UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

English hunger and industrial disorders : a study of social conflict during the first decade of George… Shelton, Walter James 1971

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1971_A1 S34.pdf [ 15.54MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0101807.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0101807-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0101807-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0101807-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0101807-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0101807-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0101807-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0101807-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0101807.ris

Full Text

ENGLISH HUNGER AND INDUSTRIAL DISORDERS: A STUDY OF SOCIAL CONFLICT DURING THE FIRST DECADE OF GEORGE H I ' S REIGN by WALTER JAMES SHELTON B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of Durham, England, 1949 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n the Department of HISTORY We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH.COLUMBIA June, 1971 In presenting th i s thes i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i lment of the requirements fo r an advanced degree at the Un iver s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ib ra ry sha l l make it f r e e l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fu r ther agree that permission for extens ive copying of th i s thes i s fo r s cho la r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representat ives . It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t i on of th i s thes is fo r f i nanc i a l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permiss ion. Department of H i s tory  The Un ivers i ty o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ABSTRACT T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n deals w i t h the p r o v i n c i a l hunger r i o t s and the m e t r o p o l i t a n i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s of the f i r s t decade of George I l l ' s r e i g n . By f o c u s s i n g both on the immediate causes of these d i s t u r b a n c e s and on the u n d e r l y i n g s o c i a l t e n s i o n s which determined t h e i r form and d i r e c t i o n , i t seeks to e x p l a i n why t h i s was the worst p e r i o d of d i s -order i n the century, although i n other decades the d e p r i v -a t i o n s of the poor were g r e a t e r . E a r l y s t u d i e s of the r i o t s of the 1760's which have not d e a l t e x c l u s i v e l y w i t h p o l i t i -c a l d i s t u r b a n c e s have t r e a t e d the r i o t s as p a r t of the h i s -t o r y of trade unions or of the s t o r y of the r u r a l l a b o u r e r ' s degradation. As a r e s u l t , the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of these two expressions of s o c i a l d i s c o n t e n t has been ignored by most h i s t o r i a n s of popular movements. More r e c e n t s t u d i e s have presented the hunger and i n d u s t r i a l d i s o r d e r s p r i m a r i l y i n terms of the d i s c o n t e n t s of the r i o t e r s . By f o c u s s i n g c l o s e l y upon the "faces i n the crowd" s c h o l a r s have co r -r e c t e d the misconception t h a t e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y mobs were c h i e f l y composed of the most depraved elements i n s o c i e t y . But i n the process of t h i s l e g i t i m a t e attempt to r e h a b i l i -t a t e the h i s t o r i c a l crowd, such students have been r a t h e r r e l u c t a n t to concede i t s m a n i p u l a t i o n by those standing over and apart from the mob. T h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y t rue when r i o t e r s c l e a r l y acted according to s o c i a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e g o a l s , as was u s u a l l y the case w i t h r u r a l hunger mobs and i n d u s t r i a l s t r i k e r s . T h i s r e s u l t s i n the undervaluing of the r o l e of other i n t e r e s t s , and s t r e s s e s immediate at the expense of secondary c a u s a t i o n . T h i s work sets the r i o t e r s of the 1760's i n t h e i r s o c i a l context and presents the r i o t s as the product of an i n t e r a c t i o n of the poor, the landowners, the i n d u s t r i a l i s t s , the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , and the n a t i o n a l government. A l l of these i n t e r e s t s c o n t r i b u t e d to d i s o r d e r i n some f a s h i o n : by suggesting the poor r e g u l a t e markets f o r themselves, the gentry encouraged them to take a c t i o n s f o r which many l a t e r were t r i e d by s p e c i a l a s s i z e ; by f a i l i n g to suppress the i n i t i a l d i s o r d e r s , the ma g i s t r a t e s appeared to s a n c t i o n the acts of the mobs; by blaming middlemen f o r hig h p r i c e s of food, c l o t h i e r s and other i n d u s t r i a l i s t s i n the d i s t r e s s e d c l o t h c o unties of Southern England d i v e r t e d t h e i r underpaid workers towards bunting m i l l s and l o c a l markets; by pro-c l a i m i n g the o l d anti-middlemen s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l -i n g , e ngrossing, and r e g r a t i n g i n s t e a d of ending g r a i n exports, the M i n i s t r y confirmed t h a t the food shortage was a r t i f i c i a l and encouraged f u r t h e r a t t a c k s upon middlemen and farmers; by blaming coal-undertakers and then f a i l i n g to enforce e x i s t i n g l e g i s l a t i o n a g a i n s t these middlemen of the i v c o a l t r a d e , the government encouraged coalheavers to act i n t h e i r own defence. While the timing of the d i s o r d e r s of the 1760's was determined by such f a c t o r s as sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s , attempts to reduce wages or employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r the poor, or g r a i n movements i n times of a n t i c i p a t e d famine, the form and d i r e c t i o n were the r e s u l t of the e x p e c t a t i o n s of v a r i o u s i n t e r e s t s . The s i g n i f i c a n c e of e x p e c t a t i o n s i s apparent i n the important r o l e played by veterans of the Seven Years' War and the e q u i v o c a l r e a c t i o n to the i n i t i a l hunger r i o t s of the r u l i n g o rders. The responses of the poor and the p r i v i l e g e d a l i k e can only be e x p l a i n e d w i t h r e f e r e n c e to important s o c i a l changes, which r e s u l t e d a f t e r the mid-century from a g r i c u l t u r a l and i n d u s -t r i a l developments. The e f f e c t ' of these s o c i a l changes was aggravated by war and by the p r o g r e s s i v e abandonment of the p r i n c i p l e s and p r a c t i c e s of the o l d "moral economy." TABLE OF CONTENTS P age INTRODUCTION 1 PART I Chapter I. THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS OF 1766 26 I I . THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND OF THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS 70 I I I . THE ROLE OF THE AUTHORITIES IN THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS OF 1766. 142 IV. THE PROVINCIAL RIOTERS 185 PART I I Chapter I. INTRODUCTION: INDUSTRIAL DISORDERS IN LONDON 230 I I . METROPOLITAN INDUSTRIAL DISORDERS 244 CONCLUSIONS 305 BIBLIOGRAPHY 309 v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS No one w r i t i n g on E n g l i s h r i o t s of the eightee n t h century can f a i l to acknowledge h i s debt to two h i s t o r i a n s i n p a r t i c u l a r , whose c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the study of popular movements are ou t s t a n d i n g . C e r t a i n l y anyone examining s o c i a l p r o t e s t s of the 1760's must f i r s t r e t r a c e the steps of George Rude and Dorothy George. My own i n t e r e s t i n the r i o t s of t h i s decade was due i n i t i a l l y to a suggestion of my a d v i s o r , Dr. John M. N o r r i s , without whose p a t i e n t encouragement and guidance t h i s work would never have been completed. I a l s o wish to thank Dr. James Winter f o r h i s ad v i c e . The a s s i s t a n c e of the s t a f f s i n most of the County Record O f f i c e s i n Southern England, i n the W i l l i a m Clement L i b r a r y i n Ann Arbor, Michigan, i n the B r i t i s h Museum, and i n the P u b l i c Record O f f i c e i n London was i n v a l u a b l e . The debt I owe to my w i f e and c h i l d r e n cannot ade-q u a t e l y be expressed. v i INTRODUCTION T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n w i l l argue t h a t w h i l e the d i s t r e s s of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor, which f o l l o w e d sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n food p r i c e s and d e c l i n i n g employment, was the common denominator of the numerous r i o t s of the 1760's, such d i s -orders were merely the s u r f a c e m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of u n d e r l y i n g p o l i t i c a l , economic, s o c i a l , and i n t e l l e c t u a l ferment, which a f f e c t e d a l l l e v e l s of s o c i e t y . T h i s s t a t e of extreme f l u x i n f l u e n c e d the a c t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s of the upper and mid-d l i n g s o r t s , as w e l l as those of the lower o r d e r s . The r i o t s were the product of an i n t e r a c t i o n of v a r i o u s i n t e r -e s t s , e s p e c i a l l y of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor on the one hand and the r u l i n g orders on the other, r a t h e r than merely the e x p r e s s i o n of the d i s c o n t e n t s of one group. A f t e r the mid-century, the grievances of the poor were more deeply seated than could be accounted f o r by resentment at s p i r a l l i n g p r i c e s , low wages, scarce employ-ment, or the tyranny of a M i n i s t r y towards John Wilkes, the champion of the " r i g h t s of f r e e - b o r n Englishmen." T h e i r a c t i o n s must be seen a g a i n s t a background of s o c i a l t e n s i o n among the i n d u s t r i o u s poor. T h i s background, however, pro-v i d e s only a p a r t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n of the r i o t s of the f i r s t decade of George I l l ' s r e i g n . In a l l d i s o r d e r s there i s an 1 2 i n t e r a c t i o n between the a u t h o r i t i e s and the r i o t e r s ; n e i t h e r can be c o n s i d e r e d i n i s o l a t i o n . The a c t i o n s of the l o c a l and n a t i o n a l a u t h o r i t i e s were f r e q u e n t l y e q u i v o c a l and r e q u i r e e x p l a n a t i o n . Not only the poor but a l s o the more p r i v i l e g e d orders of s o c i e t y were caught up i n changes which confused and f r i g h t e n e d them by the 1750's. A f t e r the mid-century, the growth of commercial farming, which was s t i m u l a t e d by the expansion of urban p o p u l a t i o n s and m i l i t a r y v i c t u a l l i n g c o n t r a c t s , d i s t u r b e d the s o c i a l balance of the countryside."^ Large farmers and middlemen emerged as the c h i e f b e n e f i -c i a r i e s of a g r i c u l t u r a l growth and t h e i r s o c i a l p r e t e n s i o n s appeared to t h r e a t e n the l e a d e r s h i p of many of the l e s s e r p a r i s h gentry. The m i l i t a n c y of r e t u r n e d veterans of the Seven Years' War, whose e x p e c t a t i o n s about c i v i l i a n l i f e had changed with s e r v i c e abroad, threatened the s t a b i l i t y of r u r a l and urban s o c i e t y . Men t r a i n e d i n the m i l i t i a , the army, the navy, and I r i s h t e r r o r i s t gangs played a c r i t i c a l r o l e i n the r i o t s by p r o v i d i n g a d i s c i p l i n e d core of m i l i -t a n t s able to defy the m i l i t a r y and by g i v i n g d i r e c t i o n to the d i s o r d e r s . In times of e x t e n s i v e d i s t u r b a n c e s , the landed i n t e r e s t , t ogether w i t h l e a d e r s of i n d u s t r y and com-merce, f e a r e d the i n t e n t i o n s of a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n of the See J . D. Chambers and'G. E. Mingay, The A g r i c u l -t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n 1750-1880 (London: B. T. B a t s f o r d L t d . , 1966) . 3 p o p u l a t i o n . General i n s u r r e c t i o n s were always a nightmare p o s s i b i l i t y i n a century when the sparse f o r c e s of order looked p i t i f u l l y weak i n the f a c e of any s e r i o u s t h r e a t to the s o c i a l order. Although s u s p i c i o n of standing armies remained throughout the century, d i s t r u s t of the m i l i t i a caused a growing r e l i a n c e upon the r e g u l a r army i n the f a c e of s o c i a l p r o t e s t s . In times of unrest, the r u l i n g orders o f t e n a n t i c i p a t e d the outbreak of s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s and r e s o r t e d to the t a c t i c of d i v e r t i n g the d i s a f f e c t e d a g a i n s t s e l e c t e d scapegoats. In doing t h i s they encouraged r i o t e r s to v i o l e n c e and helped to shape events. T h i s ploy was par-t i c u l a r l y e v i d e n t i n the hunger r i o t s of 1766, but both the a u t h o r i t i e s and employers a l s o used i t i n the i n d u s t r i a l d i s t u r b a n c e s of 1768. Se r i o u s r i o t i n g i n the 1760's was the means whereby E n g l i s h s o c i e t y sought to achieve r a d i c a l change as i t moved towards a new e q u i l i b r i u m . T h i s decade saw the beginning of a p e r i o d of s o c i a l t r a n s i t i o n which s t r e t c h e d i n t o the next century. In these ten years, many of the changes which a l l c l a s s e s were to f e e l a c u t e l y sent shock waves through Eng-l i s h s o c i e t y . Because they f o l l o w e d s e v e r a l years of r e l a -t i v e improvement f o r the poor and because they developed so r a p i d l y , the pressures of the 1760's provoked s t r o n g e r than u s u a l p r o t e s t s from the d i s p o s s e s s e d . As one observer noted, the poor were "too much oppressed, and the burthen of l a t e years [had.] come too " f a s t upon them to be born w i t h 4 p a t i e n t r e s i g n a t i o n . " L a t e r i n the century, the s o c i a l problems emerging at t h i s time became more s e r i o u s without prolonged d i s o r d e r s , because the pressure on the poor b u i l t up s t e a d i l y over a p e r i o d so t h a t they had time to a d j u s t 2 t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s . Although the p r i c e s of food were high e r and economic d i s l o c a t i o n more severe at other times, r i o t s were more s e r i o u s and s u s t a i n e d i n the 1760's because of the d i s a p p o i n t e d e x p e c t a t i o n s of both the r u l i n g orders 3 and the poor. Over f o r t y years a f t e r S i r Lewis Namier f i r s t pub-l i s h e d h i s a n a l y s i s of the s t r u c t u r e of t h e i r p o l i t i c s , the • e a r l y years of George I l l ' s r e i g n continue to a t t r a c t the a t t e n t i o n of h i s t o r i a n s . Students of p o l i t i c a l reform have seen the 1760's as a p e r i o d of t r a n s i t i o n from p o l i t i c a l a g i t a t i o n and r i o t i n g to more f o r m a l l y organized reform 4 movements. That t h i s decade was a l s o a p e r i o d of vigorous s o c i a l p r o t e s t has only become apparent i n more re c e n t times. In the 1760's, s e r i o u s r i o t s o ccurred i n p r o v i n c i a l and m e t r o p o l i t a n d i s t r i c t s of England. Because such d i s -orders were f r e q u e n t l y . t h e work of one l e v e l of s o c i e t y , the 2 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , November 1, 1766. 3 P r i c e s of wheat and bread were h i g h e s t f o r the cen-t u r y i n 1795 and 1799. Thomas S o u t h c l i f f e Ashton, Economic  F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800 (Oxford: At the Clarendon P r e s s , 1959), p. 181. 4 See I. R. C h r i s t i e ' s I n t r o d u c t i o n to George Stead V e i t c h , Genesis of P a r l i a m e n t a r y Reform (London: Constable, 1964). 5 i n d u s t r i o u s poor, they g r e a t l y alarmed the upper and mid-d l i n g s o r t s of the kingdom. One correspondent expressed the view of most of the r u l i n g orders when he observed: These are very unhappy times; but when they w i l l mend or how they can be mended, I am at a l o s s to conceive; f o r they have l e t the minds of the lower people take too strong a b i a s to anarchy, f o r want of being stopped i n time. * U s u a l l y the d i s t r e s s produced by a combination of high p r i c e s and reduced income was the p r e c i p i t a t i n g cause of the outbreaks, or i n the case of the W i l k i t e p o l i t i c a l d i s o r d e r s , was not f a r i n the background. In these years t a i l o r s , coopers, watermen, shoemakers, c o l l i e r s , t i n n e r s , seamen, coalheavers, farm-workers, domestic s e r v a n t s , and others of the lower orders v i g o r o u s l y demonstrated t h e i r s o c i a l d i s -contents through the only means a v a i l a b l e to them, the r i o t . In doing so, they appeared to many to t h r e a t e n the s o c i a l order. Nor were men the only ones to demonstrate v i o l e n t l y . One observer wrote of three hundred women, l a w n - c l i p p e r s , marching i n white i n Maxweltown, S c o t l a n d , e s c o r t e d by crowds 6 of journeymen weavers and o t h e r s . Even the " l a d i e s of p l e a s u r e " of the M e t r o p o l i s r i o t e d over the e x o r b i t a n t demands of bawds, pimps, tavern-keepers, and w a i t e r s . One London newspaper r e p o r t e d t h e i r d i s p u t e i n the f o l l o w i n g terms: ^Mw. Fetherstonhaugh to Newcastle, June 7, 1768, B r i t i s h Museum, A d d i t i o n a l MSS, 32990, f o l s . 180-81. 6 S t . James's C h r o n i c l e , May 24, 1768. 6 They ground t h e i r hardships (and indeed w i t h some show of j u s t i c e ) upon the same fo u n d a t i o n , and almost i n the same terms, w i t h the c o a l h e a v e r s , v i z . t h a t the i n o r d i n -ate burdens they l i e under, and which they so o f t e n bear and groan w i t h f o r three p a r t s of the year together, more or l e s s , wear them out so soon, t h a t unless t h e i r wages are doubled or they have some settlement (which they would l i k e b e t t e r ) they must be o b l i g e d , when they are b a t t e r e d w i t h labour, e i t h e r to t u r n overseers to the younger p a r t of the p r o f e s s i o n , v u l g a r l y c a l l e d bawds, or r e t i r e from the world as p e n i t e n t p r o s t i -t u t e s . 7 U n f o r t u n a t e l y the records do not always r e v e a l the outcome of such l a b o u r d i s p u t e s , but t h e i r number and v a r i e t y i n d i -cate the t e n s i o n s of a s o c i e t y i n t r a n s i t i o n . For the sake of convenience, the major r i o t s of t h i s decade may be grouped i n t o t h r e e c a t e g o r i e s : p r o v i n c i a l hunger r i o t s which developed i n the urban and r u r a l d i s -t r i c t s of most of the southern counties of England; i n d u s -t r i a l r i o t s r e l a t e d to the l a b o u r d i s p u t e s of seamen, c o a l -heavers, s i l k - w e a v e r s , and other groups of London's l a b o u r -i n g poor; and p o l i t i c a l r i o t s c e n t r i n g around the causes and person of John Wilkes. R i o t s , however, f r e q u e n t l y over-lapped, and d e f i e d such t i d y c a t e g o r i z a t i o n . R i o t e r s , once set going, o f t e n addressed themselves to the c o r r e c t i o n of more than the one grievance which had p r e c i p i t a t e d t h e i r p r o t e s t . Farmers and l a b o u r e r s , who began by s e i z i n g m i l i -t i a , , muster sheets from m a g i s t r a t e s , l a t e r complained of the 8 a r i s t o c r a c y and gentry enjoying t h e i r land f o r too long; I b i d . , May 17-19, 1768. o John R. Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the E i g h -teenth Century. S t u d i e s i n P o l i t i c a l H i s t o r y , ed. by M i c h a e l Hurst (London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1965), p. 300. 7 coalheavers r i o t i n g over the e x t o r t i o n a t e demands of c o a l -undertakers shouted f o r "Wilkes and L i b e r t y " and j o i n e d p o l i t i c a l demonstrations a g a i n s t the M i n i s t r y ; ^ yeomen and l a b o u r e r s , having p u l l e d down p a r t l y - c o n s t r u c t e d houses of i n d u s t r y i n East A n g l i a , vowed to lower the p r i c e s of pro-v i s i o n s i n neighbouring m a r k e t s ; 1 ^ seamen, demonstrating before P a r l i a m e n t f o r h i g h e r wages, cheered f o r the King and drove o f f W i l k i t e supporters;"'""'" or hunger r i o t e r s i n J e r s e y , having s u c c e s s f u l l y f o r c e d down food p r i c e s , v i g o r o u s l y pressed p o l i t i c a l reforms upon t h e i r r e l u c t a n t governing 12 c o u n c i l . For i t s p a r t , the government o f t e n read i n t o the b l u r r i n g of d i s t i n c t i o n s between r i o t s more than they war-ranted. The mere extent of the r i o t i n g at home and abroad i n t h i s p e r i o d was s u f f i c i e n t f o r the M i n i s t e r s to connect them together and to weave c o n s p i r a c y t h e o r i e s i n an age when the p r e j u d i c e of the governing c l a s s e s a g a i n s t standing armies was strong and the e x i s t i n g f o r c e s of order weak. In the c l i m a t e of d i s o r d e r of t h i s decade, both at home and ^George Rude, Wilkes and L i b e r t y (Oxford: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962' - p~. 97. " ^ P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , S t a t e Papers, SP 37/4, f o l . 196/595 and f o l . 202/595. "'""'"Seamen were not c o n s i s t e n t i n t h e i r p o l i t i c a l l o y -a l t i e s . On another o c c a s i o n a l a r g e body of s a i l o r s r e p o r t -edly e s c o r t e d Wilkes across London Bridge, to Westminster. See S t . James's C h r o n i c l e , May 7, 1768. Calendar of Home O f f i c e Papers (1766-69), 528-33, No. 1361. 8 o v e r s e a s , t h e a t t i t u d e of i n f l u e n t i a l i n t e r e s t s i n E n g l i s h s o c i e t y t o s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l change hardened. The p r e c i s e r e l a t i o n s h i p between r i o t s i n E n g l a n d , I r e l a n d , and A m e r i c a a w a i t s t h e d e f i n i t i o n of h i s t o r i a n s . C e r t a i n c o n n e c t i o n s are e v i d e n t . American r a d i c a l s h a i l e d John W i l k e s as an a l l y and u t i l i z e d h i s causes f o r t h e i r own 13 purposes. Many seamen who p l a y e d a l e a d i n g r o l e i n the p r e - r e v o l u t i o n a r y d i s o r d e r s i n Boston p r o b a b l y were f a m i l i a r w i t h the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l p r o t e s t s i n E n g l a n d , and may even have p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e m . 1 4 Weavers i n London and D u b l i n exchanged i n f o r m a t i o n on wages and t a c t i c s t o be used 15 a g a i n s t t h e i r m a s t e r s . As a r e s u l t of heavy waves of i m m i g r a t i o n and t r a n s p o r t a t i o n s , many of the more a l i e n a t e d of B r i t i s h l o w e r - c l a s s s o c i e t y must have s w e l l e d the ranks of the American d i s a f f e c t e d i n the decade b e f o r e the War of 16 Independence. A n o t h e r s o u r c e of c o n f l i c t between the 13 P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , London, Chatham P a p e r s , PRO 30/8/56, f o l s . 96-97; B i l l of R i g h t s S o c i e t y t o the House of Assembly of S o u t h C a r o l i n a s t r e s s e s m u t u a l i t y of i n t e r e s t s : d efence of common r i g h t s . " P r o p e r t y i s the N a t u r a l R i g h t of mankind, the c o n n e c t i o n between t a x a t i o n and r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s i t s n e c e s s a r y consequence. Our case i s one, our enemies the same." l 4 L . J e s s e Lemisch, "Jack Tar V e r s u s John B u l l , The R o l e of New Y o r k ' s Seamen i n P r e c i p i t a t i n g the R e v o l u t i o n " ( u n p u b l i s h e d Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y , 1962). 1 5 C a l e n d a r of Home O f f i c e P apers (1766-69), No. 1317. October 20, 1769. 16 A s h t o n , Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800. p. 159; see a l s o M i l d r e d C a m p b e l l , " E n g l i s h E m i g r a t i o n on the Eve of t h e American R e v o l u t i o n , " American H i s t o r i c a l  Review, L X I , No. 1 ( O c t o b e r , 1955). ' "? •";. . 9 r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s and the a u t h o r i t i e s i n America may w e l l have been the f a c t t h a t regiments, such as Burgoyne's L i g h t Horse, which had suppressed r i o t s i n England of the 1760's l a t e r served i n the American campaigns between 1775 and 1783. More important than the r e a l connection of such events at home and abroad was the apprehension of such a connection by i n f l u e n t i a l i n t e r e s t s . The p r i v i l e g e d orders of E n g l i s h s o c i e t y saw a c l e a r r e l a t i o n s h i p between r i o t o u s events i n England, I r e l a n d , and America. As one p o l i t i c i a n s a r d o n i c -a l l y observed, "Has not the mob of London as good a r i g h t to 17 be i n s o l e n t as the unchecked mob of Boston?" The r u l e r s of England p e r c e i v e d a common d e c l i n e towards anarchy which 18 was to be opposed i n a l l the King's dominions. Hence they adopted i n c r e a s i n g l y r i g i d a t t i t u d e s towards mobs at home and abroad. Al.though c l a s s awareness among the l a b o u r i n g poor i n i t s f u l l e s t sense had to await the f u l l development of the f a c t o r y system i n the next century, there was emerging a new p o l a r i z a t i o n of c l a s s a t t i t u d e s i n the 1760's.*^ While o f t e n i n t h i s decade, d i s p u t e s were between i n t e r e s t groups 17 Mr. Wedderburn to Mr. G r e n v i l l e , A p r i l 3, 1768, G r e n v i l l e Papers, ed. by W i l l i a m James Smith (4 v o l s . ; London: John Murray, 1853), IV, 263-65. 18 B a r r i n g t o n to Adam J e l l i c o e , September 1, 1768, Ipswich and East S u f f o l k Record O f f i c e , Ipswich, L e t t e r Book  of V i s c o u n t B a r r i n g t o n , B a r r i n g t o n Papers. 19 Asa B r i g g s , "The Language of C l a s s , " i n Essays i n Labour H i s t o r y , ed. by Asa Br i g g s and John S a v i l l e , Papermac (London: Macmillan, 1967). 10 w i t h i n the r a n k s of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor, c o n f l i c t s between i n d u s t r i a l w o r k ers and owners over wages and c o n d i t i o n s o c c u r r e d more f r e q u e n t l y t h a n b e f o r e and r e v e a l e d the dawn-i n g of c l a s s i d e n t i t y . W i t h the p r o g r e s s i v e abandonment of t h e p r i n c i p l e s and p r a c t i c e s of the o l d "moral economy," workers found i t u s e l e s s t o d i r e c t t h e i r e n e r g i e s s o l e l y towards l o w e r i n g the p r i c e s of " n e c e s s a r i e s . " They at f i r s t demanded the a p p l i c a t i o n of t h e o l d p r o t e c t i v e s t a t u t e s r e g u l a t i n g f o o d p r i c e s , wages, a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , and f o r e i g n c o m p e t i t i o n . When f o r the most p a r t the a u t h o r i t i e s f a i l e d t o do what t h e y w i s h e d , the i n d u s t r i a l poor r i o t e d and s t r u c k f o r h i g h e r wages and b e t t e r c o n d i t i o n s . W h i l e t r a d i -t i o n a l g o a l s and t a c t i c s of the poor c o n t i n u e d t o e x i s t a l o n g s i d e the more n o v e l ones, the f i r s t decade of George I l l ' s r e i g n was a t r a n s i t i o n a l one i n l a b o u r r e l a t i o n s . T h i s t r a n s i t i o n was more apparent i n the s t r i k e s and r i o t s among b o t h the p r o v i n c i a l and the m e t r o p o l i t a n i n d u s -t r i a l workers i n the 1760's t h a n among a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r e r s and r e f l e c t e d t h e emergence of embryonic t r a d e u n i o n s . As the Webbs n o t e d , e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y t r a d e u n i o n s were d i s -20 t i n c t from e a r l i e r c r a f t g u i l d s . They appeared at the b e g i n n i n g of the c e n t u r y among workers i n the c l o t h t r a d e , w h i c h was among the f i r s t t r a d e s t o be o p e r a t e d on a Sydney and B e a t r i c e Webb, The H i s t o r y of Trade  U n i o n i s m ( 1 8 9 4 ) , R e p r i n t s of Economic C l a s s i c s ( N e w York: Augustus M. K e l l e y , 1965), p. 16. 11 c a p i t a l i s t i c b a s i s . The o r g a n i z a t i o n and goals of the wool-combers, weavers, and others of the woollen c l o t h i n d u s t r y , which were q u i c k l y i m i t a t e d by other i n d u s t r i a l groups, were the r e s u l t of the s e p a r a t i o n of the workers from the owner-sh i p of the c a p i t a l and machinery e s s e n t i a l to the produc-t i o n of c l o t h goods. By the 1760's many of the journeymen i n London trades had come to r e c o g n i z e the i m p r o b a b i l i t y of t h e i r r i s i n g to p o s i t i o n s of ownership, and adjusted t h e i r o r g a n i z a t i o n s and goals to s u i t t h e i r economic and s o c i a l e x p e c t a t i o n s . The r e l a t i v e l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d t a c t i c s and demands of the p r o v i n c i a l and m e t r o p o l i t a n i n d u s t r i a l workers, which was evident i n the 1760's, r e f l e c t e d the slowly-emerging i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . Although i t extended through s e v e r a l s o c i a l orders and was by no means as cohesive as some commentators sug-gested, the landed i n t e r e s t was more homogeneous i n outlook, e s p e c i a l l y i n economic a f f a i r s , than the i n d u s t r i o u s poor, who were not only d i v i d e d i n t o f i n e l y - g r a d e d s o c i a l o rders, 21 but a l s o m u l t i t u d i n o u s economic i n t e r e s t s . S i m i l a r l y , the r i s i n g i n d u s t r i a l i s t s had a sense of i d e n t i t y as a d i s t i n c t i n t e r e s t group. The e f f e c t of the d i s o r d e r s of the 1760's upon these two r e l a t i v e l y homogeneous i n t e r e s t s was to i n c r e a s e t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y to the threatened 11 tyranny of M. Dorothy George, London L i f e i n the E i g h t e e n t h  Century (London: Kegan P a u l , Trench, Trubner & Co. L t d . , 1925; r e p r i n t e d , New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965), passim. 12 numbers." T h e r e a f t e r , d e s p i t e t h e i r mutual d i s l i k e and sus-p i c i o n , both these groups i n times of d i s o r d e r stood t o g e t h e r a g a i n s t the t h r e a t from below, of which they f i r s t became r e a l l y aware i n the 1750's and 1760*s. The focus of t h i s work w i l l be the hunger and indus-t r i a l r i o t s of 1763-69. These r i o t s and the W i l k i t e d i s -o r d e r s , while r e l a t e d through a common background of s o c i a l u n rest and economic d e p r i v a t i o n , are b e t t e r t r e a t e d separ-a t e l y . F or reasons which w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n P a r t I I below, the W i l k i t e d i s o r d e r s w i l l be p e r i p h e r a l to t h i s study. In a n a l y z i n g the background, to the events of the 1760's, i t w i l l be necessary to co n s i d e r developments e a r l i e r i n the century, e s p e c i a l l y those of the previous decade. Some understanding of the e v o l u t i o n of a t t i t u d e s of va r i o u s groups to farmers and middlemen, f o r example, i s an e s s e n t i a l p r e r e q u i s i t e to e x p l a i n the e x t r a o r d i n a r y h o s t i l -i t y of both the a u t h o r i t i e s and the poor to these two i n t e r -e sts i n the hunger r i o t s of 1766-67. S i m i l a r l y , the p o l a r -i z a t i o n of c l a s s i n t e r e s t s over the M i l i t i a A c t c r i s i s of 1757 and the food r i o t s connected with i t help to e x p l a i n the e q u i v o c a l r o l e of the a u t h o r i t i e s i n 1766-67 and the apparent m a l l e a b i l i t y of the poor. 13 The p a u c i t y of d e t a i l e d source m a t e r i a l s hampers the 22 student of the E n g l i s h mobs of the e i g h t e e n t h century. The absence of a n a t i o n a l p o l i c e f o r c e and the l a c k of an e f f i c i e n t bureaucracy l a r g e l y account f o r such d e f i c i e n c i e s . Calendars of p r i s o n e r s d e l i v e r e d to the f o u r s p e c i a l a s s i z e s h e l d i n W i l t s h i r e , B e r k s h i r e , G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , and N o r f o l k i n December, 1766 r a r e l y i n d i c a t e more than the names and a l l e g e d o f f e n c e s . Other Treasury S o l i c i t o r ' s papers are e q u a l l y vague. S e s s i o n a l r e c o r d books, c o l l e c t i o n s of d e p o s i t i o n s , and p r o s e c u t i o n b r i e f s are more v a l u a b l e sources of d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n about the composition of mobs, but are r a r e l y a v a i l a b l e . Only Norwich Record O f f i c e has these types of m a t e r i a l f o r 1766-67, and one may w r i t e w i t h more confidence about the s o c i a l complexion and goals of the r i o t e r s who d i d great p r o p e r t y damage i n that c i t y i n l a t e September, 1766, than about other hunger r i o t e r s of the p e r i o d . G e n e r a l l y , d e t a i l s of age, occupation, m i l i t a r y attachment, p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of r i o t e r s and other i n f o r m a t i o n e s s e n t i a l f o r a c l o s e , s o c i o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s of r i o t o u s mobs are only recorded i n d e s c r i p t i o n s of suspects 23 b e l i e v e d to have absconded. Marching Orders of the Army, 22 r George Rude has c o n t r a s t e d the d e t a i l e d records kept by the French p o l i c e i n t h i s century. George Rude, The  Crowd i n H i s t o r y , A Study of P o p u l a r Disturbances i n France  and England, 1730-1848 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964), p. 13. 23 See Norwich Record O f f i c e , Norwich Quarter Ses-sions Order Book (1755-1775). 14 newspaper accounts, and s c a t t e r e d p r i v a t e correspondence only p a r t i a l l y f i l l the gaps i n extant l e g a l documents. I t i s now almost a t r u i s m to remark at the beginning of any study of r i o t i n g t h a t most records are s u b j e c t to the d i s t o r t i o n s of the c l a s s sympathies of the o f f i c i a l s and the a r t i c u l a t e m i n o r i t y who wrote of the events i n documents, 24 newspapers, and l e t t e r s to f r i e n d s . By d e f i n i t i o n , the i n a r t i c u l a t e poor l e f t few r ecords of t h e i r m o t i v a t i o n s and a c t i o n s . T h e i r s t o r y has to be p i e c e d t o g e t h e r from i n d i r e c t sources, always remembering t h a t the a u t h o r i t i e s pursued a d e l i b e r a t e p o l i c y of d i s c r e d i t i n g them. In the 1750's, f o r example, Lord M a n s f i e l d advised the Marquis of Rockingham, the Lord L i e u t e n a n t of the West R i d i n g , to a d v e r t i s e widely the d i s h o n e s t y of the r i o t e r s i n order to d i s c r e d i t them i n the eyes of the p u b l i c , and there can be l i t t l e doubt t h a t the same p o l i c y was pursued a decade l a t e r when more s e r i o u s 25 r i o t s broke out. E a r l y accounts of food r i o t s i n 1766 commented on the honesty of mobs, who f o r c e d the s a l e of g r a i n at " j u s t " p r i c e s and saw t h a t the former owners 24 E. P. Thompson, The Making of the E n g l i s h Working  C l a s s (London: V i c t o r G o l l a n c z , 1963) , p~. 59 and passinu 25 M a n s f i e l d to Rockingham, October 4, 1757, C e n t r a l L i b r a r y , S h e f f i e l d , Rockingham MSS, Rl-108: M a n s f i e l d sug-gested s h e r i f f s ' sending advertisements over the country to show the "wicked s p i r i t t h a t has blown up the mob, the i n s t a n c e s where they have ended i n e x a c t i n g money i e t h e f t or robbery.' Undervaluing them that they ought to be sup-pressed by the C i v i l M a g i s t r a t e to leave the m i l i t a r y f o r c e f r e e to attend to matters more important." 15 26 r e c e i v e d t h e i r money from the s a l e s . L a t e r accounts r e p o r t growing pr o p e r t y damage and l o o t i n g . T h i s changing p i c t u r e may, t h e r e f o r e , r e f l e c t the growing e x a s p e r a t i o n of the r i o t e r s , or i n c r e a s e d alarm among the p r i v i l e g e d c l a s s e s at the e a r l i e r d i s c i p l i n e d r e s t r a i n t of the d i s a f f e c t e d whom they now sought to d i s c r e d i t , or a combination of both. Newspaper p u b l i s h e r s , s e n s i t i v e to the c r i t i c i s m t h a t d e t a i l e d r e p o r t i n g of r i o t s s t i m u l a t e d d i s t u r b a n c e s elsewhere, p r o v i d e d incomplete news coverage of d i s t u r b a n c e s . In October, 1766, f o r example, the P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r pub-l i s h e d a l e t t e r of complaint from one s u b s c r i b e r who accused the e d i t o r of i n c i t i n g u n r e s t by c o n s t a n t l y r e p o r t i n g r i o t s 27 i n d e t a i l . The e d i t o r acknowledged the danger, and t h e r e -a f t e r few accounts of r i o t s appear i n that paper f o r the remaining months of 1766. The magistrates of Norwich actu-a l l y ordered the l o c a l newspapers to r e f r a i n from i n c l u d i n g graphic d e t a i l s a f t e r two days of e x t e n s i v e r i o t s i n Septem-28 ber, 1766 to a v o i d i n c i t i n g f u r t h e r outbreaks. There was 26 John P i t t to Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 290. "Mob was honest but r e s e n t s any f r a u d on i t s e l f . " 27 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , October 25, 1766. QQ Norwich Mercury, October 4, 1766, d a t e l i n e d October 2. "By order of the m a g i s t r a t e s . P r i n t i n g and pub-l i s h i n g i n newspapers, the v a r i o u s excesses of r i o t e r s and d i s t u r b e r s of the peace, being l i t t l e l e s s than h o l d i n g out examples f o r the wicked and p r o f l i g a t e i n other p l a c e s , i t i s thought s u f f i c i e n t to acquaint our readers, t h a t from specious pretences a great number of the lowest people wan-t o n l y destroyed p r o v i s i o n s i n the l a s t Saturday's market, and committed other outrages." 16 perhaps some j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r such censorship because news-papers were prone to p u b l i s h rumours which c i r c u l a t e d through the market places and gave exaggerated accounts of disturbances. One w r i t e r reported three examples of d i s t o r -t i o n s from Western England: (1) The mob removed f l o u r from Mr. Cambridge's m i l l at Whitminster w i t h l i t t l e damage. Lord Hardwicke's re p o r t spoke of a m i l l p u l l e d down i n Cambridgeshire; (2) A nervous man ran at the sound of the Cow's Horn, the s i g n a l of the mob, and h i s w i f e had f i t s . Four miles away i n Gloucester the report spread that h i s house had been " p u l l e d down about h i s ears and h i s r i c k s destroyed"; (3) Dragoons who had been sent to C i r e n c e s t e r were reported a l l k i l l e d . An o f f i c e r who i n q u i r e d i n t o the s i t u a t i o n reported to the War O f f i c e that many had been wounded and seven k i l l e d . Four days l a t e r a l l the s o l d i e r s 29 returned to Gloucester, a mere ten miles away. Even i f the records of t r i a l s were complete and accurate, one could not be c e r t a i n that those a r r e s t e d f o r r i o t i n g were a c r o s s - s e c t i o n of the mobs. Magistrates were often unable to a r r e s t r i o t e r s f o r s e v e r a l days or even weeks a f t e r t h e i r a l l e g e d offences. Without m i l i t a r y a s s i s -tance the a u t h o r i t i e s were unable to make summary a r r e s t s . As the army g r a d u a l l y r e s t o r e d calm to the r u r a l areas i n October and November, 1766, the magistrates concentrated ^ P i t t to Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 290. 17 t h e i r e f f o r t s on hunting down the r i n g l e a d e r s . F i n d i n g w i t -nesses, t a k i n g d e p o s i t i o n s , and f i n a l l y t r a c i n g o f f e n d e r s were a l l time-consuming, and the j u s t i c e s f r e q u e n t l y e n l i s t e d the a i d of church wardens and other p a r i s h o f f i -c i a l s . They asked f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about the names of known r i o t e r s , v i l l a g e r s who were absent from t h e i r home p a r i s h e s 30 d u r i n g the r i o t s , or people who had subsequently absconded. Consequently, those i n d i c t e d f o r r i o t i n g were almost i n v a r i -31 ably l o c a l s . D e s p i t e t h e i r absence from l i s t s of p r i s -oners, one may suspect t h a t c e r t a i n o u t s i d e groups d i d i n f a c t p a r t i c i p a t e i n the d i s o r d e r s . S i m i l a r l y , although documents r a r e l y i d e n t i f y p r i s o n e r s as ex-servicemen, the t a c t i c s of the mob, the dress of the p a r t i c i p a n t s and the comments of the a u t h o r i t i e s s t r o n g l y h i n t at the importance of the veterans of the Seven Years' War i n the d i s t u r b a n c e s of the 1 7 6 0 ' s . 3 2 The dangers of i n t e r p r e t i n g e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y s t a t i s t i c s are too w e l l known to h i s t o r i a n s to r e q u i r e 33 lengthy comment here. Those r e l a t i n g to the p r i c e s of 30 Norwich Qua r t e r Se s s i o n s Order Book (1766). 3 1 Cf. George Rude, "The London Mob of the E i g h t e e n t h Century," H i s t o r i c a l J o u r n a l , I I , No. 1 (1959), 1-18. 32 See P a r t I, Chapter IV below. 33 See S i r George Norman C l a r k , Guide to E n g l i s h Com-m e r c i a l S t a t i s t i c s - - 1 6 9 6 - 1 7 8 2 (London: O f f i c e s of the Royal H i s t o r i c a l S o c i e t y , 1938). 18 p r o v i s i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y g r a i n , are most r e l e v a n t to t h i s work, because p r i c e f l u c t u a t i o n s c o r r e l a t e c l o s e l y w i t h the i n c i d e n c e of hunger r i o t s . Broadly, there are two sources f o r such f i g u r e s : c e r t a i n wholesale p r i c e records kept by such i n s t i t u t i o n s as Eton School, and monthly l i s t s of mar-ket p r i c e s s p o r a d i c a l l y p u b l i s h e d by the Gentleman's Maga-zi n e and other j o u r n a l s . For the establishment of s h o r t -term f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the cost of l i v i n g , the wholesale p r i c e s are l e s s v a l u a b l e than the r e t a i l market p r i c e s . U s u a l l y based upon average p r i c e s at two seasonal dates i n the year, Lady Day and Michaelmas, they bore only an i n d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p to the p r i c e s of the food t h a t the l a b o u r i n g poor were f o r c e d to buy i n the market p l a c e or i n the 3 4 bakers' shops. Although the p r i c e s l i s t e d i n the press are more v a l u a b l e i n studying the p r e c i p i t a t i n g causes of popular p r o t e s t s i n the e i g h t e e n t h century, t h i s source has i t s d i s -advantages too. The p u b l i s h e r s of the Gentleman's Magazine, f o r example, gleaned i n f o r m a t i o n on l o c a l food p r i c e s only w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e d i f f i c u l t y w i t h the a i d of v o l u n t a r y cor-3 5 respondents. T h e i r v a r y i n g degree of d e t a i l r e f l e c t e d c u r r e n t p u b l i c concern over comparatively s h o r t c r i s i s 3 4 Many w r i t e r s used the wholesale p r i c e s of Eton C o l l e g e . See C o n s i d e r a t i o n s on the E x p o r t a t i o n of Corn (anonymous pamphlet, 1766). 3 5Gentleman's Magazine, XXXVI (1766), XXXVII (1767), XXXVIII (1768). 19 periods. In 1767 the Gentleman's Magazine attempted to record accurate market s t a t i s t i c s f o r various d i v i s i o n s of England i n the i n t e r e s t s of ob t a i n i n g more r a t i o n a l g r a i n l e g i s l a t i o n , but the u n r e l i a b i l i t y of i t s voluntary c o r r e -spondents soon f o r c e d the abandonment of t h i s attempt. Even when such i n f o r m a t i o n was forthcoming, i t was d i s a p p o i n t i n g l y vague and incomplete. U s u a l l y newspapers and j o u r n a l s published a range of p r i c e s at which g r a i n s o l d i n l o c a l markets"on a given day. They r a r e l y d i s t i n g u i s h e d between grades of g r a i n . There was, f o r example, i n the summer of 1766 two ranges of p r i c e s , one f o r o l d and one f o r new g r a i n , and w i t h i n each range there were two l e v e l s , the p r i c e paid by dealers which was negotiated i n p r i v a t e , and the "pedling p r i c e " which was paid i n the open market and i • i 36 was higher. Nor was the f a c t t h a t g r a i n s o l d at a p a r t i c u l a r p r i c e i n a l o c a l market according to the monthly f i g u r e s i n the Gentleman's Magazine any guarantee t h a t i t could be pur-chased by anyone at that p r i c e . Barley and oats i n Southern England, f o r example, u s u a l l y went d i r e c t to the brewers, 37 d i s t i l l e r s or other dealers r a t h e r than the r e t a i l market. 3 _> Charles Townsend to Grafton, September 4, 1766, West S u f f o l k County Record O f f i c e , Bury St. Edmunds, Grafton  Papers. 3 7 S e e Gentleman's Magazine, XXXVI -(.1766) and XXXVII (1767)., and House of Lords Record O f f i c e , Westminster, Com-mittee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765), Main  Papers. 20 T h i s p a r t l y e x p l a i n s why the p r i c e s of the c o a r s e r g r a i n s throughout the r i o t months remained c u r i o u s l y steady and w e l l below the p r i c e of wheat. Although there are strong i n d i c a t i o n s t h a t p r i c e s of food d i d s p i r a l upwards i n times of s o c i a l d i s c o n t e n t and one can e s t a b l i s h a c o r r e l a t i o n i n most i n s t a n c e s , there are anomalies. The f a c t t h a t p r i c e s rose s h a r p l y i n p a r t s of the country l i k e Wales without d i s o r d e r s o c c u r r i n g , while elsewhere p r i c e s remained s t a b l e i n centres l i k e Worcester 3! where r i o t s s t i l l took p l a c e , r a i s e s i n t e r e s t i n g q u e s t i o n s . E i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y g r a i n s t a t i s t i c s are at best imprecise measurements of d i s c o n t e n t . They are broad i n d i -c a t o r s of the c o n d i t i o n s of the poor. Even when they appear to be reasonably accurate and complete, they must be r e l a t e d to the p r i c e s of other p r o v i s i o n s , to wages and employment p o s s i b i l i t i e s , and the e x p e c t a t i o n s of the people. But a knowledge of the a t t i t u d e s ,of the poor and t h e i r r e a c t i o n s to t h e i r c o n d i t i o n s i s i t s e l f i n s u f f i c i e n t to determine the causes of r i o t s . The responses of the poor do not e x i s t i n a vacuum. One can focus too narrowly on the "faces i n the crowd." The a t t i t u d e s of other s i g n i f i c a n t groups and t h e i r r o l e s i n the events of 1766-68 are v i t a l l y important. Because of the present l i m i t a t i o n o f - s ource mater-i a l s , any study of the r i o t s of the 1760's must remain 3 8Gentleman's Magazine, XXXVI (1766). See monthly g r a i n p r i c e s f o r summer and autumn months. 21 c h i e f l y i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c . P a t i e n t c u l l i n g of county record o f f i c e s by teams of researchers may yet uncover adequate m a t e r i a l f o r e s s e n t i a l l o c a l s t u d i e s of eighteenth-century r i o t s . To date, h i s t o r i a n s have only begun t h i s type of work on r i o t s of the next century. When a whole s e r i e s of stu d i e s comparable to the one produced by A. J . Peacock on the East A n g l i a n a g r a r i a n r i o t s of 1816 appears, a new work 39 of synthesis may proceed. Work on eighteenth-century r i o t s appears l i k e l y then to proceed i n two d i r e c t i o n s : l o c a l s t u d i e s as noted above, and comparative studies of American, I r i s h , and E n g l i s h d i s o r d e r s . 4 ^ The l i n k s already apparent are suggestive of i n t e r e s t i n g i n s i g h t s i n t o the s o c i a l developments of the three c o u n t r i e s . Meanwhile, although conclusions must perforce be t e n t a t i v e , i t seems appropriate to undertake a re-examination of the d i s o r d e r s of the 1760's. Such an i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c study has value because recent pioneer s e m i - s o c i o l o g i c a l analyses of the h i s t o r i c a l mob i n B r i t a i n and France r a i s e questions about the wider context i n which the E n g l i s h 41 r i o t e r s of the eighteenth century operated. Is i t v a l i d 39 A. J . Peacock, Bread or Blood, A Study of the  A g r a r i a n R i o t s i n East A n g l i a i n 1816 ( L o n d o n : V i c t o r G o l l a n c z , 1965). 40 See P a u l i n e Maier, "John Wilkes and American D i s -i l l u s i o n m e n t w i t h B r i t a i n , " W i l l i a m and Mary Q u a r t e r l y , XX, 3rd ser. (1963), 373-95. ^Georges Levebvre, George Rude, et a l . 22 to e x p l a i n the a c t i o n s and goals of r i o t e r s s o l e l y or even predominantly i n r e l a t i o n to the "faces i n the crowd"? I f the f l u c t u a t i n g p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s and the apparent t h r e a t of s t a r v a t i o n p r e c i p i t a t e d them, d i d the responses of the a u t h o r i t i e s and other i n f l u e n t i a l groups a f f e c t the form and d i r e c t i o n of the r i o t s ? Were i n f a c t even r u r a l hunger mobs as f r e e from the i n f l u e n c e of those standing o u t s i d e and apart from them as George Rude would perhaps have us 42 b e l i e v e ? He i s more w i l l i n g to see urban p o l i t i c a l mobs, r a t h e r than hunger r i o t e r s , manipulated by those standing o u t s i d e and apart from them. I f the a c t i o n s and goals of the mobs were c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e i r s o c i a l composition, why d i d they not at t a c k e q u a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e t a r g e t s t h a t went unmolested? More s p e c i f i c a l l y , i f they attacked corn d e a l e r s and l a r g e farmers, why d i d they not a s s a u l t i n d u s t r i a l i s t s , such as c o a l owners and c l o t h i e r s who kept down wages, or gentry w i t h whom they had r e c e n t l y q u a r r e l l e d over d i s c r i m -i n a t o r y m i l i t i a l e g i s l a t i o n ? Are i n f l u e n t i a l i n t e r e s t s whom the r i o t e r s d i d not attack as important i n e s t i m a t i n g moti-v a t i o n as those whom they d i d a t t a c k ? T h i s a b s t e n t i o n from r i o t i n g a g a i n s t employers i n 1766 i s remarkable given the economic r e c e s s i o n of the l a t e 1760's and the h i s t o r y of i n d u s t r i a l t e n s i o n s . C l o t h i n g workers had engaged i n b i t t e r d i s p u t e s over wages wit h West Country c l o t h i e r s l e s s than a 'Rude, The Crowd i n H i s t o r y . 23 43 decade e a r l i e r ; even more r e c e n t l y c o a l miners had atta c k e d the p r o p e r t y of t h e i r masters t o gain concessions i n working 44 c o n d i t i o n s and to maintain wage l e v e l s . Why d i d not the i n d u s t r i a l workers demand h i g h e r wages and continuous employment from t h e i r employers as the cost of l i v i n g rose? Can the a c t i o n s of the v a r i o u s i n d u s t r i a l mobs, such as sea-men and coalheavers, be e x p l a i n e d without w r i t i n g of t h e i r e x p l o i t a t i o n and ma n i p u l a t i o n by government-paid l e a d e r s as w e l l as p r i v a t e e n t e r p r i s e r s ? C o n s i d e r a t i o n of these and other important questions w i l l be given i n subsequent chapters. A l l students of the s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e of ei g h t e e n t h -century England f a c e problems of d e f i n i t i o n . While more p r e c i s e e x p l a n a t i o n s w i l l be provided on an ad hoc b a s i s i n fo o t n o t e s and t e x t , some g e n e r a l comment i s r e q u i r e d by way of i n t r o d u c t i o n . Asa Br i g g s has noted t h a t people l i v i n g i n t h i s p e r i o d d i d not use the term " c l a s s " to d e s c r i b e s o c i a l groupings, and p r e f e r r e d to employ names such as " i n t e r e s t s " 45 or " o r d e r s . " In t h i s study the phrase "the landed i n t e r -e s t " w i l l f r e q u e n t l y appear and w i l l d i s t i n g u i s h a l l who 43 E l i z a b e t h Waterman G i l b o y , Wages i n Eig h t e e n t h  Century England, V o l . XLV of Harvard Economic Studi e s (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1934), p. 80 et seq. 4 4Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 430, 488; S t a t e  Papers, SP 37/4, f o i . 1. 45 B r i g g s , "The Language of C l a s s . " 24 gained income from r e n t i n g or working t h e i r own l a n d . In t h i s economic sense, the name a p p l i e s to the great l a n d -owners who r e n t e d or developed la n d , as w e l l as to l e s s e r gentry and yeomen who farmed p a r t or a l l of t h e i r l a n d . S o c i a l l y the landed i n t e r e s t extended through s e v e r a l orders; from the a r i s t o c r a t i c landowner down to the yeoman. The term embraces wi d e l y d i f f e r e n t economic and s o c i a l l e v e l s . Only the r e n t i e r connection w i t h the land g i v e s u n i t y . C e r t a i n other e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y terms are c o n f u s i n g . The name "yeoman" o r i g i n a l l y had a f a i r l y p r e c i s e meaning, and was a p p l i e d to the order below the gentry and above the common farmer or peasant. During the course of the e i g h -teenth century, t h i s term came to have a much wider a p p l i c a -t i o n . There were yeomen carpenters and yeomen weavers, to name but two, as w e l l as yeomen farmers. Perhaps a modern p a r a l l e l f o r such a development i s the t i t l e " e s q u i r e " which a l s o has l o s t i t s p r e c i s e meaning long ago. In t h i s study "yeoman" w i l l be used i n i t s o l d e r sense of b e t t e r " c l a s s " farmer. Perhaps the most common phrases f o r the upper l e v e l s of E n g l i s h s o c i e t y were the upper and m i d d l i n g s o r t s . These terms are as imprecise as modern c l a s s c a t e g o r i e s , but l i k e them they are u s e f u l when p r e c i s e d e s c r i p t i o n s are impos-s i b l e , f o r they convey some meaning. G e n e r a l l y i n urban centres the m i d d l i n g s o r t r e f e r s to t h a t l a r g e group of w e l l - t o - d o merchants, a r t i s a n s , craftsmen, and the r e s t who 25 l a y between the a r i s t o c r a t i c and sub-noble f i n a n c i a l and commercial i n t e r e s t s on the one hand and the va s t conglomer-a t i o n of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor on the other. T h i s l a t t e r term r e f e r s to the l a b o u r e r s , weavers, manufacturers, seamen, miners, p o r t e r s , watermen, and many others who made up the poor working f o r c e of the n a t i o n . The term d i s t i n g u i s h e d them from the impotent poor, who i n c l u d e d the widows, orphans, the e l d e r l y and the i n f i r m , as w e l l as from the vagrants and the c r i m i n a l elements on the f r i n g e s of s o c i e t y . The i n d u s t r i o u s poor were i n no sense homogeneous i n the manner of the ni n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y f a c t o r y p r o l e t a r i a t . They i n c l u d e d a wide spectrum of occupations, and f i n e s o c i a l 46 g r a d a t i o n s , as Dorothy George has shown. Many were s e l f -employed, and the r e was as much r i v a l r y w i t h i n t h i s grouping as between i t and the mi d d l i n g s o r t . F i n a l l y , w h i le i t i s a n a c h r o n i s t i c to w r i t e of c l a s s i n the e i g h t e e n t h century, i t i s o f t e n convenient to use modern terminology as long as i t i s r e c a l l e d t h a t i t i s merely a t o o l of a n a l y s i s . Such g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s have to be used i f one i s not to be b u r i e d beneath the weight of d e t a i l . Where necessary q u a l i f i c a t i o n s w i l l be made i n the t e x t and elsewhere. George, London L i f e i n the Ei g h t e e n t h Century. PART I CHAPTER I THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS OF 1766 The hunger r i o t s which spread across most of Southern England i n the summer and autumn of 1766 were the most exten-s i v e r u r a l d i s o r d e r s i n a century when food r i o t s became chronic.^" More s e r i o u s i n t h e i r t h r e a t to the s o c i a l order than the v i o l e n t p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t the high cost of "neces-s a r i e s " and the new M i l i t i a Act i n 1756-57, the d i s t u r b a n c e s of 1766 p l a c e d a very heavy s t r a i n upon the f o r c e s of order. They foreshadowed the more s e r i o u s a g r a r i a n r i o t s of the next century. While the War O f f i c e i n September, 1766 moved i t s detachments across the c o u n t r y s i d e i n a v a i n e f f o r t to par r y the r a p i d l y - s h i f t i n g t h r e a t s from m i l i t a n t l a b o u r e r s , c o l -l i e r s , t i n n e r s , weavers, and others of the p r o v i n c i a l "'"Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, passim. The m i l i t i a and food r i o t s of 1756-57 were most s e r i o u s i n Northern England when only about a q u a r t e r of the p o p u l a t i o n l i v e d n o r t h of the Trent (C. R. Fay, " S i g n i f i -cance of the Corn Laws i n E n g l i s h H i s t o r y , " Economic H i s t o r y  Review, I, 1st s e r . [1927-28], 314). In c o n t r a s t the 1766 hunger r i o t s a f f e c t e d s e r i o u s l y most of Southern England, i n c l u d i n g some of the Midland Counties where n e a r l y t h r e e -q u a r t e r s of the p o p u l a t i o n l i v e d . 26 27 di s p o s s e s s e d , the r i o t e r s became b o l d e r and s e i z e d c o n t r o l of l a r g e t r a c t s of the c o u n t r y s i d e almost i n the manner of an occupying army. As the c r i s i s developed, demands f o r m i l i t a r y p r o t e c t i o n from market towns and i s o l a t e d country o e s t a t e s poured i n t o the War O f f i c e . By l a t e September the p a t t e r n of events had unfolded to the p o i n t where Lord B a r r i n g t o n , the Secretary-at-War, apprehended a t h r e a t of gene r a l i n s u r r e c t i o n . S t r i v i n g to m o b i l i z e h i s l i m i t e d r e s o u r c e s , he ordered the commanders of both a c t i v e troops and " i n v a l i d e s " to a s s i s t the c i v i l m a g i s t r a t e s "upon r e q u i s -3 i t i o n , " w h i le at the same time he urged the le a d e r s of r u r a l s o c i e t y , the a r i s t o c r a c y and the gentry to abandon t h e i r l e t h a r g y and use t h e i r i n i t i a t i v e i n arming t h e i r 4 servants to suppress l e s s s e r i o u s d i s t u r b a n c e s . The army only p a c i f i e d the s e v e r a l d i s a f f e c t e d counties w i t h great d i f f i c u l t y . Although s e r i o u s r i o t i n g had ended by l a t e October, and t r i a l s before the s p e c i a l a s s i z e s began to 2 B a r r i n g t o n to the E a r l of S u f f o l k , October 1, 1766, L e t t e r Book of V i s c o u n t B a r r i n g t o n . 3 P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , Marching Orders of the Army, W05-54, p. 341 and passim. 4 S i r George S a v i l e c a l c u l a t e d a mere two years l a t e r t h a t there were a v a i l a b l e 18,000 r e g u l a r troops, 33,000 m i l i t i a to suppress g e n e r a l i n s u r r e c t i o n . West to Newcastle, May 17, 1768, Add. MSS, 32990. To these f i g u r e s should be added seamen s e r v i n g i n home waters. A v a r i e t y of ships were used i n the seamen and coalheavers' r i o t s of 1766 to blockade the Thames. Calendar of Home O f f i c e Papers (1766-69),-p. 371, No. 978, and P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , A d m i r a l t y E n t r y Book (1766-1784), pp. 39-41. 28 r e l i e v e p r essure on the crowded county gaols by e a r l y Decem-ber, hunger r i o t s continued i n a d e s u l t o r y f a s h i o n f o r the next two years i n p r o v i n c i a l England. I t w i l l be v a l u a b l e to examine f i r s t the t i m i n g , l o c a t i o n , extent, and d i r e c t i o n of these r i o t s to determine t h e i r immediate causes, before i n subsequent chapters a n a l y z -in g the u n d e r l y i n g f a c t o r s behind the a c t i o n s of both the r i o t e r s and the a u t h o r i t i e s . In 1766 there were three waves of hunger r i o t s . O c c u r r i n g i n January and February, the f i r s t wave essen-t i a l l y was a c o n t i n u a t i o n of the d i s t u r b a n c e s of the p r e v i -ous year over high food p r i c e s and the c o n s t r u c t i o n of houses of i n d u s t r y i n East A n g l i a . These r i o t s were r e l a -t i v e l y minor, and except f o r s p o r a d i c outbreaks l a t e r i n the s p r i n g they had ceased by the end of February. The second wave took p l a c e i n the e a r l y weeks of August. T h i s wave l a s t e d only two weeks but, i n the course of i t , r i o t o u s mobs d i s r u p t e d numerous d i s t r i c t s i n the West Country and Berk-s h i r e . The t h i r d , and most severe, wave of r i o t s began i n the f i r s t week of September and, except f o r minor i s o l a t e d outbreaks, was over by the end of October. During t h i s two-month p e r i o d , much of Southern England experienced s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s . The i n c i d e n c e of a l l three waves of r i o t i n g c o r r e l a t e d c l o s e l y with sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the p r i c e s of g r a i n and movements of wheat to the p o r t s . 29 The r i o t s of e a r l y 1766 were an e x p r e s s i o n of the unr e s t among the poor which had ebbed and flowed with sea-sonal and c y c l i c a l economic f l u c t u a t i o n s d u r i n g the course of s e v e r a l years. The p r i c e s of food had been g e n e r a l l y h i g h s i n c e the end of the Seven Years' War, due to d i s a p -p o i n t i n g h a r v e s t s and epidemics among c a t t l e and sheep. D i s c o n t e n t approached c r i s i s p r o p o r t i o n s with the high c o s t of bread i n 1765 and economic r e c e s s i o n i n p a r t s of the no r t h and the Midlands. In t h a t year, the bounty on g r a i n exports had ceased when wheat p r i c e s at Bear Key, London 6 rose to f o r t y - e i g h t s h i l l i n g s a q u a r t e r . But such s e l f -r e g u l a t i n g a c t i o n s of the Corn Laws r a r e l y s o l v e d the prob-lem of high food p r i c e s i n the eightee n t h century. In l e s s -a c c e s s i b l e i n t e r i o r d i s t r i c t s of England g r a i n p r i c e s were f r e q u e n t l y h i g h e r than they were at the p o r t s where market 7 p r i c e s determined export p r a c t i c e s . T h i s s i t u a t i o n l e d to s e r i o u s t e n s i o n s among the r u r a l populace of i n l a n d r e g i o n s . D i s t u r b a n c e s at B r a i n t r e e and elsewhere i n 1765 caused Par-liament t o . a u t h o r i z e the admission of d u t y - f r e e g r a i n between May 10 and August 24. As an a d d i t i o n a l c a u t i o n a r y measure P a r l i a m e n t granted a u t h o r i t y to the government to 5Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 84-85 and 567. 6 I b i d . , p. 195. 7 I b i d . , p. 45. 8 I b i d . , p. 394. 30 suspend during the summer recess of Parliament a l l g r a i n exports by Order-in-Council should circumstances warrant 9 i i t . (The gran t i n g of t h i s power to the M i n i s t r y created confusion i n the summer of 1766 when some p o l i t i c i a n s b e l i e v e d i t was s t i l l i n force.) Although some r e l i e f f o r the people came w i t h the harvest of 1765, the p r i c e s of pro-v i s i o n s remained high. By December one correspondent was f o r e c a s t i n g general i n s u r r e c t i o n i f p r i c e s d i d not drop and unemployment d e c l i n e , e s p e c i a l l y i n the northern i n d u s t r i a l r e g i o n s . " ^ The r i o t s which occurred i n the f o l l o w i n g year, however, spread through Southern'England. The e a r l i e s t disturbances of 1766 took two forms: p r o t e s t s i n the markets at the high p r i c e s of food and threatened attacks on f l o u r m i l l s ; and renewed a s s a u l t s on the r e c e n t l y - c o n s t r u c t e d workhous'es i n Eastern England. As w i l l be seen, the r i o t s over the extension of a system of indoor r e l i e f f r e q u e n t l y outside the r e c i p i e n t ' s p a r i s h of settlement were c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to economic d e p r i v a t i o n but they were somewhat more complex i n o r i g i n than the common type of food r i o t s . A considerable part of the r i o t e r s ' h o s t i l i t y towards the workhouses r e l a t e d to resentment at the l o s s of t r a d i t i o n a l r i g h t s . 9 Harcourt to Jenkinson, September 16, 1766, Add. MSS, 38205. 1 QGentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 567. 31 While the d i s t u r b a n c e s of e a r l y 1766 were r e l a t i v e l y minor, they do o f f e r some i n s i g h t s i n t o the causes of u n r e s t which l a t e r culminated i n the s e r i o u s outbreaks of v i o l e n c e i n the summer and autumn of t h a t year. They took p l a c e i n and around the West Country g r a i n p o r t of Lyme. Here, on January 24, the ma g i s t r a t e s had to read the R i o t Act to d i s -perse "one hundred r i n g l e a d e r s " and c a l l f o r m i l i t a r y a s s i s -tance to deal' w i t h a mob of s i x hundred which the a u t h o r i -t i e s expected to r e t u r n . ' ^ C o n d i t i o n s remained t h r e a t e n i n g 12 and the j u s t i c e s needed troops to maintain the peace, u n t i l at the end of February the government took d e c i s i v e a c t i o n to remove the prime cause of unrest by i n t r o d u c i n g a pa r l i a m e n t a r y b i l l to suspend f o r s i x months a l l corn , 13 exports. The immediate o c c a s i o n of the d i s t u r b a n c e s at Lyme had been the movement of g r a i n through the p o r t at a time when the u s u a l seasonal i n c r e a s e s were beginning to a f f e c t the p r i c e s of g r a i n , which had been high s i n c e the autumn of 1765. Normally the g r e a t e s t movement of g r a i n p r i c e s occurred between Lady Day (March 25) and Michaelmas (Septem-ber 29) when high e r p r i c e s r e f l e c t e d dwindling stocks of o l d g r a i n and the u n c e r t a i n t i e s of farmers and corn f a c t o r s 1 : LMarchinq Orders, W05-54, p. 47. 1 2 I b i d . , p. 62. 13 6 Geo. I l l , caps. 3, 4, 5. 32 14 about the coming harvest. Because Lyme was i n - t h e West Country, a r e g i o n dependent upon other counties f o r g r a i n to f e e d i t s people and stock, the l o c a l p o p u l a t i o n was p a r t i c u -l a r l y s e n s i t i v e to the c o l l e c t i o n of g r a i n f o r export i n times of s c a r c i t y and h i g h p r i c e s . Probably i n e a r l y 1766 there was an u n u s u a l l y l a r g e q u a n t i t y of g r a i n moving through the p o r t . Because Europe and B r i t a i n tended to experience s i m i l a r weather c y c l e s , when har v e s t s were poor i n one country, they were poor across the c o n t i n e n t and 15 p r i c e s were u n i v e r s a l l y h i g h . In 1766 famine c o n d i t i o n s i n Europe were drawing from England a l l the a v a i l a b l e g r a i n . Probably shipments to the n o r t h of England, too, were u n u s u a l l y high. There had been c o n s i d e r a b l e unrest i n the i n d u s t r i a l n o r t h , and the government, f e a r i n g o u t r i g h t r e b e l l i o n , had a l r e a d y begun to r e i n f o r c e i t s northern gar-r i s o n s . " ^ With the memory of the 1756-57 hunger r i o t s f r e s h i n mind, the M i n i s t r y understandably was anxious to ensure an adequate supply of bread f o r the northern populace. Thus i t encouraged shipments of g r a i n through the western p o r t s to supply the northern p o p u l a t i o n . 14 See the records of g r a i n p r i c e s on Lady Day and Michaelmas, 1752-1764, of the bursar of T r i n i t y C o l l e g e , Oxford, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). 15 C h a r l e s Ryle Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1932), p^ 28. "Marching Orders, W05-54, p. 182. 33 The government's a c t i o n i n passing through P a r l i a -ment l e g i s l a t i o n which suspended the e x p o r t a t i o n of g r a i n between February 26 and August 26 c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e s the importance of examining the r o l e of the a u t h o r i t i e s i n the a g r a r i a n d i s t u r b a n c e s of the 1760's. T h i s suspension of corn exports was the v i t a l move which averted f u r t h e r r i o t s i n the g r a i n p o r t s of the West Country and the depressed i n d u s t r i a l areas of the i n t e r i o r of England. In a c t i n g thus, the M i n i s t r y was remarkably p r o v i d e n t . P o l i t i c i a n s were u s u a l l y r e l u c t a n t to i n t e r f e r e with corn r e g u l a t i o n s , which they supposed to be i n the i n t e r e s t s of the landed c l a s s e s and the general p o p u l a t i o n . E a r l y i n the previous decade Henry Pelham, addressing the gentry, f r e e h o l d e r s and c l e r g y of Sussex, had t y p i c a l l y a f f i r m e d h i s government's 17 support f o r the corn laws. M i n i s t e r s were u n w i l l i n g to antagonize g r a i n i n t e r e s t s or to j e o p a r d i z e European g r a i n markets, and they f r e q u e n t l y gambled on b o u n t i f u l harvests to r e l i e v e g r a i n shortages. U s u a l l y embargoes on exports were too l a t e to prevent s e r i o u s food shortages. When such g r a i n suspensions were imposed f o r s e v e r a l months i n a year, 1 7 A d d . MSS, 32732, f o i . 570, c i t e d i n Donald Grove Barnes, A H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws from 1660-1846 (New York! Augustus M. K e l l e y , 1961), p. 46. See a l s o H a r r i s to Hardwicke, October 3, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 295, and Newcastle to White, November 17, 1766, Add. MSS, 32977, f o l s . 403-404. C o n t r a s t R. B. Rose, "Ei g h t e e n t h Cen-t u r y P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England,". I n t e r -n a t i o n a l Review of S o c i a l H i s t o r y , VI, No. 2 (1961), 277-92. 34 they tended to r e s u l t i n the c o n c e n t r a t i o n of g r a i n exports w i t h i n a l i m i t e d p e r i o d , r a t h e r than to reduce the t o t a l q u a n t i t y exported i n a g i v e n year. The consequence of t h i s was t h a t the a c c e l e r a t e d r a t e of export i n c i t e d f u r t h e r popular u n r e s t . T h i s i s what occurred i n the summer of 1766. But i n February, 1766, by o b t a i n i n g an embargo upon corn exports, the M i n i s t r y was responding to more than the mere t h r e a t of food r i o t s over g r a i n movements i n the West Country, which as yet s c a r c e l y warranted the "narrow-bottomed" Rockingham M i n i s t r y ' s adding the g r a i n lobby to the other commercial and i n d u s t r i a l i n t e r e s t s a l r e a d y a g i -18 t a t i n g a g a i n s t i t s commercial p o l i c i e s towards America. In f a c t the government was responding to p o l i t i c a l as w e l l as economic and s o c i a l circumstances. In l a t e February the q u e s t i o n of the r e p e a l of the Stamp Act was causing u n r e s t and u n c e r t a i n t y among v a r i o u s i n t e r e s t s i n the country. The Commons had only agreed on r e p e a l i n the f o u r t h week of February a f t e r a b i t t e r s t r u g g l e , and there was a r e a l p r o spect of an even tougher f i g h t i n the Lords. Horace Walpole's comments are i l l u m i n a t i n g here: A g e n e r a l I n s u r r e c t i o n was apprehended as the immediate consequence of upholding the b i l l , the r e v o l t of Amer-i c a , and the d e s t r u c t i o n of trade was the prospect i n the f u t u r e . A nod from the m i n i s t e r s would have l e t l o o s e a l l the manufacturers of B r i s t o l , L i v e r p o o l , Manchester, and such populous and d i s c o n t e n t e d towns, John Brooke, The Chatham A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , 1766-1768 (London: Macmillan, 1956) , p~. x i et seq. 35 who threatened to send hosts to Westminster to back t h e i r demands. A l l o w i n g f o r Walpole's penchant f o r exaggeration, one may r e c o g n i z e t h a t there was a g r e a t deal of u n r e s t among the i n d u s t r i a l workers at t h i s time, which formed the background to the government's d e c i s i o n to seek a suspension of the g r a i n exports f o r s i x months. The e f f e c t of t h i s suspension was to emasculate any p o t e n t i a l r e b e l l i o n by removing the worst resentments of the unemployed manufacturers, who normally produced goods f o r the American market. Lowering the p r i c e s of food t e m p o r a r i l y appeased the poor, while the o p p o r t u n i t y to import d u t y - f r e e corn pleased some g r a i n mer-chants and t h e i r American s u p p l i e r s . Because the l e g i s l a -t i o n suspending g r a i n exports came i n t o e f f e c t three weeks befo r e the Lords agreed to the r e p e a l of the Stamp Act, i t p r o v i d e d i n t e r i m r e l i e f b e f o r e the ending of the American non-importation agreements i n c r e a s e d employment i n the depressed r e g i o n s . Whatever the motives of the government i n safeguard-i n g the s u p p l i e s of g r a i n i n the country, t h e i r a c t i o n i n ending the p r o v o c a t i v e corn movements to the western and n o r t h e r n p o r t s was t i m e l y , and most of the p r o v i n c i a l 19 Horace Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of King  George the T h i r d , re-ed. by G. F. Russell-Barker, I I (London: Lawrence & B u l l e n , 1894), 211-12; see a l s o Ian R. C h r i s t i e , C r i s i s of Empire, Great B r i t a i n and the American C o l o n i e s , 1754-1783, Foundations, of Modern H i s t o r y , ed. by A. Goodwin (London: A r n o l d , 1966), pp. 60-61 and passim. 36 p o p u l a t i o n remained calm u n t i l prolonged bad weather and resumed g r a i n movements to the p o r t s i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of the l i f t i n g of the export ban threatened to c r e a t e famine con-d i t i o n s . For the next f i v e months, between, t h a t i s , February and August, the poor remained r e l a t i v e l y calm. The few minor c h a l l e n g e s to p u b l i c o r d e r came from s p o r a d i c smuggling r i o t s and renewed a t t a c k s on S u f f o l k workhouses. Both types of d i s o r d e r s were r e l a t e d to unemployment and high food p r i c e s . P l a i n l y , f a c t o r s other than economic d e p r i v a t i o n 20 help to account f o r the remarkable i n c r e a s e i n owling and smuggling i n the 1750's a f t e r a p e r i o d of d e c l i n e a t t r i b u t e d 21 to harsh punishments by some contemporaries. C e r t a i n l y the t a r i f f p o l i c i e s of the government i n the second h a l f of the century and f l u c t u a t i o n s i n European economies c o n t r i -buted to the expansion of t h i s i l l i c i t t r a d e . Yet, men plagued by r i s i n g p r i c e s and i n s u f f i c i e n t wages r e a d i l y sought e x t r a income. Smuggling o f f e r e d a convenient source of income to many seamen beached when the prosperous war years ended, and to the poor of c o a s t a l r e g i o n s who f e l t the p i n c h of a d v e r s i t y a f t e r 1764. I t i s not c o i n c i d e n t a l t h a t i n the second h a l f of the century when food r i o t s were com-monplace, smuggling became such a l a r g e i n d u s t r y . The 20 I l l i c i t exports, u s u a l l y of wool. 2 1Gentleman's Magazine, XXVII (1757), 528. 37 connection between economic u n r e s t and a t t a c k s on East A n g l i a n workhouses i s s i m i l a r l y d i r e c t . The b u i l d i n g of the new "houses of i n d u s t r y " to provide the i n d i g e n t w i t h i n d o o r r e l i e f i n an i n s t i t u t i o n which served s e v e r a l p a r i s h e s r a t h e r than outdoor r e l i e f i n t h e i r p a r i s h e s of settlement was an e f f o r t by the r u l i n g orders to reduce the cost of w e l f a r e i n a p e r i o d of gen e r a l economic d i f f i c u l t y . T h i s d e p r i v a t i o n of what the poor regarded as t h e i r " f r e e h o l d " incensed them at a time when the p r i c e s of " n e c e s s a r i e s " threatened to f o r c e many of the m a r g i n a l l y i n d i g e n t perman-22 e n t l y onto poor r e l i e f . While the l o s s of one of t h e i r a n c i e n t l i b e r t i e s was pre-eminently of concern, the poor r e a d i l y r e c o g n i z e d the r e l e v a n c e of high food p r i c e s to t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s . One witness to the d e s t r u c t i o n of a p a r t i a l l y - b u i l t workhouse at Bulcamp, S u f f o l k r e p o r t e d the r i o t e r s ' d e c l a r a t i o n t h a t as they had had success " i n t h i s t h e i r f i r s t undertaking, they would reduce the p r i c e of corn 23 or p u l l down a l l the m i l l s about." But the a t t a c k s on poor law i n s t i t u t i o n s i n 1766 were not as s e r i o u s as they had been i n the previous year, when f o r a wh i l e the government contemplated e s t a b l i s h i n g a 22 S e v e r a l thousand r i o t e r s destroyed a n e w l y - b u i l t workhouse near Saxmunham i n S u f f o l k , and s e v e r a l were k i l l e d by the m i l i t a r y . Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 392. Four hundred r i o t e r s d e f i e d the ma g i s t r a t e s at Nacton. S t a t e Papers, PRO/SP 37/4, f o l s . 202/595. 2 3 S t a t e Papers, PRO/SP 37/4, f o l s . 196/595. 38 24 s p e c i a l commission to make severe examples of the r i o t e r s . In g e n e r a l , the government's p o l i c i e s of p e r m i t t i n g duty-f r e e imports of g r a i n , suspending g r a i n exports, and r e p e a l i n g the Stamp Act reduced t e n s i o n i n the provin c e s by lowering the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s and p r o v i d i n g work f o r many of the i n d u s t r i a l workers. Probably t h i s r e l a x a t i o n of t e n s i o n averted i n s u r r e c t i o n , f o r example, i n the hardware producing towns of Birmingham, W a l s a l l , Wolverhampton, and S h e f f i e l d , which i n February were r e p o r t e d l y i n great d i s -25 t r e s s due to the d e c l i n e of tr a d e with America. C e r t a i n l y such commercial centres as London, B r i s t o l and L i v e r p o o l responded f a v o u r a b l y to the government's a c t i o n s . Although many of the o l d c l o t h centres of the south of England con-t i n u e d to f e e l the pinch of West R i d i n g competition i n worsted c l o t h p r o d u c t i o n , the resentment of the poor seems to have d i e d down with the ending of p r o v o c a t i v e g r a i n s h i p -ments abroad a f t e r February 26, and they were content to await the h a r v e s t i n e x p e c t a t i o n of much lower p r i c e s . E v i d e n t l y r e a s s u r e d by t h i s absence of s e r i o u s r i o t -i n g between February and August, the a u t h o r i t i e s a l s o banked upon the lowering of p r i c e s to acceptable l e v e l s i n the autumn as a r e s u l t of a p l e n t i f u l h arvest, and i n c r e a s e d 24 Marching Orders, W05-54, pp. 53-54, 58, 246, and P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , Domestic Entry Book, V o l . 25, pp. 160-64. 25 Annual R e g i s t e r , IX (1766), 61. 39 o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r employment f o r the i n d u s t r i o u s poor w i t h renewed American t r a d e . They'did not, t h e r e f o r e , contem-p l a t e an ex t e n s i o n of the embargo on g r a i n exports beyond August 26 bef o r e P a r l i a m e n t r e c e s s e d f o r the summer. But there were a l r e a d y i n e a r l y J u l y i n d i c a t i o n s t h a t t h e i r gam-b l e was a long shot at best. A l a t e f r o s t s h o r t l y a f t e r seed-time had damaged the young seed i n the ground, and heavy f l o o d i n g from the prolonged J u l y r a i n s had compounded 26 the farmers' problems. The normal r e s u l t s of such wet growing c o n d i t i o n s i s a tendency to produce swollen ears of wheat, which y i e l d a coarse, l i g h t w e i g h t g r a i n when threshed. Although the c o a r s e r g r a i n s l i k e barley-and oats were not as v u l n e r a b l e to harsh weather c o n d i t i o n s as wheat, e x c e s s i v e r a i n encouraged the growth of weeds which a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d a l l crops. While c o n d i t i o n s v a r i e d from d i s t r i c t t o ' d i s -t r i c t , s e v e r a l of the counties which l a t e r were s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d by the hunger r i o t s r e p o r t e d the e f f e c t s of pro-longed bad weather i n the e a r l y summer. In d e s c r i b i n g the f l o o d s i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , O x f o r d s h i r e , and "adjacent coun-t i e s , " e s p e c i a l l y W o r c e s t e r s h i r e , one newspaper claimed t h a t 2 7 xt was the we t t e s t summer s i n c e 1733. Both g r a i n crops and l i v e s t o c k were ad v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d by the bad weather. O x f o r d s h i r e r e p o r t e d much s p o i l t hay on the low ground, and 2 6 ^ P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 10, 27, 30, 1766. Gazet-t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 10, 12, 26, 30, 1766. 27 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 26, 1766. 40 28 some 3,000 sheep l o s t around Wisbech. At Maidenhead and elsewhere i n B e r k s h i r e , f l o o d s r e p o r t e d l y covered many 29 Thames-side f i e l d s and h e a v i l y damaged the hay. In coun-30 t i e s such as W i l t s h i r e , many sheep drowned. One measure of t h i s n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r was an 8 per cent i n c r e a s e i n the 31 p r i c e of wool w i t h i n a f o r t n i g h t . G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e and W i l t s h i r e r e p o r t e d t h a t heavy r a i n s had damaged both crops 32 and l i v e s t o c k . I n e v i t a b l y the immediate e f f e c t of such n a t u r a l d i s -a s t e r s was to push up the p r i c e s of meat, wool, and bread, 33 and thereby to i n c r e a s e the p r i v a t i o n s of the poor. I r o n -i c a l l y the f i r s t i n c i d e n t s i n the second wave of hunger r i o t s i n 1766 began the very day t h a t an O r d e r - i n - C o u n c i l c a l l e d f o r p u b l i c prayers f o r the end of the r a i n s . 3 4 T h i s wave of r i o t s extended through the West Country and the County of B e r k s h i r e between J u l y 30 and August 12. Stoke, Sidbury, O t t e r y S t . Mary, C r e d i t o n , Honiton, Exeter, 28 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 4, 1766. 2 9 I b i d . , J u l y 12, 1766. 3 0 I b i d . , J u l y 10, 1766. 31 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 14, 1766. 32 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 10, 1766. 33 Committee on the High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). 34 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 30, 1766, 41 and Lyme i n the West Country were the f i r s t to witness the d e s t r u c t i o n of m i l l s by r i o t i n g mobs of up to f i v e hundred 35 persons. Newbury, Shaw, and Speenhamland i n the Home County of B e r k s h i r e experienced s i m i l a r o u t b u r s t s , i n which the mobs at t a c k e d and robbed the premises of mealmen 36 e s p e c i a l l y . The f i n a l d i s o r d e r s of t h i s wave took p l a c e a few days l a t e r . Again they were i n the west, at Usseolm, Lemnion, Cullompton, Bradnick, T i v e r t o n , S i l f e r t o n , and 37 B a r n s t a p l e . C o n c e i v a b l y the p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y d epressing e f f e c t of such a s u s t a i n e d heavy r a i n f a l l was c o n s i d e r a b l e and may p a r t l y account f o r the ou t b u r s t of r i o t i n g at t h i s time. But the choice of t a r g e t s f o r t h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n s by the r i o t e r s suggest t h a t these were s o c i a l p r o t e s t s r a t h e r than the e x p r e s s i o n of b l i n d resentment a g a i n s t the elements. The d i r e c t i o n of these r i o t s was a g a i n s t bunting m i l l s where f l o u r was dressed, s t a r c h m i l l s which ca t e r e d to the conspicuous consumption of the p r i v i l e g e d , and the prem-38 i s e s of mealmen and bakers. Often r i o t e r s destroyed prop-e r t y , i n c l u d i n g stocks of food, which suggests anger and 35 I b i d . , August 6, 1766. Annual R e g i s t e r , IX (1766), 124. G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , August 9, 1766, 37 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 12, 14, 1766. 3 8 M a r c h i n g Orders, W05-54, p. 270. 42 f r u s t r a t i o n r a t h e r than o u t r i g h t s t a r v a t i o n . Most f r e -q uently the p r o t e s t e r s imposed the s a l e of p r o v i s i o n s at 39 what they f e l t to be " j u s t " p r i c e s . P r o b ably the bakers bore the brunt of the r i o t e r s ' a t t a c k s . With some j u s t i f i -c a t i o n the poor blamed bakers f o r the high cost of bread. For t h e i r p a r t the bakers a t t r i b u t e d the problem of high p r i c e s to a brewer's monopoly on yeast, and claimed t h a t the law c l o s e l y r e g u l a t e d bakers and p r e s c r i b e d t h e i r p r o f i t s on 40 the b a s i s of the lower p r i c e s p r e v a l e n t f o r t y years e a r l i e r . P r o b a b ly the bakers' claims would have been nearer the t r u t h b e f o r e 1758 than a f t e r . In t h a t year a new a c t , by permit-t i n g e i t h e r v a r i a t i o n i n the weight of loaves while the p r i c e remained f i x e d , or v a r i a t i o n i n the p r i c e of bread w h i l e the weight of loaves remained constant, "threw the whole system of bread r e g u l a t i o n i n t o c o n f u s i o n , " and enabled bakers and g r a i n d e a l e r s to make l a r g e p r o f i t s at the expense of the poor. Where the s e t t i n g of the bread a s s i z e had been abandoned, t h a t i s , i n many r u r a l r e g i o n s , the bakers were f r e e r s t i l l to e x p l o i t t h e i r positions. 4"'" F r e q u e n t l y bakers found ways of d e f e a t i n g i t s i n t e n t , even where m a g i s t r a t e s set the a s s i z e of bread r e g u l a r l y . One newspaper, f o r example, r e p o r t e d the purchase of a s i n g l e 39 Rose, "Eighteenth Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England," pp. 277-92. ^ G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 10, 1766. ^ S y d n e y and B e a t r i c e Webb, "The A s s i z e of Bread," Economic J o u r n a l , XIV (June, 1904), 196. 43 l o a d of g r a i n "by which, and not by the c u r r e n t market 42 p r i c e , the bakers r e g u l a t e t h e i r a s s i z e of bread." M i l l e r s shared w i t h bakers the immediate resentments of the poor i n times of s c a r c i t y . The populace with good reason suspected many m i l l e r s of dishonesty, and f e e l i n g s ran very high when r i o t e r s d i s c o v e r e d stocks of chalk, alum, w h i t i n g , pease meal, and' other a d u l t e r a n t s . The c h i e f reason f o r s i n g l i n g out bunting m i l l s , however, was almost c e r t a i n l y t h a t millowners, many of whom had developed i n t o l a r g e - s c a l e g r a i n merchants by t h i s p e r i o d , were f o r c i n g up the p r i c e s of g r a i n and f l o u r by engrossing s u p p l i e s i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of a poor h a r v e s t and the resumption of g r a i n 43 exports a f t e r August 26. A l r e a d y i n e a r l y August there 44 were r e p o r t s of a r a p i d r i s e i n the p r i c e s of g r a i n . The normal response of p r i c e s a few weeks before the end of a g r a i n export embargo was to r i s e . In such circumstances i n 1758, a correspondent of the Gentleman's Magazine, comment-in g upon the a r t i f i c i a l l y h igh cost of g r a i n , noted: And yet how i s the p r i c e kept up beyond every man's exp e c t a t i o n ? Why t r u l y our great growers t h r a s h out l i t t l e or none; f o r , say they, a f t e r Christmas the p o r t s w i l l be opened f o r e x p o r t a t i o n , and the d i s t i l l e r s per-m i t t e d to d i s t i l from g r a i n again.^5 42 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 22, 1766. 43 "A L e t t e r from Portsmouth," i b i d . , August 15, 1766, 44 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , August 2, 1766, 4 5Gentleman«s Magazine, XXVIII (1758), 509. 44 In J u l y , 1766 the p r i c e s rose h i g h e r than ever because the wet weather depressed popular expectations of a normal har-v e s t , and confirmed the wisdom of farmers and d e a l e r s who were h o l d i n g on to t h e i r stocks i n e x p e c t a t i o n s of great p r o f i t s . The p r o x i m i t y of the i n i t i a l outbreaks to the wes-t e r n g r a i n p o r t of Lyme, the scene of e a r l i e r d i s t u r b a n c e s before the embargo was imposed, suggests renewed popular concern at g r a i n movements causing high p r i c e s and t h r e a t e n -i n g o u t r i g h t famine. Newspaper r e p o r t s t h a t the mob at Usseolm and Lemnion blamed exports f o r t h e i r d i s t r e s s cor-46 roborates t h i s . The only l e g a l "exports" of g r a i n at t h i s time were shipments to the n o r t h of England, and these were probably what the poor r e s e n t e d . I t i s p o s s i b l e , however, t h a t i n the West Country, where smuggling was h i g h l y organ-i z e d , some f a c t o r s were e x p o r t i n g g r a i n to f a m i n e - s t r i c k e n Europe at t h i s time. In September i t was necessary to 47 p a t r o l the southern coasts to prevent t h i s i l l i c i t t r a d e . L i k e the West Country c o u n t i e s , B e r k s h i r e was not a heavy g r a i n producer but much g r a i n passed through i t on the way to a p o r t of shipment. Always i n times of c r i s i s Berk-s h i r e f e l t the d r a i n i n g power of London. The upper Thames 46 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 12, 1766. 47 The War O f f i c e ordered troops to Canterbury, Lewes, and Padstow to t r a n s f e r detachments to p a t r o l the S u f f o l k coast to h a l t evasion of the embargo on g r a i n exports. Marching Orders, W05-54, p. 353. 45 v a l l e y p r o v i d e d a r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e route to the l e a d i n g g r a i n e x p o r t i n g p o r t i n the country. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , i n J u l y , 1766, r i o t s broke out i n B e r k s h i r e at the same time t h a t Lyme, the West Country g r a i n p o r t , experienced d i s -orders . The l o c a t i o n of the i n i t i a l outbreaks i n the second wave of r i o t i n g i n B e r k s h i r e and at Lyme, then, i n d i c a t e the p r o v o c a t i v e nature of g r a i n exports i n time of expected famine and the impact of government p o l i c i e s on events. As e a r l y as one month before the ending of the six-month p r o h i -b i t i o n on g r a i n exports, correspondents of the Gentleman's  Magazine asked the P r i v y C o u n c i l to prevent the l o a d i n g of g r a i n s h i p s , and these demands i n the press and elsewhere became more s t r i d e n t u n t i l the P r i v y C o u n c i l b e l a t e d l y 48 imposed a new embargo on September 26. There was now another, but much s h o r t e r , l u l l a f t e r the second wave of r i o t s ended on August 12. I t l a s t e d s c a r c e l y three weeks. During t h i s p e r i o d more o p t i m i s t i c f o r e c a s t s of the har v e s t , encouraged by the dry August weather, brought down p r i c e s and lessened p u b l i c concern t h a t continued g r a i n movements through the c o u n t r y s i d e to the p o r t s would cause o u t r i g h t famine. S p e c u l a t o r s r e l e a s e d g r a i n i n e x p e c t a t i o n of lower p r i c e s r e s u l t i n g from a good har v e s t and were r e l u c t a n t to buy more to maintain t h e i r 'Gentleman's Magazine, XXXVI (1766) , 389. 46 49 s t o c k s . The remedial a c t i o n s of the gentry and the m a g i s t r a t e s i n making a v a i l a b l e cheaper g r a i n and f l o u r r e a s s u r e d the poor a l s o . At E x e t e r m a g i s t r a t e s f i x e d wheat p r i c e s at 5/6 per bushel, although the farmers r e p o r t e d l y 50 wanted 8/- or 9/- . Elsewhere, gentlemen bought f l o u r and 51 s o l d i t to t h e p o o r at 3-l/2d per pound. A l l these f a c -t o r s r e s u l t e d i n a s p e c t a c u l a r drop i n g r a i n and f l o u r p r i c e s . A l e t t e r from Shrewsbury dated August 20 r e p o r t e d wheat p r i c e s down to 6/- a bushel from a high i n Wales of 52 11/- . Yet d i s c o n t e n t stayed c l o s e to the s u r f a c e , and troops remained i n many areas. Bakers i n Newbury, B e r k s h i r e , who had ceased t h e i r s a l e s of bread e a r l y i n August, d i d not resume them u n t i l August 27, when a s o l d i e r was p l a c e d at 53 every bake shop door. I t i s q u i t e p o s s i b l e t h a t minor outbreaks continued unreported i n the m e t r o p o l i t a n news-papers, u n t i l i n e a r l y September the f i n a l , and most s e r i o u s , wave of food r i o t s swept across Southern England. The p l a c i n g of the i n i t i a l r i o t s of t h i s wave at the beginning of September i s important because i t b r i n g s out c l e a r l y the e f f e c t of the M i n i s t r y ' s f a i l u r e to renew the 49 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 14, 15, 1766. 50 o u I b i d . , August 12, 1766. 51 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , August 6, 1766. 52 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 25, 1766. 5 3 I b i d . , August 27, 1766. 47 embargo on g r a i n exports when i t expired on August 26, and r a i s e s q u e s t i o n s about the government's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the chain of events which f o l l o w e d . George Rude w r i t e s of a s i x weeks' break i n r i o t i n g i n the summer of 1766, although he does not e n t i r e l y d i s c o u n t the p o s s i b i l i t y of r i o t s 54 o c c u r r i n g i n t h i s p e r i o d unreported i n the p r e s s . He p l a c e s the resumption of r i o t i n g on September 23, and bases t h i s a s s e r t i o n on r e p o r t s i n the Annual R e g i s t e r and the Gentleman's Magazine. He c i t e s , however, i n h i s f o o t n o t e s Treasury S o l i c i t o r ' s papers r e l a t i n g to the B e r k s h i r e ses-s i o n of the S p e c i a l Commission i n which p r i s o n e r s are l i s t e d 55 as p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n r i o t s as e a r l y as September 6. London newspapers and the Marching Orders of the Army i n d i c a t e the resumption of r i o t i n g s e v e r a l days before t h i s date. In f a c t , by September 23 the r i o t s had gathered alarming momen-tum and the government's concern i s evident i n the i n s t r u c -56 t i o n s sent from the War O f f i c e to commanding o f f i c e r s . T h i s c o i n c i d e n c e of renewed g r a i n exports and popu-l a r p r o t e s t s i n d i c a t e d the alarm of the poor at the prospect of o u t r i g h t famine. John P i t t , a ttorney and steward of Lord Hardwicke's G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e e s t a t e , s u b s t a n t i a t e d t h i s view "^Rude, The Crowd i n H i s t o r y , p. 41. 55 P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , Treasury S o l i c i t o r ' s Papers, T.S.11/995/3707. 56 Marching Orders, W05-54, passim; see a l s o Calendar  of Home O f f i c e Papers (1766-69), p. 80, No. 373-74, and Domestic E n t r y Book, V o l . 142, pp. 4 and 9-11. 48 when he noted t h a t the c h i e f d i r e c t i o n of the r i o t s i n the West Country was a g a i n s t exports and the a t t a c k s were mainly 57 on "general r e s e r v o i r s and the s a l e of f l o u r . " A c r i t i c of A r t h u r Young's S i x Weeks' Tour through the Southern Coun-t i e s of England reached the same c o n c l u s i o n . W r i t i n g i n the L l o y d ' s Evening P o s t i n 1768, he condemned the government's f a i l u r e to c l o s e the p o r t s at the end of the P a r l i a m e n t a r y S e s s i o n i n J u l y , 1766, which "drove those unhappy persons to 58 t h a t d r e a d f u l a l t e r n a t i v e of e i t h e r s t a r v i n g or hanging." In s i m i l a r terms one N o r f o l k correspondent wrote of the " t e r r o r of the poor" i n and around the M e t r o p o l i s at the 59 export of g r a i n . Some businessmen even found i t necessary to d e c l a r e p u b l i c l y t h a t they had not engrossed p r o v i s i o n s 60 or exported "wheat, f l o u r , or any other g r a i n . " Appar-e n t l y a sudden f e a r of impending famine brought on by l a r g e -s c a l e g r a i n movements swept through the ranks of the poor, causing them to p r o t e s t v i o l e n t l y . T h i s f e a r was only matched l a t e r by the alarm of the a r i s t o c r a c y and gentry on t h e i r i s o l a t e d e s t a t e s at the extent of the d i s o r d e r s and 57 John P i t t to Hardwicke, December 19, 1766,-Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 339. 5 8 L l o y d ' s Evening P o s t , May 25-27, 1768. 59 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , September 9, 1766. 60 James Townsend, ed., News of a Country Town (London: Humphrey M i l f o r d , 1914), p. 58. 49 61 the prospect of revenge at the hands of the d i s p o s s e s s e d . The most d i s a f f e c t e d c o unties now were B e r k s h i r e , G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , N o r f o l k , and W i l t s h i r e , to judge from the records of the S p e c i a l Commission l a t e r appointed to empty the crowded county gaols and dispense s w i f t r e t r i b u t i o n to the p r i s o n e r s who were too numerous f o r the r e g u l a r a s s i z e courts to handle. But r i o t s a f f e c t e d most counties i n the Midlands, i n the West Country, and around London. N o t t i n g -hamshire, D e r b y s h i r e , W o r c e s t e r s h i r e , Northamptonshire, L e i c e s t e r s h i r e , B e d f o r d s h i r e , H e r t f o r d s h i r e , O x f o r d s h i r e , Buckinghamshire, S u f f o l k , Hampshire, Somersetshire, Devon-s h i r e , and Cornwall were the most important of these. Urban centres l i k e G l o u c e s t e r , B r i s t o l , Nottingham, Derby, Birm-ingham, and Norwich had p a r t i c u l a r l y s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s . London, the south-eastern counties of Kent and Surrey, and the northern c o u n t i e s , except f o r minor, i s o -l a t e d i n c i d e n t s at Whitehaven, C a r l i s l e and Berwick, u s u a l l y r e l a t e d to g r a i n exports, remained q u i e t . Because the con-d i t i o n s of the M e t r o p o l i s were unique, an e x p l a n a t i o n of i t s freedom from food r i o t s i n 1766 i s o f f e r e d elsewhere. There were s e v e r a l reasons f o r the calm of the populace i n the n o r t h and the south-east. In most of these d i s t r i c t s the m a g i s t r a t e s were e n e r g e t i c In c o n t r o l l i n g s a l e s by sample and ensuring t h a t adequate s u p p l i e s of g r a i n were a v a i l a b l e . Compare Georges Levebvre, Le Grand Peur ( P a r i s : S o c i e t e d ' E d i t i o n d'Enseignement Supe r i e u r , 1956). 50 Thus Durham j u s t i c e s i n s i s t e d on farmers o f f e r i n g a l l t h e i r a c t i o n s was both p s y c h o l o g i c a l and m a t e r i a l . F i r s t , the r e v e l a t i o n of the a c t u a l p r i c e s of commodities calmed the s u s p i c i o n s of the poor t h a t bakers and others were making enormous p r o f i t s at t h e i r expense, something not apparent when markets were by-passed by farmers and d e a l e r s ; second, the p r o v i s i o n s ' p r i c e s d i d not r i s e r a p i d l y . Surrey mar-ke t s , f o r example, r e p o r t e d l y s o l d wheat at 5/- a bushel 63 owing to the v i g i l a n c e of the m a g i s t r a t e s . In the north, too, lower p r i c e s were due to more f a v o u r a b l e harvests than In the south. Cumberland, f o r example, claimed the best hay 64 and corn h a r v e s t i n l i v i n g memory; while crops i n York-65 s h i r e were g e n e r a l l y heavy. Farmers i n the market at Bishop Auckland, County Durham, were able to s e l l t h e i r 66 wheat at 4/- per q u a r t e r . Apart from the lower costs of g r a i n , the w i l l i n g n e s s of n o r t h e r n e r s to a v a i l themselves of other c o a r s e r g r a i n s and foods which the southerners regarded w i t h d i s t a s t e meant t h a t no s e r i o u s shortage of food was experienced i n the n o r t h . Labourers and poor g r a i n f o r s a l e i n the open market. 62 The r e s u l t of such 62, "Public A d v e r t i s e r , August 7, 1766. 63, G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , November 6, 1766. 64 I b i d September 7, 1766. 65-P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , August 4, 1766. 66 I b i d November 7, 1766. • 9 51 manufacturers of the north c u s t o m a r i l y ate potatoes and oat-meal and were t h e r e f o r e l e s s a f f e c t e d by the cost of wheat 67 and meat. The income, too, of many northern workers s u f -f e r e d l e s s i n the r e c e s s i o n of 1766 than was the case f o r i n d u s t r i a l workers i n the Midlands and Southern England. While i t i s t r u e t h a t pitmen i n the n o r t h - e a s t of England were r e s t l e s s i n 1765 and 1766, t h e i r i n d u s t r y was not depressed i n the way t h a t , f o r example, the Midland hardware i n d u s t r y was. F r e q u e n t l y where northern workers l o s t t h e i r j o b s , they could f i n d work i n the expanding woollen-worsted i n d u s t r y of the West R i d i n g . ^ 8 In c o n t r a s t , the c l o t h cen-t r e s of Southern England experienced severe trade f l u c t u -a t i o n s , and unemployment was h i g h among weavers, combers, 69 and others of the c l o t h i n d u s t r y . Yet, the unrest of the Newcastle and Sunderland pitmen had a l e r t e d the government to the dangers of i n s u r r e c t i o n . M i n d f u l of the e x t e n s i v e r i o t s i n the n o r t h over food p r i c e s and the new M i l i t i a Act i n 1756-57, the a u t h o r i t i e s took care i n 1766 to ensure an adequate supply of food, while at the same time they r e i n -f o r c e d t h e i r g a r r i s o n s i n Newcastle and elsewhere to meet See Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 4, c i t i n g C h a r l e s Smith, "Three T r a c t s on the Corn Laws and Trade," 1766 ed., Supplement, p. 182. ^ H e r b e r t Heaton, The Y o r k s h i r e Woollen and Worsted  I n d u s t r i e s : From the E a r l i e s t Times up to the I n d u s t r i a l  R e v o l u t i o n , V o l . X of Oxford H i s t o r i c a l and L i t e r a r y S t u d i e s (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1965) , p~. 279. 69 Ephraim L i p s o n , The H i s t o r y of the Woollen and  Worsted I n d u s t r i e s , H i s t o r i e s of E n g l i s h I n d u s t r i e s , ed. by E. L i p s o n (London: A. & C. Black, 1921), p. 253. 52 70 a l l e v e n t u a l i t i e s . No such p r o v i s i o n s were made i n South-ern England. The f o r e s i g h t of the a u t h o r i t i e s helped to aver t d i s o r d e r s i n the n o r t h i n the summer of 1766. But probably the most important reason f o r the absence of s e r i -ous r i o t s i n the northern c o u n t i e s was the f a c t t h a t r e l a -t i v e l y l i t t l e g r a i n moved through northern p o r t s i n t h a t year. Six-sevenths of a l l g r a i n which r e c e i v e d bounty pay-71 ments i n 1766 went through the p o r t of London. How much of the other one-seventh went through the western g r a i n p o r t s i s not c l e a r , but c e r t a i n l y i t was a s i z e a b l e p a r t . Thus the p r o v o c a t i o n of g r a i n movements to the northern p o r t s i n a p e r i o d of r e l a t i v e s c a r c i t y was absent. The i n i t i a l p a t t e r n of d i s t u r b a n c e s i n the t h i r d wave of r i o t i n g i n 1766 confirmed the d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between g r a i n movements and d i s o r d e r s . As i n the second wave, the f i r s t outbreaks o c c u r r e d almost simultaneously i n the West Country and B e r k s h i r e , r e g i o n s through which g r a i n f o r export passed. M i l i t a r y r e p o r t s noted the d i s t u r b a n c e of the markets at Cullompton and O t t e r y S t . Mary (Devon) and the d e s t r u c t i o n of most b o l t i n g m i l l s w i t h i n a v i c i n i t y of 72 twenty miles by "dangerous and r i o t o u s " mobs. A day or 70 Marching Orders, W05-54, p. 182. 71 An account of the t o t a l sums p a i d f o r bounties, 1766-1781, W i l l i a m - L . Clement L i b r a r y , Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shelburne Papers, V o l . 135. 7 2 M a r c h i n g Orders, W05-54, pp. 294-95. 53 two a f t e r , on September 6, two B e r k s h i r e country towns were d i s t u r b e d . At Abingdon "many r i o t o u s persons" l e d by a bargeman took g r a i n from farmers and d i s t r i b u t e d it;-.while at Drayton a crowd of l a b o u r e r s s t o l e wheat, f l o u r , and 73 other p r o v i s i o n s . L a t e r r i o t s became much more ext e n s i v e i n the West Country and B e r k s h i r e . A f t e r these i n i t i a l outbreaks, no c l e a r p a t t e r n of 74 expansion from the two areas i s apparent. R i o t s occurred throughout the southern counties more or l e s s spontaneously. The timing of these d i s t u r b a n c e s probably r e f l e c t e d d i f f e r -i n g h a rvest and t h r e s h i n g times, the impact of market-borne rumours, the contagion of g e n e r a l d i s o r d e r i n the country-s i d e , heavy buying by London d e a l e r s , or s p e c i f i c l o c a l g r ievances such as the c o n s t r u c t i o n of -houses of i n d u s t r y i n East A n g l i a . Such outbreaks were too numerous to catalogue here; but i t w i l l be u s e f u l to note when each county was f i r s t a f f e c t e d and how long r i o t i n g continued. W i t h i n a few days of the i n i t i a l outbreaks i n the West Country, " r e g u l a t o r s " were at work i n the Midland markets of S t o u r b r i d g e (Worces-t e r s h i r e ) , Birmingham (Warwickshire), and Whitney (Glouces-7 3 T r e a s u r y S o l i c i t o r ' s Papers, T.S.11/995/3707. 74 C o n t r a s t Rude's o v e r s i m p l i f i e d map i l l u s t r a t i n g the spread of food r i o t s i n 1766. Rude, The Crowd i n H i s -t o r y , p. 40. 54 t e r s h i r e ) , f o r c i n g down the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s . 7 " ' S h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r r i o t e r s d i s r u p t e d Birmingham F a i r and r e s c u e d 76 p r i s o n e r s from g a o l . I n the second week i n September, mobs began s u s t a i n e d a t t a c k s on houses and m i l l s , d e s t r o y i n g f u r n i t u r e and removing f o o d , i n s e v e r a l towns and p a r i s h e s of G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , a county i n which a l l markets were r e p o r t e d l y under the i n f l u e n c e of the mob by the end of 77 September. Throughout most of September and O c t o b e r , l a r g e crowds r e p e a t e d l y d i s t u r b e d S t r o u d , G l o u c e s t e r , C i r e n -78 c e s t e r , and T e t b u r y . By the t h i r d week i n September r i o t s were w i d e s p r e a d i n W i l t s h i r e . On September 19 s e v e r a l p a r -i s h e s of B r a d f o r d ( W i l t s h i r e ) saw a g r e a t number of " i d l e and d i s o r d e r l y persons assembled i n a r i o t o u s manner" a t t a c k homes and m i l l s . , d e s t r o y f u r n i t u r e and windows, and s t e a l 79 bacon and o t h e r p r o v i s i o n s . V e ry q u i c k l y the r e s t of the county became i n v o l v e d . D e v i z e s and B r a d f o r d c o n t i n u e d t o be c e n t r e s of r e v o l t u n t i l the end of O c t o b e r , and r e q u i r e d 80 t h e s t a t i o n i n g of t r o o p s f o r s e v e r a l weeks. On 7b G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 8, 10, 12, 1766. 7 6 M a r c h i n g O r d e r s , W05-54, pp. 347-48. 7 7 P i t t t o Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 291. 7 8 T r e a s u r y S o l i c i t o r ' s P a p e r s , T.S.11/5956/Bx 1128. 7 9 I b i d . , T.S.11/1116/5728. 8 Q M a r c h i n g O r d e r s , W05-54, pp. 341, 357. 55 September 20 r i o t e r s destroyed m i l l s at T i v e r t o n (Devon), and combers, l a b o u r e r s , and weavers sent a " t h r e a t e n i n g and i n c e n d i a r y l e t t e r " to the c o r p o r a t i o n . As l a t e as Novem-ber 11 the u n s e t t l e d s i t u a t i o n r e q u i r e d the presence of a 81 company of s o l d i e r s . Reports of f u r t h e r d i s t u r b a n c e s came 82 from Cornwall, Devon, and B r i s t o l on September 19. Th i s f i n a l wave of hunger r i o t s , which spread i n an i r r e g u l a r p a t t e r n across Southern England, reached i t s peak i n the f o u r t h week of September. The War O f f i c e , now t h o r -oughly alarmed, sent a f l o o d of orders to commanding o f f i -cers to a i d the mag i s t r a t e s f u l l y "upon r e q u i s i t i o n . " Lord B a r r i n g t o n ordered the dragoons, who had h i t h e r t o been f o r c e d to march dismounted to t r o u b l e d r e g i o n s , to "take up 83 t h e i r horses from grass" i n d i s t a n t p a s t u r e s . The Mi n i s t e r - a t - W a r a l e r t e d not only twenty-two regiments of f o o t and dragoons, but a l s o f o u r t e e n independent companies of i n v a l i d e s i n v a r i o u s centres as f a r west as Plymouth and 84 as f a r n o r t h as Newcastle. The t h i r d phase of t h i s l a s t 8 1 I b i d . , pp. 308-309. 82 A l e t t e r from W i l t s h i r e , dated September 20, Ga z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 26, 1766. 83 I n s t r u c t i o n s to ten dragoon regiments at C o l -c h e s t e r , Manchester, Lewes, B l a n d f o r d , Worcester, Coventry, Northampton, Leeds, Stamford, and Derby, dated September 23, 1766, Marching Orders, W05-54, p. 315. A l l regiments to take up horses from grass i n South B r i t a i n to a s s i s t j u s -t i c e s i n r i o t s , Calendar of Home O f f i c e Papers (1766-69), No. 277, September 25, 1766. 84 Marching Orders, W05-54, pp. 318-20. 56 wave of r i o t s i n 1766 now began. The p r o v i n c i a l r u l i n g orders, a f t e r t h e i r i n i t i a l l e t h a r g y , flooded the War O f f i c e w i t h demands f o r m i l i t a r y a s s i s t a n c e . But the r i o t s had already gained momentum and they continued to spread during the next few weeks. By September 27 mobs were a c t i v e i n H e r t f o r d s h i r e f o r c i n g down 85 the p r i c e s of food. About the same time the d e s t r u c t i o n of m i l l s and other disturbances o b l i g e d the d r a f t i n g of dragoons i n t o Norwich. 8^ 5 In e a r l y October the War O f f i c e had to send detachments i n t o L e i c e s t e r , where "numerous and d i s o r d e r l y persons have- assembled . . . and committed great 87 acts of v i o l e n c e and outrage." Disorders a f f e c t e d Coven-88 t r y at about the same time. L a t e r i n October a troop of dragoons had to suppress a r i o t i n the v i c i n i t y of Lough-89 borough. On October 4 Nottingham, Oxford, Leighton Buz-zard (Bedfordshire) and Great Marlowe (Buckinghamshire) 90 reported s e r i o u s r i o t s . S e v e r a l days l a t e r Derby was 91 s i m i l a r l y a f f e c t e d . Ipswich,- the.scene of a number of 8 ^ P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , September 27, 1766. 8 6 M a r c h i n g Orders, W05-54, p. 326. 8 7 I _ b i d . , p. 337. 8 8 I b i d . , p. 342. 8 9 I b i d . , pp. 367-68. 90 Gazetteer and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , October 4, 1766. 91 I b i d . , October 13, 1766 57 a t t a c k s on the new houses of i n d u s t r y e a r l i e r i n the year as w e l l as i n 1765, continued to be the centre of i n s u r r e c t i o n i n October. Success i n t h e i r a t t a c k s on poor law i n s t i t u -t i o n s i n East A n g l i a had encouraged the r i o t e r s to attempt to lower food p r i c e s too. On October 20 they s e i z e d b u t t e r and s o l d i t at lower p r i c e s than the farmers asked and 92 threatened to burn the town. G r a d u a l l y the combined e f f o r t s of the m a g i s t r a t e s and the army proved s u c c e s s f u l and most of the d i s a f f e c t e d r e g i o n s were q u i e t by l a t e October. The f o u r most s e r i o u s l y d i s t u r b e d c o u n t i e s , B e r k s h i r e , G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , W i l t s h i r e and N o r f o l k ceased to r e p o r t major r i o t s a f t e r mid-October, although the a u t h o r i t i e s b u i l t a w a l l i n G l o u c e s t e r market to p r o t e c t the s o l d i e r s , and commanders continued to detach companies through the country d i s t r i c t s to a s s i s t the magis-93 t r a t e s . Elsewhere r i o t s were over by the end of October, although i s o l a t e d i n c i d e n t s at B r i s t o l , Ludlow, Chelmsford, and Birmingham continued u n t i l l a t e November. Upon the r e t u r n of r e l a t i v e calm, the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s w i t h the a i d of troops devoted t h e i r e nergies to hunting down the r i n g -l e a d e r s and f i l l i n g the county g a o l s , which remained over-crowded u n t i l the hearings of the S p e c i a l A s s i z e s i n Decem-ber, 1766. 9 2 M a r c h i n g Orders, W05-54, p. 365. 93 I b i d . , p. 356. 58 The t i m i n g of the l a s t wave of hunger r i o t s i n the summer and autumn of 1766 and t h e i r d i r e c t i o n i n d i c a t e , the importance not only of the resumed g r a i n exports but a l s o of f l u c t u a t i n g food p r i c e s as a p r e c i p i t a t i n g cause of popular d i s o r d e r s . There were three g e n e r a l reasons why an e x t r a -o r d i n a r y p r i c e r i s e o ccurred a f t e r the end of August. F i r s t , t here were very poor h a r v e s t s across most of Europe 94 i n 1766. R u s s i a , Turkey, France, Spain, P o r t u g a l , and 95 I t a l y were p a r t i c u l a r l y a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d . Germany, Ho l l a n d , England and the Scandinavian c o u n t r i e s were c a l l e d 96 upon to supply the d e f i c i t from t h e i r own 'stocks. Lord Shelburne's commercial correspondents i n Amsterdam, David B a r c l a y and Sons, wrote i n e a r l y October of H o l l a n d being 97 denuded of g r a i n due to immense shipments to I t a l y . In England, f a c t o r s and agents r e c e i v e d from Europe commissions 98 to buy at an " u n l i m i t e d p r i c e . " Second, adverse weather 9 4 H o r a c e Walpole complained of the e x c e s s i v e quan-t i t y of g r a i n exported. Horace Walpole to S i r Horace Mann, September 25, 1766, Horace Walpole, L e t t e r s , ed. by Paget Toynbee (19 v o l s . ; Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1903-1925), V I I , 42. 95 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 11, 1766, r e p o r t e d South I t a l y except S i c i l y w i t h a great g r a i n shortage and p r i c e s double normal. P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , September 27, 1766. 96 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 17, 1766.. 97 Shelburne Papers, V o l . 132, f o l . 65. 9 8 I b i d . , f o l s . 19-20. 59 c o n d i t i o n s i n England r e s u l t e d i n a crop two-thirds the 99 u s u a l s i z e and i n f e r i o r i n q u a l i t y . T h i r d , an export embargo on g r a i n had prevented the supply of England's t r a -d i t i o n a l markets i n Europe between February 26 and August 26, du r i n g which time a pent-up demand f o r E n g l i s h g r a i n d e v e l -oped. Even be f o r e the l i f t i n g of the embargo, g r a i n ships were l o a d i n g i n London and the o u t p o r t s . A f t e r August 26, g r a i n poured out of the country at an alarming r a t e , u n t i l the P r i v y C o u n c i l r e l u c t a n t l y proclaimed a f u r t h e r p r o h i b i -t i o n on exports on September 26. "'"^ Thus most of the g r a i n exports of 1766 took p l a c e ' w i t h i n the space of one month, the other two months of f r e e exports being i n the depth of w i n t e r when commerce was normally g r e a t l y c u r t a i l e d by poor weather. G r a i n movements i n September were, t h e r e f o r e , very evident and not only helped to f o r c e up home p r i c e s but they incensed the p o p u l a t i o n . The r e a c t i o n of Norwich r i o t e r s was t y p i c a l . On September 28, 1766 they destroyed malt which had been "entered w i t h the proper o f f i c e r of e x c i s e , " - ^ l T h i s c o n c e n t r a t i o n of g r a i n exports w i t h i n the space of one month was s e r i o u s enough, but i t s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the end-ing of American g r a i n . i m p o r t s had an immediate e f f e c t on p r i c e s and c r e a t e d a very s e r i o u s s i t u a t i o n f o r the " i b i d . , f o i . 65. 1 Q Q G e n t l e m a n ' s Magazine, XXXVI (1766), 399. "'"'^Norwich Record O f f i c e , Norwich, D e p o s i t i o n of John G l o v e r , C i t y Merchant, D e p o s i t i o n s and Case Papers. 60 government. As a gentleman r e t u r n i n g from a t o u r of the western counties observed: " . . . the moment advice came of i m p o r t a t i o n being stopped, and e x p o r t a t i o n allowed, the g r e a t farmers and corn d e a l e r s began to combine and the poor 102 to murmur, which i s one cause of the r i o t s . " P r i c e s t r u c t u r e s i n l o c a l markets d i f f e r e d i n the speed of t h e i r response to the r e s t o r a t i o n of e x p o r t a t i o n , and the p r o h i b i t i o n of the f r e e i m p o r t a t i o n of American g r a i n s . The f i r s t b i g r i s e came i n the west where newspaper correspondents r e p o r t e d "monopolizing farmers" were buying 103 up g r a i n s t o c k s . A f t e r a mere three days of exports, j o u r n a l i s t s estimated the average of the western markets was 7/- a b u s h e l . 1 ^ 4 Less than two weeks l a t e r the p r i c e of 105 bread i n London had r e p o r t e d l y r i s e n h a l f an a s s i z e , w h i le the buying of g r a i n f o r export around C a r l i s l e had r a i s e d the p r i c e per bushel by 2/- . P l a i n l y , w i t h the great demand f o r g r a i n i n London both f o r export and con-sumption, g r a i n d e a l e r s now moved out i n an ever-widening r a d i u s from the c a p i t a l , buying up g r a i n and f o r c i n g up l o c a l p r i c e s i n the p r o c e s s . 1766, 102 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 8, 1 0 3 I b i d . , August 28, 1766. 1 0 4 I b i d . , August 29, 1766. ^ " ' i b i d . , September 5, 1766. 1 0 6 T K • , I b i d . 61 P r i c e s rose most s t e e p l y i n areas where t h r e s h i n g had a l r e a d y r e v e a l e d the poor q u a l i t y of l o c a l crops. In d i s t r i c t s where low wages were c u r r e n t , employment uncer-t a i n , or payments i n k i n d made i n l i e u of money wages, t h a t i s , i n the o l d c l o t h c o unties of the west and East A n g l i a , i n the hardware or c o a l - p r o d u c i n g Midlands, and elsewhere the hardships of the poor were most severe. When these d i s -t r i c t s were not themselves major g r a i n producers, but merely c o r r i d o r s along which great q u a n t i t i e s of g r a i n moved to London or the o u t p o r t s , the r e a c t i o n of the populace was most immediate and v i o l e n t . B e r k s h i r e to the west of London pr o v i d e d such a cor-r i d o r between the great corn counties of N o r f o l k , L i n c o l n -s h i r e , S u f f o l k , Cambridge, Rutland, H e r t f o r d s h i r e , Bedford-s h i r e , and Buckinghamshire on the one hand, and e i t h e r London or the western p o r t s on the other. Although not i t s e l f a s i g n i f i c a n t grain-growing county, B e r k s h i r e always f e l t the d r a i n i n g power of the "Great Wen" down the upper Thames v a l l e y i n times of s c a r c i t y , and p r i c e s i n l o c a l mar-kets rose q u i c k l y . By e a r l y September, 1766 i t was apparent t h a t h a r v e s t s had been e s p e c i a l l y poor i n the corn c o u n t i e s , 107 p a r t i c u l a r l y i n N o r f o l k and S u f f o l k , and there were r e p o r t s of s e v e r a l thousands of q u a r t e r s of g r a i n from the western counties brought down the Thames i n barges, as P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , September 10, 1766. 62 London d e a l e r s sought to make good the d e f i c i e n c i e s of t h e i r 108 East A n g l i a n s u p p l i e r s . Such g r a i n movements were a com-mon l i n k between the d i s o r d e r s of the West Country and Berk-s h i r e . P r i c e r i s e s which had f i r s t o ccurred i n the g r a i n p o r t s i n e a r l y September q u i c k l y spread to other regions as t h r e s h i n g r e v e a l e d the low q u a l i t y of the g r a i n crop, bad-gers buying up s u p p l i e s f o r the urban centres pushed up l o c a l p r i c e s , or rumours of famine spread through the mar-k e t s . F r e q u e n t l y the a c t i o n s of l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s and p r i v -ate gentlemen i n o f f e r i n g g r a i n to the poor at low p r i c e s m i t i g a t e d the worst e f f e c t s of s p i r a l l i n g p r i c e s f o r a while. Thus d i s t a n c e from London or the outports d i d not s o l e l y determine p r i c e f l u c t u a t i o n s . One important f e a t u r e of the p r i c e r i s e i n August and September was t h a t i t was the l a t e s t of s e v e r a l p r i c e f l u c t u a t i o n s which occurred over a p e r i o d of s e v e r a l months and which composed a phase i n a general i n c r e a s e i n food p r i c e s which had begun i n 1764. These p r i c e movements f o l -lowed a s i x - y e a r p e r i o d when the r e a l income of the ind u s -t r i o u s poor-made a s i g n i f i c a n t advance, which T. S. Ashton 109 ranked w i t h t h a t of the 1730's. In 1766 the severe p r i c e " ^ ^ G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 1, 1766. 109 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 22. 63 f l u c t u a t i o n s were d i r e c t l y a f f e c t e d by the e x p e c t a t i o n s of the poor about the a v a i l a b l e food supply. The u n i v e r s a l concern of eighteenth-century E n g l i s h -men w i t h h a r v e s t prospects i s r e a d i l y apparent from the space devoted to weather r e p o r t s and the s t a t e of the crops i n contemporary j o u r n a l s . In years of poor weather, concern i n c r e a s e d as the harvest time approached and p r i c e s rose. J u l y , August, and September were f r e q u e n t l y months when ma g i s t r a t e s braced themselves f o r popular d i s t u r b a n c e s . With the advent of hot, dry August weather i n 1766, optimism about the h a r v e s t r e t u r n e d , p r i c e s subsided, and s o c i a l t e n -s i o n s r e l a x e d . I t was not u n t i l harvest time t h a t the i n f e r i o r q u a l i t y of the g r a i n became apparent. Wheat t h a t had looked heavy i n the ear threshed out coarse and l i g h t i n weight. Widely d i v e r g i n g p r i c e s r e f l e c t e d the d i f f e r e n c e i n q u a l i t y between the o l d and new g r a i n s . At t h i s time the p r i c e of the remaining stocks of wheat harvested i n 1765 i n the s h i r e s of Northampton, Buckingham, Oxford, and Warwick r e p o r t e d l y was 52/- artd t h a t of new wheat 28/- a q u a r t e r . T h i s prompted C h a r l e s Townshend, C h a n c e l l o r of the Exchequer i n the Chatham-Grafton M i n i s t r y , to note t h a t the high p r i c e s of the o l d g r a i n seemed "to prove the demand abroad and the inadequateness of the stock i n hand," and "the low p r i c e s of the new g r a i n i n p r o p o r t i o n might be thought to 64 show the d e f e c t s of the crop t h i s year i n s o r t although not ... ,.110 i n q u a n t i t y . " P r i c e i n c r e a s e s now spread unevenly across the coun-t r y s i d e . Over a p e r i o d of three" weeks or more i n September, food p r i c e s rose s t e e p l y i n a l l markets of Southern England and the Midlands. The f a c t t h a t t h i s v i o l e n t f l u c t u a t i o n was the l a t e s t of a s e r i e s i n 1766 accounts i n p a r t f o r the widespread d i s o r d e r s t h a t f o l l o w e d . Such sudden changes i n p r i c e s were more d i s c o n c e r t i n g to the poor than a steady r i s e of p r i c e s over s e v e r a l months of that year would have been, f o r there was some t r u t h i n John P i t t ' s comments to Lord Hardwicke upon the need f o r s t a b l e p r i c e s . He noted t h a t : The poor knows not how to p r o p o r t i o n h i s l a b o u r to h i s l i v e l i h o o d , f o r n i n e t y - n i n e i n a hundred, l e t times be what they would, would never get beforehand; while a c e r t a i n t y i n h i s expense would make a c e r t a i n t y of h i s labour, and h a b i t would cooperate w i t h n e c e s s i t y . . . . An equal p r i c e of p r o v i s i o n s i s the best t h i n g f o r the poor. They p r o p o r t i o n t h e i r i n d u s t r y to the accustomed s u p p l i e s necessary f o r a l i v e l i h o o d , w h i l s t a f l u c t u a t -i n g p r i c e breeds r i o t and d i s t r e s s . m While such views suggest t h a t the poor r e c e i v e d a s u f f i c i e n t income t h a t they could set some of i t aside f o r f u t u r e emer-gencies, a dubious prospect f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l workers by the 1760's, i t was probably t r u e t h a t many of the poor could "'""'"^Charles Townsend to G r a f t o n , September 4, 1766, G r a f t o n Papers. m P i t t to Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l s . 310-11. 65 have i n c r e a s e d t h e i r income m a r g i n a l l y i n times of g r a d u a l l y i n c r e a s i n g p r i c e s . In the summer of 1766, there were i n d i -c a t i o n s t h a t employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s e x i s t e d i n v a r i o u s p a r t s of the country f o r those able to move to them. News-papers, f o r example, r e p o r t e d harvests i n the West Country 112 delayed by a l a c k of labour. A steady r i s e of food p r i c e s would have enabled workers i n a r e l a t i v e l y unsophis-t i c a t e d economy to f i n d e x t r a employment or e v e n t u a l l y to f i n d cheaper s u b s t i t u t e s f o r more expensive wheaten bread and meat, although the poor were remarkably c o n s e r v a t i v e i n t h e i r e a t i n g h a b i t s and r e l u c t a n t to give up improvements In t h e i r d i e t . Sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n food p r i c e s suggested to the poor t h a t t h e r e was ma n i p u l a t i o n of the food supply. I t was the assumptions t h a t the poor made about the nature of the food shortage which encouraged t h e i r v i o l e n t responses to the high p r i c e s of " n e c e s s a r i e s " i n September, 1766. These assumptions were d e r i v e d from l o n g - s t a n d i n g p r e j u d i c e s a g a i n s t one or two i n t e r e s t groups i n r u r a l s o c i e t y , which the a c t i o n s of the government i n response to the food c r i s i s confirmed. In p r o c l a i m i n g the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t middlemen on September 10, r a t h e r than extending the embargo on g r a i n exports on August 26, the M i n i s t r y appeared to i n d i c a t e t h a t the shortage was created a r t i f i c i a l l y by corn f a c t o r s and "Public A d v e r t i s e r , August' 18, 1766, and passim. 113 l a r g e farmers f o r t h e i r p r i v a t e p r o f i t . I t i s a g a i n s t t h i s background t h a t the mobs' attacks upon middlemen, farmers, and anyone moving g r a i n to the urban centres and p o r t s must be viewed. But how remarkable was the govern-ment's pr o c l a m a t i o n of the laws f o r b i d d i n g f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g ? Probably i t was not as s i n g u l a r as P r o f e s s o r D. G. Barnes has suggested."''"''4 In t h i s , they acted e n t i r e l y p r e d i c t a b l y . For on at l e a s t two e a r l i e r occasions of s e r i o u s food s c a r c i t y and r i o t , i n , t h a t i s , 1740 and 1756, the a u t h o r i t i e s had done p r e c i s e l y the same 115 t h i n g . By the 1760's i t had become almost a r e f l e x a c t i o n to remind middlemen of t h e i r s o c i a l o b l i g a t i o n s . Yet 113 James Montagu wrote to Lord Shelburne of the mutinous d i s p o s i t i o n of the poor "who see themselves oppressed w i t h hunger i n the midst of p l e n t y . " Shelburne  Papers, V o l . 132, f o i . 30. "'"'^Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 39. 115 In J u l y , 1740 the Lords J u s t i c e " i n f a c e of tum-u l t s at the dearness of corn" p u b l i s h e d an order a g a i n s t a l l " g r a i n i n g r o s s e r s " when the p r i c e was above those i n the Acts of 5 & 6 Ed. VI (Gentleman]s Magazine, V [1735], 355). "In consequence of s e v e r a l a p p l i c a t i o n s to h i s majesty by the m a g i s t r a t e s of B r i s t o l , L i v e r p o o l , Newcastle upon Tyme, and s e v e r a l other seaports r e l a t i n g to the e x c e s s i v e p r i c e of corn, the p r i v y c o u n c i l met at the C o c k p i t and i s s u e d a proclamation by which the purchasing of corn f o r t r a n s p o r t a -t i o n without l i c e n s e i s e n t i r e l y f o r b i d d e n ; the o l d laws r e l a t i n g to the f o r s t a l l i n g and r e g r a t i n g are ordered to be s t r i c t l y put i n execution; and a l l farmers etc are e n j o i n e d under s e v e r a l p e n a l t i e s to b r i n g t h e i r corn to open market and not to s e l l by sample at t h e i r own d w e l l i n g s on any pre-tense." Gentleman's Magazine, XXVI (1756), 546. 67 i n 1766 the e f f e c t of p u b l i c l y s i n g l i n g out the one i n t e r e s t which had been the o b j e c t of s u s t a i n e d attack f o r s e v e r a l years was more s e r i o u s than ever before. The government's a c t i o n set o f f a t r a i n of events which r e s u l t e d i n some of the most s e r i o u s a g r a r i a n r i o t s of the century. By f a i l i n g on the one hand to take e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n to safeguard the g r a i n supply, and on the other implying t h a t the shortage was a r t i f i c i a l l y c r e a t e d by middlemen c i r -cumventing the open market, the M i n i s t r y discouraged the movement of g r a i n to market and i n c i t e d the r i o t e r s to a t t a c k the scapegoats suggested to them. John P i t t noted the e f f e c t of l i m i t i n g t r a n s a c t i o n s to the open market i n a manner more a p p r o p r i a t e to the s i x t e e n t h r a t h e r than the e i g h t e e n t h century: You could not buy an egg or pound of b u t t e r but at the t i n g l i n g of a b e l l and on a p a r t i c u l a r spot. T h i s time and p l a c e were a d i r e c t i o n to the r e g u l a t o r s whose v i o -lence was a deterance to the country peoples coming i n and p r o v i s i o n s got dearer. The Annual R e g i s t e r , too, was c r i t i c a l of the government's a c t i o n s , when i n r e t r o s p e c t i t observed: Many doubted whether t h i s proclamation was w e l l con-ce i v e d or w e l l timed. I t was i n some s o r t , p r e j u d g i n g the q u e s t i o n , and d e c l a r i n g the s c a r c i t y to be a r t i f i -c i a l , which experience has s i n c e shown to have been but too n a t u r a l . . . .^-^ 116 °Pitt to Hardwicke, December 21, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 341. 1 1 7 A n n u a l R e g i s t e r , IX (1766), 224-26; X (1767), 40. 68 The c o n c l u s i o n s of the M i n i s t r y were q u i c k l y con-veyed to the populace. C l e r k s i n country towns p u b l i c i z e d the proclamation i n l o c a l newspapers and constables d i s -p layed copies i n each hundred, while at the same time magis-t r a t e s o f f e r e d to prosecute o f f e n d e r s and to reward informers 118 at p u b l i c expense. Thus the whole r u r a l p o p u l a t i o n was made aware of the government's b e l i e f t h a t the shortage was a r t i f i c i a l . Soon p r a c t i c a l r e a l i t i e s f o r c e d the abandonment of these r e g u l a t i o n s a g a i n s t the middlemen f o r : I t was apprehended t h a t t h i s measure [the proclamation] would have an e f f e c t c o n t r a r y to the i n t e n t i o n s of the c o u n c i l , and by f r i g h t e n i n g d e a l e r s from the markets, would i n c r e a s e the s c a r c i t y i t was designed to remedy. Th i s was so w e l l f e l t t h a t l i t t l e was done towards e n f o r c i n g the proclamation, and i t soon f e l l to the ground.119 But the damage was already done. Not only d i d the govern-ment's a c t i o n encourage the poor to take matters i n t o t h e i r own hands and. d e a l with those r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the shortage; i t enabled the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s f o r t h e i r own purposes to d i v e r t a t t e n t i o n away from themselves. To understand the c h a r a c t e r of the responses of a l l three groups, one must examine the a t t i t u d e s towards middlemen which developed a f t e r the mid-century. 118 At Michaelmas the m a g i s t r a t e s o f f e r e d a f i v e pound reward f o r i n f o r m e r s , Derbyshire Record O f f i c e , Derby, Derby Q u a r t e r Sessions Order Book (1766). 1 1 9 A n n u a l R e g i s t e r , X (1767), 40. 69 Severe f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the p r i c e s of food, then, p r e c i p i t a t e d the waves of r i o t s which culminated i n the d i s -a f f e c t i o n of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor of most of Southern Eng-l a n d and the Midlands i n the l a t e summer and autumn of 1766. The major cause of these f l u c t u a t i o n s was a n a t u r a l shortage whose e f f e c t s were aggravated by government trade p o l i c i e s and the e x p e c t a t i o n s of the people. The M i n i s t r y ' s proclam-a t i o n of the o l d anti-middlemen s t a t u t e s encouraged both the r u l i n g orders and the a g r a r i a n poor to blame corn d e a l e r s , g r e a t farmers and others f o r the food c r i s i s . T h i s miscon-c e p t i o n determined the d i r e c t i o n of the d i s o r d e r s and t h e i r v i o l e n c e . I t i s evident t h a t s p i r a l l i n g p r i c e s of n e c e s s a r i e s were the c a t a l y s t which acted upon the deep-seated d i s c o n -t e n t s of more than one i n t e r e s t . Before a n a l y z i n g these, i t w i l l be necessary to examine and account f o r the strong pre-j u d i c e a g a i n s t middlemen which became apparent a f t e r the mid-century and which played a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t i n determin-ing t h e i r response to the food c r i s i s of 1766. PART I CHAPTER I I THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND OF THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS Denunciations of middlemen were common i n newspapers, p e r i o d i c a l s , pamphlets, and p r i v a t e correspondence a f t e r the mid-century. The f o l l o w i n g comments of the Mayor of G u i l d -f o r d were t y p i c a l of these: "I hope the above jobbers as i s the l o c u s t s of the earth w i l l a l l be s i l e n c e d and th a t a l l the n e c e s s a r i e s of l i f e w i l l be o b l i g e d to be brought to the p u b l i c f a i r s and markets.""'" Most c r i t i c s r e s e r v e d t h e i r b i t t e r e s t a t t a c k s f o r the middlemen of the p r o v i s i o n s t r a d e , who were suspected of by-passing or manipulating markets f o r t h e i r own p r o f i t at the expense of the consumers. In the 1750's and 1760's there were v a r i o u s i n d i c a t i o n s t h a t p u b l i c a n t i p a t h y was rea c h i n g s e r i o u s l e v e l s . During the hunger r i o t s of 1756-57, p u b l i s h e r s i s s u e d a l a r g e number of pamph-l e t s which blamed the c u r r e n t shortages and high p r i c e s of 2 food on jobbers and p r o v i s i o n s d e a l e r s . P a r t i c u l a r l y "'"Thomas Jackman, Mayor of G u i l d f o r d , to Lord Aber-corn, March 8, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 2 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, pp. 32-33. 70 71 b i t t e r a s s a u l t s on middlemen f o l l o w e d . R i o t e r s attacked the p r o p e r t y of bakers, corn f a c t o r s , and others of the g r a i n t r a d e . They even destroyed Quaker meeting houses attended 3 by Midland corn d e a l e r s . A f t e r 1764 s e v e r a l P a r l i a m e n t a r y committees agreed i n blaming middlemen g e n e r a l l y f o r the 4 high p r i c e s of a l l p r o v i s i o n s . Pamphleteers once again j o i n e d i n d e n i g r a t i n g middlemen i n the 1760*s. Newspapers and j o u r n a l s took up the cry too. O c c a s i o n a l l y , w r i t e r s r a l l i e d to the support of the commercial c l a s s e s of the pro-v i s i o n s t r a d e , but t h e i r clamour was muted under the weight of adverse c r i t i c i s m . T h i s campaign of v i l i f i c a t i o n reached i t s peak i n the p e r i o d of s c a r c i t y and h i g h p r i c e s of 1766-67, when hun-ger r i o t s were widespread across Southern England. Renewed p u b l i c a t t a c k s on the middlemen i n the press s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d the course of events by i n f l u e n c i n g the responses of the poor and the r i c h a l i k e to the food c r i s i s . There- . a f t e r , p u b l i c h o s t i l i t y to middlemen, at l e a s t at the o f f i -c i a l l e v e l , d e c l i n e d somewhat. In 1772 P a r l i a m e n t , recog-n i z i n g not only the f u t i l i t y of r e s t r i c t i o n s on f o r e s t a l l -i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g , but a l s o the s e r i o u s d i s r u p -t i v e e f f e c t s of t h e i r r i g i d enforcement, r e p e a l e d the o l d 3Gentleman's Magazine, XXVI (1756), 409. ^Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 22. 72 s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t middlemen. Popular d i s t r u s t d i d not abate as q u i c k l y . In 1792 when p r i c e s of bread more than doubled, p u b l i c debate once again f o c u s s e d on middlemen's a c t i v i t i e s . Edmund Burke and other i n f l u e n t i a l Commons speakers j u s t i -f i e d middlemen's "non-productive" a c t i v i t i e s i n a debate on 6 the high cost of food. But t h i s time the a u t h o r i t i e s made l i t t l e attempt to prevent the engrossing of s u p p l i e s , although p r o s e c u t i o n s f o r monopoly were s t i l l p o s s i b l e under Common Law. The experience of the 1760's had f i n a l l y taught t h a t the economy had outgrown such p r i m i t i v e measures of c o n t r o l . Elsewhere i t has been shown t h a t , when fa c e d with r i s i n g d i s c o n t e n t i n e a r l y September, 1766, the Chatham Min-i s t r y took the i l l - a d v i s e d step of p r o c l a i m i n g the laws a g a i n s t engrossing, r e g r a t i n g , and f o r e s t a l l i n g i n p r e f e r -ence to p r o h i b i t i n g immediately the e x p o r t a t i o n of g r a i n and p e r m i t t i n g the f r e e i m p o r t a t i o n of c o l o n i a l and f o r e i g n sup-7 p l i e s . Thereby i t b r o a d l y h i n t e d to the p u b l i c that the g r a i n shortage was a r t i f i c i a l r a t h e r than n a t u r a l . The newspaper and pamphlet campaign of n e a r l y twenty years had a l r e a d y s t i m u l a t e d the n a t u r a l l o a t h i n g of the poor f o r the m i l l e r , the baker, and the corn f a c t o r . The government's 5 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 41. 6 C e n t r a l L i b r a r y , S h e f f i e l d , F i t z w i l l i a m MSS, Burke 18. 7 See Chapter I above. 73 reminder was the f i n a l encouragement of the s e r i o u s r i o t s Q which f o l l o w e d . P l a i n l y , the timing of the proclamation was u n f o r -tunate. The s i x months' embargo on corn exports ended on August 26, 1766, and i n the next f o u r weeks g r a i n , which had been assembled i n the ports i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of f r e e exports over s e v e r a l weeks, f l o o d e d out of the south and west of England to meet the famine needs of Europe. In t h i s oper-a t i o n corn f a c t o r s , badgers, and other middlemen f u l f i l l e d t h e i r customary and necessary r o l e s . P r e s s u r e to r e s t o r e the embargo immediately f a i l e d i n f a c e of the M i n i s t r y ' s doubts about the l e g a l i t y of such a c t i o n without p r i o r Par-l i a m e n t a r y approval and a r e l u c t a n c e to l o s e t r a d i t i o n a l g markets f o r g r a i n . The government's a c t i o n i n p r o c l a i m i n g the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t engrossing, f o r e s t a l l i n g , and r e g r a t i n g r e v e a l e d a l a c k of a p p r e c i a t i o n of the f u n c t i o n i n g of the economy. .It was c l e a r l y i n c o n s i s t e n t to permit l a r g e - s c a l e g r a i n exports, w h i l e at the same time d e c l a r i n g i l l e g a l the very p r a c t i c e s necessary to assemble g r a i n 8 C f . the b e l i e f of the French people t h a t a pacte de  famine had been made to s t a r v e the poor (Rude, The Crowd i n  H i s t o r y , p. 227). 9 George I I I to L i e u t e n a n t - G e n e r a l Conway, September 20, 1766, L e t t e r s of George I I I , ed. by Bonamy Dobree (London: C a s s e l , 1968) , pp. 4l~-42. Harcourt to Jenkinson, September 16, 1766, Add. MSS, 38340. Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 39. 74 shipments not only f o r abroad but f o r urban centres such as London. In p a r t , at l e a s t , the responses of the a u t h o r i t i e s and the poor r e f l e c t e d an e x t r a o r d i n a r y h o s t i l i t y towards middlemen which had become f i r m l y entrenched i n the minds of Englishmen about the middle of the century. The student must f i r s t seek to understand t h e i r p r e j u d i c e s a g a i n s t mid-dlemen i f he i s to e x p l a i n the r o l e s of both the a u t h o r i t i e s and the poor i n the s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s of the 1760's. Before examining the more s p e c i f i c reasons f o r the u n u s u a l l y b i t t e r h o s t i l i t y towards t h i s segment of the "middling s o r t , " how-ever, some c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the general s o c i a l t e n s i o n s which formed a background f a v o u r a b l e to the c r e a t i o n of popular scapegoats f o r the food c r i s e s of the 1760's i s d e s i r a b l e . I By the mid-eighteenth century the r a t e of economic growth of England quickened, and i n the process i n t e n s i f i e d s t r e s s i n s o c i e t y . R u r a l d i s t r i c t s e s p e c i a l l y f e l t the e f f e c t s of change. The f a c t t h a t many of these e f f e c t s were not always to the economic detriment of e i t h e r the p r i v i l e g e d orders or the i n d u s t r i o u s poor d i d not l e s s e n t h e i r s o c i a l impact upon t r a d i t i o n a l communities. P o p u l a r a n t i p a t h y towards middlemen, which was e s p e c i a l l y e v ident i n the 75 hunger r i o t s of the 1760's, must be viewed a g a i n s t t h i s b a c k - c l o t h of s o c i a l f l u x . To understand why t h i s p e r i o d of r a p i d change occu r r e d a f t e r 1750 and to a p p r e c i a t e why i t had such a pro-found e f f e c t upon important i n t e r e s t s , one must go back at l e a s t as f a r as the l a s t decade of the preceding century. In these years r u r a l s o c i e t y was beginning once again to experience important s t r u c t u r a l change, which r e s u l t e d from depressed c o n d i t i o n s i n agriculture.''"''' Except i n compara-t i v e l y r a r e years of poor h a r v e s t s , animal epidemics, or u n c e r t a i n t r a d e , the p r i c e s of a g r i c u l t u r a l produce con-t i n u e d to be low throughout the f i r s t h a l f of the eighteenth 12 century. T h i s s t a t e of a f f a i r s operated f o r the most p a r t l e s s i n the economic i n t e r e s t s of the farmers and the l a n d -13 owners than those of the l a b o u r i n g poor. Low r e t u r n s on a g r i c u l t u r a l investment tended to d r i v e out the l e a s t e f f i -c i e n t owners and farmers, and encouraged the c l o s e a t t e n t i o n to p r o d u c t i v i t y of those who managed to s u r v i v e . Great landowners, w i t h e s t a t e s s c a t t e r e d through s e v e r a l r e g i o n s , were b e t t e r able to s u r v i v e than s m a l l e r landowners .whose "'""'"Charles Wilson, England's A p p r e n t i c e s h i p 1603-1763, S o c i a l and Economic H i s t o r y of England, ed. by Asa B r i g g s (London: Longmans, 1965), pp. 141-59. 12 G. E. Mingay, "The A g r i c u l t u r a l Depression, 1730-50," Economic H i s t o r y Review, 2nd s e r . , V I I I (1956), 323-38. 13 Wil s o n , England's A p p r e n t i c e s h i p , p. 249. 76 i n t e r e s t s were more l o c a l . Frequently, such l a r g e land-owners were not s o l e l y dependent upon t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l 14 rents f o r s u r v i v a l . In times of c r i s i s such men could use c a p i t a l obtained from i n d u s t r i a l or commercial investment to keep t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l ventures solvent. By 1700 a trend f o r l e s s e f f i c i e n t and u n d e r c a p i t a l i z e d , small landowners to 15 s e l l out to l a r g e r neighbours was evident. The engrossing of sma l l e r estates by the owners of great p r o p e r t i e s had i t s most immediate e f f e c t upon those of the l e s s e r p a r i s h gentry and yeomen who were obliged to s e l l t h e i r land. The economic b e n e f i t of changing from f r e e h o l d ownership to lease h o l d farming was qu i t e evident. Freed from t h e i r former o b l i g a t i o n to i n v e s t i n expensive land improvements, i n most instances they now farmed t h e i r land 16 under long l e a s e s , u s u a l l y f o r three l i v e s . When the pro-duce market f e l l to uneconomic l e v e l s , as i t d i d p a r t i c u -l a r l y i n the depression years between 1730 and 1750, they u s u a l l y found t h e i r l a n d l o r d s w i l l i n g to accept payments i n kind or even to f o r g i v e the f u l l amount of t h e i r rent r a t h e r than watch t h e i r land d e t e r i o r a t e w h i l e they hunted i n v a i n 17 f o r other tenants. When p r i c e s rose sharply i n seasons of 14 H. J . Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership, 1680-1740," Economic H i s t o r y Review, 1st se r . , X, No. 1 (1940), 4. 15 I b i d . , p. 2. 16 Wilson, 'England's Apprenticeship. p. 252. 17 Chambers and Mingay, The A g r i c u l t u r a l R e v o lution  1750-1880, pp. 20-21. 77 poor h a r v e s t s or of animal epidemics, any i n c r e a s e d p r o f i t s went i n t o the pockets of the l e a s e h o l d e r s r a t h e r than i n t o the hands of the l a n d l o r d s , because r e n t s set e a r l i e r i n the 18 century when the p r i c e s of food were low remained s t a b l e . Yet the l o s s of landownership d i d r e p r e s e n t a d e c l i n e i n s o c i a l s t a t u s i n a century when pro p e r t y r i g h t s were supreme, and h o s t i l i t y to the landed i n t e r e s t was always l a t e n t among r 19 f armers. Not only d i d the s i z e of e s t a t e s grow i n the f i r s t h a l f of the ei g h t e e n t h century, but so d i d the s i z e of 20 farms. Landowners p r e f e r r e d to le a s e t h e i r l a n d to l a r g e -s c a l e farmers who were most l i k e l y to s u r v i v e the d i f f i c u l t market c o n d i t i o n s because they were able to a f f o r d the improved methods of husbandry which were slowly spreading through r u r a l England i n the l a t e seventeenth century, and to gain the economies of s c a l e . S i r John F i e l d i n g claimed t h a t by 1765 r i c h farmers had swallowed l i t t l e farms of £70 21 to £100 per year. S m a l l e r tenant farmers d i s p l a c e d by " ^ I b i d . , p. 47. 19 Habakkuk notes t h a t "hatred of the small s q u i r e s and gentry f o r the great l o r d s . . . who were buying them out i s the theme of many contemporary p l a y s " (Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership," p. 12). 2 QGentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 85. See a l s o S i r John F i e l d i n g , "Observations of P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s , " February 5, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . W. G. Hoskins, The Midland Peasant, c i t e d i n Wilson, England's A p p r e n t i c e s h i p , p. 250. 21 F i e l d i n g , "Observations of P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . " See a l s o Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 85. 78 t h i s t r e n d became l a b o u r e r s working f o r others or l e f t the l a n d e n t i r e l y . The growing r e l u c t a n c e of landowners to l e a s e e x t r a l a n d to small f r e e h o l d e r s r e i n f o r c e d t h i s tend-ency towards l a r g e farms. Unable to r e n t l a n d to make t h e i r o p e r a t i o n s economic, these s m a l l e r yeomen f r e e h o l d e r s s o l d 22 out and j o i n e d . t h e ranks of tenant farmers or l a b o u r e r s . For h i s p a r t the r u r a l l a b o u r e r born to h i s s t a t i o n i n l i f e found the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s low and l i f e r e l a -t i v e l y easy f o r most of the f i r s t f i f t y years of the e i g h -t e e n t h century. Throughout Southern England the woollen c l o t h trade prospered and the d i s r u p t i v e e f f e c t s of the expansion of Y o r k s h i r e ' s worsted c l o t h i n d u s t r y s t i l l l a y i n 23 the f u t u r e . A g r i c u l t u r a l workers could thus supplement t h e i r earnings under the domestic system. P o p u l a t i o n growth was not yet p u t t i n g pressure upon v i l l a g e communities. M i g r a t i o n to the m e t r o p o l i t a n area, to other growing urban centres and to the c o l o n i e s , at l e a s t f o r the s i n g l e man, p r o v i d e d a s a f e t y v a l v e through which d i s c o n t e n t s could be 24 d i s s i p a t e d . While those who descended from owner-occupiers 22 Wilson, .'England's Apprenticeship,'' p. 251. Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership," p. 15. 23 V i c t o r i a County H i s t o r y , G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , I I (1907), 160: g r e a t e s t p r o s p e r i t y i n c l o t h t r a de of the west between 1690 and 1760. Mantoux.places the s e r i o u s competi-t i o n of the n o r t h e r n towns a f t e r 1790 (Paul Mantoux, The  I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n i n the E i g h t e e n t h Century (rev. ed.; London: Methuen, 1966), p. 264. 24 P h y l l i s Deane and W i l l i a m A. Cole, B r i t i s h Econ-omic Growth, 1688-1959, Trends and S t r u c t u r e (2nd ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1967), p. 115. pbell, " E n g l i s h E m i g r a t i o n on th  Eve of the American R e v o l u t i o n , " pp. 1-20. 79 to tenant farmers or l a b o u r e r s f a c e d a d i f f i c u l t p e r i o d of adjustment, only i n r a r e years of c r i s i s was there severe s t r a i n i n r u r a l s o c i e t y i n the f i r s t f i f t y years of the 25 e i g h t e e n t h century. In a few years of poor harvests and h i g h p r i c e s , food r i o t s d i d break out, but they were s c a t -t e r e d and s h o r t - l i v e d compared to the c h r o n i c hunger r i o t s O A of the second h a l f of the century. During the 1750's there was a marked i n c r e a s e i n r u r a l t e n s i o n s , which i n the f i r s t i n s t a n c e was p r e c i p i t a t e d by a change i n the terms of domestic trade i n favour of a g r i c u l t u r e . E s s e n t i a l l y the causes of t h i s phenomenon were 27 t h r e e f o l d : p o p u l a t i o n growth a f t e r 1740 and movement to 28 the developing i n d u s t r i a l r e g i o n s and urban c e n t r e s , government v i c t u a l l i n g c o n t r a c t s during the Seven Years' 29 War, and n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s such as bad harvests and animal 30 epidemics. The most evident and immediate r e s u l t of t h i s 25 Habakkuk a t t r i b u t e s the absence of comparable s o c i a l t e n s i o n to t h a t preceding the C i v i l War to the t r a n s -f e r e n c e of l a n d to C o n s e r v a t i v e elements (Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership," p. 5. 26 Robert Featherstone Wearmouth, Methodism and the  Common People of the E i g h t e e n t h Century (London: Epworth P r e s s , 1945), passim! 27 Deane and Cole, B r i t i s h Economic Growth, 1688-1959, pp. 93-94. 2 8 I b i d . , pp. 111-21. 29 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 60. 3 Q I b i d . , p. 22. 80 swing i n f a v o u r of a g r i c u l t u r e was higher p r i c e s f o r pro-duce, which continued throughout the remaining years of the 31 century and a f f e c t e d the w e l l - b e i n g of a l l r u r a l i n t e r e s t s . I n e v i t a b l y the b e n e f i t s of g r e a t e r a g r i c u l t u r a l pro-f i t s were spread unevenly through r u r a l s o c i e t y . Those landowners able to pass on to t h e i r tenants the i n c r e a s i n g burden of t a x a t i o n and other c o s t s were able to share i n the 32 growing p r o f i t a b i l i t y of commercial farming. Others who were committed to long l e a s e s at low ren t s were not able to gai n from the f a v o u r a b l e movement i n a g r i c u l t u r e . They had to bear the c o s t of hig h e r t a x a t i o n to pay f o r the war, as w e l l as the growing weight of w e l f a r e n e c e s s i t a t e d by the 3 3 r i s i n g cost of l i v i n g . Where great landowners f r e q u e n t l y b e n e f i t e d i n d i r e c t l y from h i g h e r p r i c e s r e s u l t i n g from n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s , s m a l l e r owner-occupiers were more v u l n e r -able to bad har v e s t s or epidemics of c a t t l e and sheep, which were more f r e q u e n t i n the 1750's and 1760's than h i t h e r t o . Many of these l e s s e r landowners were f o r c e d to s e l l t h e i r l a n d . The t r e n d towards l a r g e r a g r i c u l t u r a l u n i t s , e v i d e n t e a r l i e r i n the century, a c c e l e r a t e d a f t e r 1750. Although 3 1 I b i d . , pp. 181-82. 3 2 V i c t o r i a County H i s t o r y , W i l t s h i r e , IV (1959), 62. 33 G. E. Mingay, E n g l i s h Landed S o c i e t y i n the E i g h -t e e n t h Century (London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1963), pp. 83-84. 81 the upswing i n the produce market enabled some small l a n d -owners who might otherwise have been f o r c e d o f f t h e i r l a n d to s u r v i v e , many found i t d e s i r a b l e to s e l l out to t h e i r 34 more e f f i c i e n t and b e t t e r c a p i t a l i z e d neighbours. The i n c r e a s i n g l y p r o f i t a b l e markets encouraged investment i n e s t a t e improvement and b e t t e r farming techniques. S c i e n -t i f i c farming methods known and p r a c t i s e d on a l i m i t e d s c a l e i n the previous century such as the m a r l i n g of sandy s o i l s , s u r f a c e drainage, v a r y i n g crop r o t a t i o n s , s e l e c t i v e breeding of animals and the r e s t spread r a p i d l y a f t e r the mid-century owing to the e f f o r t s of great landowners and p r o g r e s s i v e farmers. As a r e s u l t , p r o d u c t i v i t y and u l t i m a t e l y r e n t s 35 r o s e , e s p e c i a l l y on the l i g h t s o i l s . Once again the g r e a t e s t advantages went to the l a r g e - s c a l e o p e r a t o r s . Wealthy landowners were best able to take advantage of the lower i n t e r e s t r a t e s on c a p i t a l necessary f o r the develop-36 ment of e s t a t e s . At the same time engrossing landowners were able to exact a more n e a r l y economic r e n t upon land r e c e n t l y a c q u i r e d because they were not bound by lengthy 34 Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership," pp. 1-17. 35 E. L. Jones, " A g r i c u l t u r e and Economic Growth i n England, 1660-1750: A g r i c u l t u r a l Change," J o u r n a l of Econ-omic H i s t o r y , XXV (1965), 11. 36 Thomas S o u t h c l i f f e Ashton, An Economic H i s t o r y of  England: The E i g h t e e n t h Century (London: Methuen and Co. L t d . , 1955), pp. 40-41. 82 l e a s e s . Such l a n d l o r d s now p r e f e r r e d t e n a n c i e s at w i l l 37 r a t h e r than l e a s e h o l d s f o r s e v e r a l l i v e s . G e n e r a l l y owners of l a n d c l o s e to expanding urban centres or i n d u s t r i a l d i s t r i c t s were i n the best p o s i t i o n to b e n e f i t from the growth of commercial farming by the 1760's. Owners of corn lands, however, b e n e f i t e d from the ease of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n of g r a i n , and even those d i s t a n t from the coasts or urban centres shared i n the new p r o s p e r i t y . Less f o r t u n a t e were landowners t i e d to long l e a s e s or those whose la n d produced l e s s r e a d i l y t r a n s p o r t e d commodities. These only p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the b e n e f i t s of the commercial farming boom a f t e r long delays during which l e a s e s ran out or t r a n s -p o r t a t i o n systems developed. Those who managed to s u r v i v e t h i s extended l e a n p e r i o d were o b l i g e d to watch r e s e n t f u l l y the success of other landowners and the growing a f f l u e n c e of great tenant farmers. One anonymous p o l e m i c i s t expressed the resentment of many of the landed i n t e r e s t when he wrote, "Was i t ever thought of, i n the o r i g i n a l i n s t i t u t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r e , t h a t the husbandman, who rented £300 per annum should be enabled to l i v e b e t t e r than h i s l a n d l o r d , who had 38 no other income." 37 Chambers and Mingay, The A g r i c u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n  1750-1880, p. 47. 38 Anonymous, A L e t t e r to the House of Commons i n  which i s Set F o r t h the Nature of C e r t a i n Abuses R e l a t i v e to  the A r t i c l e s of P r o v i s i o n s (London: J . Almon, 1765) , p~. 34. 83 Although by the 1760's i n counties such as W i l t -s h i r e , one of the most d i s a f f e c t e d c o u nties i n the hunger r i o t s of 1766, the landed i n t e r e s t was beginning to pass onto t h e i r tenants the weight of i n c r e a s e d t a x a t i o n i n the form of h i g h e r r e n t s , the s i t u a t i o n of the l a r g e r farmer i n 39 Southern England a f t e r the mid-century was f a v o u r a b l e . As was the case among landowners able to exact an economic r e n t , the g r e a t e s t b e n e f i c i a r y of expanding commercial farm-i n g was the l a r g e - s c a l e farmer l o c a t e d c l o s e to London or some other growing urban c e n t r e , or to developing i n d u s t r i a l r e g i o n s such as the Midlands, L a n c a s h i r e , the West R i d i n g or H a l l a m s h i r e . Even where he was l o c a t e d at a d i s t a n c e from markets, the gre a t corn farmer was prosperous by the 1760's. Hi s product was r e l a t i v e l y e a s i l y t r a n s p o r t e d on the improved r i v e r s and c a n a l s . 4 ^ When exports were permitted, he gained from export bounties; when s c a r c i t y at home shut o f f f o r e i g n markets, he b e n e f i t e d from the enhanced p r i c e s i n home markets. The l a r g e a g r i c u l t u r a l producer i n the 1750's and 1760's gained from other f a c t o r s besides expanding markets f o r farm produce. Among these were the n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s 39 There was an a c c e l e r a t i o n i n the growth of a g r i -c u l t u r a l output a f t e r 1750 (Deane and Cole, B r i t i s h Economic  Growth, 1688-1959, p. 75). See a l s o Wilson, -England's  A p p r e n t i c e s h i p , :' p. 254. Mantoux, The I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n i n the E i g h -t e e n t h Century, p. 125. 84 which oc c u r r e d w i t h g r e a t e r frequency a f t e r 1750 than i n the e a r l y years of the century. G e n e r a l l y the weather had been f a v o u r a b l e to r a i s i n g crops and animals f o r most of the f i r s t f i f t y years of the e i g h t e e n t h century, but now adverse weather c o n d i t i o n s r e s u l t e d i n s e v e r a l years of poor har-v e s t s . P a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy were the seasons of 1751, 1756, and 1766 which produced l i g h t h a rvests and high p r i c e s 41 which touched o f f hunger r i o t s . In other years shortages of fodder crops a d v e r s e l y . a f f e c t e d c a t t l e and sheep. In 1762-63 there were very s m a l l crops of hay i n W i l t s h i r e which l e d subsequently to much s l a u g h t e r i n g of c a l v e s and 42 c a t t l e shortages and high p r i c e s i n f o l l o w i n g years. Unusual weather In the e a r l y 1760's l e d to a f l u c t u a t i o n i n the supply of acorns which was l a t e r r e f l e c t e d i n a shortage of hogs and h i g h meat p r i c e s . 4 3 The high b a r l e y p r i c e s of 1763 r e s u l t e d i n the breeding of fewer p i g s and the 'subse-quent high p r i c e s of pork commented on i n the House of Lords' r e p o r t on high meat p r i c e s i n 1765. Animal epidemics i n c r e a s e d In the middle years of the century and r a i s e d the 41 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, pp. 20-22. 42 E x t r a c t of a l e t t e r from Mr. Frawd, Gentleman Farmer, of B r i x t o n D e v e r i l i n W i l t s h i r e , to the Lord Bishop of S t . David's, February 2, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 22. 43 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s m England 1700-1800, 85 44 p r i c e s of meat. C a t t l e murrain was widespread between 45 1745 and the mid-1760's and decimated many herds. N a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s such as these were o f t e n s u f f i c i e n t to d e s t r o y sma l l farmers whose i n t e r e s t s were p u r e l y l o c a l . But a gr e a t farmer, some of whose stock and crops s u r v i v e d , pro-f i t e d from the s c a r c i t y and enhanced p r i c e s of meat and g r a i n . He, too, was b e t t e r able to meet the r i s i n g costs of poor r e l i e f , which was the concomitant of widespread d i s -t r e s s caused by high food p r i c e s , than h i s s m a l l e r competi-, 46 t o r . The conspicuous consumption i n which many of the prosperous g r e a t farmers engaged a f t e r 1750 a t t r a c t e d much comment. Frequent complaints i n newspapers and j o u r n a l s of the p e r i o d t e s t i f y to the resentment of the w e a l t h i e r f a r m e r s 1 s o c i a l ambitions, which was shared by those above and below them on the s o c i a l s c a l e , and to the mounting s o c i a l t e n s i o n . Many of these farmers were now adopting pastimes h i t h e r t o the p r e r o g a t i v e s of gentlemen: hunting, d r i v i n g i n c a r r i a g e s , employing maidservants f o r t h e i r n e w l y - l e i s u r e d wives, and sending t h e i r c h i l d r e n to p u b l i c schools and u n i v e r s i t i e s . Newspapers t e s t i f i e d s a t i r i c a l l y 44 B u t l e r to Lord L e i g h , February 20, 1765, Committee  on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s : r e p o r t e d sheep r o t i n Warwickshire, L e i c e s t e r s h i r e , and Northamptonshire. 45 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 20 and passim. 4 6 I b i d . , p. 42. 86 to t h e i r changing t a s t e s by n o t i n g advertisements i n country j o u r n a l s such as the f o l l o w i n g : Wanted by a gentleman farmer, a complete ploughman, who can a l s o d r i v e a p a i r of horses on o c c a s i o n . N.B. He must know how to dress h a i r a f t e r the London f a s h i o n , and i f he knows f a r r i e r y so much the better.47 Such s o c i a l p r e t e n s i o n s encouraged many i n the b e l i e f t h a t landowners should f o r c e t h e i r tenant farmers to occupy them-s e l v e s f u l l y w i t h t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l l abours and should d i s -courage them from e x p e c t a t i o n s i n a p p r o p r i a t e to t h e i r s t a -t i o n s i n l i f e . T y p i c a l l y one w r i t e r urged a r e t u r n to l e s s s o p h i s t i c a t e d l i v i n g i n these terms: Let our farmers be farmers, t h a t i s , l e t them l i v e by labour, l e t t h e i r sons f o l l o w the plough, and t h e i r dames and daughters attend the d a i r y , and not change a country l i f e f o r the f o i b l e s of a court, and to become i m i t a t o r s of n o b i l i t y . 4 8 Other correspondents advised landowners to r a i s e t h e i r r e n t s s u f f i c i e n t l y high to ensure the d e s i r a b l e c l o s e a t t e n t i o n of t h e i r tenants to the care of the land and to discourage upward m o b i l i t y . Often w r i t e r s attacked the p r a c t i c e of amalgamating smaller•farms i n t o l a r g e r farms. One such -c r i t i c expressed h i s concerns i n the f o l l o w i n g sense: . . . every l a n d l o r d ought to keep i n view the support-ing the rank of the i n d u s t r i o u s farmers and not endeav-our to r a i s e them i n t o the higher s t a t i o n of yeomanry nor to say g e n t r y - - t h i s w i l l be done no way so e f f e c -t i v e l y as by assortments of farms of proper s i z e f o r p u b l i c good and f i x i n g such r e n t s as w i l l keep up a P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , March 7, 1767. i 'Westminster J o u r n a l and P o l i t i c a l M i s c e l l a n y , May 21, 1768. 87 tenant's a t t e n t i o n and i n d u s t r y which are the best s e c u r i t y a l a n d l o r d can hope for.49 But the d i r e c t i o n of s o c i a l m o b i l i t y i n a g r i c u l t u r e was more commonly h o r i z o n t a l or downward by the 1750's than upward, and many s u c c e s s f u l tenant farmers resented t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to a c quire the s o c i a l p r e s t i g e and p o l i t i c a l i n f l u e n c e t h a t landownership c a r r i e d . D e s p i t e t h e i r growing wealth, l a r g e farmers found i t i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t to buy l a n d . During the e i g h t e e n t h century the l a n d market t i g h t e n e d . Even b e f o r e the mid-century, d e s p i t e the u n p r o f i t a b i l i t y of a g r i -c u l t u r a l l a n d , the p r i c e of e s t a t e s rose s t e a d i l y during and 50 a f t e r the 1720's. The l e g a l device of s t r i c t settlement, i n t r o d u c e d i n the previous century, was becoming popular amongst the landed i n t e r e s t as a means of p r e v e n t i n g the a l i e n a t i o n of t h e i r p r o p e r t y by f u t u r e , l e s s p r o v i d e n t gen-51 e r a t i o n s . The net e f f e c t of t h i s growing p r a c t i c e of e n t a i l i n g e s t a t e s was a tendency to f r e e z e landownership, and thereby i n c r e a s e the p r i c e of l a n d and make upward s o c i a l m o b i l i t y more d i f f i c u l t f o r tenant farmers and o t h e r s . At the same time t h a t t h i s r e d u c t i o n i n the f l u i d i t y of e x i s t i n g e s t a t e s was o c c u r r i n g , there was growing competi-t i o n f o r a v a i l a b l e l a n d . Men e n r i c h e d by commercial ventures 49 ^ S h e l b u r n e Papers, V o l . 132, f o l s . 89-99. 50 Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 94. 51 Mingay, E n g l i s h Landed S o c i e t y i n the E i g h t e e n t h  Century, p. 32 et seq. 88 i n I n d i a , America, and the West I n d i e s , t o g e t h e r with a growing number of s u c c e s s f u l i n d u s t r i a l i s t s , sought the s o c i a l s t a t u s and p o l i t i c a l i n f l u e n c e t h a t landownership 52 c o n f e r r e d . Wealthy men co u l d s t i l l buy l a n d throughout the century, but by the 1760's i t was becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y expensive and d i f f i c u l t . F r u s t r a t e d i n t h e i r d e s i r e to r i s e i n t o a hig h e r s o c i a l c l a s s and to enjoy s t a t u s and power commensurate w i t h t h e i r wealth, many tenant farmers r e s e n t e d what they regarded as the unproductive r o l e of the a r i s t o -c r acy and gentry. In times of c r i s i s these l a t e n t r e s e n t -ments came to the s u r f a c e . Only on very r a r e occasions were the farmers able to make common cause w i t h the r u r a l poor a g a i n s t the landed i n t e r e s t . When t h i s form of c l a s s p o l a r -i z a t i o n took p l a c e , i t threatened the supremacy of the a r i s -t o c r a c y and p a r t i c u l a r l y the gentry i n the l o c a l i t i e s . One such o c c a s i o n , which w i l l be d e a l t w i t h below because i t had such s i g n i f i c a n t i n f l u e n c e upon events i n 1766, occurred i n 1756-57 when the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s attempted to implement a new, unpopular M i l i t i a Act i n a p e r i o d of un r e s t caused by 53 high food p r i c e s . . More commonly the l a r g e r farmers, 52 Wilson, -England's A p p r e n t i c e s h i p , 5 pp. 158-59, c i t e s H. J . Habakkuk, "The Land Market i n the Eig h t e e n t h Century," i n B r i t a i n and the Netherlands, ed. by J . S. Bromley and E. H. Kossmann. 53 Western, "The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the Ei g h t e e n t h  Century, ; : pp. 290-302. Rockingham to Newcastle, September, 1757, Rockingham MSS, RI-105. 89 r a t h e r than the landowners, f e l t the resentments of the poor a f t e r the mid-century. The r i s i n g cost of n e c e s s i t i e s aggravated the g r i e v -ances of the lower orders a g a i n s t the great farmers. Popu-l a r a n t i p a t h y a g a i n s t t h i s i n t e r e s t approached t h a t d i r e c t e d towards the middlemen a f t e r the mid-century. Farm wages f a i l e d to keep pace w i t h the c o s t of l i v i n g e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r the Seven Years' War. Although i n many of the southern counties wage r a t e s d i d r i s e s l i g h t l y i n the 1760's, they 54 a c t u a l l y went down i n the west of England. At the same time the p r i c e s of wheat and meat rose s t e e p l y . In most of the southern h a l f of England the poor ate wheaten bread and t h e r e f o r e t h e i r standard of l i v i n g was s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d by 55 the i n c r e a s e d c o s t of wheat. The tendency towards c o n s o l i d a t i o n of e s t a t e s under fewer owners and the c r e a t i o n of l a r g e r farms had an i n d i r e c t e f f e c t upon the l i f e of r u r a l l a b o u r e r s too. In some cases i t merely r e s u l t e d i n a change of l a n d l o r d , whose contact w i t h the a g r i c u l t u r a l worker was minimal. In many i n s t a n c e s , however, new ownership meant s c i e n t i f i c manage-ment, wi t h i t s emphasis upon maximum p r o d u c t i v i t y . T h i s 54 G. D. H. Cole and Raymond Postgate, The Common  People, 1746-1946 (4th ed.; London: Methuen, 1966), p. 76. See a l s o G i l b o y , Wages i n E i g h t e e n t h Century England, p. 134. C h a r l e s Smith, Three T r a c t s on the Corn Trade and  the Corn Laws (1766), p. 182. 90 r e s u l t e d i n a g r e a t e r s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of l a b o u r on the farm. Instead of working at the whole range of farming t a s k s , a l a b o u r e r now was expected to concentrate upon being an expert cowman, f o r example. F r e q u e n t l y a new breed of t e n -ant farmers d e d i c a t e d to farming e f f i c i e n c y discouraged t h e i r workers from part-time occupations which competed f o r t h e i r time and energy. Many farmers now a c t i v e l y d i s c o u r -aged t h e i r l a b o u r e r s from engaging i n woollen c l o t h produc-t i o n under the " p u t t i n g - o u t " system, which had t r a d i t i o n a l l y p r o vided the p o o r l y - p a i d farm worker wi t h a u s e f u l supple-ment to h i s income. Even where tenant farmers d i d not prevent t h e i r l a b o u r e r ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the domestic system, the r u r a l poor by the 1760's were f i n d i n g l e s s o p p o r t u n i t y to supple-ment t h e i r wages by working i n the c l o t h t r a d e . The com-p e t i t i o n of the woollen worsted i n d u s t r y of the West R i d i n g was f o r c i n g fundamental r e o r g a n i z a t i o n upon the o l d woollen c l o t h r e g i o n s . I n c r e a s i n g l y the c l o t h centres of the West Country and East A n g l i a were s w i t c h i n g to the p r o d u c t i o n of 57 f i n e woven c l o t h s i n the l a t e 1760's. Such products were l e s s s u i t e d to cottage p r o d u c t i o n by r e l a t i v e l y u n s k i l l e d farm workers w i t h l i t t l e machinery at t h e i r d i s p o s a l . As a 56 Ashton, An Economic H i s t o r y of England, p. 115. 57 J u l i a de L. Mann, " T e x t i l e I n d u s t r i e s s i n c e 1550," i n V i c t o r i a County H i s t o r y , W i l t s h i r e , IV (1959). 91 r e s u l t , farm workers experienced a d e c l i n e i n t h e i r standard of l i v i n g by the 1760's and were more dependent upon a g r i -c u l t u r a l wages. Much of t h e i r resentment they d i r e c t e d towards t h e i r employers. In times of c r i s i s e s p e c i a l l y , the r u r a l poor attacked the p r o p e r t y or persons of farmers who s t r e s s e d p r o f i t a b i l i t y at the expense of t r a d i t i o n a l r i g h t s . Thus i n the Norwich r i o t s of October, 1766 a r u r a l mob attacked one yeoman farmer f o r "had not the o l d rogue whipped the gleaners from h i s f i e l d s . " " 1 8 In the hunger r i o t s of 1766 the farms were the o b j e c t s of searches by mobs, and farm produce head-b9 i n g f o r markets or the p o r t s was i n t e r c e p t e d . But i t was another aspect of the r e o r g a n i z a t i o n of landownership which a f t e r the mid-century s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d the c o n d i t i o n s and s t a t u s of the r u r a l poor. The growing p r o f i t a b i l i t y of commercial farming, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of "cheap" money, and the s h r i n k i n g of the l a n d market encour-aged the e n c l o s u r e of both c u l t i v a t e d and waste lands at an i n c r e a s e d pace a f t e r 1760. The p r e c i s e e f f e c t of the enclosure movement upon the a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r e r i s impos-s i b l e to measure, and c e r t a i n l y i t s a c c e l e r a t e d growth was only beginning to have an impact by the l a t e 1760's. But c e r t a i n t endencies were a l r e a d y evident. 58 Norwich Record O f f i c e , D e p o s i t i o n s , 1766. 59 Wearmouth, Methodism and the Common People of the  E i g h t e e n t h Century, passim. 92 Much debate has i n the past centred around whether or not enclosures caused the d e p o p u l a t i o n of r u r a l England and provided the l a b o u r f o r c e to operate the new f a c t o r i e s . The consensus of h i s t o r i a n s now i s t h a t where enclosures f o r p a s t o r a l purposes took p l a c e , they d i d d r i v e men o f f the l a n d . Thus i n the Midlands, where sheep runs and c a t t l e pastures i n c r e a s e d i n the 1760's as a r e s u l t of e n c l o s u r e s , many of the d i s p l a c e d poor crowded i n t o the weaving v i l l a g e s of L e i c e s t e r s h i r e to set up as s t o c k i n g weavers, an occupa-t i o n which r e q u i r e d l i t t l e c a p i t a l . The i n s a n i t a r y c o n d i -t i o n s c r e a t e d by t h i s sudden i n f l u x of p o p u l a t i o n , the under-nourishment which r e s u l t e d from the high food p r i c e s a f t e r the Seven Years' War l e d to s e r i o u s epidemics and overcrowd-ing a l l c r e a t e d t e n s i o n s which manifested themselves i n e x t e n s i v e food r i o t s throughout t h a t county i n 1 7 6 6 . ^ But where enc l o s u r e s developed f o r the purpose of c r e a t i n g a r a b l e farm l a n d s , they i n c r e a s e d r a t h e r than decreased job o p p o r t u n i t i e s . Nor was the a c t u a l d i v i s i o n of l a n d by Par-l i a m e n t a r y commissioners under the v a r i o u s acts of e n c l o s u r e performed w i t h as l i t t l e concern f o r the t r a d i t i o n a l r i g h t s of the lower orders as was once claimed by Fabian s o c i a l i s t s who wrote on the a g r i c u l t u r a l r e v o l u t i o n i n the n i n e t e e n t h and e a r l y t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r i e s . The commissioners o f t e n gave W. G. Hoskins, "The P o p u l a t i o n of an E n g l i s h V i l -l age 1086-1801--A Study of Wigston Magna," P r o v i n c i a l  England (New York: Macmillan, 1963). 93 compensation f o r r i g h t s which could not be s u b s t a n t i a t e d by 61 documentary proof. The i n c r e a s e d p r o d u c t i v i t y which r e s u l t e d from the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r e was a l s o b e n e f i c i a l f o r i t enabled B r i t a i n to f e e d her growing popu-l a t i o n b e t t e r than would have been the case had s m a l l - s c a l e farming continued to predominate i n t o the n i n e t e e n t h cen-t u r y . Yet the economic and s o c i a l changes which occurred i n e v i t a b l y c r e a t e d t e n s i o n s i n r u r a l s o c i e t y . I n d i v i d u a l s s u f f e r e d as a r e s u l t of the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of f o r m e r l y com-munal land. Cottagers and s q u a t t e r s p a r t i c u l a r l y l o s t important supplementary sources of income when' common l a n d was enclosed. Any compensation they may have r e c e i v e d f o r such l o s s e s was inadequate. Robbed of a cushion a g a i n s t o u t r i g h t d e s t i t u t i o n , which the a b i l i t y to r a i s e one or two animals and c u l t i v a t e a small k i t c h e n garden gave, these members of the lower orders o f t e n became wage-earning l a b o u r e r s s o l e l y dependent upon t h e i r farmer-employers f o r t h e i r s u b s i s t e n c e and much more v u l n e r a b l e to f l u c t u a t i o n s 62 i n the p r i c e of food. P a r a d o x i c a l l y the years of food c r i s i s and r i o t i n g , to which the r e o r g a n i z a t i o n of l a n d ownership c o n t r i b u t e d , s t i m u l a t e d f u r t h e r the tendency towards l a r g e e s t a t e s , and an i n c r e a s e i n the number of 61 W. H. Chaloner, "Recent Work on E n c l o s u r e , the Open F i e l d s and R e l a t e d T o p i c s , " A g r i c u l t u r a l H i s t o r y Review (1954). ^Chambers and Mingay, The A g r i c u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n  1750-1880, pp. 97-98. 94 en c l o s u r e b i l l s f o l l o w e d each of the years of s e r i o u s s c a r c -i t y and high p r i c e s of the second h a l f of the e i g h t e e n t h 63 century. Although the resentment of the poor a g a i n s t e n c l o s -ures i n the 1760's had not yet b u i l t up to the l e v e l i t was to reach l a t e r i n the century, some r i o t s a g a i n s t enclosures 64 d i d occur, n o t a b l y i n Northamptonshire. But most of the resentments a g a i n s t s o c i a l and economic change were expressed more i n d i r e c t l y i n the a g r a r i a n hunger r i o t s of t h i s decade. As a r e s u l t , then, of the r e o r g a n i z a t i o n of l a n d -ownership and the spread of s c i e n t i f i c farming p r a c t i c e s , by the 1760's a c l e a r t h r e e f o l d d i v i s i o n of a g r a r i a n s o c i e t y i n t o landowners, tenant farmers, and l a b o u r e r s was beginning to emerge. The r o l e s of each of these three i n t e r e s t s were g r a d u a l l y becoming more c l e a r l y d e f i n e d than ever before. Many tenant farmers had ceased to own any f r e e h o l d ; many landowners ceased to farm the l a n d they occupied; and many la b o u r e r s l o s t t r a d i t i o n a l r i g h t s to communally-owned prop-e r t y . While t h i s neat d i v i s i o n i n t o r e n t i e r , manager, and r u r a l p r o l e t a r i a t d i d not occur overnight, and c e r t a i n l y was not complete by the 1760's, the t r e n d was a l r e a d y e v i d e n t . 63 G. E. Mingay, E n c l o s u r e and the Small Farmer i n  the Age of the I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n , S t u d i e s i n Economic H i s t o r y (London: Macmillan, 1968), p. 20. 'Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV (1765), 441. 95 The tendency towards a p o l a r i z a t i o n of r u r a l s o c i e t y i n times of c r i s i s caused the r u l i n g orders concern. Yet these three i n t e r e s t s were nowhere near as homo-geneous as might f i r s t appear. There was as much d i f f e r e n c e w i t h i n i n t e r e s t s as between them. T h i s was p a r t l y because s o c i a l orders and economic i n t e r e s t s d i d not c o i n c i d e . The landowners ranged i n s t a t u s from the l e s s e r p a r i s h gentry to 65 the great county gentry and a r i s t o c r a c y . The farming i n t e r e s t s t i l l i n c l u d e d owner-occupiers such as yeomen f r e e -h o l d e r s , as w e l l as tenant-farmers who v a r i e d i n s i z e from mere s u b s i s t e n c e farmers to wealthy l e a s e h o l d e r s who were s c a r c e l y d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e i n standards of l i v i n g from f a i r l y w e l l - t o - d o gentry. The l a b o u r i n g i n t e r e s t i n c l u d e d those dependent s o l e l y upon a g r i c u l t u r a l wages, to g e t h e r with farm l a b o u r e r s who s t i l l c u l t i v a t e d t h e i r own small pockets of land , r a i s e d animals upon the common, and earned supplemen-t a r y income from f a m i l y involvement i n the domestic system of c l o t h p r o d u c t i o n . Of a l l the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n r u r a l groups a f t e r the mid-century, t h a t w i t h i n the landed i n t e r e s t was to have the g r e a t e s t impact upon the r i o t s i n 1766. By the second h a l f of the century there was apparent a d e c l i n e i n common out-look among landowners which had been c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of e a r l i e r times. Now the l e s s e r p a r i s h gentry and the g r e a t 65 Habakkuk, " E n g l i s h Landownership," p. 3. 96 county f a m i l i e s shared l i t t l e beyond a common r e n t i e r r e l a -t i o n s h i p w i t h the l a n d . L o c a l a n t i p a t h y towards the growing m e t r o p o l i t a n i n f l u e n c e s was much g r e a t e r at the p a r i s h l e v e l than at the county l e v e l . P a r i s h gentry were p a r t i c u l a r l y r e s e n t f u l of the d i s r u p t i v e e f f e c t s on l o c a l markets of the a c t i v i t i e s of London food b u y e r s . ^ On the other hand, county gentry were more cosmopolitan i n outlook. T h e i r economic i n t e r e s t s and s o c i a l connections were more d i v e r s i -f i e d than those of t h e i r poorer f e l l o w s . F r e q u e n t l y as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the county or some borough, the great gentry spent months i n London and were c l o s e r to the n a t i o n a l government than p a r i s h gentry. More important, a common e d u c a t i o n a l experience f o r l e s s e r gentry, county gentry and the a r i s t o c r a c y was d i s a p p e a r i n g i n the e a r l y years of the century. Great f a m i l i e s were now more f r e q u e n t l y sending t h e i r sons abroad on the Grand Tour r a t h e r than p u t t i n g them to study the c l a s s i c s at Oxford or Cambridge. The Inns of Court i n London, too, were ceasing to a t t r a c t the sons of the more e x c l u s i v e f a m i l i e s i n the landed i n t e r e s t . T h i s s o c i a l g u l f which appeared d u r i n g the e a r l y years of the century when gre a t landowners were engrossing l a n d at the expense of the l e s s e r landowners was a s e r i o u s cause of estrangement between segments of the landed i n t e r e s t . The 6 6 I b i d . , p. 3. 67 Lawrence Stone, "The N i n n y v e r s i t y ? , " New York  Review of Books, January 28, 1971, pp. 21-29. 97 poorer gentry o f t e n found the cost of l i v i n g h igh, r e n t s too low, and taxes c r i p p l i n g a f t e r the mid-century. Such prob-lems a f f e c t e d them more than they d i d the g r e a t landowners who had other resources besides r e n t s , and who could buy out owner-occupiers and r a i s e r e n t s under new l e a s e s . The l e s s e r gentry who p r o v i d e d the government at the l o c a l l e v e l f e l t themselves i n c r e a s i n g l y estranged from county f a m i l i e s who o f t e n r e p r e s e n t e d as L o r d s - L i e u t e n a n t the n a t i o n a l government's p o l i c i e s . The i n i t i a l f a i l u r e of the two l e v e l s of government to co-operate i n suppressing the r i o t e r s c r e a t e d a very s e r i o u s s i t u a t i o n during the hunger r i o t s of 1766. Much of the r i v a l r y w i t h i n i n t e r e s t s r e s u l t e d from r e g i o n a l d i s p a r i t y . In the d a i r y r e g i o n of W i l t s h i r e , f o r example, farmers and landowners enjoyed lower r e t u r n s than the landowners and farmers of adjacent corn lands. D a i r y farmers i n t h i s county were c l o s e to s u b s i s t e n c e and had a r e p u t a t i o n f o r t u r b u l e n c e which s t r e t c h e d back i n t o the C i v i l War p e r i o d . ^ 8 Hardly d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from l a b o u r e r s i n standard of l i v i n g , these men doubtless j o i n e d i n the p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t high food p r i c e s i n the 1750's and 1760's. Although farmers i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , another county s e r i -o u s l y d i s a f f e c t e d i n the 1766 hunger r i o t i n g , were s u p p l y i n g the developing cheese and b u t t e r markets of London by the V i c t o r i a County H i s t o r y , W i l t s h i r e , IV (1959), 64. 98 mid-century, most p e r i s h a b l e goods could not r e a d i l y a r r i v e i n the M e t r o p o l i s from the West Country and other i n t e r i o r r e g i o n s l a c k i n g access to r i v e r s or the sea. Small farmers who l a c k e d ready access to p o p u l a t i o n centres f r e q u e n t l y enjoyed only a marginal e x i s t e n c e . The poor c o n d i t i o n s of many farmers i n the West Country and i n p a r t s of N o r f o l k , f o r example, was evident i n the p r a c t i c e of paying r e n t s and 69 wages i n k i n d r a t h e r than i n money i n the 1760's. Th i s uneven growth p a t t e r n of a g r i c u l t u r e l e d to an i n c r e a s i n g g u l f between the more s u c c e s s f u l and l e s s a f f l u -ent members of the same i n t e r e s t groups. R i v a l r y w i t h i n i n t e r e s t groups was as s t r e s s - p r o d u c i n g as competition between i n t e r e s t s . The s t i m u l a t i o n a p p l i e d by the growth of produce markets a f t e r the mid-century served to exacerbate economic d i s p a r i t i e s . The s o c i a l t e n s i o n s produced by such economic c o n d i t i o n s were nowhere more apparent than i n the popular a t t i t u d e towards middlemen during the hunger r i o t s of the 1760's. I I D i s l i k e of middlemen was not p e c u l i a r to the second h a l f of the e i g h t e e n t h century. The frequency w i t h which terms l i k e "engrossing" are used p e j o r a t i v e l y i n j o u r n a l s or The H i s t o r y of the C i t y of Norwich: From E a r l i e s t  Records to the P r e s e n t Time (Norwic ~: W. A l l e n , 1869), pp. 346-47. 99 pamphlets d u r i n g and a f t e r Tudor times, and the s i z e a b l e body of l e g i s l a t i o n to curb "abuses" i n the markets by Tudor and S t u a r t P a r l i a m e n t s t e s t i f y to the u n i v e r s a l d i s t a s t e f o r attempts to corner the supply of any commodity whether i t was food, l a n d , or merely the t o o l s e s s e n t i a l to a p a r t i c u -l a r t r a d e . The q u a l i t y and p r i c e of food were always of immedi-ate concern to the poor. T r a d i t i o n a l l y they were quick to express resentment at short-measure or a d u l t e r a t i o n of pro-v i s i o n s . Because bread was the s t a p l e of the poor i n South-71 ern England, bakers were the o b j e c t of s u s p i c i o n . F l u c t u -a t i o n s i n the economy and changes i n i t s s t r u c t u r e from time to time i n t e n s i f i e d these dormant s u s p i c i o n s , and the accumu-l a t i n g l e g i s l a t i o n of Tudor and S t u a r t times r e f l e c t e d popu-l a r resentments. The growth of London, p a r t i c u l a r l y from the s i x t e e n t h century on, c r e a t e d a need f o r "engrossing" food s u p p l i e s . The number and a c t i v i t i e s of middlemen 72 i n c r e a s e d . L o c a l h o s t i l i t y towards salesmen, whose com-p e t i t i o n f o r food r a i s e d p r i c e s i n l o c a l markets, was 70 C o a l undertakers had gained a monopoly of shovels and used t h e i r c o n t r o l over the e s s e n t i a l t o o l s of the c o a l -heavers' t r a d e to dominate the l a b o u r e r s ("The P r e s e n t S t a t e of the Coalheavers," dated 1768, W i l l i a m L. Clement L i b r a r y , Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sydney P a p e r s ) . 71 Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 4. 72 Norman S c o t t B r i e n Gras, The E v o l u t i o n of the Eng-l i s h Corn Market from the T w e l f t h to the E i g h t e e n t h Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1915), pp. 208-209. 100 i n e v i t a b l e . To t h i s sharpened n a t u r a l a n t i p a t h y was added p a r o c h i a l s u s p i c i o n of a l i e n m e t r o p o l i t a n i n f l u e n c e s , which the c e n t r a l i z i n g tendencies of the Tudor and S t u a r t govern-ments exacerbated. An examination of the philosophy, p r o v i s i o n s , and a p p l i c a t i o n of the s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t the abuses of middlemen i s an e s s e n t i a l p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r an understanding of the r o l e of t h i s commercial i n t e r e s t i n the l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h century. S i r John F i e l d i n g , a l e a d i n g m e t r o p o l i t a n m a g i s t r a t e , ably summed up the philosophy behind the v a r i o u s p a t e r n a l i s -t i c a c ts which sought to p r o t e c t the r i g h t s of consumers when he noted i n 1765: As to the a r t i c l e s of l u x u r y i n l i f e , they may be l e f t open to e x o r b i t a n t gain i n the s e l l e r without much i n j u r y to s o c i e t y . But as to the absolute n e c e s s a r i e s of l i f e , as they r e l a t e to the u s e f u l p a r t of mankind, the l e g i s l a t u r e should c o n s t a n t l y i n t e r p o s e to prevent e x t o r t i o n s and monopolies."^ A j u s t i c e and a gentleman, F i e l d i n g r e f l e c t e d the a t t i t u d e s of h i s b r o t h e r m a g i s t r a t e s and t h e i r c l a s s when he spoke i n fa v o u r of the o l d "moral economy." Not only d i d gentry f e e l a sense of noblesse o b l i g e towards t h e i r poor, but they were always s e n s i t i v e to circumstances which threatened the peace of the c o u n t r y s i d e and the towns. They f r e q u e n t l y suspected F i e l d i n g , "Observations of P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s , " February 5, 1765. 101 74 middlemen of p r o f i t e e r i n g i n order "to get an e s t a t e . " High p r i c e s of food and s u s p i c i o n s of e x p l o i t a t i o n c r e a t e d dangerous resentments among the lower orders. T h e i r e x p e r i -ence of Common Law taught the l e a d e r s of r u r a l s o c i e t y " t h a t p r o v i s i o n s of a l l k i n d s - - a l i v e or dead--ought to be s o l d i n 75 the open market." The a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of bounty payments on g r a i n exports, the bread a s s i z e , and the f i x i n g of wages were a l l p r e d i c a t e d on p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s f i n d i n g t h e i r own l e v e l s i n " f r e e " markets. A correspondent i n the Gentleman's Magazine confirmed the wider i m p l i c a t i o n s of food p r i c e s when he wrote of the government's duty to regu-l a t e the p r o f i t s on the n e c e s s a r i e s of l i f e , f o r these p r i c e s were " . . . the n a t u r a l r e g u l a t o r s of the p r i c e s of 76 l a b o u r of a l l k i n d s . " As one h i s t o r i a n has a s s e r t e d , the concept of a " j u s t p r i c e " went back at l e a s t as f a r as medi-1 + • 7 7 a e v a l times. While there were a l r e a d y s i g n i f i c a n t v o i c e s r a i s e d i n f avour of l a i s s e z - f a i r e by the 1760's, the p a t e r n a l i s m of the o l d "moral economy" would have found g e n e r a l acceptance 74 W i l l i a m Payne to Lord Abercorn, February 12, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 75 Thomas Brock, C l e r k of the Peace and Town C l e r k of Chester, to Lord Abercorn, March 11, 1765, Committee on High  P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 7 6Gentleman's Magazine, XXXIV (1764), 27-28. 77 Rose, "Eighteenth Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England." 102 i n the n a t i o n at l a r g e . I t was the f e a s i b i l i t y of imple-menting such p r i n c i p l e s i n the i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d economy t h a t r a i s e d doubts. P r o t e c t i o n of the consumer was enshrined i n law. In a d d i t i o n to the general p r o t e c t i o n from monopoly given under Common Law, s e v e r a l s t a t u t e s sought to c o n t r o l s p e c i f i c abuses. P r o b a b l y the most f r e q u e n t l y c i t e d were 5 & 6 Edward VI, cap. 14, and subsequent acts which amended t h e i r p r o v i s i o n s . These s t a t u t e s d e f i n e d the i l l e g a l p r a c t i c e s of f o r e s t a l l i n g by purchasing "any merchandise, v i c t u a l , e t c . coming towards any market or f a i r , or coming towards any c i t y e t c , " or making "any motion f o r the i n h a n c i n g of the p r i c e s . . ."; r e g r a t i n g by buying and s e l l i n g again w i t h i n f o u r miles of a p a r t i c u l a r f a i r or market; or engrossing by "buying, c o n t r a c t i n g or promise taking,. other than by demise, grant or l e a s e of l a n d or t i t h e " any corn s t i l l growing i n the f i e l d s or any other g r a i n w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of s e l l i n g 78 again. While these o f f e n c e s were r a t h e r narrowly d e f i n e d , l a t e r terms such as f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g had a wider a p p l i c a t i o n , and "stood almost as a s i n g l e phrase f o r unpopular m a n i p u l a t i o n i n time and p l a c e of the 79 people's food." Other acts s p e c i f i c a l l y r e s t r i c t e d middle-men i n the l i v e s t o c k and meat t r a d e s . By a Tudor s t a t u t e no Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 53. I b i d . , p. 54. 103 Q Q one was to have more than 2,000 sheep at one time. Under another act of C h a r l e s I I , no butcher was to o f f e r f o r s a l e 81 " l i v e oxen, s t e e r s , r u n t s , k i n e , c a l v e s , sheep or lambs." A f t e r the R e s t o r a t i o n , the middleman's l e g a l p o s i -t i o n improved g r e a t l y : 15 Car. I I , c. 7, "made i t l a w f u l f o r a l l and every person, when corn d i d not exceed a s p e c i -f i e d p r i c e , to buy i n the open market, and to l a y up and keep i n g r a n a r i e s or houses and s e l l again such corn" pro-v i d e d they were not " f o r e s t a l l i n g nor s e l l i n g i n the same 82 market w i t h i n three months a f t e r buying t h e r e o f . " As a r e s u l t of t h i s r e l a x a t i o n , the t r u e w h o l e s a l e r - c o r n merchant was s a i d to have grown up i n the m e t r o p o l i t a n area w i t h the b l e s s i n g of the government, who wished to see the Dutch corn 83 d e a l e r s r e p l a c e d . By the mid-century h i s e q u i v a l e n t i n the meat tr a d e , the carcass butcher of S m i t h f i e l d , had emerged to dominate the l i v e s t o c k trade, d e s p i t e a w e l l -organized lobby of r e t a i l butchers from Newgate, C l a r e , and 84 other London markets, and s p o r a d i c p r o s e c u t i o n s . The a p p l i c a t i o n of the laws a g a i n s t middlemen gener-a l l y ebbed and flowed w i t h the s t r e n g t h of popular resentment 8 0 2 5 Henry V I I I , cap. 13. 8 1 1 5 Car. I I , cap. 8. 82 Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 54. 8 3 I b i d . 84 Ray B e r t W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h B u s i -ness, P a r t i c u l a r l y between 1660 and 1760 (.New Haven, Conn.: Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1915) , p~. 217. Committee on High  P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). 104 of middlemen i n the food trade which v a r i e d w i t h economic 85 c o n d i t i o n s and the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s . But there were a number of reasons, besides the g e n e r a l l y low p r i c e s of food and r e l a t i v e p r o s p e r i t y of the r u r a l poor, why j u s t i c e s i n the f i r s t h a l f of the century turned a b l i n d eye to c o n t r a -v e n t i o n s of the p a t e r n a l s t a t u t e s and market by-laws. L e g a l recourse from the m a n i p u l a t i o n of market sup-p l i e s was d i f f i c u l t . The requirement t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s g i v e i n f o r m a t i o n b e f o r e m a g i s t r a t e s discouraged the p r o s e c u t i o n of o f f e n d e r s under the Tudor and S t u a r t s t a t u t e s . The informer was always the o b j e c t of u n i v e r s a l l o a t h i n g . O c c a s i o n a l l y the l e g a l r e c o rds recount the b r u t a l r e t r i b u -t i o n exacted upon informers months a f t e r the suppression of 87 a r i o t . More commonly such acts are hidden under the charge of common a s s a u l t . F r e q u e n t l y the mobs d i v e r t e d per-sonal v i o l e n c e towards t h e i r own members, r a t h e r than a g a i n s t the a u t h o r i t i e s . To a v o i d such revenge, as w e l l as to share the c o s t s of l i t i g a t i o n , gentry and others formed 85 Two years of high p r i c e s when p r o s e c u t i o n s f o r f o r e s t a l l i n g and r e g r a t i n g were undertaken were 1757 and 1765 (see Gentleman's Magazine, XXVII [1757], 479; XXXV [1765], 9 5 T 86 Gentleman's Magazine, XXVI (1756), 557, noted the "odious name of informer" discouraged the enforcement of laws a g a i n s t l i g h t w e i g h t bread. See a l s o M. W. B e r e s f o r d , "The Common Informer, the Penal S t a t u t e s and Economic Regu-l a t i o n s , " Economic H i s t o r y Review, 2nd s e r . , X (1957-58), 221. 8 7Gentleman's Magazine, XLI (1771), 189-90, notes the b r u t a l s l a y i n g of a witness i n a weavers' t r i a l s e v e r a l months a f t e r the t r i a l . 105 p r i v a t e a s s o c i a t i o n s to prosecute those suspected of market 88 m a n i p u l a t i o n i n times of c r i s i s . In a s i m i l a r f a s h i o n , committees of t e x t i l e manufacturers prosecuted workers f o r embezzlement, d e f e c t i v e s p i n n i n g , wetting or o i l i n g c l o t h , and delay i n r e t u r n i n g m a t e r i a l s . A s s o c i a t i o n s to prosecute o f f e n d e r s under the o l d p a t e r n a l s t a t u t e s among the commer-c i a l and farming i n t e r e s t s l a p s e d i n times of p l e n t y , which were the r u l e r a t h e r than the exception i n the f i r s t h a l f of the century. Although i t was d i f f i c u l t to discourage f o r e s t a l l i n g , e ngrossing, and r e g r a t i n g , there i s l i t t l e doubt t h a t the a u t h o r i t i e s could have s i g n i f i c a n t l y reduced such a c t i v i t i e s had they wished to do so, simply by making the s e l l e r as 89 l i a b l e i n law as the buyer. T h i s r e l u c t a n c e to pursue wholeheartedly the suppression of market abuses h i n t s at the dilemma of the r u l i n g o r ders. Both the a r i s t o c r a c y and the gentry r e s e n t e d the growing a f f l u e n c e of many middlemen and grea t farmers, but were aware t h a t the ap p a r e n t l y b e n e f i c i a l r e s u l t s of the corn bounties were only o b t a i n a b l e with t h e i r h elp. A g r a i n s h i p ' s cargo had f i r s t to be engrossed by a jobber or corn f a c t o r . There was a c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n passin g 88 John P i t t to Hardwicke, December 21, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 341, r e p o r t e d a s s o c i a t i o n s to prosecute f o r f o r e s t a l l i n g , e t c . G l o u c e s t e r J o u r n a l (September, 1757) noted meetings' of gentry to form a s s o c i a t i o n s to prosecute f o r e s t a l l e r s . W i l l i a m Payne to Lord Abercorn, February 12, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 106 the Corn Law of 1689 i n the i n t e r e s t s of the producer and e n f o r c i n g a v a r i e t y of s t a t u t e s i n the i n t e r e s t s of the con-sumer. In p r a c t i c e the enforcement of the l a t t e r was nom-i n a l . Even when i n d i v i d u a l s were w i l l i n g to swear out i n f o r m a t i o n s a g a i n s t o f f e n d e r s under the v a r i o u s a n t i -middlemen s t a t u t e s , p r o s e c u t i o n s were not easy. Many i l l e g a l market a c t i v i t i e s were d i f f i c u l t to prove. P r i c e f i x i n g i n the back rooms of inns might be s t r o n g l y sus-pected, but charges were d i f f i c u l t to s u b s t a n t i a t e . Farmers and corn d e a l e r s could t r a n s a c t much business d i s c r e t e l y over a p r i v a t e d i nner. C r i t i c s claimed t h a t g r e a t farmers s o l d by "these l a t e n t c o n t r a c t s " g r a i n at a minimum of 3d per measure below the open market or "peddling p r i c e , " which was e s t a b l i s h e d by bakers buying from l e s s e r farmers, who brought a l l t h e i r g r a i n to market. The poor, unable to buy i n gross, had t h e i r bread a s s i z e d on the b a s i s of the ped-d l i n g p r i c e "to the double p r o f i t of the baker and meal-man." 9 0 The temptation to circumvent markets i n t h i s way was gr e a t . P l a i n l y , i t was a great inconvenience f o r the l a r g e r farmers to b r i n g great q u a n t i t i e s of g r a i n , meat or other bulky commodities to the l o c a l markets. With the develop-ment of commercial farming by the mid-century to feed the R. Wright, Town C l e r k of Warwick, to the Righ t Honourable, the E a r l of Abercorn, March 9, 1765, Committee  on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 107 growing urban p o p u l a t i o n and s a t i s f y overseas markets, there was i n c r e a s i n g encouragement to s e l l by sample. In 1765 t h i s means of f o r e s t a l l i n g the market was the most common cause of complaint to the Lords' Committee i n q u i r i n g i n t o the high p r i c e s of food. One witness before the House of Lords' Committee i n q u i r i n g i n t o the high p r i c e s of food i n 1765 complained t h a t farmers b r i n g a bushel or two or three i n the p u b l i c market, and keep ten at t h e i r i n n , and on the appearance of a scanty market, i f they can r a i s e i t to t h e i r p r i c e w i l l produce by degrees or e l s e t h e y ' l l produce a sample and by t h a t b r i n g to the Baker's house from 20 to 50 or 100 bushels at an agreed p r i c e , so t h a t the poor can't buy any. The d e c l i n e of the small farmer producing f o r l o c a l markets which a c c e l e r a t e d a f t e r 1760 w i t h the r a p i d extension of enclosures and the amalgamation of small farms by "monopol-i s i n g farmers" aggravated the problem of dwindling s a l e s of p r o v i s i o n s i n the open market. P r e v e n t i o n of s e l l i n g by sample r e q u i r e d the con-c e r t e d a c t i o n of the o f f i c i a l s of a l l markets. Where adjac-ent markets pe r m i t t e d t h i s type of f o r e s t a l l i n g , the c l e r k s of other markets were e v e n t u a l l y f o r c e d to accept i t a l s o , d e s p i t e the s t a t u t e s and l o c a l by-laws, or f a c e ever-Thomas M i l l e r to Lord Abercorn, March 7, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 108 d e c l i n i n g revenue from the reducing use of t h e i r f a c i l i -92 t i e s . Perhaps the worst consequence of such s a l e s by sam-pl e was t h a t they helped to obscure the a c t u a l market p r i c e 93 of food. The common p r a c t i c e of d e a l e r s s h i p p i n g commodi-t i e s l i k e b a r l e y and oats d i r e c t l y to the m a l t s t e r ' s s t o r e -house, or sending them to badgers f o r shipment by water to 94 gr e a t markets l i k e B r i s t o l , compounded t h i s problem. G r a i n p r i c e s quoted at t h i s time i n the Gentleman's Magazine and elsewhere were m i s l e a d i n g because o f t e n only bulk buyers could buy these g r a i n s at such p r i c e s . U n c e r t a i n t y about the a c t u a l p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s bred s u s p i c i o n of middlemen and f e a r s of famine i n times of s c a r c i t y . The poor, never f a r from s u b s i s t e n c e l e v e l s , were more s u s c e p t i b l e than ever 92 A correspondent i n December, 1765, r e f e r r i n g to the j u s t i c e s ' f a i l u r e to lower p r i c e s by p r o s e c u t i n g but-chers, h i g l e r s , g r a z i e r s , d e a l e r s i n c a t t l e , and other engrossers, c i t e d the case of vigorous enforcement i n one c i t y causing s u p p l i e s to " d e s e r t the market" (Gentleman's  Magazine, XXXV [1765], 613-16). Wright noted t h a t magis-t r a t e s were o b l i g e d to overlook i n f r a c t i o n s of the by-laws i n Warwick (R. Wright, Town C l e r k of Warwick, to the R i g h t Honourable, the E a r l of Abercorn, March 9, 1765). 93 " . . . The p u b l i c k cannot judge whether there i s p l e n t y or not, nor do they know what p r i c e three f o u r t h s of i t [the corn] i s s o l d f o r " (Thomas Jackman to Lord Abercorn, March 8, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s ) . 94 Rowe claimed t h a t "the p r i c e s of b a r l e y and oats cannot be a s c e r t a i n e d w i t h the same p r e c i s i o n [as wheat] as they do not f a l l under the p u b l i c cognizance." He r e f e r r e d to the Exeter market (Jacob Rowe to Lord Abercorn, March 9, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s ) . 109 to market rumours. In per i o d s of c r i s i s they were i n c r e a s -i n g l y prone to take revenge upon the middlemen, f o r , they asked, was i t not b e t t e r to hang than s t a r v e ? Another f a c t o r t h a t added to the c o n f u s i o n and made the enforcement of the o l d s t a t u t e s d i f f i c u l t was the v a r i -ety of measurements which made i t imp o s s i b l e to compare p r i c e s even i n neighbouring markets, and t h e r e f o r e to judge 95 i f middlemen were t a k i n g u n f a i r p r o f i t s . The problems a r i s i n g from t h i s c o n f u s i o n of measures are apparent i n the f o l l o w i n g entry i n the Order Book of the G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e m a g i s t r a t e s : Whereas, by reason of the n e g l e c t i n p u t t i n g the s e v e r a l acts of P a r l i a m e n t f o r a s c e r t a i n i n g the measures of corn i n e x e c u t i o n , great inconvenience and l o s s e s have hap-pened and do happen to the King's s u b j e c t s i n general and to the poor i n p a r t i c u l a r , i n as much t h a t , through the u n c e r t a i n t y of measures, the s e l l e r s of corn, and g r a i n do not w e l l know what measures to b r i n g to market, nor can the ma g i s t r a t e s s e t t l e the a s s i z e of bread according to the p r i c e of corn as i t i s s o l d i n the mar-ket whereof the poor have not so much bread f o r t h e i r money as they ought to have . . . .96 "One measure throughout the kingdom would l i k e w i s e be of gre a t s e r v i c e , f o r the Welles, Shepton M a l l e t , and Somerton [markets] s e l l by l a r g e measures or s i x packs to the bushel, yet there i s a d i f f e r e n c e i n a l l three . . . " (Thomas M i l l e r to Lord Abercorn, March 7, 1765). Wright com-p l a i n e d of the deceptions of farmers and m i l l e r s u sing v a r i -ous measures (R. Wright to Lord Abercorn, March 9, 1765). Corn s o l d at G u i l d f o r d market "by almost as many measures as farmers . . . " (Thomas Jackman to Lord Abercorn, March 8, 1765). 96 G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e Record O f f i c e , G l o u c e s t e r , Q u a r t e r  S e s s i o n s Order Book. No. 9 (1766-1780), J u l y 15, 1767, D214/B10/4. See a l s o W i l l i a m Beveridge, P r i c e s and Wages i n England from the T w e l f t h to the Nineteenth Century, I (2nd ed.; London: Frank Cass & Co. L t d . , 1965), passim. As e a r l y as 1709 the G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e j u s t i c e s d r a f t e d a p e t i t i o n to Pa r l i a m e n t f o r a standard measure of corn (Quarter Sessions  Order Book [1766-1780], D214/B10/4). 110 By the 1760's t h e r e was an e f f o r t to s t a n d a r d i z e measures, and most markets were adopting the Winchester g r a i n standard of e i g h t bushels to the q u a r t e r . But i t i s evident from the s t a t i s t i c s the Gentleman's Magazine i n 1766-67 t r i e d i n v a i n to c o l l e c t r e g u l a r l y from i t s v o l u n t e e r correspondents across the country that p r a c t i c e s continued to vary, and a q u a r t e r might s t i l l c o n t a i n e i g h t , e i g h t and a h a l f , nine, 97 or ten bushels of g r a i n . Nor was the s i z e of the measure the only v a r i a b l e . 98 People complained t h a t the shape was c r i t i c a l too. The wider the measure, the more the tendency of g r a i n to s e t t l e , and thus a shallow, wide c o n t a i n e r was s a i d to h o l d more g r a i n than a t a l l , narrow one of the same cubic c a p a c i t y . These d i s c r e p a n c i e s i n c r e a s e d when l a r g e r , g l o b u l a r commodi-t i e s l i k e potatoes were to be measured. Even when markets used standard-shaped measures, weight was a more s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r than s i z e f o r such commodities as g r a i n . " Corn pro-duced i n wet seasons was f r e q u e n t l y l a r g e r i n the ear, but l i g h t e r and c o a r s e r than g r a i n produced i n d r i e r seasons. For other commodities such as cheese, beef, or v e a l the 97 i Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765) took care to ask c l e r k s of markets to d e f i n e measures i n use to make p r i c e s comparable. ^ 98 J . Tomlinson to Lord S c a r s d a l e , February 9, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 99 In C o n s i d e r a t i o n s on the E x p o r t a t i o n of Corn, p. 64, the author noted there was l e s s danger of f r a u d i f weight was used, as weight was a b e t t e r i n d i c a t o r of q u a l i t y . I l l p r i c e per pound quoted i n the press gave l i t t l e i n d i c a t i o n of q u a l i t y . The confusing number of v a r i a b l e s i n q u a n t i t y and q u a l i t y made comparisons next to i m p o s s i b l e . T h e i r s o c i a l s u p e r i o r s t o l d the poor c o n s t a n t l y i n the 1750*s and 1760's t h a t the middlemen were cheating them, but the auth-o r i t i e s seemed powerless to prevent the e v i l . Not s u r p r i s -i n g l y i n times of s c a r c i t y , the d i s p o s s e s s e d h i t out b l i n d l y at t h e i r "oppressors." Probably the most s i g n i f i c a n t reasons f o r the grow-in g t o l e r a t i o n of middlemen i n the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century r e l a t e d to the r a p i d l y - c h a n g i n g economic r e a l i t y . I n c r e a s i n g u r b a n i z a t i o n on the one hand, and i n d u s t r i a l s p e c i a l i z a t i o n on the other, demanded a more s o p h i s t i c a t e d system of d i s -t r i b u t i o n of food than ever before."'" 0 0 By the mid-century the growth of outports such as L i v e r p o o l and i n d u s t r i a l cen-t r e s such as Leeds, Birmingham, and Manchester complemented the expansion of the o l d e r p o p u l a t i o n centres of London, Norwich, and Bristol."'" 0''' Manufacturing r e g i o n s l i k e the West R i d i n g of Y o r k s h i r e and p a r t s of La n c a s h i r e were "''00The laws a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g were "so antiquated and the circumstances and man-ner of l i v i n g of a l l ranks of the people so a l t e r ' d , t h a t a vigorous e x e c u t i o n of them would r a t h e r c o n t r i b u t e to famish than feed i n many pla c e s great numbers of the poorer s o r t " (Gentleman's Magazine, XXVII [1757], 129). Deane and Cole, B r i t i s h Economic Growth, 1688-1959, pp. 111-22. 112 102 r a p i d l y l o s i n g t h e i r s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i n food p r o d u c t i o n . They were becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y dependent on more d i s t a n t a g r i c u l t u r a l r e g i o n s . The a c t i v i t i e s of middlemen were e s s e n t i a l to the s a t i s f a c t i o n of the needs of both the c i t i e s and the new i n d u s t r i a l regions of the n o r t h and the Midlands. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t was the m e t r o p o l i t a n magis-t r a t e s who were among the f i r s t to recognize the value of middlemen i n the i n c r e a s i n g l y complex marketing system. The preamble of the act of 1772, which f i n a l l y r e p e a l e d the s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g , u n d e r l i n e d t h i s n e w l y - r e a l i z e d dependency when i t noted the g r e a t d i s t r e s s v i s i t e d "on the i n h a b i t a n t s of many p a r t s of the kingdom and i n p a r t i c u l a r the c i t i e s of London and West-103 minster by t h e i r enforcement." But i t was not j u s t economic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s which m i l i t a t e d a g a i n s t the a p p l i c a t i o n of p r o t e c t i o n i s t r e g u l a -t i o n s i n the i n t e r e s t s of the consumer by the e a r l y e i g h -teenth century. P o l i t i c a l r e a l i t i e s , too, were a n t i p a t h e t i c . "Small government" concepts and p r a c t i c e s of the century r e p l a c e d the Tudor and S t u a r t s t r e s s on c e n t r a l i z a t i o n . A f t e r 1689 a u t h o r i t y and i n f l u e n c e r e t u r n e d to the l o c a l i -104 t i e s . Not u n t i l the n i n e t e e n t h century, when the leaven 102 W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h Business, p. 130, 103 Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 55. " ^ 4John M. N o r r i s , Shelburne and Reform (London: Macmillan, 1963), p. 292. 113 of Benthamism mixed w i t h the g e n e r a l r e a c t i o n to the prob-lems of a new i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y , was there a strong move-ment towards c e n t r a l i z a t i o n again. P a r a d o x i c a l l y , the l e a d e r s of the l o c a l i t i e s , the gentry and the a r i s t o c r a t i c landowners, i n times of c r i s i s , t r i e d to r e t u r n to the o l d r e s t r i c t i o n s of the former "moral economy." They f a i l e d to r e c o g n i z e t h a t the p o l i t i c a l d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n t h a t they favoured rendered impotent t h e i r piecemeal e f f o r t s to con-t r o l the abuses of middlemen. F i n a l l y , good h a r v e s t s provided enough food to f e e d the p o p u l a t i o n and to export a s u r p l u s to Europe, which helps to e x p l a i n the more p e r m i s s i v e a t t i t u d e adopted by the a u t h o r i t i e s towards the a c t i v i t i e s of middlemen i n the f i r s t h a l f of the e i g h t e e n t h century. P l e n t i f u l and cheap food favoured the poor, i f not the landowner and farmer. Only i n the years 1709, 1727-28, and 1740 were hunger r i o t s s e r i -105 ous, and t h e r e f o r e was there any pressure on the govern-ment to reimpose the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t the middlemen. By the mid-century, t h i s i n t e r e s t was w e l l entrenched, and i t had long s i n c e become e s s e n t i a l to the i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s -t i c a t e d economy. What then caused the r o l e of middlemen to be re-examined i n the 1750's and 1760's? Rude, The Crowd i n H i s t o r y , p. 36. Ashton, Econ-omic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, pp. 17, 144, 147. Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 32. 114 S e v e r a l f a c t o r s account f o r the renewed q u e s t i o n i n g of the value of middlemen a f t e r the mid-century. These f a c -t o r s i n c l u d e the controversy over the Corn Laws, which erup-ted i n a l a r g e number of pamphlets p u b l i s h e d between 1751 and 1756; the emergency of new c l a s s e s of a f f l u e n t middlemen due to the- a c c e l e r a t e d growth of the M e t r o p o l i s and the e x i g e n c i e s of war; r i v a l r y between i n t e r e s t groups; p u b l i c concern at the cost of p r o v i s i o n s between 1756 and 1758 and between 1764 and 1769; and the s t r e s s e s of a p e r i o d of r a p i d economic change. The Corn Laws f i r s t a t t r a c t e d widespread a t t e n t i o n among pamphleteers i n the e a r l y 1750's. Before examining some of the arguments centred upon these laws, i t i s neces-sary to comment b r i e f l y on t h e i r major p r o v i s i o n s . The f i r s t corn bounty appeared i n C h a r l e s I I ' s r e i g n . Under 25 Car. I I , cap. 1, a reward was p a i d to landowners f o r the s u b s i d i e s granted by P a r l i a m e n t to f i g h t the f i r s t Dutch war i n the form of a bounty on g r a i n e x p o r t s . P a r -liament i n 1689, however, passed the Corn Law which operated 107 f o r most of the next century. P a r t l y enacted to encour-age the development of European g r a i n markets and to persu-ade the landed gentry to accept the R e v o l u t i o n a r y Settlement, 1 ( ^ B a r n e s , H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 10, c i t i n g the Q u a r t e r l y J o u r n a l of Economics, XXIV (1909-10), 419-22. See a l s o C o n s i d e r a t i o n s on the E x p o r t a t i o n of Corn. Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 11. 115 the Corn Law of 1689 formed the basis on which bounty pay-108 ments were made down to 1773. The h i s t o r i a n of the Corn Laws, D. G. Barnes, has noted that t h i s act represented an important change of emphasis from consumer to producer needs 109 i n economic p o l i c i e s . Under i t s p r o v i s i o n s , e x p o r t a t i o n was not p r o h i b i t e d at any p r i c e ; at a p r i c e of 48s a quarter the poundage duty was to be Is and under 48s a bounty of 5s was to be paid on every quarter exported; d u t i e s on wheat imports were to be at the r a t e of l s . 4 d when the p r i c e was more than 80s, 9s when the p r i c e was 53s.4d to 80s, 17s when i t was 44s to 53s.4d, and 22s below 44s."'"''"0 S i m i l a r p r o v i -sions and proportionate r a t e s were provided f o r other g r a i n s , except oats, which was not controlled."'""'""'" The r e g u l a t i o n s discouraging the impor t a t i o n of grains were necessary con-comitants of the bounty p r o v i s i o n s . I t was important to prevent re-exports gaining bounty payments intended to stimu-l a t e home production and encourage the landed i n t e r e s t . During the pe r i o d under c o n s i d e r a t i o n , before 1772 that i s , 112 a t t e n t i o n centred on the bounty aspect of the Corn Laws. Thereafter, the p r o t e c t i o n i s t trade aspects of the laws held 1 0 8 I b i d . , p. 11. I b i d . "'""'"^ Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 29. l l l S . and B. Webb, "The As s i z e of Bread," pp. 196-112 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, Chapter 218. I l l , 116 the a t t e n t i o n of c r i t i c s and supporters a l i k e . In the pamphlets p u b l i s h e d i n the 1750's and 1760's, co n t r o v e r s y centred around whether g r e a t e r a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n r e s u l t e d and whether the cost of l i v i n g of the poor i n c r e a s e d because of the Corn Laws. The r e l a t i v e merits of the debate are not d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t here. Probably the long-term r e s u l t s of the bounty system were to i n c r e a s e the amount of g r a i n produced, but the clumsy machinery of the system and the shortcomings of the marketing economy i n t r a n s i t i o n ensured t h a t i n sudden s c a r c i t i e s the g r a i n stocks were not preserved and the poor s u f f e r e d grave hard-, . 113 s h i p s . The e x i s t e n c e of s t a t u t e s t e l l only p a r t of the s t o r y and one must t u r n to P r i v y C o u n c i l records and e l s e -where to assess the e x e c u t i v e ' s use of them. Embargoes on g r a i n exports and the f r e e i m p o r t a t i o n of c o l o n i a l or f o r -e i gn g r a i n s became more f r e q u e n t a f t e r the m i d - c e n t u r y . 1 1 4 Such suspensions were a t a c i t admission of the f a i l u r e of the s e l f - r e g u l a t i n g machinery of the Corn Laws. Government i n t e r f e r e n c e w i t h the free-working of these laws occurred at times of a c t u a l or a n t i c i p a t e d shortages of food, and were " 113 I b i d . , p. 30. l l 4 T h e r e were v a r i o u s measures of s e l f - h e l p taken by merchants and gentry to b r i n g s u b s i d i z e d g r a i n to the poor i n times of d i s t r e s s (Henry Roper to the E a r l of Abercorn, March 8, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s ; Gentleman's Magazine, XXVIII T1758J, 42; Shelburne Papers, V o l . 132, f o l s . 59 and 63). 117 of s h o r t d u r a t i o n before the 1760's. P r e v i o u s l y the govern-ment had o c c a s i o n a l l y suspended exports i n times of c r i t i c a l g r a i n shortage, f o r example i n the years 1709, 1740, 1741. 115 Between 1756 and 1773 suspension was f r e q u e n t . The Corn Laws f i r s t came under h o s t i l e s c r u t i n y as a r e s u l t of high government expenditure r a t h e r than a s c a r c i t y of g r a i n , which was the o s t e n s i b l e cause of the a g r a r i a n d i s o r d e r s of 1756-57. Heavy g r a i n harvests i n 1749-51 r e s u l t e d i n a very l a r g e e x p o r t a t i o n of g r a i n i n those years, which embarrassed the government wi t h the need to f i n d l a r g e sums of money to pay the export bounty.''""'"^ Because of a l e g a l d e c i s i o n d e c l a r i n g the South Sea Company's di v i d e n d s the f i r s t c l a i m on Tunnage and Poundage, the o r i g i n a l s t a t u -t o r y source f o r bounty payments, the M i n i s t r y had to honour the corn debentures out of t r e a s u r y funds. I n d i r e c t l y the burden f e l l on the landowners, who already p a i d a l a n d tax 117 I n f l a t e d by wartime demands. I t was i n the e a r l y 1750's t h a t many gentry began to take an i n t e r e s t i n economic reform. Between 1751 and the 1756-57 hunger r i o t s , news-118 papers and pamphlets debated the value of the Corn Laws. 115 Three T r a c t s on the Corn Trade and the Corn Laws. See a l s o Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 23. "''"''^Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, pp. 23-24. 117 Mingay, E n g l i s h Landed S o c i e t y i n the E i g h t e e n t h  Century, p. 80 et seq. 118 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 24 et seq. 118 The supporters of the bounty system claimed i t encouraged expanded g r a i n p r o d u c t i o n which, while e n r i c h i n g the country i n normal times from f o r e i g n exchange, p r o v i d e d a food r e s e r v e t h a t could always be d i v e r t e d to home consumption i n per i o d s of c r i s i s . They f u r t h e r argued t h a t the system kept down the p r i c e of g r a i n s o l d at home through the economies of l a r g e - s c a l e p r o d u c t i o n . Not only were the r i c h l a n d -owners s a i d to b e n e f i t , but the poor a l s o . Because a l l trade was interdependent, everyone, pamphleteers s a i d , bene-f i t e d from the consequent p r o s p e r i t y of a g r i c u l t u r a l growth: merchants, manufacturers, tradesmen, and seamen, as w e l l as 119 the a g r i c u l t u r a l i n t e r e s t . W r i t e r s drew evidence i n sup-p o r t of t h e i r c ontentions from the Eton C o l l e g e records of purchases i n the Windsor market over a number of years i n the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century. The d i r e c t b e n e f i c i a r i e s of the county system were the g r a i n farmers, t h e i r l a n d l o r d s , the corn f a c t o r s i n the export t r a d e , and ship owners. Less obvious vested i n t e r -e sts were the supporters of sugar d i s t i l l e r y . Sugar p l a n -t e r s , West In d i a n f a c t o r s , brandy merchants, sugar bakers, brokers, and brewers a l l wished g r a i n d i v e r t e d towards the 119 There was some debate i n p e r i o d i c a l s r e g a r d i n g d i s t i l l e r y from corn. The i s s u e of the corn export bounty became mixed w i t h debate on d i s t i l l e r y (Gentleman's Maga-z i n e , XXVII [1757], 71; XXIX [1759], 630; XXX L 1 7 6 0 J , 18, 23-24. 119 120 export t r a d e . Dutch and French i n t e r e s t s , too, b e n e f i t e d from e x p o r t i n g g i n and brandy to England, and wished to d i v e r t E n g l i s h g r a i n away from d i s t i l l e r y and i n t o exports. A l l these groups exerted a powerful i n f l u e n c e i n support of the Corn Laws. Opponents of the bounty noted the l i m i t a t i o n s of the s t a t i s t i c a l evidence advanced by the supporters of the Corn Laws. They were wholesale f i g u r e s and averages taken at only two dates i n each year. These c r i t i c s urged t h a t the bounty was a means of s u b s i d i z i n g f o r e i g n competitors by p r o v i d i n g t h e i r employees w i t h cheap g r a i n at the expense of the B r i t i s h taxpayer, while at the same time E n g l i s h indus-t r y s u f f e r e d from the enhanced p r i c e of l a b o u r due to dear n e c e s s a r i e s , and poor r a t e s i n c r e a s e d to enable the i n d i g e n t 121 • to pay the h i g h e r p r i c e of bread. Some c r i t i c s d i r e c t e d t h e i r a t t a c k s on the o p e r a t i o n of the bounty system i t s e l f , which they claimed was wide open to abuse. The opponents of the bounty system were c h i e f l y of the manufacturing i n t e r -e s t , but I r i s h and American a g r i c u l t u r a l i n t e r e s t s found the laws d i s c r i m i n a t o r y too. Both the landed i n t e r e s t and the corn middlemen, as the apparent b e n e f i c i a r i e s of the corn p o l i c i e s , were the 120 A correspondent, "J.M.," r e f e r r e d to vested i n t e r e s t s among the supporters of sugar r e f i n e r y : sugar p l a n t e r s , West Indian f a c t o r s , brandy merchants, sugar bakers, b r o k e r s , and brewers (Gentleman's Magazine, XXX [1760], 18. 121 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , February 4, 1768. 120 c u l p r i t s i n the eyes of t h e i r c r i t i c s , as i s apparent from the f o l l o w i n g t y p i c a l comment: Thus e v i d e n t l y appears the b l e s s e d advantage of expor-t a t i o n . The p u b l i c are taxed on the common n e c e s s a r i e s of l i f e , at the r a t e of nine m i l l i o n annually; only to support the landed i n t e r e s t and jobbers i n grain.1^2 Yet i t was the landed i n t e r e s t , as the dominant i n f l u e n c e i n the l e g i s l a t u r e , which c a r r i e d the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r meas-ures which at t h e i r i n c e p t i o n had been intended to b e n e f i t them, and whose i n t e r e s t s were p u b l i c l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h them. While many of the r i s i n g i n d u s t r i a l i n t e r e s t regarded the Corn Laws as a type of outdoor r e l i e f f o r the gentry and a r i s t o c r a c y , the extent to which the landed i n t e r e s t pro-f i t e d i s q u e s t i o n a b l e . Adam Smith b e l i e v e d t h a t the Corn Laws were e s t a b l i s h e d from a mistaken sense of the r e a l i n t e r e s t s of the country gentry, and t h a t the c h i e f b e n e f i -123 c i a r i e s were the corn merchants. C e r t a i n l y the landed i n t e r e s t s were s c a r c e l y l e s s d i v i d e d i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e s to the Corn Laws i n 1766 than they were i n 1846, however u n i t e d 124 they might appear i n p u b l i c . While correspondents i n the press g e n e r a l l y regarded the landed i n t e r e s t as a m o n o l i t h i c 199 S t . James's C h r o n i c l e , May 26-28, 1768. 123 Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 15. 124 Ward concludes t h a t xn 1846 ". . . t r a d i t i o n a l l o y a l t i e s , sentiment, p e r s o n a l and f a m i l y attachments, pro-t e c t i o n i s t anger and Whiggish r a t i o n a l i s m e x e r c i s e d more i n f l u e n c e than d i d economic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . . . " ( J . T. Ward, "West R i d i n g Landowners and the Corn Laws," E n g l i s h  H i s t o r i c a l Review, LXXXI [ A p r i l , 1966], 271-72). 121 f o r c e , i n d i v i d u a l landowners complained t h a t they were an "unconnected t r i b e " t h a t might be t r e a t e d anyhow and "made to endure what such contemptible herds as v i n t n e r s or 125 tobacco merchants would not hear of." Many landowners and farmers d i d not b e n e f i t from the Corn Laws d i r e c t l y ; indeed the s m a l l e r ones who la c k e d d i v e r s i f i c a t i o n o f t e n s u f f e r e d h i g h e r costs because of the bounty system. Outside the heavy corn-growing r e g i o n s , many 126> landowners r e n t e d out c a t t l e and sheep country. The costs of l i v e s t o c k farming i n c r e a s e d w i t h the higher cost of c a t t l e f e e d , which the bounty system caused. Where bread i n c r e a s e d i n p r i c e because of exports s t i m u l a t e d a r t i f i -c i a l l y by the bounty on g r a i n , poor r a t e s too rose. Many landowners shared i n the u n p o p u l a r i t y of t h e i r i n t e r e s t as a r e s u l t of the Corn Laws without p r o f i t i n g from t h e i r oper-a t i o n . As noted e a r l i e r i n the 1760's l e s s e r landowners were o f t e n e x p e r i e n c i n g economic and s o c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s which aggravated f u r t h e r the impact of the bounty system. Response to the Corn Laws was not determined s o l e l y 127 by c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of economic i n t e r e s t , r e a l or imagined. 125 James H a r r i s to Hardwicke, October 3, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 316. 126 W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h Business, pp. 444-45, l i s t s the f o l l o w i n g counties where corn was not a s i g n i f i c a n t product by 1762: Oxford, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Middlesex, Devon, Warwickshire, L i n c o l n s h i r e . 127 Ward, "West R i d i n g Landowners and the Corn Laws." 122 As l o c a l m a g i s t r a t e s , landowners were w i l l i n g to support the suspension of g r a i n exports i n times of emergency. They were as much concerned w i t h m a i n t a i n i n g p u b l i c order as w i t h 128 p e r s o n a l economic advantage. The f a c t t h a t such suspen-s i o n s only o c c u r r e d a f t e r prolonged exports had c r e a t e d a severe shortage of g r a i n i n the country and a f t e r the bounty debentures were i s s u e d probably r e f l e c t e d more on the M i n i s -t r i e s who were r e l u c t a n t to l o s e t r a d i t i o n a l markets i n 129 Europe or s t i r up powerful l o b b i e s by "premature" a c t i o n . P a r o c h i a l p r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t m e t r o p o l i t a n i n f l u e n c e a l s o played a r o l e i n determining l o c a l a t t i t u d e s to n a t i o n a l l e g i s l a t i o n and to the drawing power of the "Great Wen." P u b l i c l y landowners p a i d l i p s e r v i c e to the popular myth of the u n i t y of the landed i n t e r e s t . Not having read Adam Smith on the s u b j e c t , most Englishmen equated the Corn Laws wit h the i n t e r e s t s of the landed. But landowners who doubted the e f f i c a c y of the bounty system could not b r i n g themselves to a t t a c k i t openly. They p r e f e r r e d to express t h e i r o p p o s i t i o n more o b l i q u e l y by c r i t i c i z i n g the jobbers i n g r a i n and other middlemen, without whose a c t i v i t i e s g r a i n could not be exported i n l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s and the b e n e f i t s 128 Rose, "Eighteenth Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England," p. 292. 129 A w r i t e r asked, " . . . Should we l o s e our market f o r corn abroad what other commodity have we to b r i n g a b a l -ance i n our f a v o u r ? " (Gentleman's Magazine, XXXV [1765.], 195). 123 of the bounty gained. P r o f e s s o r Barnes has found the l a r g e number of pamphlets p u b l i s h e d about the causes of s c a r c i t y and the high p r i c e s of food a f t e r the 1756-57 food r i o t s e x t r a o r d i n a r y . No such f l o o d had f o l l o w e d the e a r l i e r a g r a r i a n p r o t e s t s i n 1709, 1727-28, or 1740, he noted. Nor d i d he see any connection between these pamphlet a t t a c k s on middlemen and the e a r l i e r c o n t r o v e r s y over the corn bounty i n the years between 1751 and 1756, because i n t h a t case he 130 b e l i e v e d the corn would have been attacked. Yet i t would seem reasonable to suppose t h a t both the l a i s s e z - f a i r e oppon-ents of the Corn Laws, who were drawn l a r g e l y from the ranks of the manufacturing c l a s s e s i n t e r e s t e d i n lowering t h e i r c o s t s of p r o d u c t i o n , ceasing B r i t i s h s u b s i d i z a t i o n of f o r -e i gn competitors, and f r e e i n g f o r e i g n markets from r e c i p r o -c a l t a r i f f s , and those landowners who were disadvantaged by the bounty system, would welcome a s h i f t of a t t a c k to the middlemen. The landed i n t e r e s t was too strong f o r a f r o n t a l a s s a u l t i n the eyes of i n d u s t r i a l i s t s , w h i l e the powerful s o c i a l l o y a l t i e s of landowners prevented t h e i r appearing to attack p u b l i c l y t h e i r own i n t e r e s t . The poor, too, could r e a d i l y i d e n t i f y the u b i q u i t o u s middleman as the c u l p r i t . Even those of the landed i n t e r e s t who b e n e f i t e d d i r e c t l y from the Corn Laws saw the chance of d i v e r t i n g p u b l i c hos-t i l i t y away from themselves. As w i l l be seen, t h i s a n x i e t y Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 32. 124 to f i n d a scapegoat was r e i n f o r c e d by the sense of i s o l a t i o n and v u l n e r a b i l i t y t h a t both the a r i s t o c r a c y and the gentry f e l t as a r e s u l t of the c l a s s f e e l i n g generated a g a i n s t them w i t h the r i o t s over the new M i l i t i a Act and hig h food p r i c e s 131 i n 1756-57. The dangers of such t a c t i c s do not seem to have occurred to them u n t i l the extent of the d i s a f f e c t i o n of the lower orders became apparent i n the autumn of 1766. The Corn Laws, then, encouraged the growth of mid-dlemen, and the con t r o v e r s y c e n t r i n g upon the o p e r a t i o n of the export bounty system s t i m u l a t e d a gen e r a l a n t i p a t h y towards middlemen and l a r g e farmers which had l a i n dormant i n the e a r l y years of the century. For t h e i r own purposes v a r i o u s i n t e r e s t groups found i t convenient to attack pub-l i c l y the r o l e of the middlemen i n the 1750's and 1760's. A f t e r the mid-century there were many t a r g e t s f o r a n t i -middlemen p r e j u d i c e . By t h i s time many corn f a c t o r s , j o b b e r s , salesmen, carcass b u t c h e r s , and other middlemen were conspicuous because of t h e i r a f f l u e n t standard of l i v i n g . 1 3 2 The r a p i d growth of London p a r t i c u l a r l y , and the o p p o r t u n i t i e s of l a r g e war-time c o n t r a c t s , had enr i c h e d many. With the grow-i n g s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of the economy, changes occ u r r e d w i t h i n 131 Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the Ei g h t e e n t h  Century, p. 299. 1 3 2 W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h Business, p. 217 et seq., examines i n d e t a i l the complexity of London middlemen. 125 the p r o v i s i o n s t r a d e . Some middlemen d e c l i n e d i n import-ance, while others rose to p o s i t i o n s of i n f l u e n c e and even of monopoly. Carcass butchers and salesmen from S m i t h f i e l d market appear to have e s t a b l i s h e d a monopoly over the London meat trade at the expense of r e t a i l butchers and drovers by 133 the mid-century. At l e a s t p a r t of the popular d i s t r u s t of e s t a b l i s h e d middlemen was s t i m u l a t e d by d i s p o s s e s s e d l e s s e r middlemen. M i l l e r s , who r e p o r t e d l y changed i n t o wholesale mealmen or f l o u r merchants, persuaded farmers of the advantage of immediate cash payments i n p l a c e of more s p e c u l a t i v e processes of s h i p p i n g d i r e c t to d i s t a n t markets. By g i v i n g s m a l l advances to l e s s e r farmers, these middlemen 134 were s a i d by t h e i r c r i t i c s to d i c t a t e p r i c e s . Because of l a r g e v i c t u a l l i n g c o n t r a c t s w i t h the navy to supply pork, d i s t i l l e r s became l a r g e - s c a l e breeders of hogs, which f e d on 135 the fomented mash. Other c o n t r a c t o r s undertook to supply 133 The terminology of the marketing system was o f t e n c o n f u s i n g . " R e t a i l " and " c u t t i n g " butchers were synonymous terms. Other names d e s c r i b e d d i f f e r e n t f u n c t i o n s at d i f f e r -ent times. There was, too, much o v e r l a p p i n g of occupations. Carcass butchers overlapped w i t h salesmen and g r a z i e r s , f o r example. Gentleman's Magazine, XXV (1755), 294, complained of the g r a z i e r s ' c o n t r o l of the meat market. F i e l d i n g , too, noted the dominance of r e t a i l butchers by carcass butchers ( F i e l d i n g , "Observations of P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s , " Febru-ary 5, 1765). 1 3 4 G e n t l e m a n ' s Magazine, XXVIII (1758), 424. 1 3 5 T h e Gentleman's Magazine, XXVI (1756), 625, r e p o r t e d a c o n t r a c t f o r 10,000 hogs at 1,000 per week signed by d i s t i l l e r - c o n t r a c t o r s and the v i c t u a l l i n g o f f i c e . Such c o n t r a c t s discouraged embargoes on d i s t i l l i n g i n times of s c a r c i t y , e s p e c i a l l y when war-time food demands were p r e s s i n g . 126 oats and other g r a i n s much i n demand f o r the E n g l i s h and a l l i e d f o r c e s i n the Seven Years' War. The conspicuous con-sumption of these newly-enriched middlemen e x c i t e d the 136 resentment of other s o c i a l o r d e r s . Some of the poor, who had l i v e d on d i e t s of i n f e r i o r meat and bread i n the armed f o r c e s , no doubt remembered o l d scores when they r e t u r n e d to c i v i l i a n l i f e a f t e r 1763, and %f,ound p r i c e s high. They r e a d i l y a t t r i b u t e d the food s c a r c i t y to the manipulations of the middlemen. O p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r s p e c u l a t i o n i n food c e r t a i n l y e x i s t e d a f t e r the mid-century,' and doubtless c o n t r i b u t e d to h i g h e r p r i c e s . Because of the ease of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and storage, g r a i n was w e l l s u i t e d to s p e c u l a t i o n . Lower i n t e r -e s t r a t e s i n H o l l a n d at v a r i o u s times be f o r e the mid-1760's enabled "speculators to ship g r a i n to the Low C o u n t r i e s , where i t could be s t o r e d more cheaply than i n England, u n t i l the p r i c e s at home rose s u f f i c i e n t l y to j u s t i f y i t s 137 r e t u r n . The export bounty from the home p o r t p a i d the costs of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and the d e a l e r s gained l a r g e p r o f i t s from s e l l i n g when the market was most s u i t a b l e . The stage of development reached by the E n g l i s h mar-k e t i n g system i n the 1750's a l s o favoured s p e c u l a t i o n . The 136 Payne r e p o r t e d one carcass butcher had p u b l i c l y d e c l a r e d h i s o p p o s i t i o n to lower p r i c e s and h i s i n t e n t i o n to get an e s t a t e ( W i l l i a m Payne to Lord Abercorn, February 12, 1766). 137 Fay, The Corn Laws and S o c i a l England, p. 15. 127 economy was i n an i n t e r i m stage. I t was r a p i d l y moving from a system of p u r e l y l o c a l markets towards a more d i s t i n c t l y n a t i o n a l marketing system. Communications and t r a n s p o r t a -t i o n were improving r a p i d l y w i t h the improvement of r i v e r n a v i g a t i o n and the beginning of canal b u i l d i n g . The economy s t i l l c o n s i s t e d of a number of port-economies, the l a r g e s t and most dominant of which was London. A r t h u r Young d i s -covered i t was not p o s s i b l e to r e l a t e the p r i c e s of food d i r e c t l y to the d i s t a n c e from the c a p i t a l , f o r each p o r t 138 exerted i t s own i n f l u e n c e over i t s h i n t e r l a n d . Neverthe-l e s s , where markets had ready access to water, they were 139 r e s p o n s i v e to p r i c e changes i n London and elsewhere. P r i c e d i s e q u i l i b r i u m i n one p o r t economy was u l t i m a t e l y r e f l e c t e d i n the others."'' 4 0 I t was the time l a g i n t h i s process t h a t enabled s p e c u l a t i o n to succeed. 138 " C i r e n c e s t e r market governs those [ p r i c e s ] of Tetbury, Hampton, Stroud, N o r t h l e a c h , F a i r f o r d , L e t c h l a d e , etc t h e r e f o r e the v a r i a t i o n i s not worth computation" (Bishop of S t . David to Lord B a t h u r s t , February, 1765, Com-mittee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s ) . 139 • A correspondent argued the s e n s i t i v i t y of South Wales and Metro to p r i c e changes: " . . . The same may be s a i d f o r a l l other g r a i n s [ b e s i d e s oats] even i n more d i s -t a n t p l a c e s as long as t h e r e i s a demand and a market, and the seas and r i v e r s are n a v i g a b l e " (Gentleman's Magazine, XXVIII [1758], 278) . 140 ^ C. W. J . Granger and C. M. E l l i o t t , "A Fresh Look at Wheat P r i c e s and Markets i n the E i g h t e e n t h Century," Economic H i s t o r y Review, 2nd s e r . , XX, No. 2 (August, 1967), 257-65. 128 The most d i s t a n t markets f e l t London's i n f l u e n c e . Reports i n the Gentleman's Magazine f r e q u e n t l y mention the e f f e c t on l o c a l markets of heavy buying by London salesmen. C a t t l e s o l d as f a r away as Durham e v e n t u a l l y found t h e i r way to the London market at S m i t h f i e l d . 1 4 1 Carcass butchers were s a i d not to wait f o r the market but go down as f a r as Northampton to buy up c a t t l e and sheep and "by reason of 142 t h e i r l a r g e stocks keep up the p r i c e s of meat." S i r John F i e l d i n g c a l c u l a t e d t h a t w i t h i n f i v e miles of the c i t y m i l k was used i n i t s n a t u r a l s t a t e , f i v e to f i f t y m i l e s milk was used i n s u c k l i n g c a l v e s f o r v e a l . He noted t h a t , w h ile some b u t t e r was made w i t h i n these d i s t a n c e s , there was l i t t l e cheese. Cheese and b u t t e r were produced at more d i s t a n t 143 centres a c c o r d i n g to the nature of the l a n d . London had extended i t s t e n t a c l e s across the c o u n t r y s i d e i n search of p r o v i s i o n s from Tudor times, but the r a p i d growth of the M e t r o p o l i s by the mid-eighteenth century had i n c r e a s e d the d e a l e r s ' s c a l e of o p e r a t i o n s . D e s p i t e the r e l a t i o n s h i p , then, t h a t e x i s t e d between d i f f e r e n t p o r t economies and markets, the r a t e of response 141 C a t t l e came from d i s t a n t p a r t s of S c o t l a n d to the M e t r o p o l i s ( W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h Business, p. 187). 142 Thomas Addison, Butcher, C l a r e Market, i n e v i -dence before House of Lords Committee (Committee on High  P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s [March, 1765.]) . 143 F i e l d i n g , "Observations of P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s , " February 5, 1765. 129 to d i s e q u i l i b r i a elsewhere.was such t h a t l o c a l market manip-u l a t i o n was p o s s i b l e . Corn bounty r e g u l a t i o n s combined w i t h ei g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y a d m i n i s t r a t i v e incompetence had always made p o s s i b l e the defeat of the s p i r i t of the r e g u l a t i o n s , i f not the l e t t e r . The growing s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of the econ-omy and the i n t e r i m stage of marketing made s p e c u l a t i o n more widespread and s e r i o u s . By the mid-century jobbers and corn f a c t o r s , w i t h the a i d of improved communications, were able to develop accurate i n t e l l i g e n c e systems to r e p o r t market 144 c o n d i t i o n s throughout England and Europe too. At a time when l e g i s l a t i o n assumed the f r e e market p l a y of p r i c e s f o r the s e t t i n g of wages and the p r i c e s of bread, as w e l l as f o r f i x i n g p r i c e t h r e s h o l d s to r e g u l a t e the flow of g r a i n out of the country, d e a l e r s were s a i d to d e f e a t the s e l f - r e g u l a t i n g mechanism by agreeing among themselves to buy up g r a i n on a p a r t i c u l a r day i n a c e r t a i n market. The e f f e c t of such heavy buying was to push up the p r i c e of g r a i n above the l e v e l at which bounty was payable on exports through the nearby p o r t s (above, t h a t i s , 48s per q u a r t e r ) . Thereupon the corn f a c t o r s waited u n t i l the next market day, when by mutual consent they a b s t a i n e d from buying. Thereby they f o r c e d down the p r i c e below 48s, which enabled them to export t h e i r accumulated stocks and r e c e i v e the bounty. T h i s i n t e r f e r e n c e i n the f r e e p l a y of the markets, c r i t i c s 144 See W e s t e r f i e l d , Middlemen i n E n g l i s h Business, passim. 130 s a i d , prevented the intended o p e r a t i o n of not only the Corn Laws but the a s s i z e of bread, the opening of the ports f o r i m p o r t a t i o n of p r o v i s i o n s , and " i n general every power r e l a -t i v e to the p r i c e s as w e l l as the weight, measure and q u a l -145 i t y of human s u b s i s t e n c e . " Because of t h i s type of man-i p u l a t i o n and the slow response of other markets, e s p e c i a l l y those i n l a n d , food p r i c e s were o f t e n p r o h i b i t i v e l y high i n the i n t e r i o r i n d u s t r i a l r e g i o n s at a time when c o a s t a l p r i c e s were low enough to enable g r a i n to f l o o d out of the country, a f a c t o r which g r e a t l y c o n t r i b u t e d to the r e s e n t -ment of the poor and which was r e l e v a n t to the hunger r i o t s . 146 of 1766. That the government had to suspend the Corn Laws and p l a c e embargoes on a l l g r a i n exports i n times of economic c r i s i s i s a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the " s e l f - r e g u l a t i n g " p r i c e mechanisms d i d not work. In 1773 the Pownall Act changed the p r i c e t h r e s h o l d s , but by t h i s time i t had become apparent t h a t except i n very r a r e seasons England had become a net importer of g r a i n and the p r o t e c t i o n i s t aspects of the 147 laws became more r e l e v a n t to the high cost of n e c e s s a r i e s . There was, t h e r e f o r e , some b a s i s i n t r u t h f o r accus-i n g some middlemen of a f f e c t i n g the food supply by 145 Thomas Brock, C l e r k of the Peace and Town C l e r k of Chester, to Lord Abercorn, March 11, 1765, Committee on  High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . " ^ ^ C o n s i d e r a t i o n s on the E x p o r t a t i o n of Corn (1766). 147 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 43. 131 mani p u l a t i n g markets f o r the purpose of s p e c u l a t i o n . Exact measurement of the e f f e c t of t h e i r a c t i o n s on food p r i c e s i s i m p o s s i b l e . P r o bably contemporaries exaggerated i t , but c e r t a i n l y i t i s an important reason f o r the g e n e r a l unpopu-l a r i t y of middlemen. I t probably accounts f o r the recommen-dat i o n s f o r the r e i m p o s i t i o n of c o n t r o l s on middlemen's a c t i v i t i e s which came from the v a r i o u s P a r l i a m e n t a r y commit-tees of i n q u i r y i n t o high food p r i c e s of the 1760's. I f the r a p i d l y - i n c r e a s i n g numbers of middlemen and the expansion of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s was s t i m u l a t i n g the gen-e r a l a n t i p a t h y towards middlemen which had remained dormant during the e a r l y years of the century, the events of 1756-57 i n t e n s i f i e d r i v a l r i e s between v a r i o u s i n t e r e s t s . In these years a n a t u r a l shortage had caused the p r i c e s of g r a i n to r i s e s t e e p l y , and d i s o r d e r s took p l a c e i n w i d e l y s c a t t e r e d 148 regions of England. The c h i e f d i s a f f e c t e d areas were i n the n o r t h and the Midlands, but the west and south a l s o w i t -149 nessed mobs of s e v e r a l hundred p r o t e s t o r s . The response of the P r i v y C o u n c i l to these outbreaks and to the s e v e r a l p e t i t i o n s of l a r g e seaports such as B r i s t o l , L i v e r p o o l , and Newcastle-on-Tyne about the exces-s i v e p r i c e s of corn was p r e d i c t a b l e . Meeting at the Cockpit, 1 4 8 T h e Gentleman's Magazine, XXXVI (1766), 557, noted the d i s t r e s s of the poor of the V a l e of Evesham, "the f i n e s t v a l e of corn i n the world," because g r a i n was d r a i n e d o f f v i a n a v i g a b l e r i v e r to B r i s t o l . 1 4 9 G e n t l e m a n ' s Magazine, XXVI (1756) and XXVII (1757), passim. 132 they i s s u e d a proclamation p r o h i b i t i n g the purchase of corn f o r t r a n s p o r t a t i o n without a l i c e n s e , o r d e r i n g the s t r i c t enforcement of the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , e ngrossing, and r e g r a t i n g , and r e q u i r i n g a l l corn to be s o l d 150 i n the open market and the end of s a l e s by sample. C l e a r l y the o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r p r o f i t e e r i n g were g r e a t e r i n times of shortage than i n p e r i o d s of p l e n t y , and the govern-ment wished to discourage the w i t h h o l d i n g of s u p p l i e s . Yet the i m p l i c a t i o n was p l a i n : the shortage was a r t i f i c i a l and the middlemen were e x p l o i t i n g the consumers by manipulating 151 the food s u p p l i e s . Although the r e s u l t s of the government's a c t i o n were not as s e r i o u s as they were to be i n 1766, by p u b l i c l y blam-in g the middlemen and then f a i l i n g to r e g u l a t e them e f f e c -t i v e l y the government i n c i t e d the r i o t e r s to take matters i n t o t h e i r own hands. At f i r s t they emulated t h e i r Tudor ancestors and f o r c e d the s a l e of p r o v i s i o n s at what they thought were " j u s t p r i c e s . " L a t e r , as they became more exasperated, they a t t a c k e d the property of farmers and mid-dlemen suspected of hoarding food. O c c a s i o n a l l y q u a n t i t i e s 1 5 Q I b i d . , XXVI (1756), 546. 151 Two L e t t e r s on the F l o u r Trade, and the Dearness  of Corn: By a Person i n Business (London, November, 1766), pp. 18-19, complained t h a t p u b l i c a t t a c k s on f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing on d e a l e r s and mealmen i n c i t e d a " s p i r i t of mob-bing" by spreading f e a r s of famine and h i n d e r i n g the r e g u l a r supply of the markets. 133 of g r a i n were destroyed and f r e q u e n t l y the t r a n s p o r t a t i o n of s u p p l i e s to the urban centres was impeded. Thus, the government's a c t i o n was u l t i m a t e l y s e l f - d e f e a t i n g f o r i t discouraged the movement of p r o v i s i o n s and c r e a t e d even g r e a t e r shortages than had at f i r s t e x i s t e d . As noted e a r l i e r the hunger r i o t s of the 1750's were more s e r i o u s because of t h e i r a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h widespread 152 p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t a new M i l i t i a A c t . These p a r t i c u l a r r i o t s are d e a l t w i t h at l e n g t h elsewhere. But f o r the pur-pose of t h i s a n a l y s i s , i t i s important to note t h a t the m i d d l e - c l a s s farmers and the r u r a l poor were p i t t e d a g a i n s t 153 the u p p e r - c l a s s gentry and a r i s t o c r a t i c landed i n t e r e s t . C e r t a i n l y the c o i n c i d e n c e of the m i l i t i a r i o t s w i t h the pro-t e s t s a g a i n s t h i g h p r i c e s encouraged the landed i n t e r e s t to vent i t s resentment f o r the rough handling i t r e c e i v e d at the hands of the r u r a l populace a g a i n s t the m i d d l e - c l a s s farmers and p r o v i s i o n s d e a l e r s . Much of t h i s resentment was r e f l e c t e d i n the pamph-l e t s and newspaper a r t i c l e s which poured f o r t h when calm r e t u r n e d i n 1758. I n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the e a r l i e r events were many, but the most common scapegoat was the middleman, who, w r i t e r s claimed, had c r e a t e d an a r t i f i c i a l shortage. Corn buyers, k i d d e r s , l a d e r s , broggers, c a r r i e r s , flourmen, 152 Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the E i g h t e e n t h  Century,'' p. 300. I b i d . I 134 bakers, brewers, d i s t i l l e r s , and t a v e r n e r s were a l l s i n g l e d out as o f f e n d e r s . Many urged the t r a d i t i o n a l s o l u t i o n of e n f o r c i n g the o l d Tudor and S t u a r t s t a t u t e s . The r e p r i n t i n g i n 1758 of the Book of Orders which expounded government p o l i c y towards middlemen between 1586 and 1630 was h a r d l y c o i n c i d e n t a l . In the event i t f a i l e d to achieve i t s purpose of persuading the government to r e t u r n to a p o l i c y of r i g o r -154 ous r e g u l a t i o n . N e i t h e r d i d the a u t h o r i t i e s implement a scheme f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g p u b l i c g r a n a r i e s . One student of the Corn Laws has seen t h i s as a r e l u c t a n c e of the govern-ment and the landed i n t e r e s t to r e v i v e the o l d b u r e a u c r a t i c 155 system of the crown. P r o b a b l y i t would have gone a g a i n s t the p o l i t i c a l s p i r i t of the times to r e t u r n to the c e n t r a l -ism of the Tudor and S t u a r t ages. A p e r i o d of f a v o u r a b l e harvests and lower p r i c e s f o l l o w e d the c r i s i s years of 1756-57. The c o n d i t i o n s of the poor improved f o r s e v e r a l years, u n t i l i n 1763 poor h a r v e s t s and c a t t l e epidemics f o r c e d up p r i c e s again. The f i n d i n g s of s e v e r a l P a r l i a m e n t a r y committees which examined the causes of h i g h food p r i c e s In the next three years are important f o r they confirmed the popular o p i n i o n about the r o l e of middlemen i n r a i s i n g the cost of l i v i n g f o r the poor. Because many of the committees' recommendations 154 Gras, The E v o l u t i o n of the E n g l i s h Corn Market  from the T w e l f t h to the E i g h t e e n t h Century, p. 207. 155 Barnes, H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Corn Laws, p. 33. 135 concerned p a r t i c u l a r l y c o n d i t i o n s i n the M e t r o p o l i s , they not only c o l o u r e d the views of the n a t i o n a l government on the causes of popular u n r e s t but they a l s o r e v e a l e d economic changes t h a t were happening. These changes are of i n t e r e s t because they formed a background to both the a g r a r i a n d i s -orders and the p r e - i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s of the l a t e r 1760's. Pop u l a r a n t i p a t h y to middlemen i n London was r a t h e r l e s s than i n the p r o v i n c e s . The most v o c i f e r o u s c r i t i c s of the l a r g e r middlemen were the l e s s e r middlemen whom they were d i s p l a c i n g as the m e t r o p o l i t a n marketing system grew more complex and demanded g r e a t e r i n f u s i o n s of c a p i t a l . T h i s development was more ev i d e n t i n the meat trade than the g r a i n trade by the 1760's. To judge from the r e p o r t s made to the House of Lords' Committee of 1765, the London carcass butchers had come to dominate the m e t r o p o l i t a n meat markets i n the previous decade. The w e l l - o r g a n i z e d r e t a i l b utchers' lobby which made d e t a i l e d submissions to the Committee claimed that a great i n c r e a s e i n the numbers and i n f l u e n c e of these l a r g e -s c a l e w h o l e s a l e r s had occurred i n the previous three years. The a c c e l e r a t e d growth of London i n the 1750's and 1760's due to the war, a shortage of l i v e s t o c k due to animal e p i -demics, and a post-war r e c e s s i o n probably account f o r t h i s sudden i n c r e a s e i n the numbers and i n f l u e n c e of the carcass butchers. 136 An examination of the operation of these wholesale meat dealers shows the complexity of the problem of c o n t r o l -l i n g middlemen and suggests why governments found i t best to t a c i t l y ignore t h e i r monopolizing tendencies while p u b l i c l y paying l i p s e r v i c e to the p r i n c i p l e s of the o l d "moral economy." The operation of the carcass butchers centred prim-a r i l y about S m i t h f i e l d , the market f o r l i v e c a t t l e and sheep. Here they d e a l t i n animals bought from d i s t a n t farms or l o c a l markets. By keeping animals on the marshlands near London or dispersed through adjacent counties, c r i t i c s s a i d , they avoided prosecution and played t h e i r stock i n t o the market when p r i c e s were most favourable. Thus, by the use of t h e i r s u p e r i o r purchasing power and by manipulation, the carcass butchers came to dominate the smaller c u t t i n g but-chers i n C l a r e , Newgate, and other markets of the Metrop-156 o l i s . These r e t a i l butchers complained t h a t they were no longer able to buy small d r i f t s of c a t t l e f o r slaughter f o r t h e i r own customers but were forced to buy on c r e d i t from t h e i r new masters, who o b l i g e d them to accept bad meat along 157 w i t h the good at the p r i c e of good meat. The d i s g r u n t l e d c u t t i n g butchers blamed the carcass butchers f o r the high p r i c e s of meat i n the 1760's. Sheep 156 Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). I b i d . 137 and c a t t l e , they claimed, were bought i n S m i t h f i e l d , d r i v e n out to nearby f i e l d s to pasture or feed on t u r n i p s , and l a t e r s o l d when p r i c e s were high. Farmers, they s a i d , had ceased to come to London w i t h t h e i r stock, and d e a l t w i t h S m i t h f i e l d salesmen d i r e c t l y . O c c a s i o n a l l y , a farmer d i s -s a t i s f i e d w i t h the salesmen's p r i c e s would t r y to market h i s own animals, whereupon the carcass butchers r e p o r t e d l y w i t h -h e l d from buying to f o r c e down the p r i c e s i n S m i t h f i e l d mar-ket. Such independent farmers found i t a c o s t l y waste of time to by-pass the salesmen, who t r a v e l l e d from farm to farm. T h e r e a f t e r the farmer s o l d to S m i t h f i e l d o u t r i d e r s 158 "who thus secured the power to s t a r v e the p u b l i c . " The c u t t i n g butchers charged t h a t t h e i r r i v a l s c ould a f f o r d to s e l l meat cheaper but would not. They a s s e r t e d t h a t the re c e n t drop of l / 2 d per pound of meat was due to the i n t e r -es t of the House of Lords' Committee of 1765 i n meat 159 p r i c e s . C e r t a i n l y the o p e r a t i o n s of some butchers were l a r g e - s c a l e and t h e i r investment heavy. Under the s t r i c t a p p l i c a t i o n of the o l d Tudor and S t u a r t s t a t u t e s they were i l l e g a l . Some r e p o r t e d l y kept as many as 1,000 sheep at one time, and s o l d as many as 100 per day. They t r a v e l l e d as f a r as Northampton to buy stock. T y p i c a l of t h i s i n t e r e s t ^"Gentleman's Magazine, XXXIV (1764), 334. 1765) 159 Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 138 group was Benjamin Cherry of H e r t f o r d , who s o l d ten thousand sheep at S m i t h f i e l d i n one year. One witness b i t t e r l y a s s e r t e d t h a t "he buys them of the farmers, i s a judge of the i n t r i n s i c v a l u e , and p l a y s them i n t o the market to the i n j u r y of the p u b l i c and the very r u i n of o u r s e l v e s and f a m i l i e s . " " ^ 0 H i s indictment before J u s t i c e F i e l d i n g i n 1765 had l i t t l e apparent e f f e c t on Cherry's conduct. Edmund Burke, n e a r l y t h i r t y years l a t e r , w r i t i n g of the extent of Cherry's a c t i v i t i e s , observed t h a t he and others "had kept a l i n e of c i r c u m v a l l a t i o n twenty m i l e s around London where 161 were 40,000 sheep always ready to beat down the market." Accor d i n g to evidence given before S i r John F i e l d i n g , Cherry had at t h a t time 4,240 sheep i n f l o c k s averaging 250 on 162 v a r i o u s farms throughout H e r t f o r d s h i r e . The a t t a c k s of the c u t t i n g butchers d i d not go unanswered. Salesmen and others maintained t h a t carcass butchers were a great convenience to the p u b l i c . They pro-v i d e d a means to s e l l the numbers of c a t t l e and the l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of meat needed by the s t r e e t hawkers and small "^°R. S t u d l e y to the Duke of Bedford, Lord P r e s i -dent, January 29, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i -s i o n s . "161 ° F i t z w i l l i a m MSS, Burke 19. 162 Cherry's servant confessed h i s master s o l d 10,000 sheep i n S m i t h f i e l d i n one year (Committee on High P r i c e s of  P r o v i s i o n s [March, 1765]). See a l s o "Return of Cherry's Sheep i n H e r t f o r d s h i r e from Jan 1 1765 to 18 Jan 1765," Com-mittee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 139 163 r e t a i l butchers on c r e d i t . They noted t h a t the c u t t i n g butchers had no f a c i l i t i e s f o r s l a u g h t e r i n g i n the c i t y , which was" f o r b i d d e n by law. They denied they were a monop-ol y . P r o v i s i o n s , they claimed f u r t h e r , taken at a medium over the p r e v i o u s twenty years were very l i t t l e dearer than the twenty years before them; they estimated not more than l / 2 d per pound. They a s s e r t e d t h a t c a t t l e and sheep were turned out to grass because of a l a c k of buyers, f o r they would have p r e f e r r e d to s e l l at a lower p r i c e than keep the stock. The r e c e n t higher p r i c e s and shortages of meat were due to g r e a t e r demand and to r o t i n recent wet seasons. They c i t e d the reduced number of animals sent from L i n c o l n -s h i r e fens as proof of t h i s . John Bryant, a salesman of pork and lamb, o f f e r e d a p a r t i c u l a r l y v i g o r o u s defence of h i s r o l e i n the marketing of meat. 1^ 4 He operated i n both S m i t h f i e l d and Newgate mar-ke t s , and employed farmers i n Somerset and others of the western c o u n t i e s . He denied there was f o r e s t a l l i n g on the roads. He claimed t h a t carcass butchers were not new, and were v a l u a b l e i n s u p p l y i n g hawkers with meat. High p r i c e s were not due to carcass butchers; r a t h e r they were the r e s u l t of wet seasons i n 1760 and 1763. Bryant claimed t h a t 163 Evidence of salesmen given before the Committee  on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). 164 . John Bryant before the Committee on High P r i c e s  of P r o v i s i o n s (March, 1765). 140 the s m a l l e r breeds of pork a f f e c t e d p r i c e s a l s o . He noted t h a t c u t t i n g butchers could not handle the q u a n t i t i e s of meat t h a t c a r c a s s butchers bought. Without pasturelands near London, c a t t l e and sheep would be r u i n e d by lengthy journeys, he observed. C a t t l e and sheep were ret u r n e d to pasture to keep an e q u a l i t y of p r i c e , f o r farmers r e q u i r e d more c e r t a i n t y i n value and they would have l o s t i f they had to s e l l as soon as the c a t t l e reached market. F i n a l l y , Bryant b e l i e v e d t h a t salesmen, by i n f o r m i n g farmers of p r i c e v a r i a t i o n s and seasonal f l u c t u a t i o n s i n demand, c o n t r o l l e d the flow of c a t t l e and sheep to London. Whatever the merits of the arguments on each s i d e of the debate, p u b l i c q u e s t i o n i n g of the r o l e of middlemen i n d i c a t e d t h a t there were important changes happening i n the marketing system by the 1760's which were s e t t i n g up s o c i a l s t r e s s e s . These changes a c c e l e r a t e d a f t e r the mid-century and d i s r u p t e d the h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e of the commercial system. C r i t i c i s m s of emerging "monopolies" came from w i t h i n and without the r e t a i l and wholesale trades i n the 1750's and 1760's. The "abuses" i n the meat trade p r i m a r i l y r e l a t e d to the London markets, but c e r t a i n l y s i m i l a r o b j e c t s of c r i t i c i s m c ould have been found i n a l l the p o r t economies of the e i g h t e e n t h century. P o p u l a r c r i t i c i s m of middlemen was g r e a t e s t i n the c o u n t r y s i d e which s u p p l i e d the urban p o p u l a t i o n s . London's freedom from hunger r i o t s i n 1766, d e s p i t e high food p r i c e s , suggests the importance of popular 141 h o s t i l i t y towards middlemen i n the counties where hunger r i o t s were widespread i n t h i s year. Resentment of middlemen, then, came to a peak i n the mid-1760's because of the conjuncture of s e v e r a l circum-stances. High p r i c e s and economic r e c e s s i o n f o c u s s e d a t t e n -t i o n on the poor consumer. N e a r l y two decades of p u b l i c abuse a s s o c i a t e d the middlemen of the corn and meat trades made Englishmen aware of t h e i r entrenched p o s i t i o n i n the economy. When the o l d nostrums of Tudor and S t u a r t times were r e i n t r o d u c e d , they not only f a i l e d , but a c t u a l l y worsened the e x i s t i n g problems of s c a r c i t y and high p r i c e s . The poor, c o n d i t i o n e d to a t t r i b u t e food shortages to a r t i f i -c i a l r a t h e r than n a t u r a l causes, h a r d l y needed the encour-agement they r e c e i v e d to d e a l w i t h a popular scapegoat t h a t the a u t h o r i t i e s -were unable to r e g u l a t e . The a r i s t o c r a t i c and gentry l e a d e r s of r u r a l s o c i e t y themselves were not u n a f f e c t e d by the lengthy d e n u n c i a t i o n of middlemen i n the 1750's and 1760's. Many of the r u l i n g orders may h o n e s t l y have b e l i e v e d the food shortage was a r t i f i c i a l l y c o n t r i v e d by the s p e c u l a t i o n of middlemen. There were, however, more cogent reasons why the r u l i n g c l a s s played such an e q u i v o c a l r o l e i n the e x t e n s i v e hunger r i o t s of 1766. P r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t middlemen was a s u r f a c e m a n i f e s t a t i o n of u n d e r l y i n g t e n s i o n s which were a f f e c t i n g s o c i e t y a f t e r the mid-century. PART I CHAPTER I I I THE ROLE OF THE AUTHORITIES IN THE PROVINCIAL HUNGER RIOTS OF 1766 A c r u c i a l f e a t u r e of the hunger r i o t s of 1766 was the i n i t i a l encouragement g i v e n to the mobs by the r u l i n g orders i n the c o u n t r y s i d e . In an age when prompt a c t i o n by the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s i n v a r i a b l y s n u f f e d out r i o t s before they became a r e a l s o c i a l t h r e a t , the r e s t r a i n t of the m a j o r i t y of the g e n t r y - m a g i s t r a t e s towards r i o t o u s mobs was e x t r a o r d i n a r y and tantamount to s a n c t i o n . John Wesley, who was as experienced as any of h i s contemporaries i n f a c i n g dangerous mobs, noted i n h i s d i a r y t h a t "Wherever a mob con-t i n u e s any time, a l l they do i s to be imputed not so much to the r a b b l e as to the J u s t i c e s . " 1 In the c r i t i c a l e a r l y days of the r u r a l r i o t s when many of the d i s p o s s e s s e d waited to see how the m i l i t a n t m i n o r i t y f a r e d i n t h e i r i n i t i a l "'"The J o u r n a l of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M. , ed. by Nehemiah Curnock, Standard E d i t i o n , V (2nd ed.; London: C h a r l e s H. K e l l y , 1781), 250. See a l s o Rude,' the Crowd i n  H i s t o r y , p. 262; Frank Ongley D a r v a l l , " P o p u l a r Disturbances  and P u b l i c Order i n Regency England (London: Oxford U n i v e r -s i t y P r e s s , 1934), pp. 244-45; F r e d e r i c k C l a r e Mather, Pub-l i c Order i n the Age of the C h a r t i s t s (Manchester: Manchester U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1959), pp. 60-61. 142 143 challenge to a u t h o r i t y , the l e s s e r gentry, who dominated the p a r i s h benches, stood aloof from the a r i s t o c r a t i c county r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the n a t i o n a l government on the one hand, and the commercial and i n d u s t r i a l i n t e r e s t s on the other, and s c a r c e l y t r o u b l e d to conceal t h e i r sympathy f o r the riotous'; poor. But the magistrates not only r e f r a i n e d from e f f e c t i v e measures to crush the i n i t i a l d i s o r d e r s , they a c t u a l l y abetted other members of the landed and i n d u s t r i a l i n t e r e s t s i n t h e i r encouragement of the people to regul a t e markets and reduce the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s by f o r c e . By t h i s means, they d i v e r t e d the r i o t e r s towards middlemen and la r g e farmers, and away from the landed and i n d u s t r i a l i n t e r e s t s . U n l i k e other a g r a r i a n d i s o r d e r s of the century, the r i o t s of 1766 d i d not i n v o l v e attacks on the landowners or the manufacturers. Thus, w h i l e not a c t u a l l y i n c i t i n g the r i o t s , the a c t i o n s of the magistrates c e r t a i n l y gave them d i r e c t i o n . Only b e l a t e d l y , when the scale of d i s o r d e r f r i g h t e n e d them, d i d the gentry-magistrates c l o s e ranks w i t h the a r i s t o c r a c y and other r u r a l leaders to crush-what they had come to f e a r was the s t a r t of s o c i a l r e v o l u t i o n . I That the magistrates were unusually d e r e l i c t i n t h e i r duty to suppress popular d i s o r d e r s i n September, 1766 i s evident from the comments of t h e i r contemporaries and the course of events i n urban and r u r a l r i o t s . 144 Understandably, i t was those M i n i s t e r s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r domestic s e c u r i t y who at t h i s time most f r e q u e n t l y com-p l a i n e d of the n e g l i g e n c e of the r u r a l j u s t i c e s . Lord B a r r i n g t o n at the War O f f i c e wrote to the E a r l of Shelburne, S e c r e t a r y of S t a t e f o r the Southern Department, t h a t troops sent "to a i d the c i v i l power" had never been used, and com-mented t h a t "the m a g i s t r a t e s at t h i s j u n c t u r e have l e s s 2 s p i r i t or prudence than u s u a l . " Henry Conway, S e c r e t a r y of S t a t e f o r the Northern Department, r e f l e c t e d the same opi n -i o n when he c a l l e d upon the Duke of Marlborough, the E a r l of Berkeley, and other L o r d s - L i e u t e n a n t to use t h e i r i n f l u e n c e as great landowners to encourage the m a g i s t r a t e s to act 3 d e c i s i v e l y a g a i n s t the r i o t e r s . Yet i t i s evident from independent sources t h a t Conway's c o n c l u s i o n t h a t "a want of a c t i v i t y i n the use and e x e r t i o n of the c i v i l powers by the o r d i n a r y m a g i s t r a t e s seems to be among the c h i e f causes of these continued outrages" cannot be d i s m i s s e d as a customary p l o y to d i v e r t a t t e n t i o n from the M i n i s t r y ' s own s h o r t -4 comings. P r i v a t e gentlemen, wi t h no apparent v e s t e d i n t e r e s t i n a p p o r t i o n i n g blame, wrote of the m a g i s t r a t e s being 2 B a r r i n g t o n to Shelburne, October 2, 1766, Shelburne  Papers, V o l . 132, f o l s . 13-14. 3 P u b l i c Record O f f i c e , Domestic E n t r y Book, V o l . 142, f o l s . 12-14. 4 I b i d . 145 5 "backward to exert themselves." John P i t t , r e p o r t i n g con-d i t i o n s i n the West Country to Lord Hardwicke, a former Lord C h a n c e l l o r p e r e n n i a l l y concerned w i t h the dangers of c i v i l commotion, observed of the G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e r i o t s t h a t "had the c i v i l m a g i s t r a t e s acted w i t h the l e a s t degree of prud-ence a l l t h i s t r o u b l e would have been saved the government and the l i v e s of the poor c r e a t u r e s to the s e r v i c e of the 6 country." That more t i m e l y , v i g o r o u s a c t i o n by the r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s might w e l l have s t i f l e d the r i o t s i s suggested by the s i t u a t i o n i n the towns where d i s o r d e r s i n 1766 were q u i c k l y brought under c o n t r o l . In such urban centres the m a g i s t r a t e s r a p i d l y d evised measures of s e l f - h e l p . When market d i s t u r b a n c e s threatened to spread throughout G l o u c e s t e r , c i v i c l e a d e r s immediately ordered a l l c i t i z e n s 7 o f f the s t r e e t s and thereby p a c i f i e d the c i t y ; w h i l e at Norwich the mayor and h i s f e l l o w m a g i s t r a t e s armed the " r e s p e c t a b l e c i t i z e n s " w i t h staves and d i s p e r s e d the numer-ous r i o t e r s without m i l i t a r y a i d , during a weekend of 8 v i o l e n t p r o t e s t . 5 James H a r r i s to Hardwicke, October 3, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 295. 6 John P i t t to Hardwicke, December 18, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 335. 7 John P i t t to Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 290. G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , October 8, 1766. g G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , October 4, 1766. 146 C e r t a i n l y , urban m a g i s t r a t e s d i d not f a c e the same problems as t h e i r r u r a l c o u n t e r p a r t s . While c i t y mobs could form and melt q u i c k l y away when peace f o r c e s a r r i v e d , only to reappear elsewhere, there was a narrower g e o g r a p h i c a l l i m i t upon t h e i r r i o t o u s a c t i v i t i e s than was the case f o r r u r a l mobs. In urban centres there were always c o n s i d e r a b l e numbers of r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e , " r e s p e c t a b l e c i t i z e n s " who could be t r u s t e d to f i g h t to p r o t e c t p r o p e r t y i n times of c r i s i s , although at times "wrong elements" o c c a s i o n a l l y r e c e i v e d arms i n the co n f u s i o n of a l a r g e - s c a l e r i o t . Such was the case i n Norwich where r i o t e r s passed themselves o f f as r e s p e c t a b l e c i t i z e n s and j o i n e d the armed posse comitatus b e f o r e informers denounced them to the m a g i s t r a t e s . 9 The problems posed at v a r i o u s times by the m e t r o p o l i t a n mobs were p e c u l i a r to London and they are d e a l t w i t h at l e n g t h elsewhere. But even here the ready a v a i l a b i l i t y of troops to a s s i s t such competent m a g i s t r a t e s as S i r John F i e l d i n g and Saunders Welsh m i t i g a t e d the d i f f i c u l t i e s of c o n t r o l l i n g a v a s t slum population.''" 0 In c o n t r a s t , there were o f t e n dangerous delays before troops came to the a i d of i s o l a t e d r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s . But commentators d i d not miss the l e s s o n to be taken from the success of prompt sup p r e s s i o n of the 9 Mayor of Norwich to Town C l e r k , Norwich, October 20, 1766, Norwich C i t y Record O f f i c e , Norwich, D e p o s i t i o n s . "^Both these m a g i s t r a t e s were r e s p e c t e d by the poor' and the M i n i s t r y , who p a i d them an annual s a l a r y . 147 Norwich and G l o u c e s t e r r i o t e r s . I f f u r t h e r c o n f i r m a t i o n of the value of s w i f t a c t i o n a g a i n s t mobs be r e q u i r e d , one need only observe, on the one hand, the e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n s taken by the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s a g a i n s t hunger r i o t e r s i n 1756-57 i n circumstances p o t e n t i a l l y much more dangerous than those of the summer of 1766, and the r e s u l t s of the b e l a t e d c o - o p e r a t i o n between the m a g i s t r a t e s , the army, and M i n i s -t r y , which o c c u r r e d when the gentry became t e r r i f i e d by the extent of the d i s o r d e r s a f t e r the t h i r d week i n September, 1766, on the other. Gentry-magistrates i n 1766, however, d i d more than j u s t t o l e r a t e the i n i t i a l d i s o r d e r s . Some gentry encouraged the d i s t r e s s e d poor to r e g u l a t e markets f o r themselves and c o n t r o l the a c t i v i t i e s of middlemen, who were l i t t l e impeded by the e r r a t i c enforcement of the o l d Tudor and S t u a r t s t a t u t e s f o r the p r o t e c t i o n of consumers. Witnesses at S t r o u d i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e r e p o r t e d t h a t on September 19 r i o t e r s t h reatened to p u l l down Timothy Ratten's m i l l and d e c l a r e d t h a t they had a l l the gentlemen on t h e i r s i d e and t h a t the E a r l of Berkeley had given them three g u i n e a s . 1 1 One l e a d e r of the " r e g u l a t o r s " i n Norwich market c r i e d : "Damn them, I have an order from the Gentlemen to serve them 12 a l l a l i k e and make no e x c e p t i o n of none." Other gentry ^ T r e a s u r y S o l i c i t o r ' s Papers, T . S . l l / 5 9 5 6 / B x l l 2 8 . 12 Evidence a g a i n s t Brown, a l e a d e r of a r i o t i n the market on September 27, 1766, Norwich C i t y Record O f f i c e , Norwich, D e p o s i t i o n s , a n d Case Papers. 148 d i r e c t e d a t t e n t i o n towards the l a r g e r farmers. E a r l y i n the food p r o t e s t s i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , the gentry of the county announced t h e i r i n t e n t i o n of f o r c i n g the farmers to reduce the high p r i c e of g r a i n . The i m p l i c a t i o n of the gentry's a t t i t u d e s and a c t i o n s was t h a t the food shortage was a r t i f i -c i a l l y c o n t r i v e d f o r t h e i r own p r o f i t by middlemen and wealthy farmers, whose i n t e r e s t s were o f t e n seen to c o i n c i d e 13 by the landed i n t e r e s t . John P i t t noted the dangers of such responses: The high p r i c e of p r o v i s i o n s was f e l t by a l l w i t h t h i s d i f f e r e n c e t h a t the r i c h r e c e i v e d a r e c i p r o c a l advantage i n the advance of t h e i r incomes w h i l s t the poor had no other r e c o u r s e than i n the advance of t h e i r wages. T h e i r clamours r a i s e d to procure these were a r t f u l l y turned to the cause of the other, nay f o o l i s h l y by many who at the same time they were advantaged by the high ^. s a l e of commodities grumbled to buy at an equal p r i c e . P i t t ' s e s t i m a t i o n of the gentry's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the r i o t s c o r r o b o r a t e s the r i o t e r s ' frequent claims t h a t "the gentry are w i t h us": . . . the g e n e r a l i t y of the gentry i n the country have formed a more erroneous judgment of the present d i s -t r e s s e d times than ever the mob, th a t t h a t countenance which the mob has r e c e i v e d from many has encouraged them to the le n g t h s they have run and th a t many th a t are under sentence of death thought they were doing a meri-t o r i o u s a ct the very moment they were f o r f e i t i n g t h e i r l i v e s . 1 5 A correspondent who urged the opening of the p o r t s f o r i m p o r t a t i o n to convince the p u b l i c i n January, 1757 whether the s c a r c i t y was n a t u r a l or a r t i f i c i a l a n t i c i p a t e d the o p p o s i t i o n of f a c t o r s and r i c h farmers (Gentleman's  Magazine, XXVII [1757], 32). 14 John P i t t to Lord Hardwicke, December 20, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l . 340. I b i d . 149 P l a i n l y , the m i d d l i n g and l e s s e r landowners, who dominated the l o c a l benches, were not the only i n f l u e n t i a l members of r u r a l s o c i e t y who were anxious to d i v e r t the a t t e n t i o n of the poor towards middlemen and r i c h e r farmers. In the West Country where p r i c e s of food were high and employment s h o r t , c l o t h i e r s wished to prevent a r e p e t i t i o n of the a g i t a t i o n of c l o t h workers f o r h i g h e r wages and bet-t e r working c o n d i t i o n s which had l e d to s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s i n 16 the 1750's. Employers, correspondents a s s e r t e d , caused l a b o u r e r s d i s c o n t e n t e d w i t h s c a r c e work and dear p r o v i s i o n s to s t a r t the f i r s t r i o t s "by recommending a h i n t i n the newspapers" and "every alderman, common councilman, shoe-17 maker and shopkeeper j o i n e d i n t h i s encouragement." G e n t l e m e n - c l o t h i e r s and others of the c a p i t a l i s t manufactur-in g i n t e r e s t s s a t on the bench a l o n g s i d e the landowners i n the c l o t h i n g c o u n t i e s and e x h i b i t e d s i m i l a r l y e q u i v o c a l responses to the food r i o t s of 1766. I n e v i t a b l y , the a t t i t u d e of the r u r a l l e a d e r s stimu-l a t e d v i o l e n c e by i n c r e a s i n g the e x a s p e r a t i o n of the d i s p o s -sessed w i t h the authors of an apparently a r t i f i c i a l food shortage, and i n the process f o c u s s e d the r i o t e r s ' h o s t i l i t y on middlemen and l a r g e r farmers. In r e l a t i v e l y u n s o p h i s t i -16 V i c t o r i a County H i s t o r y , W i l t s h i r e , IV, 64 et seq. 17 John P i t t to Hardwicke, December 21, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 341. 150 cated, a g r a r i a n s o c i e t i e s the i l l - e d u c a t e d poor f r e q u e n t l y a t t r i b u t e n a t u r a l shortages of food to d i v i n e r e t r i b u t i o n and s t o i c a l l y endure them. When shortages appear a r t i f i c i a l they d i r e c t t h e i r anger a g a i n s t those h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r 18 t h e i r d i s t r e s s . In September, 1766, the a u t h o r i t i e s p l a i n l y i n d i c a t e d to the poor t h a t middlemen and l a r g e farmers were c r e a t i n g an a r t i f i c i a l shortage, when they promised to f o r c e farmers to lower p r i c e s , encouraged the enforced s a l e of p r o v i s i o n s at " j u s t " p r i c e s , and formed a s s o c i a t i o n s of gentlemen to prosecute f o r e s t a l l e r s , engros-s e r s , and r e g r a t o r s i n conformity with the government's pro-clamation of the o l d p a t e r n a l s t a t u t e s . To a p p r e c i a t e f u l l y the unusual c h a r a c t e r of the r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s ' responses to the i n i t i a l d i s o r d e r s of the l a t e summer of 1766, one must take i n t o account the t r a d i -t i o n a l a t t i t u d e s of the gen t r y - m a g i s t r a t e s and landowners towards r i o t s g e n e r a l l y . Whig p o l i t i c i a n s , w h i l e not wel-coming c i v i l commotion, f r e q u e n t l y regarded minor m e t r o p o l i -tan d i s o r d e r s as r e l a t i v e l y innocuous s a f e t y - v a l v e s f o r the su r p l u s energies of the populace. An anonymous c o n t r i b u t o r to the St. James's C h r o n i c l e expressed t h i s t y p i c a l view: 18 Edmund Burke warned of the danger of implying t h a t c o n d i t i o n s of s c a r c i t y were not i n e v i t a b l e . He b e l i e v e d t h a t dangerous r i o t s were p o s s i b l e i f the poor came to b e l i e v e "man's i n g e n u i t y could improve t h i n g s . " He a s s e r t e d t h a t the government i n 1767 had r a i s e d the hopes of the d i s -t r e s s e d poor without doing anything i n the s p r i n g and summer of t h a t year ( P a r l i a m e n t a r y H i s t o r y of England [1765-1771], XVI [London: Longmans, 1813], 390). 151 My dear countrymen may proceed i n t h e i r d i v i s i o n s and q u a r r e l s . They are never more amiable i n my s i g h t when they have r o l l e d each other i n the kennel. No music more sweet than the c r a s h i n g of windows; and when they are of as many co l o u r s as a p a i n t e d Indian, when they are beaten black and b l u e , and yellow, when t h e i r noses stream w i t h blood, and they have not an eye to see w i t h , why they are brave boys, hearts of oak, and b o l d B r i t o n s . And thus much i s w e l l i n p l a y . But l e t them proceed no f u r t h e r . L e t them not i n s u l t the m a g i s t r a t e , nor o b s t r u c t the execution of the laws. S t r u g g l e s a g a i n s t the laws are the c o n v u l s i o n s of e x p i r i n g l i b e r t y . I f ever we are r e b e l s , we s h a l l soon become slaves.1" On o c c a s i o n m a g i s t r a t e s themselves headed mobs i n an age of inadequate p o l i c i n g . J u s t i c e s organized a t t a c k s on P a p i s t s , D i s s e n t e r s , and Methodists i n defence of the e s t a b l i s h e d church or the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l order i n the eighteenth 20 century. In times of s e r i o u s d i s t u r b a n c e , the m a g i s t r a t e s f i r s t formed a s s o c i a t i o n s of gentry who c o l l e c t e d with t h e i r s ervants and suppressed the mobs. In doing t h i s , they were i n e f f e c t c a l l i n g out the "power of the county" as p r o v i d e d under Common Law. Often the r u r a l l e a d e r s regarded the posse comitatus as s c a r c e l y more than a l o y a l mob. Thus, the Marquis of Rockingham as Lord L i e u t e n a n t of the West R i d i n g urged t h a t l i e u t e n a n t s of counties should not tamely y i e l d up m i l i t i a l i s t s to angry mobs i n 1757, and advocated the c r e a t i o n of a c o u n t e r f o r c e : " . . . they should arm the townspeople and have a strong mob i n r e a d i n e s s to oppose to ^St. James's C h r o n i c l e , May 12-14, 1768. 20 Thompson, The Making of the E n g l i s h Working C l a s s , p. 74. 152 21 any mob which should dare to at t a c k them." The pre f e r e n c e of the gentry and a r i s t o c r a c y f o r " l o y a l mobs" r a t h e r than more e f f i c i e n t army u n i t s r e f l e c t e d the t r a d i t i o n a l s u s p i -c i o n of standing armies. Many of the r u l i n g orders saw t h e i r a b i l i t y to r a i s e mobs as an e f f e c t i v e counterbalance to the t h r e a t of m i l i t a r y despotism. Most were w i l l i n g to r i s k the o c c a s i o n a l dangers and inconveniences of too l i t t l e p o l i c e s u p e r v i s i o n of the populace i n order to prevent a r e t u r n to S t u a r t or Cromwellian c e n t r a l i s m or the e s t a b l i s h -ment of a Bourbon s t y l e of despotism. P u b l i c l y , men l i k e the Duke of Newcastle d e c l a r e d t h e i r a f f e c t i o n f o r the mob, and acknowledged t h e i r debt to i t : "I love a mob. I headed a mob once myself. We owe the Hanoverian s u c c e s s i o n to a 22 mob." To such men, the o p p o r t u n i t y to r a i s e a mob was the l a s t b a r r i e r to p r o t e c t p r o p e r t y and p r i v i l e g e . The care of the War O f f i c e always to make c l e a r the s u b o r d i n a t i o n of the troops to c i v i l a u t h o r i t y , however, r e a s s u r e d many who 23 f e a r e d too gre a t dependence on the army. The growing s c a l e of s o c i a l p r o t e s t s i n the l a t e e i g h t e e n t h century f i n -a l l y d i s p e l l e d any l i n g e r i n g doubts about the use of m i l i t a r y 21 Rockingham to Newcastle, September, 1757, Rocking-ham MSS, Rl-105. ^^Westminster J o u r n a l and London P o l i t i c a l M i s c e l -l a n y , June 11, 1768. 23 See i n s t r u c t i o n s to army commanders to a s s i s t m a g i s t r a t e s suppress d i s o r d e r s (Marching Orders, W05-54, passim.) 153 f o r c e and encouraged the acceptance of a r e g u l a r p o l i c e 24 system. I f the gentry and a r i s t o c r a c y were somewhat i n d u l -gent towards m e t r o p o l i t a n p o l i t i c a l r i o t e r s b efore the 1760's, and on occasions organized " b u l l y boys" to break up ' Methodist open-air meetings i n r u r a l p a r i s h e s , they were more s e n s i t i v e to s o c i a l p r o t e s t s i n the c o u n t r y s i d e . Few landowners remained i n d i f f e r e n t when s e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s approached t h e i r e s t a t e s . Unrest i n the c o u n t r y s i d e t h r e a t -ened a l l they p r i z e d most. The d i s t i n c t l y l a b o u r i n g - c l a s s c h a r a c t e r of the p r o v i n c i a l r i o t e r s had l e v e l l i n g i m p l i c a -t i o n s f o r the p r i v i l e g e d landed i n t e r e s t . Might not a mob of l a n d l e s s l a b o u r e r s r e a d i l y t u r n from r e g u l a t i n g markets or d e s t r o y i n g houses of i n d u s t r y to c o r r e c t more profound economic and s o c i a l anomalies? In a century when i n d u s t r i a l workers were i n s c a t t e r e d pockets throughout r u r a l England, gentry r e c o g n i z e d the dangers of c l a s s antagonisms p o l a r i z e d over i n d u s t r i a l d i s p u t e s . However pleased they might have been by the embarrassment of the s o c i a l l y ambitious indus-t r i a l i s t s , m a g i s t r a t e s promptly suppressed r i o t o u s workers. 24 " I t i s c e r t a i n l y necessary to encourage the C i v i l M a g i s t r a t e s , and support t h i s A u t h o r i t y ; f o r i f that i s not done, we must e i t h e r be governed by a mad, l a w l e s s mob, or the peace be preserved, only by m i l i t a r y f o r c e " (Newcastle to Rockingham, May 13, 1768, Rockingham MSS, Rl-1052). See a l s o Newcastle to M a n s f i e l d , May 13, 1768, Add. MSS, 32990. 154 While p a t e r n a l i s m dominated the f e e l i n g s of the landowners towards the a g r a r i a n poor, and the m a g i s t r a t e s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e i r a c t i o n s i n times of d i s t r e s s the a t t i -tudes of the landed i n t e r e s t , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the poor and the landowners always presumed a proper deference of the one towards the other. The gentry found d i s q u i e t e n -i n g such l e v e l l i n g c r i e s as those of the p r o t e s t e r s a g a i n s t the new houses of i n d u s t r y of East A n g l i a i n 1765-66 t h a t 25 the ground was as f r e e f o r them as f o r the m a g i s t r a t e s . Witnesses always noted such unwelcome a s s e r t i o n s and duly r e p o r t e d them to the a u t h o r i t i e s , whether they were u t t e r e d by poor law demonstrators, hunger r i o t e r s , coalheavers, or W i l k i t e mobs. Thus, the r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s were w e l l aware t h a t once d i s t u r b a n c e s developed, r i o t e r s had a most i n c o n -v e n i e n t h a b i t of remembering a v a r i e t y of l o n g - s t a n d i n g g r i e v a n c e s . The u l t i m a t e crime, to the p r i v i l e g e d landed i n t e r e s t s , was to t h r e a t e n the s o c i a l order, f o r they s t i l l s u b s c r i b e d to the creed of t h e i r Tudor ancestors: " . . . Take but degree away,/Untune the s t r i n g , and hark what d i s -26 cord f o l l o w s . " S o c i a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are evident, too, i n the response of the middle and upper c l a s s e s to the government's 25 Marching Orders, W05-54, pp. 53-58 and passim. ^ W i l l i a m Shakespeare, T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , i n The  K i t t r e d g e - P l a y e r s E d i t i o n of the Complete Works of W i l l i a m  Shakespeare, ecL by George Lyman K i t t r e d g e (New York: G r o l i e r , 1958), p. 888. 155 han d l i n g of r i o t s . P o l i t i c a l f a c t i o n s made l i t t l e attempt to c r e a t e c a p i t a l from the government's methods of suppress-in g hunger and i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s i n the 1760's. Only George G r e n v i l l e , s t i l l smarting from the l o s s of o f f i c e and the r e j e c t i o n of h i s economic p o l i c y f o r America, sought to cen-27 sure the Chatham-Grafton M i n i s t r y i n November, 1766. Even then, h i s a t t a c k was upon t h e i r l a c k of f o r e s i g h t and the i l l e g a l i t y of t h e i r suspension of g r a i n exports by O r d e r - i n -C o u n c i l , r a t h e r than upon the employment of ex c e s s i v e f o r c e . S i m i l a r l y there was l i t t l e p o l i t i c a l response to the govern-ment's hand l i n g of the s e v e r a l p r e - i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s of the weavers, seamen, coalheavers, and others i n the s p r i n g and summer of 1768. Far d i f f e r e n t was the d e n u n c i a t i o n of m i l i -t a r y b r u t a l i t y which f o l l o w e d the p o l i t i c a l r i o t s centred around the person and causes of John Wilkes, l a t e r i n the same year. The d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e of the a u t h o r i t i e s them-s e l v e s towards a g r a r i a n and p r e - i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s on the one hand, and p o l i t i c a l d i s o r d e r s on the other, i s apparent from a study of the sentences given the r e s p e c t i v e sets of r i o t e r s : c a p i t a l punishment and lengthy p r i s o n sentences f o r the one, compared wi t h s h o r t terms of imprisonment or Q Q f i n e s f o r the>other. M i l i t a r y suppression of r i o t s w i t h obvious c l a s s i m p l i c a t i o n s might be severe without p u b l i c 27 Mr. G r e n v i l l e to E a r l Temple, November 18, 1766, G r e n v i l l e Papers, I I I , 341-43. Q Q Rude, Wilkes- and L i b e r t y , Appendices I I I - V . 156 o u t c r y i n the press or Pa r l i a m e n t ; but p o l i t i c a l d i s o r d e r s which crossed c l a s s l i n e s generated b i t t e r c r i t i c i s m of m i l i t a r y b r u t a l i t y . A p parently the a r t i c u l a t e upper and mi d d l i n g s o r t s d i s t i n g u i s h e d between two c a t e g o r i e s of r i o t : r u r a l and urban r i o t s which had obvious c l a s s connotations, and p o l i t i c a l r i o t s which d i d not. (This of course does not deny t h a t e s p e c i a l l y i n the M e t r o p o l i s the d i s t i n c t i o n s between c a t e g o r i e s were o f t e n b l u r r e d . ) In the case of the p r o v i n c i a l hunger and m e t r o p o l i t a n p r e - i n d u s t r i a l r i o t s most gentry could agree w i t h the pamphleteer who noted: D i s t r e s s f u r n i s h e s an apology f o r v i o l e n c e ; the l e v e l -l i n g p r i n c i p l e begins to operate, and the chain i s broken which connects the h i g h e r ranks w i t h the lowest. S u b o r d i n a t i o n i s l o s t , and he [the l a b o u r e r ] regards the l a n d l o r d and farmer as opp r e s s i v e t y r a n t s . 2 9 R u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s were w i t h reason s e n s i t i v e to t h r e a t s of l a r g e - s c a l e d i s o r d e r s i n an age when v i o l e n c e was a normal i n g r e d i e n t of d a i l y l i f e and no e f f e c t i v e p o l i c e f o r c e e x i s t e d . Most cases heard by j u s t i c e s concerned com-mon a s s a u l t . P r e v e n t i o n of g e n e r a l anarchy i n times of d i s -t r e s s r e q u i r e d of l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s c o n s i d e r a b l e courage and i n t e l l i g e n t f o r e s i g h t . M a g i s t r a t e s were g r e a t l y concerned about s o c i a l and economic c o n d i t i o n s which c r e a t e d unusual s t r e s s i n r u r a l s o c i e t y . They were o f t e n w i l l i n g to forego t h e i r own immediate economic advantage when the prospect of C o n s i d e r a t i o n s on the E x p o r t a t i o n of Corn, p. 56. 157 30 a famine r e q u i r e d i t . M a g i s t r a t e s normally attempted to a n t i c i p a t e s t r e s s - c a u s i n g s i t u a t i o n s . But by the 1760's th e r e was a great d e a l of confu-s i o n and u n c e r t a i n t y among the r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s about the e f f i c a c y of much of the p a t e r n a l l e g i s l a t i o n such as the s t a t u t e s d e a l i n g with wages, a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , and the v a r i e t y of o f f e n c e s by engrossing middlemen and farmers which were designed i n s i m p l e r times to preserve the poor from economic 31 d i s a s t e r . In the f i r s t h a l f of the century food p r i c e s were low and the c o n d i t i o n s of the poor were improving. The r e s t r i c t i o n s on f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g had ceased to be enforced except i n r a r e c r i s i s years. In t h i s p e r i o d middlemen entrenched themselves i n the i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d economy. Only a f t e r the mid-century d i d a t t e n t i o n centre on t h e i r f u n c t i o n s and p r e s s u r e grow f o r the r e i m p o s i t i o n of c o n t r o l s . But the f e a r of l o s s of revenue to more l i b e r a l , r i v a l markets ensured t h a t c l e r k s of markets continued to i g n o r e the o l d r e s t r i c t i o n s a g a i n s t 32 middlemen-, d e s p i t e t h e i r mounting u n p o p u l a r i t y . A f t e r 1757 m a g i s t r a t e s across the country f o l l o w e d the example of t h e i r b r o t h e r m a g i s t r a t e s i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e 30 Rose, "Eighteenth Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England." 31 See Chapter I I above. 32 R. Wright, Town C l e r k of Warwick, to the R i g h t Honourable, the E a r l of Abercorn, March 9, 1765, Committee  on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 158 and r e f u s e d to f i x the wages of the i n d u s t r i o u s poor. The p r a c t i c e o f " s e t t i n g the a s s i z e of bread i n r u r a l England was a l s o i n the process of abandonment, although the pace of change was slower than was the case f o r the system of f i x i n g wages, and bread a s s i z e s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n urban centres con-34 t i n u e d i n t o the next century. Depression of i n d u s t r y at a time of high food p r i c e s soon a f t e r the Seven Years' War on the one hand, and the p r a c t i c e of l a i s s e z - f a i r e towards the poor, i n c r e a s e d the numbers thrown onto r e l i e f and s t r a i n e d p a r i s h r e s o u r c e s . In such areas as East A n g l i a the m a g i s t r a t e s sought to r a t i o n a l i z e the system of r e l i e f and reduce costs by C h r i s t o p h e r H i l l , Reformation to I n d u s t r i a l Revo-l u t i o n ; The Making of Modern E n g l i s h S o c i e t y , 1530-1780, I (New York: Random House, 1967), 220. 34 Country m a g i s t r a t e s r a r e l y set the a s s i z e at a l l . I t was assumed r u r a l households baked t h e i r own bread. The Webbs c i t e a correspondent of the London C h r o n i c l e (Decem-ber 24, 1761) who p e t i t i o n e d the House " i n the name of the many thousand r u r a l housekeepers i n England . . . f o r some law r e s p e c t i n g the bakers i n the country, who are now almost unregulated" (S. and B. Webb, "The A s s i z e of Bread"). The a s s i z e of bread was a "source of constant f r i c t i o n i n the e i g h t e e n t h century. I t was abandoned i n the m e t r o p o l i s i n 1815 and i n the r e s t of the country i n 1836." The c h i e f problems were t h r e e f o l d : (1) Bakers d i d not purchase on the same b a s i s across the country, e.g., London bakers bought f l o u r not corn, other bakers bought corn and had i t ground. P r i c e s of f l o u r d i d not vary d i r e c t l y with those of corn. (2) Corn and f l o u r p r i c e s f l u c t u a t e d , making i t d i f f i c u l t f o r m a g i s t r a t e s to keep the a s s i z e up to date. (3) E r r o r s i n a s s i z e p r i c e s could s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t s u p p l i e s , e.g., too low p r i c e s would discourage imports, say, i n t o London (Observations and Examples to A s s i s t M a g i s t r a t e s i n S e t t i n g  the A s s i z e of Bread Made of Wheat under the S t a t u t e of the  31st George I I |anonymous pamphlet, London, 1759J, pp. v i i i et seq.~~ 159 e s t a b l i s h i n g houses of i n d u s t r y to s h e l t e r the poor of sev-e r a l p a r i s h e s . The immediate r e s u l t of attempting to send the poor from t h e i r home p a r i s h e s to o b t a i n i n d o o r r e l i e f was i n c r e a s e d unrest among the i n d i g e n t who claimed the r i g h t to support i n t h e i r n a t i v e p a r i s h e s , and r i o t o u s a t t a c k s on the i n s t i t u t i o n s . D e s p i t e the t r e n d away from p a t e r n a l i s m , m a g i s t r a t e s i n times of severe economic c r i s i s r e v e r t e d to r e g u l a t i o n s a p p r o p r i a t e to a l e s s s o p h i s t i c a t e d economy. They were slow to accept the i n c r e a s i n g l y popular theory t h a t the "neces-s a r i e s of the poor" should form merely another system of trade i n which the laws of supply and demand operated, and 35 u n l i m i t e d p r o f i t - t a k i n g was a c c e p t a b l e . The p r i n c i p l e s of the o l d e r "moral economy" and the mediaeval concept of the " j u s t " p r i c e l i n g e r e d i n the minds of both the m a g i s t r a t e s and the p o o r . 3 ^ The n a t u r a l i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r p r i v i l e g e d s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n d i c t a t e d t h a t g e n t r y - m a g i s t r a t e s be v i g i -l a n t a g a i n s t a l l d i s o r d e r s . The t h r e a t of presentment before the judges of a s s i z e f o r n e g l e c t of t h e i r d u t i e s was 35 S i r John F i e l d i n g to Lord Abercorn, February 5, 1765, Committee on High P r i c e s of P r o v i s i o n s . 36 Thompson, The Making of the E n g l i s h Working C l a s s , p. 68 and passim. R. B. Rose ("Eighteenth Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England") r e l a t e s the p r i c e -f i x i n g r i o t to the mediaeval d o c t r i n e of a " j u s t p r i c e . " See a l s o E. P. Thompson, "The Moral Economy of the E n g l i s h Crowd i n the E i g h t e e n t h Century," Past and P r e s e n t , No. 50 (February, 1971), pp. 76-136. hardly necessary to persuade them to honour t h e i r o b l i g a -t i o n s f o r r u r a l peace. Fear of revenge at the hands of the r i o t e r s o c c a s i o n a l l y i n h i b i t e d the conduct of the more t i m i d , i s o l a t e d j u s t i c e s , who were acutely aware of t h e i r v u l n e r a b i l i t y to c a t t l e maiming, r i c k - b u r n i n g , and even a s s a u l t s on t h e i r homes and persons. But there were few occasions when r u r a l benches p e t i t i o n e d the Lord Chancellor f o r the removal from the Commission of the Peace of one of t h e i r brothers on the grounds of negligence. S e l f - i n t e r e s t , blended w i t h considerations of s o c i a l p r e s t i g e which accom-panied the appointment to the county bench, was s u f f i c i e n t i n c e n t i v e f o r the overwhelming m a j o r i t y to perform t h e i r d u t i e s adequately where other pressures f a i l e d . The t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e of gentry-magistrates towards r u r a l d i s o r d e r s , then, may be summarized as one of extreme s e n s i t i v i t y . Because they feared such threats to the s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e , they acted to avert the conditions 37 l i k e l y to s t i m u l a t e v i o l e n t p r o t e s t s . A s s o c i a t i o n s of gentlemen: provided s u b s i d i z e d g r a i n f o r the poor; p e t i -t i o n e d Parliament f o r c o n t r o l of g r a i n exports, g r a i n d i s -38 t i l l i n g , and s t a r c h making; and prosecuted i n d i v i d u a l s f o r 37 The 1760's saw the l a s t sustained e f f o r t by r u r a l a u t h o r i t i e s to apply the outmoded r e g u l a t i o n s of the Tudor and S t u a r t era i n the face of economic r e a l i t y . 3 8 The d i s t i l l i n g and starch-making i n d u s t r i e s were p a r t i c u l a r l y provocative to the poor i n times of s c a r c i t y because they produced luxury goods at the expense of the food supply. 161 contravention of the s t a t u t e s against engrossing, f o r e s t a l l -i n g and r e g r a t i n g . When, des p i t e t h e i r e f f o r t s , outbreaks occurred, magistrates moved promptly to suppress them, e i t h e r w i t h l o c a l f orces or w i t h r e g u l a r troops. Why, then, d i d the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s i n r u r a l areas go against a l l precedent i n the l a t e summer of 1766, and not only permit di s o r d e r s to develop, but a c t u a l l y encourage the populace to take the law i n t o t h e i r own hands to regulate markets and enforce " j u s t " p r i c e s ? I I One p o s s i b l e explanation f o r the equivocal response of the gentry i s that they g e n e r a l l y misunderstood the nature of the food shortage and genuinely b e l i e v e d i t was due to the act i o n s of monopolizing farmers and sp e c u l a t i n g g r a i n d e a l e r s . C e r t a i n l y , t h e i r unsympathetic a t t i t u d e to these i n t e r e s t s was c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p u b l i c antipathy towards l a r g e farmers and middlemen which was very evident a f t e r the mid-century. Both the newspapers and the actions of the government encouraged the view that the developing c r i s i s was due to an a r t i f i c i a l r a t h e r than a n a t u r a l shortage of g r a i n . In J u l y and August, 1766, press estimates of the harvest prospects were mixed, but the ma j o r i t y promised heavy crops, which l a t e r encouraged the popular b e l i e f that the poor were s t a r v i n g i n the midst of plenty. The a c t i o n 162 of the M i n i s t r y i n p r o c l a i m i n g the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g suggested s t r o n g l y t h a t the c u l p r i t s were the l a r g e r farmers and middlemen. Continued heavy shipments of g r a i n to the p o r t s a f t e r the ending of the six-months' embargo on g r a i n exports encour-aged the view t h a t these two i n t e r e s t s were making high pro-f i t s at the c o s t of d r a i n i n g the country of g r a i n . Rumours t r a n s m i t t e d through the market p l a c e s d i s t o r t e d the t r u t h f u r t h e r and caused the poor to panic at the prospect of an o u t r i g h t famine. In such circumstances, the gentry must have found i t easy to a s s o c i a t e themselves w i t h the poor i n t h e i r resentment of the l a r g e r farmers and middlemen of the p r o v i s i o n s t r a d e . But country gentlemen were not as e a s i l y m i s l e d about the t r u e q u a l i t y of the growing crops as were the "spruce Londoners" who r e p o r t e d on t h e i r journeys through the c o u n t r y s i d e and estimated harvest y i e l d s without, c r i t i c s s a i d , being able to d i s t i n g u i s h between wheat and 39 b a r l e y . Country-bred landowners were q u i t e able to recog-n i z e t h a t the l a r g e r ears of growing corn were the i n e v i t -able r e s u l t of a hot August f o l l o w i n g hard upon a very wet, e a r l y growing season, and t h a t they promised a l i g h t - w e i g h t , coarse g r a i n i n a year when a b e t t e r than average crop was e s s e n t i a l i f a food c r i s i s was to be averted. Almost 3 9 o yGentleman's Magazine, XXVIII (1758), 565. 163 c e r t a i n l y , even those gentry l i v i n g o u t s i d e the heavy corn-growing areas of Southern England l e a r n e d of the t r u e pros-pects of the h a r v e s t through the normal channels of communi-c a t i o n of t h e i r c l a s s : the race meeting, the hunt b a l l , or some other county f u n c t i o n . Such accurate i n f o r m a t i o n would e v e n t u a l l y have reached even the l e s s e r p a r i s h gentry. I t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t many of the gentry i n September, 1766 thought t h a t the food shortage was a r t i f i c i a l . Probably many ma g i s t r a t e s r e a l i z e d the danger that some unscrupulous businessmen might p r o f i t from a n a t u r a l shortage and i n the process aggravate the e x i s t i n g c r i s i s , and they, t h e r e f o r e , attempted to enforce r i g o r o u s l y the p r a c t i c a l l y defunct anti-middlemen s t a t u t e s . But such moderate and p r o v i d e n t a c t i o n s f e l l f a r s h o r t of the p a r t i s a n s h i p most of the county l e a d e r s d i s p l a y e d towards the l a r g e farmers and middlemen. A more c o n v i n c i n g e x p l a n a t i o n must be sought beyond the c i r -cumstances of the r i o t s themselves. I t r e c o g n i z e s not only the s o c i a l t e n s i o n s w i t h i n the landed i n t e r e s t i t s e l f , but the e f f e c t on the r u r a l l e a d e r s of an outburst of c l a s s con-f l i c t which occ u r r e d i n 1756-57. Some knowledge of the experiences of the gentry-m a g i s t r a t e s l e s s than a decade e a r l i e r , during another per-i o d of popular unrest, i s e s s e n t i a l to the understanding of t h e i r a c t i o n s i n 1766. S e r i o u s d i s o r d e r s centred around the implementation of a new M i l i t i a Act i n 1757. Disturbances were most dangerous i n the e a s t e r n h a l f of England, 164 p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the v i c i n i t y of the Humber. Although the most d i s a f f e c t e d r e g i o n i n 1757, the East R i d i n g , was calm i n 1766, s e v e r a l counties such as L i n c o l n s h i r e , Nottingham-s h i r e , D e r b y s h i r e , H e r t f o r d s h i r e , Northamptonshire, and 40 N o r f o l k experienced s e r i o u s r i o t s i n both years. Even i n c o u n t i e s where the farmers and t h e i r l a b o u r e r s d i d not v i o -l e n t l y p r o t e s t the M i l i t i a Act, such as G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , the r u r a l l e a d e r s were w e l l aware of the t h r e a t of s e r i o u s d i s -turbances and took pains to a d v e r t i s e i n l o c a l newspapers to q u i e t e n popular resentment: "The Good People of England" had misunderstood the M i l i t i a Act; none were to be f o r c e d to t r a v e l more than s i x miles f o r e x e r c i s e ; none were to be sent out of the county u n l e s s t h e r e was imminent danger of i n v a s i o n or open r e b e l l i o n ; none would go out of the kingdom or serve l o n g e r than three years, during which time they would be exempt from s t a t u t e work, s e r v i c e as peace o f f i c e r s or i n the army; a f t e r a c t u a l s e r v i c e they were to be e n t i t l e d to s e t up i n t r a d e . 4 1 The G l o u c e s t e r Journal, quoted from an "Admonition to the M i l i t i a m e n of N o r f o l k " which promised t h a t p e r s o n a l hardships caused by m i l i t i a s e r v i c e would be 42 r e l i e v e d by the j u s t i c e s of the peace. 40 Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the E i g h t e e n t h  Century, pp. 291-94. 4 l G l o u c e s t e r J o u r n a l , September 6, 1757. 42 I b i d . , November 8, 1757. 165 The major concern of the poor i n 1757 was enforced s e r v i c e abroad. Although the m i l i t i a was t r a d i t i o n a l l y a t e r r i t o r i a l defence f o r c e , the a u t h o r i t i e s had f o r c e d the Somerset and Dorset b a t t a l i o n s to embark f o r America i n the 43 previous year. T h i s a c t i o n had caused widespread r e s e n t -ment among the poor, and they a n t i c i p a t e d an ext e n s i o n of compulsory r e c r u i t m e n t f o r overseas s e r v i c e i n 1757 as a r e s u l t of the new M i l i t i a A c t . A common cry of the r i o t e r s was " b e t t e r to be hanged at home than s c a l p e d i n America." Less emotional but s c a r c e l y l e s s s e r i o u s o b j e c t i o n s concerned the pay of m i l i t i a m e n on a c t i v e s e r v i c e , and the support of t h e i r dependents. The h o s t i l i t y of the poor was a l l the more menacing to the r u l i n g c l a s s e s when i t was com-plemented by m i d d l e - c l a s s anger at growing p a r i s h expendi-t u r e , the weight of which f e l l d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y on the shoulders of the r u r a l m i d d l i n g s o r t : "Which of you b u n t i n -a r s ' d coated f e l l o w s w i l l m a i n t a i n h i s [labourer's.] f a m i l y ? " J . R. Western, the h i s t o r i a n of the eig h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y Eng-l i s h m i l i t i a , notes t h a t one l e t t e r of p r o t e s t to the L i n c o l n s h i r e m a g i s t r a t e s reads l i k e a " m i d d l e - c l a s s mani-f e s t o " : I f the J u s t - a s s e s and the other s t a r t up o f f i c e r s t h a t buys a commission f o r a t r i f l e and s e l l s h i s Nation to make h i s f o r t u n e when he comes abroad, and throws thou-sands of poor men's l i v e s away about i t , such men as those sho'd behave w e l l to t h e i r tenants at home. Then Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the Ei g h t e e n t h  Century, p. 298. 166 they would have the countreys g o o d w i l l , f o r ' t i s the farmers t h a t maintains both the poor and such as they too . . . .44 The new M i l i t i a A c t angered the farmers because i t t h r e a t -ened h e a v i e r p a r i s h r a t e s at a time when high food p r i c e s i n c r e a s e d the number of poor on r e l i e f and farm income was 45 down without any corresponding r e d u c t i o n i n r e n t s . In 1757 the new M i l i t i a Act s t i r r e d b i t t e r c l a s s f e e l i n g s i n the c o u n t r y s i d e . Mobs of l a b o u r e r s l e d by farmers a t t a c k e d both gentry and peers as they sought to destro y the m i l i t i a l i s t s . At Buckrose, i n the East R i d i n g of Y o r k s h i r e , a l a r g e body of farmers and country people "out of f o r t y townships i n the Wapentake of Buckrose . . . arm'd wi t h guns, scythes, and clubs rose on account of the m i l i t i a a c t " which they claimed "was a great hardship upon the country, by compelling the poorer s o r t of people to con-t r i b u t e e q u a l l y w i t h the r i c h . . . ."46 Another t y p i c a l i n c i d e n t o c c u r r e d at M a n s f i e l d , Nottinghamshire, where a mob of f i v e hundred took l i s t s from an assembly of gentlemen and "none of the gentlemen . . . escaped without r e c e i v i n g marks 47 of t h e i r resentment." One mob broke Lord Vere B e r t i e ' s windows and planned to go to the L i n c o l n races to attack the 4 4 I b i d . , p. 300. 4 5 I b i d . , p. 299. 4 6Gentleman's Magazine, XXVII (1757), 431. 47 G l o u c e s t e r J o u r n a l , September 20, 1757. 167 n o b i l i t y , whom they blamed f o r the M i l i t i a A c t . A s i m i l a r 48 i n c i d e n t o c c u r r e d at Northampton. The unusual combination of farmers and a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r e r s a g a i n s t the landed i n t e r e s t presented a dangerous s o c i a l t h r e a t to the p r i v i -l e g e d l e a d e r s of r u r a l s o c i e t y i n 1757. Dark murmurings t h a t the gentry had enjoyed t h e i r broad acres f o r too long i n d i c a t e d the tendency of r i o t s p r e c i p i t a t e d by s p e c i f i c g rievances to expand to i n c l u d e l a r g e r s o c i a l i s s u e s . Iso-' l a t e d on t h e i r country e s t a t e s , the landowners f e l t the hot brea t h of s o c i a l r e v o l u t i o n . Food s c a r c i t y and hig h p r i c e s c r e a t e d a background of d i s c o n t e n t a g a i n s t which the r i o t s over the M i l i t i a A c t occurre d . R i o t s , p r e c i p i t a t e d by the f o r m u l a t i o n of l i s t s of men to serve i n the m i l i t i a , o f t e n s p i l l e d over i n t o attempts to r e g u l a t e markets by f o r c e . The a u t h o r i t i e s i n Y o r k s h i r e proposed r e s t r i c t i o n s on g r a i n exports to p l a c a t e 4 9 mobs p r o t e s t i n g the M i l i t i a A c t . The connection of m i l i -t i a and food r i o t s i n 1757 had important i m p l i c a t i o n s l e s s than a decade l a t e r . Sporadic r i o t s a g a i n s t the m i l i t i a r e g u l a t i o n s continued i n t o the 1760's, n o t a b l y i n Bucking-50 hamshire and Northumberland. I t i s reasonable to suppose 4 8Gentleman's Magazine, XXVII (1757), 430. . 4 9 A d d . MSS, 32875, f o l s . 285-86, 411. Western c i t e s v a r i o u s evidence to support connection of food and m i l i t i a r i o t s i n 1757 (Western, The E n g l i s h M i l i t i a i n the E i g h -t e e n t h Century, p. 300). 5 Q C a I e n d a r of Home O f f i c e Papers (1766-69), No. 1230, 168 t h a t i n 1766, when p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t high food p r i c e s began once more, the landed i n t e r e s t f e a r e d a resumption of events surrounding the m i l i t i a r i o t s of 1756-57. When the hunger r i o t s broke out i n September, 1766, the gentry were determined to avoid the s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n i n the f a c e of a h o s t i l e combination of farmers and l a b o u r e r s t h a t had t e r r i f i e d them a decade e a r l i e r . They now c u l t i -vated t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the poor a g a i n s t the corn d e a l e r and l a r g e farmers. They mi s t a k e n l y b e l i e v e d , a g a i n s t a l l t h e i r experience, t h a t d i s o r d e r s could be l i m i t e d to m i l d measures to r e g u l a t e markets and enforce " j u s t " p r i c e s . The r u l i n g c l a s s e s were d i v i d e d . The l e s s e r gentry w i t h t h e i r s m a l l e r , l e s s d i v e r s i f i e d h o l d i n g s f e l t no common cause with the g r e a t landowners, who as L o r d s - L i e u t e n a n t r e p r e s e n t e d the c e n t r a l government. They re s e n t e d the f a i l -i n gs of the n a t i o n a l government to provide s t a b l e economic and p o l i t i c a l c o n d i t i o n s f a v o u r a b l e to the s o c i a l order. Such f e e l i n g s r e i n f o r c e d the u s u a l p a r o c h i a l s u s p i c i o n s of m e t r o p o l i t a n i n t e r f e r e n c e . In the 1760's the p a r i s h gentry f e l t themselves i n a r e e l i n g world. The f i x i n g of wages by t r a d i t i o n a l methods was no l o n g e r operable. F o l l o w i n g s e r i -ous d i s t u r b a n c e s among West Country weavers i n 1756-57, the m a g i s t r a t e s of Somerset and W i l t s h i r e r e f u s e d to set the wage a s s i z e , and t h e r e a f t e r other m a g i s t r a t e s f o l l o w e d 169 51 s u i t . Machinery f o r the e s t a b l i s h i n g of p r i c e t h r e s h o l d s f o r corn bounty payments and the p r i c e s of bread was a f a i l -52 ure. The e f f e c t s of war s e r v i c e were evident i n the i n c r e a s e d taxes and d i s c o n t e n t s of the veterans of the Seven Years' War. In t h i s world of c o n f u s i o n , many r u r a l magis-t r a t e s b l i n d l y clung to o l d nostrums l i k e the anti-middlemen s t a t u t e s of Tudor and S t u a r t times. When these not only f a i l e d , but aggravated the very c r i s i s they were supposed to a l l e v i a t e , f o r a c r i t i c a l p e r i o d the r u r a l m a g i s t r a t e s a b d i -cated a u t h o r i t y to the mob. Perhaps at no time i n the century, even i n the e a r l y years when, according to the Marquis of Rockingham, probably more than h a l f of the p o p u l a t i o n were J a c o b i t e i n sympathy, 53 was there g r e a t e r danger of gen e r a l i n s u r r e c t i o n . Because of the d i s u n i t y of the r u l i n g c l a s s e s and t h e i r i s o l a t i o n from important segments of the i n d u s t r i a l , a g r i c u l t u r a l , and commercial middle c l a s s e s , the danger to the s o c i a l order f o r a b r i e f p e r i o d was perhaps g r e a t e r than i n the prolonged p e r i o d of C h a r t i s t and L u d d i t e d i s t u r b a n c e s of the next cen-t u r y . The absence of an e f f e c t i v e c i v i l p o l i c e and r a p i d communications compounded the dangers of i n s u r r e c t i o n i n the eighteen t h century. The widespread c h a r a c t e r of the 51 De L. Mann, " T e x t i l e I n d u s t r i e s S i n c e 1550." 5 2 S . and B. Webb, "The A s s i z e of Bread." Rockingham to Newcastle, May 17, 1768, Add. MSS, 32990, f o l s . 83-86. 170 a g r a r i a n r i o t s of 1766 i n the most populous b e l t of the Eng-l i s h c o u n t r y s i d e posed problems f o r the d i v i d e d a u t h o r i t i e s t h a t n e a r l y proved insurmountable. Because they d i r e c t e d the s o c i a l resentment of the poor towards the apparent authors of an a r t i f i c i a l shortage of p r o v i s i o n s - - f o o d j o b b e r s , corn f a c t o r s , bakers, and l a r g e farmers--the gentry must c a r r y a major share of the r e s p o n s i -b i l i t y f o r the spread of s e r i o u s hunger r i o t s i n the l a t e summer and autumn of 1766. T h e i r technique of d i v e r t i n g a t t e n t i o n from themselves was s u c c e s s f u l and there are no records of a t t a c k s on gentry or peers by hunger r i o t e r s i n 1766-67. The p o s s i b i l i t y of such a t t a c k s i s apparent i n the t h r e a t s c a r r i e d i n a l e t t e r forwarded to Lord Shelburne: The c o n t i n u a l dearness of p r o v i s i o n s o b l i d g e s us to l a y some p r o p o s a l before you:- On the f i r s t assembly of the Mobb the worthy g e n t n of t h i s county met and d e c l a r e d i n p u b l i c they would use some means to o b l i d g e the farmers to reduce the high p r i c e of g r a i n & we f i n d a l l i s dropt and nothing done f o r us our extreem n e c e s s i t y d e s i r e s y o u l p l e a s e to r e f e r to the c l o t h i e r s i n & about D u r s l e y and Painswick t h i s serves to advise i t i s agreed between a set of men th a t may be depended on who have taken a l i s t of the most s u b s t a n t i a l farmer tenants belonging to you and most Gentlemen of • the county unless the p r i c e s are reduced i immediately we are determined and c e r -t a i n l y w i l l take revenge by f i r i n g t h e i r houses, barns, stacks of corn etc i f you are w i l l i n g to prevent t h i s d r e a d f u l experiment l a y some i n j u n c t i o n on your tenants or by a l l t h a t s good i t s h a l l be put i n t o execution.^4 On other occasions e a r l i e r i n the century i t was not uncom-mon f o r hunger r i o t e r s to a t t a c k gentry. T h i s was the case, S t a t e Papers, SP 37/6, f o l . 7/15. 171 55 fox example, at Newcastle i n J u l y , 1740. P a r a d o x i c a l l y , at the very time the a c t i o n s of the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s stimu-l a t e d widespread v i o l e n c e which e v e n t u a l l y appeared to t h r e a t e n the s o c i a l order, they ensured t h a t a more danger-ous c o a l i t i o n of the r u r a l middlemen and m i d d l e - c l a s s farmer w i t h the l o w e r - c l a s s l a b o u r e r s a g a i n s t the landed and i n d u s -t r i a l i n t e r e s t s could not occur. The landed i n t e r e s t acted i n t h i s f a s h i o n more from i n s t i n c t s of s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n than from any c o o l l y - c o n c e i v e d p l a n . They t e m p o r a r i l y f o r -got t h e i r customary concerns f o r the dangers i n h e r e n t i n any r u r a l d i s o r d e r , u n t i l they suddenly awoke to the extent of the r i o t s , and t e r r o r at the prospect of revenge- at the hands of the d i s p o s s e s s e d drove them to co-operate w i t h the M i n i s t r y , the l a r g e a r i s t o c r a t i c landowners, the r u r a l mid-d l e c l a s s e s , and the army to r e s t o r e order. I l l To a c o n s i d e r a b l e degree the a c t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s of the M i n i s t r y i n August and September, 1766 a f f e c t e d the c h a r a c t e r of the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s ' responses to the hunger r i o t s . The government's f a i l u r e to renew the embargo on the export of g r a i n s when i t e x p i r e d on August 26 or to permit the continued i m p o r t a t i o n of d u t y - f r e e American g r a i n aggra-vated the food c r i s i s , and the proclamation of the o l d Tudor 'Gentleman's Magazine, X (1740), 355. 172 and S t u a r t s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g p r o v i d e d the m a g i s t r a t e s and the poor w i t h cred-i b l e scapegoats f o r the food c r i s i s . The r e i m p o s i t i o n of the export embargo on September 26 came too l a t e to a v e r t s e r i o u s d i s t u r b a n c e s . At the same time as t h e i r a c t i o n of p r o c l a i m i n g the o l d s t a t u t e s provoked r i o t o u s a t t a c k s on middlemen and l a r g e g r a i n farmers, who were suspected of c o n s p i r i n g to denude the country of g r a i n to make l a r g e pro-f i t s , the M i n i s t r y n e g l e c t e d to take elementary p r e c a u t i o n s to crush d i s o r d e r s . By o m i t t i n g to p l a c e the army i n Southern England on a l e r t , the War O f f i c e l e f t the most e f f e c t i v e u n i t s of r i o t c o n t r o l , the c a v a l r y , with t h e i r horses at grass i n d i s t a n t p a s t u r e s . Robbed of t h e i r m a n o e u v r a b i l i t y , the c a v a l r y f r e q u e n t l y i n the f i r s t three weeks of r i o t i n g had to march dismounted through the hot, dusty lanes to the d i s a f f e c t e d areas, a circumstance not 56 conducive to the good-humoured d i s p e r s a l of r i o t e r s . The M i n i s t r y ' s f a i l u r e to g i v e the r u r a l governing c l a s s e s l e a d e r s h i p l e f t the f o r c e s of order weak and confused. Gen-t r y and m a g i s t r a t e s f o r a w h i l e openly connived at the law-l e s s acts of the mobs; the c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t i e s took over three weeks to absorb the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the mounting v i o -l e n c e ; and the delay i n p r e s e r v i n g the stocks of food and t a k i n g r e s o l u t e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the r i o t e r s ensured t h a t when the i n e v i t a b l e s u p p r e s s i o n f o l l o w e d i t would be severe. Marching Orders, W05-54, p. 305 and passim. 173 M i n i s t e r i a l a c t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s to the a g r a r i a n d i s o r d e r s must be examined i n the l i g h t of c e r t a i n economic, s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l problems, some of which were i n h e r i t e d from e a r l i e r governments. The Chatham M i n i s t r y had b a r e l y entered upon i t s "new f r e e h o l d " i n J u l y , 1766 when i t f a c e d a food c r i s i s . As noted i n Chapter I above, the l a t e s t of s e v e r a l severe f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s , which had d i s t r e s s e d the poor s i n c e the end of the Seven Years' War, touched o f f s c a t t e r e d food r i o t s i n B e r k s h i r e and the West Country. Prolonged bad weather and the expec-t a t i o n of renewed exports of g r a i n caused a panic f e a r of o u t r i g h t famine to sweep through the markets and b r i n g the poor to demonstrate t h e i r concern. The government gained a r e s p i t e w i t h the ending of the J u l y r a i n s . A dry, sunny August r a i s e d the hopes of the populace f o r a good ha r v e s t and lower food p r i c e s f o l l o w e d . In the summer of 1765, Parl i a m e n t had passed l e g i s -l a t i o n e n a b l i n g the P r i v y C o u n c i l to suspend g r a i n shipments 57 abroad should an emergency a r i s e during the summer r e c e s s . N e i t h e r the Chatham M i n i s t r y nor the Rockingham M i n i s t r y p r o v i d e d f o r such e x i g e n c i e s i n 1766. In p a r t t h i s omission was due to co n f u s i o n about the d u r a t i o n of the emergency 5 George I I I , cap. 32. 174 58 powers granted to the C o u n c i l by P a r l i a m e n t i n 1765. But a more important reason seems to have been a f a i l u r e to a n t i c i p a t e the food c r i s i s which occurred i n September, 1766. To assume t h a t any M i n i s t r y i n the 1760's had the means to c o l l e c t and c o r r e l a t e a l l the e s s e n t i a l economic i n f o r m a t i o n necessary to determine the t r u e nature of the food c r i s i s i n September, 1766 would be unreasonable. In f a c t the i n f o r m a t i o n r e a c h i n g London was u s u a l l y fragmen-t a r y , c o n t r a d i c t o r y , and out of date. Land communications were s t i l l poor, and the bureaucracy's a b i l i t y to c o l l e c t and i n t e r p r e t s t a t i s t i c s was low. Q u a n t i t i e s of g r a i n exported i n a given p e r i o d , f o r example, were not known u n t i l the customs o f f i c e r s i n London and the outports pro-v i d e d the f i g u r e s . No s y s t e m a t i c method of compiling t a b l e s of p r i c e s i n the v a r i o u s r u r a l markets was i n f o r c e , although 59 some j o u r n a l s attempted such a p r o j e c t without success. Observers exaggerated the extent of d i s t u r b a n c e s . M i n i s t e r s l i k e Shelburne, B a r r i n g t o n , and Jenkinson had t h e i r own sources of i n f o r m a t i o n , but these were only incomplete, i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c surveys of c o n d i t i o n s i n d i f f e r e n t areas of 58 H a r c o u r t to Jenkinson, September 16, 1766, Add. MSS, 38340. See a l s o Hardwicke to Rockingham, December 6, 1766, Rockingham MSS, Rl-722; Lord Shelburne to the King, September 2, 1766, George I I I , King of Great B r i t a i n , 1738-1820: The Correspondence of King George the T h i r d , ed. by S i r John W i l l i a m F o r t e s c u e , V o l . I: 1760-67 ( 1 s t ed., new impression; London: Cass, 1967), No. 384, p. 391. 59 Notably the Gentleman's Magazine. 175 the c o u n t r y s i d e . Newspaper r e p o r t s were even l e s s h e l p f u l . They were i n a c c u r a t e l y based on the r e p o r t s of v o l u n t e e r correspondents, who drew h e a v i l y upon rumour. The govern-ment fa c e d a populace even more dependent upon market rumours than they were themselves. In such circumstances i t behooved the M i n i s t r y to avoid hasty measures which might only aggra-vate e x i s t i n g problems. While the estimates of the harvest prospects were c o n t r a d i c t o r y , the optimism of the m a j o r i t y supported the government i n t a k i n g no s p e c i a l emergency measures during l a t e J u l y and August. Buckinghamshire, B e d f o r d s h i r e , O x f o r d s h i r e , Warwickshire, S t a f f o r d s h i r e , and W o r c e s t e r s h i r e a l l looked f o r the f i n e s t crops of hay and corn ever known, d e s p i t e the heavy r a i n s . H u n t i n g d o n s h i r e expected a r e c o r d h a r v e s t , although i t would be delayed owing to the wet s e a s o n . ^ Dulwich, Camberwell, and Peckham r e p o r t e d a " f a i r and more p l e n t i f u l crop never known." One observer claimed the f i n e s t crops ever remembered i n the western 6 3 c o u n t i e s , although harvest hands were s h o r t . As l a t e as September 8, a gentleman l a t e l y r e t u r n e d from the seven ^ P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 11, 1766. 6 1 I b i d . , J u l y 30, 1766. 6 2 I b i d . , August 9, 1766. 6 3 I b i d . , August 18, 1766. 176 western counties confirmed the e x c e l l e n c e of the crops t h e r e . 6 4 Wrong assessments of the crops were p a r t l y due to an ignorance of farming of London observers, but the tendency towards o p t i m i s t i c p r e d i c t i o n was almost i n h e r e n t i n the s p e c u l a t i v e c h a r a c t e r of the corn t r a d e . Rumours of s h o r t -ages or abundance g r e a t l y a f f e c t e d p r i c e s . Newspapers tended to a n t i c i p a t e good crops most f r e q u e n t l y out of a conscious or unconscious d e s i r e to maintain p r i c e s t a b i l i t y . Some favoured d i s t r i c t s , however, d i d enjoy good harvests where the e a r l y f r o s t and summer r a i n s had not struck; but f r e q u e n t l y correspondents re p r e s e n t e d these as t y p i c a l of whole c o u n t i e s . One observer, f o r example, wrote t h a t crops were heavy i n High S u f f o l k , although on an average crops i n 6 5 S u f f o l k proved d i s a p p o i n t i n g . Taken at t h e i r f a c e v a l u e , such press r e p o r t s c o u l d w e l l have m i s l e d the M i n i s t r y i n t o t h i n k i n g t h a t the c r i s i s might ease when the harvest ended. Yet elsewhere i n the p r e s s , warnings appeared. Correspondents r e p o r t e d severe f l o o d damage to crops and stock i n G l o u c e s t e r s h i r e , Oxford-66 s h i r e , W o r c e s t e r s h i r e , B e r k s h i r e , W i l t s h i r e , and elsewhere. 64 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , September 8, 1766. 65 P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , September 27, 1766. 66 G a z e t t e e r and New D a i l y A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 26 and August 29, 1766. P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , J u l y 30, August 4, and August 12, 1766. 177 E v i d e n t l y , a normal harvest would not be s u f f i c i e n t to r e p l e n i s h o l d stocks almost exhausted by the e a r l y summer; an e x t r a o r d i n a r y heavy crop was e s s e n t i a l to avert widespread d i s t r e s s . The demands f o r the government to renew the embargo on g r a i n exports became more s t r i d e n t during August. The net e f f e c t of the press was to confuse the p i c -ture e n t i r e l y . One could s u b s t a n t i a t e any opinion on the harvest prospects from the " f a c t s " that the papers published i n August, 1766. More important than, t h i s confusion, the press d i s t o r t e d the true character of the food shortage, a f t e r the p r i c e s rose s t e e p l y i n September. Having a n t i c i -pated bumper harvests p u b l i c l y , the p u b l i s h e r s l a t e r , when faced w i t h a shortage of p r o v i s i o n s , had to choose between admitting t h e i r e r r o r s or d e c l a r i n g the shortage was a r t i f i -c i a l r a t h e r than n a t u r a l . The h i n t s they conveyed to the populace encouraged the r i o t o u s attacks on the middlemen and l a r g e farmers. The newspapers' conclusions t h a t the short-age was a r t i f i c i a l c e r t a i n l y emboldened the M i n i s t r y to move against the three deadly s i n s of f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g to which l a r g e r farmers and dealers i n p r o v i -sions were prone. Even had the prospect of a food c r i s i s appeared cer-t a i n i n e a r l y August, i t i s d o u b t f u l i f the leaders of the new M i n i s t r y could have spared i t much thought. Their pre-occupation was w i t h the question of survival--how to widen t h e i r narrow power base i n the Commons by persuading one or 178 more of the f a c t i o n s to j o i n them d e s p i t e Chatham's stubborn r e f u s a l to make p o l i t i c a l b a r g a i n s . The v u l n e r a b i l i t y of the new M i n i s t r y to pressure groups p a r t l y e x p l a i n s t h e i r f a i l u r e to renew the export embargo on g r a i n when i t e x p i r e d on August 26. With reason, they b e l i e v e d t h a t too e a r l y an i n t e r v e n t i o n i n the g r a i n trade would have antagonized the independent gentry i n the House. Although a l l landowners d i d not b e n e f i t e q u a l l y from the export bounty system, indeed many s u f f e r e d because w h i l e they grew l i t t l e corn they w e r e ' s u b s i d i z i n g those who d i d through taxes, many regarded the Corn Laws as symbolic of the supremacy of the landed i n t e r e s t , and t h e r e f o r e not to be meddled wi t h l i g h t l y . Some u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y accepted the Corn Laws as a necessary f e a t u r e of the m e r c a n t i l e system. While the Min-i s t r y themselves were great landowners and not i n d i f f e r e n t to the i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r c l a s s , they had a wider view of 68 the needs of the e n t i r e n a t i o n . Thus, they were w i l l i n g t o forego t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s f o r the g r e a t e r good i n times of c r i s i s . But p o l i t i c a l l y i t was always expedient t h a t embargoes on g r a i n exports be seen as a l a s t r e s o r t . 67 Brooke, The Chatham A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , 1766-1768, p. 4 et seq. 6 8 R o s e agrees w i t h D. G. Barnes ( H i s t o r y of the Eng-l i s h Corn Laws, p. 16) th a t the government was s e n s i t i v e to p u b l i c o p i n i o n expressed i n g r a i n r i o t s , which he b e l i e v e s were i n s t r u m e n t a l i n reducing the e f f e c t of the h i g h l y pro-t e c t i o n i s t Corn Laws (Rose, " E i g h t e e n t h Century P r i c e R i o t s and P u b l i c P o l i c y i n England"). 179 Pelham, Newcastle, and West at v a r i o u s times r e f l e c t e d the a t t i t u d e s of most landowners towards export embargoes: they should always be r e l u c t a n t l y imposed and of s h o r t dura-69 t i o n . I t was necessary i n e a r l y September, 1766 to post-pone a c t i o n to stop the d r a i n i n g of the country's g r a i n so t h a t a f a m i l i a r - procedure c o u l d be f o l l o w e d , the f i r s t step of which was to p r o c l a i m the enforcement of the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , e n grossing, and r e g r a t i n g . There were other p r e s s i n g reasons why the government delayed the renewal of the embargo on g r a i n exports. N a t i o n a l g r a i n p o l i c i e s must be set i n the wider context of the country's t o t a l t r a d e . During and a f t e r the Seven Years' War, there had been o c c u r r i n g a s i g n i f i c a n t realignment of t r a d e . Normal commercial r e l a t i o n s with America had resumed w i t h the r e p e a l of the Stamp. Act i n March, 1766, but the concern f o r trade expansion t h a t the non-importation p o l i -c i e s of the c o l o n i s t s had brought to the f o r e continued. That the E n g l i s h p o p u l a t i o n had o u t s t r i p p e d the n a t i o n ' s a b i l i t y to produce food except i n e x t r a o r d i n a r y seasons was not yet apparent, and many Englishmen continued to t h i n k of t h e i r country as the granary of Europe. With the urgent demands of f a m i n e - s t r i c k e n Europe coming hard upon the heels of a six-months' embargo on the export of g r a i n s , the U ' J . H a r r i s to Hardwicke, October 3, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 295. Newcastle to Mr. White, November 17, 1766, Add. MSS, 32977, f o l s . 403-404. 180 government was s e r i o u s l y concerned about l o s i n g t r a d i t i o n a l markets. Because a h e a l t h y a g r i c u l t u r e b u i l t upon the corn trade w i t h Europe was the cornerstone of the economy, i n the view of many of the r u l i n g c l a s s , a delay i n reimposing the embargo on g r a i n exports was a t t r a c t i v e to the M i n i s t r y . During the p e r i o d of one month, g r a i n l e f t England at a r a p i d r a t e and compounded the problems of an e x i s t i n g s h o r t -age (between, t h a t i s , August 26 and September 26). L e g a l l y , the M i n i s t r y was on unsure f o o t i n g when i t f i n a l l y suspended g r a i n exports by a proclamation of the 70 P r i v y C o u n c i l . As Horace Walpole noted, such e x t r a -71 P a r l i a m e n t a r y a c t i o n was not known before i n peace-time. That t h i s was a cause of concern to the M i n i s t e r s i s evident from t h e i r correspondence. Yet i t i s not p o s s i b l e to e x p l a i n the government's r e l u c t a n c e to reimpose the embargo on g r a i n exports s o l e l y by r e f e r e n c e to a p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h l e g a l i t y . Had they wished, the.government could have c a l l e d P a r l i a m e n t t o g e t h e r e a r l y i n September when the f i r s t d i s -orders occurred, or at l e a s t p e r m i t t e d i t to meet on Septem-ber 10, as o r i g i n a l l y planned. In f a c t they postponed the 72 s e s s i o n f o r sixty-two days. Walpole e x p l a i n e d t h e i r 70 The King to Shelburne, September 23, 1766, C o r r e -spondence of King George the T h i r d , ed. by Fortescue, p. 397, 71 H. Walpole to S i r Horace Mann, September 25, 1766, Walpole's L e t t e r s , ' e d . by Toynbee, V I I , 42. 72 E. Langton to Hardwicke, November 11, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o l s . 330-31. 181 r e l u c t a n c e to convene the House by suggesting t h a t the coun-t r y would have been d r a i n e d of g r a i n i n the i n t e r v a l between the i s s u i n g of the w r i t s and the passage of l e g i s l a t i o n to cut o f f g r a i n exports by.the p r o f i t - h u n g r y middlemen and 73 l a r g e farmers. But the r a t e of export was a l r e a d y so h i g h t h a t any i n c r e a s e i n such circumstances would have been mar-g i n a l . A more c r e d i b l e reason i s t h a t the n a t u r a l l e a d e r s of s o c i e t y i n r u r a l England were needed most on t h e i r e s t a t e s i n times of general d i s o r d e r . A f u r t h e r c o n s i d e r -a t i o n was t h a t when P a r l i a m e n t was i n s e s s i o n during times of d i s t r e s s , Westminster became the focus of p r o t e s t f o r the London populace. Probably, too, the M i n i s t r y welcomed a r e s p i t e to organize a wider base of P a r l i a m e n t a r y support. More immediate i n i t s impact than the delay i n reim-posing the embargo on g r a i n exports was the P r i v y C o u n c i l ' s proclamation of the enforcement of the o l d s t a t u t e s a g a i n s t f o r e s t a l l i n g , engrossing, and r e g r a t i n g on September 10. T h i s a c t i o n achieved l i t t l e more than a f o c u s s i n g of p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n upon a popular scapegoat, the middleman. The f a i l u r e of the government to c o n t r o l the a c t i v i t i e s of the middlemen whom they p u b l i c l y blamed f o r the s c a r c i t y of food was an open i n v i t a t i o n to the poor to take matters i n t o t h e i r own hands and r e g u l a t e markets f o r themselves. Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of King George the  T h i r d , p. 263. 182 More s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the a c t i o n s of the M i n i s t r y encouraged the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s i n the important r o l e they p l a y e d i n the d i s o r d e r s . Gentry-landowners and i n d u s t r i a l -i s t s found i t convenient to accept the broad h i n t o f f e r e d by the c e n t r a l government. M a g i s t r a t e s at f i r s t took an i n d u l -gent view of the r i o t o u s behaviour of the poor, and even d i s c r e t e l y encouraged i t . They n e g l e c t e d to c a l l f o r the m i l i t a r y a s s i s t a n c e that B a r r i n g t o n at the War O f f i c e was so anxious to p r o v i d e u n t i l they suddenly became aware of the extent of the d i s a f f e c t i o n . A t o r r e n t of appeals from i s o -l a t e d e s t a t e s and market towns then poured i n t o the War O f f i c e , u n t i l w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e d i f f i c u l t y the army crushed r i o t e r s . The M i n i s t r y ' s e r r o r s were due p r i m a r i l y to i g n o r -ance of the o p e r a t i o n of the economy and l a c k of f o r e s i g h t . There had been i n d i c a t i o n s of t r o u b l e f o r some time. Food p r i c e s had been high s i n c e 1764, and P a r l i a m e n t , alarmed at rumblings of d i s c o n t e n t among the r u r a l and urban poor, had h e l d a number of i n q u i r i e s i n t o food p r i c e s i n 1764, 1765, and 1766. By a t t r i b u t i n g the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the d i f f i -c u l t i e s of the poor to middlemen of the g r a i n and meat t r a d e s , t o g e t h e r with l a r g e r farmers, and proposing no rem-e d i a l a c t i o n other than the more r i g o r o u s enforcement of the o l d p a t e r n a l s t a t u t e s i n the i n t e r e s t s of the consumer, these committees had exacerbated the problem. 183 When the-"central a u t h o r i t i e s f i n a l l y became aware of the s e r i o u s n e s s of the outbreaks i n the f o u r t h week of Sep-tember, 1766, they put pressure on the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s t o u t i l i z e the m i l i t a r y f o r the vigorous s u p p r e s s i o n of the r i o t e r s . Orders f o r b i d d i n g the d i s t i l l i n g of g r a i n l i q u o r s and starch-making f o l l o w e d the b e l a t e d embargo on g r a i n exports of September 26. By the.end of October most of the c o u n t r y s i d e was p a c i f i e d . The work of - a r r e s t i n g o f f e n d e r s extended over s e v e r a l weeks, duri n g which time the army co-operated w i t h the l o c a l m a g i s t r a t e s . The M i n i s t r y then appointed s p e c i a l commissions i n the worst d i s a f f e c t e d to make examples of the r i o t e r s . Punishment was severe. The c o n v i c t e d f e l o n s were sentenced to hanging, t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , or s e r v i c e i n the Royal Navy. While d e s u l t o r y p r o t e s t s con-t i n u e d i n t o 1767, the a u t h o r i t i e s b l a c k m a i l e d d i s s i d e n t s by t h r e a t e n i n g to c a r r y out suspended c a p i t a l sentences i f d i s -74 turbances continued. While many of the M i n i s t r y ' s e r r o r s were due to ignorance r a t h e r than devious i n t e n t i o n s , the n a t i o n a l r u l e r s r e p r e s e n t e d the landed i n t e r e s t . T h e i r view was more generous than the gentry-dominated l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , but they shared the broad outlook of t h e i r i n t e r e s t group. As g r e a t landowners, they f e l t threatened by popular d i s o r d e r s , although the danger was perhaps not as immediate as t h a t Dean Tucker to Shelburne, January 11, 1767, S t a t e  Papers, SP-37/6,-foi. 10, p. 155. 184 which f a c e d the l e s s e r landowners. I n d o c t r i n a t i o n against-middlemen and l a r g e farmers over at l e a s t twenty years con-d i t i o n e d them to welcome the d i s c o m f i t u r e of these i n t e r e s t s . The depth of popular response to the proclamation of Septem-ber 10 s t a r t l e d them. But whatever t h e i r motives, the Min-i s t r y encouraged the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , who used the middle-men and l a r g e farmers as scapegoats f o r the food c r i s i s . Thus, i n d i r e c t l y the c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t i e s played an important r o l e i n the d i v e r s i o n of the poor towards s p e c i f i c t a r g e t s d u r i n g the food r i o t s of 1766. PART I CHAPTER IV THE PROVINCIAL RIOTERS E a r l i e r chapters have shown t h a t sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the p r i c e s of p r o v i s i o n s p r e c i p i t a t e d the hunger r i o t s of 1766, but t h a t s o c i a l t e n s i o n s had been mounting i n r u r a l England at l e a s t s i n c e the mid-century. T h i s background of s o c i a l i n s t a b i l i t y c o l o u r e d the pe r c e p t i o n s of both the a u t h o r i t i e s and the l a b o u r i n g poor. F r i g h t e n e d at the pros-pect of a r e p e t i t i o n of the events of 1756-57 when they found themselves faced with a h o s t i l e combination of the m i d d l e - c l a s s farmers and t h e i r l a b o u r e r s , the a r i s t o c r a c y and the gentry i n 1766 s e i z e d the o p p o r t u n i t y of d i v e r t i n g the lower orders away from themselves and towards the middle-men and the farmers. But the r u r a l l e a d e r s were only able to achieve t h i s m a n i p u l a t i o n , l i m i t e d though i t was, because of the d i s a p p o i n t e d e x p e c t a t i o n s of the poor i n the f a c e of a sharp d e c l i n e i n t h e i r c o n d i t i o n s a f t e r 1763, which f o l -lowed f i v e years when the l i v i n g standards of the lower orders improved s i g n i f i c a n t l y . " ' " "'"Ashton, Economic F l u c t u a t i o n s i n England 1700-1800, p. 22. 185 186 In a d d i t i o n to the s o c i a l i n s t a b i l i t y produced by a g r a r i a n developments a f t e r 1750, two major causes of the resentments among the labouring poor i n r u r a l England of the 1760's which ensured that the sudden f l u c t u a t i o n s i n food p r i c e s would cause a v i o l e n t response were the ending of the Seven Years' War and the trade d i s r u p t i o n s of that decade. These two f a c t o r s are evident from a study of the r i o t e r s of 1766. I The most s i g n i f i c a n t element i n any r i o t i s the hard core who are w i l l i n g to challenge i n i t i a l l y the forces of order. This i s the element which by i t s example convinces the more t i m i d , who compose the m a j o r i t y i n most mobs, tha t they may j o i n w i t h r e l a t i v e impunity. In 1766 i t was those f a m i l i a r w i t h m i l i t a r y o r g a n i z a t i o n and the m i l i t a r y mind who were bold enough to face the h o s t i l i t y of the army and the magistrates. At t h i s time there were three groups i n p a r t i c u l a r who were used to arms, able to accept rudimentary d i s c i p l i n e , and knowledgeable i n m i l i t a r y t a c t i c s and who were among the most a l i e n a t e d of E n g l i s h lower-class s o c i e t y . 2 In the 1966 Cleveland r i o t s the poor blacks and whites were encouraged to p a r t i c i p a t e i n l o o t i n g and d i s -orders when they saw the p o l i c e d i d not intervene against the i n i t i a l l o o t e r s (Ken Southwood, "Riot and Revolt: S o c i o l o g i c a l Theories of P o l i t i c a l V i o l e n c e , " Peace Research  Reviews, I , No. 3 [June, 1967], 39). 187 These were the army, m i l i t i a and navy veterans of the Seven Years' War. In the extant r e c o r d s of the 1760's few of the r i o t e r s are i d e n t i f i e d as v e t e r a n s , and only by p i e c i n g t o g e t h e r fragmentary evidence and drawing i n f e r e n c e s from the t a c t i c s of the mobs, the dress of the r i o t e r s , the occu-p a t i o n s of w i t n e s s e s , and the apprehensions of the a u t h o r i -t i e s can a p i c t u r e of t h e i r important r o l e be b u i l t up. Any study which r e l a t e d the home p a r i s h e s of d e m o b i l i z e d veterans to the r i o t areas would be most v a l u a b l e , but the p a u c i t y of 3 m a t e r i a l p r e c l u d e s t h i s . Yet what evidence there i s s t r o n g l y suggests that ex-servicemen and m i l i t i a m e n played a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n g i v i n g shape and d i r e c t i o n to the hunger r i o t s of 1766. Although hunger mobs, u n l i k e r i o t o u s seamen, c o a l -heavers, and weavers, were r a r e l y armed, s e v e r a l f a c e t s of t h e i r t a c t i c s speak of m i l i t a r y experience. The r e s t r a i n t and honesty of the mobs i n the e a r l y stages of the r i o t s suggest a rudimentary o r g a n i z a t i o n and l e a d e r s h i p which would have been beyond the c a p a c i t y of u n t r a i n e d r u s t i c s to p r o v i d e . L o c a l l e a d e r s enforced t h e i r a u t h o r i t y upon those who f a i l e d to respond to the r a l l y i n g c a l l of the cow's horn 3 Such a study r e l a t i n g to the French R e v o l u t i o n was undertaken by F o r e s t Macdonald, "The R e l a t i o n of the French Peasant Veteran of the American R e v o l u t i o n to the F a l l of Feudalism i n France," A g r i c u l t u r a l H i s t o r y , XXV (October, 1951), 151-61. 188 or who disobeyed t h e i r o r d e r s . 4 In one i n c i d e n t , when r i o t e r s were accused of s t e a l i n g from a farmhouse which they had j u s t searched f o r food, f o r example, they submitted to a p e r s o n a l search and s e v e r e l y punished one of t h e i r number found with some s t o l e n spoons. I n e v i t a b l y , as the d i s -orders continued over s e v e r a l weeks i n September and October of 1766, however, e a r l i e r r e s t r a i n t s were dropped. In the subsequent t r i a l s r i o t e r s f o r c e d a v a r i e t y of charges f o r p e r s o n a l a s s a u l t , d e s t r u c t i o n of p r o p e r t y and t h e f t . The most v a r i e d were those of a W i l t s h i r e r i o t e r who was accused of d e s t r o y i n g a b o l t i n g m i l l and s t e a l i n g f o u r sacks of meal, two B i b l e s , two Books of Common P r a y e r and a copy of 6 "the Whole Duty of Man." T a c t i c a l l y , mob o r g a n i z e r s seem to have d e l i b e r a t e l y aimed at s c a t t e r i n g the army i n t o weak detachments by simultaneous r i s i n g s and r a p i d movements of 7 r i o t e r s . D i s c i p l i n e d and concentrated v o l l e y s of stones which drove back the a u t h o r i t i e s i n Norwich as the mob went 4 T r e a s u r y . S o l i c i t o r 1 s Papers, T . S . l l / 5 9 5 6 / B x l l 2 8 . Marching Orders, W05-55, pp. 357-58. 5 John P i t t to Hardwicke, September 29, 1766, Add. MSS, 35607, f o i . 290. ^ T r e a s u r y S o l i c i t o r ' s Papers, T.S.11/1116/5728. Annual R e g i s t e r , X (1767), 84. 7 In Warwickshire, f o r example, on October 6 a mob of 1,000 d i v i d e d i n t o gangs of 300 or 400 and s i m u l t a n e o u s l y v i s i t e d s e v e r a l market towns ( P u b l i c A d v e r t i s e r , October 20, 1766). See a l s o Treasury S o l i c i t o r ' s Papers, T.S.11/5956/ •Bxll28 and T.S. 11/995/3707; Barrington. to the E a r l of Suf-f o l k , October 1, 1766, L e t t e r Book of V i s c o u n t B a r r i n g t o n . 189 about i t s work suggest an i n t e l l i g e n t attempt to compensate o f o r a lack of weapons. At times th