, commanding the Local Militia, requested the Woodley Yeomanry Cavalry to parade about. 100
Very few first-hand reports from officers survive of how regular troops were used against riots. For the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers, however, a substantial series of reports by officers to the corps’ committee has been preserved. 101 They are particularly detailed regarding the measures taken during the ‘crimp’ riots of August 1794. These disturbances centred on public houses used as rendezvous by agents trading in recruits for the army and navy. Rumours of kidnapping by crimps compounded hostility to militia balloting in summer 1794, and attacks on crimp houses started after a recruit was found dead outside one on 15 August. 102 The lord mayor used magistrates and Horse Guards to prevent attacks, but on the 20th, ‘finding the impossibility of quelling a further riot with the civil power only’, he asked the Light Horse Volunteers and the Honourable Artillery Company for assistance. 103 Detachments of the volunteers remained on duty for the next four evenings. In addition to regular horse and foot soldiers, Patrick Colquhoun, one of the police magistrates, swore in 500 ‘respectable householders’ around the Worship Street public office as special constables. Although these were the largest riots since 1780, no rioters were injured. 104
The Light Horse Volunteers’ own published standing orders of 1805 contained a guide to ‘Street Duly’ against rioters, who were described as ‘the enemy’, and who were not expected to be armed except with stones. Patrols were recommended to prevent a crowd from assembling or from (p. 254 ) rallying once it had been dispersed. Divisions were to move in threes, so that a column could charge in streets ‘where it is desirable to disperse a mob without doing much harm’. As ‘many tricks can be played them by a designing mob’, cavalry were advised to keep moving when likely to be attacked, and not to enter barricaded streets without leaving a guard to secure the retreat. 105 No guidance was given to the degree of force to be used against rioters, nor to whether they could be taken prisoner.
It was generally acknowledged that volunteers were more likely to be called on to deal with civil disorder than an invasion. Francis Eliot, a major in the Staffordshire Volunteer Light Cavalry, setting out field instructions for his corps, chose those most likely to be of use in quelling a riot in the streets and squares of a manufacturing town, ‘where (if ever) we are most likely to be called into action’. 106 Because they would most probably act ‘against casual and temporary mobs of foot people’ armed with bludgeons, or unarmed, ‘The volunteers should accustom themselves to aim their cuts low, on account of acting against adversaries below their own level.’ 107
In practice, the nature of confrontations with rioters had not been predictable. Rioters dispersed rapidly, to re-form once the volunteers had gone. In the 1794 disturbances, volunteer detachments were directed to deal with rioters attacking specific crimping houses, which usually involved following the rioters to other houses in attempts to forestall further attacks. The primary tactic of the volunteers seems to have been to intimidate rioters by their presence at a crimping house or by parading in the streets. The appearance of a troop was itself sometimes enough to disperse a crowd, and parading sufficient to prevent the crowd re-forming. The volunteers of Gosport, for example, were later said to have intimidated riotous seamen and driven away lawless men during the mutiny at Spithead in 1797 simply by their formidable appearance when marching through the streets. 108 The frequent failure of regular military intervention against riots has been ascribed to the ineffectiveness of troops when the rioters did not disperse, because officers were uncertain of their powers to act. 109 No such problems were encountered by the Light Horse Volunteers, who were accompanied by civil magistrates, and left the arrest of rioters to the constables. Nor did (p. 255 ) jurisdietional limits restrain the volunteers. The lord mayor used the Light Horse Volunteers to follow rioters who left the limits of the City and therefore of his jurisdiction.
The detailed officers’ reports show that the crimp rioters were faced by relatively small detachments of Light Horse Volunteers gathered at short notice, but usually acting together with other corps or regular soldiers. The captain commandant, Charles Herries, reported to the corps’ committee that on receiving the lord mayor’s summons at eight in the evening of 20 August, he collected eleven members he found at the riding houses and more than two hours later joined a detachment of guards accompanying the lord mayor. Sent to pursue a crowd attacking a public house, the volunteers were accompanied by a sheriff acting as magistrate. A very considerable crowd had beaten off the constables, and was found busily employed gutting the ‘Sash’ public house in Moorfields. The small party of volunteers, though pelted with brickbats, formed in front of the building so the constables could enter it. They were unwilling to attempt it alone, so four volunteers with swords entered the house. The constables arrested five of the principal rioters, who were taken to a watch house. The crowd was thought to have disappeared, but it returned once the volunteers had gone. After clearing the house a second time, the volunteers moved on to another public house thought to be a target. After waiting half an hour in Jeffries Square off St Mary Axe, no attack seemed likely, so the detachment returned to Fleet Street by midnight.
A second detachment of eleven men, commanded by the adjutant, had been sent by the lord mayor to deal with a riot in Fleet Street. The volunteers covered the street so as to prevent any rioters getting behind them, and marched at a trot towards Shoe Lane. A picquet of Coldstream Guards there stopped the crowd going any further. The volunteers then paraded up and down Fleet Street, and between Holborn Hill and Holborn Bars (at the end of Gray’s Inn Lane), before remaining at Holborn for several hours. The next day, the detachment made an extensive patrol of the western fringes of the City, and reported to the lord mayor that they saw ‘no preparations for mischief unless it might originate with about half a Dozen ill-disposed fellows stationed in different parts of Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, who loaded us with Groans Hisses and Cat-calls as we were coming along’. On that and two subsequent evenings, the adjutant’s detachment supported the Honourable Artillery Company against rioters or in readiness to face rioters. 110
(p. 256 ) The volunteers’ handling of urban riots followed established lines and was not dissimilar to the activities of the metropolitan voluntary associations in 1780. In that year, the Billingsgate Association claimed to have assembled sixty men against a riot on 8 June, patrolled the streets and lanes, and examined public houses. By arresting or pursuing suspicious persons found lurking in the ward, the association claimed to have prevented the recurrence of riots and tumults. 111
Outside the metropolis, magistrates had a much more restricted range of military assistance open to them. Only small forces could be collected at short notice, yet the resulting encounters could sometimes be as violent as the London crimp riots. Normally volunteer corps had to act alone, and often in relatively small numbers, particularly against food riots, which developed too rapidly for distant forces to be called in at first. At Stony Stratford in March 1796 a magistrate initially could call on only a sergeant and four men of the Newport and Buckingham United Squadron of Yeomanry to stop a ‘violent and outrageous’ mob of several hundred from plundering a wagon load of wheat. The yeomen charged the crowd, disengaged the wagon, and escorted it to its destination. At the same time in Fenny Stratford, twenty yeomen charged a crowd which had stopped a flour wagon, and took seven prisoners. The men in the crowd resisted the yeomen while the women plundered the wagon; the three prisoners escorted to Aylesbury gaol by a sergeant and seven privates were all women, however. In both incidents, the corps were kept on duty to guard the prisoners and to protect the magistrates while they made their examinations. 112 Women were often treated as harshly as men in the repression of riots, and crowds containing women were just as likely as all-male crowds to be forcibly dispersed. 113
The presence of yeomen cavalry, even in small numbers, tended to divert rather than prevent attacks on property. Volunteers rarely seem to have been faced with armed and determined resistance. The Leicester Volunteer Corps of infantry and cavalry were sent to arrest two deserters from the Leicester Fencibles who had been liberated by a large number of canal workmen in April 1795. When the volunteer cavalry troop reached the ‘Recruiting-Sergeant’ public house at Newton Harcourt, several of the workmen appeared at the door with long pikes, seemingly determined to (p. 257 ) resist. A magistrate read the Riot Act, and a party of volunteers dismounted and searched the house, arresting four of the most desperate of the rioters. The corps searched the countryside the next day, and arrested nine more, including Red Jack and Northamptonshire Tom, terrors to every county they had resided in, according to the printer of the Northampton Mercury. 114
Reading of the Riot Act did not always have the desired effect, and deaths were not unknown; shooting often exacerbated a dangerous situation. In Sheffield, ‘that vile Sink of vice and sedition’, several thousand crowded around the Loyal Sheffield Regiment of the Line when it was on parade in July 1795, encouraging the men to desert. On the arrival of the Sheffield Volunteers the tumult increased, and the Riot Act was read by a magistrate, without effect. After ninety minutes in which several soldiers were hit by bricks and stones, they were ordered to shoot at the rioters. 115 Similarly, after the Riot Act had been read without result, a crowd at Barrow-upon-Soar in 1795 assailed the Leicester troop of yeomanry cavalry with brickbats, and some shots were fired from adjacent houses. The cavalrymen fired back, killing at least two and wounding six or more, 116 At Nottingham in September 1800, a witness wrote that rioters ‘attacked both Yeomanry and infantry with such fury… that they was their masters tho’ armed with nothing but stones’. 117
Although their choice of action against rioters was limited, volunteers were as effective as regular troops. The Sheffield Volunteers had been called in because they could be relied upon not to side with the disaffected; the commanding officer of the line regiment feared that many of his men had been encouraged to desert by the constitutional society, which he thought a hot bed of sedition. 118 He characterized Sheffield as divided between the disloyal, who were organized by the corresponding society; and the loyal, who had joined the regulars or the volunteers. A testament to the effectiveness of volunteers against riots was provided by ‘A sincere Friend to Government’ in Inverness. The local volunteer companies had (p. 258 ) turned out cheerfully against several riots in March and April 1796, on one occasion having fired at part of the crowd, killing one rioter. The following October, the Duke of Portland was warned that several men involved in the riots had proposed forming a volunteer corps of their owe, in order to have the power to defend themselves against any attack by the other volunteers. 119
Volunteers were employed to suppress disturbances involving other military bodies, as when the Oxfordshire Militia rioted near Newhaven in 1795. 120 Yet it cannot be inferred that volunteers were believed to be more trustworthy than regular soldiers or militiamen. The latter were regularly used against civil disturbances. When a range of military forces was available to civil magistrates, volunteers were not always their first resort. The mayor of Banbury, which was threatened by Warwickshire colliers in 1800, believed that the yeomanry were sympathetic to the rioters, and that ‘soldiers unconnected with the place are fitter than those immediately connected with it’. 121 Militia and fencible regiments on occasion were employed in preference to the local volunteer or yeomanry corps. Repeated riots in the neighbourhood of Windsor prompted the magistrates to request permission to levy an additional troop of fencible cavalry in the district, which they believed would immediately be filled by men of respectable character. The magistrates appear not to have taken the existing two local volunteer and one yeomanry corps into consideration. 122
When disturbances were not serious, calling in regular troops risked offending local volunteer corps. Magistrates’ willingness to call in volunteers varied with the apparent seriousness of the situation. A crowd from Oxford in September 1800 forced local farmers to bring butter to market at a fixed price. The vice-chancellor of the university requested a troop of regular cavalry to deal with the disturbances. The town clerk and the city authorities complained that there was no occasion for the presence of soldiers. 123 An anonymous diarist recorded that ‘Things were not carried (p. 259 ) on with that violence as to be thought advisable to call in the Horse Soldiers, or the Associations, who were also in readiness.’ 124 The volunteers concluded that the soldiers had been preferred because volunteers were not trusted to assist the civil authorities. The mayor and city armed association took the soldiers’ presence ‘as a Reflection upon themselves’. 125 The Home Office was obliged to express its complete conidence in the volunteers and to assure them that the regular cavalrymen were intended to co-operate with them. 126 The implication seems to have been that the use of local armed associations was less unacceptable to the Oxford magistrates than the employment of regular soldiers, the reverse of the preferences of the mayor of Banbury.
Volunteers were more readily available than militia or regular troops in a policing role. They provided a military force which, unlike regular troops, could often be brought into action without reference to the general officer commanding the military district, or the Commander-in-Chief’s office at Horse Guards in Whitehall. As the commanding officer of the Light Horse Volunteers pointed out, the volunteer force was free from the constitutional objections which might arise from the use of regular troops in support of magistrates. 127 These instances suggest that magistrates generally could rely on volunteer corps to comply with requests to help keep the peace, even though strictly they could be commanded to suppress riots only during an invasion or insurrection. In general, volunteers would act against crowds when they attacked property or seized food waggons, but were less concerned to prevent price-fixing. The occasions when volunteers refused to act, or were themselves implicated in riots, usually involved setting maximum prices, not the seizure of produce. When the Everly troop of Wiltshire Yeomanry failed to appear on policing duty at the Salisbury market, it was due to their reluctance to enforce a new, smaller, grain measure. 128 Even when volunteers were prepared to suppress food rioting, they could show little enthusiasm. The admission of the commander of the Pontefract Volunteers was probably typical, that throughout 1800 he had ‘trembled at the Idea of Marching out against the Starved Poor, I really felt my self a Coward, & yet I knew it was a Duty I must display Energy in. I (p. 260 ) only was out twice & thank God the Appearance of Corps threw a Panic upon the poor Starved People.’ 129
The question remains why, if volunteers were potentially unreliable, they continued to be used by the authorities. It seems that in practice magistrates knew which corps they could depend upon and how far demands could be made of them. Volunteers were no more unreliable than the militia, and were likely to show more discretion in their handling of minor incidents. Corps differed significantly in their willingness to take up a policing role. The great majority had engaged to suppress riots and insurrection in the case of invasion or appearance of an invasion; their peacekeeping activities were voluntary and conditional, and depended to a large extent on the enthusiasm of their officers. Many volunteers appear to have been sympathetic with the aims of food rioters, but, with a few exceptions, those who joined riots apparently did so as individuals, not as organized corps. In comparison with the militia and regular army, volunteers were much less likely to protest as a body. The corps was only one of several local loyalties for the volunteers, who understandably often sought to avoid confrontation. Usually alone among those military forces used to keep the peace, volunteers and armed associations comprised men who lived in the immediate area of the disturbances. Often their livelihood depended on maintaining good relations with other inhabitants, although sometimes, as in Sheffield, the membership of military and political associations might mirror other and older antagonisms. In essence, magistrates could not presume on volunteer assistance in keeping the peace other than during an invasion or insurrection. Yet these reservations were in practice nominal; magistrates were much readier to accept volunteer assistance, even when their reliability was doubtful, than to do without it altogether. As Lord Rolle explained in 1797 regarding indications of political unreliability among volunteers, the question did not turn on the merits of the corps but on the necessity of keeping together such bodies of men ready, willing, and capable of acting on any emergency. 130
An assessment of the effectiveness and reliability of the volunteers must take into account the purpose of the force and its responsibilities. Corps established principally to face the threat of invasion found they were integrated into a national defensive strategy that assigned them a subsidiary role, evacuating coastal districts and maintaining civil order. The administration saw peace-keeping and defence against invasion as aspects of the (p. 261 ) same role, but many volunteers made a clear distinction between opposing external enemies and maintaining an internal police. This division was reflected most clearly in the ambiguity in the civil responsibilities acknowledged by the force: as John Cookson concludes, ‘the volunteers, in spite of the often counter-revolutionary tone of their articles of enrolment, were never seriously disposed to act in their localities as a vigilante or police force’. 131
It is tempting to take the several examples of volunteer unreliability against rioting as symptomatic of the general disaffection of the force. Yet it is important to acknowledge that not all corps saw peace-keeping as part of their responsibilities, they having enrolled to defend their localities against insurrection and tumults resulting from invasion only. The spectacular nature of some volunteers’ involvement in rioting should not obscure the general willingness of corps to act voluntarily for the maintenance of public order at the requisition of local magistracies. When volunteers were not called in to deal with disturbances, it is often dangerous to draw the conclusion that this was because they were thought unreliable. The willingness of local authorities to employ volunteers against public disorder most often simply reflected the severity of the situation and the availability of regular troops. The readiness of volunteer corps to act varied according to their perception of the justice of the cause. Wide scale absenteeism or refusals to act were confined largely to requests for action against food rioters, with whom many volunteers had some sympathy. Corps, however, rarely failed to assist in the maintenance of public order in the face of attacks on property.
If volunteer corps’ response to demands made upon them to maintain civil order is made a test of the validity of the warnings about potential volunteer disaffection, then those fears appear to have been exaggerated. The allegations that democratic internal organization and plebeian membership would lead to disaffection and readiness to resist the demands of the state do not in general seem to have been borne out. Even when food rioting is considered, the larger and less socially exclusive force of 1803 and subsequent years was much less unreliable than its predecessor, although by then closer attention was given to limiting volunteer autonomy.
(1) [Curtis], A Sermon Preached at the Time of the Subscriptions for Voluntary Contributions, 10.
(2) HO 50/55, [draft] circular to lords lieutenant, April 1797.
(3) See Cookson, The British Artned Nation, 74; ‘The English Volunteer Movement’, 871–3.
(4) Cookson, ‘The English Volunteer Movement’, 878, 883–4
(5) HO 50/42, [Doctor] James Curry to Earl of Northampton, Kettering, 25 May 1798.
(6) Belchem, ‘Orator’ Hunt, 20.
(7) Hereford and Worcester Record Office, Coventry Papers, BA 2868/4 705: 73, Henry Dundas to Coventry, 6 April 1798 (printed circular).
(8) Hampshire Record Office, 65M85/1, 11: June 1794.
(9) Roger Wells, Wretched faces: Famine in Wartime England 1793–1801 (Gloucester, 1987), 254, ‘
(13) PRO 30/8/140, f. 35, B. Gregory [Mayor] to Mr Pitt, Leicester, 12 April 1795; PRO 30/8/144, 1 [Captain] John Heyrick I to Pitt J, Bow Bridge House near Leicester, 13, April 1796.
(14) Wells, Wretched Faces, 285, 270–1
(15) Gloucestershire Record Office, D 1571/X17, Wiltshire Cavalry Articles of Enrolment of the volunteer troop of cavalry in the district of Malmesbury, 20 September 1794.
(16) Bohstcdt, Riots and Community Politics, 82
(17) HO 42/51, f. 80, Wcntworth Fitzwiliam to Portland, 8 September 1800, quoted in Mark Pottle, ‘Loyalty and Patriotism in Nottingham’, 181–2; Linch, ‘A Geography of Loyalisni?’, 17
(18) HO 50/54, B. Harter to Lord Hobart, Tynemouth, 13 May 1802
(19) Beckett, The Amateur Military Tradition, 86
(20) HO 50/52, Robt Drummond to Lt. Gen. Vyse, Errol, 16 November 1801.
(21) Emsley, ‘The Military and Popular Disorder in England 1790–1801’, 105; Wells, Wretched Faces, 270; Beckett, The Amateur Military Tradition, 86
(22) Lord Clifford, r: April 1801, quoted in Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, 51
(23) Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L52, Henry Studdy to Earl Fortescue, Walton Court, 7 April 1801.
(24) HO 50/47, Robert Meldrum to Earl of Crawfurd, 2 May 1800.
(25) Hereford and Worcester Record Office, Coventry Papers, BA 2868/4 705: 73, Henry Dundas to Coventry, 5 March 1798 (circular).
(26) Hampshire Record Office, Bolton Papers, 11M49/234, f. 56, Robt Forbes, Thos. Whitcomb, John Whitcomb to Lord Bolton, Gosport, 4 June 1802.
(27) PRO 30/3/5, 290, Charles I lerries to Nathl Conant, Middlesex magistrate, 15 January 1797.
(28) PRO 30/3/25, p. 3, light Horse Volunteers Commanding Officer’s Reports to the Committee, 20–24 August 1794 Report of Adjt. Dunlop.
(29) Wells, Wretched Faces, 270–1; ‘Amidst These Shaking limes’, 34, 74, n. 414.
(30) Emsley, ‘The Military and Popular Disorder in England 1790–1801’, 107
(31) Belchcm,‘Orator’ Hunt, 20.
(32) Devon Record Office, Forteseue Papers, 1362 M/L52, Evidence of John Bate, 15 April 180r.
(33) Roger, Wells, ‘The Revolt of the South-west, 1800–1801: A Study in English Popular Protest’, Social History, 6, (October 1977), 725
(34) [Arthur Young], National Danger, and the Means of Safety, 22
(35) Emsley, British Society and the French Wars 1793–1815, 87
(36) Autobiography of John Marsh, 3 October 1800, quoted in G. E. Bentley, ‘Notes and Documents. Rex v. Blake: Sussex Attitudes towards the Military. Blake’s Trial for Sedition in 1804’, The Huntington Library Quarterly, 56: 1, (Winter 1993), 85
(37) HO 50/48, f. 103, II. Hood to Henry Dumdas, Catherington, 23 September 1800; HO 50/51, W. Ncttleton to [Marquis Townshend], Wells, 25 July 1801.
(38) HO 42/50, f. 49, A. B. Haden, Bilston, 10 May 1800; Emsley, ‘The Military and Popular Disorder in England 1790–1801’, 106; Alan Booth, ‘English Popular Loyalism and the French Revolution’, 29; Dickinson, ‘Popular Conservatism and Militant Loyalism 1789–1815’, 123.
(39) Ensign Edward Colcbatch of the Portsoken Volunteers: HO 50/51, James Shaw; captain commandant, to Lord Mayor [William Staines], America Square, 30 July 1801.
(40) Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L52, Henry Studdy to Earl Fortescue, Walton Court, 7 April 1801; Henry Studdy to Earl Fortescue, Walton Court, 30 March 1801.
(41) HO 50/49, [signature and place cut out], 10 February 1801.
(42) Devon Record Office, 1262M/L44, Fortcscue Papers, Rd. Eales to Karl Fortescue, Exeter, 2 December 1800.
(43) PRO 30/8/128, [Colonel George, Earl of] Dartmouth to the Lord Chamberlain, Sandwell, 5 August 1804, enclosing ‘A poor private’ to Captain Pratt [no date], ff. 178, 180.
(44) Memoirs of Henry Hunt, 242–54.
(45) HO 50/48, f. 114, Michael A. Taylor, Park Hill, Bawny, 30 September 1800; HO 50/49, [signature and place cut out], 10 February 1801; see also HO 50/51, C. Smith to Earl Poulett, Fairwater House, 26 June 1801.
(46) Ho 50/47, Minutes of a meeting of deputy lieutenants of the district of Deer held at Peterhead, 8 February 1800.
(47) Scottish Record Office, Scaforth Muniments, GD 46/6/31, fol. I, R. Dundas, Edinburgh, 27 February 1796; GD 46/6/32(1), f. i, Portland to Lt. Col. F. H. Mackenzie, Whitehall, 21 April 1796
(48) Wells, ‘The Revolt of the South-west, 1800–1801’, 741
(49) Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, 49
(50) The Correspondence of George, Prime of Wales, cd. by Aspinall, iv. 511, No. 1819, Sir Robert Wilson to Colonel McMahon, 23 February 1804; The ‘Doctor’ refers to Henry Addington.
(51) HO 50/123, Wentworth Fitzwilliam to Lord I lawkesbury, Wentworth [Woodhouse], 11 August 1804; James Collins [to Ear] Fitzwilliam], Knaresborough, 5 August 1804.
(52) Devon Record Office, Fortescuc Papers, 1262M/L52, Memorial of Riots, April 1801.
(53) Devon Record Office, Fortcscue Papers, 1262M/L59, G. W[elsford] to Mr Rordcn, 2 May 1801; Rd. Eales to]Earl Fortescue], Exeter, 23 March 1801; 1262M/L52, Henry Studdy to Earl Fortcscue, ‘Walton Court, 7 April 1801.
(54) Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/I.52, Henry Studdy to Earl Fortescue, Walton Court, 30 March i8oi;7 April 1801; i2&2M/L6i, Geo, Saundcrs and Peter Pridham to Earl Fortescue, Brixham Quay, 20 April 1801; a captain and first lieutenant, respectively, of the Brixham Quay Volunteers.
(55) Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L59, J. I. Fortescue to Lord Rotle, Auckland, 4 April 1801 (copy).
(56) Wells, ‘The Revolt of the South-west, 1800–1801’, 742; Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L59, J. I, Fortescue to Lord Rolle, Huckland, 4 April 1801 (copy).
(57) Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, 50; Wells, ‘The Revolt of the South-west, 1800–1801’, 740–1; Wells, Wretched faces, 268.
(58) HO 50/49, W. Bray to I Ienry Dundas, Tavistock, 14 March 1801.
(59) Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L52, Henry Studdy to Earl Fortescue, Walton Court, 30 March 1801.
(60) HO 50/47, Robert Meldrum to Earl of Crawford, 2 May 1800; HO 50/47, Minutes of a meeting,. held at Peterhead, 8 February 1800.
(61) Wells, Wretched Faces, 272.
(62) Wells, ‘The Revolt of the South-west, 1800–1801’, 725, 741; Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, 34, 98; Devon Record Office, Fortescue Papers, 1262M/L52, Henry Studdy to Earl Forteseue, Walton Court, 7 April 1801.
(63) HO 50/54, [Anon.] to Bishop of Durham, Durham, 22 March 1802, pp. 3–4.
(64) HO 50/52, Geo. Patterson, Thomas Hunter, Robt Drummond to Duke of Atholl, 19 November 1801.
(65) HO 50/42, Leeds to Henry Dumdas, 4 May 1798.
(66) Wells ‘English Society and Revolutionary Politics in the 1790s’, 211
(67) Scottish Record Office, Buccleuch Muniments, EX GD 224/685/2, [The Revd] George Whytock to Duke of Buccleuch, Dalkcith, 4 March 1797.
(68) Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, 82
(69) See Return… August 1803, of all Volunteer and Yeomanry Corps.
(70) HO 50/55, Lord Rolle to Duke of Portland, Bicton, 28 December 1797.
(71) HO 50/49, [signature and place cut out], to February 1801.
(72) HO 42/78, f. 15, The majors and captains of the Royal Chester Volunteers to George Harry Karl of Stamford and Warrington, [5 January 1804]; f. 16, Major Joseph Wilmot to Lieut, Gen. Prince William Frederic (copy), [5 January 1804); Cobbett’s Political Register, v. 51–4, 7–14 January 1804; v. 86–7, 14–21 January 1804.
(73) Berkshire Record Office, D/ERa O.25, Radnor Papers, 2, 4-6, 8–9, 19–20, 22, June-November 1809; Smith, ‘Loyalty and Opposition in the Napoleonic Wars’, 339–41.
(74) Houlding, Fit for Service, 74.
(75) Eliot, Six Letters on the subject of the Anted Yeomanry, 65–6, 79.
(76) Scottish Record Office, GD 128/47/1 /4X, William Ingtis to Sir James Grant, Inverness, 31 January 1797.
(77) Calculated from Wells, Wretched Faces, 419–40.
(78) Berkshire Record Office, D/ERa O.25 (6), [unsigned] to Karl of Radnor, Reading, 29 June 1809 (copy).
(79) HO 50/48, f. 136, Wcntworth Fitzwilliam to Henry Dundas, Wentworth, 14 October 1800.
(80) HO 40/1/2, ff. 310–311, C. Preseot, Stockport, 27 April 1812, (HO 40/1/1, ff. 23–4 a copy); HO) 40/1/2, ff. 312–13, H. D Broughton, Cheadle near Manchester, 27 April 1812 (HO 40/1 /1, ff. 25-6 a copy).
(81) HO 50/48, f. 1:36, Wentworth Fitzwilliam to Henry Dundas, Wentworth, 14 October 1800.
(82) Tony Hayter, The Army and the Crowd in Mid-Georgian England (London, 1978), 41, 1075, 151, 181–2.
(84) Emsley, ‘The Military and Popular Disorder in England 1790–1801’, r6; Wells, Wretched Faces, 114–15, British I Jbrary, Add. MS 38, 241, Livcrpool Papers, Vol. 52, f. 160, D. S. Cameron to Lord I lawkesbury, British Coffee Hlouse, 3 July 1805.
(85) Devon Record Office, l’orteseue Papers, 1262M/L63, Kdward Law, Lincoln’s Inn, 31: March 1801.
(86) HO 42/49, £ 393, Jos. Jackson, Wimpole Street, I April 1800,
(87) HO 50/48, f. 153, Thos. Palmer to Secretary at War, 30 March 1800; f. 165, Thos. M. Palmer, Hambledon, 10 September 1800; f. 209 M. Leurs [?] to Win I Iuskisson, War Office, 22 November 1800; £ 246, Bolton to Dundas, 7 December 1800; but see HO 51/86, Hawkesbury to Karl of Warwick, 7 October 1807.
(88) PRO 30/3/1, Scott Portland to Colonel Herries, 7 April 1810; C. H[erries] to Duke of Portland, 7 April 1810; Scott Portland to Colonel Herries, 9 April 1810.
(89) Bodleian Library, MS Dep. Bland Burgcs 22, f. 127, Wm Cruchlcy to [Sir James Bland] Burges, 13 October 1800; 91 ff. 109–10 (copy).
(90) Northampton Mercury, 76 44, 4 April 1795, p. 3 col. 5.
(91) PRO 30/3/1, Robt Brownrigg to Col. Herries, Horse Guards, 10 April 1810.
(92) PRO 30/8/187, f. 158, Brook Watson to Mr Pitt, Mansion House, 26 May 1797
(93) PRO 30/3/2, List of correspondence with Secretary of State, August 1794—September 1800.
(94) PRO 30/3/25, p. 13, Report of Colonel Henries to Duke of Gloucester, 15 April 1799.
(95) PRO 30/3/1, P. Colquhoun to Col. Herries, Public Office, Worship Street, Shoreditch, past 9 o’clock, 14 July 1795.
(96) PRO 30/3/2, Miscellaneous: [Anon.] copy to Richard Ford, 15 July 1.795.
(97) HO 65/1, Police Office, [p. 15], Portland to Lord. Mayor, Whitehall, 28 June 1795; [p. 151, J. King to Colonel Brownrigg, Whitehall, 28 June 1795; p, 1.7, J. King to Lt. Col. I ferries, Whitehall, 24 October 1795; [n.p.], Portland to the Committee of the Association of St James Vestry Room, 28 July 1797.
(98) PRO 30/3/1, Portland to Lord Mayor, 28 June 1795; HO 65/1, Police Office, p. 15, Portland to Lord Mayor, Whitehall, 28 June 1795; J. King to Colonel Hrownrigg, Whitehall, 28 June 1795.
(99) HO 65/1, Police Office, pp. 17–18, J. King to Lt Col. Heroes, Whitehall, 24 October 1795; Portland to the Committee of the Association of St James, 28 July 1797.
(100) Berkshire Record Office, D/ERa 0.25(6), [unsigned] to Radnor, Reading, 29 June 1809 (copy).
(101) PRO 30/3/25, Bosanquet Papers, Light Horse Volunteers Commanding Officer’s Reports to the Committee.
(102) J. Stevenson, ‘The London “Crimp” Riots of’ 1794’, International Review of Social History, 16 (1971), 41–5.
(105) Standing Orders for The Light Horse Volunteers of London and Westminster, 165–72
(106) Eliot, Six Letters on the subject of the Armed Yeomanry, 60–1
(108) Hampshire Record Office, Button Papers, 11M49/234, Robert Forbes, Thomas Whitcombe, John Whitcombe to Lord Bolton, Gosport, 26 April 1802; 11 M49/234, Thos. Curry to Lord Bolton, Gosport, 20 May 1802.
(109) Hayter, The Army and the Crowd, 166.
(110) PRO 30/3/25, pp. 1–7, L.H.V. Commanding Officer’s Reports to the Committee, 20–4 August 1794.
(111) British Library, Add. MS 16,929 Reeves MSS, Loyal Declarations Vol. I, f. 10, Billingsgate Ward, 10 July 1780.
(112) HO 50/330, Nugent Buckingham, 25 March 1796; Beckett, Call to Arms, 27.
(113) John Bohstedt, ‘Gender, Household and Community Politics: Women in English Riots 1790–1810’, Past &Present 120(1988), 119
(114) Northampton Mercury, Vol. 76:4, 4 April 1795, p. 3 col. 5.
(115) British Library, Add, MS 38,241, Liverpool Papers, Vol. LII, f. 160, D. S. Cameron to Lord Hawkesbury, British Coffee I louse, 3 July 1805.
(116) Northampton Mercury, Vol. 76:22, p. 3 col. 5, Leicester, 7 August 1795; Wells, Wretched Faces, 112.
(117) HO 42/51, Whitmorc to Portland (enclosure), 17 September 1800, quoted in J. Stevenson, ‘Food Riots in England, 1792–1818’, in R. Quinault and J. Stevenson (eds.), Popular Protest and Public Order (London, 1974), 58.
(118) British Library, Add. MS 38,241 Liverpool Papers Vol. LII, f. 160, D. S. Cameron to Lord Hawkesbury, British Coffee House, 3 July 1805.
(119) HO 50/352, ‘A sincere Friend to Government’ to Duke of Portland, Inverness, 21 October 1796; National Library of Scotland, MS7, Melville Papers, f. 109, R. Dundas (Lord Advocate), Edinburgh, 10 March 1796; see also Scottish Record Office, Fraser Macintosh Collection, GD 128/47/3/21, Sir James Grant to Charley Yorke, Castle Grant, 12 January 1804 (copy).
(120) Frank Willan, History of the Oxfordshire Regiment of Militia, (Oxford, 1900), 26–31
(121) HO 42/51, f. 116, quoted in David Eastwood, ‘Governing Rural England: Authority and Social Order in Oxfordshire, 1780–1840’, D.Phil, thesis, University of Oxford, 1985, 221
(122) Berkshire Record Office, D/ERa 08/2 (5), Wm Warrington, C. W. Buckner, W. H. Fremantle [to Radnor], (n.p., [c. August 1803]).
(123) E. P. Thompson, ‘The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century’, Past & Present, 50, February (1971), 129–30
(124) Bodleian Library, MS ‘Ibp.Oxon.di.247, Oxford MSS Diary 1739–1817, p. 218, 6 September 1800.
(125) HO 42/51:, f. 59, quoted in Eastwood, Governing Rural England, 220
(126) HO 43/12, 106–7, J, King to W. E. Taunton, town clerk, Oxford; Whitehall, 8 September 1801.
(127) PRO 30/3/10, General Meetings Minutes, p. 107, 14 March 1817.
(128) Memoirs of Henry Hunt, 237–53
(129) HO 50/50, Teesdale Cockell, Pontcfract, 25 May .
(130) HO 50/55, Lord Rolle to Duke of Portland, Bicton, 28 December 1797.
(131) Cookson, ‘Patriotism and Social Structure’, 166