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 84 to 89

Leamington, 28th August, 1819.

My Lord,
I HAVE the honour to transmit to your Lordship, a copy of a letter, dated the 25th instant, which I received this morning from the Mayor of Leeds; likewise a copy of a requisition for convening a public meeting on the 30th inst. signed by certain householders of Wakefield, and left at the ofiice of the clerk of the peace; which also I received this morning - I shall return immediately to Wentworth.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient,
&c. &c. &c.

Viscount Sidmouth,
&c. &c. &c.


Leeds, August 25th, 1819.

My Lord,
l DULY received your Lordship's letter of the 19th announcing your intention, if no unpleasant accounts were received from Manchester, to set out the following day for Leamington.

I deem it necessary to acquaint your Lordship, that I think I perceive a considerable change working among our reformers. On Thursday last in the evening, a body of people, to the amount of several thousands, met upon Hunslet Moor, to discuss the events at Manchester, simply upon a notice given by posting up a few written papers in two or three conspicuous situations in the town. Last evening another meeting took place by the appointment of the former, When, notwithstanding a heavy fall of rain, it is calculated full 3,000 persons were present; with the additional excitements of drums and bands of music, to which they marched from the adjoining townships. They dispersed quietly. I fear these circumstances, added to the frequent meeting, announce a growing confidence in themselves, and a determination on the part of their leaders to push matters to an extremity. They hold more violent language in their speeches, and dwell in exaggerated terms on the proceedings at Manchester; and Sherwin's Register of the 20th inst. of which l have found it difficult to obtain a copy, the whole being sold off, is a most diabolical production; he throws off all restraint, calls on the people to arm, states the impossibility of avoiding a revolution, or of subduing the people; and treats the idea of accommodation as ridiculous; surely it is time to attack the authors of such dangerous productions. l write this evening desiring Sir John Byng to order another troop of dragoons to Leeds. We have only one of thirty-two horses, which I think is too small a force to meet present appearances with.

I have the honour to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,


WE, the undersigned inhabitant householders of the town of Wakefield, do convene a public meeting to be held on Monday, 30th August, 1819, to take into consideration our unparalleled distress, (which we consider to have arisen from enormous taxation without representation,) and the most effectual and constitutional methods for the removal and prevention of the same occurring in future;

RICHARD BROWN, Plumber and Glazier, Wvestgate.
JOSEPH LOWE, Cloth Worker, Westgate.
SAMUEL MOORE, Cloth Worker, Westgatc.
JOHN ROBINSON, Cordwainer, Kirkgate. .
JOSEPH LOOKWOOD, Cordwainer, Nelson Street.
GEORGE MUSGREAVE, Waterman, Kirkgate.
JOSEPH INSON, Waterman, Kirkgate.
BENJAMIN HOWELL, jun. Waterman, Kirkgate.

The chair to be taken precisely at four o'clock in the afternoon.

Wakefield, August 23d. 1819


Wentworth, August 31, 1819.

My Lord,
I HAVE the honour of transmitting, for your Lordship's consideration, copies of three letters, all of which I have received this morning; 1st. from Colonel Horton, a Magistrate of the West Riding, resident near Halifax, dated the 27th instant; 2d. from the Mayor of Leeds, dated the 27th instant; 3d. from Mr. Foljambe, Deputy Clerk of the Peace, dated Monday evening, 9 o'clock.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient,
&c. &c. &c.

Viscount Sidmouth,
&c. &c. &c.


(Copy.) Halifax, August 27, 1819.

My Lord,
ATTENDING a general meeting of Magistrates yesterday, at Wakefield, to consider the additions to the House of Correction, I thought it necessary to give my opinion of the state of this part of the Riding; and I beg to communicate the same to your Lordship.

I have great reason to believe that the lower orders, in this part of the country, are very much irritated by the laudable conduct of the civil and military authorities at Manchester, and warmly espouse the cause of the Revolutionists; for such they are.

Speaking entirely of the actual labouring class, I have not a doubt that a every great majority have the above feeling, and would act upon it, they dared, at this moment.

Various assemblages have been held in this parish and Huddersfield, since the occurrences at Manchester. The object being (as there is great reason to believe) to determine as to the propriety of marching to Manchester to avenge themselves, which has not been thought prudent at present.

These assemblies were called privately, and it is very difficult to obtain correct information; but though I do not apprehend any immediate danger, I am well convinced there is reason to fear that some violent attempt will be made by the disaffected, if very great precautionary measures are not adopted. It is quite certain the object is absolute Revolution; the attempt at which will cause much mischief. This parish has always been much quieter than Huddersfield; but the disposition lately evinced, has induced Colonel Dearden and myself to swear in about three hundred special Constables, and to call a meeting of the principal inhabitants. I intend to attempt to raise a troop of yeomanry cavalry here, and I have hopes of offering one to your Lordship. In the mean time I have stated to Lord Sidmouth, that it is necessary to society that one troop of regulars should be placed here. (m)

I wish to add, that it was the opinion of all the Magitrates at Wakefield, amongst whom were Sir Francis Wood, Mr. Wortley, and Mr. Lowe, (with whom I coincide) that it is not by any means necessary your Lordship should hasten your return from Leamington at this moment.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient humble servant,

Earl Fitzwilliam,
&c. &c.

(m) Were there any thing in the rank or character of the writer of this letter, to render his opinion a matter of importance, I should reply to it more at length. He only derives consequence, from being unfortunately placed in a' situation, in which he may do mischief. His style ranks him as a fit associate for Mr. Lloyd. His neighbours however, it may he remarked, either did not coincide in his apprehensions of an attempt at "absolute' Revolution," or did not like to be brought into contact with him, by the yeomanry scheme, which completely failed.


Leeds, 27th August, 1819.

My Lord,
I BEG your Lordship's reference to my letter of the 25th instant. The meeting of Magistrates which I mentioned it was my intention to convene for this day, has taken place. I stated at this meeting, that in consequence of the new symptoms which are showing themselves in the proceedings of the reformers, I had been induced to request Sir John Byng would send us another troop of cavalry, which he has consented to do. I also read to them the copy ofthe letter I had sent to your Lordship, and of one I had sent to Lord Sidmonth, in which l had. given the same details as to your Lordship, and inclosed to him the mischievous number of Sherwin's Register, alluded to in my last.

That I deemed it my duty to make this communication to my Lord Sidmouth, I think I omitted to mention to your Lordship, which you will have the goodness to attribute to the hurry under which I was obliged to write my letters on Wednesday evening.

I am happy to say, the opinions I have formed, and the measures l have adopted, met the full approbation of my 89
brother Magistrates, as I hope they will of your Lordship.

I feel perfectly confident, with the military force which I shall have to-morrow at my disposal; and l sincerely hope the strong attitude we have taken in this respect, without hitherto interfering with the proceedings of the reformers, will have due weight with them, and deter them from going to the dangerous lengths they have in Lancashire; and which, I am quite satisfied, is the object of their leaders. I am most anxious to avoid any contact with them, until they commit themselves by some breach of the peace, when I might he warranted in a decisive interference.

I have a strong objection, which I think it right to name to your Lordship, to make use of the Yeomanry, except as an auxiliary force, and in case only of emergency. I perceive a strong hatred exists against this force, which is carefully cherished by all the reformers; and if, unfortunately, We should require their services, the probability is, that in discharging their duty they would lay the foundation of perpetual heart-burnings and animosity.

I have not yet heard of any day being fixed for another meeting here; there will be one at Wakefield on Monday next.

If any thing further occurs worth communicating to your Lordship, I shall take the liberty to write to you.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient
and most humble servant,

Earl Fitzwilliam, .
&c. &c. &c.


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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