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 31

brandishing his sword: ' Sir, l have a warrant against you, and arrest you as my prisoner'. Mr. Hunt, after exhorting the people to tranquillity in a few words, turned round to the officer and said: 'l willingly surrender myself to any civil officer who will show me his warrant '. Nadin, the police officer, then came forward and said : 'l will arrest you. I have got information upon oath against you'. The same formality was gone through with Mr. Johnson. Mr. Hunt and Mr. Johnson then leaped from the waggon and surrendered themselves to the civil power."Stanley, who was a hundred yards away, says: "Hunt fell, or threw himself, amongst the constables, and was driven or dragged as fast as possible down the avenue which communicated with the magistrates house; his associates were hurried after him in a similar manner. By this time so much dust had arisen that no accurate account can be given of what further took place at that particular spot. The square was now covered with the flying multitude, though still in parts the banners and caps of liberty were surrounded by groups."

All this was the work of a few minutes, and meanwhile the other troops had had time to arrive. Before we follow these into the crowd, it is right that we should listen to three other accounts of the charge of the Yeomanry. "The cavalry were in confusion," says Bamford, "they evidently could not, with all the weight of man and horse, penetrate that compact mass of human beings; and their sabres were plied to hew a way through naked held-up hands, and defenceless heads; and then chopped limbs, and wound-gaping skulls were seen; and groans and cries were mingled with the din of that horrid confusion. 'Ah! ah! for shame! for shame!' was shouted. Then 'Break! break! they are killing them in front, and they cannot get away'; and there was a general cry of 'Break! break!' For a moment the crowd held back as in a pause; then there was a rush, heavy and resistless as a headlong sea, and a sound like low thunder, with screams, prayers, and imprecations from the crowd-moiled, and sabre-doomed, who could not escape], Bamford here does not distinguish between the charge of the Manchester Yeomanry and the charge of the Hussars, which followed a few minutes later. It was the latter that caused the "rush" of which he speaks. Though he was a man of five foot ten, and "stood on tiptoe" (as he tells us), he could not, being in the crowd, see everything. Stanley says emphatically;


'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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