When the local magistrates investigated the causes and events of the riots, they encountered a particularly incendiary bit of intolerant verbiage typical of the No Popery propaganda. What follows is testimony of a magistrate who read the “placard” and the full text of the placard itself:

Amongst the witnesses examined on Saturday last was Mr. T. Eskrigge of Stockport, magistrate, who having described the rioting as witnessed by himself, was questioned as follows, with a view to showing the state of feeling amongst the English operatives: —

Mr. Gibson: Have you seen a placard similar to this about the borough ?—Witness: I have.

Mr. Gibson: Have you read it ? — Witness: I have read part of it.

Mr. Gibson inquired what Mr. Eskrigge thought of it? — Witness: I thought it one of the most exciting and irritating placards I have ever seen,

The following is a copy of the placard:

To the Electors or Stockport.

Electors, Britons, Bible Christians, Churchmen, Dissenters. Freetraders, Protectionsts, elect a Popish Parliament, give Britain to the Pope; he will settle your differences and smooth public opinion as in Austria, France, and Italy. Will you? Now is the time to resolve.

You have one God, one Bible, one faith, one hope; you agree in all that is great among men, in all that is worthy of immortals. You differ about things of time, matters of expediency, subjects of legitimate dispute. Will you throw away all you agree in and give Anti-Christ power to settle your differences? Anti-Christ drunk with the blood of your fathers! No, no. Their very dust is dear to you, their mossy headstones and their honoured graves in your mountains, glens, and old churchyards shall be defended from Popbh desecration. Your differences will vanish while you defend the green turf that covers those fearless valiants who resisted unto death for God, their country, and for you.

There is no danger, say scoffers. Popish hirelings, and place-hunters. No dancer! when the Pope has a powerful brigade of his own in the House o' Commons? Do statesmen now read passing events, or history, or scripture? Our great and good statesmen are all dead and gone. No danger! When the mists of Popery are settling down on our high place; when, with thick darkness, they are fast creeping upon the deeper vaults of society; when the broad, fair, middle regions—the place of British electors—are breezy sunshine and shadow; when Jesuit demons of the storms, superhuman mirage-like brings, flit about everywhere; when Popery is murmuring In the forests, and moaning in the churches of Britain? No danger! When the threatening hurricane has desolated neighbouring countries — France, Italy, Hungary? Alas! alas!

Britons, you set the Negro free. British women are enslaved and driven by Romish priests, the factors of the great slaveholder — the Pope! Oh, pity helpless females, cajoled and frightened into nun-prisons. Pity all their deluded followers. Give them Bibles, and send them missionaries; make aggression upon Rome; retaliate thus: No persecution. No encouragement or teaching, at your expense, of their delusions. Britons, open the prison doors; let the oppressed go free. Elect a Popish Parliament, you confirm those delusions, you rivet the halos of the alma of the Pope— the tide of Popery will overflow us. The King of Rome will become the Sovereign of Britain, ex Victoria, at Pio Nono’s pleasure.

                                                                                                       An Elector of Edinburgh

Printed for the Stockport Protestant Association, by T. Claye, Little Underbank.

Related material from the same article


The Riot at Stockport” The Illustrated London News 21 (10 July 1852): 28-30. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 17 December 2015. The text above to which paragraph has been added for ease of reading was created from the web version with ABBYY FineReader. — George P. Landow

Last modified 17 December 2015