Monday, September 05, 2005

After the Greenwich bombing

At the end of July I posted an account of a nineteenth-century suicide bombing at Greenwich, and went on to discuss the novel it inspired: Conrad's The Secret Agent.

I have now found a description of the funeral of the perpetrator, Martial Bourdin:

On February 29 on the removal of Bourdin's remains from an undertaker's shop in Chapel Street near Lisson Grove, for interment at St Pancras Cemetery at Finchley, Londoners gave free vent to their anti-Anarchist sentiments.

Just before the little funeral procession, composed of a hearse and a mourning coach, started on its journey a body of Anarchists, carrying red flags edged with black, endeavoured to join it. But the police, who were present in force, ordered them to withdraw, and as they demurred to obeying they were forced to disperse leaving behind them their banners which were speedily torn up by the crowd.

So antagonistic was the latter's demeanour that the police had considerable difficulty in protecting the hearse and the occupants of the mourning coach - a brother of the deceased and some friends - from violence.

At the cemetery an agitator of that time, named Quinn, who styled himself a "Christian Anarchist" ... endeavoured to deliver a speech by the graveside, but he had only been able to utter the words: "Friends, Anarchists, comrades," when he was seized by the police, who kept him in custody until the departure of the mourning coach, in which he gladly took refuge from the ever-threatening crowd.

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