§ No. 1.—EXTRACT of a Letter from five Magistrates of Lancashire to Lord Sidmouth; dated, New Bailey Court House, Salford, 1st July 1819.
§ My Lord;—As magistrates of this district we feel ourselves called upon to communicate to your lordship, our impressions upon the present state of affairs within the reach of our observation. We are far from wishing to yield to unnecessary alarm; but when we entertain serious apprehensions, we cannot refrain from making them known to your lordship.—We feel a difficulty in stating to you r lordship, any specific facts upon which legal responsibility will attach to any particular individuals at present; but upon the general view of the subject, we cannot, have a doubt that some alarming insurrection is in contemplation.—Of the deep distresses of the manufacturing classes of this extensive population your lordship is fully apprised, and the disaffected and ill-disposed lose no opportunity of instilling the worst principles into the unhappy sufferers in these times, attributing their calamities not to any event which cannot be controlled, but to the general measures of government and parliament; and when the people are oppressed with hunger, we do not wonder at their giving ear to any doctrines which they are told will redress their grievances.—Although we cannot but applaud the hitherto peaceable demeanour of many of the labouring classes, yet we do not calculate upon their remaining unmoved. Urged on by the harangues of a few desperate demagogues, we anticipate at no distant period, a general rising; and possessing no power to prevent the meetings which are weekly held, we, as magistrates, are at a loss how to stem the influence of the dangerous and seditious doctrines which are continually disseminated. To these meetings and the unbounded liberty of the press, we refer the principal weight of the evil which we apprehend.—We believe, on Monday next, a meeting will be held at Blackburn, and on the following Monday at Manchester, at both of which sir Charles Wolseley is to pre- 231 side. As the law now stands we cannot interfere with these meetings, notwithstanding our decided conviction of their mischief and danger. We are most anxious to do every thing in our power to preserve the peace of the country, but upon this most important point we are unarmed We have the honour to be, &c. J. Silvester, R. Wright, W. Marriot, C. W. Ethelston, J. Norris.
§ No. 2.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Spooner, a Magistrate of Manchester, to Lord Sid-mouth; dated, Birmingham, July 5th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I have the honour to enclose, for your lordship's information, the copy of an advertisement circulated throughout the town of Birmingham, calling for a public meeting on Monday next. Your lordship will not fail to observe the day and the hour fixed for this meeting, both of which are well calculated for the collection of a crowd of persons, many of whom will be fast approaching to a state of intoxication, and therefore more easily inflamed to acts of violence, by the speeches which will no doubt be addressed to them. I am informed that applications have been made to six Charles Wolseley to preside, and to Wooler, Johnson, and others to attend. I have & c. ISAAC SPOONER.
§ No. 3.—TOWN'S MEETING.
§ On Monday, July 12th, a meeting of the inhabitants of Birmingham will take place at three o'clock in the afternoon, at the New Hall Hill, for the purpose of considering of the best means of obtaining the representation of the people of Birmingham in parliament, and also the representation of all the unrepresented inhabitants of the empire. Signed on behalf of the Requisitionists, July 3rd, 1819. GEORGE EDMONDS.
§ No. 4.—RESOLUTIONS at the Quarter Sessions for the County of Chester.
§ At the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace of our Lord the King, held at Nether Knutsford, in and for the County of Chester, on Tuesday the 13th of July, 1819.—Present, The Earl of Stamford and Warrington, his Majesty's Lieutenant. Sir John Thomas Stanley, Bart.; Sir Henry Mainwaring Mainwaring, Bart.; Trafford Trafford, Edwin Corbett, Thomas William Tatton, John Ford, John Glegg, Wilbraham Egerton, Thomas Bayley Hall, Egerton Leigh, Edward Venables Townsend, Peter Marsland, Nathaniel, Makey Pattison, Ralph Wright, Edward Tomkinson, John Hoskin Harper, Esquires; the Rev. Charles Prescott, John Browne, John H; Mallory, and James Thomas Law, Clerks,—A letter from Lord Sidmouth, his Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, to the Lord Lieutenant, of this country, as to the preserva- 232 tion of the public tranquillity, having been laid before this Court. It is Resolved;
§ That we, the acting magistrates for the county of Chester, will, both in our public and private capacities, do our utmost to further the views of his Majesty's government, in preserving the peace and good order of the coutry.—That it appears that various public meetings have lately been held in this and the neighbouring counties, at which evil-disposed and designing persons, taking advantage of the depression of trade and the consequent distress, have wickedly disseminated inflammatory doctrines; and, under the false pretext of Parliamentary Reform, have vilified the constituted authorities, inciting thereby the ignorant and unwary to insurrection and the commission of crimes, which may endanger their personal liberty and lives.—That we therefore conceive it to be our duty, as it is also our determination, to counteract, to the utmost of our power, all such designs; and we do most earnestly recommend to all the friends of our King and Constitution, as by law established, to rally round the standard of legal authority, and, by the manifestation of their principles, destroy the baneful effects of blasphemous and seditious doctrines, reclaim the deluded, give confidence to the loyal, and maintain inviolate our rights, our liberty and our laws.—And we further recommend, that all well-disposed individuals be invited to declare their willingness to come forward in support of the civil power; and if necessary, to form voluntary associations for the preservation of the public tranquillity.— And we further recommend the magistrates at their several Petty Sessions, in cases of emergency, to appoint such number of the well-disposed inhabitants in their districts to be Special constables, as to them shall seem necessary for the preservation of the peace.
§ Resolved;—That the magistrates acting for the hundred of Macclesfield, be requested to obtain all the information in their power, as to the proceedings of the disaffected in that district; and that this Court do adjourn to an early day for the purpose of receiving their reports, and adopting such further measures as circumstances may require: That it be recommended to the magistrates in the hundreds of Bucklow and Macclesfield, to act on the present occasion as far as possible in concert with the magistrates of the county of Lancaster: That these Resolutions be inserted in all the public papers published within this county: That these Resolution be signed by the lord lieutenant, on behalf of the meeting.
§ >(Signed) STAMFORD and WARRINGTON,
§ No.5.—LETTER from Mr. Spooner to Lord Sidmouth; dated Birmingham, July 13, 1819.
§ My Lord; I have great satisfaction in making known to you, that the meeting held in 233 this place yesterday evening, was not attended with any breach of the peace, and that the whole assemblage had quietly dispersed before seven o'clock. It may not, however, be unacceptable to your lordship to be acquainted with some small detail of the proceedings, as reported to me by various persons employed for that purpose. An attempt was first made to collect a crowd, by a miserable procession (as it was called) of major Cartwright, Wooler, and Edmonds, in a street chariot, carrying two flags; they were also accompanied by one Maddocks, whose father was executed at Warwick some years since upon a Bank prosecution, and whose brother is now transported under a similar conviction. Sir Charles Wolseley was not present, having excused himself on account of the death of a near relation. The chair was taken by Edmonds; and the only speakers were Edmonds, Mad-docks, Wooler, major Cartwright, and one Lewis, who had attended sir C. Wolseley at Stockport. The proceedings were confined to certain resolutions expressive of the want of reform in the representation of the people; a remonstrance founded on those resolutions, and addressed (I believe, to the Speaker of the House of Commons; an election of sir Charles Wolseley to be Legislatorial Attorney of the people of Birmingham in parliament, for one year, if so long he executed his trust faithfully; an exhortation to this gentleman to be at his post on the opening of the next session of parliament and instructions to him how to proceed. All these, I presume, will be printed, when your lordship shall be furnished with a copy. The language held out in the speeches was of a very different kind from that which we understood to have been used at the meetings to the northward, which appears sufficiently to prove the knowledge of the speakers, that their audience, on this occasion were not prepared to bear that language, or to support those who might make use of it. The most violent speaker was Lewis; the tenor of all the speeches was, abuse of the body calling itself the House of Commons, and abuse of some individuals amongst his majesty's ministers.—The crowd assembled has been variously estimated, from 10,000 to 25,000 persons; of these, however, a great proportion were women and children. The nature of the ground is such, being two sides of an amphitheatre, rising to a considerable height, that it is almost impossible for a person in the crowd to form any estimate of numbers. Lord Aylesford and myself, who could survey the whole assemblage from the roof of an adjoining house, had formed our own opinion, that the number could not exceed 10,000. This meeting seems to afford good ground of conclusion, that the first open acts of violence to which the populace are to be instigated, will not take place in this immediate neighbourhood.—It is, however (to use the language of this Lewis), "one blow to the existing sys- 234 tem;" and I presume the next meeting called here will be to receive the report of what occurs upon sir Charles Wolseley offering to take his seat, if he is wild enough so far to fall into their plans.—After the meeting a small party of the principal performers and their adherents adjourned to a low public-house to pass the evening, but I have not heard what occurred there.—I had the greatest satisfaction in lord Aylesford's attendance here, both in his assistance as a magistrate, and from his being on the spot to issue the necessary orders for the assembling of the yeomanry, had any disturbance occurred. His lordship, as well as myself, thought it prudent to remain in the town during the whole night. I have, &c.
§ ISAAC SPOONER.
§ No. 6.—LETTER from the Earl of Derby, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, to Lord Sid mouth; dated Knowsley, Friday night, July 16, 1819.
§ My Lord; I have the honour to inform your lordship, that I have this evening had an interview with Mr. Norris, the residing magistrate, and Mr. Moor, the first constable of Manchester, who has communicated to me the enclosed resolutions of a meeting held in that town, with a view to strengthen the civil power; and these gentlemen have at the same time showed me a letter from your lordship's office, giving them reason to believe that the offer of an armed association, if sanctioned by my recommendation, would meet with the approbation of his majesty's government; I therefore lose no time in laying their proposal before your lordship, and adding my strongest conviction that its immediate adoption will be highly conducive to the preservation of the public peace in the district of Manchester and its neighbourhood, and therefore I request your lordship to lay it before the Prince Regent with my recommendation; and that if his royal highness is pleased to approve thereof, you will give immediate directions to the proper officers that the arms and accoutrements necessary to give effect to this plan, may be furnished to the association, with as little delay as possible. On the strength of your lordship's letter, I have ventured to desire I may be furnished with a list of the persons whom it is wished to recommend as officers, and I shall do myself the honour of forwarding it to your lordship as soon as I receive the same, that in case the plan is approved, the same may be put into execution with that promptitude recommended by your lordship, and which I am persuaded the exigency of the case requires.— I have, &c.
§ No. 7.—RESOLUTIONS inclosed therein.
§ Manchester Police Office, July 16, 1819.—At a Meeting of the Committee "to Strengthen the Civil Power," John Bradshaw, esq. in the Chair, the following Resolutions were passed unanimously:235
§ That government having signified their approbation of an armed association, an offer be immediately made by this committee, through the medium of the lord lieutenant of this county of an armed association in aid of the civil power, and for the protection of the towns of Manchester and Salford, and their immediate neighbourhood; and that government be requested for the present to furnish arms and accoutrements for one thousand men.—That this committee do not conceive that any uniform will be necessary for such armed association.—That it is on every account desirable that the least possible sacrifice of time should be required in drilling, as it is considered only necessary that the most simple parts of military discipline should be acquired by such association.—That a deputation, consisting of Mr. Norris, the resident magistrate, and Mr. Moor, the first constable of Manchester, do immediately wait upon the lord lieutenant of the county, to communicate the foregoing resolutions, and to take his opinion thereupon.
§ (Signed) JOHN BRADSHAW, Chairman.
§ No. 8.—RESOLUTIONS passed at the Meeting held on Hunslet Moor, near Leeds, 19th July, 1819.
Resolved, 1st. That there is no such thing as servitude in nature; and therefore all statutes and enactments that have tendency to injure one part of society for the benefit of the other, is a gross violation of the immutable law of God.—2nd. That as our legislators have, in innumerable instances, manifested a cruel and criminal indifference to our truly distressed situation, and treated our petitions with contempt, we therefore make this solemn appeal to our oppressed fellow-countrymen, praying them to join us in forming a national union, the object of which is to obtain an overwhelming majority of the male population, to present such a petition as can scarcely fail to have the desired effect, and to adopt such other constitutional measures as may be deemed most expedient to procure for us the redress of our manifold grievances.— 3rd. That we are perfectly satisfied that our excellent constitution, in its original purity, as it was bequeathed to us by our brave ancestors, is fully adequate to all the purposes of good government; we are therefore determined not to rest satisfied with any thing short of the constitution—the whole constitution—and nothing but the constitution.—4th. That as we are perfectly satisfied that annual parliaments and universal suffrage constitute an essential part of our constitution, and are our rightful inheritance—we shall consider our grievances unredressed, and our indisputable rights withheld from us, until we are possessed of such annual parliament and universal suffrage.—5th. That this meeting cannot but view with regret the apathy of our should-be leaders, that is our men of property, in not supporting our mutual rights, convinced
that alienation of the rich from the poor, must, in the end, be the ruin of both; that whenever oppression or despotism militates, or is the ruin of one, it must, in the end, be the destruction of the other; we therefore intreat them, ere it be too late to stand forward and espouse the constitutional rights of the people, by endeavouring to obtain a radical reform in the system of representation, which can alone save the trading and labouring classes from ruin.—6th. That we believe the distresses we now suffer have originated in boroughmongering system, aided by a depreciated paper currency, which has involved the nation in one hundred thousand millions of debt, and which has increased taxation to such an extent as has nearly destroyed our manufactures and commerce; and we are perfectly satisfied that nothing but a currency convertible into specie, a rigid economy, and an equal representation, can either put an end to our sufferings or save our county from ruin—7th. That the saving bank scheme, which was instituted under a pretence of benefiting the working classes, when nearly three-fourths of them were out of employ, is an insult to common sense and real understanding, and ought to be considered as what it really is,—an engine to work the last shilling out of the pockets of a few old servants and retired tradesmen, to enable the bank and borough mongers to pay the fractional parts of the dividends, and to create a sort of lesser fund holders of those who know no better than to make a deposit of their hard earnings to fill the pockets of those who are draining them of their last shilling.—8th. That, as distress has become so general and extensive, we deem it highly necessary, that deputy meetings should be appointed, and out of these deputy meetings, district meetings, to meet at any place that may be thought proper; that these meetings shall extend throughout the three united kingdoms, and that they do consist of men discreet and wise, and out of these shall be appointed men to form a national meeting, that the whole may be brought to one focus, in order that they may devise the best plan of obtaining a radical reform, upon the principle of annual parliaments, universal suffrage, and election by ballot.—9th. That no redress can be obtained but from ourselves; that we amply possess the means; and if we fail to adopt them with vigour, and resolutely persevere therein, we shall merit every privation we may have to endure, and deserve the detestation of posterity, to whom we shall leave a greater legacy of tyranny and oppression than ever was bequeathed from one generation to another.— 10th. That should the usurpers of our rights, in order to retain their power, proceed to acts of violence against the people, and even succeed in incarcerating individuals, we earnestly intreat our fellow-countrymen not to suffer their exertions to relax, but, on the contrary, persevere in the steady path of duty,
looking to the end, even the salvation of our country; and our fellow countrymen will endeavour to lighten the fetters, and enliven the dungeons of those men who are now suffering, or may hereafter suffer in the sacred cause of liberty.—11th. That we consider it to be the duty of every well-meaning subject, to stand with all his might against oppression and partial law; in doing which an individual exposes himself to destruction, but if the whole community act as one man, success must be the result.—12th. That every well-wisher to mankind cannot but consider it to be his duty to endeavour, by every means in his power, to work a thorough reformation in the political and moral state of the country; and the surest mean is to lay aside every sordid maxim of avarice, and abandon the restraints of luxury and false ambition, which are at present so fatal to the nation.—13th. That a very small number of men who have guided the councils, and have plundered the people in order to complete their fraud, have hired the offscouring of society to print and publish newspapers, who have nearly succeeded in making thousands who might have been the leaders and friends of the people, believe the present system was for our good, when they were fattening on our property, and reducing all classes of society, till they have at last brought us to a strait from whence there are no issues but through a radical reform.—14th. That the passing of corn laws in opposition to the express will of the people—the Combination act, in order to prevent work people from unitedly attempting to raise their wages in proportion to the advancement of provisions—and the imposing a duty on foreign wool, at a time when the woollen manufacture, and those employed therein, are in the most deplorable condition —appear to this meeting, proof positive, that until the members of the Commons House are really appointed by the people at large, little improvement is to be expected in the circumstances of the people, or diminution of their distress.—15th. That as soon as an eligible person, who will accept the appointment, can be found to represent the unrepresented part of the inhabitants of Leeds, in the House of Commons, another meeting shall be called for the purpose of electing him to that situation.
§ No. 9.—ADDRESS from the Grand Jury of Lancashire, at the Quarter Sessions at Salford, to the Magistrates; dated New Bailey Court House. Manchester, 20th July. 1819.
§ To the Worshipful the Chairman and Magistrates assembled at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the Hundred of Sal ford.
§ The solemn and important duty which we have been called upon to discharge, could not fail to impress most forcibly upon our minds 238 a grateful sense of the blessings which every individual of this nation enjoys under the administration of just and equal laws, and under the protection of a constitution so wisely and so excellently framed; and we feel it incumbent upon us thus openly to express our united concern and abhorrence, when we observe that foul and restless spirit of sedition which has so long been maturing its desperate designs, and has so frequently disturbed the public peace, assuming at the present moment a tone of defiance, and pursuing a system of organization which unquestionably indicate an approaching effort to involve this country in all the horrors of a revolution.—We are fully aware of the alarming crisis at which we are arrived, and anxious that the public should be awakened to a sense of the danger to which they are exposed; we nevertheless feel a strong and well-grounded confidence in the zeal and loyalty of the great body of the people, and in the unanimity with which all good and honest men of every party and persuasion will stand forward in repelling every outrage and violence which may be attempted; and that they will co-operate with the civil authorities, in support of our laws and constitution, in the maintenance of public peace, and for the security of their properties and their lives.—We are well assured that the magistrates and the local authorities of this district will adopt every measure of precaution which their wisdom and experience may judge necessary for the public safety; at the same time we cannot refrain from stating it as our decided opinion, that it is expedient to recommend the immediate establishment of armed associations in these towns, and in the surrounding districts, for the purpose of strengthening and supporting the civil power; and we are persuaded that any recommendation from the magistrates on this subject, will be promptly and most eagerly obeyed.—But whilst we thus feel the urgent necessity of providing for the public security against every lawless and treasonable attempt of the abettors of revolution, we are not insensible to the distress which prevails among the labouring classes of society, in consequence of the present serious depression of our commerce. We know that the wants and privations which the families of the industrious labourer now endure, owing to the low rate of wages, are extremely severe; and we feel it our duty to recommend the adoption of every possible means for their relief and support: but we know at the same time that their distresses have no relation at all to the government or constitution of this country: they arise from the state of our trade with foreign countries, arid are purely of a commercial nature; and we know that similar distress, in a far greater degree, is experienced both in America and throughout the whole continent of Europe.— It is evident therefore to the plain reason and understanding of every honest man, that any attempts to disturb the public tranquillity and 239 to seize this occasion of carrying into effect revolutionary designs against the state, can only serve to increase and embitter our present misfortunes; to interrupt the regular course of trade; and to retard the return of better and more prosperous times; and we fervently hope that such of our misguided countrymen as may have been seduced from their allegiance will yet seriously pause; and consider, that if they persevere in the wicked course which they are now pursuing, they will inevitably bring upon themselves the just and severe punishment of the offended laws of their country.
§ (Signed) Thos. Peel, John Touchet, John Hardman, James Kay, Arth. Clegg, Will. Hutchinson, Will. Tetlow, Jas. H. Heron, Wm. Lomas, A. Whitworth, Christr. Parker, Thos. Watkins, T. Worthington, Thos. Helsby, Thomas Entwisle, J. S. Barton, John Tetlow, William Hatton, William Hill, Robt. Kay.
§ No. 10.—LETTER from Earl Fitzwilliam, Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Wentworth, 21st July, 1819.
§ My lord;—A general meeting of the people on Hunslet Moor, near Leeds, having been fixed for Monday the 19th instant, I have deferred writing to your lordship since my arrival in the West Riding, till that event had taken place.—From the reports I have received of what passed on that occasion, I find that nearly the same orators who took a leading part at the preceding meeting at the same place, and also at other meetings in the West Riding, again took the lead at this; their professed object and means the same—parliamentary reform through universal suffrage, election by ballot, and annual parliaments, but not to be sought for by violence,—to these was added on this occasion, the election of a representative to parliament, whenever a proper one could be met with. The resolutions passed were numerous and long, but I have not their particulars as yet, the managers not having yet dressed them up to their own liking for print, which I suppose they will do in the usual way on such occasions, without any very scrupulous attention to what was proposed and passed by the meeting: however, when printed, the sentiments and views of these leaders will be ascertained —for the present I have to report to your lordship (according to the reports made to me) that the tone of these gentlemen was manifestly humble and much lowered, compared to that they assumed at the preceding meeting at the same place; so much so, that even an inclination to petition parliament was expressed—at the close the meeting was dissolved.—I am given to understand, that scarcely more than half the number of the preceding meeting had assembled at this, and that the proportion of women was much 240 larger at this than at the former: it passed off without the least disturbance or tumult; and they dispersed in the most peaceable and orderly manner, without insult or affront to any one. I have reason to think that such a termination of this meeting was foreseen by the mayor, founded upon an opinion, that the mass of the population within his jurisdiction is by no means disaffected nor seditiously disposed; that they are suffering most cruel privations through want of employment, the consequence of stagnation of trade; but I am told, that aware of the cause, they bear their hard lot with wonderful patience and resignation: but the very circumstance of want of occupation leads many to make part of the throng on occasion of such meetings, without being parties in the views of the leaders, or participating in their sentiments.—It will be a happy thing if the seditious and dangerous language that undoubtedly has been most directly held by these itinerant orators, can be brought home to them; the conviction of any will be a public good; but bad as the men may be, and indefatigable in propagating their doctrines, their mischievous spirit does not pervade the mass of the population of the West Riding; on the contrary, from all I can collect, I report with confidence to your lordship, that the peace, tranquillity, and good order of the realm will not be disturbed by these people.—I have the honour to be, &c.
§ WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 11.—LETTER from the same to the same; dated Wentworth, 31st July, 1819.
§ My lord;—Considering the assizes at York as the best possible opportunity for collecting the general opinion respecting the temper and disposition of the people or the Riding, I went thither; and it is with great satisfaction I report to your lordship, that it appeared the universal sentiment, that however much the population of the manufacturing district might suffer under the present stagnation of trade, there was no disposition to unite imaginary grievances with real distress. They had attended meetings which had been called, not in the view of taking part in the political disquisitions and claims of the itinerant orators, but in the hope and expectation that they would be directed to the bettering their own condition; and indeed it is thought, that as far as the assemblage extended on those occasions, it was in great degree owing to their real grievance, want of employment; they went, having nothing else to do. I am confident I speak the general sentiment of those present at York, in saying, that there is no cause for suspecting any disposition of the people of this Riding, to turbulence or commotion: if there be any discontent in their minds, it has nothing to do with constitutional considerations, but arises out of the improvements in the art of manufacture, which diminishes the calls for their exertions and industry, and has become to 241 them a real afflicting grievance.—I add like wise, as the prevalent and I believe universal opinion of the gentlemen I met at York, that no step that could in any way convey a suspicion or jealousy of the people's views and wishes, should he adopted; but that on the contrary we should prove to them by our own demeanor, our opinion of their good disposition, and bur confidence of their good conduct.—I have the honour to be, &c.
§ WESTWOTTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 12.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Lloyd, Clerk to the Magistrates at Stockport, to Mr. Hobhouse, Under Secretary of State; dated Stockport, July 24, 1819.—One o'clock, A. M.
§ Sir;—Birch brought in Harrison at eight o'clock, and was followed to his own house (where he lodged him) by a mob. I took the Justice there to have him committed, and we were insulted.—The bail were directed to wait upon me. Whilst I was examining them, as to their sufficiency, three men came up to Birch and questioned him as to Harrison, and that instant one of the three fired a pistol at Birch, who was not two yards from the person who fired. The bullet lodged in his breast, and cannot be found.—I have, &c.
§ J. LLOYD.
§ No. 13.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Norris, a Magistrate of Lancashire, to Lord Sidmouth, dated Manchester, August 5, 1819.
§ My lord;—Herewith I transmit your lordship two hand-bills 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 increase 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, &c.
§ J. NORRIS.
§ No. 14.—Hand Bill enclosed therein.
§ PUBLIC MEETING.—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 242 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. Out will only lie this day, for signatures at the Observer office, and at No. 49, Great Ancot's-street.
§ (Signed) 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, Ancot's street; Timothy Booth, 1, Little Pitt-street; Thomas Plant, 18, Oakstreet; James Weir, 11, Gun-street; Nath. Massey, 2, School-street.
§ No. 15.—Another Hand Bill inclosed therein.
§ The following is a Copy of the Requisition now remaining for Signatures at the Observer Office, and 49, Great Ancot's-street.
§ To the Boroughreeve and Constables of Manchester.—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.
§ To the Requisitionists, 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 duly 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 243 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 adviseable, 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 suffering 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 reformers, 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, &c. J. T. SAXTON.
§ Manchester Observer-office, August 4, 1819.
§ No. 16.—LETTER from Mr. Ravald, clerk to the magistrates of Bolton, to Mr. Hobhouse: dated Bolton le Moors, August 10, 1819.
§ Sir; by colonel Fletcher's directions I send herewith copies of the informations taken against George Greenhalgh and others. And have the honour to be, &c. JOHN RAVALD.
§ No. 17—FOUR Informations inclosed therein.
§ Lancashire to wit.
§ The information of S. N., S. E., D. N., and D. R., all of Bury, in the said county, taken before me, one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the said county, the 7th day of August, 1819:
Who all upon their oath say, that in various parts of the neighbourhood of Bury aforesaid, there are nightly assemblies of great numbers of men who meet together to learn and prac-
*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.
tise military training, which these informants verily believe to be intended to qualify them for hostile purposes against the government of the country, and against the peace of our lord the king, his crown and dignity, and to the disturbance of them these informants, who Hereby assert their fears for their own, personal safety; and therefore they, these informants, pray that these men so training in large bodies, to the terror of his majesty's subjects; may be apprehended and committed to find sureties for the peace.
|Sworn before me,||D. N.|
|Ra. Fletcher.||D. R.|
§ Lancashire to wit.
§ The information of James Haslam of Great Bolton, in the said county book-keeper, taken upon, oath before us, two of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, the 9th day of August, 1819:
§ Who saith, that on Saturday evening last, about half-past seven o'clock, informant, with Mr. William Webster, were in the valley between Mr. Whitehead's and Cockey Moor, and informant saw many persons drilling on the Moor in a military manner—there might be about 150 or 200 persons: informant watched them from about a quarter of an hour to half an hour; that amongst the persons drilling was John Hargreaves, one of the persons now in custody. Hargreaves was one who gave the word of command. They were in open column when informant first saw them, and then wheeled into line. Hargreaves was in front, and appeared to give the word of command to one division: that about midnight, or a little afterwards, informant and several others apprehended Hargreaves. Informant challenged him with having been drilling persons on Cockey Moor: Hargreaves at first denied it, but on informant telling him that he (Hargreaves) had wheeled them into line, Hargreaves acknowledged that he had done so; and he then said, if they would but be merciful to him he would do so no more.
§ JAMES HASLAM.
|Sworn before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ The information of Arthur Taylor, of Great Bolton, warper, taken the same day:
§ Who saith, that he went by direction of the magistrates, to Cockey Moor on Saturday evening, to observe the persons that were suspected to be drilling or training and exercising there: that it was about a quarter past eight in the evening, when informant got to the Moor; there were about one hundred persons drilling. The prisoner George Greenhalgh was giving the word of command to about thirty-six men; they were in open column, told off in three or four divisions when informant got to them. They had been marching in files when informant first saw 245 them. George Greenhalgh ordered them to form the line; they then advanced in line, and they did many other manœuvres, George Greenhalgh giving the word of command. Informant was close to them. There were two other divisions on the moor, exercising under the command of other persons: these two other divisions had each about the same number of men as that under George Greenhalgh: that informant, with several others, apprehended George Greenhalgh that night: that informant, on Greenhalgh being apprehended, asked him if he had been in the army, he said, "Yes, a little, he had been in the Bury volunteers." Informant asked him, what they were drilling for, and he replied, only to go to the meeting at Manchester on Monday, so that they might march to the band.
§ ARTHUR TAYLOR.
|Sworn before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ The information of Samuel Fletcher of Little Lever, collier, taken the same day:
§ Who saith, that on Saturday last information was on Cockey Moor, about seven o'clock in the evening, and informant observed many persons on the moor; there might be about two hundred; they were drilling in a military way, in different squads, and obeying the words of command given by different drillmasters; that informant saw them drilling for about two hours; that about one or two o'clock in the morning, George Greenhalgh, one of the persons now in custody, was in the room at Starling, with several other persons also taken into custody; there were many persons in the room, and in the course of conversation, George Greenhalgh said, that the meaning of their drilling was, that they might come to that perfection, so that they might join their friends and neighbours in Bury and the neighbourhood, and form themselves into a body at Bury, and march in order with music to the Manchester meeting; he also said, that the meeting would have been on Monday next (this day), but it was considered to be illegal, and of course it was postponed until the Monday following, and now a requisition to the Boroughreeve and constables of Manchester was signed by more than two thousand inhabitants. Informant asked him, "what the meaning of such a meeting could be?" George Greenhalgh said, the meaning of such a meeting was, that the country should be properly represented. Informant said, he thought the country was represented; and George Greenhalgh replied, "No, there was Manchester, Bolton, Bury, and many other towns, that were not represented at all, and it was meant that they should be."
§ SAM. FLETCHER
|Sworn before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ No. 18.—FOUR Examinations, also inclosed therein.
§ The Examination of George Greenhalgh of Walshaw-lane, in Tottington, Weaver, taken the same day;
§ Saith, I was drilling men on Cockey Moor on Saturday evening last; there was nobody that I know of, besides myself drilling them; there were two squads in the lane. I did not see Edward Rothwell drilling in particular, but I believe he was there, and might be drilling; there were about twenty-five in the squad I was drilling; I have heard they have drilled at Woolford. Charles Hill, I believe, was not on the Moor on Saturday, but he was with me there on Monday evening last. It was wished that all the parish of Bury, who had imbibed the spirit of reform, should muster, to go altogether to Manchester meeting. The reason that set me upon drilling, was the rumours of the country, and from reading the Observer, paper. I exhorted my neighbours on Cockey Moor to a peaceable conduct, and hoped none of them were for revolution and plunder; if they were, I hoped they would be mistaken. The first night we met was on Monday last: there were upwards of one hundred; it was accidental, how many men there were in a section. On Monday night Charles Hill and John Holt were drill-masters; I was in the ranks. We have met three times, on Monday Thursday and Saturday last.
§ GEORGE GREENHALGH
|Taken before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ The Examination of John Hargreaves, of Tottington, Weaver, taken the same day;
§ Saith, That I was on Cockey Moor on Saturday evening last, nor was ever at any meeting but one, and that was on Monday last, and then I gave the word of command to a small party. I was in the military service thirty-six years ago; I was at the siege of Gibraltar. On Monday last when I took the command of a small party, there were other parties on the Moor, but I do not know any one that commanded besides me; they were in divisions, and the divisions were at some distance from each other. I have heard that the parties that were drilling were to meet at Bury this day, to go to the meeting at Manchester.
§ The X Mark of
§ JOHN HARGREAVES.
|Taken before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ The Examination of Charles Hill, of Woolfold, in Tottington, Weaver, taken the same day;
§ Saith, I was on Cockey Moor on Monday night last, with other persons; they wanted me to drill them. I had been in the second regiment of Lancashire militia, and was dis- 247 charged at the first peace with Buonaparté. I did drill the persons on the Moor for a short time on Monday night last; I was coaxed to do it. I cannot tell how many persons there were on the Moor that night; there might be a hundred; they were in different squads: the squads I drilled might consist of twenty or thirty. George Greenhalgh, John Hargreaves, and John Holt, were drilling other squads that evening. I was not there on Thursday nor Saturday. Adam Ridings, a neighbour of mine who has been a soldier, went with me to the Moor. I do not know who it was that coaxed me to drill them; there were several who desired me to step out: it was near dark, and I do not know their names. I did hear that we were to go to Bury this morning and join others, and proceed to Manchester to the meeting for parliamentary reform. I heard there was a requisition for choosing a representative, or something in that manner. We were all to have gone this morning to Manchester: we were ordered to go, and many would have gone; but on Friday I heard that the meeting was done away with. I did not go to any drilling after I saw the paper from the magistrates, forbidding the meeting at Manchester.
§ CHARLES HILL.
|Sworn before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ The Examination of John Holt, of Elton, Weaver, taken the same day;
§ Saith, I was with other persons drilling on Cockey Moor, on Monday night last; there were different squads on the Moor, and I joined them: I was desired to get into the front, and give them the step. I have been in the militia. I cannot tell who I saw there; I did not see Edward Rothwell, there might be about three hundred in the whole; from two to three hundred; lads and all, about three hundred. I gave no word of command, the fugleman gives no word; I only gave the step. There were more than twenty or thirty, there might be forty in the squad to which I gave the step. I did not give the word, but I gave them the time. I was not there on Thursday, nor on Saturday. I think I saw George Greenhalgh on the Monday evening on the Moor drilling; Charles Hill was there. The man that drilled them I know by sight, but do not recollect his name; he lives in Tottington, or Woolfold, on that side of the country.
§ The X Mark of
§ JOHN HOLT.
|Taken before||Ra. Fletcher.|
§ No. 19.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Crossley, a Magistrate of Lancashire, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Rochdale, 10th August, 1819.
§ My Lord;—With the concurrence of my 248 brother magistrates, I beg leave to hand to your lordship copies of informations taken relative to meetings of reformers which have been held in this neighbourhood for several weeks past. These informations speak as to the proceedings of such assemblies, consequently I need not repeat them here. They certainly appear to us unlawful meetings, calculated to increase the number and power of the disaffected, and therefore ought to be suppressed. I have, &c.
§ JNO. CROSSLEY.
§ No. 20.— Two Examinations inclosed therein.
§ The Examination of A. B. a special constable, taken upon oath at Rochdale, in the County of Lancaster, the 10th day of August, 1819, before me, John Crossley, Esq. one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace in and for the said County;
§ Who says, That about one o'clock in the morning of Sunday last, a large assembly of persons, to the number of two hundred or upwards, met at the Guide Post, which is near the parish church of Rochdale; that they had a fifer with them who played upon that instrument; that the persons so assembled remained about an hour, and then marched away towards Milkstone, which is in the, direction of Tandle Hill in Thornham; there was a person who commanded and ordered the persons to fall in four deep, and so to march, that none of the parties were known to the examinant. A. B.
§ Sworn before me,
§ John Crossley.
§ The Examination of B. C. taken upon oath at Rochdale, in the county of Lancaster the 9th day of August, 1819, before us, John Beswick and John Crossley, Esquires, two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace in and for the said county;
§ Who says, That yesterday morning I left my residence at High Crompton, between the hours of four and five, and proceeded to a place in Thornham, called Tandle Hill; that, on my arrival at this place, a large concourse of persons had assembled, to the number of two or three thousand; that of this number, there were upwards of seven hundred who were drilling in companies, by marching both in slow, quick, and double quick time, and in every other respect went through the usual evolutions of a regiment; that each company might contain from fifty to sixty men, and were commanded by a person in the character of a captain; that when they were ordered to fire, it was immediately followed by a clap of hands throughout the line; that, out of the number who were met, I knew a few persons who reside in Crompton, and its neighbourhood; but, of the men who were acting as drill-serjeants, or officers 249 of companies, I know nothing; yet, from my knowledge of military discipline, I am satisfied they were persons capable of organizing a regiment: that, whilst I was on the ground, I heard persons say, that they (meaning the parties in drill) were fit to contend with any regular troops, only that they wanted arms; and, in the evening of yesterday, a man told me who had been at Tandle Hill, and who said he had been drilled that day, that a similar meeting would take place next Sunday, but that would be the last; that the persons remained on the ground until about seven o'clock, having been there upwards of three hours, and the whole of this time was devoted to drilling.
|Sworn before||John Beswicke.||B. C.|
§ No. 21.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Fletcher, a Magistrate of Lancashire, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Bolton-le-Moors, 10th August, 1819.
§ My Lord;—The increasing spirit of disaffection had, about ten days ago, extended itself, in military training, to a place between Bury and Bolton, about two miles from the former, and four miles from the latter town.—The number of persons in training at said place was reported to have been about three hundred, on Monday the 2nd instant, and likely to be further increased, unless some check could be interposed. Four principal inhabitants of Bury waited on the magistrates, to state their utter inability to resist the torrent of disaffection without military aid; and that persons proper to serve as special constables were so intimidated, that without the presence of some military, they doubted their ability to induce them to come forward to be sworn on the day appointed for that purpose; viz. Friday next.—Under such circumstances, it appeared to a brother magistrate and myself, expedient to apprehend any persons that might meet again at the said place for training purposes; and having taken an information, on oath, from the before-mentioned gentlemen of Bury, and made arrangements with some officers of our Bolton local militia, (who were to go previously on a reconnoitring party) we with a troop of the sixth carbineers, commanded by captain Ferguson, went to the spot on Saturday about ten P. M. but found the training just broken up, having, as it is supposed, heard of our intentions.—
§ Our reconnoitering party having, however, observed the training for the space of an hour, and learnt the names of some of the drill instructors, we caused four persons to be apprehended and conveyed to Bolton, who were yesterday examined, and all confessed their having attended at some of the training meetings, and expressed great contrition for having so done. They were all four admitted to bail, to answer, in fifty pounds each prisoner, and two sureties each in twenty- 250 five pounds, any indictment that may be preferred against them at the next Salford sessions; and in the mean time, not to attend any such training assemblies, but to keep the peace, &c. Copies of the informations, examinations, &c. will be forwarded by Mr. Ravald to Mr. Hobhouse. [See p. 243.]—It appears from what one of the prisoners confessed, that he had imbibed his, reforming notions from the Manchester Observer; which, it seems, he was in the habit of reading for the information of his neighbours. From this corrupt source has flowed into this county a considerable portion of that disaffection that prevails. By the apprehension of these men, I trust, will be stopped any further spread of the training system to the westward, within our magisterial division.— From Bury to the south-eastward, the military preparations continue without any diminution. The detail pf their proceedings proves the alarming progress in the daring boldness of such multitudes of men arrogating to themselves what belongs to royalty alone, the power of training men in military tactics, for no other purpose that can be reasonably imagined, than hostility to the state. At Leigh (about eight miles south-westward of this town) the advertised meeting will be held to-morrow. The magistrates of Bolton and Warrington divisions are to meet at Hulton Park this day, to consult on the proper measures. The female reformers are to act a conspicuous part, by addressing the assemblage from the hustings, and furnishing a cap of liberty. Hunt and his party are said to be invited. The effect of such meetings, so demoralizing and so terrifying to his majesty's loyal subjects (who, if they step forward, as in duty bound, in the defence of the peace and order of society, are immediately put under a sort of interdict, by these reformers, and deprived of their usual share of business, and even exposed to personal dangers) that I am inclined to think, under whatever, pretext they may be called, they ought to be suppressed.
§ RA. FLETCHER.
§ No. 22.—EXTRACT of a Letter from a person present at the Leigh Meeting; dated Manchester, August 11th, 1819.
§ Sir;—The requisition for the Leigh meeting was signed by twenty-five persons, specifically for the object of discussing and adopting some constitutional and practical remedy in reforming parliament, and averting the present distress. The meeting was fixed for one o'clock in the afternoon. During the morning a great concourse of the lower order of people were waiting for the arrival of Mr. Hunt, whose presence was anxiously expected, in consequence of which, the meeting was delayed until past two o'clock. Mr. Hunt, and none of his partizans forthcoming, it was deemed necessary to commence the proceedings of the day. Two carts were 251 lashed together in the market-place (a fine open space of ground) when Mr. Battersby (an itinerant preacher), Mr. Thomas Cle-worth, and a Mr. Bamber (one of the society of friends) with several others, ascended the platform. As soon as Mr. Bamber was chosen for their chairman, a parade of the female reformers took place, headed by a committee of twelve young women. The members of the female committee were honoured with places in the carts. They were dressed in white, with black sashes, and what was more novel, these women planted a standard with an inscription, "No Corn Laws, Annual Parliaments, and Universal Suffrage;" as well as another standard, surmounted with the cap of liberty on the platform. Both the flag, and the cap were presents from the Ladies' Union!! After the business was opened by, Mr. Battersby, and seven resolutions, as well as the ladies' address, had been read, Mr. Turner, at the head of the police, made their appearance, and took Mr. Thomas Cleworth into custody upon a warrant of the magistrates. About 300 people were now concentrated; the officers took their man without opposition, and this vigilant step threw dismay in the ranks of the reformers, many of, whom I saw dispersing in all directions.
§ No. 23.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Norris, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, August 12th, 18l9.
§ My Lord;—Herewith I have the honour to transmit your lordship certain depositions, as well respecting the situation in which certain parts of this town have been during the last week, as, respecting the practice of drilling, which has so extensively taken place in this and the surrounding neighbourhood. Many more are in existence and may be added to the number, but I apprehend those which I now send will be sufficient to assure your lordship of this alarming practice. They affect to say, that it is for the purpose of appearing at Manchester in better order, &c. on Monday next; but military discipline was not requisite for this purpose, and a more alarming object is so palpable, that it is impossible not to feel a moral conviction that insurrection and rebellion is their ulterior object.
§ J. NORRIS.
§ No. 24.—SEVEN Examinations inclosed therein.
§ Lancashire, to wit.
§ The examination of C. D. taken on oath at Salford, this 5th day of August, 1819; who saith, That last night about nine o'clock he was returning home from Failsworth, it was dark, but at the distance of two fields from the road along which he was going, he heard the marching of a body of men, and several times heard the words of command, "march," and "halt." He remained listening about a quarter of an hour, and got upon the hedge side, but it was too dark to see the body of men; from the 252 sound he heard he has no doubt there were a considerable number of men, but he cannot state any number as to the particulars. Examinant durst not go to the stop.
§ Sworn before me, C. D.
§ W. Marriott.
§ D. E. says, That last night about a quarter before nine o'clock he was in Failsworth, and saw between four and five hundred men marching in a field in Failsworth, belonging to Robert Bury; he heard the words of command, march and halt, wheel to right and left, and other words given; the men had no arms; they dispersed about ten o'clock, and were ordered to meet again this night. D. E.
§ Sworn before me,. 5th August.
§ 1819, J. Norris.
§ The information and examination of E. F. taken upon oath the 31st day of July, 1819, before me, one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Lancaster, who saith, That on the, 19th day of July, 1819, coming from Dry Clough in the township of Oldham, towards the town of Oldham, he met with three men who had all pikes in their hands, the length of which, when the dagger was drawn out, was about two yards long; which said, three men were going to join a party of about forty in a field at a little distance, who had likewise some pikes with them, but cannot say how many, and assembled at the sound of a bugle. On the same day he saw at least one hundred persons near Hey Side assembled together with some pikes amongst them.
§ Sworn before me, E. F.
§ J. Holme.
F. G. maketh oath and saith, That on Thursday night, the 5th of August, he went to a field in the township of Failsworth, belonging to Robert Bury, where he saw about ninety persons, divided into four divisions and a small division which they called the awkward squad; that there was a man to give the word of command; that deponent heard them commanded to march to the right and left, to wheel, fire, &c. that the men had no fire-arms, but when the word "fire" was given, they clapped their hands all together; and after they had done exercising, they formed a circle round their commander, who told them, that the intended meeting was put off, on account of their paper being illegal, but that would give them more time to drill: he then said they must have a colour, and that they must subscribe; that the man then took off his hat, and gathered round from some a penny, and from others a halfpenny each; that there were a quantity of women in the field, and the leader of the men called to them to come into the ring, and said they must subscribe also, and that he wanted twelve young ladies to carry their colours, for he was certain if there was a regiment of soldiers drawn up to oppose them they could not find in their hearts to hurt them: that their leader proposed, that as Bury, the owner of the field, had given them
leave to drill in it three weeks, he should have the honour of their marching out of it; that the persons assembled did not offer to molest deponent, but damned him for being backward in falling in.
§ G. H. and H. I. having respectively read over the affidavit of F. G. severally make oath that the same is true.
|Sworn at Manchester, aforesaid, the 7th of August, 1819, before me, J. Norris.||G.H.|
§ I. K. says, That on Sunday morning last, about five o'clock, in company with * * * he went to Thornham or Tandle Hills, near Middleton, and there saw two or three thousand men, and a number of them exercising in military order;—they had no arms; but he heard distinctly the words of command, "quick march," and "double quick march." Deponent particularly noticed one company of about one hundred, march in wings under their leader, and advance also in wings; that the right wing advanced first, and the words of command, "fire, front rank kneeling," and when the word of command "fire," was given, they clapped their hands; the leader then advanced the left wing in the same order as the right, and ordered them to fire; this was repeated, several times. Deponent and Mr.* * * being informed they were to assemble at Slattocks in Thornham, near Middleton aforesaid, they repaired thither, and deponent and Mr. * * * placed themselves by the roadside, in order to ascertain their numbers, when they passed deponent and Mr. * * * marching in military order four deep, when they counted seven hundred men. I. K.
§ Sworn before me at Salford, this
§ 10th day of August, 1819.
§ J. Norris.
§ K. L. L. M. and M. N. severally make oath and say. That having been frequently informed that a great many of the disaffected inhabitants Bury and the neighbourhood, made it a practice to meet or assemble in large bodies to learn military exercise, and that such persons met four or five evenings in a week for that purpose; these deponents went in company together on Monday the second of August instant, towards the place where they understood such persons generally met; that they had not proceeded more than two or three hundred yards out of the town of Bury, on the Rochdale turnpike road, before they met about two hundred persons, so near as these deponents could calculate, between the hours of nine and ten o'clock in the evening, marching in regular military order, four deep, into the town of Bury.
|Sworn at Bury aforesaid, the 9th day of August, 1819, before me, Samuel Woodcock.—A Master Extraordinary in Chancery.||M. N.|
§ D. E. maketh oath and saith, That addition to his deposition made on the 5th instant, that on the night in question, viz. the 4th of August, this deponent, in endeavouring to approach the field where the men were training, and when he was within a field from them, and looking over the hedge, a man came up to deponent and said, "hall;" that deponent was walking away, and the man again said, "halt;" when deponent said, "if I halt it will be with a different commander than you," and continued to walk away; that the man followed deponent towards a wood in the neighbourhood; when near it, the man said, "if I catch you, or any other man in the wood, or near it, watching me and others, will be as bad as taking your life from you." —This deponent also says, that on the same night he heard a person in the field where the men were assembled, call,—"Failsworth, Woodhouse, Newton and Droylsden, (being townships in the neighbourhood) if any of you can afford to give a halfpenny or a penny a piece you must come forward to-morrow night at half past seven o'clock," and said, "we will have colours same as the rest," meaning, as this deponent believes, that they would have colours because other parties at drill in different parts had already obtained them; that deponent then heard a discussion about them as to whether they should be blue or otherwise, when one of the persons observed, "damn them we will not be true blue any longer, we have been true blue long enough."—This deponent further saith, that about half past nine o'clock on Thursday the 5th instant, he went to a field in the neighbourhood of Failsworth belonging to Robert Bury, and observed from the hedge a party of men at drill, and heard the word of command given several times; and that in an adjoining field deponent heard the words of command given to another party also at drill. D. E.
§ Sworn at Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, the 7th day of August, 1819, before me, J. Norris.
§ No. 25.—LETTER from the Earl of Stamford, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Dunham Massey, August 12, 1819.
§ My Lord; I have the honour to inclose your lordship a copy of a resolution made at the adjourned general quarter sessions for the county of Chester, held at Nether Knutsford, on Monday the 9th of August, 1819. I have, &c. STAMFORD and WARRINGTON, Lieutenant.
§ No. 26.—RESOLUTIONS enclosed therein.
§ At an adjournment of the general quarter sessions for the county of Chester, held at Nether Knutsford, on Monday the 9th of August, 1819: Present, sir John Thomas Stanley, bart. chairman; The earl of Stamford and Warrington, his majesty's lieutenant; Peter Brooke, Edwin Cor- 255 bett, Davies Davenport, Wilbraham Egerton, John Ford, John Clegg, Egerton Leigh, Thomas Parker, Edward Stracey, Edward Venables Townshend, Trafford Trafford, Thomas William Tatton, Randle Wilbraham, esqrs.; John Brown, James Thomas Law, John Holdsworth Mallory, clerks.
§ Resolved, That it is the opinion of this court, that meetings are held in this and the neighbouring countries for the purpose of training to arms and seditious purposes; and also, that there are schools, consisting, of some thousands of young persons, in which principles of a most dangerous tendency to the community at large are industriously disseminated— which facts can be verified on oath.—And it is the decided opinion of this court, that these meetings and schools ought to be suppressed; and if the existing laws are not sufficient for that purpose, that other laws should be immediately framed for their prevention.
§ Ordered, That a copy of the foregoing resolution be sent to his majesty's secretary of state for the home department, through the lord lieutenant of this county.
§ HENRY POTTS, Clerk of the Peace.
§ No. 27.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Lloyd to Mr. Hobhouse; dated Stockport, 14th August, 1819.
§ Sir; the lower orders are in a dreadful state, not by distress, for there is work for most that may be willing, except the weavers, who are badly off, and yet perhaps not the worst of the reforming crew; I mean they are quite bold arid insulting, and reckon on a speedy and radical change to give them complete power over us. A man has come to me from the neighbourhood of Oldham, and states, that the person he worked for had judged prudent to discontinue till things are settled. The tenants of a gentleman near this town refuse to pay their rents till they know the issue of the Monday's meeting. Your, &c.
§ J. LLOYD.
§ No. 28.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Norris to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, August 14th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—Inclosed I send your lordship two depositions which have been taken before the magistrates this morning, and by which your lordship will find, that the fact of considerable drilling is carrying on in the neighbouring country; we shall have many more depositions to the same effect to-morrow, I fully expect. J. NORRIS.
§ No. 29.—Three Examinations inclosed therein.
§ The Information and Examination of N. O. taken on oath this 14th day of August, 1819, before the undersigned, two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace in the said County;
§ Who saith, That he has been at Bury in the said county, since Monday last; that he 256 has seen persons drilling in marching and facing, but not with arms, every night since Monday last, till last night; that one of the party whom this examinant had seen drilling, told this examinant that they were about five hundred persons on the books who drilled, and more had joined, but whose names were not yet put down. The said persons drilled on the high road at Heap Bridge. He heard some persons who had been drilling, say, they were ready for a fight on Monday next if the soldiers were to stop them; that the soldiers who were there, meaning at Bury, would not be a breakfast for them; that a drill-master of the name of Johnson was fetched from near Oldham; that somewhere about three o'clock yesterday, this examinant was in the King's-head public-house, and two soldiers of the 31st regiment were there, that many men were in the house, some of whom asked the soldiers to drink, and particularly one than, whom this examinant should know again, asked the soldiers to drink, who had got up to leave the house; but the soldiers refused, saying, they should be late at parade; that the said man then shut the door after the soldiers who had gone out, and said, damn them, I'd as soon give them a drop of their blood to drink as that, meaning a gill of ale which he held in his hand. This examinant heard some of the persons; who had drilled talking of the four men who were taken at Cockey Moor, and say, that none of their men should be taken by Nadin's men, for they would keep a picket out every night. That the common toasts with the lower class in the public-houses, are, "the Cap of Liberty," and, "May the Wings of Liberty never lose a Feather."
|Taken before us||R. Fletcher||N. O.|
§ Be it remembered, That on the 14th day of August, in the year of our Lord, 1819, came before me, James Norris, esq. one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Lancaster, O. P. of Manchester, in the said county of Lancaster, gentleman, and made oath, that on Sunday morning, the eighth day of August instant, he went as an inside passenger by the coach to Rochdale, in the said county; that when the said coach arrived at a place called the Slattocks, and which is about two miles beyond Middleton, and about three from Rochdale, it stopt, and he the said O. P. saw upon a bank, close to the road, about thirty men and several women; that having heard much conversation about the people in that neighbourhood having drilled in large bodies, and more particularly on the Sunday morning, it struck this deponent, that the said men might have been so employed that morning, the more particularly as it was then only a little past seven o'clock; and that he communicated his suspicions to the gentleman who sat opposite to this deponent, and whom this deponent, afterwards understood to be a Mr. 257 and who stated to this deponent that it was very probable they had been so employed; that very shortly this deponent heard the word march, and immediately afterwards several companies of unarmed men, and amounting, in the whole, from two to four hundred, marched along the turnpike road, on which the coach then was, towards Middleton, and this deponent's impression then was, and now is, that the men so marching had come some way on the said turnpike road, and had been drilling; and that the men standing on the bank were collected from curiosity, and an expectation, or knowledge, that the said men would march that way; that this deponent thinks the said men who so marched were divided into six companies or divisions; that each company or division marched four a-breast, except at the heads of companies, where there was a fifth person with a small stick or cane in his hand, who appeared to be the leader or captain, and gave orders; that the men marched with great exactness and precision, and appeared to this deponent, who was some years a member of a volunteer corps, to have been regularly drilled, and acquired a good state of discipline; that the men in one company having got out of step in a trifling degree, one of the leaders of it fell out of the rank, and cried out left, right, and restored the company immediately into a good state of marching; that whilst the men were so marching past the coach, one of the leaders looking into the coach, from which they were not distant more than two yards, and apparently addressing the passengers in the coach, used this expression,. "We will damn'd soon make these borough-mongering vagrants tremble;" that this expression was used when about half the men had marched past the coach, and when this deponent had recovered from the surprise into which the march of the men past the coach had thrown this deponent, and which surprise at the outset had prevented this deponent from counting the numbers of the men who so marched; that the last company came past the coach in double quick time, and were ordered by their leader to mark time, in consequence of the quickness of their march getting them too near the company before them; that shortly before the said last company so came past the coach in double quick time, this deponent heard a bugle not far off, and which he has no doubt belonged to the party, though this deponent did not see it; that in the course of the same forenoon this deponent returned from Rochdale by the mail, which stopped at the said place called the Slattocks, and this deponent inquired from the persons about, who the people were he had seen in the morning; that the said people from whom he inquired were unwilling to say any thing; but at length reluctantly said they supposed they were a part of the men who had been drilling near the Tandle hills, and that they were the Oldham division. O.P.
§ Sworn before me, J. Norris.258
§ Jonathan Andrew, of Manchester, maketh oath, and saith, That on Thursday evening the 12th instant, betwixt the hours of eight and nine o'clock, he saw exercising on the new road to Rochdale, from 20 to 25 men armed with staves, from 4 to 5 feet long, and apparently about 3 to 3½ inches round, similar to a brush stail, but chiefly of green wood. He heard the words of command given (by a person separated from the rest) march, halt, &c. JONATHAN ANDREW.
§ Sworn before me, this
§ 13th of August, 1319,
§ W. R. Hay.
§ No. 30.—LETTER from the Earl of Derby to Lord Sidrmouth; dated Knowsley, August 15, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I conceive it to be my duty to inform your lordship, that in consequence of a representation made to me by the select committee of magistrates assembled at Manchester (and perfectly agreeing with them in the expediency of the measure), I issued a precept for a special meeting of magistrates, to consider of the propriety of a general or partial execution of the Watch and Ward act, and I have now the honour to inclose to your lordship a letter from the clerk of the peace, by which you will perceive how far the same has been carried into execution. I trust this, and the other measures adopted by the magistracy, will put a stop to the danger to be apprehended from the evil designs or such as wish to disturb the peace of the country; but I am sorry to add, there is still too much cause to believe, that in some parts of this county, there are assemblies of men, who meet in considerable numbers, with the object of training and exercising themselves for illegal and seditious purposes. Of all this, however, your lordship is I am sure already informed with more accuracy, and in greater detail, than I am able to give you. It is with great regret that I am obliged to add, that the raising the armed association (notwithstanding the zealous endeavours of the boroughreeve and committee at Manchester, who made the offer to government) proceeds so slow, that I have not yet been able to obtain a list of gentlemen to be submitted to the prince regent as officers for the same. I am, however, informed by the boroughreeve, that the list of field officers and captains for one battalion has been completed, but they consider it premature to send it to me, as the number of men already enrolled is far below the number which should constitute one battalion. I think it right to apprise your lordship of this circumstance, but without the most distant idea of imputing blame, or want of zeal, to any person concerned in the transaction. The arms, &c. for nearly the whole corps have been forwarded to my order from Chester Castle some time since, and, with the concurrence of major general Byng, I have directed them to be lodged at the cavalry 259 barracks, under the military custody of the officer commanding there, until the corps becomes sufficiently effective to have them transferred to their hands. I have, &c.
§ No. 31.—LETTER from the Clerk of the Peace inclosed therein; dated Preston, l3th August, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I have the honour to inform your lordship, that I attended yesterday at Manchester to put in execution the Watch and Ward act, when the whole of Salford Hundred, and the Warrington Division of West Derby Hundred, were placed under the provisions of the act. I have, &c. E. GORST.
§ No. 32.—LETTER from Mr. Norris to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, August 15th, 1819. 11 o'clock, P.M.
§ My Lord;—The magistrates, the military, and civil authorities of Manchester, have been occupied nearly the whole of this day in concerting the necessary arrangements for the preservation of the peace to-morrow, and for the safety of the town in case riot should ensue. We have been much occupied in taking depositions from various parts of the country; and although the magistrates, as at present advised, do not think of preventing the meeting, yet all the accounts tend to show that the worst possible spirit pervades the country; and that considerable numbers have been drilling to-day at distances of four, six, and ten miles from Manchester; and that considerable numbers are expected to attend the meeting. I hope the peace may be preserved, but under all circumstances it is scarcely possible to expect it; and in short, in this respect we are in a state of painful uncertainty. I have, &c. J. NORRIS.
§ No. 33.—PRINTED Hand-bill issued by the Boroughreeves and Constables of Manchester.
§ The boroughreeves and constables of Manchester and Salford most earnestly recommend the peaceable and well-disposed inhabitants of those towns, as much as possible, to remain in their own houses during the whole of this day. Monday, August 16th instant; and to keep their children and servants within doors.—Edward Clayton, boroughreeve of Manchester; John Moore, jun; Jonathan Andrew, constables; John Greenwood, boroughreeve of Salford; James Cooke, Josiah Collier, constables.
§ No. 34.—LETTER from Mr. Hay, a Magistrate of Lancashire, to lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, 16th August, 1819; quarter past nine.
§ My Lord;—Mr. Norris being very much fatigued by the harassing duty of this day, it becomes mine now to inform your, lordship of the proceedings which have been had in con- 260 sequence of the proposal put forward for a meeting. The special committee have been in constant attendance for the last three days, and contented themselves till they saw what the complexion of the meeting might be, or what circumstances might arise, with coming to this determination only, which they adopted in concurrence with some of the most intelligent gentlemen of the town, not to stop the numerous columns which were from various roads expected to pour in, but to allow them to reach the place of their destination.—The assistance of the military was of course required, and arrangements in consequence made with them, of such description as might be applicable to various circumstances.— About eleven o'clock the magistrates, who were very numerous, repaired to a house, whence they might see the whole of the proceedings of the meeting. A body of special constables took their ground, about two hundred in number, close to the hustings; from them there was a line of communication to the house where we were. Mr. Trafford Trafford was so good as to take the situation of attending colonel L'Estrange, the commanding officer.—From eleven till one o'clock, the various columns arrived, attended by flags, each by two or three flags; and there were four, if not more, caps of liberty. The ensigns were of the same description as those displayed on similar occasions, with this addition, that one had a bloody pike represented on it; another, "Equal Representation or Death." There was no appearance of arms or pikes, but great plenty of sticks and staves; and every column marched in regular files of three or four deep, attended' with conductors, music, &c The most powerful accession was in the last instance, when Hunt and his party came in. But, long before this, the magistrates had felt a decided conviction that the whole bore the appearance of insurrection; that the array was such as to terrify all the king's subjects, and was such as no legitimate purpose could justify. In addition to their own sense of the meeting, they had very numerous depositions from the inhabitants, as to their fears for the public safety; and at length a man deposed as to the parties who were approaching, attended by the heaviest column.
On a barouche-box was a woman in white, who, I believe was a Mrs. Gant, from Stockport, and who it is believed, had a cap of liberty. In the barouche were Hunt, Johnson, Knight, and Moorhouse, of Stockport: as soon as these four parties were ascertained, a warrant issued to apprehend them. The troops were mustered, and Nadin, preceding the Manchester Yeomanry Cavalry, executed it. While the cavalry was forming, a most marked defiance of them was acted by the reforming part of the mob; however, they so far executed their purpose, as to apprehend Hunt and Johnson on the hustings: Knight and Moorhouse in the moment escaped. They also took on the hustings, Saxton, and Sykes,
who is the writer to the Manchester Observer, and which Saxton had before been addressing the mob. The parties thus apprehended, were brought to the house where the magistrates were. In the mean time the Riot act was read, and the mob was completely dispersed, but not without very serious and lamentable effects. Hunt, &c. were brought down to the New Bailey; two magistrates and myself, having promised them protection, preceded them; we were attended by special constables and some cavalry. The parties were lodged in the New Bailey; and since that have been added to them Knight and Moorhouse. On inquiry, it appeared that many had suffered from various instances; one of the Manchester yeomanry, Mr. Holme, was, after the parties were taken, struck by a brick-bat; he lost his power over his horse, and is supposed to have fractured his skull by a fall from his horse. I am afraid that he is since dead; if not, there are no hopes of his recovery. A special constable of the name of Ashworth has been killed—cause unknown; and four women appear to have lost their lives by being pressed by the crowd; these, I believe, are the fatal effects of the meeting. A variety of instances of sabre wounds occurred, but I hope none mortal; several pistols were fired by the mob, but as to their effect, save in one instance deposed to before colonel Fletcher, we have no account. We cannot but deeply regret all this serious attendant on this transaction; but we have the satisfaction of witnessing the very grateful and cheering countenances of the whole town; infact, they consider themselves as saved by our exertions. All the shops were shut, and, for the most part, continued so all the evening. The capture of Hunt took place before two o'clock, and I forgot to mention, that all their colours, drums, &c. were taken or destroyed: since that I have been to the Infirmary, and found myself justified in making the report I have; but Mr. Norris now tells me, that one or two more than I have mentioned, may have lost their lives. The parties apprehended, will have their cases proceeded on to-morrow; but it appears that there may arise difficulties as to the nature of some of their crimes, on which it may be necessary to consult government. The whole committee of magistrates will assemble to-morrow as usual. During the afternoon, and part of the evening, parts of the town have been in a very disturbed state, and numerous applications made for military. These have been supplied, but in some cases have, in the Irish part of the town, been obliged to fire, I trust without any bad effect as to life, in any instance. At present every thing seems quiet; the reports agree with that, and I hope that we shall have a quiet night. I have omitted to mention, that the active part of the meeting may be said to have come in wholly from the country; and that it did not consist of less than 20,000 men, &c. The flag on which was "Equal Re-
presentation or Death," was a black one; and in addition, on the same side, had "No boroughmongering —Unite, and be Free;" at the bottom, "Saddleworth, Lees, and Morley Union;" on the reverse, "No Corn Laws; — Taxation, without Representation, is unjust and tyrannical." On the Middleton Hag was, "Let us die like men, and not be sold like slaves;" reverse, "Liberty is the birthright of man."—I close my letter at a quarter before eleven; every thing remains quiet—many of the troops have returned to the barracks, with the consent of the magistrates. I have to apologize to your lordship for the haste in. which this is written, but I trust that the haste will naturally be accounted for. I have the honour to be, &c.
§ W. R. HAY.
§ No. 35—LETTER from Major-General Sir John Byng to Lord Sidmouth, dated, Head Quarters. Pontefract, August 17th, 1819, nine, A. M.
§ My Lord; I have the honour to forward the accompanying copy of an official report which I have just received from lieutenant colonel L'Estrange, in command of the troops in Manchester and its immediate neighbourhood, which I consider of sufficient consequence to send by express, as it will be one day sooner before your lordship.—I most sincerely regret that the employment of military in aid of the civil power should have been necessary; but I trust it will appear to your lordship, that the utmost forbearance, consistent with their duty, has been evinced by lieutenant colonel L'Estrange, with the troops under his command: and I hope it will meet your approval, his having employed the corps of Cheshire and Manchester yeomanry cavalry, who, at the request to the magistrates had assembled with the greatest alacrity in full numbers, and had placed themselves at the lieutenant colonel's disposal.—By the latest account, I understand the town of Manchester has become more quiet. I shall await here a further report, and shall hold in readiness to move, at the shortest notice, all the disposable force under my orders. I have, &c.
§ JOHN BYNG, Major General.
§ No. 36.—REPORT from Lieutenant Colonel l'Estrange, inclosed in the foregoing. Dated Manchester, August 16, 1819, eight o'clock, P. M.
§ Sir,—The magistrates assembled here in consequence of the disturbed state of the district, directed me to have the troops in readiness to assist the civil power in case of necessity, at the time of the meeting proposed for this day. In concurrence with their wishes, and after consultation with them, the military were prepared and arrangements made, such as then seemed calculated to meet any occasion, in which the aid of the troops might be required to assist the civil power. The magistrates were in attendance 263 near St. Peter's Church; and Mr. Trafford, a justice of the peace for the counties of Chester and Lancaster, was appointed to remain with the cavalry. Early in the afternoon, the civil power finding it necessary that the troops should act in aid of them, it was deemed expedient that the cavalry should advance; and a warrant was executed, preceded by the civil authority, under which two persons Hunt and Johnson, named therein, were arrested; as were also two other persons named Saxton and Sykes, who were active, as I am told, on the hustings. This service was performed with the assistance of the cavalry. The infantry was in readiness, but I determined not to bring them in contact with the people, unless compelled to do so by urgent necessity; not a shot therefore has been fired by any of the military, though several have been fired by the populace against the troops. I have, however, great regret in stating, that some of the unfortunate people who attended this meeting have suffered from sabre wounds, and many from the pressure of the crowd. One of the Manchester yeomanry, if not dead, lies without hope of recovery; it is understood he was struck with a stone. One of the special constables has been killed. The Manchester yeomanry under major Trafford, and the Cheshire yeomanry under lieutenant colonel Townsend, who had come on a very short notice from the county magistrates (many of them from a great distance), were most active and efficient in discharge of their duty.—The committee, now sitting, consider it necessary to keep all the troops ready, though every means will be adopted to prevent the necessity of their acting. I have, &c.
§ GEORGE I'ESTRANGE,
§ Lieut. Col. 31st regiment.
§ Major-General SIR JOHN BYNG, K. C. B.
§ No. 37.—EXTRACT of a letter from Mr. Norris to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, August 17, 1819.
§ My Lord;—Mr. Hay and Mr. Hardman having left town this evening, on a mission to your lordship and to government, it is unnecessary for me to give you any information up to the period when they left, as they are fully informed. Since their departure the town has continued to assume a gloomy aspect as the night has approached, and at this hour (a quarter from ten), all the civil and military authorities are in action throughout the town. Great numbers assembled this evening, from 8 to 9, about the New Cross, but did not do any act of violence though evidently of the description disposed to do so. Soldiers are placed there, and bodies of special constables, with orders in the first instance for the constables to act, and afterwards, in case of need, the military to disperse the mob. The Riot act was not read this evening when I first went up (about six o'clock) though some stones had before been 264 thrown at one or two houses, and a few at the military; yet I found matters peaceable and quiet, and the offending parties straggling about, and at considerable distances, and I hoped they would disperse. They did not, however, disperse; but the numbers considerably increased at the distances, and I found it necessary to communicate instantly with colonel I'Estrange, &c. The military have in consequence been strengthened in that quarter, and at present every thing, I believe, remains quiet, although it can alone be attributed to the full exertion or appearance of the military strength. I am, &c.
§ J. NORRIS.
§ No. 38.—EXAMINATION of James Murrey of No. 2, Withy Grove Manchester, confectioner, who, on his oath, saith,
§ That on Sunday last, the 15th instant, he was at White Moss, near Middleton, about five miles from Manchester, between three and four o'clock in the morning and saw there assembled between 14 and 1500 men, the greatest number of whom were formed in two bodies, in the form of solid squares; the remainder were in small parties of between twenty and thirty each; there were about thirty such parties, each under the direction of a person acting as a drill Serjeant, and and were going through military movements; that examinant went amongst them and immediately one of the drill Serjeants asked him to fall in. He said, he thought he should soon, or gave some such answer; he then began to move away; upon which, some persons who were drilling, cried out "spies." This examinant, and William Shawcross, and Thomas Rymer and his son (all of whom had accompanied this examinant from Manchester) continued to retire; the body of men then cried out, "mill them," "murder them" Near one hundred men then pursued this examinant and his companions; they overtook them near a lane end, at the edge of the Moss, and began to pelt them with clods of earth—they at last came up to the examinant and his companions, and beat them very severely—Examinant begged they would not murder him; but the general cry was, "damn him kill him—murder him."—Examinant said, "you treat me very differently to what nations treat each other's prisoners when they are at war. Suppose that I am an enemy, you ought to treat me as a prisoner:" they said, "How will you treat us if you take us prisoners when we come to Manchester?" —Examinant knew at the time that a meeting was appointed for the next day (Monday) at Manchester.—The men kept beating examinant all the time; at last, they debated among themselves whether they would kill examinant or forgive him, and they determined to forgive him, provided he would go down upon his knees and beg pardon to them, and swear never to be a king's man again, or to mention the name of a king. Ex- 265 aminant complied to save his life, they standing over him with sticks, as he apprehended to murder him, provided he had objected. They afterwards went away. Examinant was not previously acquainted with any of the persons assembled that he saw, but is certain that he should know again two of those who beat him. The greatest part of the number assembled had stout sticks, from three to four feet long. In consequence of the ill treatment received by examinant, as above, he was confined to his bed for three days. JAMES MURREY.
§ Sworn at Manchester before me, this 21st of August, 1819.
§ Ra. Fletcher.
§ No. 39.—LETTER from Sir J. T. Stanley to Lord Sidmouth; dated Grand Jury Room, Chester Castle, Sept. 3, 1819.
§ My Lord,—I have been directed by the grand jury of the county of Chester, as their foreman, to forward the inclosed to your lordship as a private communication; and I have taken the liberty of inclosing, at the same time a copy of resolutions entered into by the grand jury, expressive of their determination to support the government, and enforce the laws, for the preservation of the peace of the county. I have &c.
§ JOHN THOMAS STANLEY.
§ No. 40.—COMMUNICATION of the Grand Jury of Cheshire, inclosed therein.
§ (Private.) Chester, September 3, 1819.
§ We, the grand jury of the county palatine of Chester, assembled at the assizes holden for the said county, on the first day of September 1819, feel it our bounden duty to represent to your lordship, that from the information we have just received, we have strong reason to consider, that in the Stock-port division of the hundred of Macclesfield in this county, and in certain parts of the Prestbury division of the said hundred, the lives and property of his majesty's loyal subjects are in great peril; and that in an adjoining county, by the active measures of terror and intimidation employed, the danger has, within the last fourteen days, assumed a more formidable character; and we beg leave to add, that we understand his majesty's justices of the peace labour under great difficulty from want of power to disperse meetings for drilling, and for acquiring military discipline.
§ JOHN THOMAS STANLEY, Foreman.
§ No. 41.—RESOLUTIONS also inclosed.
§ County Palatine of Chester,
§ We, the grand jury of the county palatine of Chester, at the assizes holden at Chester on the first day of September 1819, feel it incumbent at this time to declare our indignation at the machinations of artful and itinerant demagogues, who disseminate papers of the most dangerous and seditious tendency; and at public meetings, with freedom in their 266 mouths and fraud and plunder in their hearts, employ the most inflammatory language; insidiously inculcate, under the specious veil of reform, hatred and contempt of our constitution, and instigate the ignorant and unwary even to exert physical force (that is, violence and open arms) for the enforcement of their visionary claims; at once useless to themselves, destructive of the rights and property of their fellow subjects, and involving the country in one general ruin. Nor can we refrain from declaring our disgust and horror at the odious and blasphemous publications poured forth throughout the country, in which the Holy Scriptures are held up to derision, reviled and scoffed at and audaciously denounced to the people as false, with the malignant intention of eradicating from their minds all moral checks, and all the hopes and comforts to be derived from religion. But with the most serious and peculiar anxiety and detestation, we contemplate the unremitting exertions to poison the minds of the rising generation with the same horrid and detestable doctrines.—we, therefore, strongly impressed with, the excellence of our constitution, protecting alt ranks and degrees of society, are firmly resolved, by every means in our power, to enforce the due execution of the laws against the seditions and disaffected; and against all, who either by acts or otherwise, endanger the public peace and safety of the realm.
§ (Signed): John Thomas Stanley, Foreman.— Belgrave, H. M. Mainwaring, D. Davenport, Wilbraham Egerton, Charles Cholmondeley, Thomas C. Clutton, Ralph Leycester, jun., D. Ashley, George Wilbraham, E. D. Davenport, Clement Swetenham, H. C. Cotton, E. Stracey, Thomas Marshal, Thomas Cholmondeley, Robert Hibbert, John Isherwood, Robert Taylor, H. W. Worthington, Thomas Barker.
§ No. 42.—LETTER from Lord Stanley to Lord Sidmouth; dated Knowsley, September 7th, 1819.
§ My Lord; I have been directed by the grand jury assembled at the present assizes for this County, to sign, as their foreman, their statement of the unhappily disturbed situation in which (upon examination, which they have thought it their duty to make) they have found the county, or rather a large district of it, to be placed. In compliance therefore with their directions, I have now the honour to lay before your lordship the accompanying statement, a copy of which I have also been directed to lay before the lord-lieutenant of the county, and I remain, &c.
§ No. 43,—STATEMENT inclosed therein.
§ The grand jury of the county of Lancaster have thought it their duty to inquire into the present slate of the disturbed districts of that 267 county, and they have examined persons who appeared to them the most competent to give accurate information on the subject.—From the result of that inquiry it appears, that the most inflammatory publications have for some time been industriously circulated at a price which puts them very generally into the hands of the poorest classes of society. The training and military drilling of large bodies of men, under regular leaders, have for some time been carried on to a great extent, and the times chosen for the purpose are principally during the night, or at such hours as seem best calculated to elude public observation. Marching, and other military movements, are practised with great precision, and the words of command are promptly and implicitly obeyed. It has not come to the knowledge of the grand jury, that arms have been used on these occasions, and, though there is no doubt that weapons of offence have been manufactured, yet to what amount does not appear.—One of the most powerful engines to which the disaffected have resorted, is a system of intimidation, which prevails to a most serious and alarming degree. Not only have threats to persons and property been made use of, and put into execution, but even combinations have been formed to discountenance and to ruin those publicans and shopkeepers who have come forward in support of the civil power. To such an extent does this prevail, that individuals who are well-disposed, are deterred from declaring the sentiments which they really entertain, or from giving information which may lead to the detection of offenders.—Whatever may be the real object of those who have obtained an influence over the minds of the misguided, there is reason to believe, from the declarations which have been openly and avowedly made, that the object of the lower classes of these people in general, is no other than to reverse the orders of society which have so long been established, and to wrest by force from the present possessors, and to divide among themselves, the landed property of the country. —The magistrates who act in the disturbed districts, and who are few in number, and harassed by continued and unremitting attention to their duties, state themselves to be unable to preserve the public peace, under any circumstances of peculiar agitation.—Resort has recently been had to the Watch and Ward act, but in many parts of the abovementioned districts the measure is, for obvious reasons, incapable of being carried into effect, and in others has proved wholly inefficacious. Indeed, in one populous district, no warrant for ordinary offences, or other legal process, can be executed: the payment of taxes has ceased; and the landlords are threatened with the discontinuance of their rents.—The grand jury think it their duty to submit these facts and observations to the lord-lieutenant of the county, and to his majesty's principal secretary of state for the home department, and at 268 the same time to express their firm determination to support the government of the country, and to maintain unimpaired the constitution as at present established in church and state.—Signed by direction of the grand jury,
§ STANLEY, Foreman.
§ Grand Jury Room, Lancaster, Sept. 6, 1819.
§ No. 44.—LETTER from the Constables of Manchester to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester Police-office, September 16, 1819.
§ My Lord;—We have avoided troubling your lordship with frequent communications, knowing that our highly esteemed friend Mr. Norris was in constant correspondence with the home department. We deem it however a duty to state some of the difficulties with which we have to contend, and which, as they are rapidly increasing, will press heavily on the gentlemen who are shortly to succeed us in office. Before Mr. Hunt made his appearance here, his followers had given us much trouble; they have now acquired so powerful an ascendancy in the neighbourhood, that he is able at any time to agitate this town most seriously; and by a very short notice to move an overwhelming population in any direction, and for almost any purpose. Your lordship has, we believe, already been made acquainted with the decease of Campbell, one of our supernumeraries, who was literally stoned to death, publicly, in the forenoon of the 17th ult. merely because he was connected with this office. Another special constable now lies in the infirmary dangerously wounded under similar circumstances. More than a week before the meeting of the 16th ult. two of our beadles, who were protecting a man whilst posting the Prince Regent's Proclamation, were shamefully abused, as well as the man, and held prisoners, at the New Cross, by a mob of more than 500 persons. The borough reeve and ourselves, with our deputy and four assistants, having proceeded to the spot, were also violently attacked and beaten away with stones, previously taken up from the pavement for the purpose. For some time previously to the 16th ult. well dressed persons were sure to be insulted if they showed themselves in the neighbourhood of New Cross, Newton-lane, An coats, &c. &c.; and were it not for the certainty that the military could soon be at hand, no decent person would now venture near those places.—Since Mr. Hunt's arrival here, the respectable householders have been kept in almost constant alarm, and the noise and uproar which uniformly attends his movements have produced the most dangerous consequences to many families. Amongst persons unconnected with business, a general disposition prevails to leave the neighbourhood; and of those who are able to retire from trade, a considerable proportion seems determined to do so. The difficulty in collecting rents from those of the lower orders who are able to pay, increases 269 daily, and serious depression in the value of property is consequently taking place. We have also much reason to fear, that numbers, whom we had looked upon as neutral with respect to Mr. Hunt, are becoming partizans; and we ought not to disguise the fact, that a degree of intimidation very generally prevails, which deprives us of the usually efficient support and cordial assistance of some of our principal inhabitants. The special constables, as a body, were all that we could wish, and have given us abundant proof of their loyalty and spirit; but of those who are shopkeepers or publicans, many have so much lost their custom, that they must either cease acting, or be ruined. The sacrifice of wealth and comforts which the magistrates have willingly made, can only be duly appreciated by ourselves; and we are bound to declare our belief, that nothing but the purest patriotism could have influenced or supported them.— An anxious desire to serve the public faithfully, has completely exhausted our worthy colleague, the boroughreeve, and his life is still in danger; and, indeed, we are ourselves so much worn out, that we should shortly become unequal to our duty, were it not for the prospect of our year being soon ended. If we are asked, what has occasioned this state of society here? we must reply, the licentiousness of the press chiefly, aided by the inflammatory speeches of itinerant demagogues, and the establishment of schools for instructing adults, as well as children, to revile and despise the civil and religious institutions of the country. Whatever constitutional health or strength our successors in office may fortunately possess, or however zealous they may be in the discharge of their duty, we are firmly persuaded, my lord, things cannot long go on in this way, and we hope this conviction will be our apology for writing so much at length on this occasion. We have the honour to be, &c.
|JOHN MOORE, jun.||Constables.|
§ To the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Sidmouth.
§ No. 45.—LETTER from Mr. Jones, Postmaster of Macclesfield to Lord Sidmouth; dated Macclesfield, Cheshire, August 18,1819.
§ My Lord;—I beg leave to acquaint your lordship, that a mob of the reformers assembled last night about half past eight o'clock P. M. in the market-place in this town: the mayor read the Riot act about half past eight P. M.; about nine the mob proceeded to a very outrageous attack on the shop and printing-shop of Mr. Jonathan Wilson, printer of the Macclesfield Courier, and demolished the door and windows; they also attacked the house of Mr. Thomas Grimsditch, solicitor, an officer in the Cheshire yeomanry cavalry in the Macclesfield troop; they broke all his front windows; they attacked my house and demolished my front windows, &c. They took advantage of the absence of our cavalry on duty at Manchester, and part of the 31st regi- 270 ment of foot, which were here till last night. Twelve at night an express came from Mancherter ordering them to Stockport, so that we were left quite defenceless, we turned out and restored peace at last; and this morning, at five A. M. the party of the 31st regiment arrived here from Slockport, and at ten A. M. our troops of cavalry arrived from Manchester. The mayor, accompanied by the rest of the magistrates of this borough read the Riot act. and declared the town in a state of rebellion, and delivered it up to the charge of the military, from the circumstance of their having last night attacked the Post-office: and I humbly submit, that for the better and future security of the town, and persons and property, a troop of horse stationed here for a while would remove and disperse all danger. The whole most humbly submitted by your lordship's, &c. TIM JONES.
§ No. 46.—LETTER from the Lord Provost of Glasgow to Lord Sidmouth; dated Glasgow, 22nd August, 1819.
§ My Lord;— It affords me great satisfaction and pleasure that I have it in my power to inform your lordship, that the meeting of yesterday ended without any breach of the peace, or even disturbance. We had every preparation made by having the special constabulary, to the number of about four hundred, assembled, as well as all the police and other civil officers, and also the military drawn up in the barrack-yard to act in case the civil power should prove inefficient. Although all this was done without publicity or bustle, still it was not unknown to the crowd; indeed in the speeches I understood that peace and good order were strongly inculcated by the argument of the preparations made to oppose contrary conduct. To the presence of the military do we therefore owe our present state. The object of the meeting on Thursday being of a nature more likely to draw an assemblage of the poorer classes than the common one of parliamentary reform, and greater pains having been taken to bring them from every quarter, we contemplate that it will be much more numerously attended. God grant that it may end as peaceably! My lord, I have &c.
§ HENRY MONTEITH.
§ No. 47.—LETTER from Earl Fitzwilliam to Lord Sidmouth, dated Leamington, 26th August, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I have this morning received a letter dated 20th inst from Mr. Haigh, Mr. Haigh Allen, and Mr. Horsfall, three magistrates acting at Huddersfield and in its neighbourhood a copy of which I send for your lordship's information. No doubt it would have been more satisfactory had no meeting whatever taken place; but it is a subject of satisfaction that, taking place, it passed off peaceably, and that the assembled dispersed quietly, without the interference of any constituted authority, and no less so, that though a second meeting was announced, for the 271 following evening, it did not take place. I trust however, that your lordship will approve the active vigilance of these magistrates and the precautionary measures which they have adopted, by swearing in a number of special constables, and by calling out the Hudders-field troop of yeomanry on permanent duty, and I am confident your lordship may rely on their discretion, that the constituted authorities will not be unnecessarily committed in doubtful cases, but their powers used only when manifest necessity shall justify their exercise. I have the honour to be, &c.
§ WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 48.—LETTER from Three Magistrates inclosed therein, dated Hudilersfield, August 20th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—We think it our duty to inform your lordship, that last evening, about seven, o'clock, a large multitude of people were suddenly assembled within half a mile of the town, to the number (as near as we can ascertain) of three thousand. A person from Manchester related to them what had taken place there, and concluded by telling them, that now was the time to be revenged. Another person then said, that all who were willing to support the cause of radical reform by force, by physical force, should signify the same in the usual way; which was answered by a tremendous shout from the multitude; he then informed them that a meeting would be held the following night at seven o'clock at Fixby Park (about a mile and a half from Hudders-field). With arms?—was asked by the multitude. He said, we will not say with arms; but all persons are requested to provide themselves with such things as may in any way whatever be useful to them. We find that there have been several evening meetings suddenly called in different parts of the neighbourhood, since Tuesday, and we have every reason to believe that the meeting to-night is to be a concentrated meeting, as we are informed that a meeting in the neighbourhood of Halifax has been adjourned to meet at Fixby to-night. In consequence of these appearances we have thought it our duly to order our troop of yeomanry cavalry to assemble this evening, upon permanent duty for three days; we have also sworn in a number of special constables, which we trust will meet with your lordship's approbation. We have the honour to be, &c.
§ (Signed) J. HAIGH
§ B. HAIGH ALLEN
§ JOHN HORSFALL.
§ Saturday morning.—The night has passed over quietly. Numbers were seen returning to their homes late at night, most probably deterred from meeting by the precautions taken, and by a report circulated among the people, that the man who addressed them from Manchester was a spy.
|B. H. L.|
§ To the Right Hon. Earl Fitzwilliam, &c. &c.272
§ No. 49.—LETTER from Earl Fitzwilliam to Lord Sidmouth; dated 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 office of the clerk of the peace; which also I received this morning.—I shall return immediately to Wentworth. I have the honour to be, &c.
§ WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 50—LETTER from the Mayor of Leeds inclosed; therein dated Leeds, August 25th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I 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, not-with standing 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 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 I 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 are 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. I 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, &c.
§ G. BANKS.
§ No. 51—REQUISITION also inclosed.
§ 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 273 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, Westgate; Joseph Lowe, cloth worker. Westgate; Samuel Moore, cloth worker, Westgate; John Robinson, cordwainer, Kirkgate; Joseph Lock-wood, 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 23rd, 1819.
§ No. 52.—LETTER from Earl Fitzwilliam to Lord Sidmouth; Wentworth, August, 31st, 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; 2nd, from the mayor of Leeds, dated the 27th instant; 3rd, from Mr. Foljambe, deputy clerk of the Peace, dated Monday evening 9 o'clock. I have, &c. WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 53.—LETTER from Colonel Horton inclosed therein; Halifax, August 27th, 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 Hiding; 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 very great majority have the above feeling, and would act upon it if 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 274 the disposition lately evinced, has induced colonel Deardon 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. I wish to add, that it was the opinion of all the magistrates 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, &c.
§ THOMAS HORTON.
§ Earl Fitzwilliam, &c. &c. &c.
§ No. 54.—LETTER from the Mayor of Leeds, also inclosed; dated Leeds, 27th August, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I beg your lordship's reference to my letter of the 25tb 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 of the letter I had sent to your lordship, and of one I had sent to lord Sidmouth, in which I 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 was obliged to write my letters on Wednesday evening. I am happy to say, the opinions I have formed, and the measures I have adopted met the full approbation of my 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 I 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 be 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 ser- 275 vices, 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 farther occurs worth communicating to your lordship, I shall take the liberty to write to you. I have, &c.
§ Earl Fitzwilliam, &c. &c. GEORGE BANKS.
§ No. 55.—LETTER from the Clerk of the Peace of the West Riding of Yorkshire, also inclosed.
§ My Lord;—I am just retwned from the meeting, with sir Francis, Wood, Mr. Scott, and Mr. John Maude, amounting to about 2,000; a great part were spectators. Mr. Willan in the chair. The speakers were Messrs. Mitchell, Mason, Jackson and another; all of whom, sir Francis desires me to inform your lordship, talked a great deal of nonsense, but not treason; and the resolutions passed were similar to those at Manchester and other places. Supposing your lordship would be anxious to hear the result, I send this by a special messenger. All went off peaceably. Nothing was required by the act passed 31st of March 1817, as it expired on the 24th of July 1818; but I thought it proper to send to your lordship a copy of the notice left at this office by these deluded people, who, providentially, are not aware of that circumstance. I have, &c. JOHN FOLJAMBE.
§ Monday evening, 9 o'clock.
§ No. 56.—EXTRACT of a Letter from the Lord Advocate of Scotland to Lord Sidmouth; dated Edinburgh, September 15,1819.
§ My Lord;—The proceedings of the reformers at Manchester have been imitated at Paisley. Though allowed, without molestation, to meet arid to talk sedition, they afterwards proceeded to violence, and continued their operations during the following day, although it was Sunday. Riots have also taken place in Glasgow. I have thought it right to communicate to your lordship the whole information on the subject, of which I am possessed, and this you will find inclosed. On the perusal of these documents, I think your lordship will agree with me in opinion, that the magistrates have acted with great prudence and moderation, and it now only remains for them to act with vigour, if these proceedings are continued —ln haste. I have, &c. W. RAE.
§ No. 57.—LETTER; from the Sheriff Depute of Renfrewshire, inclosed therein; dated Paisley, Tuesday 14th, Sept. 11 o'clock.
§ My Lord;—on my return here yesterday, I found the town in great ferment. In the course of Sunday evening the windows of a number of houses in all quarters of the town had been broken, particularly those of the clergy. The same thing was renewed on 276 Monday, but with more sytem and deliberation. The plan chiefly adopted was, to disperse on the appearance of constables, and to lurk in closes till an opportunity was found of sallying forth and throwing stones. As the cavalry could not pursue the rioters down the closes, we sent for infantry from Glasgow to guard the principal stations, and the cavalry dispersed any crowds which collected at the ends of streets; but with instructions only to strike with the flat of the sabre. Military posts were stationed during the night at the chief outlets of streets, and preserved tranquillity. The charges of the cavalry were executed with great moderation; and not till after printed notices that the Riot act had been read were fixed on poles, and carried through the crowd. It is satisfactory that no person has been killed; nor, as far as I have heard, any one severely hurt. But if the scenes of yesterday be renewed to-day, I fear the moderation which has hitherto been observed, cannot be continued.—Proposals were made to the magistrates, by the ringleaders of the mob offering to restore tranquillity, provided they gave up the flags, and liberated the prisoners, which I mention as indicative of the spirit by which the rioters are actuated.
§ Paisley, 5 o'clock.
§ Every thing is quiet up to this hour, at least apparently so; but the streets are still more crowded than usual. I have been engaged chiefly this forenoon in taking the declarations of those we have apprehended. Our prisoners are very numerous, and our gaol here was nearly full before the riots. The Greenock gaol has received five but will not hold more: and I beg leave to request, that the proper authority be immediately obtained by your lordship authorizing the transmission of prisoners to Glasgow gaol, under the present emergency, and requiring the magistrates of Glasgow to receive and detain them. I am my lord, &c. JOHN DUNLOP.
§ No. 58.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Reddie, also inclosed; dated Glasgow, 14th Sept. 1819.
§ My dear Lord; For a very brief account of the proceedings here last night, I refer your lordship to our proclamation of this day, of which I send a copy by this night's post. The assemblage took place rather unexpectedly. After lamps and windows had been broken, we read the Riot act; and then authorized the dragoons to clear the streets with their sabres, having previously been assailed with vollies of stones, from a house at present rebuilding in an adjoining street. The soldiers, as usual, behaved with great moderation. About a hundred prisoners were made; but we discharged upwards of fifty of them before two o'clock A.M.; and I fear we shall only be able to procure evidence against a few of those we have still in custody, amounting to about thirty. This check has not been sufficient. They are rather elated, it seems, than 277 otherwise, by the success of their diversion in favour of Paisley; and, if we may rely upon the accounts we have received from different quarters, we shall have the same scene again to-night, for which we have made the necessary preparations. I am, &c. JAMES REDDIE.
§ The Lord Advocate of Scotland.
§ No. 59.—LETTER from Earl Fitzwilliam to Lord Sidmouth; dated Wentworth, 25th September, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I must apologise to your lordship for an apparent tardiness in forwarding the report made to me by the mayor of Leeds, respecting the occurrences of Monday last, within his jurisdiction; but when it reached this place I was absent. I have now the honour of transmitting a copy of his letter. I am confident your lordship will learn with the greatest satisfaction, that it passed off without the slightest interruption of the public peace notwithstanding the occasion had drawn together, in Leeds, such an immense assemblage of people, as had never before been seen in Leeds, who marched in solemn procession to Hunslet Moor; the inflammatory speeches of the orators had hot attraction to retain them together; they dropped off by degrees, and at the conclusion of the business, not more than had been usually seen at ordinary meetings continued to attend. I am no less confident that your lordship will applaud the judicious conduct pursued on the occasion by the mayor, and likewise the precautionary arrangements which he had made, in case of necessity. I have, &c. WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM.
§ No. 60.—LETTER from the Mayor of Leeds, inclosed therein; dated Leeds, 20th Sept. 1819.
§ My Lord;—It may be satisfactory to your lordship, to receive from me some account, though short and imperfect, of this day's meeting on Hunslet Moor. About eleven o'clock there was an evident movement in the streets, and numerous arrivals, in small parties of people from the country: these continued increasing very much till about one o'clock, when the large detachments from the adjoining townships, and also a very numerous one from Dewsbury, headed by Willan, having arrived, the procession moved on to Hunslet Moor, where it arrived about three o'clock, accompanied by a band of music, and a great variety of flags with various mottos; the particulars of which I am not yet acquainted with. A man, of the name of Chapman, took the chair; some violent speeches were delivered: a number of resolutions past, such I understand as we have witnessed in Lancashire, and a collection made on the spot, Under the pretence of applying the produce to enable Hunt to sustain the prosecutions in process against him. The crowd which first appeared on Hunslet Moor must have infinitely surpassed any thing of the kind which, was ever before known in this glace, but be- 278 ing composed of the vile and curious, as well as the mischievous, the former not finding attractions for them, they began, together with the women and children, early to retire; and before the business of the meeting was dispatched, the numbers were reduced as low as at the last meeting, not exceeding 4 or 5,000; although I cannot doubt there must have been at one period, perhaps about four o'clock, little short of 20,000 souls present— the whole affair has terminated peaceably.— The only measures of precaution I adopted, with the approbation of my brother magistrates, were these;—I ordered the regular constables of the town, under their chief, to assemble at the Court House; as also the watch and patrole, under their captain, at five o'clock, where I attended with the recorder and a few other magistrates, until a little after eight, by which time the whole affair was over, and all the parties appeared to have quietly dispersed.—With regard to the military, I desired the commandant of the squadron of dragoons to give strict orders to all his men to keep close in their quarters, holding themselves and their horses m perfect readiness in a moment's notice; and as my object was, to avoid display, I did not give out any orders till the assemblage had quitted the town.—After leaving the Court House, I had an engagement with the committee at the workhouse, which has detained me so late, that I fear my letter will scarcely be in time for the post. I have, &c. GEORGE BANKS.
§ To Earl Fitzwilliam, &c. &c. &c.
§ No. 61.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Colonel Horton to Mr. Hobhouse; dated Halifax, October 5, 1819.
§ Sir;—I am glad to say there was no farther disturbance here yesterday after the meeting had dispersed, except that three or four of the alehouses were full of persons drinking late in the evening: whereas they had been ordered to close them at eight o'clock; and the constables had great difficulty in clearing them, which could only be done by force; the people showing the worst possible spirit.—The heavy rain fell most fortunately, as it drove home those who came from the country; otherwise I have little doubt the constables would have been overpowered. Every report I receive justifies me in declaring, that more than fifty thousand persons were assembled; and that most of them had something on which they relied more than their; sticks, same of which were actually shouldered, being rather clubs than sticks. There could not be more than a few thousands on the moor from the town itself; crowds came in every direction; and this place seems to have been well selected, being destitute of defence. I have, &c. THOMAS HORTON.
§ No. 62.—LETTER from six magistrates of the county of Durham to lord Sidmouth; dated Gateshead, 13th of October, 1819.
§ My Lord;—We have the honour to acquaint 279 your lordship, that we have addressed a letter this morning to the lord lieutenant of the county, respecting the present state of Chester Ward, in the county of Durham, of which we desire to forward a copy to you.—We have the honour to be, &c.
§ Adam Askew, chairman; H. G. Liddell, Robert Shaw, G. T. Leaton, Cha. Thorp, J. Collinson.
§ No. 63.—COPY of the Letter sent to the Lord Lieutenant.
§ My Lord;—We, the magistrates of Chester Ward, assembled at a general meeting, feel it to be our duty to represent to your lordship, that from the proceedings upon the river Tyne, and the general state of the ward, we are unable to answer for the preservation of the public peace, or the security of the inhabitants, without an increase of the military force. We should be glad to have the yeomanry force of the ward put into activity; and trust that your lordship will adopt such measures as you may think requisite upon the present emergency.
§ (Signed) Adam Askew, chairman; H. G. Liddell, Rob. Shaw, Tho. Baker, Geo. Tho. Leaton, J. Collinson, Cha. Thorp.
§ No. 64.—LETTER from the Earl of Darlington to Lord Sidmouth; dated Raby Castle, October 15, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I beg leave to inform your lordship, that in consequence of an urgent requisition from the magistrates in the North district of this county, and from the mayor of Newcastle, who has staled to me that he had been attacked in the execution of his duty, I have judged it expedient to order out the South Tyne yeomanry cavalry, and to place them under the authority of the magistrates, who must be responsible if they order the military to act, and I have urged them strongly not to do so unless the civil power is overcome or incompetent.—I cannot help observing, that the refractory keelmen and the radical reformers are, I trust, perfectly separate, although very inflammatory language and seditious writings are diffused amongst the former, who formed, I suppose, a part of that large assemblage of people who met on Newcastle Moor, on Monday, but who appear to have quietly dispersed—I have, &c.
§ DARLINGTON, Lord-Lieutenant.
§ No. 65.—LETTER from Mr. Marsh, a Magistrate of Lancashire, to Lord Sidmouth; dated Westleigh, October 17, 1819.
§ My Lord;—Conceiving it my duty, I have the honour to inclose to your lordship several copies of informations on oath, accompanied by a petition, signed by most of the respectable inhabitants of the town of Leigh, in which I perfectly, coincide; and have good reason to believe, that without the protection of the military, neither their persons not their 280 property will be safe much longer. The acerbation of temper amongst the weavers, or, as they style themselves, the reformers, produced by severe privations from the lowness of wages, and infuriated by seditious publications and cheap pamphlets, industriously circulated amongst them, has prepared them for the perpetration of the most atrocious crimes; and they openly declare their intention, by a simultaneous movement in the night, to seize property wherever they can find it, and destroy the possessors thereof; and it is added, that the period is not far distant. I beg leave to state, that a single troop of horse would, in my humble opinion, be adequate to the purpose, provided it was stationary for a few months: as it would enable us to put the Watch and Ward act in force, which, in the present state of things, I do not deem practicable.—I have, &c.
§ R. MARSH.
§ No. 66.—Four Informations inclosed therein.
§ County Palatine of Lancaster, to wit.
§ The information of P. Q. taken upon oath before me, Richard Marsh, esq. one of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, the 14th of October, 1819:
§ Who saith, That about a fortnight ago he received orders from several persons to make, about twenty pikes, but this informant did not make them, nor does he know the persons who ordered them. That this informant believes he could have had orders for one hundred pikes, if he had chosen to accept the order.
§ (Signed by) P. Q.
§ The information of Q. R. taken upon oath before me, Richard Marsh, esq. one of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, the 14th of October, 1819:
§ Who saith, That of late about one hundred persons have mentioned distantly to this informant, as to his willingness to make pikes, but he hath uniformly refused; that about forty persons have applied directly, and in person, to this informant to make pikes for them, but that he hath refused every application; but this informant cannot take upon him to swear to his knowledge of the persons so applying, except * * * *
§ (Signed by) Q. R.
§ The information of R. S. taken upon oath before me, Richard Marsh, esq. one of his majesty's justices of the peace in and. for the said county; the 17th of October 1819.
§ Who saith, that some persons, about a week age, called at this informant's house, who are of the class called reformers; that as they were speaking seditiously, this informant pretended to fall asleep, when he heard the said persons say that it was the intention to nise 281 in the night upon the 1st day of November, next, and that it was to be done all through the country, and they would divide the property amongst them. That two other persons have said in this informant's house, that the blacksmith at Pickley Green in Westleigh, in the said county, was busy making pikes, and had hired a man to file them. That this informant did not know the said persons, but from their language he understood that the pikes were to be used to kill the gentlemen, and to take their property.
§ (Signedby) R. S.
§ The information of S. T., taken upon oath, before me, Richard Marsh, esq. one of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, the 14th of October, 1819:
§ Who saith, That he has made Various iron instruments, similar to the one he now produces, by order of different persons, but does not know their use; he has made about sixteen or eighteen, and has orders for twenty more for the Bedford side, to be ready by Saturday the 16th instant: believes he could have orders for one thousand if he could make them; they are made by order, with points and keyholes, to fasten into a staff, and the pattern and material is usually brought by the person ordering them. He has made one for
§ , and one for
§ ,but does not know the names of any others. He was not aware that they were unlawful weapons, but has lately been told that they are. That this informant has no objection for any person to stand in his shop to see him make them, or to see who calls for them.
§ Signed with the mark of S. T.
§ No. 67.—LETTER from the Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Lord Sidmouth; dated Newcastle, October 17,1819.
§ My Lord;—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's favour of the 15th; it is impossible to contemplate the meeting of the 11th without awe, more especially it my information is correct, that 700 of them were prepared with arms (concealed) to resist the civil power. These men came from a village about three miles from this town, and there is strong reason to suspect that arms are manufactured there: they are chiefly forge men. I have given all the information that I have received to the magistrates for the county of Durham, it being within their jurisdiction.—I have desired the town clerk to write the particulars of the riot at Shields, by last post, being so entirely engaged in the discharge of my official duties, that I had not a moment to do so myself—I am truly sorry to learn that he had not written.—The keelmen having on Tuesday morning last stopped the waggons and proceeded to other acts of insubordination, it was deter- 282 mined, that the magistrates for Northumberland and Durham, accompanied by dragoons, should go down on the north and south sides of the river, and that I should go on the river. Four boats from his majesty's ships met me about three miles from Shields. We effected all we wished; the ships loaded at the spouts, and I protected four keels to Shields: they moored to the ships; the owners said they only required some constables left to protect them, and dismissed his majesty's boats; and having discharged my duty, I went on shore, leaving the steam packet and constables to protect the crews of the keels. There did not appear the least reason to suspect riot, or an attack upon the packet. I had not been twenty minutes on shore, where I had ordered some refreshment for myself, when I received a message from the packet to send them immediate assistance, as their lives were in imminent danger. I sent to captain Montague requesting his boats, and made an immediate attempt to get to the packet; I found it absolutely impossible, without sacrificing my life to no purpose. Between three and four hundred of the mob were upon the quay, showering stones into the packet. In the course of a few minutes I was informed his majesty's boats were arrived; I made another attempt to get on board—it was impossible. At this time I marked one man, who appeared a leader; he threw stones, and as he, retreated to seek more stones, and was stooping for that purpose, I seized him, and with the aid of another gentleman, took him prisoner; he is a shoemaker, has seven men employed under him, and was one of the radicals who marched from Shields on the 11th. Within a few minutes I heard the report of two muskets, and went out to know the cause, and was informed that they were fired from the shore; this was not the case, they were fired by marines, in the air; very soon two or three more were fired, and I heard a cry of murder; one man was killed. The mob immediately turned their fury to me, saying, I had ordered the firing. The room in which I was, was attacked with stones and brick bats; in a minute the glass sashes were demolished; the house, a very large one, belonging to the duke of Northumberland, was surrounded; the windows demolished. I had at the beginning sent for two magistrates at Shields; they could not come, and at this critical moment, when the mob broke open the door, and were rushing in to take me, the high constable, Mr. Joshua Donkin, arrived, and assuring them that it was impossible that I could give the order, they became more quiet. I had previously gone to the door to make the same assurance, but was assaulted with a volley of stones, two of which took effect. They then demanded the prisoner: as he was well known he was released; and hopes were entertained that they were satisfied. In three or four minutes the attack was renewed in 283 front of the house; Mr. Donkin and myself went out at the back door, at the moment the mob rushed into the front; we were not recognized, and got off: they searched every room, even chests for me. The inquest is sitting: there is no doubt of a verdict of justifiable homicide. I am happy to say I have reason to believe the business between the keelmen and owners will be settled to-morrow; but, this will not render us secure, the reformers are now in a state of almost rebellion. I applied to lord Darlington,—the yeomanry are all under arms; four companies of the 40th marched here at four o'clock on Friday morning, and more come to-morrow. Post is going.—I am, my lord, &c.
§ A. REED, Mayor.
§ No 68.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Norris to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, October 21, 1819.
§ My lord; From every quarter the universal information and opinion is, that the people are in a great measure armed, and are continually, and as quickly as possible, and as extensively arming. It is strongly surmised that pikes have been, and are sent from Birmingham in boxes, and I have put this matter in a train of investigation. I fear, also, my lord, it is but too true that many hundreds of small priced pistols have been sold in this town, within a very short period, and that the lower classes are purchasing them in great numbers. I have &c.
§ J. NORRIS.
§ No.69—SEVEN Examinations transmitted by the rev. Dr. Whitaker, a magistrate of Lancashire.
§ Lancashire to wit.
§ The examination of T. U. taken to upon oath before me, the rev. Thomas Dunham Whitaker, clerk, doctor of laws, one of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, this eleventh of October, 1819:
§ This afternoon about four o'clock, I went into the smithy of Ralph Miller, in Mellor, in the said county, to inquire after my son-in law, who has run away from his master, who is a blacksmith. I found Ralph Miller and a young man at work at the forge; there were in the smithy about five or six other men, who appeared to be weavers; they were sitting, and seemed to be watching the smith's work. I inquired from Ralph Miller, whether he had seen any person answering the description of my son-in-law, whom I described? he said, he had not; one of the weavers said to me, he (meaning my son-in-law) is making pikes like these; at the same time this person took up an unfinished pike from the ground under the bellows, and showed it to me (I had before stated that my son-in-law's master was a blacksmith). Ralph Miller turned his head towards the man who had taken up the pikes, and smiled. I then inquired of Ralph Miller, if he could 284 make me heels to my shoes? he said he could not, he was too busy. One of the weavers said, he (Ralph Miller) was too busy making pikes; another of the weavers asked me, if there were any pikes in our neighbourhood? I said I had not seen any, but I had heard that there were a good many coming to the Bolton meeting next Wednesday from Haslingden; one of the weavers answered, we know that. One of the weavers then asked me, if they would come with their pikes? I said, I had heard so; another of the weavers said, "and we will too." One of the weavers then took up another pike, which was nearly finished; I inquired the price of it; one of the weavers said it was a shilling; a young man, dressed like a weaver, who was using the large hammer for the young smith, said it was fourteen pence. I asked the young man who was dressed like a wearer, to sell it to me; but he said, I could not have one then, as they had none finished. I was in the smithy about an hour and a half, during which I had a good deal of conversation with the weavers and the two smiths, in the course of which one of the weavers said, there was no way for them but rising altogether. One of the weavers asked me if I thought there would be any thing to do at Bolton at the reform meeting next Wednesday? I said I could not tell, but that people were afraid there would be. Another of the weavers said, there would be bloody work: another said, they would not be, as they were at Manchester, unarmed; that they had a right to go to the meeting armed. The old man, Ralph Miller, was present during the whole of this conversation; he appeared to be rather deaf, and was busy at work during the greater part of the time, but he must have heard the whole, or a part of the conversation.
§ T. U.
§ Examinations of witnesses taken upon oath before me, the rev. T. D. Whitaker, &c. this, 12th of October, 1819.
§ U. V. in the county of Lancaster, deposes as follows: this forenoon, about half-past ten o'clock, in consequence of a request from * * *, one of the constables of Blackburn, I went into Mellor, which is about four miles from Blackburn, in company with V. X. to purchase a pike from Ralph Miller of Mellor aforesaid, blacksmith. In passing Ralph Miller's smithy, we saw a number of persons standing there, and, not knowing how they were disposed, we went forward to a public-house in Mellor, known by the sign of the Millstone, and called for two glasses of ale. I then sent V. X. to the smithy, to request Ralph Miller to come down to me, and to tell him that a person wanted to speak with him In about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, V. X. and Miller came into the public-house together, and sat down in the room in which I was; no other person was in the room. I told Miller that I did not like 285 to call at the smithy, as we saw some men about; Miller said, you need not have minded that, for they are come about pikes. After Miller had been seated a few minutes, V. X. informed me, that he had mentioned the business to Miller. I then produced to Miller a small pistol, and asked him, if he could put me a screw in which was wanting? Miller took the pistol into his hand, and examined it, and asked me, what a pair of pistols such as that might cost? I told him, perhaps a guinea. I then asked him if he had any of the other articles? (by which I meant the pikes). He said he had some, but they were not ground up yet. I then asked him, how soon he could settle us up two? he said, he thought in about two hours; I then asked him the length of them? Miller then took up a tobacco-pipe, and showed me the length, which appeared to be about fourteen inches. I then asked him the form which they were in? he said, they were straight, and very sharp at the point, and well steeled at the small end, and made with a shank to fit into the staff, and that in that shank there was a hole to put a nail through to make it fast, I then asked him, if there were not pikes made with a hook? he said, he had made one, and the hook screwed in near the lower end, and the hook was flat and sharp, but they were not well liked, as the cavalry horses now had chains in the bridles, to prevent them from being cut, and the pike he had made in the form which he was describing, he had disposed of to a person in Blackburn, who put out pieces in Mellor for some manufacturer in Preston, and he believed that he had sent it to London, it was such a handsome one; that he had given him two shillings and ten-pence for it. I then asked Miller what purpose they were to be appropriated to; he said, they were to charge against the cavalry. He said, he had made some hundreds of pikes, and a great many bad gone into Harwood, principally to Harwood and Rishton, and all that he had by him made at present were eight, and he thought he should make no more, as he was afraid of being apprehended by the justices orders, but he did not see where they could have any hold of him; I answered, I did not know whether they had or not, but I desired him to take another glass of ale, and get these ground up for us, as we would wish to be off. In consequence of that Miller went away; I waited near two hours at the public-house, during which I sent V. X. twice to get Miller to make haste with the pikes. At the end of the two hours I went up to the smithy: I saw two lads turning a grindstone at the back of the smithy, and two men holding on two pikes, to polish or sharpen them. V. X. brought one of the pikes into the smithy, and gave it to me into my hand. I asked him if it was finished; the old man said, no, not yet; I gave it to him into his hand; he just rubbed up the edges with a file, and said it wanted whetting 286 upon a stone: I told him never to mind that, we could do that when we wanted to use it. V. X. then went out and fetched the other pike, which he delivered to Miller, who rubbed up the edge of the pike with a file, and then went out of the smithy for a sheet of paper which he wrapped round each pike separately, and delivered one to me and the' other to V. X. I paid him fourteen pence a-piece for them, and two-pence for two hoops. I inquired of Ralph Miller, if it was likely that many persons would go out of that neighbourhood to the Bolton meeting? he said he thought a great many would go off that side. We then came away. The pikes now produced are those which I so purchased from Miller.
§ U. V.
§ Taken before me, T. D. Whitaker.
§ V. X. being sworn at the same time, deposeth as follows: I came from Burnley this morning, with T. U. and went with him into Mellor. We called at the Millstone. T. U. sent me up to Ralph Miller's to get him to come down to the public-house. I met Ralph Miller between the smithy and his own house; I asked him to come down; he said, what is your business? I told him that another gentleman at the public-house wanted to speak to him about some pikes; I told him there was a meeting at Bolton, and we meant to go. Ralph Miller then took me into his smithy, and showed me some pikes; I do not know how many there were; they were under the bellows in the smithy, covered with ashes. I told Miller that the gentleman at the public-house had a pistol which he wanted settling; Miller then went with me to the public-house. He sat about ten minutes in company with T. U. and myself. T. U. produced a pistol to Miller, and asked him if he could put him a screw in it? Miller looked at it a considerable bit, and asked T. U. what would be the value of a pair? to which T. U. said about a guinea. Then T. U. asked Miller if he had any pikes? Miller said, he had some by him, but they were not finished; T. U. asked him, how soon he could finish two? Miller answered, perhaps in two hours. Miller said, he had made a pike with a hook for a man who put out goods, and it had been sent to London, for any thing he knew, but that the other pikes were more liked, because the cavalry now had chains to their bridles. T. U. asked Miller what was meant to be done with these pikes? Miller answered, that they were to charge the cavalry with. There was other conversation between Miller and T. U. Miller went away to finish two pikes for us. When he had been gone away a few minutes, T. U. sent me up to the smithy to ask if the pikes were ready. As soon as I went into the smithy, the old man, Ralph Miller, ordered a young man, who appeared to be a smith, to take two pikes, arid grind them directly; the young man took two pikes from under the 287 bellows. I and another man went with the young smith to the grindstone behind the smithy; the young blacksmith and another man held each one pike upon the stone, and two men turned the stone; one of the bystanders asked me who my companion was? I said I did not know. They asked me, if he was a speaker? I told them, I did not know. They then asked me, where we were going to? I said, I did not know whether Bolton or not. They told me, that a person who had been speaking in Yorkshire was missing, and they wished to know if this was he. They then wished me to go to a white-house, where money was gathered for the support of speakers; they showed me the house, which was about three hundred yards off, and told me they paid one penny a week there; I told them I durst not take any money, without acquainting my master. I then went down to T. U. to ask him if I must take any money? he said I must not, and I went back and told them so. I then went went into Miller's smithy, and remained there till T. U. came up. T. U. went into the smithy, and I followed him. I then fetched a pike from the young smith, and took it into the smithy, and gave it to T. U. who asked Ralph Miller if it was finished? Miller said it was not, and he took it and filed it, and said it wanted whetting. T. U. said it would do, he could whet it up when he wanted it. I then went and fetched the other; Ralph Miller filed it up. T. U. asked him the price, which Ralph Miller said was fourteen-pence a piece, and two-pence for the hoops; we paid him that price for them. The old man wrapped up the pikes in paper, and gave one to me, and another to T. U. and we then came away. The two pikes now produced are those which we so received from Ralph Miller.
§ V. X.
§ Lancashire to wit
§ Examination of witnesses taken upon oath before me, the Rev. T. D. Whitaker, this 13th of October, 1819, against James Morris, and John Knowles.
X. Y. deposeth as follows: yesterday about eight o'clock in the morning, I went with Y. Z. to the house of the prisoner, James Morris, in Haslingden Grain. We got there about eleven o'clock in the forenoon; we found Morris at work in his smithy; he was mending some tools. I asked him if he had any winding machines by him? he said he had none finished off. I then asked him if he could have one ready by next Saturday week? he said yes. James Morris then asked the prisoner if he was for Bolton? he answered, yes, they could not do without him. Morris, the prisoner, then pulled out a pike head from under a quantity of turf in the smithy, and said, there is the winding-machine you want, I suppose? 1 said yes, that is the tool itself. He then pulled out two other pike-heads from the same place, and asked if those
articles would do, and if we would grind them down ourselves? We then asked him the price of two of the pikes? he answered, three shillings, he could take no less. We purchased two pikes for three shillings. The prisoner Morris then looked at me, and said to Y. Z. that man has plenty of money; I answered, yes, I have a note. The prisoner then said, get shut of it as soon as you can, for it will be of no use to-morrow after Bolton meeting. He then asked me if I should be there? In the course of the conversation with the prisoner, he said, it is no use to go to Bolton meeting, without they took those tools with them to defend themselves; and referred to the Manchester meeting, which he called Peterloo. The pikes now produced are those which we purchased as is above stated.
§ Y. Z. and I then proceeded to John Knowles, of Rawtenstall. About three or four o'clock in the afternoon we called at the Wheatsheaf, which is a door or two from Knowles's smithy. In passing the smithy on the way to the Wheatsheaf, 1 saw Knowles at work upon the steady, hammering a pike. I sent the landlady for Knowles; he came in a few minutes. We gave him something to drink. Y. Z. asked him if he had any pikes? he said he had four, but they were not quite finished off. Knowles then went out of the house, and in about five minutes came back with a short man: the short man (whose name I do not know) brought with him several pikes, covered up in a wrapper. Knowles then sat down, and drank Hunt and Liberty, and Revenge to Peterloo Meeting. Another man came into the room, and produced a pike from under his coat, and said to me, this pike I have just got made for my son. Y. Z. took up the last-mentioned pike, and asked the price? Knowles said it was three shillings and sixpence. I asked Knowles if he had made it himself? he said he had, he had made many a score. He then asked me where I came from? I said, from Accrington. Knowles said there were many had gone into that quarter. We then bought two pikes, one of which cost two shillings and four pence, and the other two shillings. I then inquired of the landlord what the shot was? he said nine-pence. I said, I had but seven-pence halfpenny: Knowles said, I will give you three half-pence, reformers are not within three half-pence one to another. I then asked Knowles if we could go no way private; Knowles showed me the way to the back door; we came that way, and brought the pikes with us: they are the pikes now produced.
§ X. Y.
§ Y. Z. deposeth as follows: I have heard the preceding examination of X. Y. read, and the same is true in every particular. The pikes now produced are those which were purchased from the two prisoners as is above stated.
§ Y. Z.
§ U. V. deposes as follows: this morning at 289 two o'clock I set out from Blackburn, in company with * * *, a detachment of cavalry and others, for the purpose of apprehending James Morris of Haslingden Grain, and John Knowles of Rawtenstall. We reached the prisoner Morris's house at a little past three o'clock in the morning; we got admittance into the house and apprehended the prisoner, and then proceeded to search the house. * * * and I and some of the soldiers went up stairs; I found in a room up stairs, a pike head concealed under a lathe among the turnings; * * * then took a candle, and found two pistol stocks concealed upon a shelf near the roof; one of the stocks had a barrel let into it; in another room * * * and I found a box which was locked; we called out for a key; one of Morris's sons, a lad about 15 or 16 years of age, said the key was lost; I then attempted to break open the box; the lad then said to us, will you break it open? I told him we would if he did not produce the key; the lad then produced a key from his breeches pocket and delivered it to * * *; * * * opened the box, and in it we found about four pounds weight of leaden balls in an unfinished state. I afterwards found two poles, each about five feet long, put up a chimney in the same room, which appeared to have been intended for pike shafts: we then reached the smithy and outbuildings, and found in the smithy, close to the anvil, a piece of iron, beaten, which appears to have been intended for a pike head. We then sent the prisoner off to Blackburn, under the care of * * *, and * * *, to whom we delivered the articles found as above stated. The articles now produced are those which were found.
§ * * * and I and a party of soldiers then proceeded to Rawtenstall, to the house of the prisoner John Knowles, it was about five o'clock when we reached his house; Knowles was in bed; * * * called to him to get up; Knowles inquired who wanted him? * * * answered it was an old friend; Knowles called out, what are you for Bolton? * * * said yes; Knowles then came down stairs, partly dressed, and opened the door and was immediately apprehended: * * * accompanied him up stairs whilst Knowles dressed himself. I proceeded to search Knowles's smithy, and in a cupboard in the wall 1 found the socket of a pike head and a small pistol; I found upon a bench near the cupboard, a small box, containing the papers now produced, and which I have marked. One of the papers contains the letters "Hunt and Liberty," written in roman letters with a pen; another, the pattern of a pike; another is entitled at the top, "Rawtenstall Section, No. 1," and it is ruled in square columns, and contains several numbers: and another purports to be an epitaph on the constitution. We brought Knowles off, and I kept the articles which were found, as above stated, and they are those which are now produced. In our journey back to Black- 290 burn I rode with the prisoner in a chaise; I had some conversation with him: I asked him if he had sold any pikes within this week or fortnight; he said he had not; but he said he had made several, and would make for any body who came to order them; he was only working for wages, and work was scarce; I then showed him the pike which I had found upon his premises, and asked him if he had made any of that pattern; he put one finger up the socket and said he had made that pike, but on examining it a second time he said he had not made it; it was a very clumsy, rough thing, it had been sent to him as a pattern; it began to rain, and I observed that I thought it would prevent many people from going to the Bolton meeting; he said he thought not, for they did not much mind being wet.
§ U. V.
§ * * * deposes as follows; I have heard the preceding examinations of U. V. relative to the two prisoners, read: so much of it as relates to me is true: during the time when I was with the prisoner Knowles up stairs, and while he was dressing, one of the soldiers said to Knowles, you are a clever fellow, you understand making pikes very well: Knowles answered, he could make a pike as well as any man in England.
§ * * *
§ Taken before me, T. D. Whitaker.
§ No. 70.—LETTER from the Duke of Hamilton to Lord Sidmouth; dated Hamilton-Palace, November 6, 1819.
§ My lord; I have to acknowledge your lordship's two letters of the 1st and 2d of November, upon the subject of the yeomanry cavalry, and will endeavour to give every effect to the same; your lordship holding always in view, what I before said of the great difficulty attending it. To the natural difficulty attached to the situation of the farmer, &c. &c. in this country, there appears now a novel one, proceeding from the alarm excited by those who compose the various and numerous meetings in this district of country. In regard to the general state of affairs, your lordship has other sources of information, perhaps better than mine; but were I to venture to offer an opinion of my own, I should say that the state of men's minds is such, at this moment, that the most trifling irritation would lead to disturbance; and should any violence commence, there are no means nor should I be able to counteract it. As the meeting of parliament will occasion my absence from the country, ere long, I must repeat to your lordship, that this neighbourhood continues in a slate of extreme distress—generally in want of employment, and under a considerable degree of agitation; all of which appear more likely to increase than diminish. If therefore your lordship should have any particular communication to make to me, or any directions to give connected with the public service in this country, 291 I am anxious to receive the same, before my approaching departure, which will probably take place in about eight or ten days. I have, &c.
§ HAMILTON & BRANDON.
§ No. 71.—LETTER from the same to the same; dated Hamilton Palace, Nov. 7, 1819.
§ My Lord; I yesterday communicated to the lord advocate, to be laid before sir Thomas Bradford, a letter that I had just received from a very respectable magistrate. He states that in his neighbourhood, the farmers, &c. &c. who were required to act as constables or volunteers, altho' well-disposed so to do, did not dare to come forward, on account of the menaces of their neighbours. I have again this day received a report, of which I have the honour to inclose a copy. Your lordship will see, that the alarm which prevails in their district precludes those gentlemen likewise from being able to procure signatures from the very persons who they are persuaded are disposed to sign. This part of the country is unfortunately surrounded by idle Irishmen, weavers and colliers, who create a general uneasiness; and if any means are to be carried into effect to separate the good from the bad, or to maintain order and public justice, it is requisite that the civil power, and the peaceable part of the population, should know how and where to find support and protection. I must recommend to your lordship's serious consideration the above important statement. I have, &c.
§ HAMILTON & BRANDON.
§ No. 72.—LETTER from a Deputation of the Parishes of Monkland inclosed therein; Parish of Old Monkland, 7th Nov. 1819.
§ My Lord Duke;—We the subscribers, the deputation from the committee of Old and New Monkland, for obtaining subscriptions to a declaration of loyalty, as well as for volunteer cavalry and infantry, beg leave to lay before your grace, as lord-lieutenant of the county of Lanark, the following statement with regard to these two parishes with which we are connected: that it is impossible to obtain a subscription to the declaration of loyalty with effect, or to obtain signatures for forming either volunteer corps of infantry or cavalry in the present disturbed state of the district, however anxious the loyal and well-disposed part of his majesty's subjects therein are, because of the apprehension they entertain from the ill-disposed and turbulent people with which they are surrounded: we, the subscribers, therefore, wish to represent the absolute necessity of having a rallying point, which we consider alone can be effective, by having a military force stationed at Airdrie, as the only proper place of rendezvous for that purpose: we therefore hope your grace will take the earliest opportunity of representing 292 our statement to the secretary of state. We have, &c.
§ (Signed) DAVID BUCHANAN, Dep. Lt.
§ CHARLES PIE, Major-Gen.
§ JAMES TENNENT.
§ No. 73.—LETTER from the Earl of Glasgow, Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire; dated Hawkhead, November 9th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—On my arrival in this county I found that the tone of feeling and proceedings of the vast population of this neighbourhood were of a description calculated to excite the utmost alarm in the well-affected, and that the public mind was considerably agitated by the insidious and too successful promulgation of seditious principles, as well as by the late more open audacious attempts to interrupt the public tranquillity.—In this populous manufacturing district, revolutionary principles have made alarming progress. For a considerable period the utmost pains have been taken to spread a spirit of disaffection in this country by an unexampled spirit of proselytism, to perpetuate the evil by instilling the most pernicious principles into the minds of youth, and to obliterate all religious feeling in this once religious district. —The statutes for repressing seditious clubs and societies have induced the disaffected to conduct all their proceedings by committees, which are appointed at smaller meetings to manage the preparations for the larger; and a system of rapid communication of political intelligence and orders is organized, in which, what are called "Unions," hold a conspicuous place. These "Unions," which are daily becoming more numerous, consist of classes or subdivisions of Reformers, who hire an apartment convenient for their local residence, where they procure newspapers and pamphlets of a seditious tendency. Notwithstanding the distresses of the times there are few operative manufacturers who do not find the means of reading such publications.—The assumed right of mustering from various quarters to the point of meeting, with banners, bearing seditious symbols and inscriptions, or with inscriptions, which, though unexceptionable in the abstract, are made to serve the same purpose, has swelled the ranks of the disaffected, in consequence of the temptations which are thus afforded to idle curiosity; and the impunity with which this is done has added to the effect which the speeches delivered on such occasions have on the minds of hearers already discontented, and pre-disposed to listen with eagerness and credulity to the prospects of innovation so confidently held out to them. —Three of these meetings have been held within the last three months in the county of Renfrew. The second of these held on the 11th of September, was followed by disturbances which continued for three days before they were effectually suppressed. At the last meeting, held on the 1st of November, at a village some miles distant from Paisley, numerous flags were carried in procession, bear- 293 ing inscriptions calculated to convey alarm into the minds of the well affected, and inpire those of different dispositions with confidence in an impending revolution.—There were also at this last meeting, two important features which had not been witnessed in those by which it was preceded—the junction of bands of females as part of the exhibition, and the display of arms. The ostensible arms were chiefly bludgeons, but it is well known that many were prepared both with pistols and other weapons. Both in proceeding to the place of meeting, and in returning from it, there was a striking exhibition of movements executed in the streets of the town by several thousand persons, with military precision, silence and order. The pretence alleged for arming was self-defence, and this precautionary measure was said to have reference to the late events at Manchester, and to the exertions of the special constables and military in quelling the riots which commenced at Paisley on the 1lth of September. —While these public meetings, thus held with a display of banners and arms, serve to inspire the disaffected with confidence in their numbers, they overawe and intimidate many who would otherwise have disclaimed seditious principles, and have gladly arrayed themselves in aid of the civil authority.—Even the special constables who have been enrolled, and provided with batons for the preservation of public tranquillity, feel reluctant to act with that vigour which is necessary.—There is not, at present, in this county, any corps of yeomanry cavalry, nor armed association of any description whatever, to counteract these menacing preparations, nor any suitable accommodation for the reception of regular troops, so that they can be kept united when called on by the civil magistrate, or saved from that contamination of principle, which is also an avowed object among the reformers. —On the whole I think it my duty explicitly to state to your lordship, that while the reformers of this district call out "Order" at their meetings, and can systematically preserve it too when it suits their policy or humour, their public harangues are of the most audacious and revolutionary description: the expectation of a subversion of the government is so deeply rooted in their minds, that whenever a leader shall arise, or a favourable moment occur, I fear a considerable portion of the population could not be depended on.—I have been induced to enter more fully into the situation of this county, as I believe the above will not be found an inaccurate representation of the management and proceedings of the reformers in some other disturbed districts of the west of Scotland. I have, &c.
§ No. 74.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Colonel Horton to Mr. Hobhouse; dated Halifax, November 9, 1819.
§ Sir;—It was expected that great numbers of 294 persons would from here attend the meeting at Huddersfield yesterday, but it was thought sufficient to close the alehouses at eight o'clock, It docs not seem to me, however, that a most outrageous breach of the peace was effected last night here. In truth, all we can expect is, that on the next occasion, absolute plunder and destruction of property, and perhaps of life, will be the consequence. This is the natural and obvious march of the spirit that pervades this part of the country. I inclose for lord Sidmouth's information, copies of the examinations I have taken. It is my intention to apprehend the parties, and if the complaint be proved, to commit them, or hold them to bail to answer at the next assizes. THOMAS HORTON.
§ No. 75.—Two Examinations inclosed therein.
§ West Riding of Yorkshire,
§ John Brierly, Deputy Constables of Halifax, came before me this 9th of November 1819; and on oath saith,
§ That near eight o'clock last evening, he met many hundreds of persons near to Barum Top in Halifax, coming, as he believes from the meeting at Huddersfield; that they marched in ranks about eight or ten abreast, with music, and six or seven flags, and lighted candles; many of them had sticks, some large ones on their shoulders; that at Barum Top they shouted, and fired many pistols in the air; as they went on, he thought they became more riotous, repeating their fire quicker, and he thought it his duty, though quite alone, to attempt to preserve the peace or the town: that with this view he went to the man who had the great drum, and rapping on it with his constable's staff, charged him to cease playing or beating, saying, the town must not be disturbed in that way: that the drummer did cease to beat, as also the band in general, in a great degree; marching down the street, the firing went on again, also the music. Near the White Lion-inn, deponent received on his right leg a very severe kick, which nearly took his legs from under him; he is certain that Joseph Baines, of Halifax, is the man who so assaulted him, and ran away directly, threading backwards and forwards through the ranks, and that he must have known deponent; Baines was close to him, and deponent following him, till he was perfectly certain who it was; deponent then went down the street with the crowd, the band playing all the way, and pistols being fired, and loud shouting made: deponent says, the street down which the crowd marched, is the most public one in the town, and they must have marched about half a mile through it, reckoning from Barum Top to the Talbot; that seeing the crowd halt at the front door of the Talbot, he ran round to the back door, and went in to get the front door fastened: that a few of the mob had already entered the house.295
§ That in going down the street he saw Joseph Wood, the son of James Wood, of Halifax, mason, and John Ingham, jun. of Halifax, plasterer, marching in the ranks of the mob; that he cannot say who it was that fired any of the pistols; that he left the mob at the Talbot door shouting and firing pistols, and went himself to have the alehouses near it shut up.
§ JOHN BRIERLY.
§ Sworn before me, Thomas Horton.
§ West Riding of Yorkshire.
§ Mr. David Mallinson, of Halifax, clerk, came before me this 9th day of November, 1819; and on his oath says,
§ That near eight o'clock last evening, he saw a large crowd of persons go down the main street of Halifax with lighted candles, a band of music and flags, shouting very much and firing pistols; that he followed them to the front of the Talbot-inn, where the crowd halted, the door being fast; that they marched in regular order: that he observed Joseph Roberts, of Halifax, nail-maker, on the Talbot steps, speaking to the crowd, beginning by calling them brothers or countrymen, or some such term; that he does not know exactly what he said, but thinks the object of his speech was, to call on the crowd to thank the band for their attendance, also saying something about radical reform; that he saw Roberts that morning going towards Huddersfield with a stick in his hand, not a yard long, like a cudgel, but does not know whether he had it at night.
§ D. MALLINSON.
§ Sworn before me, Thomas Horton.
§ No. 76—EXTRACT of a Letter from Mr. Norris to Lord Sidmouth; dated Manchester, Nov. 10, 1819.
§ My lord; — The state of this town and neighbourhood remains much the same as when I last wrote to your lordship. On Sunday last between six and eight o'clock, a pistol loaded with ball was fired into the lodgings or sitting room of a Mr. Mutrie, who gave evidence before the coroner on the inquest of John Lees, as to the attack of the mob on the Manchester yeomanry. On Monday night, about eleven o'clock, a pistol, loaded with slugs, was fired into one of the bed-rooms of Mr. Thomas Hardman's house, in Quay-street; but fortunately, without injury; and two or three other instances of the firing of pistols, with malicious intent, have also occurred. I mean ultimately to collect the instances, on oath, for your lordship's information. I much fear they will increase before the meeting of parliament, and most likely in a degree to call on the legislature to interfere. Meetings still continue to be held, though not in this immediate neighbourhood; one was held at Wigan, about twenty miles distant, and another at Huddersfield, distant 296 twenty-six miles, on Monday last, both large meetings. I have, &c.
§ J. NORRIS.
§ No. 77.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Dr. Whitaker to Lord Sidmouth; dated Blackburn, Nov. 10, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I have thought it expedient to transmit to your lordship, drawings of different pikes, which have been seized in this neighbourhood, for the purpose of removing the incredulity which even yet seems to prevail in some minds as to their existence. I must now request your lordship's attention to another subject of immediate and urgent importance. It is the general opinion, that the spirit of the reformers, as they entitle themselves, is on the decline; an opinion grounded solely on their present quiet and silence. I have strong reasons for thinking very differently. For, in the first place, pikes continue to be made and circulated daily, in different parts of the country, and with perfect impunity, as, in consequence of former seizures, the makers will sell to none but known friends, and will enter into no conversation with strangers (excepting in a single instance) on the subject. I have, &c.
§ T. D. WHITAKER.
§ No. 78.—EXTRACT of a Letter from the Earl of Balcarres to Lord Sidmouth; dated Haigh-hall, Wigan, Nov. 11, 1819.
§ My Lord;—One of the seditious meetings, the nature of which I need not describe, was held on a common, distant about two miles from Wigan, on Monday the 8th instant. Its object was evidently to feel for the disposition of the inhabitants of Wigan and its vicinity. About six thousand persons assembled round the temporary stage, and probably about four thousand persons more were present, but they remained at such a distance as showed that curiosity alone had led them to that spot. The meeting was held at the requisition of some low persons of Wigan, but they were joined on the common by the dangerous rabble of Bolton, who were all armed with bludgeons, and rumour says, with arms, chiefly loaded pistols, which was manifested by the explosion of them towards the close of the day. Harrison addressed them from the stage or platform. The mob carried eighteen flags, with the usual symbols of sedition: they had selected the day of the quarter sessions being held at Liverpool, for their meeting; but the magistrates of Wigan and its vicinity were aware of that trick, and remained at their post. The magistrates were seven in number, myself being their chairman, which has induced me to trouble your lord-ship with a communication of the events of the day. Sir William Gerard, with thirty-nine of his yeomanry cavalry, being the effectives of two troops, attended Wigan at the requisition of the magistrates. As the leaders had selected a large common for their meet- 297 ing, the magistrates thought it advisable not to interfere with them, as, situated there, they could do no mischief; and they thought it quite sufficient to send to the spot a body of special constables to preserve the peace and order; the magistrates, yeomanry cavalry, and the superior class of the inhabitants of Wigan, remained in the burgh, awaiting the result. In this position the magistrates rested, having determined, that as the meeting of parliament was so near, they would pay no attention either to the leaders or their flags, and the day passed away with the greatest order and tranquillity. I have, &c.
§ The following is an extract from the speech of Mr. Harrison, on Monday the 8th of November, 1819: "If any man molests you, or oppress you, knock him down—keep him down—and cut him when be is down." It has been inculcated here, and with too much success, that the people have a right to carry concealed arms, for the purpose of self-defence, against the disturbers of their meetings. B—.
§ No. 79.—LETTER from the Boroughreeve and Constables of Manchester to Lord Sidmouth; dated Police-office, Manchester, Nov. 12th, 1819.
§ My Lord;—We have the honour to commence our official correspondence with your lordship on a painful and alarming subject— the attempted assassination of Mr. Nadin—an event which we understand was communicated to your lordship, by Mr. Norris, the evening it occurred. By the posting bill herewith inclosed, your lordship will be informed of the measures which we have adopted: and we beg leave to submit to your lordship's consideration, the propriety of offering a pardon, on the conditions proposed. Up to the present time, we regret to state, that we have not any further information on the subject, than the description given by Mr. Nadin; but every exertion will be made for the discovery of the offender. We have not hitherto addressee your lordship on the political state of the town and neighbourhood, having been informed that Mr. Norris has regularly communicated the passing events. On this important subject we regret that it is not in our power to report favourably. The system of arming is continued to a great extent, and although it does not appear to be the intention of the reformers to hold a general meeting previous to the assembling of parliament, from the best information we can obtain, we learn that arrangements are making for delegates, or agents, to attend and watch the proceeding of parliament; and in the event of measure being adopted, which they may consider inimical to their views, then a signal to be given for an immediate simultaneous rising In a few days we hope for further information, which, we will immediately communicate to 298 your lordship, as well as the particulars of other information, which we have obtained periodically, during the present week; and which, we trust, will be acceptable. We beg to assure your lordship, that, during this eventful period, our utmost attention and exertion shall be devoted to preserve the peace of this town and neighbourhood; to aid which, we rely on the cordial support of his majesty's government. We have, &c.
§ THOMAS SHARP, Boroughreeve.
§ No. 80.—EXAMINATION transmitted by Col. Hargreaves, a Magistrate of Lancashire.
§ Lancashire to wit.
§ The Examination of ****, taken upon oath, before Laurence Halsted, esq. one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace in and for the County of Lancaster, the 15th November, 1819.
On my arrival in Burnley this morning, I found colonel Hargreaves on horseback, and all the military in readiness. The reformers were coming with their flags, caps of liberty, and bands of music. They had with them large staffs and sticks. I went to the Bull public house, and shortly after the colonel came with one of the staffs in his hand, which he had taken from one of the reformers. It was the shaft of a pike. The man broke from him, and escaped in the crowd. The colonel was desirous not to call the military out to action on this circumstance alone; for he said to me, that if the reformers were quiet, the magistrates would suffer them to meet. I saw the reformers pass by the Sun orderly and quietly, and I followed them to the place where the hustings were erected; and then my friend and I found all those who had staffs and sticks with them, employed cleaning out the hole at the end, to admit the pike, for they were all of them shafts for pikes; they cleaned out the gravel; they had used the sticks and staffs to walk with, and they were full of dirt and gravel, which they picked out with the shaft end of the pike. They generally had the pikes in the sleeve of the coat, and some had them concealed in their breasts. I saw a great many pikes on the ground. They were not so very cautious in concealing them; a many showed them without fear. The pikemen were nearest to the hustings; and behind them there were a many who had pistols; I saw a great number of pistols on the field. I saw one person who was wounded by one of the pikes being accidentally thrust against his leg. Whilst writing this, a person came into the room, and said, that he had seen a man who was cut in the breast by his own pike. The shafts of the pikes were hooped with iron hoops, like that which the colonel had taken. On the hustings there were about thirty persons, all of them strangers to me except Knight, who were the red cap of liberty on the hustings, and was chairman, the
sailor boy (or Walker) from Manchester, and George Dewhurst of Blackburn. They had eighteen flags and three caps of liberty: on one of the flags was wrote, Fitzwilliam and the Yorkshire Reformers; and on one of the caps, Liberty or Death; which, in particular parts of the orators speeches, was hoisted aloft on its pole, and then dropped again, and taken off. The speeches of the orators were such as are generally made at the meetings of the reformers, holding up the ministers and magistrates, and officers of justice, to contempt and ridicule.
§ The number of reformers was very great; I measured the circle they occupied round the hustings; it was 150 yards; and I judge, that if all who were on the outside of the circle had been in it, they would have been as close as it is possible for men to stand. The most striking of their resolutions is, that which called upon them to oppose the measures of parliament, if they should attempt to pass any bills which should control their liberty of meeting; it called upon them to rise and oppose such things, and all those who were for them; and the passing of such bills should be the signal for universally rising. This resolution made a particular impression on the minds of the reformers; they all evinced a determination to oppose all such things. On the breaking up of the meeting, they separated into two bodies; one came to Burnley, and the other went a different way. They remained a long time in the road and fields adjoining where they separated, and then they began to discharge their pistols, swearing they should like to have a dust with the soldiers before they parted. They fired scores of pistols in the road, whilst they were there. I left them before they separated, for I was afraid they would do something that would bring out the soldiers; and all the way to Burnley (for the meeting was about half a mile from the town) as I walked on, I heard hundreds of pistols discharged in all directions. It resembled Manchester and its neighbourhood, on the night of a 5th of November, for firing in all directions as they went away. Mr. Knight did not stop in the lane, but went on to Burnley with the other of his friends; and the firing did not commence till he had left them in the road. They appeared anxious for the soldiers to come; happily they did not: for if they had, the mischief would have been serious on both sides. On coming into Burnley again, I saw the military posted in various parts of the town, and colonel Hargreaves in attendance at the Bull public house. My friend and I; when we had seen the pikes and pistols round the hustings, we went in search of colonel Hargreaves; we did not find him, but left a note for him, that if they wished to make a seizure of pikes and pistols they might take a great number, for all who had sticks or staffs had pikes in the sleeve of the coat, or in the breast, for we had seen a great many, and they were all like that 300 which the colonel took, hooped at the hole end with a strong iron hoop. As soon as night came on, the town was thrown into alarm by the fire bell. I immediately heard the bugle sounding for the military. A cotton factory had got accidentally on fire; but was soon put out, without doing much damage. Whilst I was on the field, I heard a great many say, that if the colonel, that devil, came, they would give him enough; and intimating, at the same time, that they would put him to death. If he had brought up the soldiers, they could not have acted, from the particular situation of the ground. The field is a three-cornered one, with high hedges and walls near it. ******
§ Sworn before me, one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in and for the said County, 15th November, 1819
§ Lawrence Halstead.
§ No. 81.—EXTRACT of a Letter from Sir John Byng to Lord Sidmouth; dated Pontefract, November 18, 1819.
§ My Lord;—I have the honour to report to your lordship the result of such information as I have received in the several journies I have made since I left town, and from creditable authority in other places. It appears certain that simultaneous meetings had been agreed upon to assemble on the 1st of this month, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at Carlisle, at Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Barnsley in the West Riding of Yorkshire; at Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, Blackburn and Burnley in Lancashire; at Newcastle-under-Lyme, at Nottingham, at Leicester, and at Coventry. I have heard other places named, but not from such authority that I can name them in this report; nor do I mention the meetings in London, in Scotland, and in places not in the counties composing the district in which I hold the military command. As meetings had very lately been held in almost all the above-named towns, those agreed upon for the 1st instant must have had some particular object in view. Although a schism among the leaders has prevented these meetings, yet in Lancashire and some few towns where disaffection has long prevailed, no difference appears, and the numbers of discontented remain undiminished; but in places where it is of less mature existence, a most desirable check, from various causes, has been effected; but it would be fatal to its annihilation in them, if there was yet any relaxation of our attention, and of means to suppress it entirely: a similar false security at times within the last three years, has brought disaffection to its present height in Lancashire, the vigilance of the civil authorities in it having ceased upon every short period of quiet. A plan has been adopted to circulate more generally seditious and blasphemous tracts, which is to send gratis such publications weekly, directed to the servants in large fami- 301 lies, which I think worthy of mention, not merely to show how indefatigable the authors and leaders of sedition are, in effecting their purpose, but that it may be thought expedient to put the heads of families upon their guard. Six different attempts have come to my knowledge to seduce the soldiers, but without the least effect; some of them are under legal investigation. I have only further to add, that whatever disunion may prevail among the leaders of sedition and radical reform, they still unite in the endeavour (though I hope with less success) to excite irritation and discontent among their followers, and to intimidate the loyal and well-affected. With a firm belief in the accuracy of the foregoing statement, I consider it my duty to make this report. I have, &c.
§ JOHN BYNG, M. General.