Sometime in 1818 Joseph Harrison was dismissed from Littlemoor Chapel for serious misconduct.

John Lloyd (magistrates clerk and avowed enemy of the reformers) later wrote:

‘It is believed he was expelled from Glossop in Derbyshire where he had disgraced himself by taking indecent liberties with his female scholars. He then came, a very poor man to reside in the Town of Stockport about three years ago and the first introduction or observation was at one of the principal fairs in the town where he got up in the middle of the market place and preached to the populace. It seems he afterwards hired some rooms, formerly used as a factory for spinning cotton, called the Windmill Rooms which had just been evacuated by the most ignorant and infatuated of all sectaries, or parties, the followers of Johanna Southcote the believers in Shilo. The maniac died without bringing forth a Shilo, the bubble burst and the millennium was to be sought elsewhere than in Jerusalem. This was a favourable opportunity to Parson Harrison. He sprang up the new prophet, rallied the silly fanatics, converted them to his faith which was in things of this world not as they are but equally divided with those who wished it.’1

1. P .R. O TS 11/48.

1818, Apr 19

Joseph Harrison enrolled his older sons Peter (14), Joseph (12), Massah (11), Nathan (8) in the interdenominational Stockport Sunday School on the 19th April, 1818. In the remarks column of the register is written, ‘Sons of Parson Harrison.’1

1. Stockport Sunday School registers, Stockport Heritage Library

1818, May 11

Joseph Harrison performs his last baptism at Littlemoor Chapel, Glossop.

1. RG4/859

1818, Jun

It seems likely that Harrison and his family moved to Stockport in June as this is when his sons were admitted to the Stockport Sunday School.

Joseph Harrison’s sons Peter (14), Joseph (12), Massah (11), Nathan (9), admitted to Stockport Sunday School.1

1. Stockport Sunday School registers, Stockport Heritage Library.


In the first half of 1818, John Bagguley moved to Stockport, the home of his uncle, and together with Harrison proceeded to set up a day and evening school at the Windmill Rooms.

‘Like a red rag to John Lloyd’s bull, it was to Stockport that John Bagguley had now shifted his base from Manchester. He had moved to live with his uncle, a local tailor.’1

1. The Peterloo Masacre, R. Reid, 1989

1818, Jul 25

Letter from Spy No.2 to General Byng.

‘I understand that … Bagguley is gone to teach a school at Stockport.’1

1. HO 42/178

1818, Jul-Aug

Harrison’s first foray into Radical politics occurred sometime between July and August, 1818, when he preached to the striking cotton spinners at New Cross, Manchester, one of many trades that went on strike that summer. The cotton spinners had experienced a 20 to 25 percent reduction in wages since the slump in trade after the war and with the demand for spun yarn making a comeback they sought a return to the previous wages of about 24 shillings per week. In the crowd watching Harrison closely and taking notes was John Livesey, a coach proprietor who also happened to work for the Manchester magistrates as a spy.1

1. The Skilled Labourer, J. Hammond & B. Hammond, 1819.

1818, 10 Aug

Proceedings of the Meeting at Stockport 10 Aug 1818. Bagguley’s Speech.

‘Birch Sheriff’s Officer Constable and yeoman in the Stockport Troop of the Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry, reports as follows.

Bagguley first alluded to the proceedings at Cheadle and told the people assembled they must not heed any thing of what had been done by Magistrates of Stockport for they as well as – Sidmouth were but servants of the public – and they were all their masters and would turn them away. The channels of justice were stopped up and the barriers must be broke down – they must strike at the root, and he uttered this truism – it is easier to pull down than build up or make new – if they would stand by him it would be done and as they did not give applause he called them cowards – and called the names of the 18 who had signed for the meeting only 6 of whom were present. The rest he mistrusted cowardice to. He wished to distinguish their friends from their foes. What had they to fear, they had once beaten the cavalry and Baboon Yeomanry – and if they would stand they would beat them again – He read some resolutions which were to be inserted in all the papers of England, Scotland & Ireland for petitioning the Commons was in vain – Bagguley introduced and recommended Harrison (preacher) to the notice of the audience, saying the Church was as much in need of reform as the state. He looked round for Lloyd and said although he could not discover him he saw his troops and mermidons [sic] and he would be sure to know all that was passing and cautioned the people how they subscribed, for if Lloyd got to know of their paying money to support the prosecution they would get two years imprisonment with some heavy fine to be fixed by the court.’1

1. HO 42/179.

1818, 10 Aug

Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse Under Secretary of State dated August 11, 1818.

‘…Resolutions read by Bagguley, seconded by Joseph Harrison (this man preached for the turnouts in Manchester – calls himself chaplain to the poor and needy.)’1.

‘…On the stage, Farrah, Burtinshaw, Bagguley & Harrison.
About 200 people. Perry was to have taken the chair but for the interference of his wife and sister, who clung to him & swooned by fright.’1

1. HO 42/179

1818, 10 Aug

Letter from Norris to Hobhouse Under Secretary of State dated August 11, 1818.

‘… I enclose you the copy of a handbill calling a meeting yesterday at Stockport – It was attended by about 500 & Bagguley was the principal indeed only speaker aided by his usher (a person of the name of Harrison) in a school which he affects to have setup at Stockport. The persons who had signed their names to the paper calling the meeting did not for some time make their appearance which I understand much inflamed the demagogue – he spoke 3 or 4 hours but I hope and believe that the magistrates in that neighbourhood are quite alive to what is going on and no doubt you are fully informed of it…’1

1. HO 42/179

1818, Aug 30

First baptism was performed by Harrison at the Windmill Room.1

1. P.R.O. RG 4/7

1818, Sep 1

The Radicals hoped to attract the large numbers of striking workers to the cause of Reform and Bagguley and James Sims, a watchmaker, organized a Reform Meeting for the 1st of September, 1818 to be held at Sandy Brow, Stockport. An advertisement was placed in the Manchester Observer inviting the cotton spinners to attend. The meeting began at around half past twelve, a large stage or hustings was erected about nine feet from the ground, Harrison was chairman and Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston were the main speakers. Harrison was the first to speak and called himself ‘chaplain of the poor and needy’, he quoted St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and other parts of scripture in support of the doctrine of resistance. Harrison eulogized the French philosopher Condercet, whom he said: ‘sooner than live the object of tyranny and oppression, died by his own hand.’ He then read over the resolutions to the effect that ‘liberty was identified with man’s happiness, and that they were justified in defending it by any means.’ Bagguley followed and said that their petitions were treated with contempt. He proposed that all the towns in the country should send delegates to a National Convention where a grand bill would be drawn up and deputies appointed to present it to the House of Commons. He said that if their grievances were not addressed then the National Convention should issue laws and protect the people from the tyranny of a corrupt government. ‘You shall consider the National Convention as your legitimate parliament for they only are your representatives.’ He continued, ‘if you want a leader, I will lead you, and sword in hand, I’ll lose the last drop of my blood in the glorious cause of freedom.’ He then concluded his speech with ‘Oh! liberty thou sweet liberty, is what I will gain in the attempt’, then at the top of his voice cried out ‘Liberty or death!’ Drummond spoke next and condemned the people for joining in the general execration of Bonaparte ‘that suffering magnanimous character’, he then went on to speak of the maladministration of government, the enormous national debt and the weight of taxation. Johnston’s speech was the most inflammatory ‘Oh that I had a sword in my hand to cut off the heads of all tyrants’, he named three men that had injured him- Lord Castlereagh, Lord Sidmouth, and Mr. Canning, ‘I would shoot them whenever I can, I would sooner do it than have a dinner and a bottle of wine.’ Johnston’s rage was justified, in March the previous year during the suspension of the Habeus Corpus, he along with his friends Bagguley and Drummond, were chained and ‘handed from gaol to gaol all through the country, for ten months.’ After this they were released without trial or accusation and told to ‘go home about their business.’ The meeting was cut short by a torrent of rain. When the people started to disperse Bagguley addressed the crowd, ‘if they could not stand a shower of rain how could they stand a shower of bullets? They must stand all weathers’. A man on the hustings held an umbrella over him but he swiped it away with contempt. The meeting concluded at around five o’clock with Bagguley asking the people to go home quietly.
Within hours John Livesey was sitting in the Warren Bulkeley Arms writing up his report of the day’s proceedings but before he was finished, John Lloyd wandered into the Inn and waited patiently while he jotted down the remaining details. Before too long the damning document was in Lloyd’s hands. Livesey was not the only witness employed by the magistrates that day, Lloyd’s own son, John Horatio Lloyd, on leave from Oxford, was also in the crowd.1

1. The Kaleidoscope, April 27, 1819.

1818, Sep

Lloyd was quick to obtain arrest warrants for Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston but the three got wind of it and took flight, hoping to reach Liverpool where they would embark on a ship to America. They never made it, they were captured by Constable Nadin and soon locked away in Chester Castle. Bagguley in Chester Castle, wrote the details of his arrest by Constable Nadin in a letter addressed to Joseph Harrison at Sandy Brow: ‘…Now Sir I will attempt to describe a man who only needs to be mentioned to be despised namely the celebrated Nadin of Manchester, this wretch a stranger to Religion, a Savage to Humanity, a Child in virtue, a boy in Honour, a Cipher in Love, but a man in cunning, a Giant in Hypocrisy, a monster in Collective vice and a Devil in human form this wretch has as he expresses it twice had the honour of seeing me conducted to prisson [sic] but with all these defects I conceive there are intervals when reason resumes her sway and reflection informs him he is a Villan. While he was ironing me he seemed to enjoy the labour as a treat. His eyeballs rolled in his Bullhead with all the feelings of another Shyloc. Oh for a second Shakespeare to draw in nature this uncommon savage “Ouran Outang” [sic] … I desire you will write by return of post and send word how soon you expect bail will be obtained do not wait until you have obtained 12 Sureties but liberate one and he will soon liberate the others. If Mr. Lloyd objects to any persons you may obtain as Sureties take notice of the Grounds he objects upon and keep minutes of the facts. You will particularly oblige me by sending all the Manchester papers that contain anything relating to me or any of my Friends for I can assure you that in the Chester papers treat both you and us in a most clandestine and cowardly manner… I remain Sir no mans humble servant but Every Mans friend John Bagguly’1

1. PRO HO 42/180 folios 246 & 247 not dated, 1818.


Joseph Nadin

1818, Sep 6

“…Johnson has this moment been taken under a warrant from the Chief Justice of Chester upon a Bill found against him for sedition at Chester. The Constables are now in pursuit of Baguley and Drummond under similar warrants…”1

  1. HO 42/180 Norris to Sidmouth.

1818, Sep 6

“…for two or three days the last week, Baguley and Drummond have been riding up and down the Country round Manchester upon Hack Horses. This Object I understand was to prepare the disaffected to join the turnout trades in a general Rising on Monday. I saw them ride through Oldham both on Friday and Saturday in great apparent hurry and sent after them to ascertain their Business which proves to be as above stated. I understand they are wanted by my friend Lloyd…”1

  1. HO 42/180 Chippendale to Sidmouth.


1818, Sep 8

“…On Friday last Baguley & Drummond were riding about the Country soliciting money from the various delegates to carry them off to America as they were aware of the warrants being out. It is understood they were taken half an hour before their final departure…”

  1. HO 42/180 Norris to Sidmouth.

1818, Sep 12

A week after the arrest of Bagguley, Johnston and Drummond, Harrison received a letter from Bagguley (Sept 8) asking him to procure bail which was set at the impossibly high sum of £1,800 each. Clearly the government wanted the trio kept under lock and key until their trial in the following spring.1 When Lloyd discovered Harrison ‘very busy about Bail’, he was quick to have him placed under arrest for his role as chairman at the 1st of September Stockport meeting and ordered to find bail for himself. For some reason Lloyd failed to follow through and Harrison was released.2

‘I have had the chairman of the seditious meeting under warrant this morning. He is ordered to find bail. He is a Calvinist preacher from the county of Essex lately settled with us being expelled from a school in Derbyshire for improper liberties with his young female scholars. He calls himself the Reverend Joseph Harrison the same who preached to the turnout spinners at the New Cross Manchester.’3

1. P.R.O. HO 42/180 folio 216. 2. P R O HO 42/180 folios 214 and 215. 3. P R O HO 42/180 folio 288.

1818, Sep 18

Letter from John Bagguley, Chester Castle to Joseph Harrison, asking him to procure bail.

‘Dear Sir We have just retired from court after having two indictments preferred against myself Mr. Drummond and Mr. Johnston but the judges notified to us that bail wou[l]d be taken that is that we ourselves should be bound in the sum of £500 for each indictment and find two sureties for each indictment in the sum of £200 each so that in the whole we want 12 Sureties who can give bail to the amount of £200 each – we trust need be taken to procure bail as the friends of freedom must be well aware that we would rather perish in the Dungeon or die on the Scaffold than desert the Godlike cause of human freedom. When you have procured a sufficiency of sureties you will give Notice to Mr. Lloyd as he is the Solicitor for the Prosecution and it will save the expence [sic] of the parties coming to Chester – Having said this much we know your Vigilance will be sufficient and if bail be got you may expect us at home immediately – if not we must submit to a cold prison 6 wintry months which we would infinitely rather do than be considered under Obligation to any Man for we consider it he bounden duty of the friends of freedom to step forward and rescue the Patriots of Liberty from the Gulph which the Enemies of human happiness think they have at last plunged them into – Give my love to my Uncle and Cousins and we remain the unalterable Advocates of freedom. John Bagguly Saml Drummond John Johnston NB Our Finances are very low and we have to pay for every thing – even our bed.’1

1. PRO HO 42/180, folio 216

1818, Sep 19

Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse Under Secretary of State dated 19 September, 1818.

‘… in the instance of the prosecution if you have no objections I wish it to appear as a case commenced & continued by me – I know the advantage of it – I am hitherto able to say it is so- I have abundance of witnesses all well inclined – I am pleased to find gentlemen of all denominations (and one in particular a presbyterian who I had doubts about) ready to come forward with evidence against these men – Bagguley Drummond & Johnstone) – I have already 18 respectable witnesses – No offer of substantial bail yet…’1

1. HO 42/180.

1818, Sep 23

Requisition for public meeting to the Magistrates of Stockport dated 23 September, 1818 (appears to be in handwriting of Joseph Harrison)

The Committee for the arraignment of a late Public Meeting convened for the purpose of addressing resolutions relative to a Parliamentary Reform & held on Sandy Brow on Tuesday September 1st and also the householders who signed the requisition for calling that meeting being that the worst of construction is put on that days proceedings whilst the fair & just account is most studiously concealed from the public eye feel themselves most imperiously called upon in the absence of Messrs Bagguley Drummond & Johnston who are now languishing in confinement on charges supposed to be founded on what transpired at the above meeting and in obediance to the duty they owe their country their fellow townsmen & themselves to request most respectfully that you will be pleased to call a public meeting (soliciting the same public to attend as far as convenient) to be held at Sandy Brow on Monday the 28th inst for the purpose of affording us & the public an opportunity of correcting misrepresentation injurious to ourselves & the cause of Reform …’1

1. HO 42/180

1818, Sep 28

Stockport Meeting 28 September, 1818.

For the next six months Harrison would put all his energies into obtaining bail for his three friends. A Reform Meeting was held at Stockport on the 28th of September, 1818, where Harrison proposed that a loan and subscription be set up and collected by a committee of fourteen men with Harrison acting as secretary and William Cheetham the shopkeeper as treasurer. It was also resolved that the proceedings of the meeting be published in the leading Radical and London newspapers to gain far reaching publicity.1 The 14 men selected for the committee were Mr. William Clarkson, manufacturer; Mr. William Cheetham; Mr. John Hamer, manufacturer; Dr. T. Cheetham; Mr. James Sims, watch maker; Dr. G. Bolsover; Rev. Joseph Harrison; Mr. Charles Bolsover, jun; Mr. J. Armstrong; Mr. Brooks; all of Stockport; Mr. Wroe, Bookseller; Manchester; Mr. J. Hague, manufacturer, Oldham; Mr. G. Edmonds, of Birmingham; Mr. T. Cleary, of London.2 Resolution 14 was, ‘That the warmest thanks of this meeting are due, and hereby given, to William Cobbett, Esq. for the many valuable essays he has written, and the great services he has rendered since he unfortunately left this his native country, with our assurance, that we should hail the day of his return with heartfelt rejoicing, conscious that he is by far the most able to keep his irritated countrymen out of the claws of that monster he has dragged forth, and left naked to our scorn; which monster is now writhing under the smart of retorted injuries, and like the serpent, dying by that poison its angry bites infuse into his own corrupt flesh.’3

1. Black Dwarf, November 4, 1818. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid

1818, Sep

Harrison’s oldest son Peter discharged from Stockport Sunday School. State of Learning – Writing. Reason for discharge – Left Town.1

1. Stockport Sunday School registers, Stockport Heritage Library.

1818, Oct

Joseph Harrison forms the Stockport Union for the Promotion of Human Happiness.1

1. Declaration of the Object and Principles of the Union formed at Stockport, In October, 1818 for the Promotion of Human Happiness (Stockport, 1819).

1818, Oct 5

Letter from Lloyd to H. Clive Under Secretary of State dated 5 October 1818.

‘Sir I do not know whether I ever reported that a room in Stockport formerly used as a school room by Bagguley & his friend Harrison the preacher was used as a lecture room on Sundays by Harrison who delivered what some have called religious discourses – for the last week or two Mitchell* & Knight have joined him and each given lectures.
Collections are made after the service.
Last night Mitchell held for the taking “lay not up treasures for yourseleves etc. Matthew VI 19 20 for his text – and gave out portions of the Psalms…to sing; but forbore to pray as Mr Harrison was not there – He laboured to level distinction & to break the ties of subjugation and render nugatory the duties of subordination, as many be suffered – The room is not licensed – Harrison once told me he obtained a preachers licence for himself in the County of Essex – The money is not demanded for admission and there may be a difficulty of applying the act o 57 Geo-3-C.19 –
I have sent a very extraordinary and a very bold letter from Sir Charles Wolseley addressed “To the Country Gent. of England but more particularly to those of the County of Stafford” & dated Wolseley Park Sep 19 1818 published in the Manchester Observer – & I suppose it has made its appearance on some other papers. I consider it a very pernicious document & if you have not seen it I can send up the Observer.
Mr Chippendale has written to day says he has in a private & confidential manner discovered a correspondence carried on between our Joseph Harrison & John Hague of Oldham –
If the minutes of evidence taken by Livesey at our Monday’s meeting are sent up I shall be obliged by the original being sent down & not a copy…
P.S. I have reason to think the witness who mentioned Flitcroft was mistaken and that he took the person of Perry for that now.’1

1. HO 42/181

*It was Joseph Mitchell who devised the scheme to march to London in 1817, the so called March of the Blanketeers. He and Samuel Bamford befriended the revolutionary Spenceans whilst in London after attending the Delegate Meeting of 1816 where Hunt pushed for the adoption of universal suffrage.

1818, Nov 14

Letter from Lloyd to Clive Under Secretary of State dated 14 Nov 1818.

Stockport Union Society,
England expects every Man to do his duty.
No. 544

‘…The card is given to members of the union of which society Harrison is the president – The object contemplated far exceeds “constitutional reform.”
The name is inserted & the No. is what the member is known by – The system is pretty general in this manufacturing district…’1

1. HO 42/182

1818, Dec 3

Letter from Lloyd to H. Clive Esq dated 3 Dec, 1818.

‘…I have just escaped from the lion’s mouth – Sir Charles Wolseley with a note for me to wait upon hm at the Inn…I really thought it a hoax – at least I thought it was a friend from London of the name of Dover – However when I found it to be Sir Charles I was pretty well prepared – He questioned me about the bail for the men at Chester and why I was the person to be applied to. I told him I was the prosecutor – He talked of himself and & Sir Francis Burdett becoming bail – I told him it should be bail of the county but he had only to give me the names of the proposed sureties & the 48 hours fixed by the judges as would inform them whether they could be accepted… He said he was going to meet Sir Francis at the Concentrics at Liverpool – where the matter is to be discussed…’

1. HO 42/183

1818, Dec 7

Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse Under Secretary of State
dated 7 Dec, 1818

‘…The Reforming School kept by Bagguley & Harrison is now preached in by the latter with the addition of Mitchell & Knight. I expect, however, this will soon be cured by a schism amongst themselves – Bagguley writes furiously against Mitchell to Harrison – No trust – They have many scholars & preach 3 times each Sunday preventing texts of scripture.
It may not be best to interrupt them although they no doubt corrupt many of their hearers.’1

1. HO 42/182.

1818, Dec 19

Meeting at the Liverpool Concentric Society.

Wolseley addressed the audience.

“…Gentlemen, I have already stated, that I am a matter-of-fact man; and a serious matter of fact I shall take the liberty to state to you. On my way hither, I passed through Manchester, with a view of inquiring into the case of Johnston, Drummoud, and Bagguley, who. as you may know, are now confined in Chester Castle, under a charge of uttering seditious words. I find that these men were arrested within two hours after they had attended a public meeting at Stockport, where they are said to have made certain speeches, which I will neither justify nor condemn, as for those speeches they are to be tried by their country. But this I will say, that the bail demanded for those men appears to be excessive; and we know that excessive bail is a capital grievance, and contrary to the provisions of our Great Charter. They do not, however, ask that this bail should be raised for them. They submit to lie in prison. But they are advised to move the Court of King’s Bench for a Writ, to enable them to be tried in London, at a distance from prejudice. Will you permit me, Gentlemen, to solicit you to contribute something to enable them to liquidate the expence of the requisite law proceedings? for we know, as matter-of-fact, that Iaw is expensive; I repeat that I do not discuss the question as to the prudence or imprudence, the legality or illegality of what these men have said. That will be illicited by a competent tribunal. But I think we shall not do our duty if we leave them to perish; and, I trust I am guilty of no impropriety, in wishing to aid them in obtaining a fair trial.
According to the proposal of Sir Charles, a subscription was entered into for the above purpose, the proceeds of which were handed to the worthy Baronet…”

John Edward Taylor addresses the audience:

“…Gentlemen, upon such an occasion as this, I am sorry to have to dissent from any observations that are made; but I am bound to declare, that I cannot coincide with the remarks which have been made by the worthy Baronet, Sir Charles Wolseley, upon the case of Johnston, Bagguley, and Drummond. I am bound to declare, that I cannot consider them otherwise than as mere trading politicians-as men who prefer living upon the contributions of their neighbours, to earning their livelihood by their own labour. And I would further add, that I have good reason to doubt whether they exhibit that exemplary discharge of private duties, or that high sense of correct morality, without which, reform must be unsubstantial, and patriotism a pretence. The only ground, therefore, as it appears to me, upon which they have any claim to your assistance, is to aid them in obtaining that fair and open trial which every Englishman, whatever may be his character, or whatever crime may be alleged against him, has an undoubted right to expect; and to that purpose alone, I hope the sum you have now raised will be appropriated…”1

  1. Manchester Observer, 18 Dec, 1819.

1818, Dec 20

Letter from William Cobbett, (exiled in the USA) North Hampstead to Joseph Harrison, Stockport thanking him and others for the praise delivered at the Stockport meeting on 28 September.

‘…The Thanks, which you were so good to vote me, at your Meeting at Stockport, in September last; have been received by me with feelings of peculiar pleasure…No Gentlemen, it was not, I hope, unfortunately that I left my native country; for, if I had not left it, I am well convinced, that those Essays which you are pleased to consider so valuable, would never have been written…Be patient. Be loyal. We have no quarrel with the king, or with his family, or with any thing that is lawful. It is tyranny that we would, and that we will destroy…If indeed, the taxes were paid in gold and silver, which has an intrinsic value, and which, therefore, cannot be augmented or diminished at the pleasure of any man, or body of men, then the increase of the revenue would be a proof of an increase in the real resources of the nation, for it would arise from an increase in the real possessions of wealth. But, the paper is a bubble altogether. It makes every thing uncertain…Oh, no! Never will this Reform come with the consent of those who live on corruption. Never will it come, while they can employ an army…And, I am decidedly of opinion, that they always will employ one, and a powerful one too, as long as the Bank-notes will pass current…In conclusion, let me express to you my satisfaction, that you have, in your proceedings, avoided all attacks upon the KING AND HIS FAMILY. It is not that family who oppress us. The immense sums placed to their account, they do not receive. These sums are, for the greater part, actually taken away by the Boroughmongers, though they are granted to the Royal Family…My decided opinion is, that we ought to stick to our single object: a reform of the People’s House of Parliament. Lets have that; that is all we need; and that we will have. If you hear of Bank-notes being introduced from America, say nothing about the matter. Keep quiet and let the thing work. You can never do any good by a premature bustle. Let things go on a little, and, if a crisis arrive always be on your guard against those who recommend violent measures; for then will be the time for you to be more cool and patient than ever. Take no vengeance into your own hands, when such a time arrives: leave the guilty to the law of the land; which I warrant you, will overtake them soon enough. Do nothing unlawful in any case. Be firm, be considerate, but, at the same time, resolute; and the king and the people will be safe; and all but the tyrants and their tools will have cause to rejoice…’1

1. Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register, February 20, 1819.


William Cobbett

1818, Dec 21

Excerpt of letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse

‘…Taylor’s speech alluded to by Drummond & Bagguley I suppose you have seen – There was nothing so likely as the disagreements which have just taken place – The Reformers and Band of Union at the School-Room here are splitting…’1

1. HO 42/182 fol. 536

1818, Dec 23

‘Windmill, Stockport December 23rd, 1818

Justice Mercy Strength Peace

Resolved, that as it is generally understood that the relief of the prisioners and the support of the Stockport Union are two distinct and separate things, it was judged prudent (for the restoration of the peace and good order,) to appoint an additional committee of nine persons for the relief of the prisoners, and
Mr Thomas Cheetham, Surgeon Treasurer
Joseph Harrison, Secretary.

The above resolution is confirmed by the votes of the subscribers, in favour of which there is a majority of more than two to one, consequently the collectors for the relief of the prisoners, are most respectfully requested to pay in their subscriptions at the Windmill every Monday as usual.
By order of the Committee

P.S. Whereas, a base and scandalous report has been circulated by individuals of the late committee, to the great of Mr Bagguley’s character; We, the undermentioned persons have impartially investigated the subject, and find it to be a most groundless falsehood.

“On eagles wings immortal scandals fly
“Whilst virtuous actions are but born to die.” …Juvenal

Joseph Harrison
Thomas Cheetham, Surgeon
Joseph Armstrong
Sarah Goodier
Ann Wagstaff

N.B. J. Harrison begs leave to inform the public that he intends re-opening Mr Bagguleys Day and Evening School on Monday the 11th of January, 1819.
Terms per week:
Reading —————— 4d
and writing ————– 6d
and arithmetic ———– 8d
and grammar & geography – 10d

Copy of handbill printed at Lees near Oldham.’1

1. HO 42/183

1818, Dec 24

Letter from Wolseley to Bagguley dated 24 Dec 1818.

‘Sir I received your letter and I beg leave to inform you that nothing I heard at Liverpool has altered my opinion of your case and that you may depend on me for doing all in my power to support the cause of your persons; I consider the demanding such excessive bail of men in your situations of life as abominally outrageous and in the very teeth of the express words of Magna Charta- I think the best thing to be done is to petition the House of Commons about it and in order to put it in train, I will send up your case to some of my friends in London and consult with them on the subject and when I hear from them I will write you the result. I have had a letter from Mr Harrison of Stockport today and am sorry to hear that the Committee and the Union are at variance; This is bad, “for a house divided against itself cannot stand.” …’1

1. HO 42/183

1818, Dec 31

Harrison visited Johnston and Bagguley at Chester Castle. ‘Mr. Johnston has been five weeks in the hospital, sick with a typhus fever, and Mr. Bagguley is now in the same state…Mr. B had been ill nine days.’1

1. The Black Dwarf, January 13, 1819.

1819, Jan 1

Letter from Alexander McDonald, Bridgetown, Glasgow to Rev. Joseph Harrison, Stockport.

‘Rev. Sir, A few friends to Radical Reform in this place having learned that a committee had been formed for the benefit and protection of Messrs. Bagguley, Drummond, Johnston, and others, resolved…to open a subscription for the purposes therein specified, the proceeds of which amount to 2l. 12s. and which is herewith transmitted to you…We perceive by your second resolution that you have determined never again to petition that body called the House of Commons: be pleased in your answer to let us know if this be the prevailing sentiment. We were of opinion that a trial should be made of our strength in the new Parliament, and the mighty promises of a number of the lately elected members put to the test…We are perfectly apprised of what a Mr. Taylor [the future owner of the Manchester Guardian] is reported to have said at a Public dinner at Liverpool, respecting Messrs. Bagguley. &c. but whether his remarks were pertinent or not, we neither can, nor desire to be the judges, the respectable names on your committee is to us a sufficient guarantee.’1

1. Black Dwarf, January 13, 1819.

1819, Jan 4

Joseph Harrison attended the Oldham meeting. Cap of Liberty hoisted, speeches delivered against the corn laws, speeches on behalf of the three prisoners at Chester, resolutions passed, petition to the House of Commons to be presented to Sir Robert Wilson (Member for Southwark).1

1. Black Dwarf, January 13, 1819.

1819, Jan 7

Letter from Rev. Joseph Harrison, Stockport to Alexander McDonald, Bridgetown, Glasgow.

‘…Bagguley, Drummond and Johnstone, are still confined as common felons in Chester Castle, where tis probable they must remain for want of bail, till the March assizes. The excessive bail required is 1000l. each man, and each four sureties in 200l. each. Likewise the solicitor for the prosecution [John Lloyd], (who is the avowed enemy of the prisoners) must be satisfied with the bail, and his influence with the Court at Chester, is very great. The subscriptions in the town and neighbourhood of Stockport, are going on tolerably well. Sir Charles Wolseley is also exerting himself in their behalf. The Political Protestant Society at Hull, is likewise carrying a subscription into effect for the same object. Manchester, Oldham, &c. are doing the same. We are pleased to see you treat Mr. Taylor’s speech, with the contempt it deserves, for we can assure you, that his base allegations are without foundation, but he has been well whipped in the public prints for his temerity… Unions are forming in this country, some on the Hull, and some on the London plan. A public meeting was held at Oldham, Lancashire, on the 4th Instant. The cap of liberty was hoisted – speeches were delivered against the corn laws – in favour of radical reform, and on behalf of the the three prisoners at Chester. A string of weighty resolutions were unanimously passed, and a petition to the House of commons was proposed, read and …voted, to be presented by Sir Robert Wilson. (I think member for Southwark)…It was agreed that petitioning the House of Commons, would have no good effect, but to let the public know that such a petition had been presented; whereas, if it were addressed to the Prince Regent, it might stop at the office of King Sidmouth, and never be heard of more. Our’s of the 28th of September 1818, was sent to Henry Hunt Esq., and he promised to present it to the Prince with his own hand, if possible; but we have heard no more of it. A Public Meeting for Reform is intended to take place at Manchester on Monday the 18th Inst. Mr. Hunt and others from London, have engaged to be there… Upon the whole we have reason to believe that the cause is gaining ground rapidly in England, and may we not hope that the lion of Scotland will rouse and shake it[s] shaggy mane? If the roses have their thorns, the thistle has its prickles… We are persuaded, that as political knowledge advances, emancipation approaches. But oh! beware of strangers, who by pretending to assist you, design ultimately to hinder you in the grand cause….Their spies will be great speakers at your public meetings, and even assist you in forming unions; but watch them narrowly and you will find that they will soon direct the people’s attention from the main object…’1

1. Black Dwarf, January 13, 1819.

1819, 11 Jan

‘J. Harrison begs leave to inform the public that he intends re-opening Mr Bagguleys Day and Evening School on Monday the 11th of January, 1819.’1

1. HO 42/183

Read more about his role in the Peterloo era…

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