Tuesday, 3 July 2012

3rd July 1812: Disturbances in Nottingham after the National Anthem is sung at the Theatre

The Leicester Journal of 3rd July reported that disturbances had been taking place in Nottingham following the traditional loyalist goings-on at the Theatre:
The Theatre this place has been abruptly closed by command of the Town Magistrates, in consequence of the tumultuous proceedings that have taken place on several successive evenings, occasioned by a request made to the Orchestra to play the national air of God save the King.

On the tune being called for, it has generally been accompanied with a cry of “hats off,” which has produced the most violent opposition on the part of those who are anything but loyal. Instead of complying with the request, the oppositionists answer it with a cry of “Millions be free!” and rising with their hats on, place themselves in the most menacing attitude of defiance. This act of indecency has frequently led to blows, and individuals in the boxes have been obliged to seek their personal safety by leaping into the pit, while those in the pit have placed themselves in array against the boxes, and a general contest or tumult has been the result. In several instances tickets have been distributed gratis, to the amount of several pounds, with a view to beat down the loyal party by main force, in consequence of which several Officers have been insulted, and maltreated, particularly on Wednesday evening last, on a number of those desperadoes surrounded Brigade Major Humphreys, on coming out of the Theatre, hooted him along the streets to his quarters, and threw a bottle in his face, which cut him severely. Brigade-Major Humphreys is a most gentlemanly character, who had never taken any part whatever in the disturbances, but that he was a military officer was quite sufficient. On another occasion, a party way-laid an officer of the 2d Somerset Militia, who had been forward in displaying his zeal and loyalty to his King at the Theatre, in the Park, late in the evening, and beat him in a most inhuman manner. Several have been compelled to enter into recognizances for their good behaviour, and two or three are bound over to appear the Quarter Sessions, for the assault committed on the officer in the Park

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