Davidson: The Conspirator

William Davidson

Davidson was allegedly involved in the *Cato street conspiracy, resulting to him being executed by the British government.

Davidson was the illegitimate son of the Jamaican Attorney General and a local black woman. Looking at he’s life he had a great interest in parliament, his parents sent him to Glasgow to study law, there, he became involved in the movement for parliamentary reform. He was apprenticed to s Liverpool Lawyer, but then was press ganged to join the navy.


[William Davidson]

When he returned, he decided to start a cabinet making business in Birmingham, where he fell in love with a rich merchants daughter, they had a relationship which did not end well, he found out she was with another man, who she later on married. Davidson tried to kill himself when he discovered this. It isn’t a surprise to know that he’s cabinet making business failed.

He’s next move was to London, he married Sarah Lance, a working-class widow with four children. They had two more together. After the **Peterloo Massacre (1819), Davidson became interested in Politics again and joined the Marylebone reading society which discussed politics and articles I radical newspapers. He became involved with the Committee of Thirteen, who planned to assassinate government ministers; this was for the poor in Britain to rise up against the countries leaders. The Committee of Thirteen were however targets of spies and the police force.

In 1920, a government provocateur, called George Edwards, brought together twenty nine citizens, including Davidson to take part in a plot to kill government cabinet officers as they dined at Lord Harrowby‘s house at 39 Grosvenor Square. Davidson was selected to be an executive to organise the assassinations, along with four other men.

On the day the assassination was to take place, it turned out that the cabinet officers were not dining at Lord Harrowby‘s house at 39 Grosvenor Square. It was set up by Edwards, and eleven men were arrested with involvement in the Cato Street Conspiracy, this included Davidson. Most of the other men who were involved had their charges dropped; however Davidson stated that the court was prejudice towards black people. Five of the suspects were found guilty of high treason. Four of them were publicly hanged and decapitated on 1st May 1820. Davidson was one of the four.




*The Cato Street Conspiracy was an attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool in 1820. [Taken from Wikipedia]


**The Peterloo Massacre (or Battle of Peterloo) occurred at St Peter’s Field,Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. [Taken from Wikipedia]

3 thoughts on “Davidson: The Conspirator

  1. Another early 19th c. radical of Caribbean birth was Robert Wedderburn. He was actually in jail on another charge when the Cato Street conspiracy happened, otherwise he would almost certainly have been involved and possibly executed.
    Wedderburn’s mother was a slave and his father a member of an ancient Scottish family.
    Oddly enough, one of Robert Wedderburn’s modern descendants became a left-wing politician. He was raised to the British House of Lords as Baron Wedderburn of Charlton(d.2012).

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