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- 100 YEARS AGO. --+----

Detailed Lists, Results and Guides

100 YEARS AGO. --+- (From the "Chei'ter Couiant" of January 24, 1804.) DISTURBANCE AT CHESTER. VOLUNTEERS STORM THE GAOL. TRUTH AND UNTRUTH. We are much surprised and, we may add, not a little concerned, in reading in "Cobbett's Weekly Political Register" of the 14th inst. a most acandalaus and unfounded statement of the dis- turbance which took place in this city on the night of the 28th December last. As few copies of the "Political Register" find their way into this part of the country, wo shall take the liberty of copy- ing from this abusive and illiberal publication such passages as most of our readers know, and hun- dreds of our fellow-citizens can witness, to be infamous falsehoods. Without further preliminary observations, wo now proceed with Mr. Cobbett's mis-statements: 1st,—"At Chester, oil the morning of the 28th December, a press-gang stationed in that city took up a seaman who proved to belong to the Chester Volunteer Infantry; and, in conse- quence of the tin eats of some of the corps to rescue him. lie was lodged in the Northgate jail. The Volunteers soon atter paraded for exercise, and on their parade repeated their threats of rescue, for which they were reprimanded by the commanding officer, but were at the same time assured that every proper effort would be made in order to obtain the release of their comrade.' At the parade on Wednesday, the 28th ult., on the Roodee, it was mentioned by some person belong- ing to the Artillery Co. that one of their number had that morning been impressed, a circumstance which save the company much uneasiness, but which Major Wilmot endeavoured to remove by assuring tliem that such measures would be taken 85 would no doubt procure the release of the man belonging to the company; on which they peace- ably left the parade. 2nd.—"In the evening of the same day, a body of the Volunteers, about 400 in number, suddenly assembled in their regimentals and with side-arms, marched immediately to the Northgate and demanded the man who had been lodged there by the press-gang." We do not attempt to deny that there were up- wards of 400 persons assembled on this occasion, but either Mr. Cobbett's correspondent had- led him into a gross mistake, or he has maliciously added a cypher to the number. It is equally false that they were marched in a body, or that they wore side-arms; some came during the dis- turbance, and others out of curiosity long after the rescue had taken place. We appeal to our fellow-citizers as to the truth of this assertion. We only wish to vindicate the general character of the corps, a duty which we owe them, and which, regardless of what the editor of the "Political Register" may say, we are determined to discharge. 3rd.—"On receiving a refusal, they were pro- ceeding to attack the jail, when one of their officers, Major Wilmot (a gentleman who has served long in the regulars), came up in his regimentals, and, after urging them in vain to desist, declared that be would put the first of them to death that attempted to force the jail; upon which he was immediately seized by the Volunteers, who pinnioned his arms, some of them calling out at the aame time. "Down with him!' and others, 'Break his sword over his head!' By the assistance of some friends he was rescued from them unhurt." Major Wilmot's unremitting exertions of this occasion must ever rank him high in the esteem of hie fellow-citizens. His request and solicitations that they would quietly disperse were not alto- gether in vain. As to the expression attributed to him, tiiaf his arms were in consequence pinnioned, and that some cried out 'Down with him!" and others "Break his sword over his head," we must pronounce to be a base and de- testable falsehood. 4th.—"They then turned their fury against the jail, tho windows of which they then forced in, and then the door; upon which the jailor, in order to secure the rest of the prisoners, gave up the man in question, who by his res- cuers was chaired through all the principal streets of the city, amidst shouts of exultation and triumph The naval rendezvous was the next object of attack. At their approach the press-gang retired; but leaving their colours, the Volunteers tore them from their staff, and dragged them in their kennel, after having destroyed the windows, doors, etc., of the house! Lieut.-Colonel Cuyler, the Inspecting Field Officer of the Volunteers in the district, sent to and called upon the Mayor and magis- trates to use their authority; but, what were they to do against such a number of armed men, All they could do was what, they did, to wit, to send a very civil note to Lieutenant Burchell, earnestly requesting him to take his gang out of Chester, as it was not in the power of the magistrates to afford them protection against the Volunteers, till troops should arrive in the city." We are perfectly at a loss to understand Mr. Cobbett when lie asks, "What were they (meaning the magistrates) to do against such a number of I brined men?" If he had omitted the word "such." our answer would then have been- Nothing. But in this instance Mr. Oabbett's correspondent has again dteceived him, for we positively assert that there were but few individ- ly a. uals who were their side arms, and others who were only mere spectators of what was transact- ing. It is po.-ible that an application might have been made to Lieutenant Burchell, but we must confess that we did not see the necessity of send- ing this "civil note," as the gang were seen in the streets of the city during the disturbance, un- molested by any person. 5th.—"The magistrates at the same time sent of an express to His Royal Highness Prince William of Gloucester, who commands the dis- trict, stating that the safety of the city could not be answered for, unless he sent a strong de- tachment of troops; four companies of the Shropshire Supplementary Militia were im- mediately marched in from Liverpool, andat the end of some days peace was restored. We believe the magistrates did not delay their information to his Royal Highness of this event, accompanied by a request. that he would send a detachment of troops to protect the city, in con- sequence of which a detachment of 80 or 100 of the two flank companies of the Shropshire Militia came intr> the city on the following evening, twenty hours at least after the peace of the city had been restored! On the Saturday following a second message was transmitted to his Royal Highness by the magistrates, stating that the city had been tranquil since 10 o'clock in the evening of Wednesday, the 28th ult. 6th.—"I cannot refrain from expressing my fears that as the news of it shall reach. several seaports, particularly the collier towns, the Vol- unteer corps will become very convenient asy- lums for all those seamen who happen to be in port, and who wish to have an infallible protec- tion against press warrants." To ease the serious apprehensions and fears ex- pressed by Mr. Cobbett on this point, we can assure him that all those members of that corps who have been at sea, have been discharged from the regiment. It was not our intention to say anything of this unpleasant subject until the re- sult of the inquiry by the officers of the corps had be^n made public, had we not been imperiously called upon by the gross misrepresentations of •plr. Cobbett, and his insidious remarks, tending in an alarming degree to promote a jealousy be- tween the Volunteers of the Kingdom and the troops of the line. In this, however, we sincerely nope and trust the design will be frustrated.







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--------+-----ELLESMERE PORT.