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Time to read the Riot Act

There’s nothing new about howling mobs of rioting Brits. In my youth, a couple of centuries ago, London’s riots were legendary. Mark you, the British weren’t as squeamish about dealing with them as they are today.

At Apsley House, the London residence of the Duke of Wellington, the pillars on the top floor were once circled by stands of muskets. So, for that matter, were the pillars in the Fleet Street counting house of Hoare’s Bank. What’s more, the staff in both places were well trained in the use of fire arms and ready to use them.

They knew how to deal with riots back then. All it took was a reading of The Riot Act:

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

and if the rioters didn’t go home, the troops opened fire.

The Riot Act is rarely used these days. In our Choir Room, however, it is prominently displayed on the door. Meanwhile, TTFN. See you on the Church’s Facebook page, or on mine. And always remember, Isaac’s got his eye on you.

Editor’s note: The passage which Isaac quotes is actually the “magic paragraph” from the Riot Act, which was passed in 1714, and which took effect on August 1st, 1715. You can read the full text of the Act on the Project Gutenberg web site.

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