Prelude to Peterloo: Reformers call for peaceable assembly



The eyes of all England, nay, of all Europe, are fixed upon you: and every friend of real Reform and of rational Liberty, is tremblingly alive to the result of your Meeting on Monday next.

OUR ENEMIES will seek every opportunity by the means of their sanguinary agents to excite a RIOT, that they may have a pretence of SPILLING OUR BLOOD, reckless of the awful and certain retaliation that would ultimately fall on their heads.

EVERY FRIEND OF REAL AND EFFECTUAL REFORM is offering up to Heaven a devout prayer, that you may follow the example of your brethren of the Metropolis: and by your steady, patient, persevering, and peaceable conduct on that day, frustrate their HELLISH AND BLOODY PURPOSE.

Come, then, my friends, to the Meeting on Monday, armed with NO OTHER WEAPON but that of a self-approving conscience; determined not to suffer yourselves to be irritated or excited, by any means whatsoever, to commit any breach of the Public Peace.

Our opponents have not attempted to show that our reasoning is fallacious, or that our conclusions are incorrect, by any other argument but the threat of Violence, and to put us down by the force of the Sword, Bayonet, and the Cannon. They assert that your leaders do nothing but mislead and deceive you, although they well know, that the eternal principles of truth and justice are too deeply engraven on your hearts; and that you are at length become (fortunately for them) too well acquainted with your own rights, ever again to suffer any man, or any faction, to mislead you.

—– —— ——

“Orator” Henry Hunt issued two public missives in the week between the cancelled Public meeting and its rescheduled date of 16 August 1819. One was to inform the editors of the London press what was going on in Manchester; this led to the presence of outside reporters on protest day. This one, the second, was published and pamphletted in the local press.

What happened on 16 August? The Peterloo massacre.

Image from Manchester Education Wide Area Network; see clippings reporting on the massacre there, too.

Earlier posts on Peterloo:

Prelude to Peterloo: Reformers call a Meeting

Remembering Peterloo

A response to Peterloo: Shelly’s The Masque of Anarchy

Why I put a melee in a romantic novel

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  1. Pingback: 2016 Peterloo remembrance an act of creation - Nicky Penttila

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