Final defeat of French Emperor Napoleon by European allies led by Duke of Wellington. Wartime income tax abolished, corn laws restrict imports and raise the price of bread, taxes on salt, candles, soap etc. continued.
‘Lost summer’ of failed harvests coincides with economic depression, demobilisation of troops, and mass unemployment.
Mass meetings for parliamentary held reform at Spa Fields, north London, chaired by orator Henry Hunt.
Over 600 petitions for parliamentary reform with nearly 1 million signatures presented to House of Commons and rejected.
Dozens of radical reformers imprisoned without trial in March and April until the end of 1817.
Attempted rising in Manchester, infiltrated (or instigated) by spies.
Rebels assemble at night at Huddersfield (West Riding of Yorkshire) and Pentrich (Nottingham/ Sheffield / Derby area) expecting a national rising. Pentrich rebels arrested and tried at Derby, three executed.
The radical Manchester Observer begins publication, becoming in 1819 Britain’s best-selling provincial newspaper, and leading radical newspaper.
In Lydgate, Saddleworth, women vote for the first time.
As trade improves, a wave of strikes in the cotton industry and other trades wins wage rises. First attempt to form a general union, the ‘Philanthropic Society’.
Mass unemployment in Lancashire, especially among handloom weavers.
Chaired by Henry Hunt, resolves ‘the only source of all legitimate power, is in the People.’
Authorities attempt to seize flags and cap of liberty at reform meeting but fought off by demonstrators.
Reform delegates declare for universal suffrage, annual parliaments, vote by ballot, and repeal of corn laws: ‘if we must die, either by starvation, or in the defence of our inalienable rights, we cannot hesitate to prefer the latter.’
Reform meeting, Ashton, issues ‘An appeal to the People of England’ to hold ‘a general Election of Representatives’ to force a reform of parliament.
Female reformers present address and cap of liberty on the platform.
Reform meeting, Birmingham, elects Sir Charles Wolseley as ‘legislatorial attorney’ – an unofficial MP.
Reform meeting, Smithfield, London, chaired by Hunt: resolves to withdraw allegiance if no parliamentary reform by 1 January 1820.
Reform meeting planned for Manchester to consider electing an unofficial MP; cancelled on legal advice.
Hunt and 9 other Peterloo defendants indicted for sedition. Indictments of Manchester Yeomanry for cutting and maiming rejected.
150 MPs vote for inquiry into Peterloo, 381 against.
Severe restrictions on public meetings, marches and rallies, and on freedom of the press.
Plot by London ultra-radicals to assassinate Prime Minister & cabinet fails; policeman murdered. Five conspirators hanged & beheaded.
Rapid decline in radical movement.
Manchester Observer ceases production in Manchester; four editors have been bankrupted or imprisoned.