The Corner

A Rabble Government

In Radio Derb (up shortly!) I note the failure of municipal leadership in cities afflicted by these “Occupy” protestors, and raise an inspiring example from 231 years ago.

Here’s Dr Johnson, reporting to his friend Mrs Thrale on the Gordon riots of 1780, which caused great destruction in London — far worse, I should say, than anything the Occupy mobs have been able to accomplish. Quote:

The King said in Council, “That the magistrates had not done their duty, but that he would do his own;” and a proclamation was published, directing us to keep our servants within doors, as the peace was now to be preserved by force. The soldiers were sent out to different parts, and the town is now at quiet … There has, indeed, been an universal panick from which the King was the first that recovered. Without the concurrence of his ministers, or the assistance of the civil magistrate, he put the soldiers in motion, and saved the town from calamities, such as a rabble’s government must naturally produce.

I know we had some issues with King George over here, but he did the right thing in calling out the troops — there was, remember, no police force at that time. It was a choice between the mob and the militia, and King George made the right choice.

I note by the way that following the suppression of the Gordon riots, the Mayor of London was convicted of criminal negligence for not reading out the Riot Act to the mob. He was fined a thousand pounds. [Oakland Mayor] Jean Quan might want to take note of that.


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