With a loud singing, tens of thousands of people, holding monochrome banners and batons in their hands, marched in columns along the streets of the capital city. Having surrounded the building of the highest legislative body of the country before the beginning of its meeting, they met some parliamentarians with shouts of welcome, others with insults, and sometimes with cuffs. In the evening, these same people moved to the residential quarters of the city, creating, with the connivance of the security forces, pogroms and arson of buildings. In a matter of hours, the capital of the country plunged into chaos. These events did not take place during the Orange Revolution or similar upheavals of the beginning of the 21st century, but almost 234 a year ago in London.
According to the English historian R. Black, in June 1780 of the year "London went crazy". Describing these events, the English historian H. Butterfield wrote: "Many people have no idea" that in the period from 1780 and until "the war that started in 1939, it is difficult to find an example of a European capital in which such scenes would take place."
But surprisingly, these events, which shook England and the whole world in 1780, are rarely remembered. In the works of Soviet and post-Soviet scientists on the universal stories and in encyclopedic references on the history of Great Britain, as well as in materials posted on the Internet, one can find only scant information about those stormy days. Little is said about what happened then in the capital of the British Empire, even in English historical literature.
If it were not for the high authority, talent and natural curiosity of Charles Dickens, who covered this episode forgotten by historians in one of his artistic books, he probably would have been erased from history.
Therefore, those few English historians who still wrote about these events, certainly reminded of the novel by Dickens "Barneby Raj."
Moreover, a significant lack of publications is that they often do not trace the connection between the events in London and the war for the independence of the North American colonies that took place at that time.
The Beaumarchais scenario revolution
For five years until June 1780, the tumultuous events that worried England were taking place far beyond its borders - in its North American colonies, where armed clashes of the local population with British troops developed into an uprising.
First, the English colonial army, in the ranks of which were 20 thousands of soldiers and officers, defeated the rebels. The British were helped by the Indians, who had been mercilessly exterminated by American colonists for the past century and a half. According to American historians, about 13 thousands of Indians fought on the side of the British.
Initially, the rebel detachments, which were led by rich planter George Washington, consisted of about 5 thousand people from 2,5 million Americans (that is, they had about 0,2% of the population of the colonies). American historians S. Morison and G. Kommager wrote: “Constant, poorly paid service in a poorly dressed and poorly fed Washington army was disgusting. And although the average American basically wanted victory for his side, he did not see the need to continue the fighting. Revolutions had to reckon with American individualism, hostile to the discipline of the regular army, and the very weak willingness of the people as a whole to endure hardship or sacrifice ... A revolutionary war did not arouse enthusiasm for zu any of the battling sides ... In this respect, there was nothing like the civil war in Russia, 1917 years, or even a civil war in the United States 1861 years. " George Washington Assistant and Future Treasury Secretary
United States Alexander Hamilton wrote in irritation from the headquarters of the rebels: "Our compatriots are showing the stupidity of a donkey and the passivity of a sheep ... They are not ready to become free ... If we are saved, France and Spain will save us."
Indeed, the situation began to change after the rebels received outside help. Its initiator was Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. This talented writer, intelligence officer, card sharper and slaver, played a significant role in the birth of the American nation. While in London as an undercover agent of the French king, Beaumarchais learned from the British foreign secretary, Rochefort, about the uprising in the American colonies and the anxiety of the British ruling circles about this.
In his secret reports to Paris, Beaumarchais insistently suggested that Louis XVI provide emergency assistance to the Americans, who rebelled against the enemy of France - the British king. Beaumarchais set up a fictitious trading company, under the cover of which it would be possible to organize the supply of American rebels weapons.
Realizing that the help of France to the enemies of England, even carried out under the cover of a private enterprise, could provoke an Anglo-French conflict, Beaumarchais decided to stage a seizure of ships plying France from France with imaginary weapons.
Without waiting for the royal decision, Beaumarchais created at his own expense trading house "Rodrigo Ortales and company." He purchased forty ships for the needs of the "house", including the 60-gun brig. Obviously, Beaumarchais believed that his investments in the Rodrigo Ortales trading house would more than pay off not only from the proceeds from the sale of weapons, but also as a result of the changes that would follow in the event of the triumph of the American revolution. At the same time, Beaumarchais did not stop convincing Louis XVI of the need to provide assistance to the insurgent Americans, citing French public interest. Arguments Beaumarchais had their effect. 10 June 1776, Louis XVI allocated a million livres to support the rebels and allowed them to send weapons from the French arsenals.
In the meantime, Beaumarchais sent a letter to the Congress of the North American colonies, informing him of his intention to support the uprising. Attached to the letter was a list of goods sent to "Rodrigo Ortales' house": 216 guns, 27 mortars, 200 gun barrels, 8 transport ships, 30 thousands of guns, as well as a large number of grenades, a huge amount of gunpowder and military uniform. André Mauroy, in his book The History of the United States, noted that Beaumarchais "supplied the Americans with enough military equipment to equip twenty-five thousand people." Only after these news reached the shores of America, on July 4 of 1776, the 13 representatives of the rebel colonies gathered in Philadelphia declared the independence of the "United States of America" in their Declaration.
The US Congress, through its representative in Paris, a prominent scientist, writer and publicist Benjamin Franklin, asked Louis XVI to sign a treaty of alliance between the United States and France. The following year, Spain entered the war on the side of the United States, which turned New Orleans into a US supply base. And in 1780, the Netherlands joined the pro-American coalition. In the same year, Catherine II announced the creation of the League of Armed Neutrality, which allowed its participants to trade with the United States under the pretext of a neutral position.
Nowadays, many Americans forget that their republican regime of "freedom and democracy" won its independence thanks to external assistance from the European monarchies, which they denounced and continue to denounce as "despotic" and "tyrannical."
And yet, despite the external assistance to the American rebels, the British did not yield to them, holding in their hands the main cities of the colonies. Detachments of the rebels, not accustomed to war, thinned. During the wintering 1777 - 1778. in Valley Forge in 32 kilometers from Philadelphia from 2500 soldiers of the "army" of Washington about a thousand died from cold and disease.
However, by that time, the leadership of the American uprising had hopes to strike at the British from the rear, opening a secret front with the help of their like-minded people in England. It is known that at the head of the American uprising were members of the Masonic lodges. Back in 1773, members of the St. Andrew's Masonic Lodge in Boston organized a raid on British ships with a load of tea, protesting against the high colonial duties on this product. This event, called the Boston Tea Party, was the starting point for the American uprising. Freemasonry was George Washington and the ideological inspirer of the uprising, Benjamin Franklin. Masons were the majority of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as its author, the future President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The main American Masonic lodge was located in Charleston. According to some reports, relics valued by world freemasonry were kept here, including the skull and ashes of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar Jacques de Molay, who was considered to be the spiritual father of their secret organization by freemasons. The Grand Master of the Charleston Lodge, Isaac Long, was in constant contact with the Scottish masons, who from the late 16th century had one of the most ancient and strong centralized organizations.
Scottish masons expressed solidarity with the uprising in North America and sought to launch an anti-government campaign to secure the withdrawal of British troops from the colonies. However, the question of hostilities in overseas colonies did not bother the population of the British Isles. In order to start a struggle against the government, an excuse was used that could unite most of the Scots and the British. Such a pretext was the law passed on 25 in May on 1778 by the British Parliament. He abolished the discrimination of Catholics, established in the XVI century after the end of the reign of the last Catholic Queen Mary the Bloody. In response, the Scottish Masons created the Protestant Union, which launched a collection of signatures on a petition to parliament calling for the restoration of anti-Catholic laws. The English historian Black wrote: "To speed up business, they used an organizational device used by revolutionary America - a committee of plenipotentiaries was created. This group became an effective board of directors for campaigning in Scotland."
In order to explain to the population the need for discrimination against Catholics, members of the new Union tried to tell as colorful as possible about the harsh persecutions of Protestants during the reign of Mary the Bloody (1553 - 1558).
Speakers began to appear in all corners of the kingdom, who told in urban and rural areas about the monstrous executions of Protestants during the reign of the said queen. One of the branches of the "Union" was the "Society that remembers the Bloody Mary." Suddenly, the question of the reign of Mary the Bloody became the most pressing in the political life of the country. ("This ill-starred Bloody Maria was given to them - they shout about her constantly until they are hoarse," said one of the heroes of the novel Dickens.) Although in two and a half centuries in Britain, the long history of anti-Catholic prejudices of the Protestants who formed the overwhelming majority of the British population and also the ominous nickname of the queen allowed the agitators of the Protestant Union to convince listeners of the truth of their horror stories and the need to prevent the recurrence of such horrors.
The members of the Protestant Union began to gather at rallies, pinning blue hats and waving blue flags to hats. They distributed millions of leaflets and pamphlets with anti-Catholic appeals. The Union of Protestants issued an Appeal to the People of Great Britain. It proclaimed the goal of the “Union” - “to prevent any efforts to advance the cause of the papacy, stop the destruction of the state, the destruction of the church, the establishment of double slavery, forging chains for the bodies and minds of the British ... it means contributing to the destruction of the existing souls, and the millions of other souls that do not exist at the present, but whose existence is destined by God. This is a direct way to summon the revenge of a holy and jealous God and cause the destruction of our s and armies, as well as death itself and its offspring tolerate such views -. It offends the moral perfection of God, who has given us intelligence and immortality, this - to encourage the practice of idolatry in a Christian country. "
In November 1779, hereditary Scottish aristocrat, Lord George Gordon, took the place of president of the Protestant Union. By this time, the 23-year-old lord, becoming a member of the British Parliament, was famous for his sharp speeches against Tory government policies led by North. Gordon particularly sharply criticized the war led by the government in North America.
Lord demanded the immediate withdrawal of British troops from the North American colonies, attacking the "tyrant of the king, the fallen parliament and the criminal government."
After Gordon led the Union of Protestants, his demands for the withdrawal of British troops from America, more and more, though with great logical stretches, began to be combined with anti-Catholic rhetoric. 1 June 1780 of the year in response to Prime Minister North’s appeal to parliament for additional funds to support the armed forces of Britain in America, Lord Gordon took the floor and said that he “cannot oppose any new spending until His Majesty reimburses the damage done to the people by innovations in favor of the papacy, as well as the shameful spending of popular money. " The proposal of the government voted 39 people, for the proposal of Lord Gordon - 19.
Activating performances Lord coincided with the deterioration of the American rebels. At that time, British forces besieged the center of American Freemasonry - Charleston. To save his rebellious like-minded people, the head of the Protestant Union resorted to rebellious speeches in parliament. 1 June 1780 Lord Gordon boldly stated that "the king's throne speech is absurd and completely devoid of common sense ... Concessions to the papists disturbed the whole country, and the people are determined to protect themselves from those people who have become favorites of the government. I not only express there are feelings here. The government will find that 120 thousands of people are behind me! People expressed their feelings in resolutions and press ".
London on fire
Declaring this, the lord knew that on the next day, a battle show of the Protestant Union was to take place in London, which by then had become a powerful organization. On Friday, June 2, the 60 of thousands of Union members gathered on the London field of St. George. They all had blue caps on their hats. Referring to eyewitnesses, Dickens described this assembly in the following way: “A great number of people gathered with banners of various types and sizes, but they were of the same color — blue, like cockades. Some troops marched back and forth in battle order, others stood in a square or rank. . Most of the marching and standing on the spot singing hymns or psalms. " However, as Dickens noted, “many of them, supposedly united to defend their religion and ready to die for it, never heard a single hymn or psalm. But these good fellows had hefty lungs and were not averse to crying out - now they sang instead of hymns, any nonsense or obscenity that they had ever thought of: in the general chorus there were still no words, yes, however, they didn’t really worry about it, and such improvisations were chanted right under Lord Gordon’s nose. "
The participants were divided into four groups. One of them moved to parliament to hand the members a 100 scroll with thousands of British signatures opposing the repeal of anti-Catholic laws. The carriages in which members of parliament were arriving at the building of the chambers were met by an aggressive crowd, roaring: "No to the papacy!"
On the roof of Whitehall there are people with blue banners that gave the crowd signals: which parliamentarians to greet, and which ones to boo. Those who were signals from above, should be subjected to obstruction, were forced to endure physical abuse.
According to Dickens, "Lords, Reverend Bishops, members of the House of Commons ... pushed, treated with kicks and tweaks; they flew from hand to hand, subject to all kinds of insults, until they finally appeared in the chamber among their colleagues in the most pitiful form: the clothes were shredded on them, the wigs were torn off, and they were sprinkled from head to toe with powder powdered from the wigs. They could hardly catch their breath and could not say a word. "
Joyfully welcomed by his supporters, Lord Gordon walked into the House of Commons, preparing to read the petition. A scroll with signatures was solemnly brought into the meeting room. Following their leader, members of the Union of Protestants entered the House of Commons and stood behind the doors leading to the hall.
Despite the fact that members of parliament were captured by supporters of the “Union”, they refused to submit to the pressure and did not agree to start discussing Gordon’s proposal to repeal the law on 25 in May 1778. However, the crowd did not let parliamentarians out of the building. Cavalrymen were thrown to the aid of the members of the chamber. But they did not dare to use weapons against the crowd and left. Only shortly before midnight, it was decided to postpone the debate for the next week, and the crowd left parliament.
In the meantime, pogroms of Catholic churches began in London. After the closure of all premises for Catholic services in England in 1648, these were only kept at foreign embassies. Therefore, the first pogroms were committed against the churches of the Sardinian kingdom and Bavaria. At the same time smashed and embassy houses.
During these atrocities, the London police were inactive. R. Black wrote: “No attempts were made to alert or gather the scattered military forces of this region of the country. The city authorities were indifferent, intimidated, or expressed active support for the Protestant Union.
This position of the authorities only inspired the mob. 3 and 4 June private houses of Catholics were subjected to pogroms, as well as those Protestants who did not hurry to attach the blue cockade to their hats.
Pogroms were accompanied by robberies, which were often accompanied by arson of buildings, in order to cover the traces of crimes.
On Monday, 5 June, Lord Gordon, in a resolution of the Protestant Union, dissociated himself from the looting. However, at the same time "the Union" continued to disseminate inflammatory anti-Catholic pamphlets. London continued to be dominated by pogroms and robbers.
And yet, in this setting, the parliament showed firmness. 6 220 June members of the House of Commons came to the meeting. A majority vote of the Chamber declined to discuss the petition, "the Union of Protestants." At the same time, the House condemned the pogroms and looting in London, which began on June 2.
In the evening of June 6, the situation worsened. When Judge Hyde of London tried to scare the insurgents by reading the revolt law and ordering cavalry to disperse the crowd, in response the crowd went to smash Hyde's house. In a matter of minutes the judge’s house was crushed. The mob drove away the soldiers who had arrived to pacify the pogroms, and then moved to Newgate prison.
This prison was the most powerful and most solid prison in England. An eyewitness to the assault by the prison crowd recalled: "It seemed almost incredible that it was possible to destroy a building of such amazing power and size." Nevertheless, within a few hours, the prison was completely crushed and all that remained was bare walls, "which were too thick to give way to the power of fire."
The 7 day of June became, according to Minister Walpole, "a black medium ... For six hours in a row, I was sure that half of the city would turn into ashes and ashes." All the prisons of the city were destroyed, and all the prisoners were released. In the pogrom of a distillery, there was a fire, in which many pogroms burnt.
However, despite all these manifestations of the uncontrollable violence of the human element, there is plenty of evidence that part of the pogromists acted not impulsively, but obeying tough commands. The historian P. de Castro mentions timely warnings about the pogroms that Lord Mansfield received, the Duke of Northumberland, the prison authorities, and many others. (Thanks to this, they were able to escape.) Paul de Castro writes about the use of fire engines by thugs, which allowed them to localize the fires they caused.
The Archbishop of York later wrote: "Not a single crowd acted without a certain number of well-dressed people who led them."
Defeat the rebellion
7 June organizers of the insurgency decided to move to action to establish control over the life of the country. In his biography of Gordon, his secretary Robert Watson wrote: "It was assumed that the one who dominates the State Bank and the Tower will soon become the owner of the City, and whoever is the owner of the City will quickly become the owner of the UK." Only the arrival of large military reinforcements prevented the insurgents from seizing the British treasury and armed warehouses.
At a meeting of the Privy Council, the king ordered Lord Amherst to take London under armed control. From June 8, troops began to oppress the rebels, and by June 10 the insurgency was suppressed. In the course of his suppression, a man was killed and died from wounds. 285 people were arrested. 135 of those arrested were convicted, with 59 executed.
A few days after the suppression of the insurgency, the news came that after the long siege by the British Charleston was taken. Historian H. Butterfield wrote that news was greeted with glee in England: “The significance of the news of Charleston’s surrender, which arrived a few days after the suppression of Gordon’s rebellion, can be understood if you take into account the unrest recorded in correspondence and in newspapers in previous weeks, when various rumors were spread abroad and the ominous doubt ... it seemed that this was the turning point in the war. " This joy was explicable: the fall of Charleston struck not only the American uprising, but also its agents in Great Britain.
Although the events of 2 - 10 June showed that the Protestant Union was able to paralyze life in the capital of the British Empire and almost seized power in the country, much of the actions of the leaders of the Union turned out to be ill-conceived. Perhaps they are too hurried, trying to disrupt the assault Charleston. At the same time, the chaos in London, pogroms, looting and fires, the rampage of criminals hid from many observers a carefully thought-out organization that was hidden behind the seemingly spontaneous rebellion. During the investigation into the circumstances of the insurrection, the British Attorney General Lord Mansfield stated: "The mob’s actions were dictated by the sinister plans of our hardened enemies ... The riots that took place were part of a carefully designed seizure of power in the country."
Many prominent British government officials were convinced that the United States was behind Lord Gordon. Lawyer Bett argued: "I believe that the basis of everything is the actions of the American government and the treason of the British, and religion is only a pretext for this."
Judge L. Barrington wrote on June 12: “It is said that in most cases there were few rebels. This is true, but not the whole truth. The guys who were trained by Dr. Franklin’s people for the devilish practice of arson were the most active.”
At that time, many spoke of the leading role of the US ambassador to France B.
Franklin's organization of the Gordon insurgency. On fresh tracks, the British police presented a variety of information about the presence of Americans surrounded by Gordon and in the ranks of the Protestant Union. So, in the information of a secret police agent from 10, June, it was said that the Protestant Union had connections with one of the organizers of the Boston Tea Party in London and other Americans. The same agent reported on the permanent courier communication of members of the Union with Franklin, who was at that time in Paris.
However, all these fragmentary observations and individual judgments of those days were not crowned with a consistent and in-depth study of the 1780 rebellion of the year. Secretary Lord Robert Gordon Watson in his book "Life of Gordon" wrote:
"There are few events in British history that would arouse more attention than the 1780 riots of the year, and perhaps none of them are covered in such gloom."
Watson himself did nothing to dispel this darkness. Probably, the disclosure of secrets could have hit the authority of the British ruling circles, who allowed the betrayal of national interests, so much that the powers that be tried to hush up the investigation.
Although Lord Gordon was arrested after crushing the rebellion, he stayed in the Tower only until February 5 of 1781. During the process that began that day, Gordon, according to Dickens, "was found not guilty for the lack of evidence that he collected people for treacherous or illegal purposes ... In Scotland, there was a public subscription to cover the legal costs of Lord Gordon." The names of those who do care about Gordon, are not known to historians.
Many further circumstances of the life of Lord Gordon, as well as the mysterious death of his secretary Watson, were surrounded by mysteries. It seems that certain forces tried to hide the background of the events of the year 1780. The story of the sudden appearance on the political scene of the Protestant Union and many other aspects of the 1780 insurgency of the year remain unsolved secrets of history. It is likely that those forces who tried to hide these secrets and divert attention from them, sought to conceal not only the names, names of financial centers and secret communities that stood behind the backs of the London insurgents, but also methods of organizing coups d'état. subsequent time.
The events of 1780 of the year showed the effectiveness of mass propaganda with the help of a printed and spoken word to ensure the coming to power of some political grouping. They have demonstrated the possibility of using such propaganda to incite hatred towards a certain part of the population (in this case, hatred towards Catholics). An arbitrary interpretation of a long-standing history for the excitation of the masses and its use to achieve goals in modern political life was tested. (Passions around the events of 250-old, without any logical connection, were used to end the colonial regime in North America.)
The rebellion of Gordon became an example of engaging unbalanced and even mentally abnormal people in political activity (it is characteristic that Dickens made the main character of his novel and accomplice the rebellious idiot Barneby Raj) and a large number of criminals and people with criminal inclinations.
The experience of the rebellion Gordon taught his organizers skillful methods of controlling the political movement, a quick change of slogans and tactics (the transition from singing psalms to attacking members of parliament, and then to seizing government buildings).
Even then, such mass anti-government performances were tried as the use of a certain color to denote belonging to “one's own” movement (blue then), the active use of battle cry (“No papacy!”), Musical accompaniment and choral singing to rally the ranks. the rebels.
It is obvious that the color revolutions of the beginning of the 21st century, which were organized according to American recipes and with American money, are not original, but are a long-tried instrument of US political interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It was first used by American leaders in the early years of the United States.