The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

Rowbottom's Comments on Trade and Politics - 1800 to 1819
As Recorded in the Diary of William Rowbottom
Comments and additional information (in italics) are from the transcription by Samuel Andrew,
serialised in the 'Oldham Standard' between 1887 & 1889
Cost of Provisions HERE


The year 1820 began on Saterday, wich was a cold winter’s day. The earth covered with snow, and a very severe frost; trade being so bad that poor people in general felt very little of Christmas cheer, and the old English ancient hospetallity was nearly lost in some of the first familys in this neighbourhood, and people’s minds being soured by opression, made the lower class very uneasy.

Peterloo had evidently made further cleavage between the classes and the masses in Oldham. The corn laws had called to new life the old members of the Jacobin party, and their members had been largely increased by men whose opinions were not so extreme. Peterloo was a blow at this fast increasing party, and even the genial rays of Christmastide failed to dispel the sullenness of party feeling. Perhaps E. Butterworth puts this in its truest light. He says:- “For a time the portentous gloom took possession of the public mind, and the spirit of party animosity reigned triumphant; but the revival of trade and the consequent improvement in the condition of the manufacturing population abated the ardour of political feeling, which in the course of the ensuing year was moderated down to the usual standard."

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