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

Warning
You are currently on our download blacklist and unable to view media. You will be unbanned within an hour.
To un-ban yourself please visit the following link and solve the reCAPTCHA, we will then redirect you back here.

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