STATE OF THE COUNTRY.
INCENDIARIES IN CUMBERLAND.
(From the Carlisle Journal.)
It is with the most painful feelings we have this week to announce the breaking
out in this neighbourhood of that diabolical spirit of incendiarism which has
excited so much alarm in many of the southern counties. It has been displayed,
however, by a very different class of persons to that to which it appears to be
principally confined in the south - viz., the agricultural labourer. In this
county that class is comparatively well off. There is doubtless much poverty and
privation amongst them; but generally speaking they are in comfortable
circumstances. The good old custom still obtains in most places of victualling a
part at least of the labourers in the houses of their employers; and we know
nothing of the dreadfully demoralizing system so prevalent in the south, of
paying a part of the wages of our labourers out of the poor rates. Our peasantry
(as it is now the fashion to call this class of persons) are therefore a quiet,
and, generally speaking, contented race. They meddle little in politics; and are
not readily susceptible of political excitement. Not the slightest idea is
entertained by any one that they had any hand in the destruction of property
which we are about to describe. It has been the work, we fear, of some portion
of the manufacturing class; but for what purpose it is difficult to conceive.
On Tuesday night a little before 9 o'clock, a fire was discovered in a
wheat-stack belonging to Mr. M'CUTCHEON, situate in a field, a little above the
new church in Caldewgate, on the Wigton road, and within a quarter of a mile of
the city. A fire engine was immediately procured, and a crowd of persons soon
collected upon the spot. Attention was soon afterwards directed to another fire,
which was dicovered in an opposite direction - in a hay-stack belonging to Mr.
ANDREW, spirit-merchant, situate at the Sheep Mount, in the Willow Holme.
Another fire engine was procured at this place, and another crowd assembled
round it. Within a few yards of the wheat-stack already mentioned, were three
other stacks of grain; and the fire being on the windward side, it was feared
for some time that the whole would be set fire to, and doubtless that had been
the intention of the incendiary. By the assistance of the police, and part of
the crowd, the stack nearest to the one on fire was speedily taken down and
removed; and wet tarpawlings were thrown over the other two, which saved them
from the destructive element. The feeling exhibited by a considerable portion of
the crowd was certainly that of exultation, and they not only refused to assist
in extinguishing the flames, but were active in preventing others from
assisting. The buckets were taken from those carrying water, and tossed into the
flames, amidst considerable cheering; the pipes of the fire-engines were cut in
six places, and a police-officer, of the name of BOWMAN, who was standing on the
engine, directing the pipe, upon the stacks not on fire, was knocked down by a
stone, which struck him on the forehead, and inflicted a severe, though not
dangerous wound! When the flames appeared to get low, the embers were stirred up
with sticks, and as the fire brightened up a part of the crowd cheered! The fire
continued to burn the whole night, and the stack, which might be worth about
50L., was entirely consumed. In one part of the crowd we heard the expression,
"This will teach them to make corn laws;" in another, "This will enlighten the
At the fire in the Willow Holme the crowd was not so great, in the early part of
the night; but between 11 and 12 o'clock there was a considerable accession of
numbers. The police-officers, and some of the persons assembled, had worked the
fire-engine with considerable effect, and the supply of water being plentiful,
had succeeded in partly subduing the fire, when the pipes of the engine choked
up with the sand and gravel. From the top of the stack they rolled off the
burning portions, and persons below removed them to a distance. But when the
crowd became numerous, the persons employed were obstructed in their work, and
ultimately driven off; and the burning parts which had been removed, were again
thrown upon and around the stack, and the fire, which had been partially
extinguished, was thus relighted. It continued to burn all night, although there
was a heavy fall of rain; and next day a part of it was saved.
While workmen were removing the unburned part on Wednesday, a crowd again
assembled, and first annoyed them, and finally drove them off. It was a very
large stack of old hay, of an inferior quality. The loss is estimated at about
Whilst these dreadful and alarming scenes were going on, not a single magistrate
capable of acting could be found in the city. The mayor is non-resident; the
senior alderman is old and infirm; and the only other magistrate in the city
(Dr. HEYSHAM) is so infirm by age, that it would have been the height of cruelty
to ask him to go out on such a night. To such a state has Lord LONSDALE's system
of promoting to the bench only political supporters and hangers-on reduced us.
The Lord Chancellor has read him a lesson that he will not happily dare to
overlook. His superior has given the order, and he must now obey.
On Wednesday there was a meeting of some of the county magistrates, to consider
what steps should be taken. We have not heard the result of their deliberations;
but as the following hand-bill was issued on Thursday morning, we presume it
emanates from them, though it leaves us in the dark upon that point, no
reference being made either as to who will pay the money, or to whom reference
is to be made:
"100L. Reward. - Whereas, on the night of the 30th of November, a stack of
wheat, near the turnpike-road between Carlisle and Wigton, and also a stack of
hay in Willow-holme, Carlisle, were feloniously and maliciously set on fire, and
a number and persons were aiding and abetting in preventing the extinguishing of
the said fires; a reward of 100L. is therefore offered to any person or persons
who shall give such information as may lead to the discovery and apprehension of
any of the authors, abettors, or perpetrators of the above-mentioned outrages.
Such reward to be paid upon conviction. - Carlisle, Dec. 1.
On Friday morning, about 2 o'clock, a man of the name of Robert THURSBY was
taken into custody while in bed, in his house near Caldew-bridges, charged with
being concerned in cutting the engine-pipes. Warrants are out against some other
persons who were recognized as actively engaged in this diabolical work.
We understand that threats have been held out against one or two other persons
in this neighbourhood - amongst others against Wm. BLAMIRE, Esq., of
Thackwood-nook. It is alleged that he has advised the farmers in this county to
hold back their produce from the markets; and for this presumed fault his stacks
are threatened to be destroyed! Absurd as is this alleged ground of offence, we
are happy to have it in our power to contradict it in the fullest manner. Not
only has Mr. BLAMIRE himself sold more than the usual proportion of corn for the
season, but we have the best authority for saying that he has invariably held
that prices must come down, and that he has been recently confirmed in this
opinion by a visit to some of the richest corn counties in the kingdom.
The following is a copy of a written handbill which has been posted in
"For the apprehension of Borough-mongers, Stock-jobbers, Tax-eaters,
Monopolizers, Special Constables, and the extinguishers of freedom. - By order
of the Swing Union."