19 March 2018

Riot, part eight.

“Neither band, banner, nor cross” 

Sunday, October 3, 1875. 

It began in silence.   

The people of Toronto attended their churches in the morning as was their wont, and occupied themselves for a while.  The cavalry arrived at the Old Fort around eleven o’clock.  They were soon joined by the infantry, the command of the whole being placed under Lieutenant-Colonel Durie and his assistant Brigade Major Dennison.  Almost the entire police force was brought out and lead personally by Chief Constable Major Draper.  The police and the military made their way to their assigned positions. The troops were marched to Church Street and placed just south of King Street, facing north, with a view to them being in a central position, ready to act in support.  The cavalry rode at the head of the column, and behind all came Mayor Medcalfe in a cab.  The police, however, placed themselves in what would most likely be harm's way.  Some made their way to St Paul’s to join and march with the procession, the rest formed up around St Michael’s Cathedral.  Crowds were beginning to form around the Cathedral. 

By two-thirty the pilgrims had formed themselves into a procession near St Paul’s church, and they began their march towards the Cathedral with the police taking their positions at the head, middle, and rear of the group.  About 1,500- 2,000 men marched in the street, with a large number of women and children marching alongside them on the sidewalk.  In the words of The Mail, “Neither band, banner nor cross was in it.”1  If the protestants were going to take offense, it would not be at the adornments and accoutrements, but at the people themselves.  They made their way from Power Street along Queen, up Church to the Cathedral in silence.  Nothing happened along the way.

When they turned off Church Street onto Shuter they would have seen a crowd of  5- 8,000 (some sources say 10,000) people waiting for them.  The filled the neigbouring streets around the west end of the cathedral, and along the northern grounds of the Metropolitan Church (Now the metropolitan United Church.) Many were there out of curiosity, to see what would happen next.  Many weren’t.  A groan went through the crowd at the sight of the pilgrimage. More police arrived at that time. The crowd groaned and hissed at them. 

As the processionists filed into the church in silence, Archbishop Lynch stepped outside and addressed the crowd, telling them that if they were indeed Christians, they would go home.  He was ignored. 

The pilgrims said their prayers inside the church and received their blessingOnce again, the bishop exhorted the pilgrims to put themselves in the protection of the  Police and army, and to offer no violence to the Protestants.  After about ten minutes, the pilgrims began filing out of the Cathedral and began forming up to continue their procession.  The headed east towards Church Street, turned south towards Queen, lead by a dozen or so policemen.  Stones started to be thrown at them as they made their way along Church.  When they reached Queen, a full volley of stones was hurled at them, and the first pistol shots were heard.  The police charged the attackers, who, according to one report, ran into the Metropolitan Church, and began using it for cover.  Several times the police charged the rioters, they withdrew into the church, only to emerge and renew their attack. The police returned to the head of the procession, and began leading it down Church St. and turned west onto Adelaide.  Several thousand of the attackers surged down Victoria street, running to cut the procession off where Victoria intersected with Adelaide.  They attacked again when Adelaide intersected with Yonge.  As was the case the week before, the attackers ran parallel to the procession, threw stones and fired pistols at every crossing.  Many in the procession struck back, like for like.  The riot was now also a running gunfight. 

The police were warned that a large group of attackers was gathering ahead of the procession, preparing to strike where Adelaide crossed Brock St. (now Spadina Avenue).  The police therefore halted the procession, and summoned reinforcements who hemmed in the attackers.  The procession turned north and the marched along queen street, crossing Brock there while their attackers were trapped at the intersection with Adelaide. Several police officers began to get injured.  Frequently the Police charged with their batons.   Bloody heads were becoming common. 

More skirmishes happened along the route, all the way to St. Mary’s church on Bathurst Street.  Again the police set up cordons, keeping the attackers away from the church.  Some of the procession stayed outside the church and engage the rioters, and police occasionally found themselves being attacked from both sides.  The police drew their revolvers and charged the rioters, but they did not fire.  The rioters withdrew a little. 

Meanwhile, while the police were engage with rioters to the north of the church, processionists came out and once again formed up.  The police instructed them to change the route, and so they turned south to King, and began marching eastward along front street.  At this point the troops, who had been following the procession, to the south, now moved north and began marching along Portland St. to Adelaide, where they marched east, parallel to the procession, effectively blocking any further attacks from the protestants.  As they marched along the processionists from St Patrick’s, and then St basil’s broke away and headed to their homes.  At Church Street, Col Durie ordered the troops back to the old fort.  The cavalry, accompanied by the Mayor, stayed with the procession all the way back to St Paul’s. 

The fight was still raging to the north of St. Mary’s, the rioters unaware that the procession was now out of their reach. Rioters had gathered at Brock and Queen, and at Portland and Queen, expecting the procession to come that way.  A man in his buggy was riding back and forth along Queen, shouting encouragement to the rioters.  At one point he stopped and addressed the rioters.  “Men,” he said. “Remember the old days when they walked eight deep. All good Protestants form in a body behind me and we will burn the church.  I will be responsible for my own life.”2  The rioters formed up behind him and marched at the police.  They forced the horse and buggy through the police, but the police stopped anyone else from getting through.  The man in the buggy rode off. 

More people were being injured as the police and the rioters repeatedly clashed.  At around a quarter to five the rioters realized the procession had left St Mary’s.  They then broke contact with the police and headed off to St. Patrick’s where the procession was supposed to go before the route had been changed by the Archbishop the day before.  Disappointed at not finding the procession there, they turned their ire on the houses of 44 and 46 William (previously Dummer) Street, which The Mail  had reported the week before as being the first ones to throw stones in the previous riot.  They then attacked William Cosgrove’s tavern on the West Corner of queen and William, Because Cosgrove was a known Catholic and his tavern was reputed to a lair of Fenians.  Within minutes every window in the tavern had been smashed by stones.  Further damage was prevented by the arrival of the police who pushed the rioters back to Simcoe Street, where more fighting took place, and more shots were heard fired. A second mob attacked the police from the rear, but they were soon driven off.  The Mayor and the Chief of Police arrived, and the Mayor addressed the mob, ordering them to disperse.  The mob cheered the Mayor, but went back to rioting as soon as he left. 

As the evening wore on, a Police officer arrested one of the rioters and took him to Number 3 police station.  The rioters fellows followed them to the station and stood outside, demanding the rioter be released.  Some proposed they should storm the door and set the prisoner free by force, but at this time the Chief of Police arrived and described to the rioters in no uncertain terms what the result of that action would be.  They left. 

The rioting now seemed to center around Cosgrove’s tavern.  More stones were thrown at it.  More people were injured.  Around seven o’clock darkness began to set in, and by nightfall quiet was restored.  Many people still lined the streets, but they were believed to be spectators, or curious about the damage done.  Within an hour, the streets were as quiet as usual. 

Thus ended the second of the Jubilee riots.  There were many injuries from the stone throwing, but, oddly, or perhaps miraculously, none were injured from the gunplay.  The newspapers listed the names of twenty-six police who were hurt by thrown stones.  No list of injured rioters or processionists or bystanders is to be found. There were no deaths.  Eventually, everyone would make their way home. 

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