Wednesday, 10 August 2011

About 20 years ago we bought some interesting lots at a country house sale in Azerley, North Yorkshire.
A folly at Azerley Chase House
In a box of interesting treasures that included a miniature 18th century sampler, barely more than 2 inches squares, which we dearly wish we still had, we discovered a Georgian letter, written in 1780, about the Gordon Riots which took place in London that year. (Click on the link for more about the riots.)

The letter reads, more or less, as follows:
You must have heard on all hands of the dreadful situation London has been in. The horrors of last Wednesday night can never be conceived but by eye witnesses. The dreadful conflagrations in every part of the town, the smoke, the smell of fire, the execrations of the mob, the drums, the firings, the shouts, and everybodys fears for their lives and property made it a scene beyond description far. I shall not tell you any thing you may have seen in the papers. But I fancy you may not have heard that when Lord George (Gordon) was examined, before he went to the Tower, they searched him and found a loaded pistol upon him, and a knife of a most extraordinary construction. It was made with three sharp blades, something like a glovers needle so that it was impossible for any thing to escape, a wound with it would be so mortal...Lord Amhurst has sent an order today to forbid any more arms being given out of the artillery ground, as they are afraid of disaffected persons. The King has refused any additional guard to his person. He said life was not worth preserving on such terms. Between 3 and 400 of the rebels were destroyed. Considerably above a million of private & publick property is lost. We trembled for our wine vaults on Wednesday night, as they were sacking and burning on all sides...We went to see the King's Bench (a prison), it is the veryest ruin you ever saw, not one atom left that could be burned.



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