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Listed Under:  Know-Nothings  |   Mob Violence  |   Philadelphia Anti-Catholic Riots, 1844

Public Ledger

Investigation—Southwark Riots

Citation Information:"Investigation—Southwark Riots," Public Ledger, v. 17, 22 July, 1844.

PUBLIC LEDGER
PHILADELPHIA, MONDAY, JULY 22, 1844

General Adam Diller.—I am the Adj. General of the State of Pennsylvania; there was an application made to me by Wm. H. Dunn, for muskets, soon after the Kensington riots; the authority by which he claimed them was a few lines from Gen. Patterson; I told Mr. Dunn that the law pointed out clearly the authority under which arms should be delivered, and that his requisition was not sufficient; that he could not and ought not to have arms for any such purpose; he went away and in a few days returned with a similar application; I sent him away again; about 10 days after he brought an order from the Governor. The order is as follows;—

Executive Chamber, June 13, 1844 TO ADAM DILLER, Adj. Gen. P. M. Sir-On receipt of this, you will deliver to Wm. H. Dunn, Esq 25 stand of muskets, taking from him at the same time his bond for re-delivery of the same in good order on or before the 1st day of February next. I am respectfully, DAVID R. PORTER

Upon his giving the usual bond, I gave him an order on the keeper of the arsenal for 20 old muskets, mistaking the number mentioned in the Governor's orders, and Mr. Dunn only received these twenty; in a few days he sent a note complaining of the mistake and claiming the remainder. This note is as follows;—

210 South Eighth street, June 21, 1844
GEN. ADAM DILLER
Sir-of the twenty muskets received out of the Arsenal by me, under your order, but four have ramrods, and one of the bayonets is imperfect. As my demand is for the re-delivery of what ought to be considered perfect stands of arms, I will thank you to do what is right in the matter.

I will also require of you an order for the remaining five stand of arms, to perfect the number directed to be given to me. Your ob't servant, WM. H. DUNN.

Mr. Dunn gave a bond, with security, for the return of the twenty-five muskets on the 1st of February next; he only received twenty however; he never received any other arms of any description; when the Governor was here, I had a conversation with him on the subject; he said Mr. Dunn had presented such strong recommendations in favor of his application, and, among others, a letter from Major General Patterson, that he did not feel at liberty to deny his request; no other arms than those mentioned have been placed in that or any other church to my knowledge; during the Kensington riots, after consultation with the Governor, arms were delivered on the requisition of the Mayor, for the purpose of arming the peace police of the various wards; these were all called in, however, before the Southwark riots commenced. There are many ways in which muskets could be procured; there are sales at the United States Arsenal, and various manufacturers of muskets for the United States, who sell those condemned as unfit for the service; the muskets delivered to Mr. Dunn were most probably among those deposited at the arsenal by the military on their return from Southwark; among the fifty or sixty guns so deposited, are several shot guns.

Col. John S. Jones, was posted at the corner of Third and Queen streets on Sunday night, and had command of the Washington Blues and Monroe Guards. He was standing beside Capt. Mallory's gun at the time of the discharge from Third and Christian streets; remained on the ground till the military left, with the exception of the short time spent in procuring a coffin for Sergeant Guyer; while at the undertaker's in Second street, a man abused the military in my presence and used other threatening language; as this occurred out of the lines, witness made as much haste as possible to return within the lines. Nothing new was elicited from the further examination of Col. Jones.

George R. Smith, affirmed—I went down with the Sheriff's posse on Saturday evening; the posse formed at Third and Second streets, after blocking up the crowd; was at the corner of Third; Capt. Hill's company formed across the street; a mob came down; were very tumultuous, and would have broken the ranks but for the military. On Sunday evening got upon the ground about seven o'clock; arrived at Second street; 6 or 7 of us were ordered back again to Second street; we went in front of the military; succeeded in arresting one man, who had hold of Capt. Hill's sword; one of the Southwark police officers, who I subsequently learned was an alderman, let this prisoner escape; heard the same person afterwards abusing the military for firing. I saw a number of stones thrown at the military, one of which, half a brick, passed my shoulder and struck a soldier in the breast, a member of Capt. Hill's company; when the stones were thrown the military appeared to be in confusion, apparently not knowing whether to fire or run; it was then I heard the word given to fire; I do not know who gave it; Capt. Hill went in front of his company, flourishing his sword and desiring the mob to disperse; I saw four or five hands take hold of his sword; a struggle ensued, which lasted, perhaps, three minutes, and during which he fell; he was about twenty feet in advance of his men; the mob closed around him so that I lost sight of him; as I assisted to arrest one of the men who seized the sword, and had gone behind the military, I could not see what followed; the mob were advancing before the military fired; the street was full of people those immediately in front were the most active; they were the worst looking fellows I ever saw; appeared to be just fit for a riot; those behind only made a noise; I saw Mr. Grover, who appeared to be persuading the mob to disperse; saw the committee go out on the south side of Queen street, at Second, previous to the firing; the committee had all left Queen street before the firing; that is they had gotten out from behind the military; they did not all get away, because I saw one who stated that he was one of the committee who had charge of the church during the afternoon, standing in front of the military, and abusing them for having turned the committee out of the church; the committee that I saw was headed by Mr. Grover; as they came out from behind the military I heard him say, "come on;" they had ample time to get out of the reach of the firing, if they had gone away immediately; the reason that, I think so is because after I saw them, we arrested the prisoner, took him in behind the military, towards the church, and I had time to come back within about twenty feet of the military, before they fired.

Mr. Cropper was affirmed, and examined in private, by Attorney Rush.

The examinations were then concluded for the day.