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 20

with a band of youths in front wearing laurels, then came representatives of the various districts, five abreast, then the band and the colours. These bore the inscriptions : "Unity and Strength" ; "Liberty and Fraternity"; "Parliaments Annual"; "Suffrage Universal". A crimson velvet cap inscribed "Libertas" was carried among the banners. Then came, five abreast, the delegates from eighteen different districts. At the sound of a bugle, some 3000 formed a hollow square and Bamford ·addressed them, enjoining them to be steadfast and serious, not to offer resistance if their leaders were arrested, and to lay aside their sticks. This last injunction Bamford communicated to them, in accordance with general orders, somewhat against his will. He speaks of his contingent as "a most respectable assemblage of labouring men, all decently, though humbly, attired". "My address," he adds, "was received with cheers; it was heartily and unanimously assented to; we opened into column - the music struck up - the banners flashed in the sunlight - other music was heard - it was that of the Rochdale party, coming to join us - we met - and a shout from 10,000 startled the echoes of the woods and dingles. Then all was quiet save the breath of music; and with intent seriousness we went on". The party included some hundreds of married women and several hundred girls, who danced and sang. "And thus, accompanied by our friends, and our dearest and most tender associations, we went slowly towards Manchester We may stand by Bamford's monument in Middleton churchyard to-day, and looking down the hill, picture the scene. On the monument are inscribed these words of John Bright: "Bamford was a Reformer when to be so was unsafe, and he suffered for his faith"

Leaving these, we turn to the Oldham contingent. They met on the village green, Bent Grange, at nine, and were there joined by the Chadderton section. The Chadderton banner is still in existence. It was made of white and green silk, measured about 12 feet by 9 feet, and bore the usual mottoes of the Reformers. The Royton section carried two banners of red and green silk. The second is of special interest; it was inscribed "The Royton Female Union - Let us DIE like Men and Not be Sold like Slaves". It was afterwards captured by the Cheshire Yeomanry and was produced as "evidence" against the Reformers in the Trial at York in the following year. The most beautiful of all the banners was said to be one of white silk carried by


'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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