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MANCHESTER FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

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CONTENTS

HOMEPAGE

A  MANCHESTER RESEARCHER'S TALE

MANCHESTER AND STOCKPORT CERTIFIED INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS

MANCHESTER COURT RECORDS

BELLE VUE PRISON RECORDS

NEW BAILEY PRISON RECORDS

STRANGEWAYS PRISON RECORDS

STRANGEWAYS PRISON: FIRST REPORTS

MANCHESTER MARTYRS' PRISON RECORDS

PRESS REACTION TO THE MANCHESTER EXECUTIONS PART I

PART II

PART III

WHAT  DID HAPPEN TO THE REMAINS OF THE PRISONERS EXECUTED AT MANCHESTER?

THE MANCHESTER FELONY REGISTER Pt 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

GREATER MANCHESTER RIOTS IN 1868

MANCHESTER AND LANCASHIRE STRAYS IN MILL BANK PRISON

MANCHESTER POOR LAW AND WORKHOUSE RECORDS

MANCHESTER POOR LAW UNION MINUTES

CHORLTON AND SOUTH MANCHESTER REGISTRATION DISTRICT

VOTING REGISTERS AND ELIGIBILITY IN MANCHESTER

1831 POPULATION FIGURES FOR MANCHESTER

MANCHESTER CENSUS COLLECTION DETAILS

PLACES OF WORSHIP IN MANCHESTER AND SALFORD

MANCHESTER PARISH AND CITY

MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE CHURCHES

MANCHESTER AND GENERAL INFORMATION

MANCHESTER BOROUGH POLICE FORCE

SECOND PART

THIRD PART

FOURTH PART

MANCHESTER INQUEST WITNESS STATEMENTS INDEX

TRANSPORT IN MANCHESTER PART ONE

PART TWO

USEFUL LINKS

MANCHESTER FAMILY HISTORY CONTACT PAGE

 

   

  THE PRESS REACTION TO THE MANCHESTER EXECUTIONS OF THE FENIANS PART II

 

 

 

THE PRESS REACTION TO THE MANCHESTER EXECUTIONS OF THE FENIANS 

PART TWO

FIND MY PAST

THESE are extracts from the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser from Monday 25th November 1867...two days after the executions. Please note the views expressed are the views of the reporters of the day, and are NOT mine. I have used the punctuation and spellings as they appeared in the paper. Other newspapers of the day can be viewed on the Internet and provide a  different angle of the events.

RUMOURED RESPITE

 

  At about two o'clock on Saturday morning, a messenger from one of the telegraph companies arrived near the prison with a message. The crowd on hearing of it at once most assiduously set to work to circulate that it was a respite. The messenger, after some trouble, arrived at the gaol with the message, which turned out to be instructions from London to the authorities to use every precaution for the protection of Calcraft.

 

 

THE TROOPS AND SPECIAL CONSTABLES

 

  About 110 men of the 57th Regiment were stationed on the railway bridges at the back of the New Bailey Prison, and about the same number of the 72nd were stationed within the walls. At the Albert-street Station 110 men of the 72nd were kept as a guard, to be called out if necessary. The men were quartered  in the large room, where a quantity of straw had been thrown down, upon which many of the men lay down to sleep; while others played at cards with a number of police officers who were off duty. The scene was an exceedingly striking one, and gave a more than ordinarily accurate idea of the soldier's life under active service. Upon the railway bridges  a number of  watch fires were kept up during the night, around which the soldiers assembled, and a good view of the whole of the prison was obtained from these points. The special constables were a body of men who certainly were neither a credit, as far as their personal appearance was concerned, to Manchester or Salford. With the exception of the officers and "captings," as they were termed by their inferiors, the men apparently belonged to the roughest classes, and their idea of duty seemed to be, in the early part of the night at least, in skilfully trundling their staffs, and most persistently refusing to recognise the value of Captain Sylvester's barrier passes. The constabulary forces were repeatedly relieved in the course of the night, and they conducted themselves with excellent attention to their duties, and a courtesy which did them credit; while at the same time, they undoubtedly did not fail to express a slight want of appreciation for "the specials."

  About 1,700 special constables were sworn in, and divided into 20 companies, under the command of Captains Dashwood, Mercier, Waterhouse and Cameron; Lieutenants Hives and Darwell; Messrs Henry, Sylvester, Worsley, Keeting, Aspden, Flintcroft, Brown, Hannon, Hunter, Swallow, E. Cheetham, Baker, Lye, Johnston and Butterworth.

  Captain Dashwood, Lieutenants Hives and Darwell, all of the 92nd Highlanders, who were in Salford on leave, kindly waited upon the chief constables of Salford and tendered their services, which were of course gratefully accepted.

  The whole force, consisting in all of 2,400 men, were under the command of Captain Sylvester, chief constable of the borough, who was very ably assisted by Colonel Barrett, Major Wilkinson, and Captain Arundel, as field officers of the special constables. The special constables were marched in order to the Town-hall, and provide with supper, after which they returned to the places to which they were appointed as reserves. A like course was adopted with reference to breakfast. Mr.  Jennison the purveyor, and everything was provided with his usual care and attention. The long corridor of the Town-hall had been furnished with tables, where about 2,400 men took supplies, consisting of tea and coffee and substantial pies. The drill-hall above the police-office was turned into a kind of "free and easy", where the police off duty whiled away the time with singing, whist-playing, smoking, &c.

  The special constables showed a commendable desire to perform their duty and to obey orders, and altogether acted in a most praiseworthy manner, and there is no doubt that had their services been required to repress disturbances in the streets they would have rendered effective assistance.

  The Mayor, the Town clerk, and the Clerk to the Magistrates remained at the Town-hall all night and directed the whole of the arrangements. The Mayor of Manchester with magistrates and other authorities, were similarly in session at the Manchester Town-hall during the night.

  The following firms in Salford furnished a large number of volunteers from their works who were sworn in as special constables: - Messrs Farmer and Broughton, Higgins and Sons, Hulse and Co., Jackson and Co., Robinson and Co., Smith and Coventry, Broughton Copper Works, Fletcher and Sons, Hodgson and Stead, Langworthy Brothers and Co., Leeming and Co., A. Knowles and Sons, Robert Heywood and Co., William Harvey and Sons, Mather and Platt, Richmond and Chandler, Hamilton, Woods and Co,. Collier and Co,. and  J and J. M. Worrall.

  The 56th Lancashire Ride Volunteers, under the command of Captains Makin and Dahle-Harksley, Bateman, H. Makin, Page, and Ommanney, volunteered their services as special constables, and rendered valuable assistance. Had it been required, 2000 or 3000 special constables could have been obtained without difficulty and in fact hundreds of volunteers had to be refused.

  The officers and servants of the Corporation at the Town-hall, the gasworks, and the various district offices remained on duty all night.

  On the outskirts of the borough a number of mounted policemen were appointed to patrol and report anything which they might consider it desirable to mention for the information of the magistrates.

  The Broughton Volunteer Fire Brigade remained at the Broughton Town-hall on duty all night.

  The Corporation of Manchester placed at the disposal of the Corporation of Salford 150 members of their police force.

  The justices of the county and the local authorities of Blackburn, Leeds, and Oldham, also placed at the disposal of the corporation of Salford a number of policemen.

  The military were under the command of Colonel Warre, C. B. and were stationed as mentioned above.

  The following magistrates undertook to attend the military, and remain with them all night, viz:-

  At the New Bailey Prison, J. W. Maguire Esq.; at the Salford Railway Station, Oliver Heywood Esq.; at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Goods Depot, Murray Gladstone Esq.; at the Infantry Barracks, J. D. C[rew]dson.

See the Manchester Collection at Find My Past

Genes Reunited

 

SCENE IN SALFORD

 

  About two o'clock an Irishman was seen seated on a barricade by a watch-fire in Salford, with a score of people assembled around him, principally lads, to whom he held forth on the superiority of Irishmen, and of the danger of hanging the culprits. He said if they were hung, hundreds of would be hung afterwards. He intended this to have a terrifying effect upon  his hearers, but only excited a sense of the ludicrous, and one of them suggested that he would be one of the first who would be hung, which produced a roar of laughter, and caused the speaker instantly collapse. Shortly after a man in the crowd commenced to play on a penny whistle, which for a time served to arrest the attention of the crowd, after which the roughs resorted to comic songs. The crowd, which throughout the night had not been very numerous, at four o'clock began to increase a little, and at five o'clock the crowd began to fill the barricades close to the prison. As the time approached nearer to when the unfortunate men would be brought up on the scaffold the crowd became noisier, and at six o'clock a very large crowd had been collected. It is satisfactory to note that but two or three women were amongst the persons who were anywhere near the gallows previous to six o'clock, and it was a feature of general remark that so few women were near the scene at all. Most of the occupiers of the houses in the streets which were barricaded had taken the precaution to strengthen the protection to doors and windows, and several of the shop fronts were boarded over so as to prevent them from giving way against the pressure of the crowd. Scarcely any of the house in the immediate neighbourhood which had windows looking upon the scaffold were let, but whether that was owing to the severe scrutiny which the police kept up, or from the inclination of the owners, we are unable to say. In mixing amongst the persons assembled, it was perceptible from the talk of the men, that many of them had come from considerable distances, and from the inquiries we made, we learned on good authority that a vast number had come from Blackstone Edge on the one side and Liverpool on the other. At seven o'clock in the morning, the crowd has further increased, until nothing but faces was to be seen in every direction looking from the scaffold.

 

 

THE EXECUTION

 

A few minutes after 8 o'clock the men were brought upon the scaffold. Allen was first put upon the drop. After the rope had been put round his neck and the cap over his eyes, Larkin stepped up to him and shook him by the hand. Gould was next brought forward and on being brought under the beam he stepped up to Allen, shook hands with him, and then kissed him. Calcraft then put a cap over Gould's eyes and the rope around his neck. Larkin was then brought forward, trembling very much and looking very pale. The cap and the noose having been put over his head, the trembling increased. The Catholic chaplains and the gaolers then moved away from the drop, when Larkin fainted away and fell against Gould. One of the gaolers quickly lifted him upon his feet, the bolt was removed and the unfortunate men were launched into eternity.

  The scaffolding was so erected that after the fall of the drop no portion of the bodies could be seen from the outside of the gaol.  For several seconds however, the ropes on which Gould and Larkin's bodies were attached swayed backwards and forwards, betokening the fact that both men struggled somewhat violently. Allen apparently died very easily. The three men previous to the fall of the drop repeated the prayers aloud which were spoken to them by Fathers Gadd and Quick, and after the chaplains had left the scaffold, Gould was heard saying firmly, "Jesus have mercy on us." The three prisoners seemed to have brought themselves to a very becoming frame of mind.

  The crowd around the gaol was very great, but the utmost quietness was maintained throughout, which in some respects may be accounted for through the fact that so small a number of persons would be able to witness the appearance of the men on the scaffold.

  The arrangements made by the police were of a very satisfying character, and happily, no hitch occurred in the carrying out of these proceedings.

  Immediately after the execution vast numbers of the crowd dispersed, and up to the present time not the slightest attempt at violence has been heard of.

 

 

IN FRONT OF THE SCAFFOLD

 

  Towards daybreak a thick fog set in, which continued to hang around the prison until after the execution. From the hour of seven o'clock in the morning until eight the crowd kept fast increasing, but at no time was it so large as at the previous execution at the New Bailey, nor was the excitement so great. The absence of the crowd might be accounted for in many ways. It is more than possible that the great number of those persons who visited the immediate neighbourhood of the scaffold on Friday night would not be present at the execution, as it was palpable from the first that but a small number of persons would be able to obtain a view of the execution itself. Another reason for the absence of the usual crowd of persons in a case of such notoriety we heard expressed by a special constable, "You see the Fenians are afraid to come, for fear that they get thrashed; and other folks keep away afraid that there will be a row." It is certainly worth passing a remark that none of the men who were tried at the special commission and discharged have shown the least inclination to take part in any attempts that have been made to get the sentence of the men commuted from that of capital punishment to penal servitude. Neither have any of the suspected Fenians been seen anywhere near the place where the unfortunate men were imprisoned, and from enquiries we have made there is every authority for saying that not one of suspected men present either before or after the execution. As an illustration to show how unanimous was the feeling of the crowd against any violence being used to the police officers or special constables, we may here state the facts of a little episode which occurred during the night. A man in the crowd was observed to have  something suspicious concealed under his coat, upon which the fact was communicated to  a number of other bystanders on the Irwell Bridge side  of the gaol. The man was instantly set upon, thrown down on his back on the pavement, and a revolver taken from him. He was then detained, and handed over to the police, who removed to Albert-street station. The man, however, gave satisfactory references; and on the revolver being examined, it was found only to be capped, and he was at once set at liberty. Very small things served to amuse the crowd, which was a remarkably good humoured one, considering that it had been up all night in the cold and fog of Manchester. The first step in the dreadful operation which was to carried out by the hangman, was performed by Calcraft at about seven o'clock, when he and his assistant Armstrong adjusted the ropes over the beam. The ropes, which appeared to be of different lengths -but this was caused by the nooses in Gould and Allen's ropes being longer that of Larkin's- were thrown over the top beam and looped underneath, and the nooses were spliced in the usual way. There was no demonstration from the crowd, beyond an occasional murmur, while this was being done, but only very few persons witnessed it in consequence of the darkness and fog. As the day got lighter the prison presented a very singular appearance. The round-house, which lies immediately behind the scaffold was to all appearance from the outside as quiet and still as if no one was within it, but at each of the turrets or barbicans at the angles of the prison, facing New Bailey-street, the hats of the soldiers who were placed there to guard the prison might occasionally be seen above the walls. The temporary platform which had been erected behind the gaol wall, occasionally brought to view some of the soldiers who were placed there, and now and then some of the prison officials, smoking their pipes, might be seen peeping over the walls down upon the crowd below. The space in front of the scaffold kept entirely clear for members of the press, and it may not be uninteresting to know, as showing the great interest felt in the execution, that upwards of 50 reporters, representing the principal daily or weekly papers in England, Scotland, and Ireland, were present. The special constables were stationed at both sides of the scaffold, in lines, with a strong barrier between them and the crowd. A number of the 56th Lancashire Rifle Volunteers did excellent service in assisting the police-constables and the special forces. On the railway bridge, a number of soldiers and a few of the company's servants kept up a watch during the execution.

 

 

FINAL PREPARATIONS AND PROCESSION TO THE GALLOWS

 

  As we have already stated, the parting interview between Allen and Larkin his (sic) friends took place on Friday morning, after which the condemned men gave themselves entirely to to the consolations of their spiritual advisers who have been most unceasing in their attention the unhappy men. They were visited by the Rev. Mr. Keating, from Ramsbottom, who had been requested to visit them by Allen's mother. The three prisoners were locked up in their cells for the last time at half-past six o'clock. They retired to rest at half-past eleven o'clock, and were awakened at a quarter to five on Saturday morning by Mr. Holt. They were shortly afterwards visited by the Rev. Ca[non] Cantwell, and the Rev. Fathers Quick and Gadd, and went to m[ass] at a quarter passed five o'clock. The condemned men were most attentive to the service, and showed great fortitude. They breakfasted at seven o'clock, and at a quarter to eight Calcraft and his assistant were brought into the cell, and they were then pinioned by them. During this operation the ministers attended to the unfortunate men, exhorting them to be firm and, [to] rely for salvation on their Saviour. Each of the prisoners had expressed a desire to address the crowd, but by the great urgent advice of their spiritual advisers happily they agreed not to do so.

  Shortly before the men were brought from their cells, a company of the 72nd Highlanders, who were stationed in the inside of the New Bailey, were marched to the foot of the temporary platform which was erected at the back of the gaol walls. At a few minutes past eight the prisoners were brought from their cells. Allen headed the procession, the Rev. Canon Cantwell, dressed in full canonicals, walking by his side. Allen was deadly pale, but he walked with a firm step, and repeatedly uttered the response, "Lord Jesus, have mercy upon us," looking towards the wh(???) with an imploring gaze. He ascended the staircase leading to the scaffold; but not so Larkin, who followed, and was attended by Fr. Quick. Larkin had to be assisted up the steps by two warders. He had a most haggard careworn look, and as he went along he faintly joined in the response. With him, both mental and physical powers seemed to have been prostrated, so that he was on the point of fainting away, especially when he caught the first glimpses of the black beams of the gallows. Gould, who was the last of the culprits, was attended by Fr. Gadd. Gould was by far the most self-possessed man of the three. His whole bearing was that of a man who did not fear his fate. He repeated in a firm voice, as he went along, the same responses as the other two men, and mounted the steps without the least sign of trepidation.

 

 

THE CONVICTION THE GALLOWS (sic)

 

  At a few minutes to eight o'clock the excitement of the crowd became greater, and when the prison clock struck the hour of eight a dead stillness came over the crowd, who seemed to anticipate that the tolling of the bell would be heard. To the crowd, however, the sounds of the bell never came, as in probability; it was never rung, in order to deprive the crowd who were not in view of the scaffold of the knowledge of the exact time when the men were to be brought out. At few minutes past eight the door behind the scaffold opened, and a warder came forward, closely followed by Allen and Canon Cantwell. The condemned man was exceedingly pale, and looked around on the crowd with a quick anxious gaze. His hands were convulsively clutched together, holding a small wooden crucifix, his breathing came quick and compressed, and in a  tremulous voice, he repeated the words of Canon Cantwell, "Jesus, have mercy on us." Calcraft followed through the door and took hold of Allen's arm, leading him under the beam towards the noose, which was fixed at the Salford side of the scaffold. The executioner then received a cap from his assistant, which he placed over Allen's head, the prisoner in the meantime being attended by Canon Cantwell, who exhorted him with prayers to place his salvation in the hands of his Saviour. Calcraft then put the noose around the unfortunate man's neck, and having adjusted it, Allen was left in the charge of one of the warders. In a broken voice he continually repeated the words, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on us," and "Jesus, receive my soul." The cap, which was of very thin material, soon became damp in front of the prisoner's mouth, and was drawn closely around his face, showing its outline. Allen turned his head repeatedly from the crowd towards the back of the scaffold as if to see what was there being enacted. Larkin was the next man who appeared on the scaffold, and on seeing Allen ready to be launched into eternity, he stepped up to him, whispered something in his ear which was inaudible to those around, and shook him by the hand. Larkin at this time was looking very pale and tremulous, Calcraft then brought Gould forward, and Larkin stepped back under the door. The prisoner Gould, with that characteristic coolness which he had shown throughout the whole of the trials, stepped upon the scaffold lightly and calmly. On being put under the middle of the beam, he turned round towards Allen, shook him by the hands, and kissed the cap on the unfortunate man's forehead. The leave-taking was most ghastly one could possibly conceive; but in an hour such like this leave-taking might serve to give better consolation than others of a less ghastly character. After his leave-taking Gould quietly returned towards Calcraft and submitted to the same trying ordeal as Allen. The cap having been put over his head and the noose adjusted as he was left in charge of a warder. Father Gadd, the priest who had attended, with an earnestness and devotion which is deserving of the highest praise, on the unfortunate prisoners, kept repeating portions of the "Litany of Jesus" to Gould, who firmly responded, and his voice was heard far beyond the other men, repeating, with an earnestness which showed that he was completely aware of the dreadful position in which he stood, "Lord Jesus, receive my soul." Larkin was the last man to be taken under the drop, and though probably the weakest man, his nerves were the most tried, as he had to witness the ghastly operations which Allen and Gould went through under the hands of Calcraft. On Larkin being brought upon the drop he trembled very much, was very pale and gave a quick searching look around the crowd. He then submitted himself to the hands of the executioner, smiling a somewhat ghastly smile as he looked towards Gould, whose face was turned towards him in an imploring manner. While Larkin was in Calcraft's hands, and the noose was being put over his head, his trembling increased, and he had to be supported by a warder, who was stationed at the side of the drop. The three men then stood facing the crowd, with their hands convulsively clasped. Gould still firmly kept repeating the "Litany of Jesus," and Allen in a tremulous voice gasped out "Lord Jesus, receive me!" The preparations having been completed, Calcraft, who did not pinion the legs of the men as he usually does, gave a quick searching glance around, doubtless to see if all was ready, and then stepped down and disappeared from the view of the crowd, who, in solemn silence, only broken by the murmurs of those unable to see at some distance away, looked upon the scaffold without stirring.   Calcraft's disappearance from the drop was a signal to the priests to follow him, and repeating aloud the prayers set apart for this occasion so that the condemned men should hear them, they crouched down and almost crawled between the men and passed through the door. Larkin at this moment fainted completely away, and fell in a dead swoon against Gould with the rope tightened around his neck. The warder who was standing at his side, and whose presence of mind undoubtedly served to prevent a scene, instantly caught hold of him and lifted him upon his feet. Larkin, still apparently unconscious, fell forward, and partly supported by the gaoler, and, as it seemed, leaning on the front screen of the scaffold, he remained in that position, while the other prisoners stood firm, still repeating the words "Lord Jesus, receive us." Then the bolt was withdrawn, and -

Even the stern stood chill'd with awe.

Dark was the crime and just was the law.

Yet all shuddered as they saw.

 

the ropes tighten[ed] when the men disappeared from view, behind the black screen of the scaffold, in their death struggle.

  The scaffold was erected so that after the fall of the drop no portion of the bodies of the men could be seen from the outside of the gaol. For several seconds, however, the ropes on which Gould and Larkin's bodies were attached swayed backwards and forwards betokening both men had struggled somewhat violently. Allen apparently died very easily.

 

 

DISPERSION OF THE CROWD

 

  After the disappearance of the bodies of the men, a large number of the crowd instantly dispersed, and quarter of an hour after the drop fell only about half of the persons who were present at the execution remained in the streets On the Manchester side of the river, a temporary alarm was caused through part of the crowd crushing forward towards the scaffold, while those in front were trying to leave; but the exertions of the police quieted the alarm, and the crowd contrived to leave the streets without anything serious taking place. A large portion of the outer crowd was composed of working men, who immediately upon the bolt being withdrawn made of to their work.

  The bodies of the men were cut down at nine o'clock. There was no demonstration made by those persons who still remained near the scaffold. Immediately afterwards a body of labourers in the employ of the corporation were set to work to remove  the barriers, and by half-past ten o'clock the "boarding" at the end of Stanley-street and the barriers in New Bailey-street had been taken down and carted away. Immediately after the bodies were cut down, they were carried into the precincts of the prison and buried there. A number of workmen were shortly afterwards seen on the scaffold, and they at once proceeded to remove the hideous machine. The black cloth was first taken down, and before the men had been at work above a few minutes, a number of bricklayers commenced to build up the breach which had been made in the wall. The whole arrangements were carried out in the most complete manner, and to Captain Mitchell, Captain Palin, Captain Sylvester, and the officers in charge the greatest credit is [due] for the clear foresight which was displayed in attending to the interests of Manchester and Salford.

 

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