The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919

Page 16

alarmed". It is easy for those of us who know the beautiful green uplands to which Bamford refers, to believe his statement that "to the sedentary weavers and spinners these drillings on the open moors were periods of healthful exercise and enjoyment". His description of them is one of the most charming passages in all his writings; and surely it is a happy coincidence that the centenary of Peterloo should see the Tandle Hills - the very hills he describes - thrown open to the public for ever.

The authorities saw fit to take quite another view of the drills. On the very day before the event of Peterloo a large meeting for such exercises was held on White Moss, near Middleton, very early in the morning, and a few men who were there for purposes of espionage, and who afterwards reported to the magistrates, were very roughly handled by the operatives. Bamford does not hesitate to say that the rough treatment accorded to these spies "probably eradicated from the minds of the magistrates and our opponents whatever sentiments of indulgence they may hitherto have retained towards us. This was on the day preceding Peterloo; on the day following the event the magistrates met and denounced the meetings for drill as "contrary to law".


The great meeting planned to be held in St. Peter`s fields on the 9th of August, 1819, seems to have originated in a desire on the part of the Reformers of the Manchester district to emulate the example set by other towns in the country, notably that of London and Birmingham, where great gatherings brought together to advocate Reform had been addressed by Mr. Henry Hunt, and other leaders in the movement for the better representation of the working classes. The advertisement which appeared in the "Manchester Observer" for the 31st of July, 1819, ran : "The Public are respectfully informed that a meeting will be held here on Monday, the 9th of August,1819, on the area near St. Peter`s Church, to take into consideration the most speedy and effectual mode of obtaining Radical Reform in the Commons House of Parliament, being fully convinced that nothing less can remove the intolerable evils under which the People of this Country have so long, and do still, groan; and also to consider the propriety of the Unrepresented lnhabitants of Manchester electing a Person to


'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919
Written for the Centenary, August 16th, 1919'.by F.A. Bruton, M.A.(of the Manchester Grammar School.
Download .pdf copy from the Internet Archive HERE

Transcribed here by Sheila Goodyear 2019

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