Chapter Three

AuthorRichard D. Schneider
Cae ree
   into London each month hoping to nd
work, and with its metropolitan population having ballooned as a result
to well over  million people, the city to which Daniel M’Naughten
rst came in the summer of  was a study in contrasts. London was
at once an ancient city, built by the Romans in  , and a modern
one, with a dozen railway lines running trains in and out of London
daily while hundreds of steamships plied the waters of the ames,
bound for or returning from Britain’s imperial colonies around the
world. People of staggering wealth lived and worked alongside the
poor and poverty-stricken. Royalty and aristocracy, as emblemized by
the monarchy and the House of Lords, continued to rule “Brittania,”
the young Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were be-
loved by all. At the same time mass working-class labour movements
agitated for social and political reforms with an ever-growing willing-
ness to use violence to achieve their ends.
Indeed, London in  (the time of the murder) was a city like
no other. Frederick Engels, arriving the year before to work with Karl
Marx on the seminal works of dialectical materialism (Communism),
marvelled at the city’s vibrancy and dynamism:
I know of nothing more imposing than the view the ames of-
fers during the ascent from the sea to London Bridge. e masses
of buildings, the wharves on both sides, especially from Woolwich
upwards, the countless ships along both shores, crowding ever closer
together, until, at last, only a narrow passage through which hundreds
of steamers shoot by one another.
We can almost visualize the frenetic harbour and hear the blaring
horns of the “countless ships” docking and departing from the bustling

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