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 41

'You took us unprepared, we were unarmed to-day, and it is your day, but when we meet again the day shall be ours.' " Bamford, who led the remnant of his contingent into Middleton with a band and one remaining banner, corroborates this: "All the working people of Manchesterl found athirst for revenge"; the Middleton folk "brooding over a spirit of vengeance towards the authors of our humiliation and our wrong." The centre of disorder seems to have been at New Cross. The Riot Act was read at this place between seven and eight, and a number of people were wounded, one fatally, by shots from the military.

But in these days of hospitals and Red Cross Societies our thoughts inevitably follow the wounded as they made their way painfully homewards. Thousands of those at the meeting had come from as far as Bury, and had to walk back. The Committee that was afterwards formed for their relief drew up a list of authenticated cases, from which it appears that we may safely say that eleven were killed and between 500 and 600 more or less seriously injured. The subscriptions to the relief fund amounted to over £3000. As examples, let us follow two of the wounded to their homes on the fateful 16th of August. "It was," says Bamford, in speaking of Redford`s wound, "a clean gash of about six inches in length and quite through the shoulder blade. l found Redford's mother bathing it. She yearned and wept afresh when she saw the severed bone gaping in the wound. She asked who did it, and Tom mentioned a person; he said he knew him well, and she, sobbing, said she also knew him and his father and mother before him." There is another point to remember. Reliable authorities assure us that in many cases the wounded dare not apply for proper treatment, for fear of losing employment by being branded as Reformers. We have already mentioned that Redford`s case was the subject of a test trial three years later, when he sued the yeomanry for "unlawful cutting and wounding," but the jury found for the defendants in a few minutes. The other case, a much more painful one, and yet one that must be typical of many, was that of an Oldham youth named John Lees, who had fought at Waterloo, who came home with external and internal injuries to which he succumbed after the most excruciating suffering. Those who wish may read all the harrowing details of this most painful case in the Report of the Inquest, which after dragging on for a number of months was eventually quashed by a legal quibble.


'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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