The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819


'NOTES & OBSERVATIONS, Critical & Explanatory, on the Papers Relative to
the Internal State of the Country, Recently Presented to Parliament
to which is appended,
a REPLY to Mr. Francis Philips's
'Exposure of the Calumnies circulated by the Enemies of Social Order ...
PAGE LIST (below) with LINKS

&c. &c.

Pages 21 to 25

Manchester, August 5, 1819.

My Lord,
HEREWITH I transmit your Lordship two Handbills published here, by which you will find that the meeting for Monday is put off. This I believe will be a great disappointment to the neighbouring Towns, which have provided numbers of Flags and Caps of Liberty for the ensuing occasion. The drilling parties encrease VERY EXTENSIVELY, and unless some mode be devised of putting this system down, it promises to become a most formidable engine of Rebellion. I expect the operation of the Watch and Ward Act will have great effect in this instance.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's faithful and humble Servant,

To Lord Viscount Sidmouth,
&c. &c. &c. .


WE, the undersigned INHABITANT HOUSEHOLDERS of MANCHESTER, having given notice of a PUBLIC MEETING, intended to have been held here "On MONDAY the 9th of August, 1819, on the area near St. Peter's Church," which notice was published in the Manchester Observer of Saturday last, 31st July, do hereby respectfully inform the Public, that after a mature consideration of all circumstances, we deem it prudent to acquaint the Public, that such Meeting will NOT at that time take place, and respectfully recommend to our Fellow Townsmen and Neighbours, to relinquish their intentions of Attending that Meeting, for the specific purpose expressed in the Advertisement.

Our Guardians of the Public Peace having in massy placards and large letters declared the said Meeting to be ILLEGAL, and commanded the People to "ABSTAIN FROM ATTENDING THE SAID MEETING AT THEIR PERIL," although these Guardian Angels did not deign to inform the Public wherein such illegality consisted : yet, in compliance with their Mandate, and to give them no JUST ground of opposition or offence, it has been deemed advisable NOT to hold such Meeting; but to request the Boroughreeve and Constables to convene another; which Requisition now lies, but will only lie this day, for signatures at the Observer Ofiice, and at No. 49, Great Ancots-street.

WM. OGDEN, 26, Wood-street.
JAMES BRADSHAW, 32, Newton-street.
WM. DRINKWATER, 29, Loom-street.
THOMAS BOND, 7, John-street.
JAMES LANG, Spinning-street.
JOSEPH RHODES, 46, Henry-street.
EDWARD ROBERTS, 2, Ancots-street.
TIMOTHY BOOTH, 1, Little Pitt-street.
THOMAS PLANT, 18, Oak-street.
JAMES WEIR, 11, Gun-street.
NATH. MASSEY, 2, School-street.


The following is a Copy of the Requisition now remaining for signatures at the Observer Office, and 49, Great Ancots-street.


WE, whose names are hereunto subscribed, request that you will CONVENE A MEETING at as early a Day as possible, to consider the propriety of adopting the most LEGAL and EFFECTUAL means of obtaining a REFORM in the COMMONS HOUSE of PARLIAMENT,
Wednesday, August 4, 1819.

J. Wroe, Printer, Observer Office, Market-street, Manchester


Who signed the Notice for the Public Meeting on Monday next.

Fellow Citizens,
ON my return from Liverpool, with the result of the important mission which you did me the honour to confide into my hands, and in the faithful discharge of my duty towards you, and the rest of my Fellow Citizens, I deem it necessary thus publicly to inform you, that after taking Counsel's Opinion upon the legality of your Public Notice, I am instructed by Mr. Ranecock, to say, "that the intention of choosing Representatives, contrary to the existing law, tends greatly to render the proposed Meeting seditious; under those circumstances it would be deemed justifiable in the Magistrates to prevent such Meeting."

In recommending you to withdraw your Notice, and relinquish your intention of meeting your neighbours on the important subjects intended to have been discussed on Monday next, I deem it necessary to state to you and to the public, that in the opinion of the most enlightened friends to Liberty, resident in Liverpool, your Requisition is perfectly legal and constitutional; they are, nevertheless, induced to recommend this pause in your proceedings, merely in consideration of the cruel threats of violence issued in a paper* from the Bench of Magistrates, since the publication of your notice, and of the evident preparations now making to carry those threats into execution. I am acquainted with your necessities -I know the honesty of your intentions, - and the lawful means you are desirous of pursuing; but in a question of absolute right, you are not prepared to defend yourselves; I therefore do not deem it advisable, under the present circumstances, to subject the persons of yourselves or your friends to the illegal and unconstitutional violence which your oppressors and their contemptible tools have prepared for the occasion.

The formidable preparations which your Tyrants have made to meet you, their unarmed and sufering victims, is the highest compliment in their power to bestow upon you: it is more even than you could hope to gain by the Meeting; you therefore may relinquish the objectionable parts of your requisition without regret, or even the shadow of a defeat.
Col. Williams, a County Magistrate, had the honest boldness on Monday last at the Liverpool Quarter Sessions, to advocate your cause, and the cause of the Lancashire Reforrners, before his brother Magistrates: he confounded the whole Bench; not one man being disposed to reply to the constitutional arguments of this faithful and sincere friend of his Country.

I beg leave to conclude with reminding you, and all the friends of liberty and justice, that our cause grows and gathers strength with the plunderings of our enemies; whilst their rapacity must not only destroy the means of their own existence, but must, ere long, turn them to the destruction of each other.

I am, very faithfully,
Your obedient servant,
Manchester Observer Office, August 4, 1819.
Printed by J. Wroe, Observer-Office, Manchester.

* The fact is, the publication issued from the Bench peremptorily commands all persons to attend the Meeting, - when a contrary meaning was intended to have been conveyed




Transcribed PAGES from 'Notes & Observations ...'




(inc. footnotes)

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'NOTES & OBSERVATIONS, Critical & Explanatory, on the Papers Relative to the Internal State of the Country, Recently Presented to Parliament; to which is appended, a REPLY to Mr. Francis Philips's 'Exposure of the Calumnies circulated by the Enemies of Social Order ...'
by a 'Member of the Manchester Committee for Relieving the Sufferers of the 16th August 1819 (Ascribed to John Edward Taylor)
Pub. Dec1919

Transcribed by Sheila Goodyear 2019

LINK to full .pdf document of 'Notes & Observations ...' on the Internet Archive website to read or download.
LINK to .pdf file of 'Exposure of the Calumnies...' on the Internet Archive website to read or download.

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