Manchester Herald Report

Manchester Herald Report

Reports placards placed by local authorities in Manchester and Salford; each state that people should remain indoors.


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Manchester Herald, in Report of the Manchester meeting, 10-12 and in The Times, 19 Aug. 1819.


We now come to the eventful Monday, Aug. 16, to which so many persons resident, and so many at a distance, who have friends in Manchester, have looked forward  with considerable anxiety. Early in the morning the municipal authorities caused precuationary placards, of which the following is a copy, to be posted throughout the town.

“The boroughreeves and constables of Manchester and Salford most earnestly recommend the peaceable and well-disposed inhabitants of those towsn, as much as possible, to remain in their own houses during the whole of the day, Monday Aug, 16, and to keep their children and servants within doors.”

By ten o'clock a great body of special constables assembled in readiness in St. James’s Square, and the different military corps were resting on their arms, prepared for the call of the magistrates, if their services should be deemed requisite.

Soon after twelve o'clock, the magistrates and a body of constables repaired to the ground, to which the brigaded reformers had marched; and in consequence of the depositions made before several of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, by many of the most respectable inhabitants of the towns of Manchester and Salford, in which they state their apprehension of riots and tumult, as the probable consequence of such an assemblage of persons from distant townships marched thither under banners so explicit of rebellious intentions, the Riot Act was read; but it did not appear to be much attended to by the infatuated crowd, who continued to scowl and laugh at the constables, &c., in attendance. At one o'clock another procession passed the Exchange, escorting Hunt to the place of meeting; for the great man, perhaps to enhance his consequence, made the would-be legislators wait for him, although their advertisement stated that the chair would be taken at 12 o'clock. The leader of this band bore a large club, and he was followed by some hundreds of men and boys, who marched in columns with  military step, to the music of a regular band, dressed in grey uniforms. By the colours which were displayed, the van, at least, was from Oldham. After them was borne a board elevated on a pole, and as in downright mockery on both sides was printed “Order, Order.” Almost immediately before the barouche in which Hunt rode, was borne the same flag and cap of liberty which were displayed on his first visit to Manchester. On the box of the carriage was seated  woman bearing a flag, and in the open carriage stood the main pivot of mischief; several other prisoners were seated in it, but we did not learn their names. The carriage was followed by many hundred men and boys, in the order above described, with colours flying. They marched up through Deansgate, in which, and in all other street through which they passed, the shops were all shut up.

On arriving at the hustings, Mr. Hunt and his friends ascended it, amidst the shouts of the greatest assemblage of people ever collected at one point in Manchester.    We understand the travelling orator had begun to address the reformers, when, an hour having expired, after the reading of the riot act, the warrants of the magistrates were carried into effect. The Yeomanry cavalry, in support of the police-officers, armed with warrants from the magistrates, dashed through the crowd, surrounded the hustings, and arrested Henry Hunt, Jod. Johnson, John Tyas, George Swift, John Thacker Saxton, Robert Wild, Thomas Taylor, Mary Waterworth, Sarah Hargreaves, and Eliza Gaunt. Who were carried off the field and sent immediately, under escort, to the New Bailey prison, whilst caps of liberty, and the banners of rebellion were destroyed and trampled in the dirt, along with many hundreds of persons, who were thrown down in the subsequent confusion. At the moment the seizure was made by the yeomanry, the 15th hussars, and the 31st and 38th regiments of foot, a brigade of artillery, and the Cheshire yeomanry, made their appearance on the ground, which was soon cleared of the great body of people who had so lately occupied it with shouts of triumph. In carrying this into effect, we are concerned to state, that several pens were killed, trampled to death on the spot, and many others wounded, some by the sabres of the cavalry, and others by the trampling of the horses. At the moment of surrounding the hustings, a shower of brick-bats and paving-stones were hurled at the yeomanry, several of whom were struck; one so severely, the dropped is reins and his horse fell, by which he was pitched off and his skull was fractured. Beside this gentleman, there were seventeen other in-patients brought from the scene of action (six of whom are since dead,) and 30 other persons, whose wounds being slight, they were dressed and sent home. Besides the above, we understand six other persons were killed, one of whom was Mr. Ashworth, of the Market-place, who was on duty as a special constable.

In the course of the afternoon, the following persons were taken into custody, in addition to those taken up in the field, viz. Valentine Faulkner, James Johnson, William Billinge, Wm. Bolton, Edward Perrins, Thomas Kensugh, James Moorhouse, John Knight, Isaac Murray, Thomas Ashton, Thomas Worthington, Abraham Whitaker, Wm. Ashworth, Moses O’Hara, James Makin, Thomas Johnson, John Wild, Anthony Jefferson, &c. and a great number of rioters, from various parts of the town, were escorted in the everything by the cavalry to the New Bailey.

The people who marched into town by thousands seemed unwilling to depart home for several hours; but with a view to the conservation of the peace, the magistrates ordered all public houses to be cleared at a very early hour in the everything; this had a tendency to abate the storm of confusion; but at eight o'clock the mob were so outrageous in the vicinity of the New Cross, that the Riot Act was read after the constables had exercised the greatest possible patience, in the endeavour to disperse the tumultuous multitude. There is every reason to fear that the military would be obliged to act in a way which every friend of humanity would deplore.

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