In May 1820 a daring group of political radicals, led by their revolutionary leader Arthur Thistlewood, plotted an audacious attempt to murder the British Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and members of his cabinet. By destroying the government with violence as they dined in London’s Mayfair the conspirators hoped to prepare the country for national revolution. As their headquarters the group chose a humble stable block in Cato Street in London’s Marylebone from where they planned their moves. Unbeknown to the group, however, a government agent had infiltrated their ranks. With the government well-briefed of the plot, twelve officers from the Bow Street Runners surprised the gang before their deed could be carried out. Several police officers were hurt in the melee and one constable killed. On conviction, several members of the group were transported for life and five of the principal ringleaders executed for High Treason.
This news sheet from The Observer reports on events that took place, and includes illustrations of the conspirators at work inside the Cato Street house.
- Article by:
- Ruth Mather
- Power and politics
Ruth Mather considers how Britain's intellectual, political and creative circles responded to the French Revolution.
- Article by:
- Andrew Lincoln
- Power and politics, Poverty and the working classes, Romanticism
The French Revolution inspired London radicals and reformers to increase their demands for change. Others called for moderation and stability, while the government tried to suppress radical activity. Professor Andrew Lincoln describes the political environment in which William Blake was writing.