[The Cato Street Conspiracy, 1820; Arthur Thistlewood and Lord Liverpool.] Printed handbill: 'Conspiracy | A Particular Account of the Treasonable Plot formed, for the destruction of His Majesty's Ministers!!!'

The Cato Street Conspiracy, 1820; Arthur Thistlewood (1774-1820); Lord Liverpool, Prime Minister
Publication details: 
Pollock, Printer, North Shields. No date [March 1820].
SKU: 22127

For information regarding the conspiracy to murder Lord Liverpool and his entire cabinet, see Thistlewood's entry in the Oxford DNB. A rare item, with no other copy found either on OCLC WorldCat or on COPAC, and intended for distribution in the streets of the North-East of England as the sensational news of the Conspiracy broke. In small print apart from the heading (which is in the usual mixture for the period of typefaces and point sizes, with fancy rules), on one side of a 42 x 13 cm strip of laid paper. Aged and worn, with manuscript calculations in ink on the blank reverse showing through slightly. Folded twice. Reprinting newspaper accounts, the first dated 'London, Thursday Evening, Feb. 24, 1820.' (with sub-heading 'Bow-Street, 12 o'clock.'), the second 'London, Friday Evening, Feb. 28.' Of the moment of arrest, by Ellis and the Bow Street officers, the first report states: 'On the door being opened, about 27 or 30 men were seen within, all armed in some way or other; and, for the most part, they were apparently engaged, either in charging fire-arms, or in girding themselves in belts similar to those worn by the military. There were tables about the room, on which lay a number of cutlasses, bayonets, &c. As the officers entered the room, the conspirators all started up, when Ruthven, who had been furnished with a warrant from the Magistrate, exclaimed - “We are peace-officers! Lay down your arms!” A smart contest instantly commenced. A man, whom Ruthven describes as Arthur Thistlewood, opposed himself to the officers, armed with a cut and thrust sword of unusual length. Ellis advanced to the man, and, presenting his pistol, exclaimed, “Drop your sword, or I'll fire instantly!” The sword was brandished with increasing violence, and Smithers, attempting to seize him, was stabbed in the heart. He fell into the arms of Ellis, exclaiming, “Oh God!” and in the next instant was a corpse.'