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 33

were posted in the streets on opposite sides of the square; their appearance might probably have increased the alarm, and would certainly have impeded the progress of a mob wishing to retreat in either of these directions. When l saw them they were resting on their arms, and l believe they remained stationary, taking no part in the proceedings. ln his plan Stanley shows fthe Cheshire Yeomanry halting between Windmill Street and the hustings, and the 15th Hussars halting in front of Mount Street, about opposite to the present Midland Buffet. He says: "The Manchester Yeomanry had already taken possession of the hustings when the Cheshire Yeomanry entered on my left in excellent order, and formed in the rear of the hustings, as well as could be expected considering the crowds who were now pressing in all directions and filling up the space hitherto partially occupied. The 15th Dragoons appeared nearly at the same moment and paused rather than halted on our left and parallel to the
row of houses."T


We have now arrived at the most dramatic moment in the whole story, and it may be well to review the situation before coming to the fateful decision which completed the tragedy. One troop of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry (perhaps consisting of fifty or sixty men) was now practically enveloped in the huge crowd. So serious did Mr. Hulton consider their case to be that he stated at the Trial that he "saw what appeared to be a general resistance ... the Manchester Yeomanry he conceived to be completely defeated ... his idea of their danger arose from his seeing sticks flourished in the air as well as brickbats thrown about. We have also, however, the testimony of an officer of Regulars as to the situation. Lieutenant Sir W. Jolliffe, who afterwards charged the crowd with the Hussars, says: "the Manchester Yeomanry were scattered in small groups over the greater part of the field, literally hemmed up and wedged into the mob, so that they were powerless either to make an impression or to escape; in fact, they were in the power of those whom they were designed to overawe; and it required only a glance to discover their helpless position and the necessity of our being brought to the rescue."

There are two points on which the evidence is hopelessly conflicting: the first is the question of the use of missiles by the crowd.


'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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