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 24

Street, and Mosley Street, and swept round the left-hand corner, i.e. the south side of St. Peter's church into "a wide unbuilt space, occupied by an immense multitude, which opened and received them with loud cheers". Hunt's procession, meanwhile, took the route down Shude Hill, and - Corporation Street not being in existence - wound round Hanging Ditch, Old Millgate, the Market Place, and St. Mary's Gate into Deansgate, whence it emerged along the fragment of Peter Street and made for the hustings.

On the box-seat of the carriage in which Hunt rode sat Mrs. Mary Fildes, carrying a white silk flag as the president of the "Manchester Female Reformers". Mrs. Banks, in a note in the Appendix to her "Manchester Man," states that this Mrs. Fildes was personally known to her. ln her story she represents her as sabred at the hustings. We have already referred to the Female Reformers of Royton, and their banner of red and green silk. The Female Reformers of Manchester also had their banner and had planned to present it to Mr. Hunt after the meeting, with an address stating that "as wives, mothers, daughters, in their social, domestic, moral capacities, they came forward in the sacred cause of liberty, a cause in which their husbands, their fathers, and their sons had embarked the last hope of a suffering humanity". Still more interesting is the pathetic appeal which these Female Reformers of Manchester, who were well organised, issued before the meeting to "the Wives, Mothers, Sisters, and Daughters of the higher and middle classes of Society," describing the terrible privations which had made the petitioners "sick of life, and weary of a world where poverty, wretchedness, tyranny, and injustice had so long been allowed to reign among men" ; and imploring these more favoured ladies to come forward and join hands with them in the struggle for Reform. The Committee of the Manchester Female Reformers, dressed in white, walked behind Hunt's carriage. They afterwards sent messages of sympathy to him, during his imprisonment in Ilminster jail. "Our tyrants," they said, "have immured you in a dungeon; but we have enshrined you in our hearts. On the expiration of his term, they presented to him a silver urn, suitably inscribed.

The woman on the box-seat was afterwards confused by the magistrates, in their Report to the Home Secretary, with a Mrs. Elizabeth Gaunt, who was found in the carriage, after the meeting, in


'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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