Manchester Chronicle Report
Hunt, the reformers, and treason’ provides a rather unfavourable account of the protest and those involved.
Wheelers’ Manchester Chronicle
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 1819
HUNT, THE REFORMERS, AND TREASON
There have been few periods contemplated with more seriousness by the inhabitants of Manchester, of Salford, and of the neighbourhood at large, than the approach of Monday last. The feeling, indeed, was not confined even to the extensive population of this wide circumference. It extended through the metropolis, and to the confines of the United Kingdom. So much has for a long period of time been heard of the Manchester Reformers, that an importance had been attached to the very name, and everything that was unfriendly to social order, to public and private security, or to all that an Englishman calls by the comprehensive term of comfortable, seemed to be affected by it. And was so. The writings of this sort of men, and their actions, were alike indicative of innovation, of overthrow. Really to reform, beneficially to alter and amend, seemed in their view a cold idea; and they showed clearly that to rash upon some unnatural change, some terrible inversion of the order of society and of government, carried in it a charm which could alone satisfy the unnatural cravings of their disordered appetites. As to moral restraint, the notion could not be listened to. There was no liberty in it; and a liberty of their own designing, a new-created monster so denominated, was the only shade under which they were disposed to find solace. They had attacked all public institutions with base calumny; the Royal head was not spared; the Nobility were traduced; the Judges of the land referred to with levity and indecency; all public functionaries were decried; the name of Government mentioned as an idle thing; the Ministers of it deemed to be on that account dishonest; Religion scoffed at; and the term Morality used merely as a convenient shelter for a conduct the contrary to upright: - A creature of this anomalous combination was designated by the name of Radical Reformer, and naturally became the terror of all, whose simple notions were confined to the pursuit of common good by common means.
On the previous Saturday it was observed that strangers of a low description began to drop into the town. This was more particularly the case in the evening. On Sunday morning an occurrence took place which gave a shock to the feelings of all who heard of it. Two residents had gone very early in the morning to a Common called the White Moss, not far from Middleton, to see what they had so often been told of, the Radical Reformers going through their military movements. Unfortunately they were recognized, and underwent the most barbarous treatment. A number of these ruffians detached themselves from the rest, beat these persons inhumanly with large sticks, threw them down, jumped upon them, kicked them over the head and face, made them beg their lives upon their knees, forced them to abjure their King and withdraw their allegiance, and finally threw one of them into a ditch bottom in a state of lifelessness, and left the other insensible, with a horrid remark “that they were done for.” One of the miserable men was also cut desperately in the face by them with a sharp instrument. This outrage gave but a melancholy foretaste of what was to be expected from the assembling of such characters in the centre of the town on the following day. The solacing satisfactions of the DIVINE DAY were diminished by the obtrusion of painful anticipations as to how the following day would terminate. Night drew on, and strangers pressed into the town in accumulated numbers.
At length Monday arrived. Early in the morning the various responsible Authorities were on the alert. The Magistrates, the Boroughreeves and Constables of Manchester and Salford, an immense body of Special Constables, many of them men of the first consideration, and the various force of military and artillery were in motion for their appointed duties. The latter consisted of our own Yeomanry Cavalry under Major Trafford; the Prince Regent’s Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Townsend; the 15th Hussars, from the Barracks, under Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple; a detachment of the 88th foot, now stationed in the King-Street Barracks, under Colonel McGregor; some pieces of Royal Horse Artillery, under Major Dyneley; and a detachment of the 31st foot, under Lieut.-Col. L’Estrange, the able, intelligent, and active officer who commanded the whole, and made all the necessary arrangements for the occasion. Early in the morning the following Notice, printed on a very large sheet of paper and in bold characters, was carefully posted upon the walls of the streets: “August 15th, 1819: The Boroughreeves and Constables of Manchester and Salford most earnestly recommend the peaceable and well-disposed Inhabitants of those towns, as much as possible, to remain in their own houses during the whole of this day, Monday, August 16th instant, and to keep their children and servants within doors.”
At eleven o’clock in the forenoon the following Magistrates assembled at a gentleman’s house in Mount-street, which commands an immediate and uninterrupted view of the whole area of ground near St. Peter’s Church, in which the Meeting was to take place; viz. – the Rev. Mr. Hay; the Rev. Mr. Ethelston; Mr. Wright; Mr. Marriott; Mr. Norris; Mr. Trafford; the Rev. Mr. Mallory; Mr. Hulton; Mr. Tatton; Mr. Fletcher; Mr. Silvester, and Mr. Fielden. The Special Constables assembled on the ground soon after: the Military were halted in various suitable stations, retired from the public ground.
The Radical Reformers now began to make their formidable appearance. They marched in regiments, under regular leaders, and all the appalling insignia, Caps of Liberty, &c., which had been long preparing for what they considered to be a most glorious day. As they progressively advanced to the Hustings they were received with the loudest acclamations, with huzzas, and the clapping of hands. At half-past eleven o’clock a strong party marched up in files of four and five abreast, with various Colours and Banners; one inscribed “No Corn Laws;” surmounted with the Cap of Liberty. This was from Stockport.
At a quarter before twelve, another Body marched in from Deansgate, in files, with two Colours, and a Bugle, surmounted with the Cap of Liberty.
Another party followed from the same street, with Women in single files, and men on each side in double files, with a Flag inscribed with a motto, and “Union Female Society of Royton.”
Another Party marched in from St. Peter’s Road, direct up to the Hustings.
Another Party marched in at twelve o’clock, with a cart for the Hustings, in which Women were riding.
At this time the Hustings were filled with men, eight flags or banners flying, and several thousands standing round with hats off.
George Swift, a Reform Orator, now addressed the meeting, and on ending his speech, four or five huzzas were given, by order.
At half past twelve another cart, with planks, and a large Chair, were brought, to add to the Hustings.
At a quarter before one o’clock a Body of Women, in treble files, marched in with music; and soon after, a great number of men, four or five deep, marched in, with drum beating, music playing, a red pole, with the Cap of Liberty hoisted; a blue Flag, motto, “Unity and Strength;” and a green Flag, motto, “Parliaments annual.” Great shouts from the Hustings welcomed this party. Two other Flags were then marched in. At this time twelve Flags appeared, and were so arranged as to form a road up to the Hustings.
The whole had every appearance of military array, and were totally unlike that of a body of people met for deliberation.
At a quarter past one, a very large Procession advanced from Deansgate, headed by an open carriage, with a Woman in front, who bore and brandished a Flag with an inscription. In the Car were five persons, one of whom gave a signal for a general shout on approaching the Hustings. Of these parties were Mr. Hunt, Knight, Johnson, and Moorhouse, who immediately mounted the Hustings. Amongst the numerous Flags were the Stockport, Oldham, Middleton, Royton, Rochdale, Ashton and Saddleworth Union Flags. That from the last-mentioned place was of a shocking description. It was BLACK, with large tassels of the same colour; the Inscription, in white Characters, was “Taxation without representation is unjust and tyrannical; Saddleworth, Lees and Mossley Union;” on the reverse, “Unite and be free! Equal Representation or DEATH!” Several persons had already addressed the assemblage at different times from the partly-formed hustings, desiring them “to form in close order round the hustings, and to lock their arms fast together, in order to prevent their enemies from penetrating amongst them.” After this another cart arrived with planks of timber, and more regular hustings were formed. A woman also exhibited a white Deal Board, with the words “Order! Order! painted upon it; When HUNT mounted the hustings, he commanded the different musical instruments which were piled upon them to be removed; and in a very peremptory tone also commanded all persons to leave the hustings who did not intend to address the meeting. He was immediately called to the Chair, and addressed the immense congregated mass in nearly the following terms:
“Gentlemen, I thank you for the honour you have done me in calling me to preside over such an immense, such a tremendous assembly. Your enemies had congratulated themselves on having gained a complete victory over us; but it will now be seen, that instead of gaining a victory, they have sustained a shameful defeat. They have in fact conferred a favour upon us by causing a postponement of the meeting, for they have caused at least a double number of persons to attend now. I particularly request that you will patiently and quietly listen to the proceedings of this day, and I must beg that none of you will call “Silence,” as such call is generally attended with uproar and confusion (“then come off the Hustings, and don’t you make confusion!” from one of the mob). I hope, Gentlemen, that if any of your enemies attempt to interrupt the proceedings, or cause a riot or disturbance, that there are some amongst you who possess courage enough to put them down, quiet them and keep them down (why that’s killing them, from one of the mob; but not sufficiently loud for the demagogue to hear him.)” He proceeded, I fearfully regret from the vast assembly now before me, that I shall not be able to make myself heard by you all; indeed it would be quite impossible to do so; but those that do hear me will, I hope, communicate with their neighbours, and thus everyone may be acquainted with the proceedings in agitation. Gentlemen, it would be taking up too much of your time to enter into a minute detail of the proceedings that have occurred in your town, within the last ten days. You are all aware that a placard, whom no one could read or understand, has been posted up in all parts of the town, signed by” – Here he was proceeding to make some indecent references to the Magistrates, when the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry Cavalry suddenly appeared on the ground, and formed in line before the House in which the Magistrates were placed. Hunt turned to Johnson and said, “There’s a treat for you.” He then said to the People, “Stand firm, my Friends: you see they are in disorder already: give them three Cheers:” at the same time taking off his hat and waving it above his head. The Cheers were instantly returned by the Cavalry and the whole of the Peace Officers, the former brandishing their sabres whilst huzzaing.
A short consultation now took place among the Justices, and they immediately issued a Warrant against Hunt, Johnson, Knight, and Moorhouse. Mr. Nadin, the Deputy Constable of Manchester, was appointed to execute it. The Riot Act had been twice read; once by the Rev. Mr. Ethelston, and once by John Silvester, Esq. The rebellious nature of the meeting, its numbers and threatening aspect, the warlike insignia displayed, the order of march and military arrangement, many of the Reformers having shouldered large sticks and bludgeons as representative of muskets, coupled with the depositions on oath of very many respectable inhabitants as to the consequences that must in their opinion unavoidably flow to lives and property from such an immense meeting, assembled under such influences; and the Magistrates’ own view of the whole of this tremendous scene - rendered it imperative to interfere. To have attempted it by the common means would have been preposterous, and could only have caused the loss of a great number of lives without a chance of completing the object. Mr. Nadin therefore took the warrant, attended by a host of Special Constables. Mr. Trafford, a highly respectable Cheshire Magistrate, headed the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, and an order was given for the whole to advance and take their prisoners. This was done in a steady and masterly style; but the Cavalry had not advanced many yards before they were assailed with heavy vollies [sic] of stones, shouts of defiance, and the most coarse and insulting language. Till thus assailed, no Yeomanry-man used his sword, each man having confined himself to waving it over his head. Now the duty of self-preservation obliged them to strike, but in very few instances to cut. The Manchester and Salford corps in a moment surrounded the whole hustings, and the Civil Officers proceeded to seize their prisoners. Immediately the Cheshire Yeomanry galloped on the ground; to them succeeded the 15th Hussars, and the Royal Artillery Train, whilst all the various detachments of infantry also advanced. On every side the soldiery were attacked with the most determined resolution; many of the Cavalry were struck to the ground, and the Reformers attempted to knock out their brains with large stones (previously provided) and sticks, whilst lying on the ground. One gallant youth, Mr. John Hulme, was struck in the face with a brick. It took away his senses, and he checked his horse so suddenly that they both fell together. A man had also stabbed him in the back with a sharp instrument, and whilst in this deplorable state a fellow with a club was about to finish him, when a foot soldier bayonetted the villain, who sprang high from the earth, and fell down dead. Another Yeomanry-man was unhorsed at the same moment, and his life with great difficulty saved. This was near the Quakers’ Meeting-house, where a furious battle raged. In the burying-ground there many persons committed murderous work from the inclosed walls, till the gates were burst open by a private soldier with the butt-end of his musket. Many innocent spectators had also been there during the whole of the day, as a place of security. At length it was necessarily cleared by force; and one of our Yeomanry leaped his horse over the wall after a Reformer who had been particularly active. This man, it is believed, paid a severe penalty for his desperate conduct. To the front of these premises a considerable quantity of timber was laid, which unfortunately sheltered the refractory from direct approach. Not a single shot was fired by any of the Military, although they were fired upon several times by the Reformers and their abettors.
A scene of confusion and terror now existed which defies description. The multitude pressed one another down; and in many parts they lay in masses, piled body upon body. The cries and mingled shouts, with the galloping of the horses, were shocking. Lieut.-Colonel L’Estrange, the commander of the troops, received a tremendous blow on the forehead from a brick, which for a moment deprived him of sense, and he had nearly fallen from his horse. Many of the most respectable Gentlemen of the town were thrown down, ridden over, and trampled upon. One Special Constable, Mr. Ashworth, of the Bull’s Head, in the Market Place, was killed dead on the spot. Another, Mr. Petty, was borne home laid on a door, by four men, dreadfully hurt. Major-General Clay, assisting the civil power in his private dress of a citizen, Mr. John Moore, the Constable, Mr. Charles Rider, of Collyhurst, Mr. Thos. Sharp, &c. &c. &c., were all forced to the ground by the Cavalry. Under the circumstances, the accidents were unavoidable: not the smallest blame is attached to the Military, by those who were the temporary sufferers. It was scarcely to be anticipated that great numbers of the Reformers would come to the meeting prepared with offensive weapons; but it was the case. A class of them were dressed as brewers’ servants usually are, with long brats that contain pockets. These pockets were all filled with stones. Therefore it is manifest that if the Law found occasion to interpose, a regular system of prevention had been arranged to defeat its object.
The whole of this serious affray lasted not many minutes. The ground was cleared as if by magic. During the first few moments, the great Delinquent, the monster in human shape to whom all these evils must be attributed, was dragged by Nadin and others to the Magistrates, amidst the execrations and hisses of every good subject. Johnson, the brushmaker, was brought up at the same moment. Knight and Moorhouse escaped. Shortly two Females, who had come to the meeting under such ideal pomp, and with a demeanour the reverse of every thing that man delights to see in woman, were brought forward. One of them, Elizabeth Gaunt, had borne a standard in the carriage of Hunt; the other was much bruised, having received a contusion in the face. The splendid Banners, the Caps of Liberty, the white Flag, the black Flag, and all those insignia which had inspired such naughty confidence in the early proceedings, and by which every town, village and hamlet in their approach to St. Peter’s Field had been overawed, and their peaceable inhabitants been led by the dreadful suggestions as to what would be their fate at night, were levelled with the dust, stripped from the supposed faithful staves to which they had been triumphantly attached, and doomed to a degrading fate. The Stockport troop of the Cheshire Yeomanry had secured two of these trophies, and they are appointed to be publicly burnt in the Market Place of that town, devoted at the shrine of their Country’s Cause. One of them was a green Flag, inscribed “Henry Hunt, the undaunted friend of Liberty:” on the reverse, “Cartwright and Universal Suffrage:” Cobbett, Wolseley, and Wooler.” The other was a crimson Flag; inscription “Let us die like Men and not be sold like Slaves:” reverse, “Liberty is the Birthright of Man.”
The Rev. Mr. Hay came forward: he said he respected the feelings of the good and the loyal, but as Hunt was now a prisoner, and in the hands of the Law, he hoped that no expression would be given which could endanger the man’s personal security; but that they would be satisfied to let him pass to the New Bailey Prison with their silent contempt. This address was highly applauded, and its purport assented to; but still, when this destroyer of the poor man’s comfort was handed out by the Beadles, a general hiss could not be repressed. Mr. Hay also said with much manliness, “I will go down with the prisoner as a protection to him. Shall we put him upon a horse, or place him in a coach?” The general cry was, “No! damn the brute let him walk!” To this the Magistrate assented. A cavalcade of troops and constables was formed, and the demi-god was soon safely lodged in a suitable habitation, where he might have “a [season?] for reflexion.” Having somewhat recovered himself from the surprize of his transition, which might be resembled to that of the astonished Supernals who are celebrated as having been on a time hurled from the mansions of bliss, he also resumed his effrontery. He stared contemptuously, and braved his fate. But his heart must have denied itself the comfort of an approving conscience. Several persons were taken from the Hustings whose persons could not be recognized during the hurry of the proceedings; and amongst them was the Writer for the Times London Newspaper, who was set at liberty in a feeling manner by Mr. Norris, the magistrate, as quickly as circumstances would admit.
The condition of the desperate and infatuated multitude that had scoffed over these towns but a few hours previously, was now very much changed. They scampered away in every direction. Those who meant to go north, ran to the southward. Fear and derangement marked their sudden flight, and they knew not whither they were tending. Some went two or three miles on a wrong road before they dared to make an inquiry, and then had to retrace their steps. Their consternation was excessive; and we have no doubt they experienced a lesson for their future contemplation, that no argument, from their best friends, could have enforced with any effect. They were from all quarters, and from considerable distances, and must in many instances have sacrificed three whole days on expenses in coming to, being at, and returning from this, the last meeting before a Revolution was to break out, and they were to divide the property of the Country amongst them. Their leaders have so deeply impressed them with this ridiculous expectation, that they have had great difficulty for some time in keeping them down. - It has been astonishing to many, who have been afflicted at seeing their unfortunate Countrymen so shockingly misled, that they could not catch some idea of the insincerity of these vile Orators. Now, with sorrowing hearts, the would-be legislators may return to the common, but the best comforts of life – the reading of the Bible under its natural meaning, and the pursuit of social habits. Many were from Darwen and Blackburn. They were all elated at their numbers, which seemed to make them feel conscious of strength. They declared on the ground “that this was the proudest day England ever saw and that it would live in the pages of history to the latest generations!” The following are the names and condition of those persons who were taken to the Infirmary in the course of Monday and Tuesday; and we feel pleasure in stating, that they have expressed the greatest thankfulness at receiving the benefits of an Institution, where kindness and medical skill united are always at the service of the Poor, let their conduct in life have been ever so ungrateful.
FROM THE INFIRMARY
Names. Residence. Hurt received. Remarks.
John Wrigley Warrington Fractures ribs; much bruised
John Mellor Burslem Slight O.P.
James Lees Saddleworth Slight O.P.
William Taylor Middleton Sabre wound on the head
William Robinson Salford Contusion Cured
Edmund Dawson Saddleworth Sabre wound on the head
Owen Mc Cape Near Bury Fractured ribs; not dangerous
Edward Lannoway Manchester Contusion; not dangerous
Benjamin Seed Manchester Fractured thigh
Thomas Heywood Pendleton Fractured ribs and contusion
John Schofield Oldham Slight Cured
Edwd. Lancaster Manchester Slight O.P.
Thomas Blinston Manchester Both arms fractured
Robt. Ratcliffe Stockport Bruised leg O.P.
John Bridge Near Bury Much bruised
Joseph Whitworth Hyde Shot in the head; since dead}
James Jackson Ardwick Two shots in the thigh } New Cross
Samuel Jackson Salford Shot in the leg; amputated }
Robert Campbell * Manchester Dangerous
John Ferguson ** Manchester Shot
John Ashton Oldham Dead
Harriet Bowers Manchester Contusion O.P.
Martha Whittaker Manchester Very much bruised
Ann Barlow Oldham Fractured ribs; and much bruised
Elizabeth Newby Manchester Contused ancle
Margaret Booth Manchester Contusion
Betty Nield Manchester Bruised; not dangerous
Nancy Jackson Chatterton Broken arm; very bad
Ann Roberts Manchester Slight Cured
Abigail Jackson Manchester Fractured rigs; and much contused
* This person, a Special Constable, was dreadfully abused by the mob.
** Struck by a spent ball, as he was going to his work.
The persons to whose name O.P. is affixed were admitted In-patients, but have
Since been made Out-patients.
OUT-PATIENTS. Of forty who applied during Monday and Tuesday and were dressed, by far the greatest part were hurt by falls, by being ridden over , and crushed. There appear to have been very few instances of sabre wounds amongst this class of patients.
The following persons were taken into custody under various circumstances, and disposed of in the way which is mentioned under the heads by which their names are arranged:
Remanded till Friday: - Henry Hunt, Robert Jones, Joseph Johnson, Geo. Swift, John Thacker Saxton, Robt. Wild, Thos. Taylor, Sarah Hargreaves, Elizabeth Gaunt, Valentine Faulkner, James Johnson, William Bolton, Thos. Keough, James Moorhouse, John Knight, Isaac Murray, Abraham Whittaker, Thos. Johnson, John Wild, John Unsworth, Ann Coates, James Lang, John Edwards, Joseph Kershaw, James Swindles, John Bell, William Barnes, John Mills, Isaac Howe, Thomas Hailmark, William Chantler, Samuel Stockwell, Peter Barlow, Thomas Fidlin and Robert Scott.
Committed: - Wm. Billinge, Thomas Ashton, Thomas Worthington, Moses O’Hara, James Makin, Thomas Hollis, Jonathan Smith, Henry Clarke, John Fielding, Wm. Mason, James Langley, John Davies, James Green, William Finn, George Whittle, Arthur O’Neill, James Higgins, Thomas Bancroft, Thomas Mellor, James Taylor, John Sefton, Thomas Worsley, George Ashcroft, John Wild, and Samuel Stringer.
Discharged: - Mary Waterworth, Edward Perrins, William Ashworth, John Hindley, John Senior, Thomas Crabtree, Cornelius Shaw, Daniel Shaw, John Haslam, Thomas Dawson, William Renshaw, Dennis Burns, George Bell, Martha Canroy, Thomas Standring, Peter Siddall, Thomas Shyrock, William Middleton, Thomas Armstrong, William Hampson, Thomas Wane, James Leech, Tomma Thomas, Joseph Chator, David Chator, James Williamson, James Thompson. Daniel Richardson, add John Wilkinson.
The utmost exertions of the Boroughreeves and Constables both of Manchester and Salford were for the rest of the day and the whole of the evening till midnight required in many parts of the town, but most particularly at the New Cross. The disaffected had fixed their rendezvous there, and the Peace was broken continually by a very large mob. Betwixt seven and eight o’clock the Riot Act was read, and three or four persons were wounded by a few shots from the military, whom the mob defied and insulted grossly. One of these had his leg amputated at the Infirmary by Mr. Ainsworth, and another of them was so dreadfully wounded that he is since dead. The Military have had the greatest merit in their forbearance, so little firing has taken place if compared with the circumstances under which they have been called to duty. Strong bodies of Cavalry and Special Constables patrolled the streets, and the town had every appearance of being in a state of complete insurrection. Sudden alarms from different quarters, the escorts of prisoners down to the New Bayley, occasional reports of fire-arms, the sounds of horses’ feet, the rattling of the drum, and the strains of the trumpet, kept the inhabitants in constant trepidation, and it was not till at an early hour on the Tuesday morning that these things ceased, and temporary quiet restored.
The following was one of the most daring outrages. In the afternoon of Monday a mob attacked the shop of Mr. Tate, grocer, in Oldham-street, threatening to pull it down, and they soon demolished his windows by pulling up the pavement for the purpose. The attack was repeated on Tuesday morning, under the allegement in both instances that Mr. Tate had been an active Special Constable. This was not true. But an acquaintance of his who had been assisting the Civil Power at St. Peter’s, had become possessed of a Flag belonging to the Reformers, and had called with it at his friend’s, Tate, on his way home. Some fellow had dogged him all the way, and given it out to be Mr. Tate himself. It ought to be mentioned to the credit of this tradesman, that although he had loaded fire-arms in his house when his property was consigned to destruction, he did not, from motives of humanity, fire upon the mob. Captain Hindley of our Yeomanry Cavalry had a narrow escape for his life on one of these sudden calls, after his troop had been dismissed. On galloping up Market-street his horse overpowered and ran away with him, and both were precipitated violently into a cellar; but we are happy to add, that neither the horse nor his rider received any material injury. Many of the Constables received blows from stones and brick-bats, the consequences of which they will feel for a long time.
During the evening of Monday persons were brought to the Police Office charged with aggressions of every sort against the Military; one for firing a pistol at a soldier. This charge was laid by a gentleman. Another was an uncontroulable woman, whose tongue no human effort could check. She talked loudly against the Prince Regent and said some things which it would not be proper to repeat, they were so infamous; but this conduct shewed the shocking virulence which has been excited in the minds of Women in this quarter, by the artifices of, and want of principle in the courses pursued by, Radical Reformers. A Cheshire Cavalryman was cut desperately by a brick thrown at him in Deansgate: he was knocked off his horse, cut in different parts of his head, and his helmet taken away by a mob, who kicked it through the street, and held it up to derision. They finally kept possession of it. When the bulk of the Reformers quitted the town, they threatened loudly that they would return armed, and take a full measure of revenge for what had occurred to them.
We have hitherto spoken only of the quality of the meeting, and the heterogeneous materials of which kit was composed. All sorts of men as to lowness of description, and all sorts of women as to the same order, intermixed with youths and even boys brought by their misdirected parents, from every point of the country, formed the mass of corruption (borrowing a reform term) which was congregated on this memorable day. The corrupt orators had previously announced that the population of Manchester would be doubled on the occasion. In this computation they were shrewd enough. There can be no doubt that there were one hundred thousand persons in view, collected by the attractions of the meeting, comprehending all the space that the eye took in when the spectator was on the ground. Of this prodigious number, it may be reckoned that five and thirty thousand took an active interest in the proceedings, by closing in to the hustings, taking off their hats to cheer, and other evident demonstrations of partisanship: This proportion may therefore be set down as the greatest possible number of Radical Reformers which Mr. Hunt has had under his influence, or that he can by his authority have commanded to muster on any given occasion. And lamentable enough it is to see the proposition of number answered by such demonstrations! The seed of mischief has been too deeply impressed; the moral and religious character of our time has been dreadfully perverted. In the circumstance of pecuniary expense too, what ravages have been made! Let any one make an impartial, or even low estimate of the sacrifice of time and of means, reviewing the whole range of preparation which had been made for the late occasion, and what a total must it present! On this score alone, there are who must feel a serious personal responsibility; and if they can stifle the checks of Conscience regarding it, few would envy them their feelings. Such conduct cannot be characterized by the agreeable term “honest.”
The matter and circumstance hitherto detailed relate to Monday. On Tuesday in the forenoon the town was dreadfully agitated by a report brought to the Police Office, that the Radical Reformers were putting their threats into execution, by being then on the advance in great numbers on the Oldham Road, armed with various weapons. Succeeding messengers continued to run into the town with similar information, till at length common prudence called for a serious attention to it. The Military were all mustered, the Royal Artillery arranged, and every preparation made for direct opposition to such an audacious proceeding. The strength of treason was now to be tried by the Government and the People, and the latter parties hailed the occasion with satisfaction, as one to which they had often been obliquely dared. But the whole proved to be false. There was no ground for it at all. It is not however deemed to have been invidiously done, but as having arisen from some misconception of other facts. There was a riotous assemblage on that line of road, not far from Manchester, and some shots were fired. This might have given rise to the report. Shops and doors were ordered to be closed, and other precautions enjoined, by the circulation of the following NOTICE, in large characters:
“Manchester, August 17th. 1819. – Half-past ten o’clock, A.M.
“The Boroughreeves and Constables of Manchester and Salford hereby caution all the inhabitants instantly to close their houses, shops, and warehouses, and to keep themselves and all persons under their controul, within doors, otherwise their lives will be in danger. Carts and other carriages must be immediately removed from the streets and public roads.”
In the forenoon of the same day a man who is connected with the Police Office was attacked in a most ferocious manner near the Angel in Newton Lane. Several men seized him and beat him with a poker till there was no appearance of life, and threw a heap of stones upon him as he lay on the ground. He was taken to the Infirmary in a deplorable state. Many of the Special Constables have been exceedingly ill treated, and owe the preservation of their lives entirely to the protection of the military. The streets were patrolled during the whole of this night, as on Monday, by the Civil Power and the Cavalry; but no particular circumstance arose to disturb the public tranquillity.
But one of the most peculiar features of this day had been, the total cessation of all mercantile transactions. The great Market for the Merchants, Manufacturers, and Tradesmen who visit the town of Manchester is TUESDAY. On that day the commercial business is usually immense. The roads from all the adjacent towns are thronged with every species of conveyance, from the four-wheeled waggon to the light cart, for goods prepared for sale; and by every kind of conveyance, from the chariot to the one-horse chaise, for persons concerned in the great mart held in the Commercial Buildings. These buildings were closed; no sales, or very few, were made; and the whole day was lost to those who had considerable dependencies upon it. This is another terrible consequence of modern radical reform. During this day and Monday the Riot Act was read several times at the New Cross.
On this, Tuesday evening, a large mob assembled in Oldham, and were guilty of very riotous conduct. The town was thrown into the greatest confusion; the Riot Act was read by a Magistrate, the Military who had marched from this town were called out, and dispersed the disturbers of the Peace by force. They afterwards had occasion to patrol the neighbourhood, and an active gentleman of high respectability who happened to be in a peculiar part of the road, which is lined by a wall, narrowly escaped being shot. No fault is attributed by him to the Military on that account.
Macclesfield, about seven o’clock on Tuesday evening, was thrown into the greatest alarm by a numerous assemblage of men and boys, who hissed the respectable inhabitants as they passed along the street. This insolent conduct was soon followed by their breaking the windows of the Post Office, the Hotel, the Courier printing-office, and of several gentlemen’s houses. The Constables were overpowered on the first onset, but, with the assistance of many loyal inhabitants, about fifty of the infuriated persons were safely lodged in prison by eleven o’clock. A most respectable inhabitant was knocked down during this disturbance, and with difficulty escaped with his life. The different night coaches which passed through the town were also assailed with stones and brick-bats; but at half past three o’clock a company of soldiers marched in from Stockport, and the rest of the night passed in quietness.
On Wednesday there was not the least disturbance in Manchester or Salford. Every thing resumed its wonted appearance. Chearfulness and confidence were restored, and seemed the happy harbingers of general satisfaction. No precaution was relaxed, the utmost vigilance prevailed on the part of the Police, and the military patrolled the streets during the night, but the day and the night were one continued period of quietness. The following NOTICE, in large types, was plentifully posted through the streets, and the attention that has been paid to it by the inhabitants is highly praise-worthy. From its effect proceeded the tranquillity above described.
“Caution. - The Inhabitants of Manchester and Salford are requested not to be out of their own houses after nine at night, during the present disturbed state of these towns.”
Thursday. – This day passed with perfect quietness. No infraction of the peace occurred that we are aware of. But in the evening some bustle was occasioned by a mob at Hyde’s Cross, who had particularized an individual as having done some acts which they considered to be offensive towards them. (Perhaps he had done his duty.) They therefore proceeded to break his windows, and to such other violence that the presence of a Magistrate and the Military became necessary, the Civil Officers being overpowered. No particular consequence ensued. A similar kind of disturbance, by an attack on a Constable who had a prisoner in charge, was created at Ardwick Green, also in the evening; and a Magistrate and the Military repaired thither also. No particular result followed.
NEW BAILEY COURT HOUSE; Friday, August 20th.
Present: JAS. NORRIS, Esq., in the Chair. THOS. W. TATTON, R A WRIGHT, WM. MARRIOTT, WM. HULTON, RALPH FLETCHER, J. WATKINS, TRAFFORD TRAFFORD, Esquires, Sir W. BAGSHAWE, Bart., C.W. ETHELSTON, Clerk. Sir JOHN BYNG was also on the Bench.
Hunt was placed at the Bar. He looked boldly round. Mr. Norris addressed him to this effect: “Henry Hunt: - The prosecutors are perfectly prepared to go into evidence in support of the charges upon which you were apprehended, but other evidence has come before the Magistrates of the highest importance, and they have deemed it their duty to lay the whole body of it before the Law Officers of the Crown, to advise upon it. The Magistrates, whose organ I am, have therefore unanimously deemed it their duty to remand you upon a charge of HIGH TREASON.”
Hunt. “I presume I am not allowed to say any thing?”
The Bench. “No.”
Hunt. “I beg to state one word. I am perfectly innocent of the charge, and ready to meet it.”
Hunt then bowed to the Bench and went down.
Joseph Johnson was brought up. He appeared much agitated.
Mr. Norris addressed him in the same words as to Hunt. Johnson said nothing, but bowed and retired.
John Thacker Saxton was brought up. He bowed slightly. After Mr. Norris had addressed him as he did the others, Saxton said “Am I to consider myself committed on that charge?” - Mr. Norris “You are detained on that charge; not finally committed.”
John Knight was the next. He said nothing, but was addressed as the others.
James Moorhouse smiled very contemptuously. After Mr. Norris had remanded him on the charge of High Treason, Moorhouse took up his white Hat*, which was close to him, and said “I presume it’s my hat you mean, and not me. I am ready to meet the charge.”
Elizabeth Gaunt, a tall, thin, pale woman, about 45, Sarah Hargreaves, about 26, dressed in black, Robert Jones, a rag-dealer from Manchester, about 25, Robert Wilde, jun., about 23, from Stayley Bridge, and George Swift, late of Doncaster, were all brought up separately, and addressed by Mr. Norris as the others had been, and then remanded on the same charge as all the others, that of HIGH TREASON.
*Most of the Leaders wore white hats.
In the course of our duty we have felt it necessary to obtain every species of information on this most momentous subject, documentary or oral, that could tend to the use and advantage of the Public. The Officer who had command of the troops, and whose range of service here has been wide, intricate, and arduous, has executed the whole of his functions in a way that secures to him the approbation of all the judicious and thinking part of the inhabitants. We mean, of course, Lieut-Col. L’Estrange. For the expression of all that can satisfy an honourable mind, we refer our Readers to the Resolutions inserted in the first page, and also to the following official Letter:
New Bailey Court House, August 17th. , 1819.
“The Magistrates of the two counties of Lancaster and Chester, assembled at Manchester, request Colonel L’Estrange will accept for himself, and convey to the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Privates of the Garrison under his command, their best and sincerest thanks for the energy, tempered by the greatest humanity, displayed in their conduct yesterday: - a conduct peculiarly characteristic of the British Soldier.
W. HULTON, Chairman.”
With respect to Sir John Fleming Leycester’s Regiment of Cheshire Yeomanry, the same Resolutions convey the highest praise that can be bestowed by Towns, to whose rescue they have come at a moment of such imminent peril; and that, for the third time. When their relative situations in life are considered, the private sacrifices they must have made, and the no little peril to which they have been subjected, the Inhabitants must feel assured that their obligations to the spirited readiness of this distinguished regiment are truly great.
The Manchester and Salford Yeomanry Cavalry, our spirited and humane Fellow-townsmen, have deserved well of those townsmen. The Radical Reformers have cherished a marked repugnance to them, and the most unfounded, shameful aspersions have been loudly expressed to them in the open streets. Even printed labels have been placarded on the walls of the streets, ascribing the most odious of all characters to them, that of “Assassins.” But let facts speak for themselves: No death has been occasioned by any shot or sabre wound given by the Manchester Yeomanry; and they did not strike with their sabres till they were in danger, from the stones, &c. thrown at them. The following official letter will wipe away any stigma attached to them on the score of Humanity:
“New Bailey Court House, August 17th. , 1819.
“The Magistrates of the two Counties of Lancaster and Chester, assembled at Manchester, request Major Trafford will accept for himself and convey to the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Privates of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry Cavalry, their best thanks, for the exemplary conduct of that Corps, during the trying events of yesterday. The Magistrates remarked with peculiar gratification the extreme forbearance exercised by the Corps, when insulted and defied by the rioters; thus affording another proof, that humanity, as well as courage, stamps the character of the British Soldier.
W. HULTON, Chairman.”
For the high sense it entertained of the services of all the Troops of the Line we refer to the same Resolutions; in which the names of Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple, of the 15th. Hussars; Lieutenant-Col. Tonin, of the 31st.Regiment of Foot; Lieutenant-Colonel McGregor, of the 88th. Regiment of Foot; Major Dyneley, of the Royal Horse Artillery; with their Officers and Men, are mentioned with distinguished marks of satisfaction for their important services. The exertions of Lieutenant-General Sir John Byng, the Commander of the District, are also acknowledged by the same Meeting in their Resolutions in a very handsome manner.
The thanks of the same numerous and highly-respectable Meeting of the Inhabitants of Manchester and Salford and their Neighbourhood are also conveyed to THE MAGISTRATES; to the Boroughreeves and Constables of both towns; and to the whole Body of Special Constables, whose services were perhaps on no former occasion ever so eminently useful as at the present crisis. The whole of our Civil Establishment has been most anxiously, and unceasingly, employed by night and by day through the whole of this harassing week; besides the labor entailed upon them in preparing for it and its probable consequences.
To the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, as Lord Lieutenant of the County, great duties have devolved; and his Lordship has evinced an alacrity and feeling on the occasion which will not soon be forgotten. The same Meeting of the Inhabitants has been sensible of, and has acknowledged, its obligations to his Lordship, in a suitable manner.
Probably the next point to which the Public will bend its attention is, the opinion of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and of the Government of the Country, upon the momentous transactions of Monday last: - We have pleasure to be able to give some information relative to this. A statement of all the proceedings has been laid before these high ordeals; and the Prince Regent, with the Government, gives his most unqualified approbation to all the measures adopted and executed by the Magistrates, the Civil Officers, and the Military; and both the Government and the Prince Regent have expressed the sense they feel of the moderation of the troops, and the great humanity with which, under the circumstances, they have conducted themselves.
Unfounded Reports. - Mr. John Hulme, of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry Cavalry, is not dead; but, we trust, in a fair way for recovery; - Mr. Murray, the special constable so dreadfully injured at White Moss, is very much recovered.
Mr. Ashworth, the respectable person who was killed whilst acting as a Special Constable on Monday, was buried yesterday. A very numerous train of deploring friends attended him to his grave, and the Public felt great sympathy for a family, who are thus suddenly bereaved of their protector and support.
The Watch and Ward Act is now put into full operation. This will be a great security to every one. Its powers are very summary, especially against Night-Walkers and Skulkers. The unlawful training of men in the neighbourhood to the use of arms will be put down by force. The following salutary Rules have been put forth by the Civil Authorities:
“Public Caution. – To prevent as much as possible any fatal results under the present circumstances, The Boroughreeve and Constables of Manchester feel it their duty to issue the following friendly Caution:
“When stones are thrown from a crowd, (a practice by which the lives of the Peace Officers and military, on duty, are continually endangered) the persons offending must be immediately seized, and given up by those about them, or such as did not actually throw a stone may suffer from the firing of the military.
“In the event of stones being thrown, the persons concerned, who are flying from the pursuit of the civil or military authorities, should be refused admittance into houses or cellars, which may otherwise be fired into. The occupiers of Houses, from the windows or roofs of which stones are thrown, must consider themselves responsible for all the consequences.
“It is earnestly requested that individuals will avoid collecting in groups or parties in the streets.”
Inquisitions. – The following Inquisitions have come before John Milne, Esq., the Coroner, the only fatal results of Monday that have yet called for official investigation: - On the 18th. Instant on the body of a woman from Barton upon Irwell, killed at the top of Bridge-street , by the pressure of the mob: Verdict “Accidental Death.” – The Coroner and the Jury lamented the great indiscretion of women in wantonly putting themselves in the way of harm, and said that they must, under such circumstances, take the consequences. – On the 19th. Inst, on the body of Mr. Ashworth, the Special Constable killed at St. Peter’s Field on Monday: Verdict, “Accidental Death.” – On the same day on the body of a man from Cow Hill, near Oldham, brought to the Infirmary dead, from St. Peter’s ground, on Monday: Verdict “Found dead; but how the deceased came to his death no satisfactory evidence appeared.” – On the same day, on the body of a child that died in the arms of its mother, in consequence of sudden and violent palpitation of the heart, caused by its mother being ridden against by a Light Horseman. The child was not bruised or injured: Verdict, “Accidental death.” – The Inquisition on Joseph Whitworth, of Hyde, who was shot at the New Cross on Monday evening, and died yesterday morning in the Infirmary, - is to be held this day.
FRIDAY NIGHT, eleven o’clock. – We have the satisfactory Conclusions to give to this Account, that peace and quietness continue to pervade the whole town.
MANCHESTER: printed and published by C. WHEELER and SON, 7 Pall Mall, King-street