View Full Version : The Riot Act

Alan D. Hyde
11-23-2004, 11:15 AM
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 tumultuous and riotous assemblies. God save the King.



[ 11-23-2004, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

11-23-2004, 11:24 AM
Sooo thats the riot act so often read? kewl! :D

[ 11-23-2004, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Elco's ]

John of Phoenix
11-23-2004, 11:29 AM
The Italian version -

Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,--
Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground,
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets,
And made Verona's ancient citizens
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate:
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.
For this time, all the rest depart away:
You Capulet; shall go along with me:
And, Montague, come you this afternoon,
To know our further pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

11-23-2004, 11:31 AM
John..wasn't that

"you shakespeian men in tights, exit stage right"

11-23-2004, 01:23 PM
Never actually seen the riot act before.

We hear and obey. ;)

Keith Wilson
11-23-2004, 01:33 PM
Very good!

As I understand it, someone in a position of authority had to "read them the riot act" (literally) before the police could legally go in and break heads.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-23-2004, 01:38 PM
There were no police then. The Riot Act was to be read by a magistrate (a Justice of the Peace - usually one of the local Great and Good) before the magistrate(s) called in troops (normally the Yeomanry - local volunteer/reservist cavalrymen) to suppress the disturbance.

Pretty brutal stuff.

The first modern police force was the Metropolitan Police in 1829 or thereabouts.

11-23-2004, 02:01 PM
Andrew...referring to the Peelites I guess?

Alan D. Hyde
11-23-2004, 03:02 PM


11-23-2004, 03:04 PM
Stand corrected...sounds like blue crabs or shrimp though :D Right track. ;)

Nicholas Carey
11-23-2004, 03:39 PM
Full text of the Riot Act is available at the The Reactor Core (http://reference.reactor-core.org/riot-act.html). It's considerably longer than the order to disperse it mandates (which is what's quoted above).

Among other things, it makes it a capitol offence (Section IV of the Riot Act) to destroy a church:
<span font-family:serif;IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any persons unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the publick peace, shall unlawfully, and with force demolish or pull down, or begin to demolish or pull down any church or chapel, or any building for religious worship certified and registred according to the statute made in the first year of the reign of the late King William and Queen Mary, intituled, An act for exempting their Majesty's protestant subjects dissenting from the church of England from the penalties of certain laws, or any dwelling-house, barn, stable, or other out-house, that then every such demolishing, or pulling down, or beginning to demolish, or pull down, shall be adjudged felony without benefit of clergy, and the offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy.