National Convention 1833

Broadside published 1833
Dreadful Riot in London.

A Full, True, and Particular Account of that Great Public Meet-
ing which took place in Coldbath-fields, London, on Monday last,
for the purpose of forming a NATIONAL CONVENTION,
giving an account of the Speeches delivered on the occasion,–
Together with an account of the desperate attack made on the
meeting by a body of 3000 Policemen, under the direction of
Lord Melbourne, and Colonel Rowan and Mr Mayne,–with the
names of the killed and wounded, and the number taken prisoners.

From the Caledonian Mercury, May 16th, 1833.

During the last week bills have been issued, stating that a meet-
ing would be held in Coldbath-field this day, in order to adopt the
preliminary measures necessary for the calling together of a NA-
TIONAL CONVENTION. In consequence of that bill, on Fri-
day a proclamation was issued by the Secretary of State for the
Home Department, declaring that such a meeting would be illegal
and dangerous to the public peace, and warning all persons to keep
away, as the authorities had received orders to maintain the peace
at all hazards.

Accordingly, this morning the Police began to arrive in Gray's
Inn Lane before twelve o'clock, in great numbers ; and were dis-
posed of in stable-yards in the in neighbourhood of the intended place
of meeting.

Before one o'clock, Lord Melbourne and the two Commissioners
of Police, Colonel Rowan and Mr Mayne, with about a dozen Ma-
gistrates, had assembled at the White Hart, Gray's Inn Lane.

By about one O'clock, there were from 600 to 700 persons as-
sembled in the fields, which number had increased to upwards of
1000 at two o'clock, the hour named for the Chairman to open the
meeting In the meantime those assembled were amused by two
prosessed infidels, who promulgated their doctrines.

We understood the Committee were sitting in the Union public-
house, but they did no t make their appearance till three o'clock,
when a young man (Mr Lee or Leigh) and three or four others,
mounted a van that was placed in front of the palings at the top of
Calthorpe Street; but as the carman was afraid of his van, and
could not be persuaded to stop, they were under the necessity of
dismounting from their elevation when Mr Lee, got upon the pal-
ing, and proposed that Mr Mee should act as Chairman, which
proposition was seconded and carried.

Mr Mee then also got upon the paling, and, after thanking the
meeting for the honour they had conferred on him, said he was glad
to see before him so many noble men. It was not the coronet or a
flashing equipage that made a noble man, though in the eyes of the
world they made noble ; but he gave that name to those he saw a-
round him, because they were the producing power—the real wealth
of the country-(Cheers.) He was thankful to the Whig Ministry,
who had given an importance to the meeting which it otherwise would
have wanted—(cheers and hisses)—but the question now for them to
consider was. whether, as they had met under such disadvantages,
they should go on-(Go on, go on)—or whether they should adjourn
till a more convenient opportunity-(No, no, go on, go on) He was
but working man with a family, therefore if they were not prepared
to give to his family one-tenth of their earning they should not cry
" Go on."---------The speaker was here interrupted by the cry of
" Police !" who bad arrived at the end of Calthorpe Street, and form-
ed right across it, whet, they advanced in double-quick-time upon
the meeting. Another party came up by a side street, and also
attacked those assembled.

The Chairman made some few further remarks, and called out
to the meeting to " stand firm ;" but with these words in his mouth,
be jumped down from his position, and escaped by the back of the
House of Correction. The police came on, and used their staffs
pretty freely, their object evidently being to catch the Chairman,
and those connected with him in the meeting.

The meeting was dispersed in two or three minutes, running in
all directions. Many heads were broken, and we are sorry, for the
character of Englishmen, to say, that one policeman, named Ro-
bert Cully, letter C. 95, was stabbed through the heart, and died
in less than ten minutes after. Other two men of the same division
were stabbed-one through the arm, and the other in the side, but
they are expected to do well.

The police then formed in the neighbouring, streets, and sent out
parties in pursuit of those who were implicated in the day's pro-
ceedings. Before five o'clock they had got upwards of thirty pris-
oners, among whom were Mr Lee, and several of the Committee
—they also succeeded in capturing all the flags of the Unions that
were present, with various devices, some surmounted with the red
cap of liberty. We left at six o'clock, when all was quiet ; part of
the police had then retired, and the search was still continued af-
ter Mr Mee.

Edinburgh, Printed for Francis M'Cartney.

In the wake of reform agitation, plans for a convention were proposed by radicals like James Lorymer, Richard Lee and William Benbow, and supported by the National Union of the Working Classes. The Cold Bath Fields meeting of 1833, had been called by the NUWC to discuss plans for a convention.