Rev. Joseph Harrison
(1779 – 1848)


1817, February 10 – Reform Meeting at Stockport – John Lloyd reported that –  James Swindells (Chairman), George Bradbury from Manchester, ‘Old’ Rose [Henry Rose] and a preacher were speakers. Bradbury suggested that petitions should be carried up to London in groups of ten. He said “… we had shown at “Waterloo” that we cou’d do any thing – We had only to release Buonaparte & the monarchs that we had restored to their thrones wou’d fly.” A ‘shabby’ young minister of the gospel, then “made many shocking and blasphemous alusions [sic] to the Diety, which had a tendency to lead the people to question the Justice of the Almighty”. Burtinshaw was on the stage but did not speak. (HO 42/159 fol. 52)

[Note: Could the mentioned “shabby young minister” be Joseph Harrison?]

1817, March 10 – The March of the Blanketeers – On the hustings at St Peter’s Field the speakers John Bagguley and Samuel Drummond are surrounded by General Byng’s troops and arrested by constable Joseph Nadin. James Tetlow was also on the hustings. Livesey the spy took notes of the meeting. The remaining “Blanketeers”, in groups of ten, make their way to Stockport but are brutally stopped at the Lancashire Bridge by the Cheshire Yeomanry under the command of the ultra loyalist John Lloyd and his dutiful sheriff’s officer William Birch. Their fellow Reform orator, John Johnston, who was known for his violent speeches had been arrested the day before.

[Note: William Birch acted as General Byng’s orderly at this time.]

[Note: Click here to view portrait of John Lloyd.]

[Note: John Bagguley had a younger brother – William (16) who attended the march and was arrested. (HO 42/164 fol. 49 & 57)]

[Note: John Bagguley’s parents were William Baguley and Mary Armstrong who married in Manchester, 1796. His mother Mary died in December 1817 whilst he was in prison.]

1817, April 16 – Richard Flitcroft was arrested by Constable William Birch of Stockport, and by him conveyed to London, and handed over to the authorities there. (Chester Chronicle, April 25, 1817)

1817, April – James Leach, John Plant, Samuel Bamford, Richard Flitcroft, and George Bradbury, arrested under the suspension of Habeas Corpus,  are interviewed by Lord Sidmouth in London.

1817, September – Peter Lever and seven others who took part in the Blanket March are released from Lancaster Prison. 

1817, October – Peter Lever is arrested for burglary by John Birch [William Birch’s father] at Liverpool just previous to boarding the ship Mercury destined for America. 

[Note: Lloyd reports to Hobhouse – “… a person just enlarged from Lancaster Castle committed from the stage at Manchester on the 10th March – He is now in Chester Castle for burglary having brought some of the levellers with him disguised into his relations’ house & robbed it of money to enable him to settle in America & abandon his wife & children who had no knowledge of his having taken his passage at Liverpool when he was apprehended by the constable of Stockport.” (HO 42/172 fol. 567).]


1818, January 31 – John Bagguley released from prison.

1818, February – The Spencean Arthur Thistlewood is arrested and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Horsham Gaol for challenging Lord Sidmouth to a duel.

1818, April – Peter Lever, weaver, age 33, is found not-guilty for robbery committed at Stockport and is set free. He said that he was at Middleton at the time of the crime looking for work and had been taking down names of several Reformers. (Chester Courant, April 14, 1818)

[Note: Could this be the same Peter Lever later prominent in the Huddersfield rising of 1820? I strongly suspect it was. Many weavers from Lancashire had migrated to the textile towns of West Yorkshire to take up work.] 

1818, April 6 – Bagguley writes to Lord Sidmouth requesting that his passage be paid to emigrate to America. His home address at the time is Booth Street, Oxford Road, Manchester.

1818, April 13 – Reform Meeting at Sandy Brow, Stockport. Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston are speakers, “old” Burtinshaw is Chairman. Lloyd is discovered in the crowd and Bagguley calls him a villain amongst other insults for attempting to bribe Richard Flitcroft with 50 pounds to “swear their lives away.” John Livesey the spy took detailed notes of the meeting.

[Note: See May 13, 1818 edition of Black Dwarf. Richard Flitcroft mentions in a letter to the Editor dated April 16, 1818  that Lloyd tried to recruit him as informant and asked him to swear against Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston.]

[Note: Richard Flitcroft stated: “I lived at Stockport in Cheshire. I am a Weaver. I served in the first Regiment of Lancashire Militia, and was discharged two years ago, having served my Time; I lived one month after I was discharged at my native Place, Bolton le Moors, and went from thence to Stockport, and have lived there ever since. I became a Member of the Union Society for a Reform in Parliament … Hulton [the delegate] for New Mills … was formerly in the same Regiment with me.” (HO 42/165 fol. 129-34) Nathaniel Hulton of New Mills said his party would be able to seize cannon from Lyme House and offered to lead 200 men to the barracks. A plan that would be resurrected by the Stockport ultras in 1819.]

[Note: “As with the Blanketeer’s march itself, few Stockport district inhabitants were involved in the post-Blanketeer plots. The only Stockport man in attendance at Middleton on 17 March was a weaver named Richard Flitcroft who had not previously been prominent either in weavers’ agitations or in the reform movement. He probably saw the delegate meeting as an opportunity to make a name for himself in radical circles and volunteered to act as a radical missionary to the Potteries and Birmingham. One reason he gave was that the Potteries were already in correspondence with Stockport. His eagerness to volunteer nevertheless provoked mounting suspicions about the degree of his commitment to radicalism. While he received money for the trip and set off on 21 March, on his return to Stockport and Manchester a week later he found himself ostracised by the radicals…” (Urban Workers, Robert Glen, 1984)]

[Note: William Robert Hay reported to Sidmouth that – “I understand that Flitcroft was at Lancashire’s [John Lancashire] at Middleton, and received £2 to go as a delegate to Birmingham. (20 Apr, 1817, HO 42/164 fol. 278)]

[“AB is returned this moment from his mission to Manchester and reports that on his arrival at their Manchester he applied to a Mr White boot & shoe maker who resides in Portland St No 31 but was informed he was not at home, on making himself known that he was brother to the delegate sent from Bolton last week. Mrs White then consented to send for him and in the interval of time before he arrived she said that his brother had made a sad mistake by throwing the meeting into confusion by delivering that he would not have any thing to do with anything that was illegal and that in consequence of what he had said the Nottingham delegate immediately left Manchester and that he (TW) [Thomas Waddington] having thrown out some hints suspecting the Stockport delegate (whose name was Flitcroft and said he had resided in Bradshawgate Bolton) to Buckley one of the Committee who mentioned to him (Flitcroft) what he had heard which she said had disturbed Flitcroft so much that he came the morning following to Mr White and said to him that if he anyways suspected him he wished he would take a gun and shoot him…” (J. Warr to Fletcher, 24 Mar, 1817, HO 42/164 fol. 212)]

[Note: “On Friday, 25 April, Mitchell introduced Oliver to several local delegates at Birmingham… One of the chief topics of conversation was a man called Flitcroft from Stockport, who had been there recently, claiming to be a Manchester delegate… Flitcroft had asked so many questions about whether the Birmingham men planned to effect reform by ‘Physical Strength as all other means had failed’, that they (correctly) suspected he was a government spy.” (Regency Spies, Sue Wilkes, 2015)]

[Note: Richard Flitcroft shows up on the list of Returned Persons taken up on the Suspension act in 1817. Occupation militiaman, age is given as 31 (born circa 1786). He was sent to Chelmsford, same prison as John Lancashire.] 

[Note: It seems that Richard Flitcroft’s niece would marry the son of spy ‘Alpha’ (Thomas Yates) in 1839. His brother Seth Flitcroft (born c. 1777) was a long term resident of York Street, Bolton.]

[Note: John Johnston was a native of Scotland. (Caledonian Mercury, October 2, 1830)]

1818, April 14 – Lloyd mentions in his letter to Henry Hobhouse that the “Meeting was opened by a villain of the name of Perry.”

[Note: William Perry was a weaver and supporter of Richard Carlile (the freethinker and atheist.) His residence was at London Place, Stockport. Perry also appears to have been the leader of the General Committee of the Stockport Union (the faction that Harrison would later clash with.)]

[Note: William Perry appears to have had a revolutionary past – On June 8, 1817 John Lloyd had reported to the secretary of state that – “A delegate of the name of George Taylor of Honley near Huddersfield came over to this town about 6 o’clock yesterday afternoon on horseback from a meeting of revolutionary delegates at Lockwood, a mile or two out of Huddersfield, and returned at 1/2 past 10 this morning. The person to whom he was to communicate is a William Perry of this town, well known to me as a retailer of seditious tracts etc. Perry was absent on a similar mission, & they are likely to meet at a place called Woodhead, the eastern extremity of our county, 15 miles distant. Taylor was sent from Lockwood, as he stated, to hasten the movements of the disaffected, as to the rising in Yorkshire was fixed to take place tomorrow (Monday) evening…” (HO 40/7 fol. 2353).

This event would later be known as the Folly Hall Bridge Uprising but was soon put down by the Huddersfield Yeomanry. They were headed by a man named George Taylor, who had had several interviews with Oliver the spy.] 

oliver2Oliver the Spy

1818, May 11 – Joseph Harrison performs his last baptism at Littlemoor Chapel, Glossop, Derbyshire.

1818, June – Harrison arrives at Stockport with his family after being expelled from Glossop for improper conduct and takes up residence at Sandy Brow (a hill near St Peter’s Church.) Lloyd notes that his first appearance 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…”

1818, June – Harrison admits his elder sons Peter, Joseph, Massah and Nathan to the Stockport Sunday School.

1818, June – The Stockport Loyal Wellington club is established and includes John Lloyd in its membership.

1818, July – John Bagguley (leader of the Blanketeer March in 1817) moves to Stockport where his uncle lives and opens a school. Harrison is employed as his “usher” (assistant teacher.)

[Note: John Bagguley’s uncle was Joseph Armstrong, occupation tailor. (HO 40/15 folio 62.)]

1818, July – Harrison preaches to the striking cotton spinners at New Cross, Manchester. In the crowd watching is John Livesey the magistrates’ spy.

1818, July 18 – David Ramsay the spy sends a report to Lord Sidmouth about the riots in Stockport and “turn-outs” of the weavers. (HO 42/178 fol. 154) 

1818, August 10 – Stockport Reform meeting where Bagguley introduces and recommends Joseph Harrison. On the stage were Farrah, ‘old’ Burtinshaw, Bagguley and Harrison. Constable Birch took down notes of their speeches.

1818, August 11 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse and mentions that “Perry was to have taken the chair but for the interference of his wife and sister, who clung to him & swooned by fright.”

1818, August 20 – The spy David Ramsay reports that the handbill “To the Weavers of the Township of Stockport” calling them to join the turn-outs is “supposed to be the production of Bagguley or his accomplice Harrison.” (HO 42/179 fol. 293)

1818, August 22 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse that “I am told Bagguley declares with his pistol in his hand that if Mr. Lloyd himself (he makes me proud of being so noticed) comes to him he will shoot him – I shall like the opportunity of trying the Braggadocio.”

1818, August 30 – First baptism performed by Harrison at the Windmill Room Chapel, Stockport.

1818, September 1 – Stockport Reform meeting at Sandy Brow attended by Joseph Harrison (chairman), John Bagguley, Samuel Drummond and John Johnston. In the crowd watching and taking notes are Livesey the spy and John Horatio Lloyd, the local magistrate clerk’s son.

1818, September – John Lloyd, the magistrates clerk obtains arrest warrants for Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston. They take flight hoping to reach Liverpool where they would embark on a ship to America but are captured by Nadin, the constable of Manchester.

1818, September 12 – Bagguley, imprisoned at Chester Castle, sends a letter to Harrison asking him to procure bail which is set at 1,800 pounds each. When Lloyd discovered Harrison “very busy about bail,” he was quick to have him placed under arrest as well but later released probably due to lack of evidence as Livesey had arrived at the conclusion of Harrison’s speech.

1818, September 18 – Bagguley sends letter to Harrison asking to give notice to Lloyd when he has procured a sufficiency of sureties.

1818, September 19 – Lloyd sends letter to Henry Hobhouse, Undersecretary of State, requesting that he continue the case against Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston.

1818, September 23 – Harrison posts a requisition for a public meeting at Sandy Brow, Stockport for the purpose of “correcting misrepresentation injurious to ourselves and the cause of Reform.”

1818, September 28 – Stockport Reform meeting at Sandy Brow. Joseph Harrison (chairman), Joseph Mitchell and John Knight were speakers. Perry proposed Harrison as Chairman “This proposition was received with marks of decided approbation.” Harrison proposed a loan and subscription be set up by a committee of 14 men with Harrison acting as secretary and William Cheetham (shopkeeper) as treasurer. Mitchell proposed a new “Blanketeer March” but it was argued as impractical and unlawful by Harrison and Knight. It was resolved that a petition be drafted (signed by Harrison) and presented to the Prince Regent by a person they deem proper (Henry Hunt) and that the warmest thanks be given to William Cobbett for “the many valuable essays he has written.” The spy John Livesey took down notes of the speeches but left early for fear of being discovered. Constable William Birch was also in the crowd.

[Background Note: Joseph Mitchell was the deviser of the Blanketeer March in 1817 but failed to turn up on the day (his excuse was that constable Nadin had been chasing him the week before.) He brought the idea for the scheme back from London during a meeting at the Cock Tavern on Grafton Street with Samuel Bamford and the Spenceans Dr. James Watson and Thomas Preston. Preston had found a loophole in the law that stated as long as the petitioners were divided in groups of 10 then the march would be perfectly legal.

Mitchell also attended the Second Spa Fields Meeting in December 1816 where the Spenceans attempted to storm the Tower of London and was a delegate at the Hampden Club Convention in January 1817 where Henry Hunt proposed a petition in support of Universal Suffrage. It was also Mitchell who unwittingly introduced ‘Oliver the spy‘ to the Reformers in 1817.

1818, September 29 – Rev. Charles Ethelston writes to Sidmouth about the Stockport Meeting and reports “tho’ a blow has been given to the disaffected body it’s Members are not paraliz’d. The Demagogue Mitchell, it seems is neither dead nor sleepeth nor is Knight in a torpid state… the Chester Prisoners are represented as Martyrs in their cause…”

ethelstonRev. Charles Ethelston

1818, October – Harrison forms the Stockport Union for the Promotion of Human Happiness.

1818, October 5 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse that “Chippendale…says he has in a private and confidential manner discovered a  correspondence carried on betwixt our Joseph Harrison & John Hague [John Haigh] of Oldham.”

[Note: This is the same John Haigh who was arrested by Nadin on 26th May, 1812 along with 37 fellow Reformers (known collectively as the ‘Thirty Eight’) for having allegedly administered an unlawful oath to Samuel Fleming. The Reformers (which included John Knight) were acquitted when it was proved that Fleming was a paid informant. Click to see picture of Fleming in witness box marked with the symbol “+”.]

1818, October – The Reformers Joseph Mitchell of Liverpool and John Knight of Manchester join Harrison at the Windmill Rooms on Sunday nights and hold lectures.

1818, October – The London Spencean Dr. Watson was busy collecting money at Stockport for his petition and convention schemes.

dr-watsonDr. James Watson
   (1766 – 1838)

[Note: Death of James Watson – “Watson, whose connexion with Thistlewood, &c. is unforgotten, expired, at New York, on the 12th of February, aged 72. He had suffered for some time very severely. He endured many vicissitudes whilst in America, living, at different times, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Charleston, &c. His son, who was suspected of shooting Platt, on Snow-hill, during the riots of 1817, died two years since.” (Hereford Journal, May 16, 1838.)]

[Note: Dr. James Watson was buried in the Old Brick Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Beekman St, New York City. Feb 1838. The first temple was built on the block formed by Park Row, Beekman and Nassau Streets. Now the site of the Potter Building.]

1818, October 17 – Lloyd writes to Clive that “the money appears to be the main object with Watson but I assure you they are in this part of the country vainly reckoning upon a change, without contributing much to the fund at present…”

1818, December 3 – The wealthy Baronet Sir Charles Wolseley requests a meeting with Lloyd at Stockport about the bail for Bagguley and co. “He talked of himself and Sir Francis Burdett becoming bail…he was going to meet Sir Francis at the Concentrics at Liverpool – where the matter is to be discussed.”

[Background Note: Sir Francis Burdett was a Baronet and Member of Parliament at the time who advocated Radical Reform. Henry Hunt was extremely jealous of Burdett’s popularity and highly critical of his lack of action. He considered him a “milk and water” Reformer.]

charleswolseleySir Charles Wolseley (Baronet)
(1769 – 1846)

1818, December – At the Liverpool Concentrics meeting Wolseley reports that the Chester prisoners do not wish for the excessive bail to be raised for them but they do however require funds to pay the legal expenses of having their trial moved to London where there will be less prejudice. John Edward Taylor disagreed with Wolseley with respect to supporting the Chester prisoners: “I have good reason to doubt whether they exhibit that exemplary discharge of private duties, or that high sense of correct morality…”

[Note: John Edward Taylor founded the Manchester Guardian in 1821, a newspaper that continues to this day as The Guardian.]

1818, December 7 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that a schism exists amongst the Stockport Reformers. “Bagguley writes furiously against Mitchell to Harrison – No trust.”

1818, December 20 – Letter from William Cobbett (exiled in the USA) to Joseph Harrison and the Stockport Reformers, thanking them for the praise delivered at the Stockport meeting held on 28 September. He warns them to avoid all attacks upon the King and his family.

1818, December 21 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that the “Reformers and Band of Union at the School-Room here are splitting.”

1818, December 23 – The schism in the Stockport Union leads to an additional committee of 9 persons to oversee the prisoner’s subscriptions with Thomas Cheetham, surgeon as treasurer and Harrison continuing as secretary.

A “base and scandalous report” had been circulated by someone in the Stockport Union “to the great of Mr Bagguley’s character.” Harrison and four others investigated the subject and found it to be “a most groundless falsehood.”

[Note: I can only speculate that the scandal relates to Bagguley appropriating Union funds. Perhaps the rumours were started by Mitchell?]

[Note: On 10 August, 1818 it was resolved that John Bagguley, James Sims and Charles Marsland be appointed to collect funds to support the incarcerated Stockport cotton spinners. (MO Aug 29, 1818.) ]

1818, December 24 – Sir Charles Wolseley sends a letter to Bagguley informing him 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.” (When Wolseley asked Burdett to join him in giving bail he curtly refused.) Wolseley mentions that he received a letter from Harrison that “the Committee and the Union are at variance.”

burdett2Sir Francis Burdett (Baronet)
(1770 – 1844)

1818, December 31 – Harrison visits Bagguley and co. at Chester Castle. He notes that Johnston and Bagguley are sick with typhus fever.


1819, January 1 – Harrison receives a letter from Alexander McDonald, Bridgeton, Glasgow, pledging their support to the Chester prisoners and resolve to open a subscription.

[Note: The following year – April 5, 1820 the Scottish Radicals of Bridgeton and Calton near Glasgow would gather bearing Radical banners and the Saltire ready to join the uprising.]

1819, January 4 – Harrison attends the Reform meeting at Oldham and solicits support for the imprisoned Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston. The Cap of Liberty is hoisted (possibly its debut display in the north.) (MO Jan 9, 1819.)


“…Harrison’s speech was chiefly occupied advising the renewal of the Union. He said there was a very firm Union at Stockport which gave great efficiency to their efforts. They paid a weekly contribution and by that means they had always a fund for any exigency that might occur…” (HO 42/183 fol. 385)

1819, January 7 – Harrison writes to Alexander McDonald. Mentions that Lloyd “the solicitor for the prosecution must be satisfied with the bail, and his influence with the Court at Chester, is very great.” Also mentions that their petition of the 28th 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.”

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 its shaggy mane? If the roses have their thorns, the thistle has its prickles…

Joseph Harrison


1819, January 11 – Harrison re-opens Bagguley’s Day and Evening school.

1819, January 17 – Henry Hunt arrived at Stockport and “after taking tea at a friend’s house…visited the Union Rooms…On Mr. H’s entering the lecture room, the music struck off, in the stile, “See the Conquering Hero comes.” …After supper, Mr. Hunt spent the remaining part of the evening in pointing out measures proper to be adopted to procure a fair trial for Messrs Johnston, Bagguley and Drummond.”

[Background Note: Henry Hunt had been invited by the Spenceans to speak at a public rally at Spa-Fields, London on 15th November, 1816. The meeting ended peacefully and it was resolved to deliver a petition to the Prince Regent  requesting electoral reform and to hold another meeting to learn its fate.

henry_huntHenry Hunt
(1773 –  1835)

The petition was blocked by Lord Sidmouth and a second meeting was held on 2nd December. Before Hunt arrived the revolutionary Spenceans had roused the crowd to riot and stormed the Tower of London. The rebellion ended in failure and Thistlewood, Watson, Preston and Hooper were put to trial but later acquitted.]


1819, January 17 – In a letter written from Joseph Johnson to Henry Hunt in 1822 he recalls that he first met Hunt at Mr. Whitworth’s. “On our arrival at Stockport we went to the house of Mr. W. H. Cheetham. and thence to the Red Lion, where a supper and bed had been provided for you.”

1819, January 18 – The Reformers head off to St. Peter’s Field. “Mr. J. Mitchell, who, by request, had accompanied Mr. Hunt in the carriage from Stockport, along with Mr. W. H. Cheetham, and Mr. Thos. Cheetham, surgeon, of that town…” MO 23 Jan, 1819.

 [Background note: Hunt knew Mitchell from the London Hampden Club convention, held at the Crown & Anchor in January, 1817, where the delegates decided upon the doctrine of Parliamentary Reform. Mitchell had moved that votes be taken by ballot which was carried by the majority. Hunt moved an amendment to Cobbett’s householder suffrage for universal suffrage which was also carried by the majority; and the question of annual parliaments was carried unanimously. Hence the reform doctrine officially became:]

Universal Suffrage.
Annual Parliaments.
Vote by Ballot.

[The Hampden Club Convention was attended by Maj. John Cartwright (Chairman), William Cobbett, Henry Hunt, John Battersby (Leigh), William Benbow (Manchester), Joseph Mitchell (Liverpool), Samual Bamford (Middleton), William Fitton (Royton), and many others.]

1819, January 18 – Reform Meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester where Henry Hunt deputized for the imprisoned radical leader Bagguley. On the stage were Hunt (chairman), Knight, Mitchell, Ogden, Fitton, Saxton, Harrison and Cheetham. The Cap of Liberty was mounted atop a flag with the inscription “Hunt and Liberty.” One of the resolutions was to draft a remonstrance to the Prince regent. The stage collapsed part way through proceedings. Harrison introduced himself as “their chaplain on the field of battle.” Livesey the spy took notes of the speeches.

[Note: John Thacker Saxton had formerly lived in Sheffield and moved to Manchester in 1818.]

1819, January 18 – Henry Hunt writes in his memoirs that “I slept at Stockport the night before, and was accompanied from that town to the place of meeting by thousands of the people. When I arrived there, none of the parties who had invited me to Manchester, Messrs. Johnson, Whitworth, and Co. accompanied me upon the hustings…”

1819, January 18 – Dinner held for Hunt at the Spread Eagle Inn, Manchester. When Wolseley’s letter was read it stirred the audience with it’s criticism of Hunt. Harrison leapt to Wolseley’s defence eulogising him and said he had taken disgust to Hunt from his conduct at the Westminster Election. “They became violent on both sides of the question – several up at once to speak.”

service-pnp-ds-01000-01038vWestminster Election, 1818. (Hunt on Left.)

1819, January 21 – The London spy ‘C’ reported that “On Thursday last [21st Jan] the Committee (Spenceans) met at Watson’s house… Hunt is expected to bring all the information which he can collect in the North. He is expected to be at a Meeting at Stockport to day and intends going to Shields & Birmingham & several other places before his return.” HO42/190.

1819, January 23 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse that he expects a reform meeting soon and promises that “we will not be disgraced by the Cap of Liberty being borne over our bridge.”

1819, January 25 – Hunt obtains a warrant against George Torr charging him with assault in the Manchester Theatre Royal.

[Note: On the night of January 22, Hunt had taken a box with Joseph Johnson, Nicholas Whitworth and Thomas Chapman whilst Mitchell and a group of less genteel Radicals were seated in the gallery. Upon Hunt’s arrival cries of “Hunt and Liberty!” went up from the Radicals  followed by “God Save the King!” from the Loyalists. When God Save the King was played and Hunt’s party refused to stand and remove their hats a fracas erupted with officers of the 7th Hussars ejecting Hunt from the theatre.]  

1819, January 26 – Hunt and Whitworth are examined by four magistrates regarding the warrant against George Torr. Hunt mentioned “…Some friends from Stockport [Harrison] wrote me and wished my advice respecting them and whether it could not be removed to London… I thought they could not have a fair trial in a county where there is so much prejudice… I waited on a Counsel in London with the case and to advise as to removing their trials on affidavits into the adjoining county… ” Whitworth burst into tears under examination when asked whether he had bitten anyone at the theatre. “I did not bite anyone, do you think me such a brute or dog.” [Manchester Mercury, Feb 2, 1819. pg 4]

[Note: This may explain Hunt’s dislike for Whitworth and Johnson. He considered them cowards.]

1819, January 26 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse and reports that Hunt confessed he was applied to by letter from Harrison about the Chester prisoners. Hunt received advice that they could not remove the trial to London but if they suspected partiality may apply to have their trial in an adjoining county.

1819, February 15 – The London spy ‘C’ reports that “…Watson [London Spencean] told the company at his lodgings that Sir Charles Wolseley & Mr. Northmore had been with him and assured him that they should be ready at any time to side with the people but the Dr added that nothing would be done till they would get four or five thousand people of one mind…” (HO 42/190.)

1819, February 15 – Reform Meeting at Sandy Brow, Stockport (Sandy Brow Fight.) – On the stage were Saxton (chairman), Fitton, Knight, Ogden and Harrison. A fight broke out when the local Yeomanry cavalry led by William Birch, Walker and Nathaniel Pass attempted to seize the Cap of Liberty from the stage but were pelted with stones and forced to retreat. The Riot Act was read and the crowd dispersed to the Market Place where it was read a second time. Lloyd’s own son was beaten up by the mob there. The Stockport Yeomanry patrolled the streets but were attacked with Birch being severely hurt.

[Note: This is probably the same cap given to Hunt from Richard Carlile and the one Hunt mentions in his memoirs as having sent to “Wroe, at Manchester, to be used at the first Manchester meeting.” Upon the border of the cap was painted “Hunt and Liberty.” Possibly first hoisted in the north at Oldham on January 4, 1819. Therefore the Radicals would have cherished the Cap with great symbolic importance.]


You have petitioned long to no effect, now you are remonstrating, and perhaps it will be with as little effect. Words are but wind. But I know your patience – you have borne long. – I know your humanity, – it must be dire necessity that will compel you to harsh measures. It is not cowardice, but a tender feeling for your fellow creatures which makes you forbear in the manner you do, you are the patientest people in the world…

Joseph Harrison

1819, February 15 – Dinner at the Windmill Rooms. Lloyd, Prescot the Magistrate and a company of the 80th foot regiment with fixed bayonets went to the Rooms demanding the Cap of Liberty. They searched the rooms and had Harrison sign a proclamation that he would give it up if in his possession. Lloyd writes to Hobhouse “they are traitors and Revolutionists – and I am enabled to prove what I say – They are now organising for a Revolution.”

Foot_GuardsFoot regiment of era.

1819, March – James George Bruce arrives in Stockport and is employed by Harrison to take charge of his school – Bruce recalls that Harrison “employed me as writing master. I was directed to apply to Mr. Harrison for a situation, when he said you are in good time, for my time will be fully employed at Chester during the Assizes.”

1819, March 4 – Harrison writes to Bagguley. Mentions there is a “great deal of talk about pikes being amongst the Reformers but am certain it is a Police plot to injure you on your trial.”

My dear friends you are in a state of confinement but the cause for which you are thus suffering is glorious – I say again be of good cheer our cause will be finally victorious…

Joseph Harrison

1819, March 12 – Joseph Harrison and James Moorhouse cheekily attended a public meeting held at the Warren Bulkeley Arms, Stockport convened to petition Parliament against the renewal of the Insolvent Debtor’s Act. Rev. Charles Prescot was called to the chair. Moorhouse put forward an amendment which was seconded by Harrison. Harrison said “that he should be very sorry if the Insolvent Debtors’ Act were suffered to expire, without some law being provided in favour of poor debtors…” It was reported that “even Birch himself did not attempt to molest the Patriots, or disturb the harmony of the meeting.” (MO 20 Mar, 1819.)

1819, March 20 – The poem “Sandy Brow” is dedicated to Joseph Harrison.

1819, March 23 – The London spy ‘C’ reports that at the last Crown & Anchor meeting [21st March] Doctor Watson (London Spencean) was absent as “…he was engaged with a Committee at his own house, which was attended by Sir C. Wolseley…” (HO42/190.)

1819, March 28 – Bagguley writes to Harrison and mentions they are to be tried by a special jury “consisting of nothing but Baronets & Esquires.”

1819, March 30 – Bagguley writes to Harrison requesting he “make enquiries relative to the characters and principles” of the jurors.

1819, March 31 – Harrison writes to Bagguley and mentions “it is earnestly recommended by your committee that you would plead your own cause.”

1819, April 2 – Letter from Wolseley to Bagguley who writes “I am sorry to hear that some rascal has been writing against Mr Harrison – I fear he made himself enemies in his exertions to get rid of Mitchell.”

1819, April 4 – Bagguley writes to Harrison and lets him know that “it is our intention each and all to plead our own causes.”

1819, April 10 – Harrison receives a letter from Thomas Walker, (cabinet maker and Secretary of the Political Protestants of Hull,) pledging a subscription to support the Chester prisoners.

[Note: Thomas Walker was introduced to Oliver the spy in April 1817 at the central committee of delegates in Dewsbury. Oliver also met John Dickenson and James Willan there. (HO 40/9/2 fol. 77-124)]

1819, April – Bagguley, Johnston and Drummond found guilty and sentenced to two years at Chester Castle. The key witness is Lloyd’s own son John Horatio Lloyd.

[Note: With Sidmouth’s approval, Hobhouse had directed a Treasury loan to Lloyd so that he could afford to continue John Horatio’s education at Oxford.]

1819, April 17 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse to inform him that “I prepared a bill of indictment against Joseph Harrison for a libel against the Justice Mr. Prescot relative to his conduct on the day of the riots but…was advised not to present it.”

1819, April 18 – After a sermon preached by Joseph Harrison at the Windmill School (with the aim of collecting names to protest against the unfair imprisonment of Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston,) Constable Birch, Robinson (corn dealer) and Andrew (brewer) acting as special constables arrived and  insulted the people and “took away a pen or pens, and made a snatch at the sheets that were laid for signature; and when remonstrated with upon his conduct, he called them a riotous assembly, and swore he would read the Riot Act, and take upon himself the power of the Magistrate.”

Not satisfied with harassing the petitioners alone, Birch went to a local tavern frequented by the Reformers and snatched a copy of the Observer from a patron and threw it in the fire. When the patron’s wife remonstrated Birch threw his mug of beer at her face, causing severe cuts and spoiling her dress.

1819, April 19 – Lloyd reports that the Reformers had drafted a petition for a new trial which was confiscated by the constables who were stoned in retaliation.

1819, April 22 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that Harrison and about 5 men have arrived at Chester courthouse with the petition “a scroll of parchment 12 yards long.” Lloyd scoffed, “I hope they will carry it to the Judge.”

1819, April 24 – An anonymous letter with initials R.S. is sent to the Black Dwarf newspaper critisizing Harrison for the way he managed the trial of the Chester prisoners.

1819, April 25 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse defending himself against a 30 pounds “present” that had been paid to Livesey the spy for supplying information against Bagguley and co.

1819, April 28 – Article in the Black Dwarf in support of Harrison regarding the letter from R.S. It mentions that Harrison endeavoured unsuccessfully to obtain the renowned Charles Pearson as their attorney.

1819, May 6 – Harrison writes to Thomas Wooler, editor of Black Dwarf defending himself against accusations of negligence made by R.S. Harrison says he “succeeded in obtaining support for these unfortunate men, when violently opposed by an association called the Stockport Union.”

1819, May 8 – Letter from James Pollit to the editor Manchester Observer – gives reasons for the schism in the Stockport Union “Because one declares for Hull Rules — another for Stockport.”  He also mentions that the “Reformers at Stockport have two objectives at home, which claim their immediate attention, viz. — Provision for the prisoners — and the support of their schools.”

[Note: So it seems the schism was primarily based on the application of the Union’s funds. It appears Harrison (as secretary of the Prisoners Committee) wanted the funds going toward the prisoners relief and the General Committee wanted the funds going toward the support of the schools. There was also disagreement as to what rules the Union would follow. The Hull rules are outlined in the August 19, 1818 edition of the Black Dwarf.]

[Note: Donald Read writes that the Hull rules “were not so detailed as those of the Unions following Harrison’s plan… Class leaders were to meet once a month ‘to report the progress of the Institution’, and books and accounts were to lie open ‘for the inspection of Magistrates or others’. The Hull rules were thus much less detailed and systematic than the Stockport rules… the Political Protestants concentrated mainly on the mutual acquisition of political information, whereas Unions on the Stockport model pursued a policy of nightly indoctrination with a whole hierarchy of officers and representatives… with their greater organization they were also better suited to the national effort which the Radicals were making in 1819…” (pg 49, Peterloo, Donald Read, 1958)]

1819, May 20 – Scathing letter from John Thacker Saxton to the editor of Manchester Observer regarding Harrison’s opposition to his plan for a People’s Press. Saxton believes Harrison refused his support because he [Saxton] was a ‘sincere friend’ of Joseph Mitchell. Saxton writes “…about six months ago when on a visit to Stockport, I found faction spreading itself among the disciples of the Rev. Gentleman, and even the passions of his hearers roused from the imposing cant of pulpit eloquence, for the purpose of crushing the persecuted and unfortunate Mr. Mitchell… and was refused the support of this right Rev. Gentleman; a man, destitute of political knowledge, and whose conduct for a length of time past has tended to divide, rather than unite a host of the most enlightened patriots of England…”

[Note: Before making judgement on Harrison take a look at Drummond’s comments below on June 9.]

1819, May 21 – Letter from Johnston to Harrison absolving Harrison of negligence. “you left nothing undone which ought to have been done, and which it was in your power to do.”

1819, May – The Spencean Arthur Thistlewood is released from prison.

1819, May 22 – Lloyd visits Hobhouse in London to discuss expenses for the prosecution of Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston.

1819, May – Hunt visits Lord Sidmouth in London to deliver the Manchester remonstrance and Stockport petition [drafted and signed by Joseph Harrison. HO 42/183 fol. 305] to be presented to the Prince Regent.

800px-Henry_Addington_by_BeecheyLord Sidmouth
(1757 – 1844)

1819, May 29 – Hunt writes to Lord Sidmouth furious that he “declines presenting to his royal highness the Prince Regent the remonstrance and the petition of the people of Manchester and Stockport” and demands the return of the documents.

george4thPrince Regent (George IV)
(1762 – 1830)

1819, May 30 – Joseph Harrison preached two sermons at the Windmill Rooms and collections made for the relief of the families of the Cotton Spinners confined in Chester Castle.

1819, June 1 – Harrison writes to Bagguley regarding false reports that the Reformers plan to break them out of prison and assures him “you may sleep peaceably in your beds without fear of the castle being battered down about your ears. The above mentioned report is probably a trick of of your old friend Mr Lloyd with a view to make your imprisonment as irksome as possible.” With regard to the schism in the Stockport Union, he informs Bagguley that “you may expect to hear no more of discords and divisions for I hope the union friends will be steady to their post and let us alone and that we shall endeavour to give no offence to any one.” (HO 42/188)

1819, June 6 – Letter from Bagguley to Harrison proposing that a national union be established. “Now Sir as a matter of preparation let corresponding societies be established all over the Kingdom, the result of which will be a national union: such societies will inform us of our strength and in the time of need we shall know where to look for assistance: and in the hour of danger for a friendly asylum.”

1819, June 6 – Harrison held an evening lecture at the Manchester Union School Rooms, George-Leigh Street.

1819, June 7 – Reform Meeting of Delegates held at Oldham Union Rooms. John Knight (Chairman), Joseph Harrison, William Fitton, John Haigh speakers. The Delegates came from Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Halifax, Elland, Ripponden, Mixenden, Rochdale, Bury, Haslingden, Blackburn, Bolton, Chowbent, Manchester, Royton, Middleton, Ashton under line, Saddleworth, New Mills in Derbyshire, Stockport, Macclesfield etc. According to the government informer Chippendale the first and principal Subject for Consideration and discussion was a general Rising.

1819, June 9 – Letter from Samuel Drummond to his father. Says Mitchell is no spy “but he is sure he is no patriot – Self aggrandisement is his object – He is bold ambitious & presuming & will have the lead or will create disunion.” He accounts for Harrison not being indicted with them for he had finished his address when the witnesses arrived and Livesey payed no attention to him.”

1819, June 13 – John Castle (Grantham near Nottingham) writes to Lord Sidmouth requesting leave to go to America with his family. (HO 42/188 fol. 741)

[Note: John Castle was the active spy during the Spa Fields riots of 1816.]

1819, June 14 – Reform meeting at Hurst near Ashton-under-Lyne. On the stage was Harrison (chairman), Saxton, Dr. Healy and Wright Smith of Stockport (later injured at Peterloo.) Harrison paid Hunt a compliment by saying “he himself, was at one period, at a loss what to think of him; but he thanked God, the veil had been taken off, and he had appeared amongst the friends of liberty in Lancashire, in all the semblence of unsophisticated purity. He was he conceived, most deservedly entitled to their very warmest thanks.” He also told the crowd that the local magistrate Rev. Chetwode had offered 50 pounds for the capture of the Cap of Liberty. Upon hearing this the crowd held up large bludgeons and declared they would defend it with their lives. (Manchester Observer, 19 June, 1819)

It is certainly the aim of the Boroughmongers to divide (and keep divided) the friends of freedom; you will hear a thousand lies, but believe not every report; your leaders may disagree in little personal matters, but they will be one in the general cause, instance the case of myself, Mr. Saxton, and others, this day. (Loud Cheering.)

Joseph Harrison

On the Address of praise to Mr. Carlile, the Chairman said:

Gentlemen, you may think it strange that I as a Minister of the Gospel, should bring forward this motion, but my sentiment is, that reason ought to be opposed to reason. If Mr. Paine’s opinions, as published in the age of reason, are errorneous, let them be overthrown by reason, and truth, for it would be unfair to attack the publisher with prosecutions, fines, and imprisonments, as it would be to attack this unarmed, and peaceable meeting, with a large body of armed men…

Joseph Harrison

Richard_Carlile_SketchRichard Carlile
(1790 – 1843)

1819, June 15 – Report of Chippendale (Oldham) to Sidmouth. – “In the course of his speech Harrison commended the People for their patience and strongly enjoined them to continue patient a short time longer He said it would be necessary to wait a few days perhaps a few weeks but he did not doubt that all the necessary preparations would be ready in less than two months, and measures would be taken for the grand movement to commence in many parts of the country on one and the same day…” (HO 42/188 folio 223.)

[Note: Very interesting to note that these words were spoken exactly two months before Peterloo. The question is was Harrison intimating at a revolution or was he just advocating mass platform agitation to show the enemy they were outnumbered and hence pressure them to enact Reform?]

I forgot to mention in its proper place an expression of some importance made use of by Harrison speaking of the approach of the great crisis, he said that winter would presently be staring them in the face and it would be the height of folly and imputence to let the summer step over without a grand effort – from the manner which Saxton intimated Hunt’s return to Manchester it may be presumed that that place is intended to be the scene of important operations if not the grand focus of insurrection.

William Chippendale

1819, June 17 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse asking advice of the upcoming Manchester meeting and whether they must take the Cap of Liberty when hoisted. He adds that the object of the meeting is to advise the people that the Manchester remonstrance and Stockport petition have been blocked by Lord Sidmouth.

1819, June 21 – It is reported by Humphreys (Bow Street Police) that the London Union with George (president) and Palin (secretary) who meet at the Crown and Anchor, King Street, Seven Dials “have a correspondence with the Stockport and other Provincial Meetings.” HO42/190.

[Note: Palin [John Palin] would later be implicated in the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820.]

1819, June 26 – Warrant request by Lord Sidmouth to open the letters of Rev. Joseph Harrison, John Knight, James Mann and James Willan. Hobhouse advises that all important passages should be copied and passed to Sidmouth, but the original letters should be delivered in the normal way unless they are likely to be useful as evidence against the author.

[Note: Oliver the spy had attempted unsuccessfully to seduce James Willan (printer of Dewsbury) into acts of violence during his northern tour of 1817.] 

[Note: James Mann (Leeds) had been arrested along with 9 other delegates on June 6, 1817 at Thornhill Lees for planning an uprising. (see Liberty or Death, Brooke & Kipling, 2012.)

1819, June 27 – Sir Charles Wolseley arrives in Stockport with Lewis and Goodman.

1819, June 28 – Prior to the Reform Meeting a delegation met with Rev. Prescot the magistrate to request his attendance to maintain order and tranquility. Prescot replied “No, no… fine talking, when stones and sticks are flying, to think that it is in the power of two or three individuals to stop the torrent.”

1819, June 28 – Stockport Reform meeting at Sandy Brow. On the hustings were Joseph Johnson, Lewis, Fitton, Ogden, James Willan, Goodman, Wroe, Wolseley (chairman), Harrison, the Stockport Committee, W. C. Walker (the sailor) and a soldier. Before the meeting commenced Constable Collier was singled out by the crowd and clubbed over the head for earlier searching the people’s belongings for the Cap of Liberty which was rumoured to be coming over the Lancashire Bridge. In his speech Wolseley proclaimed that “Sandy Brow would be more famed in history than the field of Waterloo.” Harrison spoke of the practice of petitioning the House of Commons in its present state as “absolute folly…if there be a thousand walls between us and our Prince, we will blow them down either to heaven or hell, but we will have them down.”

Those who embarked in the cause of reform must hold their lives as he held his hat (it was in his hand): nay, they must not be afraid to let it go (here he threw it among the people): it was not worth 7 shillings in the cause of freedom.’ When his hat was returned he said, ‘You see my friends we shall get our lives again!’…

Joseph Harrison

I was at the taking of the Bastille; and heavens know how gladly I would assist in assailing the Bastilles of England.

Sir Charles Wolseley

If we say we will have our rights – who will withstand us – We would have the enemy to know, that the smell of gunpowder is nothing new to millions of Englishmen, who like fools had capsized what they thought were their enemies abroad, and were now ready to face what they had proved to be their enemies at home. If then the enemy will not surrender, it will be high time to cut the cable, and then my hearties, ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY. (Very great applause.) 

W. C. Walker

[Note: W. C. Walker “sailor boy” had one week earlier attended the Manchester June 21 meeting. More about him later. (MO July 3, 1819)]


[Note: Could this Manchester Cathedral baptism entry below from February 2nd, 1819 help identify William Walker? ]


1819, June 30 – Wolseley writes to the postmaster at Stockport suspecting that a letter written by Harrison was delivered late “to serve the purpose of some corrupt men in Stockport.” Mentions that Harrison told him a letter he received had been broken open.

1819, June 30 – Dr. Watson (London Spencean) writes to Harrison requesting he raise a subscription for Henry Hunt to defray his expenses in advocating the cause of freedom. He also includes a copy of the resolutions in his letter.

1819, June 30 – Hobhouse writes to Lloyd about the last Reform Meeting asking “what is the cause that your peace officers at Stockport were so few.”

1819, July 1 – Ralph Fletcher of Bolton le Moors writes to Sidmouth – “Your Lordship will have been informed of what passed at Stockport on Monday last. The Presiding of a Baronet will doubtless give additional Eclat to the measures of the Reformists. All our Informers have for sometime past, reported that in the secret enclaves of the Seditious, the want of some Person of Rank and Character to lead them has been regularly the subject of their Regret. They have now such an one in the Person of Sir Charles Wolseley, who appears to be quite ready to volunteer his services in the cause of Revolution.” HO 42/189

1819, July 3 – Lloyd replies to Hobhouse’s letter regarding why the “peace officers at Stockport were so few” saying he “can only account for it in a manner that is not only disgraceful to the town but to those who accepted the Office of special constables individually and I will say it is fear.”

1819, July 3 – General Byng writes to Lord Sidmouth to inform him that after hearing of Wolseley’s attendance at the Stockport Meeting and being fearful that it “may lead to the worst of consequences,” expedites the movement of both squadrons of the 15th Hussars to Lancashire (approximately 600 mounted men.)

[Note: The same 15th Hussars who would be present at Peterloo a month later.]

15th_hussarsOfficer of 15th Hussars

1819, July 4 – The Stockport Radical Robert Jump was indicted for assault – In a letter to Bagguley on the 14th July Harrison mentioned that “… You will be anxious to hear something concerning brother Jump – He and two others went to Marple on the 4th inst & having taken rather too much beer with a friend, were noisy on their return home. – A certain chapel warden attempted to take them into custody from whom they broke loose – They were waited indicted for an assault & rescue & for speaking against His Majesty’s Ministers – They are bound over to the Assizes but it is not likely there will be any prosecution…”

[Note: “At the meetings of Hunt’s supporters, which were frequently held in Stockport, a tall bricklayer named Robert Jump, used to carry a pole, on the top of which was a tin cone dignified by the title of the Cap of Liberty. After the meetings, this cone was usually filled with beer, which the colour-bearers drank to the success of the movement…” (“Stockport Ancient and Modern”, Henry Heginbotham, 1882)]

1819, July 5 – Blackburn Reform Meeting. On the stage were Harrison, Knight (chairman), Saxton, Wroe, Mitchell, Fitton, Nathan Broadhurst and the locals Latus, Dewhurst and Austin. The Blackburn Female Reform Society mounted the stage and presented the chairman with the Cap of Liberty. A dispute broke out between Mitchell and Saxton with Mitchell supporting household suffrage and Saxton universal suffrage. Harrison passed a resolution that “whenever the boroughmongers attempt to suspend our rights, laws and liberties, the people should take it as a signal for generally assembling throughout the nation, to defend themselves, and preserve their liberties.”

[Note: So it seems that Harrison was not advocating revolution but declaring that the People were justified in assembling in numbers as a show of force in defence of their rights.]

“The Rev’d Harrison from Stockport said that he would not say any thing in favour of the people carrying arms. He thought they were sufficiently strong to resist all attacks without them. For what had they to contend against? A phantom! A mere phantom! The soldiers he was well assured, were from the higher general to the lower private favourable to their rights, and he had no doubt that if it was brought to issue nine out of ten would join the people.” (HO 42/189 fol. 464)

1819, July 5 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse and mentions article in the Manchester Observer submitted by Moorhouse which “has some what disconcerted our worthy Rector [Prescot] whom they call “Noodle” his son “Doodle” – The High Constable of the Division – “Tom Pudding” & myself by the more honourable or distinguished name or title of “Jack the Giant-Killer…”

1819, July 5 – Hobhouse writes to Lloyd that he is sorry to hear of the townsmens’ lack of nerve, without which he sees no hope of resolving the problems currently faced. He states that there were ample grounds to proceed against Sir Charles Wolseley, except for a lack of evidence. (HO 79/3)

1819, July 6 – Hunt writes to Johnson. “I am delighted to see the report of the Stockport Meeting & I am also very happy to perceive that Sir Charles Wolseley conducted himself so well. Really he is now fairly in with us, in the cause of the People, and altho’ he is not the most brilliant Man in the world, nor the boldest perhaps, yet I believe him now to be honestly & sincerely with us, therefore we must cherish him.” (TS11/1056)

1819, July 8 – Hunt accepts the invitation from the Spenceans “Committee of 200” to chair the Reform Meeting at Smithfield, London on July 21st.

1819, July 10 – Hobhouse writes to Lloyd that he believes the revolution will not start at the Smithfield meeting, and that there is no intention to create an insurrection before the Manchester meeting on 2 August.

1819, July 12 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse to inform him that Harrison “goes to town today to confer with the Committee of 200.” Lloyd also mentions that he has been to Manchester to meet with the Orange Society who “have made me an offer to take up arms in the cause of their King & the laws.”

1819, July 12 – Barnsley Reform Meeting – Thomas Farrimond (Chairman), Richard Jackson, Joseph Brayshaw, James Willan (Speakers).

[Note: Thomas Farrimond had appeared in Oliver’s 1817 “narrative” as a delegate for Barnsley. (HO 40/9/2.) Farrimond also met Oliver the spy and 10 other delegates at a public house near Wakefield shortly before the meeting at Thornhill Lees. (HO 40/16 fol. 148) ]

[Note: Thomas Farrimond was the following month sent as a delegate to Peterloo and initially suspected by the Stockport Radicals of being a spy until cleared by Henry Hunt. (HO 40/16 fol. 146)] 

[Note: Thomas Farrimond later played a leading role in the 12 April, 1820 Grange Moor uprising.]

[Note: “One of the leaders of the insurgents in Barnsley, Thomas Ferrimond, said he had once met Peter Lever in Leeds.” (HO 40/16 fol. 146)]

[Note: James Willan had attended the Stockport 28 June, 1819 Reform Meeting. Also Oliver the spy had attempted to seduce Willan into acts of violence in 1817.]

[Note: Joseph Brayshaw would later be the Radical emmisary to Scotland. (Brayshaw’s Account of the Missions.)]

1819, July 12 – Reform Meeting held in Birmingham to unofficially elect Sir Charles Wolseley as “Legislatorial Attorney of the People of Birmingham in Parliament for one year.”

1819, July 13 – Indictments found against Harrison and Wolseley for the Meeting on 28th June at Stockport. The judge read the charge and said that “this country might be said to be in a state of civil war.”

1819, July 14 – Harrison writes to Drummond at Chester Castle informing him that he has been indicted and therefore may no longer be the Secretary of the relief fund. Also mentions that he has been invited to attend the London Meeting.

If I be thrown into a prison I wish you may have another friend raised up by the divine providence that will be as solicitous to your welfare & comfort as I have been – as to myself it is not worth a thought let Sidmouth do as he pleases, as long as he can, but my wife, my children, my friends…

Joseph Harrison

1819, July 14 – Sir Charles Wolseley arrested at Wolseley Hall, Staffordshire by constable Birch and Pass. Sir Charles, Major Cartwright, and Thomas Wooler were taking “sweet counsel together” in a field adjoining the house when arrested.

800px-CS_p3.122_-_Wolseley_Hall,_Staffordshire_-_Morris's_County_Seats,_1879Wolseley Hall

1819, July 15 – Hobhouse writes to General Byng that he has just heard that Wolseley and Harrison have been indicted for sedition. (HO 79/3)

1819, July 17 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse writes that Wolseley has been bailed and “Harrison is out of the way at present – after the officer had searched & the people rose to prevent his arrest…If he goes to London I will have him taken there.” Also mentions that the “Reformers have chalked the tower over “Death to Lloyd – The Traitor.”

1819, July 19 – Meeting of the Female Reformers of Stockport – after hearing of his indictment there were tears and cries of “Harrison and Liberty for ever!”

1819, July 19 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse writes that he has dispatched the officers to London (William Birch and Nathaniel Pass) to fetch down Harrison.

1819, July 19 – Nottingham Reform Meeting – Principal speakers were Harrison, Simpson, Farrands and Frank Ward.

1819, July 20 – Harrison and Frank Ward of Nottingham travel to London.

[Note: Frank Ward was one of the Radicals arrested under the suspension of Habeas Corpus in 1817.]

1819, July 21 – Smithfield Reform Meeting – On the stage were Henry Hunt (chairman), Joseph Harrison, Dr. Watson, Arthur Thistlewood, Gast and some members of the Spencean “Committee of 200.” Part way through proceedings the city officers backed by Lord Mayor Atkins apprehended Harrison upon the hustings. Hunt managed to keep the crowd under control from this provocative move.

366px-Portrait_of_right_honourable_John_Atkins,_Lord_Mayor_of_London_1819_(4674415)Lord Mayor John Atkins
(c. 1754–1838)

[Part of Hunt’s speech: “…Lord Sidmouth would not present the Westminster remonstrance, because it was notoriously untrue; he would not present the Manchester remonstrance, because he did not know why. He would not present the Stockport Remonstrance, for the very same reason, which was just no reason at all. What however did he do? Why, at the very next meeting of the people of Stockport, he sent down his tools to arrest Sir C. Wolseley and Mr. Harrison.
At this moment a considerable hustle took place, which was occasioned by the arrival of Brown and Wontner, the city Marshals, with a posse of 30 constables, to arrest Mr. Harrison.“]

[Note: Click here to see print of the Smithfield Meeting and Harrison’s arrest.]

We respect our Prince, and venerate the family and title by which the House of Brunswick holds the throne. I am persuaded we may obtain our rights and privileges without bloodshed. The horrible scenes of revolutionary France will never desolate our beautiful island. We have no occasion for fighting. Let every village and city act like the people of the metropolis, and what could resist them? A nation never can err. Jehovah will bless you, and assist your exertions. Your cause is his…

Joseph Harrison

1819, July 21 – Harrison is detained at the Giltspur Street Compter and the moderate Reformer Alderman Waithman rushed in to protest against Harrison’s apprehension.

Image_taken_from_page_1093_of_'Old_and_New_London,_etc'_(11189432026)Giltspur Street Compter

524px-ONL_(1887)_1.066_-_Alderman_Waithman,_from_an_authentic_portraitAlderman Robert Waithman
(1764 – 1833)

1819, July 21 – After the Meeting Hunt dispatched two confidential friends to enquire for Harrison and ask if he wished for bail. Harrison replied that he was to be sent off with the officers William Birch and Nathaniel Pass to Cheshire where he had bail ready.

1819, July 22 – Joseph Harrison is visited by Arthur Thistlewood at Giltspur Street Compter. – Thistlewood addressed Teague, the keeper of Giltspur-street compter, and said he wished for an order to see Harrison. Teague sought advice from Alderman Magnay who advised Thistlewood to apply at the Mansion-house, where he would find the Lord Mayor. “… Thistlewood bowed and retired, but returned shortly afterwards, his Lordship being from home on a water excursion. The Alderman expressing no further disinclination, Mr. Teague left the office, and accompanied Mr. Thistlewood himself to the Compter…” (The Times, July 23, 1819.)


1819, July 22 – Norris writes to Sidmouth that – “… The London meeting was to have given the tone here & that having failed the cords must be relaxed.
The apprehension of Harrison on the Hustings without tumult or an attempt at rescue in the city of London will have an incalculable effect here…” (HO 42/190 folio 318.)

1819, July 22 – A great concourse of people were assembled at Stockport in expectation of the arrival of Harrison. When an empty chaise passed through the town in which it was stated he was brought, it was instantly set upon and demolished.

1819, July 23 – Birch writes to Lloyd to inform him that he is conveying Harrison through Congleton and Cheadle to Stockport. [It was originally intended he travel by the Defiance coach which took a different route and fearing trouble a person was waiting to prevent him from going further.]

1819, July 23 – John Horatio Lloyd warned his father of the mob – “… At the time Mr. Lloyd was away from home, in another part of the town, and his son John Horatio went to warn him that the people were much excited against him, and to recommend him to return home by back-streets. This, however, Mr. Lloyd positively refused to do, and, accompanied by his son, he marched through the streets, which were filled by an angry and excited mob…” (Obituary of J.H. Lloyd.)

1819, July 23 – Constable William Birch brought Harrison in at 8 o’clock and took him to his own house where he was followed by the mob. Birch left Harrison at his house and sneaked out wearing a disguise to seek advice from Lloyd. Not finding Lloyd he returned home but was recognised by one of the Reformers and immediately surrounded. He was approached by James George Bruce (a hunchback), William Pearson and Jacob McInnis who were weavers and class leaders at Harrison’s Reform school. Whilst discussing bail with Bruce, McInnis produced a pistol and shot him.

[Note: McInnis was said to be on the point of marriage with a young woman of Stockport, when he committed the crime.]

1819, July 23 – The shooting took place outside Lloyd’s house and was witnessed by his family having dinner. Lloyd however was at the Warren Bulkeley Arms to discuss bail for Harrison. [McInnis later confessed that it was Lloyd that he intended to shoot but not finding him he took his vengeance out on Birch.]

1819, July 23 – A messenger from Stockport was sent to the Barracks at Manchester and a troop of the 15th Hussars arrived soon after to restore peace. 

15th Hussars

1819, July 23 – Hobhouse writes to Reverend Hay and mentions the importance of prosecuting seditious orators. “The prosecution of Wolseley and Harrison has had a visible effect on the demagogues, particularly Wooler.” (HO 79/3)

1819, July 23 – Hobhouse writes to General Byng and states that the “Reformers mustered on Wednesday, but their speeches were comparatively flat, and they allowed Harrison to be arrested, showing a lack of confidence in their own strength.” (HO 79/3)

1819, July 23 – General Byng to Hobhouse writes – “… And now let me congratulate you on the peaceful termination of Wednesdays Meeting, your arrest of Harrison during the Meeting, was in my humble opinion a most judicious measure, I will add a merciful one, it was shewing to perhaps many deluded Persons, the strength of the Civil Power, they may learn from it the folly of being in opposition to the Laws, and the deception practised upon them by the Itinerant Orators – …” (HO 42/190 folio 305.)

1819, July 24 – Birch is still alive but the surgeon has not been able to extract the ball. Harrison was sent to the lock-up-house but was liberated on bail by Moorhouse and Bramhall.

1819, July 24 – At Manchester a meeting of the magistrates was held calling upon the peaceable inhabitants to form themselves into voluntary associations and to furnish themselves with arms to act as occasion may require.

1819, July 25 – Henry Hunt attended a meeting at the White Lion, Wych St. London. Watson, Thistlewood and Preston were there and the accounts of the Smithfield Meeting were settled. A further subscription was raised to carry Longford, Harrison’s clerk and another back to Stockport. Longford is to send up two pamphlets that have been printed at Stockport, that the Society may reprint them in London.

[Note: Longford could be a misspelling for Longson. William Longson was a prominent spokesman amongst the Stockport weavers.]

[Note: It seems that the other Stockport man who accompanied Joseph Harrison to Smithfield was Joseph Whitelegg. (See 9th, 26th August, 1819). Whitelegg, a weaver, would be arrested for sedition in 1826 (see Urban Workers, Robert Glen, p. 273)]

Wych_Street_1870Wych Street, Strand, London.

1819, July 25 – Joseph Harrison released on bail preaches to a congregation of 5000 persons in the streets of Stockport.

1819, July 25 – Prescot writes to Sidmouth requesting arms and reporting that the sentinels at the barracks have been pelted with stones.

1819, July 26 – Reform Meeting at Rochdale. Principal speakers were Harrison, Fitton, Knight and Saxton. Harrison said “that he had that morning been running up and down Stockport, in consequence of two persons being in custody, owing to a bullet having been put into a Sheriff’s officer – that he had been neglecting his school, and had been under the necessity of engaging two persons to attend to it.”

He begged of them to beware of strangers, for it was difficult to tell who to trust. That the agents of government were at work, and intimated there might be some present even magistrates. That if they wished to succeed they must trust no one. They must depend on themselves. Be united & victory is yours.

Joseph Harrison

1819, July 26 – Sidmouth issues a proclamation promising a reward of 300 pounds for information on the person who fired the pistol at Birch.

1819, July 26 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse to inform him they have Bruce in custody “a principal man in the Union.” Bruce is described as being “about 30 years of age, of very insignificant appearance, being about five feet high, and a good deal deformed; but his face is intelligent, and his manner and language are those of a man of some education.”

1819, July 26 – Hobhouse writes to Reverend Hay that the atrocious act at Stockport may intimidate the Peace Officers and others willing to assist the Magistrates, but it will also show that the ‘disaffected’ will stop at nothing to advance their cause. (HO 79/3)

1819, July 27 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse to inform him that Bruce “was the usher of Harrison, living in his house.” He also writes that he hopes to prove that “there was a conspiracy to commit the act and that it was done in pursuance of that conspiracy and that it was formed in the Union Rooms.”

1819, July 29 – Hunt writes to Johnson asking for particulars of the Birch shooting. “Pray tell me of this Birch is one of those monsters who behaved in so inhumane a way to the poor Blanketeers.” He also mentions Harrison’s arrest at Smithfield”…It was known that I had procured good Bail for him in London, and that we were coming to bail him with most responsible Bail, when he was dragged away to make a show of him through the Country, and to exhibit him in custody at Stockport.”

1819, July 30 – It is reported in the papers that in consequence of the Birch shooting the Horse Artillery (two six pounder guns) and two troops of the 6th Carbineers march for the vicinity of Stockport and Manchester.

[Note: These troops would later attend Peterloo.]

rhaRoyal Horse Artillery

1819, August 1 – Letter from William Perry of the General Committee of the Stockport Union to Henry Hunt writes “the idea of your arrival strikes terror to the very foundation of the borough faction in this part of the country.”

1819, August 1 – Report from Mark Topham to Lord Sidmouth – “… many of the reformists had procured a many pikes nine feet in length with a sharp point a large hook fixed at one side and a chop axe on the other side and he had seen a many of them he told me that he and some other persons went down to a man the name of Jump [Robert Jump] in Stockport and asked him to let them look at his pikes Jump replyed and said he could shew them a good dish of pikes and he shewed them a great many of several sorts…” (HO 42/191 folio 269)

1819, August 1 – “On Tuesday and Wednesday, the first and second divisions of the 31st regiment of foot marched in upon us [Litchfield]; and proceeded on Wednesday and Thursday, on their route for Stockport, which seems to be a marked point, round which a cordon of troops, both horse and foot, are forming in considerable numbers.”

Officer_and_Private,_40th_Foot,_1815Foot regiment of era.

1819, August 2 – Reported that a party of the 31st Regiment of Foot entered Manchester with the remaining part of the corp expected in the course of the week. 1000 stands of arms and ammunition were escorted from Chester to Manchester.

1819, August 2 – General Byng reports that – “… I saw Mr. Lloyd from whom I heard a good deal about young Birch, who was my Orderly from the Stockport Yeomanry in 1817…” (HO 42/190 folio 20.)

1819, August 2 – Huddersfield Reform Meeting – John Dickenson (Chairman). Principal speakers were James Mann, Thomas Mason (from Leeds), Nathan Broadhurst (from Lancashire), Bob Harrison (from Huddersfield). (HO 42/191 fol. 333)

1819, August 3 – Johnson writes to Hunt. “I had forgot to inform you that it is the same Birch along with his father and the Lloyds that behaved in so infamous a manner to the Blanketeers the people therefore ought not to forget them. I understand the Stockport Union have written you an invitation to sleep and stay all night with them.”

1819, August 4 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse to inform him that one of the Reformers [William Pearson] has betrayed his friend and named McInnis as the man who shot Birch.

1819, August 5 – The Magistrates declare the Manchester Reform Meeting for August 9th illegal.

1819, August 6 – The Radicals produce a new requisition for Manchester Meeting to be held on the 16th August.

1819, August 6 – Hobhouse writes to Norris and suggests he goes to Stockport to study Lloyd’s methods of subduing undesirable activity. (HO 79/3)

1819, August 6 – Report from W__r (George Edwards) in London – Reports that “… I find both from Preston & Thistlewood that they look with great anxiety to the Manchester Meeting, on Monday, where they expect the Row to begin, & this they look upon as the signal to begin. They will be much disappointed, if that meeting goes off quietly. Some one, I believe Hartley, is to go down to Manchester for the purpose of securing correct information. If he was intercepted, it would throw them out. Hartley was a gentleman’s servant… He is a well looking man… He spells his name Harknet…” (HO 42/191 fol. 1)

1819, August 7 – Letter appears in the Manchester Observer signed W. Walker to “To the Official Gentlemen of Manchester” –  “… I hope Englishmen will not forget to enter you into the Black Book; nay, I hope they will record your actions in their hearts; and should you, on Monday next, commit another faux pas, by interrupting the peace-able proceedings of the day, I hope they will patiently put up with your insults as they have hitherto done, being assured the day of retribution cannot be far off…” (M.O. 7 Aug, 1819)

1819, August 7 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse that “William Perry lives in this town and has been examined as a teacher of the Union school – He acts a principal part in that concern. Cleans the rooms out & receives the pennies – He is a weaver but no time to work – He sells sedition at his home in London Place near the factory wherein the school is kept…” (HO 42/191)

1819, August 7 – Hunt reaches Wolseley Bridge and is met with Sir Charles Wolseley who says he was invited to the Manchester Meeting but could not attend due to some family matter.

[Note: Wolseley later changed his mind and caught up with Hunt at Stockport.]

1819, August 8 – Hunt rests at the White Lion Inn at Bullock Smithy for about 4 hours and is visited by the Stockport reformer Robert Jump.

[Note: Later that month Robert Jump would be caught with a pike in his possession. Pearson informed Lloyd that Jump made weekly collections at the Windmill Rooms that went towards the purchase of pikes. 

Robert Jump, was a bricklayer and imposing figure being over 6ft tall, no doubt a good choice to announce the meetings postponement to the quick tempered Hunt.]

Moorhouse draws up his post-chaise at the Inn with his brother but does not go in. On his way back he inquires to the Inn keeper if Hunt has been there who tells him he has gone towards Stockport.

[Note: It seems that Moorhouse was a little apprehensive in greeting Hunt who was probably still fuming from the bad news of the meetings postponement.]

Hunt writes in his Memoirs that “I had arrived on the eighth at Bullock Smithey, which is within ten miles of Manchester, and within three miles of Stockport, where I had appointed to sleep on Sunday, the day previous to the intended meeting, and I had not yet heard one word of its being put off. I had travelled two hundred miles in my gig for the purpose of presiding, and when I learned that I had been made such a fool of, I expressed considerable indignation, and declared my intention of returning into Hampshire immediately. I was, however, at length prevailed upon to proceed to Stockport to sleep that night, as I understood that Mr. Moorhouse had provided a bed for me, and a stall for my horse. On my road to Stockport I was met by Johnson, the brush-maker, and Mr. Saxton, who explained to me the whole of the circumstances, and at the same time expressed a great desire that I should remain in Manchester, to be present at the 16th, as they had, without my knowledge, advertised my name as chairman of the intended meeting.”

[Note: This is strange as only a few days earlier Johnson had mentioned in his letter that “I understand the Stockport Union have written you an invitation to sleep and stay all night with them.” Yet in his memoirs Hunt mentions that he intended to sleep at Bullock Smithy. I can only think of two likely explanations for this, either Hunt had not received the letter from Johnson in time or he was trying to distance himself from an association with the Stockport Reformers.]

Hunt arrives at Stockport and visits Harrison at the Union Rooms and sits down to supper with 100 of his friends. Hunt sleeps at the house of Moorhouse.

1819, August 9 – Hunt, Wolseley, Harrison, Moorhouse and Johnson hold a triumphal parade through Manchester in a gig and chaise accompanied by a great concourse of people.

[Note: It appears some newspaper reports of the parade mistakenly report Harrison’s name as Hull.]

1819, August 9 – Wolseley received a letter from a Mr. Cox purporting to be a friend of Reform and requesting that he kindly send him copies of Paine’s “Rights of Man” and “The Age of Reason.”  This was in fact a trick by the Magistrates whom Wolseley writes that “a fellow of the name of Lloyd, the Nadin of Stockport…finding I suppose that they had not even a shadow of evidence to substantiate the charge they have instituted against me, thought, I have no doubt, if they could have entrapped me in to becoming a distributor of “seditious works” as they are called…” (The Statesman, October 1819)

1819, August – 9-11 – Thomas Farrimond (secretary of Barnsley Union) wrote retrospectively that he was once a delegate to Stockport and Manchester. “… At Stockport I was held two days and two nights as a spy. It was when Birch laid bad of his wounds, they suspected me. I wished to go upstairs to Mr Hunt who I said would know me but they would not let me go. I then referred to Robert Robinson who came from Barnsley and he came forward and knew me and they sent William Wood who was secretary to the Union Society at Stockport with me to Manchester where we met with Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson at Smedley Cottage and Mr Hunt knew me. This was the week before the Manchester Meeting…” (HO 40/16 fol. 146)

[Note: It’s plausible then that Farrimond stayed on and attended Peterloo as a delegate.]

[Note: Thomas Farrimond was one of the leaders in the failed April 1820 Grange Moor plot.]

[Note: William Wood would later attend many of the secret ultra-radical meetings of 1820 as the Stockport delegate.]

1819, August 12 – Hunt writes to the Star newspaper with ill-founded suspicions that the Birch shooting was a government plot. He mentions that “Harrison who called to see him the day after the disaster, saw all but the wound.”

1819, August 12 – Information of William Pearson now a prisoner in Chester Castle – He  “… supposed that James McInnis or Jacob McInnis will shortly write either to Edward Fearns of Edgley or Richard Kelly of Stockport…” (HO 42/191 folio 401)

[Note: Richard Kelly was a member of the Stockport Prisoners Committee. (see HO 42/201 fol. 257)]

1819, August 14 – Report from Lloyd regarding Birch – “… It may not be expected that some Report should be made of dreadful outrage of firing at a Constable in the public street of the Town of Stockport – If it was not the result of previous conspiracy and concert it has been discovered that the persons concerned with the Union Schools followers and assistants of Harrison the Preacher are the persons implicated & it is known that Harrison has recommended the people to arm and justified resistance to the laws. Such then is the practical effects of a diabolical confederacy called the Union – But that is not all – for they have since sought to fix the crime upon the Son of a loyal man [John Lloyd’s son] who had been active in bringing to light the real Perpetrators of the Deed.” (HO 44/18 fol. 494)

[Note: Moorhouse had spread rumours that John Horatio Lloyd was the person who shot Birch with a harmless squib in order to implicate the Radicals.]

1819, August 15 – Letter from Joseph Whitelegg (Stockport) to E.J. Blandford (Wych St, Strand, London) – Writes that he is “… opening a shop in our neighbourhood for the sale of political works, our Meeting takes place tomorrow and I am in hopes we shall have a very strong Meeting Mr. Hunt his [sic] in Manchester Sir Charles Wolseley comes to Stockport to night I have been into several parts of Yorkshire and the People there are ready to co-operate with the People of the Metropolis and our Banners are to be borne by ladies in White. I shall be very glad to become agent to Messrs Wooler Sherwin Carlisle & Davidson for their political works…” (HO 42/193 folio 112)

[Note: The copy of the letter has “5th Aug ? 1819” It seems more likely to be 15th August, 1819.]

[Note: E. J. Blandford was Secretary to the Spenceans in London.]

1819, August 15 – Letter from General Byng to Hobhouse – Reports that he is “not going to Manchester” and he has received a letter “which I do not understand, it appears to have been originally directed to Parson Harrison, & I conclude by Him redirected to me, from any other Person almost I should treat it as a fair Hoax, at which I shall laugh but as I consider Him a despicable and detestable character, I could attack Him for it or for anything in my power – is it possible in this case or upon any such repetition to prosecute Him, for if it is, I shall not mind the expence of doing so…” (HO 42/192 folio 144)

[Note: The envelope had the name Rev Harrison crossed out and replaced with General Byng. The contents of the letter were a printed circular entitled “Struggle of Opinion.” It’s amusing that Harrison’s subtle poke at Byng’s political views triggered such a furious reaction. It was known that Byng’s politics lay with the Whigs who in general supported Reform.]

800px-John_Byng,_1st_Earl_of_Strafford_by_William_SalterGeneral John Byng
(1772 – 1860)

1819, August 15 – Gathering of Reformers at Smedley Cottage.  Henry Hunt advised that Joseph Mitchell not appear on the Hustings “…because warrants were out against him and others for attending a meeting at Blackburn, and had he appeared he would have been apprehended…” (Preston Chronicle, Apr 28, 1832)

[Note: It’s evident that Hunt wanted to avoid a repetition of Smithfield. This is most probably the reason why Harrison was also not invited to ascend the hustings at Peterloo.]

1819, August 15 – Harrison preaches a “seditious” sermon at the Windmill Rooms. The Magistrates send Cowper the spy to take notes. [this is the same spy who took notes at Peterloo the following day.]

[Note: Harrison would later call Robert Jump as a witness to his trial on April 18, 1820. The burly Jump testified that he “was door keeper that night” at the Windmill Rooms on August 15th.]

1819 August 16 – The spy XY (William Chippendale) incorrectly reported to Byng that Cartwright, Wolseley, Wooler and Hunt would head the Stockport contingent – “…The Stockport column will have the most attraction. It will be headed by Major Cartwright, Sir Charles Wolseley, Mr Wooler, Hunt etc. They were all at Stockport last night to hear Harrison preach at the Union Rooms…” (HO 42/192 folio 344)

1819, August 16 – Manchester Reform Meeting at St. Peter’s Field “Peterloo.”  The Stockport contingent was headed by Moorhouse. On the hustings were Henry Hunt, Joseph Johnson, John Thacker Saxton, John Knight, Richard Carlile, George Swift, Elizabeth Gaunt and a few reporters. Harrison arrived late but in-time to witness the carnage caused by the Yeomanry cavalry. John Lloyd and the Stockport Yeomanry were positioned behind the hustings.

[Note: It is interesting that Harrison was not invited to the meeting and Moorhouse was kept from the hustings. It seems the meeting organisers were trying to distance themselves from the Stockport Reformers possibly to avoid charges of conspiracy. In 1820 Hunt made great pains in his trial to point out that Moorhouse did not attend the Stockport Meeting of February 15, 1819 (Sandy Brow Fight) and was not present on the hustings on August 16, 1819 (Peterloo.)]

[Note: The eye-witness Charles Wright reported that he “was told Harrison was also on the hustings, with several others”. (TS11/1056) Although improbable there could be some truth to this report as Harrison stated at the Nov. 8 Wigan Meeting that “… I was there myself, and saw many endeavouring, but in vain, to escape from the ground…” It was only during his trials that he mentions having been late to the meeting. I believe he feared the prosecution would try to connect his “seditious” sermon of the 15th of August with Peterloo the following day.]

Further research has shown that the following list of Reformers were also present on the hustings or in the crowd:

[Note: Joseph Mitchell attended Peterloo. He said he had “been an eye-witness to the outrages which were committed at Manchester on the 16th of August last. I was upon the ground an hour and a half, and was rode down by the cavalry. I was there when Mr Hunt came upon the ground.” (Newcastle Courant, Oct 23, 1819.)

In 1831 “…Mitchell said, that both Hunt, and Knight, and Saxon, could prove that he was at Manchester on the 16th of August, and near to the hustings, on which he did not appear by the advice of Hunt, because warrants were out against him and others for attending a meeting at Blackburn, and had he appeared he would have been apprehended… he was present, and at the time of the disturbance crept out under two horses’ bellies…” (Preston Chronicle, Sept 8, 1831)

[Note: The notorious W. C. Walker (“Sailor Boy”) was also on the hustings at Peterloo – “William Walker, No. 7, Edge-street, dyer, was at the Manchester Meeting… He saw several wounded near the hustings, about 5 yards distant, as he was coming off the hustings at the north end, towards Peter-street. He made the best of his way off with a tricoloured flag. This was immediately after Hunt and Johnson delivered themselves up…” (The Times, Oct 12, 1819)]

[Note: Nathan Broadhurst, weaver and former soldier of Newton Lane, Manchester was on the hustings and witnessed much of the violence that took place on the field. He received a sword injury on the leg by Meagher the trumpeter. (The Times, Sep 16, 1819)]

[Note: ‘Alpha’ the Bolton spy (Thomas Yates) was on the hustings – “… We arrived at the hustings, and I stood on that end next to St Peter’s. I thought I never saw a more gratifying scene in all my life. I remained composed till the Yeomanry cut my wand, and I then took a running jump right betwixt two of them and made my way to the outskirts of the people and then repaired to my lodgings for dinner… (HO 42/197 fol. 533)]

[Note: Another Stockport reformer present at Peterloo was Joseph Swann, hat maker, pamphlet seller and later fellow prisoner of Harrison at Chester Castle. In a letter to Richard Carlile dated July 2, 1822 he wrote “… I was at the Manchester Meeting, and witnessed that bloody massacre…” (The Republican, Vol 6, p647.)]

[Note: Edward Curran was present at Peterloo. Born in Ireland, he came to Manchester about 1818 to practise his trade as hand-loom silk weaver. Curran would later be prominent in 1831 during the Reform Bill crisis.]

[Note: It seems that the ultra Radical James Tetlow was also on the hustings and  “… made his escape from the waggon when Hunt was taken…” (HO 42/194 fol. 400) ]

[Note: Leeds Reformer John Smithson was at Peterloo. (Audio Talk by Alan Brooke.) Richard Carlile later wrote to him – “… I have conversed with you in London, I have conversed with you in Manchester, and corresponded with you from Leeds, and am happy to find a continuance of the same principle throughout. You were one to feel the sabres of the Manchester Yeomanry; you had more of my company in Manchester than any other man, and could best speak as to my general conduct there, or up to the time of the dispersion of the meeting…” (The Republican, April 26, 1822) ]


[Note: In the picture the horsemen positioned on left and right of the hustings have the C.Y.C. (Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry) badge on their shako hats. The 4 horseman in the middle have the M.Y.C. (Manchester Yeomanry Cavalry) badge.]

1819, August 18 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse – “I thought it an honor to enlist into the Stockport Troop of Cheshire Yeomanry and to volunteer my services on the glorious day at Manchester. We have come back with honor.” He also mentions that “the loyalist part of Stockport held a meeting and passed a subscription to Birch. Harrison the preacher presented himself and was hooted and hissed out of the room.”

1819, August 19 – Report from Huddersfield –  “… 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… 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.”

1819, August 19 – Joseph Mitchell attended a Reform Meeting at Shipley near Bradford, Yorkshire. The speakers at the meeting included Joseph Brayshaw of Yeadon (the Radical emissary to Scotland) and Thomas Mason of Leeds. James Mann later reported that Mitchell excused himself from the refreshment provided for the committee and  “closeted for a considerable time with a Mr. Miers [Rev John Myers], a magistrate of that place, whom he told that the Radicals must be put down, and he was sorry he had not accomplished his errand…” (An Address from one of the 3730 electors of Preston, to his fellow-countrymen, Printed for the publisher by W.P. Staines, 1832; Leeds Mercury, Aug 21, 1819.)

1819, August 20 – Hobhouse writes to Lloyd that he is happy to receive the news of his “trophies” and he has no objection to them being sent to Sir John Leicester, but he would like to make use of them in evidence. (HO 79/3)

1819, August 20 – Warrant issued against Harrison to have him apprehended to find sureties for the sedition uttered by him on the 15th.

1819, August 21 – Harrison is committed to Chester Castle. Lloyd writes that he “had him taken at his own house without any particular curiosity being excited.” The Chester Guardian reports that “Harrison displayed no sort of dejection on his arrival,  but jocosely observed that he was come at last, and he supposed they must prepare for more. His deportment is described as calm, orderly and proper. He is not allowed any intercourse with Bagguley, Drummond, nor Johnston, nor we believe, with anyone else.”

1819, August 26 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that – “… Whitelegg – was at the Smithfield Meeting & at the Manchester Meeting and is a great admirer of Hunt, and violently disaffected – He is out of Employment & ready to take up the cause of treason & to avow it – & yet I see that I cou’d warp him – for he has accepted favors respectfully…” (HO 42/193 folio 34)

1819, August 26 – Charles Bourchier reports to Hobhouse that – “… Lloyd brought Whitelegg to me this morning with the letter he had received from you. I examined him & he told me, I really believe, all he knew, for he made no sample of professing his principles, but he was ignorant of every thing materially connected with the case now in hand…” (HO 42/193 folio 251)

[Note: Charles Bourchier was Solicitor of the Crown. “Officially Mr Bouchier was sent to help collect evidence against Hunt and the others arrested, but undoubtedly his job was to keep the magistrates out of further trouble.” (Peterloo Massacre, Joyce Harlow, 1970)]

1819, August 27 – McInnis is arrested at his aunts house in County Down, Ireland. He was in bed wearing a woman’s cap as disguise when taken.

1819, August 29 – Wolseley writes to Harrison pleading for him to take bail as “your presence at Stockport for some time to come is very necessary.” He also writes that “Hunt comes out of Lancaster Castle this evening where the wise magistrates sent him merely I suppose to give him trouble.”

1819, August 29 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse. “Moorhouse who is at home under bail has this evening been tendering names for bail for Harrison at Chester so that there will be little chance of trying him at the present assizes.”

1819, August 29 – Letter from Charles Bourchier to Hobhouse – Writes – “… In one of your letters you mentioned the assistance you had received from Lloyd of Stockport on a former occasion; I have employed him to obtain information in his own neighbourhood, but I have been obliged to have recourse to Milne who is our agent here, & who appears to me a very sensible man, to conduct the business here. So much of the evidence is to be drawn from Manchester that I could not have done otherwise had I been so disposed, & from what I have seen of the two I should not hesitate in preferring Milne for the purpose I chiefly want; though Lloyd has his merits in his own way…” (HO 42/193 folio 276)

1819 August 30 – Charles Bourchier reports to Hobhouse that – “… Lloyd is sitting by me preparing for Harrison’s prosecution at Chester, & has arranged that our cases shall not clash, as we have one important witness who must attend at both places, Matthew Cowper…” (HO 42/193 folio 241)

1819 August 30 – Wakefield Reform Meeting – James Willan (Chairman), Joseph Brayshaw, Joseph Mitchell, Richard Jackson, Thomas Mason (speakers).

1819, August 31 – Anonymous report appears in the Chester Courant regarding Harrison’s past. “…he preached to a small congregation at Glossop, in Derbyshire, and kept a school, but having taken the most indecent liberties with the female part of his pupils, he was dismissed from that place.”

1819, September 1 – Harrison is out on bail and “made himself very conspicuous afterwards, by coming into Court, and showing himself in various parts of the town.”

1819, September 1 – London spy report – “I went into the room about 8 oclock and was forced to give my address to a lady who I was told came from Manchester she is come to receive subscriptions of one penny per week and to raise a society of female Reformers. She is a friend of Mr Hartleys. She had a pistol tied up in a handkerchief…” (HO 42/194 fol. 331)

1819, September 1 – The London spy B.C. reports that “… Mrs Wilson of Manchester attended the Meeting sat between Hill & Hartley who each produced a loaded Horse pistol, when Mrs Wilson observed, they were considerably larger than the pair she had in her Pocket, she said it was necessary to go armed, but there was no spirit in London to what there was in Manchester, she had not been able to meet one female Reformer during the whole month she had been in London – In Manchester she could find the assistance of both Money & Arms, but here they were all cowards…” (HO 42/194 folio 362.)

[Note: Thistlewood had sent Hartley up to Manchester to gather “correct information” on the Manchester 16th “Peterloo” meeting. (See HO 42/191 fol. 1). Perhaps he was first acquainted with Mrs Wilson on his visit there?]

[Note: Hartley was reported to be one of the more violent in Thistlewood’s group. (See HO 42/200 fol. 194). The group later suspected Hartley of being a spy and he first tried to emigrate to the Cape, and then went into hiding. This was around December, 1819. (See Artisans and Politics, Prothero, p128.)]

1819, September 2 – Harrison refutes claims made in the Chester Courant. “What your author means by saying, “he took the most indecent liberties,” etc. I am at a loss to determine, for I certainly never violated the chastity of those females.”

1819, September 2 – Bench warrant issued and Harrison put into custody again.

1819, September 2 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. “Today a true bill has been found against [Harrison] and a bench warrant has been issued – He is likely to be in custody again in the morning.”

1819, September 4 – Harrison pleads not guilty and chooses to be tried.

1819, September 4 – Letter from Harrison to Drummond:

And I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried with a loud voice saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God that ye may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of captains and the flesh of mighty men… It comes, it comes, the dreadful storm comes rolling on.

Joseph Harrison

1819, September 5 – The spy Daniel White informed Ethelston that the Stockport Reformer Richard Kelly – “took a walk into Lyme Park near Disley that a little below Lyme Cage he had the greatest delight in sitting down upon one of the Cannon in ye Parks & seeing – 22 pieces there altogether – said they cou’d take them from ye Carriages & have them ready for action in two hours – that as soon as ye general rising took place the 1st thing they wou’d do wou’d be to fetch them – that 2 of the pieces 36 pounders being two & a half yards long wou’d do great executions – Said that when the time came there wou’d be nothing to fear if the Friends of Reform wou’d only be true – said in this case the Military wou’d fly from them like Chaff before the wind…” (HO 42/194 folio 152)

1819, September 6 – Harrison has second thoughts about contesting the trial on the 7th and traversed to the next Assize. He is bailed by Candelet and Longson.

1819, September 6 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. “I have been grievously disappointed and mortified at what has happened to day in Court. Harrison’s friends persuaded him to apply to the Court to be allowed to traverse notwithstanding the trial being absolutely fixed for tomorrow.”

1819, September 6 – McInnis arrives with Dublin police officers and is lodged in Chester Castle.

1819, September 7 – On Tuesday evening, one Jump [Robert Jump], well known in Stockport as a Reformer, was brought from that town to the New Bailey Prison, and on Wednesday morning was conveyed to Chester Castle, on the authority of a Judge’s warrant from the Court of Chester, charged with being an accomplice in the attempt to murder Mr. Birch, the constable. (Manchester Mercury, Sept 14, 1819.)

[Note: In the trial of McInnis and Bruce for shooting Constable Birch it was mentioned that Richard Kelly and Robert Jump were taken up on the charge and brought before Birch’s bedside to be identified as possible suspects.]

1819, September 8 – Henry Hunt’s beloved horse ‘Bob’ died at Preston. The day before Mitchell had driven (hard it seems) the horse and Hunt’s gig down from Lancaster. (Henry Hunt’s autobiography by Robert Huish.)

[Note: Hunt, in one of his public letters, would later indirectly blame Joseph Johnson for the death of his horse as he had refused to keep it stabled at Smedley whilst Hunt was incarcerated at Lancaster Castle.] 

[Note: Thomas Chapman (apple merchant) and another (possibly Mitchell?) had driven the horse and gig from Smedley to Lancaster. (Memoirs of Henry Hunt vol.2; A letter to H. Hunt. Esq. relating to certain disputed accounts, Joseph Johnson, 1822. )]

1819, September 9 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that “… I was aware that a man of the name of Robert Jump whose name you have seen in Informations knew something important and I sent a special Warrant for him to be brought from Stockport to Chester, where he would be more ready to give his Information and I yesterday did examine him and he proves that Jas McInnis informed him of the fact and of the intention of him & his Brother to get off to Ireland – the same day he made the discovery…” (HO 42/194 folio 209)

1819, September 9 –  Hunt and the Peterloo prisoners leave Preston and reach Manchester by coach and are cheered by supporters on the way. [Hunt vainly] “would rise from his seat, turn round, and, cursing poor Moorhouse in limbs, soul, or eyes, he would say, ” Why don’t you shout man ? Why don’t you shout? Give them the hip,  – you, don’t you see they’re fagging?”

1819, September 9 – Rev. Charles Prescot, magistrate of Stockport reports that – “On Thursday ev’ning about 7 O’Clock Moorhouse & another Reformer arriv’d in Stockport & harangued the Populace who dispers’d quietly, last night Hunt was expected, fortunately for the peace of this Town He came not, but went as it is said, by another road towards London.”  (HO 42/194 folio 102 dated 11 Sept, 1819)

1819, September 9 – The spy Daniel White informed Ethelston that – “… a Supper was prepar’d in the Union Rooms for Hunt in his Way to London but he did not pass thro’ Stockport which they took very ill – saith ye people were assembled in ye Stockport Streets expecting Hunt in such crowds you might have walk’d on their heads….” (HO 42/194 folio 152)

1819, September 10 – Daniel White informed Ethelston that on the 10th he met with the Stockport Reformer Richard Kelly and – “… after their discourses Kelly began to talk about McInnis ye Man who shot Birch said he was taken in Ireland brought to Chester & that Pearson the other Man in Custody had turn’d Snitch (viz) Kings evidence – Kelly said Jacob McInnis is the very man who shot Birch – Kelly said further that the Reformers were going to send ye Evidence against Pearson to swear McInnis off & to prove Pearson a perjur’d Man – Deponent saith Kelly declare’d Pearson was a d___nd Rogue for having as he’s had done for (says he) we have supplied him with money & kept him like a fighting cock…” (HO 42/194 folio 153)

1819, September 13 – Thomas Claughton (Member of Parliament) writes to Ethelston regarding the Cannon at Lyme Park – “… Mr Norris wrote to me some time ago in London wishing the Cannon to be removed out of Lyme Park to the Barracks, & upon their consulting Mr Legh upon it He was of opinion, as well as myself, that the open Removal would tend to encourage the disaffected, & was preferred to spike the Cannon to make them useless – This has been done but so that the Cannon might be made useful again when the Alarm was over…” (HO 42/195 folio 20, 26)

Bradley, William; Thomas Legh (1792-1857); National Trust, Lyme Park; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/thomas-legh-17921857-132642

1819, September 13 – Reform Meeting at Armley Hill Top near Leeds – Joseph Mitchell (Chairman), Winden, John Smithson, Thomas Mason, James Willan (Speakers). 

1819, September 13 – Hunt makes his triumphal entry into London accompanied by Moorhouse. The event and dinner at the Crown and Anchor is organised by the Spenceans. During dinner the revolutionary La Marseillaise is sung. Hunt has a falling out with the Spenceans and they part ways.


The Crown & Anchor Public House, Strand, London (shown on right.)

1819, September 13 – Ethelston reports to Sidmouth that – “White [Daniel White] has this moment left me Indeed I have sent him to Mr Claughton the Brother in law of Mr Legh of Lyme & a Member of the House of Commons, that he may communicate to him in person the design upon the Cannon in Lyme Park – The Warden of Manchester informed me yesterday Mr Legh was from home – Rob’t Evans was with me on Saturday – I gave him a Commission to go to Stockport in order to attend the Committee meeting which is to take place there this evening – Evans says the Reformists in that neighbourhood are more determined & more desperate than ever…” (HO 42/194 folio 150)

1819, September 15 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “… A person arrived yesterday Evening at the Drs house from Manchester – the same person that made his escape from the waggon when Hunt was taken – he slept last night at the Red Cross Barbican – height 5 ft 6 in – dark complexion black hair, long visage, speaks sharp & quick – Brown Coat striped Waistcoat Cordaroy breeches & long draib Gaiters.” (HO 42/194 folio 400.)

[Note: Later reports confirm the person to be James Tetlow.]

1819, September 15 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “… Mrs Wilson of Manchester has been out of the way for several days past – Dr Watson having been informed… that she was wanted at the Home Office… she returns in a day or two to Manchester.” (HO 42/194 folio 400.)

1819, September 17 – Tetlow the ultra-radical from Manchester visited London under the alias Westwood and supported Dr. Watson’s efforts. “He is arrived as a Delegate from Manchester to recommend as assist in forming the same plan in London, by meeting in small divisions of 15 to 20 – instead of the meetings as at present held – to avoid suspension – & to report to Manchester, the cooperation of the London Reformers.” (HO 42/195 fol. 71)

1819, September 18 – Robert Grey (Bishop Wearmouth) reports to Sidmouth that “… a man, I believe of the name of Brayshaw, and other emissaries from Manchester here recently been employed in Sunderland and the contiguous Towns and have organised two or three Clubs…” (HO 42/195 fol. 455)

[Note: Joseph Brayshaw was reported to have attended a meeting in Glasgow on Oct 1 and the ultra-radical James Lang of Manchester was reported to have visited Glasgow in September. So it’s plausible they crossed paths.]

1819, September 18 – Anonymous [Daniel White perhaps?] deposition taken before Ethelston who said that – “… William Wood [of Stockport] an old Committee Man said a quantity of arms had been order’d for South America which really were intended for the Reformers – said their arms wou’d be sent to Liverpool but wou’d be placed in the hands of Persons commission’d to receive them by a Committee in London who had money to pay for them rais’d by private subscription. – Wood said all ye soldiers in the Kingdom cou’d not then withstand ye Reformists who were already tolerably well supplied with different sorts of weapons … went on to say they were in Lyme Park on Sunday past he & two discharg’d artillery men – said cannon there were fit for use & they were resolv’d to have them – Proceeded to read a letter from Hunt who told ye he & Sir Chas Wolseley were coming down in a short time after they had been in Yorkshire – Hunt spoke of being reveng’d of ye Cavalry & the Magistrates…” (HO 42/195 fol. 22)

[Note: William Wood also appeared in a list of Committee members for the management of the Stockport permanent fund in August 1820. (HO 40/14.) This seems to indicate that Wood was affiliated with the Stockport Prisoners Committee headed by Harrison and not the General Committee headed by Perry.]

1819, September 20 – Leeds (Hunslet Moor) Reform Meeting – Richard Jackson declined the chair and was taken up by Thomas Chapman (apple merchant) of Manchester. Thomas Mason, Joseph Mitchell, James Willan, John Smithson, John Blackburn (Speakers).

[Note: This is the same Thomas Chapman who was ejected from the theatre with Hunt in January 1819 and who rode Hunt’s gig from Smedley to Lancaster in August 1819.]

[Note: John Smithson had attended Peterloo.]

[Note: Richard Jackson would later take part in the failed 1820 April Fools Rising. Days before the rising around 20 delegates attended a meeting at Cowcliffe including Richard Jackson, Peter Lever, Joshua Hirst, and William Hirst. A delegate from Glasgow had also arrived. (see Liberty or Death, Brooke & Kipling, 2012.)]

1819, September 20 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “Tatlow [James Tetlow] on his return to Manchester to stop at the Potteries in Staffordshire, where he will be able to get the Cooperation of some Thousands.” (HO 42/195 folio 113.)

1819, September 20 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “…On inquiry at the Police Office I learn that there is no charge there agst Tetlow but a more determined or dangerous man amongst the weavers there is not & if he be in London he is certainly on some extraordinary piece of mischief I have ordered inquiries to be made whether or not he is from home…” (HO 42/195 fol. 316.)

1819, September 22 – Report of Daniel White who was – “…in the neighbourhood of Leeds for the purpose of gaining information relative to the plans of the Reformists – found the people were going on with their meetings – were determined, if possible to overthrow the Govt – had penny societies & a considerable fund – Were in correspondence thru Delegates with Manchr & Stockport & the neighbourhood – saw a constable who had been in Company with Dickenson this was in Dewsbury – Constable heard Dickenson say it wou’d not be long before the Govt in London wou’d have their heads off – Dickenson is a very active man & at the head of the Reformists in that neighbourhood…” (HO 42/195 fol. 63.)

[Note: It was John Dickenson who discovered that Oliver was a spy in 1817 after speaking to the servant of General Byng and learning that Oliver had been at his master’s house.]

1819, September 23 – The spy Samuel Fleming reports to Ethelston that “… 3 Delegates have been just sent from Stockport, one to Glasgow one to Dublin & another to Belfast to forward the business as much as they can & to see how the people are affected in those parts & what assistance they can tender” also  “the grand blow will be struck soon” and “they are as anxious as can be for the orders from London – have been much at a loss for want of Mr Harrison who was of great use to them – Lament his absence much as he is the head secretary – saith Sir Charles Wolseley, Wooler, & Mr Carlile are expected down very soon – Committee saith Moorhouse is very active in London & corresponds with the Committee [Spenceans].”

[Note: This is the same Samuel Fleming who was proven to have provided false information at trial in 1812 against 38 Reformers. Ethelston in 1819 also said that Fleming’s reports should be taken with a grain of salt ‘cum grano salis.’ (see HO42/179 folio 338.)]

[Note: According to Ethelston, Samuel Fleming had joined the Union Society under the assumed name of Edwards. (HO 42/156 fol. 152)]

[Note: Samuel Fleming had served 4 years in the 1st Regiment Manchester Local Militia. (HO 42/156 fol. 153)]

1819, September 28 – The spy Samuel Fleming informed Ethelston that on 28th Sept at Oldham – “… saw Brown one of the Oldham Committee – enter’d into conversation with him – In the course of his conversation Brown told him Wooler was in the country organizing the people – his plan was to get them all in one mind to rise on a certain day which might hereafter be appointed – was secretly with the private Committee forming schemes for a general turn out – Deponent saith Brown further told him there was a general meeting of the Leaders in London who corresponded with the Country Committees – said the time is at near hand when a rising will take place in all parts of the Kingdom – said the Prince Regent will not have his head on his Shoulders 3 months…” (HO 42/196 folio 386)

1819, September 29 – The spy Samuel Fleming informed Ethelston that on 29th Sept at Oldham he had – “… met with another Reformist (Shakeshaft) who told him Wooler has been with the Committee & that he ( W ) advis’d them to get ready as fast as they coul’d…” (HO 42/196 folio 375)

1819, September – The ultra radical James Lang visited Glasgow and met with the Committee there. (HO 40/13 fol. 5)

[Note: James Lang was born c.1780. See LRO ref: QJC/1a.]

1819, September 30 – Alpha reports that the “man who had been at Glasgow came through Bolton last Thursday and informed me personally that things were very unfavourable in the North he had much ado to get any way received particularly at Carlisle and Glasgow.” (HO 42/196 fol 76.)

[Note: This is highly likely to have been a reference to James Lang.]

1819, October 1 – Brayshaw of Yeadon (near Leeds) addressed a meeting of persons connected with Union Societies in Calton, near Glasgow, Scotland. (Glasgow Chronicle)

1819, October 1 – Bramley (near Leeds) Reform Meeting – Clapham, Joseph Mitchell, James Mann (Speakers).

1819, October 2 – Ethelston writes to Sidmouth that – “… Peter Finnerty, Wooler & other agents from the London Societies have lately held frequent dinners at Which Members from the Stockport Oldham, Royton & other contiguous places have assisted with their counsel. All my reporters agree that a signal from Hunt is all which is wanted to stimulate the Reformists into Insurrection – at every meeting they declare they are ready & wonder they are not call’d upon to act. But, my Lord, the arch Fiend pauses [Hunt] – He knows that if he gives the signal & appears his fate is seal’d…” (HO 42/196 folio 167)

[Note: Finnerty had been to Oldham to report on the John Lees Inquest. He returned to London with Bamford visiting Wolseley on the way. (Bamford – Passages in the Life…)]

All my reporters agree that a signal from Hunt is all which is wanted to stimulate the Reformists into Insurrection – at every meeting they declare they are ready & wonder they are not call’d upon to act. But, my Lord, the arch Fiend pauses – He knows that if he gives the signal & appears his fate is seal’d…

Rev. Ethelston

1819, October 3 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that – “The Petition signed “J. Harrison in behalf of the Town of Stockport” was written & signed by his Secretary Jas. Geo. Bruce, the person now in Chester Castle, in Harrison’s name.” (HO 42/196 fol. 373)

[Note: This was the Stockport petition along with the Manchester Remonstrance that Henry Hunt presented to Sidmouth in May 1819.]

1819, October 4 – Ethelston informs Sidmouth that he has “disptatched White [Daniel White] to Huddersfield on a particular occasion…” (HO 42/195 fol. 157)

1819, October 4 – The spy Daniel White informs Ethelston that Shakeshaft – “… had been a driver in the artillery – that he has been in the service ten years – that he had been in Holland serving there in the expeditions with the Duke of York – that he knew the service well – had been in all sorts of hardships on the Continent in different parts but he would think nothing of undergoing ten times as much in the service of reform – that he wou’d stand by it into the last moment of his life…” (HO 42/196 folio 158)

[Note: Description of soldiers on joining Royal Horse Artillery. This entry appears on folio 128; this number is imprinted at the top left of each folio. Line 7: James SHAKESHAFT. Born Manchester, Lancashire. Enlisted 1806 aged 16 years. Note: Transferred to 6 Battalion 1810. (WO 69/5/1914)]

1819, October 4 – Halifax Reform Meeting – Abednego Moore (Chairman), John Knight, John Thacker Saxton, Joseph Mitchell, James Willan, Ellis, Anne Flodder (Speakers).

1819, October 5 – Ralph Fletcher writes to Sidmouth that – “…I enclose to your Lordship a report of Thomas Yates who has been in the confidence of the Bolton Union, he offered his services on Sunday last which I thought proper to accept… I hope to derive from him a history of Hunts progress in Lancashire as Yates has, during that time been frequently in Hunts company…” (HO 42/196 folio 75)

[Note: Thomas Yates was ‘Alpha’ the spy.]

1819, October 9 – At the Inquest on John Lees, William Walker (“Sailor Boy”), of Edge Street, Dyer provided a witness statement. (Morning Chronicle, Oct 11, 1819)

1819, October 9 – Letter from Lloyd to Lord Sidmouth writes – “… these Reformers could have played me a trick in court, after I had brought into Knutsford and exposed my witnesses… I learn that Sir Charles has been for several days at and about Knutsford and am left in conjecture that he has some design of exciting interest and sympathy so as to operate upon the feelings of those who may compose the jury. For I have an instance of their meanness – by Harrison going in the Baronet’s name to the journeyman of a printer who is a witness to desire he would get to know from his master what it was he could prove – and the Union Schools and Harrison inventing a charge against another witness of his stealing apples whilst on duty with the watch & ward…”

1819, October – Thistlewood visits Manchester to advocate the Spencean scheme for calling simultaneous Reform meetings on November 1st (to coincide with their Finsbury, London meeting.) Wroe had lent Thistlewood 4 pounds to pay for his return to London.

[Note: The Spenceans hoped the simultaneous meetings would spark a general uprising.]

[Note: The visit probably took place sometime between Oct 9 and Oct 12.]

[Note: George Bradbury (Spy No. 1) wrote retrospectively in 1826 that he “…was among this wicked crew when Thistlewood visited Manchester in Autumn… when the plan was proposed they approved… I came with Thistlewood towards Stockport to get on the coach with Knight & Co…” (HO 40/20 folio 483)]

[Note: It also appears that James Lang accompanied Thistlewood from Manchester to Stockport at this time. (See HO 40/13 folio 7). It appears the ultra-radicals had informed Thistlewood of their plans to take the barracks in Manchester.]

[Note: Bradbury seems to be suggesting that the “high” radicals, including John Knight, initially approved of Thistlewood’s plan of simultaneous meetings. Joseph Johnson had continued to support the ultra-radicals until persuaded by Benbow and Chapman to cut ties in December, 1819.  (HO 42/200 fol. 132)]  

1819, October 10 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “Thistlewood said he had found every thing more correct at Derby, Nottingham & Leicester than they were in Town, & they were all to meet on the same day – Tatlow [James Tetlow] was gone into the West on the same mission.” (HO 42/197 fol. 381)

1819, October 13 – Lieutenant Swakey reports to LtCol L’Estrange on the state of the cannons at Lyme Park. – He reports that they “… consist of one Twelve & twenty nine Pounders Mounted on ship Carriages they have been as spiked by Mr Lee [Legh], they have no spunges or other side arms. The Carriages can scarcely be considered serviceable but are nevertheless with the exception of two, in such a state that by means of ropes they might be moved along any of the smooth high roads & fixed with for some time without going to pieces, to a very trifling repair would make them or rather many of them useful for a short time…”  (HO 42/197 folio 491)

1819, October 14 – York Reform Meeting – Joseph Mitchell states that he had “been an eye-witness to the outrages which were committed at Manchester on the 16th of August last. I was upon the ground an hour and a half, and was rode down by the cavalry. I was there when Mr Hunt came upon the ground.” Baines accused Mitchell of being a spy and should refrain from speaking.

1819, October 14 – Ethelston reports to Sidmouth that Daniel White – “was prevented going as far as Huddersfield as he intended…” (HO 42/196 fol. 272)

1819, October 16 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. Writes that “Matters are carried on with great asperity in this part of the country and the confidence of the disaffected appears to me to be increasing – we are insulted with threats upon the approaching change as they would have it.” Also that “Harrison has advertised for two lectures at the Windmill Rooms here for tomorrow… The hand bill is headed – “Henry Hunt” and the purpose is for a subscription to send to the London Committee [Spenceans] agreeably to its directions.”

[Note: It seems odd that the Spenceans would be requesting subscriptions for Hunt at this time. This was after their falling out and could have been a ruse by the Spenceans to collect money for arms? The timing is interesting as well with Thistlewood having just visited Manchester.]

1819, October 16 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “Thistlewood & Dr. Watson’s correspondence to the delegates at the different country towns is sent through the parcels of pamphlets from Watlings in the Strand, and other shops – not trusting their letters by the post. Thistlewood is extremely anxious for an answer to letter sent to Mr Rowe of St Andrews street Manchester whom he expects in town shortly – corresponds also with Tatlow [James Tetlow] of No 106 Newton Lane Holborn Manchester.” (HO 42/197 fol. 387)

[Note: Could Rowe be a misspelling of Wroe?]

1819, October 17 – Sermons for the benefit of Mr. Hunt – Harrison collected “50 pounds in silver and copper… after two sermons preached… in one of the radical club-rooms, for the benefit of Orator Hunt. The sermons were announced by bills, posted upon the houses at Stockport during the preceding week.”

1819, October 19 – At the White Lion, London, “Thistlewood read a letter from Manchester of a meeting to be held on 1 Nov.” (HO 42/197 fol. 503)

1819, October 19 – The Manchester Observer newspaper printed a letter from Hunt attacking the idea of simultaneous Reform meetings (advocated by the Spenceans) and suggested the idea had originated from government spies. This was the final nail in the coffin for the Hunt – Spencean alliance.

1819, October 20 – Knutsford Quarter Sessions. The courtroom becomes a circus when Joseph Harrison refuses to plead, much to the irritation of the Court.

1819, October – Report by Arnold Thomas Fayerman, surgeon, London. – “… A literary character professing considerable ability a resident in the town of Leeds and who is supposed even by government to be strongly attached to their cause & who I have some reason to believe occasionally corresponds with the Home Department has recently in a letter to a gentleman in London made use of the following words – “A revolution in the country is now inevitable and all that I can say is, that the sooner it comes the better, for nothing will rouse the insolent & indolent land, & fund holders to a due sense of what they owe the people but knocking a few of their palaces about their ears.” (HO 42/198 fol. 575-577)

[Note: Fayerman was president of an ultra loyalist club in Norwich.]

1819, October 22 – Report by Arnold Thomas Fayerman, surgeon, London. – “Waddington a Radical Reformer… in the morning early was joined by a *delegate (being expected from Manchester) who presented several sealed papers… *Delegates name is “Washington”… Bolton is looked up to by many as the great force of insurrection -” (HO 42/198 fol. 575-577)

[Note: It’s interesting that “…Bolton is looked up to by many as the great force of insurrection…” It was from Bolton that a multitude of spies were based under the pay of Col. Ralph Fletcher. The two most notable Bolton spies of this period were Alpha (Thomas Yates) and DR (David Ramsay). As mentioned before, I believe that Alpha was outsourcing his spy work to others and this is why their names escape the archives. Those that come under suspicion are James Lang and James Tetlow of Manchester and William Tootal of Bolton. There could be many others. Full credit goes to Dr. Robert Poole for discovering that a great part of the ultra-radical faction in Manchester was infiltrated by spies. He says that spies were in some cases reporting on the activities of other spies which tended to exaggerate the reports. In some cases I believe that Alpha was reporting on spies (agent provocateurs) that he himself was financing,  therefore he had control over the narrative. He was going by the adage “give the customer what they want” and Col. Fletcher was lapping it up in droves.]

1819, October 24 – Report by Arnold Thomas Fayerman, surgeon, London. – “In the course of that evening two deputies were sent to Dr. Watson’s Committee with some important papers which had been recently presented from Bolton in Lancashire – This information is in every point authentic & can be verified on oath -” (HO 42/198 fol. 575-577)

1819, October 25 – James Hanby reports that – “Watson and Thistlewood… with several deputies who came to London from the North arranged not only that simultaneous meetings shall take place on that day but that the resolutions & appeal at each meeting shall be exactly alike… It is agreed that a new tri coloured flag shall be displayed with an inscription “The Prince and People against Boroughmongers”… There is to be a meeting this evening at the White Lion of persons delegated by the different union societies to arrange these matters further with Watson and Thistlewood who are very indignant against Hunt because the latter is endeavouring now to prevent the public meetings – and they are afraid his advice will be attended to in the North. It appears that Thistlewood had a very cool reception from Wroe the Manchester printer. Indeed they disagree among themselves upon every thing except the expediency of destroying HM Government…” (HO 42/197 fol. 132)

1819, October 26 – The spy ‘W’ – “… attended at the Union Room George Leigh St yesterday Evening the 26th Inst. he believes there were upwards of 150 people present, chiefly section men. Walker the Dyer acted as secretary. The Chairman he did not know, a Mr Powlett [Pollitt?], a Teacher in the School, received the subscriptions. Walker opened the Bus’s by reading a letter he had rec’d that day from Watson in London & the Chairman followed him by reading the Bill calling the Meeting in London. A motion was made that a Meeting be held on the 1st of Nov’r next in Manch’r. an Amendment followed for the 15th & an’r for the 30th a long debate took place which lasted until 1/2 past ten when a division took place, & a meeting was to be called for the 15th Nov’r but sho’d all the Towns & Villages round Manch’r meet previous to that time, the Manch’r Meeting to be put off a short time longer…” (HO 42/197 folio 163)

[Note: Spy ‘W’ = Charles Whitworth, schoolmaster from StaleyBridge.]

1819, October 26 – Norris writes to Sidmouth that – “… Mr Legh the member for Newton has 20 pieces of Cannon at Lime [Lyme] Park about 4 miles beyond Stockport which it is strongly conjectured the revolutionists have long had an eye to & which Mr Legh has in consequence placed at the disposal of the Magistrates. W. Hulton Col Fletcher & myself being 3 members of the Committee present yesterday to whom the business was communicated conceived it our duty under existing circumstances to order its immediate removal by water at the public expence to Chester for the custody of the Storekeeper there & who I understand has been prepared to receive them by orders from the regular authorities. I hope your Lordship will approve of this proceeding…” (HO 42/197 folio 371)

1819, October 26 – Hunslet Moor (near Leeds) Reform Meeting – Thomas Wooler, James Willan, John Dickenson, Joseph Mitchell (Speakers.) When Mitchell presented himself the other speakers immediately left the hustings. After Mitchell had spoken he jumped down from the hustings and was surrounded by the crowd and dealt a violent blow from behind.

1819, October 28 – Hunt justifies his previous letter warning against the Spencean plan for simultaneous meetings. – “… I should not have intruded myself so much on your notice, if it had not been for the extraordinary appeal of Mr. Thistlewood to the united Britons and Irishmen, which, as it looks very much like another of his mad pranks, I should be unworthy your confidence, if I were not to caution you against the evil consequences likely to result from any thing of the sort which he takes in hand. In the first place, do not, my friends, be deceived by his or rather Dr. Watson’s boasting language. They possess neither power, influence, talent, nor courage, to carry any of their mad projects into execution… These persons now profess to be very angry with me, because I have called Mr. Thistlewood a spy, and Dr. Watson a d____d busy fellow… I never even hinted that he was a spy, I never thought him such… I only allude to the possibility of his being the unsuspecting instrument in the hands of some hireling of the Government… I think it very probable, as I also know them both to be very weak men, that they are now again the unsuspecting tools of another Castles…” (The Times, Oct 30, 1819)

[Note: Hunt’s suspicions were correct, this time it was the spy George Edwards who had infiltrated the group.]

1819, October 26 – Thistlewood writes to Sidmouth – “… Your Lordship will know that I was illegally arrested, on board the Alien Brig, my loss on that occasion was upwards of £180 I therefore entrust your Lordship will transact to me… the sum of £180 and nearly three years interest. Compound interest of course my Lord. This is an necessary act of retribution, and will make some amends for your past misdeeds. (HO 42/197 fol. 507)

1819, October 28 – J. Todd Naylor (Wakefield) reports to Hobhouse that “… Mitchell one of the leaders of the Radicals received what he conceives to be a personal insult at the York Meeting, he is I am informed a needy man, and may be led not only to quit his party, but as he is turned writer and Printer for the avowed purpose of attacking Baines the Printer at Leeds, who I believe has done as much harm by his Publications as any man in England, with management he might be induced at last to be moderate if not to give useful information…” (HO 42/197 folio 304)

[Note: Jeremiah Todd Naylor Esq. (1777 – 1845) A cloth merchant of Wakefield. Constable in 1818. Captain of the Royal Wakefield Volunteers in 1798.]

1819, October 29 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “… Hill [James Hill] is gone to Manchester on a Delegation and resides with Mrs Wilson…” (HO 42/197 fol. 401)

1819, October 29 – J.H. Barber (Nottingham) reports to Sidmouth that – “…the advertised public meeting [for 1st November]… is given up and abandoned, I believe thro the persuasion or direction of Mr. Wooler who came here on the 27th from Sheffield… he spoke vehemently against Mr Thistlewood and represented him as a spy or at least a very suspicious character…” (HO 42/197 fol. 211)

1819, October 29 – Newspaper article reports – “Since the schism between Hunt and Dr. Watson and Co. great exertion has, it is said, been making by the latter to undermine the popularity of the former, particularly in the North. Thistlewood, who has been down at Manchester, it is said, while there was actively engaged in an intrigue amongst some of the most violent of the Radical Reformers, in order to press, not only for a meeting in Manchester on the first of November, but for simultaneous meetings of Radicals throughout England and Scotland on the same day.” (Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, Oct 29, 1819.)

1819, October 30 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. He writes that “Harrison has got into some disgrace amongst the Radicals by making free with one of his female scholars. Moorhouse has also been publicly hooted for selling his flour dearer that the rest – some few burnt their white hats – others have enlisted with a recruiting party here.”

1819, November 2 – Colonel William Shaw (in Nottingham) reports to Sidmouth that in regards to the 1st November Nottingham Meeting – “no meeting took place; owing from what I can gather, principally, to the withdrawal of the person I formerly mentioned from all concern in such meeting. Your Lordship will perceive that a change has taken place in the minds of the people here which even the presence & persuasion of Mr. Thistlewood (for he has been here using all his influence to inflame the people) has not been sufficient to counteract – and Hunt has given them up for not fit for purpose.” (HO 42/198 fol. 401)

1819, November 2 – Meeting of Spenceans at White Lion, Wych Street. Thistlewood “read a letter from Tatlow [James Tetlow] of Manchester & from Hill [James Hill] sent down there from London.” (HO 42/195 fol. 503)

1819, November 3 – The Manchester newspapers report that – “… There is not now, I am glad to assure you, any intention to hold another meeting in this town. The design and character of Messrs. Walker and Tetlow having been exposed, these persons were at a meeting this evening, of their former partisans, dismissed from the stations which they held, with every mark of disdain and reprobation…” (Morning Chronicle, Nov 6, 1819)

1819, November 3 – Article appeared in the Manchester Observer stating that “…some animosity has some time prevailed amongst the Reformers in Stockport, relative to the application of their Funds. We beg leave hereby to inform the Public, that a general understanding is now taking place amongst us…” Signed Joseph Harrison and William Perry.

[Note: I can only speculate that to appease the more militant arm of the Stockport Union, Harrison had finally agreed to redirect some of the Prisoner’s funds towards arms and delegations?]

1819, November 4 – The ultra-radicals take control of the Manchester Union – The spy ‘Y’ reports that on November 4 at the Manchester Union Rooms –  “… Wroe came in, and said something about Thistlewood coming down from London and being a spy – Bradshaw [James Bradshaw] then came in again and took the Chair – The old Committee was dissolved, and a fresh one chosen – The old Committee was five in number; the new one is thirteen and seven can do business. The names I recollect are, Lang, Tetlow, O’Neale, Roberts, Sidebotham, Burnwood, Nathan Massey, Naaman Carter, Wild, Linney, McKeogh, Walker (Secretary )…” (HO 42/198 folio 141)

[Note: O’Neale is most likely the delegate “O’Neil” mentioned in Palmer’s report? (HO 42/203 fol. 548). O’Neil had been delegated to Nottingham, Glasgow/Paisley and passed through Carlisle in Dec 1819.

Also most likely the John O’Neal mentioned in Alpha’s report (HO 40/15 fol. 311) “… the young man who brought the hand bills from Manchester to Bolton advertising the meeting on the thirteenth of December 1819.” John O’Neil was living in Newry, Ireland in December 1820 and wrote wishing to maintain a correspondence with the Manchester committee. It was also agreed that the letter from John O’Neil be submitted to the consideration of the Committee at Manchester and that copies be sent to Robert Wild who could put it into a channel of circulation.]

[Note: Only clues I have to the identity of ‘Y’ are that he appears to be a weaver and had lived 5 years about Tyldesley and knew everybody around there. ‘Y’ also had a wife and 3 children. Seems to have worked for a Mr. Jackson who had a warehouse.]

[Note: Wild [Robert Wild] was one of the men arrested at Peterloo and charged along with Henry Hunt etc. He was found not guilty at trial and released.]

[Note: Naaman Carter was born 20 June, 1799 and baptized at Kirkburton near Huddersfield 5 July, 1799.]

[Note: Some of the new committee members (James Lang, Edward Roberts) were also signatories to the notice of the Manchester Meeting on August 9, 1819. This was the date for the original Peterloo meeting before it was moved to August 16. James Bradshaw and Nathan Massey were also associated with the ultra radicals as evident in ‘Y’s reports.]


1819, November 7 – Meeting of the Radicals at Manchester Union Rooms – discussion turned to W. C. Walker’s character – “… it was well known that Bill Walker had two wives – this caused a general laugh – when up starts a person of the name of Tetlow [James Tetlow] (he is a person connected with the Blanket expedition, and ran away with a large sum of money.) He said that he was very sorry that any objection was made of their secretary who he considered a most respectable young man… Mr Bradbury [George Bradbury] a stone mason – he presented himself to the chair to vindicate the foul aspersions which had been thrown on the most respectable man in the Union…” (HO 42/198 fol. 124).

[Note: This report gives a clue to W.C. Walker’s age being described as a “young man”. I get the impression that Walker was the puppet of Tetlow and Bradbury.]

1819, November 7 – The spy WM [William Monk] reported that Wroe positively said – “That Mr [George] Bradbury and Mr W.C. Walker (who had taken his office again) were two of so bad Characters that the Union would never prosper whilst they had anything to do with it, and if they did not take their seats he should expose them…” (HO 42/198 folio 120-127)

1819, November 7 – William Cobbett was supposed to have arrived back in England from America but the ship arrived without him. “He applied for a passage by her, but the passengers declared that they would not come in the vessel if Cobbett did.”

458px-William_CobbettWilliam Cobbett
(1763 – 1835) 

1819, November 8 – Wigan Reform Meeting – Hasledon of Wigan, Walker of Manchester, Battersley of Leigh and Rev. Harrison of Stockport addressed the people. William Walker [W. C. Walker] was chairman. Harrison mentions having attended “Peterloo.” William Cobbett was expected to attend the Wigan Meeting but was left stranded in America. In his speech Harrison said “if any man molests you, or oppress you, knock him down, keep him down, and cut him when he is down.” The spy David Ramsay took notes and reported that Harrison’s language “was very inflammatory” and “whether they should arm or not they were to judge for themselves.” Ramsay also reported that the meeting was adjourned to a further day’s notice and that “if Parliament should attempt to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act that they upon the first intelligence shall meet again to assert their rights…” (HO 42/198 fol. 194)

[Note: It appears the Wigan meeting was to have been originally held on 1st November – the original proposed date for Thistlewood’s “simultaneous meetings”. (see printed notice from HO 42/197 folio 139)]

1819, November 8 – Skipton Reform Meeting – “… a man of the name of Brayshaw was the only speaker repeating precisely the same seditious unfounded & inflammatory jargon which he had done at other places…” (HO 42/198 fol. 341)

1819, November 8 – Huddersfield Reform Meeting – John Dickenson of Dewsbury (chairman), Micah Wright, Chris Wood, John Spivey, Richard Lee (speakers).

1819, November 9 – The London spy BC reports that the Reform meeting to be postponed “until Wednesday 24th – to be held in Smithfield when it would enable them to judge of the Prince Regents opening speech to Parliament. Resolved that Mr Walker of Manchester be invited to the chair on that day…” and that “[George] Bradbury from Manchester is in town.” (HO 42/198 fol. 328)

1819, November 10 – The spy ‘Y’ reported at the Manchester Union Rooms that – “… Walker addressed the meeting, and told them, he had been at Wigan, where there were twenty two Resolutions read, and that there were eighty stand of Colours and Ninety Thousand People (but I knew he told a d___d lie) and a Man was chosen to the Chair, but he would not take it – a second was chosen but he would not take it – then Walker was chosen to the Chair and he took it – and they would identify his Character against Mr Wroe, and said that Wroe had hurt his (Walkers) Character in the Statesman, and if he did not come forward to identify his Character, he would singe his whiskers, or let him feel cold steel (Wroe was in the Room) and he said, likewise Wroe had put a piece in the Observer last Saturday respecting the Placard and the Four Pounds. Carter [Naaman Carter] called Wroe forward, and asked him who gave him authority to put that in his Paper? Wroe told him, that he put it in his paper (did not hear distinctly why) but on Saturday next, he would put in an excuse – Wroe then pulled out his watch and said, it was half past ten, and time to go. he seemed down in the mouth…” (HO 42/198 folio 152)

[Note: I believe Walker refers to the article in the November 1 issue of the Statesman, excerpt below:

“… Their motives of action are, in fact, as suspicious as the character of their intellect is deplorable. That character is visible from the composition of the Address. Walker, whose name is subscribed to this extraordinary production, has been a sailor, and for the last nine months has had no obvious means of subsistence. Tetlow is a weaver; he is, I am told, a Collector of a Section of the Union Society – that is a person who takes a penny a week from twenty-five persons to the Treasurer of that Society, but how far Tetlow is trust worthy may be judged of from the following, which is affirmed to me as a fact:- At the Blanket Meeting of 1817, a collection of some money was made, and Mr. Tetlow, who was one of the collectors, having his hat tolerably full thought proper to disappear from the town without giving any account of the produce to the common fund. His disappearance, he pretended to say, was occasioned by a desire to escape the pursuit of the police; but from that hour to the present he has never accounted for the produce of his collection. Bradbury [George Bradbury], who is said to be a writer of this Proclamation, had also a share of the collection at the Blanket Meeting in 1817. – What then is the gullibility of the people among whom such persons can have any influence? They are, however, said to have no influence, and that in point of fact no Meeting will take place notwithstanding this publication. But is really disgusting to find such wretches undertaking to direct any portion of the people…”

The article respecting the Observer is in the November 6 issue of the Manchester Observer, page 806.]

1819, November 10 – The spy W.M. [William Monk] reports to Norris that – “I was much pleased with Mr Wroe entering into conversation with me, this evening, and giving me a report of what passed at the Union Rooms, [George] Bradbury was ordered out of the room, Secretary Walker stood a severe lecture from Wroe. They were more at variance, then when I was there last, all is going on in confusion in this Union. I feel very certain Walker would be your Man, and as for any secrets of the other party he is so badly looked at, that nothing will be allowed to come under his view. I am gaining credit with the Radicals very much, and keep a strait look out. The “High” Radicals are waiting till Hunt gives the command…”  (HO 42/198 fol. 605)

[Note: It’s interesting that even to this point it seems the “High Radicals” of Manchester were waiting for Hunt to give the command, that is, to seek Reform through force. Hunt had made it quite clear though that peaceful means was the only way forward.]

1819, November 10 – “Last night a Meeting of the Manchester Union was held at their rooms, the George, Leigh-street, to take into consideration the advice of Dr. Watson, Thistlewood, and others, to hold simultaneous Public Meetings; and also to make an inquiry into the Posting Bill, which, by deprecating Mr. Hunt’s Letter against holding Meetings in this neighbourhood, had caused some dissention among the Reformers. They came to a resolution to withhold all communications with Watson and the rest, in consequence of that advice. With respect to the posting-bill, they examined the manuscript copy, which appeared to be written in three or four different hands, and, though said to be signed on behalf of the Manchester Union, every member denied any participation in its production. Bradbury, who had been very active in promoting the Meeting, was severely reprobated, and finally hooted out of the room. He had just before been attempting to procure a similar favour for Mr. Wroe, the proprietor of the Manchester Observer, in which, of course he was disappointed, and Mr. Wroe rebutted all the charges preferred against him, amidst the unanimous applause of the society.” (Morning Chronicle, Nov 13, 1819)

1819, November 10 – The spy ‘Y’ reports – “I went to Naaman Carter on Tuesday morning, and said, well lad, how goes thee on? and he said middling, and I said, how did they go on at the Committee on Monday night? and he said there was nothing done on account of that bugger Walker going to the Wigan Meeting, and nothing could be done without him…” (HO 42/198 fol. 152)

1819, November 10 – J. Todd Naylor (Wakefield) reports to Hobhouse that – “… Since Wooller [Thomas Wooler] was in this part of the Country recommending at the nightly meetings of the Heads of the Sections, which he visited in each Town, that they should arm themselves in the best way they seem able, the Radicals have personally furnished themselves with Pistols, the consequence of which is that we have nightly depredations…” and that – “… It is at Leeds that Mitchell has set up his staff for the avowed purpose of carrying on a paper war against Baines…” (HO 42/198 folio 90)

1819, November 11 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that – “… Our Rector has had a letter from David Ramsay [a spy] this morning stating that he was at the meeting at Wigan – Walker the Secy to the Manchr Union Socy was in the Chair – Harrison of Stockport amongst those who spoke – He left then to infer, from what he said, the necessity of resorting to physical power – particularly in case of any attempt to suspend the Hab. Corpus act. – He [Harrison] said it was not his intention to go again to public meetings as he was a persecuted individual – There were about 1500 people there…”, Lloyd also reported that “… Harrison, I am told, is gone to the Leeds meeting – so that my Clerk cannot get to serve him with a process from the King’s Bench…” (HO 42/198 folio 179)

[Note: There was a Reform meeting at Dewsbury near Leeds on November 11, 1819.]

1819, November 11 – Dewsbury Reform Meeting (near Leeds) – John Dickenson (Chairman), Thomas Mason, Wadsworth, Leadbeater, James Willan, James Mann, John Smithson, Rev. Joseph Harrison? (Speakers.) 

[Note: Article is illegible and name seems to be Hierson but this could be a shorthand/compositor/transcription error. According to Lloyd, Harrison had gone to the Leeds Meeting and I’m not aware of a Reformer named Hierson.]

1819, November 11 – The spy ‘Y’ reports that – “… I then went with Carter, and met with Johnson (of Carlisle), Sellers and Bradshaw, at the Coach and Horses, Thomas St, and Carter kept a brace of pistols and gave Sellers and Bradshaw each a brace, and each charged one pistol with ball. We went to the Bridge Inn, and Bradshaw took my name and seven others for bail, besides Carter another man. Carter and Sellers gave their pistols to Bradshaw, who did not go into the New Bayley, but all the others did. The bail was offered, but all was rejected, as I think – We then returned to the Bridge Inn. A soldier burying was going past as they went and Bradshaw gave Carter and Sellers their pistols back. Mr Nadin was in sight, and Carter said, he should like to shoot that d__d old Nadin, for, but for him, their Bail would have been taken… They drank seven quarts of beer, and had three papers of tobacco… went towards New Cross – Carter, Sellers and Johnson, said, they would shoot Nadin, or some bloody Constables – I then took a Pistol from Carter in joke, and came here…”  (HO 42/198 fol. 148-149)

[Note: Later that day an assassination attempt was made on Nadin.]

[Note: It’s astonishing to me that the authorities had not connected the report above with the assassination attempt on Nadin. It’s obvious that one of these men fired the shot. Why were they not pursued and arrested? Was the assassination attempt a setup?]

1819, November 11 – Assassination attempt on Constable Nadin – “… about a quarter past eleven o’clock, Mr. Nadin, when in the execution of his duty, near the Theatre-Royal, Fountain-street, Manchester, WAS WILLFULLY SHOT AT by a man, there standing close to him. The ball (which was probably fired from a horse-pistol,) passed through the crown of Mr. Nadin’s hat, within which the wadding was lodged. The man who fired appeared to be thin, and about 5 feet 2 or 3 inches high, pale complexion, long visaged, in-mouthed, and his nose and chin rather long. His dress – a light coloured jacket (without laps,) waistcoat and breeches something darker, and leggings, or stockings, darker than say other part of his dress. On the discharge of the pistol, another man standing at about five yards distance, ran off, he seemed to be about five feet nine inches high slenderly formed, and his clothes were all of a dark cast…” (From broadside, 1819 – “Intended Assassination of Mr Nadin, The Deputy Constable of Manchester”) 

1819, November 12 – Delegate meeting in Manchester – “After all the expected delegates had arrived at the house of Wm Walker in Edge Street an adjournment was thought advisable by each one then & there present. Accordingly we went to the house of James Bradshaw Pot houses Ancoats Lane into a private house & there business commenced. The delegates were from Stockport, Mosley, Padiham, Blackburn, Warrington, Leigh, Bolton, Hadfield, Hayfield, Bentley. The first business was respecting Walker & Tetlow being charged with being connected with the police. However they cleared themselves, & Tetlow took the chair…” (HO 42/198 fol. 644)

1819, November 13 – John Livesey the magistrates spy and coach proprietor of Manchester writes to Lord Sidmouth seeking compensation for damages he received for having “taken so active a part in bringing the leading actors of the revolutionists to justice.” Livesey reports that his coaches had been vandalised, his harness cut and two of his horses killed.

1819, November – Dr. Watson (Spencean) writes to W. C. Walker (Manchester Union Secretary) that he is disappointed that the plan for simultaneous meetings on 1st November was cancelled “never mind my Manchester Friends, the day of delivery is at hand and one great and firm resistance will pull down oppression Hastily.” (HO 42/199)

Drawing,_print_study_(BM_1900,0725.2)Dr. James Watson
(1766 – 1838)

1819, November 14 – “Harrison came to Macclesfield one Sunday previous to the said 21 Nov to preach a sermon & to collect subscriptions for a Jno Dickins a Reformer who had been detected selling Beer & Ale without licence & was prosecuted.” (letter from Macclesfield Postmaster to Sidmouth HO 42/200)

1819, November 15 – Bradford Reform Meeting – John Dickenson (Chairman), James Willan, Thomas Mason, Crabtree, Hayes (Speakers). Joseph Mitchell presented himself on the hustings and Willan accused him of vilifying his character by writing in his “Blanketeer” that he, Willan, was concerned in the production of pikes. Mitchell said it was a mere joke.  They mutually agreed to drop all acquaintance.

1819, November 15 – Returning from the Bradford Meeting, Joseph Mitchell was attacked by 5 or 6 persons being pushed into a canal and having stones thrown at his head until nearly senseless.

1819, November 16 – Notice appeared in the Manchester Mercury. – “To be SOLD BY AUCTION, On Monday next the 22nd day of November instant, at ten o’clock in the forenoon, in such lots as may in the mean time be fixed upon, on the premises now occupied by Mr. William Walker, junior, in Broughton, under an execution: THE IMPLEMENTS and UTENSILS, in the business of a Dyer; and also the STOCK in TRADE of the said William Walker; and the whole of his Household Goods and Furniture, the particulars whereof will hereafter be announced to the public…” (Manchester Mercury, Nov 16, 1819)

[Note: Could this be the same William Walker? Alpha had reported on 21st December that Walker had “… likewise converted all his household property into Money even till it came to pawning his watch which was a very valuable one…” (HO 42/201 folio 512). Possibly just coincidence as William Walker resided at Edge Street in Manchester.]  

1819, November 16 – The spy Alpha writes to Ralph Fletcher that – “… Walker has more completely established his Character and the Reformers of Manchester have seemingly more confidence in him them wen [sic] since he became their Secretary he has obtained more information for them than all their preceding ones. He has formed the most useful connections possible and has given proof agains [sic] the crafty wiles of the Police No friend nor foe needs attempt Making a proselyte of him from his present designs. He is completely determined to Have a Reform or risk all that his [sic] Dear to him…” (HO 42/198 folio 104)

[Note: Based on handwriting comparisons and circumstantial evidence it’s quite clear that ‘Alpha’ the spy was actually Thomas Yates of Bolton. (See HO 42/196 fol. 76.) Alpha’s letters first appear shortly after this letter.]

[Note: This report seems to indicate that Alpha was the puppet master behind Walker and that his grand plan was coming to fruition. Alpha had told Fletcher that one of his objectives was to cause a split in the union. (HO 42/196 fol. 76)] 

1819, November 21 – London spy B.C. reports that – “… The Description of the person who fired the Pistol at Nadin in Manchester, agrees with that of Hill [James Hill] reported by me some time since as one of Thistlewoods desperate party gone on a secret mission to Manchester, where he is now, and will be found with Tatlow [James Tetlow] – whose residence as well as Mrs Wilson the female Delegate to London I gave at the same time (108 Newton Lane Holborn Manchester)”  (HO 42/199 fol. 145)

1819, November 21 – Lloyd reports to Hobhouse that – “… Hill a journey man Tailor a native of Manchester who for some time lately lived in London where he earned two pounds a week was of the Committee of 200 – He was married and his Wife [maiden name Kitchen]… found her Husband & the Radical Female in bed together. (HO 42/199 fol. 136)

[Note: It’s quite likely the female Radical mentioned was “Mrs. Wilson” who had earlier visited the Spenceans in London.]

[Note: James Hill (tailor) married Rachel Kitchen, Manchester, 1815.] 

1819, November 21 – Harrison preached a sermon at Macclesfield Union Room. “Collections made for the purpose of Furnishing the School and Preaching Rooms, with Forms, Desks, Books, etc.” (MPI 134/7)

1819, November 21 – William Cobbett carrying the remains of Thomas Paine arrives back in England from America aboard the Ship Hercules.

[Note: Legend has it that the bones of Thomas Paine were lost in antiquity. Or were they? An Australian antiques dealer is said to be in possession of the skull.]


Thomas PaineThomas Paine
(1737 – 1809)

1819, November 22 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “… A letter dated Union Rooms Manchester was read by Watson from which it appeared that Radicals delegated from Glasgow and Nottingham are at Manchester. That the influence of Hunt in the north is fast declining and describes him as having led the people to the banks of the river and is afraid to make the plunge – And consoles Watson etc. with the assurance that his counsels and those of Thistlewood are most congenial to the views of the majority of the Lancashire Reformers…” (HO 42/199 fol. 160)

1819, November 22 – Reform Meeting at Otley near Leeds – Mason (Chairman), Brayshaw,  Squire Farrar, Butterwick (speakers). Mary Nicholson presented a Cap of Liberty to the Chairman. (Leeds Mercury, 27 Nov, 1819) 

1819, November 23 – William Charles Walker [W. C. Walker] (Secretary of the Manchester Union) set off for London to meet the Spenceans and attend the 24 November Smithfield Meeting. (HO 42/199)

1819, November 24 – Smithfield Meeting – London spy ‘C’ reports that – “… Thistlewood was there & told the Meeting that Walker was come to Town from Manchester & had inquired whether the people were armed in London & said that 170000 men could be assembled armed in the North in the space of an hour. Thistlewood told the meeting that he thought the people very dilatory some persons present said they had no rallying point…” (HO 42/199 fol. 455)


1819, November 24 – Dr. Watson “… assembled round him in Smithfield a Wretched, but not numerous crowd of idle and dissolute people of the humblest condition. To these he spoke treason like a bedlamite, and Produced a Manchester person named Walker, who declared, with unparalleled audacity, that the Reformers of the North were ready to commence the rebellion with force and arms, waiting only the co-operation of the London Radicals, and, the result of the meeting of Parliament…” (Morning Herald, 25 Nov, 1819.)

1819, November 24 – “… A queer little man in a white hat, and a red jacket was then introduced by the Doctor as Mr. WALKER, the Chairman of the Wigan Reform Meeting, and he made a flaming speech in a strong Lancashire dialect, in the course of which he assured the Meeting, that if the Parliament passed a Bill of Indemnity to the Manchester Magistrates, the Reformers of the North would instantly indemnify themselves; and they were strong enough to do it he said, without the help of the London Radicals…” (English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post, 25 Nov, 1819.)

[Note: Alpha had reported to Col. Fletcher on Nov 16 that the ultras under Walker’s leadership had come to a decision to “…  raise every opposition to a Bill of Indemnity or the suspension and these two measures stand fixed firmly and decidedly upon for the signal of a National Struggle…” (HO 42/198 fol. 104)]

[Note: Interesting that Walker was wearing a “red jacket” and not his customary blue sailor attire. It’s possible he had swapped clothes with Nathan Broadhurst in an attempt to fool the authorities? Broadhurst was mistaken for Walker at the Burnley Meeting on November 15 and shortly thereafter arrested.]

1819, November 24 – After the Smithfield meeting W. C. Walker met with Thistlewood and other Spenceans in London. Walker observed “on the first of November there was 40 Towns & Places which he could mention all true radicals would have met on that day, but there was one that Hunt was to have been at but did not come to so there was no meeting of us on that day. He deceived us… He has sold us here well says Walker… Ah says Thistlewood he has lost the finest opportunity in the World but I hope we shall do without him…” Walker said “… Our party is a getting stronger & stronger Sir.” Thistlewood replied “I wish we could say so here… you will give a bad account of us at present, when you go back. Ah… but we will see what we can do against the next visiting.” Walker said “You have got but a few at present… but they are good ones… Thistlewood observed that they thought the officers would have attacked our colours today but we was prepared for them Davidson would have killed right & left if they had made the attempt… Walker said they should Never take another Colour at Manchester…”   (HO 42/199 fol. 246)

William_DavidsonWilliam Davidson

[Note: At Peterloo W. C. Walker had run off with the tricolour but it was seized by the Yeomanry before he could escape the field.]

tri-colour-EDITEDRadical Tri-colour flown at Smithfield.

1819, November 24 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “…A general delegate meeting takes place to day at Nottingham under the auspices of Thistlewood, Walker etc – with a view to receive communications from London on the receipt of the Prince Regent’s speech & the other proceedings of Parliament etc after which as the conduct of Parliament shapes itself they are to adjourn to some more secret place & determine ulterior motives which latter mean the time for a general rising…” (HO 42/199 folio 274)

[Note: William Tootill from Bolton was sent as delegate. Moses Colclough of Nottingham also attended. See HO 40/13 fol. 3]

1819, November 25 – The spy Peter Campbell of Manchester informs Ethelston that – “… Cobbett is come here for the purpose of encouraging a plan of general revolt – that he was brought over for that purpose & particularly written to by Parson Harrison who was in the Chair at Ashton when a resolution was pass’d to that effect – saith that Cobbett is a very cunning Rogue, that he will hasten ye Rebellion & that as soon as he has collected information he will proceed to London with it & communicate with ye Leaders of the party, & that soon after this ye grand rising is confidently expected…” (HO 42/199 folio 381)

1819, November 25 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “…W.C. Walker I learn is to proceed from London to Nottingham where the central Committee is meeting tomorrow…[Nov 26]” (HO 42/199 folio 339)

1819, November 25 – Col. Morland (in Nottingham) reports to Byng that – “… I can get no positive information as yet whether any delegates have been here. I shall know more tomorrow. I saw/noticed that a delegate or delegates was here on the 25th inst and I have some reason to believe that it was Thistlewood. (HO 42/200 fol. 89)

1819, November 26 – The London spy B.C. reports that – “Thistlewood informed Preston, that they must fight for it in less than 10 days and that he had sent W.C. Walker off, by the afternoon coach to Manchester, to prepare them there as he saw the restriction bills would pass before the 13 Dec.” (HO 42/199 fol. 340)

thomas_prestonThomas Preston

1819, November 27 – Hobhouse writes to Byng that – “Thistlewood says they must fight for it in less than ten days, and last night sent Walker to Manchester, from whence he had come as a Delegate, to prepare them there.”

[Note: The repressive Six Acts were due to come into force on 13 December which would explain Thistlewood’s urgency to act as mass meetings would soon be prohibited and therefore foil his plans of sparking a general rising.]

1819, November 27 – Report of Samuel Fleming regarding Stockport Radicals – “… Corbett said he thought the rising had been put off too long. Said moreover he was of opinion the business wou’d be more difficult & that the Reformists wou’d have 5 times more to do than if they had risen in a body after the Manchr Meeting. William Wood said it was their intention at Stockport to have done so but they were prevented by the Delegates – said that if they had risen at that time all the forces that cou’d have been brought against them wou’d have been able to do nothing – said that at that time they wou’d have got possession of the Cannon at Lyme Park nr Stockport & other places which cannon were now by order of Govt put in places of safety – said by the delay their enemies had gained time to prepare; but, says he, we shall go on with it still & whenever it comes, depend upon it, it will come like a clap of Thunder – it will be such a piece of Work as never was know in England before… Deponent said Corbett has been in ye army 15 or 16 years & that W. Wood has been in the navy…” (HO 42/199 folio 379.)

1819, November 28 – London spy reports that “… Thistlewood going to Manchester on Wednesday night after the liberation of Watson on bail – to excite a rising there as he thinks more can be done in the Country than in Town…” (HO 42/199 folio 406)

1819, November 28 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “I have not heard any thing of Walker. The Boroughreeve informs me this evening that Walker has written from London for money to bring him back.” (HO 42/199 fol. 405)

1819, November 30 – The spy George Edwards reports that – “Walker set off for Manchester last Friday and would be at the Union Club meeting on Tuesday night… Walker recommended the assassination of Lords Sidmouth and Castlereagh & Mr Canning.” (HO 42/199 fol. 540)

[Note: Could this have been the inspiration for George Edward’s plan to ensnare the London Spenceans in what became known as the Cato Street Conspiracy?] 

george_edwardsGeorge Edwards & the heads of the Cato Street Conspirators

1819, November 30 – William Cobbett was to address the people of Manchester but was prevented entry by the Boroughreeves. It is thought that Cobbett would have made his entrance if it had not been for the faintheartedness of Joseph Johnson which gave great offence to the other Reformers. Cobbett’s Address was read at the dinner, and copies forwarded to the Morning Chronicle by Harrison.  The dinner at Irlam was attended by Joseph Harrison, P. T. Candelet, James Moorhouse, Thomas Chapman, Nicholas Whitworth, Joseph Johnson, John Thacker Saxton, William Fitton and Stott. Also delegates from Hull, Dewsbury and Paisley (supposedly sent for purchase of pistols.)  (HO 42/199 fol. 497-498)

[Note: Irlam was just 2 miles from the ultra-radical hotbed of Flixton.]

[Note: It seems Joseph Harrison had attended the Dewsbury Reform Meeting a few weeks earlier on Nov 11. See HO 42/198 folio 179.]

[Note: It seems Cobbett would prove a huge disappointment to the Radicals and made a quick “exit stage left” back to Hampshire. Not even staying for the dinner that had been organised for him. ] 


1819, December 1 – John Knight, W. C. Walker and George Dewhurst arrested for high treason for speeches made at the Burnley Meeting on 15th November.

1819, December 1 – Meeting at Preston’s house – London – “… Thistlewood said he had received a letter from Walker of Manchester informing him that all was ready there – There appears a great mystery in the Conduct of Thistlewood, who seems anxious to disguise his real intentions, before the Meetings, saying there is nothing to be done in London, & declaiming against Hartley, Davidson, etc as being too violent – yet is continually with them in private – and appears in greater spirits than usual, and from the known desperate Character of him & his associates, it may be apprehended they have some secret desperate act in contemplation -” (HO 42/200 fol. 194)

arthur_thistlewoodArthur Thistlewood
(1774 – 1820)

1819, December 1 – Hobhouse writes to Byng informing him that Thistlewood failed to raise money for his trip to Manchester and stayed in London. “…He despairs of the Metropolis, and relies on deliverance by means of the Hordes which are to come down upon us from the North…”

[Note: The Spenceans’ funds were completely depleted by Hunt’s extravagant parade and dinner at the Crown & Anchor on September 13. As a consequence Doctor Watson was arrested for debt.]

1819, December 1 – Letter from Norris to Sidmouth reporting that he had received a letter from Hobhouse “intimating the probable arrival of Thistlewood in these parts tomorrow evening… I think however his plans are likely to be considerably broke in upon by the circumstance of his friends Walkers [W. C. Walker] arrest for High Treason this morning under Col. Hargreaves warrant…” Norris also reports that – “Walker has given up the secretaryship to which Lang [James Lang] is appointed – Walker had something of importance to communicate to the meeting rec’d from London & various places (alas! he is now in custody!)” Norris also reports that – “A Committee has been meeting this afternoon – they are glad of the apprehension of Knight & are resolved not to join or admit him – Wroe or Saxon (all of the Observer paper) for their overturning the general meeting on the 1st Nov’r – & they say Hunt never wrote the letter which appeared in the Observer…” (HO 42/200)

[Note: I can only surmise that the “something of importance” Walker wished to communicate to the Manchester committee was his total surprise at the unorganised state of the Radicals in London, their small numbers, and of their being “quite timid” in contrast to the favourable description Tetlow had given them a few months before. It seems Hunt was correct in his assessment of the Spenceans and Walker was wising up to the fact. (See HO 42/201 folio 512.)]

[Note: Walker’s return coach fare was paid by the famed philosopher Jeremy Bentham as the Spenceans’ funds were completely exhausted. (HO 42/199 fol. 406)]

1024px-Jeremy_Bentham_by_Henry_William_Pickersgill_(cropped)Jeremy Bentham
(1748 – 1832)

1819, December 2 – Letter from Norris to Sidmouth reports that “an active movement is taking place throughout the disturbed district… but although the people are quite ready for a start, I think – Walker being in durance [prison] and Thistlewood remaining in London they will want a leader; this I understand how’r they have considered and have determined to have a Committee of Management…” (HO 42/200)

1819, December 2 – Report of spy ‘W.T.’ – “… Saxton said, he was going home on Tuesday night, and the sentinel at the Barracks corner of Church street heard one of the men bid him good night, and hearing him call him Saxton, struck him with his piece several times, and he said, if he did not go off, he would shoot him – there was a general cry in the room – you should have blown his brains out – he said, he had not his pistol with him or he would have done so. Our Broadhurst [Nathan Broadhurst] brought news that Mr Knight was taken at Rochdale, which seemed to grieve Bradbury and some others very much…” (HO 42/200 fol. 592)

[Note: Interesting to note that even Saxton, a “High Radical”, had taken to arming himself, possibly for self defence.]

1819, December 2 – The spy Samuel Fleming reports to Ethelston the magistrate that “the letter sent to Cobbett by the Magistrates to prevent his coming to Manch’r has sav’d the Town & neighborhood from plunder & bloodshed – saith it was well known to Delegates & Committee Men that this Man’s arrival in Manch’r was to be the signal of a general rising in this district- saith Shakeshaft the artillery man, who plan’d the business of carrying off the Cannon from Lyme Park, told him so – saith Mellor the Reformist of Oldham & a leading Committee Man told him Cobbett was aware that an Insurrection wou’d follow his coming & had mention’d it to some of Stockport Committee privately – that Parson Harrison was deep in this secret & was in constant communication with Cobbett on this subject…” (HO 42/200)

1819, December 2 – Report from spy David Ramsay – “… G. France [George France] says that there was a person [Robert Wild] left Manchester yesterday morning for Birmingham to purchase 60 brace of pistols for certain individuals in Manchr… Carlisle has given an order for 100 brace and further that there was 50 pikes to leave Manchester at 4 in the afternoon for Flixton…” (HO 42/200 fol. 273)

1819, December 2 – Report from spy A.S.B.D. to Norris – Reports that “Robert Wild who you took from the hustings is very active, indeed he is the agent to fetch the pistols from Manchester. (HO 42/200 fol. 127)

1819, December 2 – Reports from Barnsley that hundreds of men drilling with pikes in the surrounding fields. (HO 42/200 fol. 288, 291, 328)

1819, December 2 – Advertisement appeared in the Leeds Mercury (4 Dec, 1819) advertising Reform Meeting at Barnsley on 13 Dec, 1819. Thomas Farrimond, Secretary to the Union Society.

1819, December 3 – Report from Hargreaves to Lord Sidmouth – W. C. Walker was “discharged appearing that the Walker who attended the Meeting in question was not the same man who had been apprehended and will be known to your Lordship by the description of Walker the Sailor – this is a very bad man and it would have been well to secure him if the evidence had warranted it.” (HO 42/200)

Note: It was in fact Nathan Broadhurst who had attended the Burnley meeting and was mistaken for Walker.]

1819, December 3 – The spy ‘W.T.’ reports that – “… Wroe the printer, rented that room in George Leigh street for them [the ultra radicals], and he has given them notice to leave this week, so they have applied to Mr Johnson, brush maker, and he says he will find them a room to meet in, and he will stand their friend as far as lays in his power, so they are against Wroe, and say he is no man for putting them out of the room…” (HO 42/200 fol. 593)

1819, December 4 – The spy ‘W.T.’ reports that he – “… attended a meeting last night and Benbow, Drummond and others were present – Benbow said, the earlier they begin the better, for if they intended to save the country from the iron grasp of tyrants that it was to be done soon – Drummond said, they could not have time for two meetings so it must be done at one…” (HO 42/200 fol. 593)

[Note: The Drummond mentioned is most likely the father of Samuel Drummond (imprisoned at Chester) and seems to be associated with the ultra radicals.]

1819, December 4 – Bamford returned from London. The spy ‘Y’ reported on Dec 6 that he “then went to the Robin Hood. Bamford came in and said he had been at London and returned last Saturday…” (HO 42/200 folio 596)

[Note: Mr. Bennet presented Bamford’s petition to Parliament on 30 Nov. 1819. Bennet said he “had two long conversations with the petitioner.” (UK Parliamentary Papers.) Bamford chronicles his time in London in Chapter XXX of Passages in the Life of a Radical but is poorly dated. This may help with the timeframe.]

1819, December 5 – “Seditious” sermon preached by Harrison at the Windmill Rooms, Stockport. He supposedly preached that the “people should rise en-masse to suppress such a tyrannical Government as the one of this country; and it will not be long, but very soon, that it shall be overturned, and many a bloody battle may be fought, and many an one incarcerated in prison, before it shall be accomplished.”

harrison1Rev. Joseph Harrison
(1779 – 1848)

1819, December 5 – Norris writes to Sidmouth that – “… Walker the secretary who was taken up under Col. Hargreaves’s warrant turns out not to be the man who was at Burnley, so that he was yesterday set at liberty. He promises amendment I am informed. Col. Hargreaves took the examons in private…” (HO 42/200 folio 565.)

[Note: Sailor Boy Walker was set free and promised the authorities amendment. Had he finally realised that he was being deceived by persons in the ultra-radical faction?]

1819, December 6 – The spy ‘Y’ conversed with Naaman Carter – “… asked him what sort of deputy meeting there was yesterday. He said, the greatest I ever was at – there was above fifty besides his committee – I asked him if there were any responsible persons there – he said, yes! there was a doctor [Dr Hepworth, see notes below] from Flixton there… We then went to the Robin Hood – Bamford came in and said he had been at London and returned last Saturday – When Carter got home, he was told that Lang & O’Neale had been looking for him, to get the requisition ready – at five o’clock Lang and O’Neale called again on Carter, and we all went to Fell’s to see if the pistols had come down… George Sale said, there were six men appointed to shoot the men who swore against Knight and Dewhurst – this Walker told him – The Warrington delegate said, the Reformers had six pieces of cannon hid between Warrington and Flixton.” (HO 42/200 fol. 596)

[Note: Dr William Francis Hepworth went bankrupt in 1805 and his Altrincham property was purchased by George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford. (EGR14/1/77)]

[Note: “At the Manchester Sessions, Samuel Stephenson, a minister of religion, and Wm. Francis Hepworth, a surgeon, were found guilty of having used unlawful means on Hannah Edgeley, of Flixton, she being pregnant, to cause her to miscarry. They were sentenced to three years imprisonment each in Lancaster Castle.” (Lancaster Gazette, Feb 3, 1816.) Hannah Edgeley, the servant, had fallen pregnant to Rev. Stephenson.]

[Note: See HO 42/164 fol. 230. Examination of Joshua Green, dated 17 Mar, 1817. “Hepworth had formerly resided in Hulme and had left Hulme to go to Lymm.”]

Samuel_BamfordSamuel Bamford
(1788 – 1872)

1819, December 6 – Alpha reports to Fletcher that he plans to visit Middleton and Stockport – “… I have a good pretext to attend both those places as I have an Uncle at Three Pits and Mr Harrison will introduce me into any Company I know and I wish to have his sentiments upon different Private Matters as he is such a revolutionist and I also wish to see Perry the Stockport Secretary a Worthy Friend…” (HO 42/203 fol. 561)

1819, December 6 – Report of spy ‘C’ – “…Thistlewood is not gone out of Town, he was at the meeting in Wych St last night & said that he had instead of going sent his answer to Nottingham for that he thought he could be of more use in London…” (HO 42/200 folio 344)

1819, December 6 – Information of W.T. (Manchester) – They are forming a plan as follows they chiefly depend upon Nottingham, Carlisle, Glasgow and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Their plan is to begin in the north, to draw the troops from here, for the whole country seems resolved to be revenged on Manchester for the Peterloo Massacre as they call it, their time is uncertain for they have left it to the north to begin as soon as possible. The leaders seem very backward in this town for they are afraid of being taken, there was only [George] Bradbury there last night…” (HO 42/200 fol. 173)

1819, December 7 – The spy M (aka WM / William Monk) reports to Norris that – “[Joseph] Johnson at the desire and advice of [William] Benbow and [Thomas] Chapman has withdrawn the handbill – it being represented to him that if he allowed it to appear he would certainly be thought to have had some hand with them [the ultras] and wished to withdraw himself. (HO 42/200 fol. 132)

[Note: This relates to the handbill/requisition for the simultaneous Reform Meetings on December 13. Part of Thistlewood’s plan to spark a revolution.]

1819, December 7 – Manchester spy ‘Y’ reports that – “… The business of the committee last evening was to prepare the requisition, which was done, and it was sent to the printer today. I signed it … a man from Dewsbury came today, to say the Reformers there would join the Lancashire Union… O’Neale [O’Neil] and Lang then came in… they said enough signed, they could call a meeting as well as the Boroughreeve in 24 hours… I went to Carter and the Flixton man came in for his pikes, there is a committee at Carter’s tonight, to admit the Dewsbury man. The Flixton man said, Dr Hepworth would pay the expence of a man to Nottingham, or go himself. The Dr pays for the pikes.” (HO 42/200 fol. 173)


[Note: It’s possible that Y’s name appears on the printed requisition?]

1819, December 7 – At meeting of Spencean Committee in London – “Wilson said Carter and Drummond could furnish all they wanted to oppose the bloody ministers.” (HO 42/197 fol. 505) 

[Note: Could this be a reference to Naaman Carter and Samuel Drummond’s father of Manchester? I assume they mean supply arms? Naaman Carter was in the manufacture of pikes. Could this infer that Wilson was their contact in London?]

1819, December 8 – “James Haslam of Bolton says that he last night attended in the Union Rooms at Stockport – they were quite full… there was a great deal said about meetings, and it was at last agreed that there should be no more – nothing was said about a general Rising – It was said not to be safe to meet in consequence of what was taking place in Parliament…” (HO 42/200)

1819 December 8 – Stuart Corbett (Barnsley) to Stuart Wortley – “… Six hundred persons are regularly classed… under the despotic direction of a committee of such men as Ferryman [Thomas Farrimond]…”

1819, December 9 – Leeds (Hunslet Moor) Reform Meeting – Butterwick (Chairman), Thomas Mason, James Willan, James Mann, Joseph Brayshaw (speakers.) “The language generally moderate except that of the Chairman & Brayshaw who were exceedingly violent & recommend the utmost resistance to the new laws.” (HO 42/200 fol. 32)

1819, December 9 – David Ramsay in conversation with George France reported that – “… there are three delegates going from Lancashire – Tootell from Bolton is one, there is one from Flixton, and another from some other place… France lives at no. 8 Mulberry street, but works at Moneypenny’s shop as a nailor, he comes from about Leigh…” (HO 42/200 fol. 582)

[Note: According to Baines 1825 Directory – Daniel Moneypenny, nail maker, 190 Great Ancoats Street.]

[Note: George France (occupation nailor) married Ellen Halliwell, Manchester 1813. George France baptised 1786, abode Atherton.]

1819, December 9 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “The magistrates committee… met this day and took examon of one David Ramsay touching the intended meeting on Monday… These informations etc. have induced us to send two of our body viz Mr Hulton & Mr Marriot accompanied by Milne as their clerk to Nottingham privately to confer with the Nottingham magistrates on the propriety of seizing this committee… they take Ramsay with them who can identify Toothill the Manchr delegate and to gain information where they are to sit etc…” (HO 42/200 fol. 577)

1819, December 9 – Hulton reports to Sidmouth that he is “… at the point of setting off for Nottingham… I perfectly coincide with the Committee of Magistrates in the great importance of seizing a central delegation & that nothing but such a seizure can prevent the ultra-radicals from attempting to effect their purpose by force on Monday next. [13 December] (HO 42/200 fol.29)

1819, December 9 – Richard Molloy in conversation with Isaac Broadhurst – “… Broadhurst also told him that there was to be a convention meeting at Nottingham today and Manchr were so poor that they could not send a man to Nottingham & a man of the name of Toothill is gone from Bolton to represent the district. Four go from our county and there will be persons there from Scotland & Ireland…” (HO 42/200 fol. 584)

[Note: The mentioned Isaac Broadhurst is possibly the younger brother of Nathan Broadhurst. Nathan’s brother was born in 1802 at Bolton.]

[Note: According to Palmer of Carlisle, John O’Neil “… had been at Nottingham, where all the Delegates in England were assembled…” (HO 42/203)] 

1819, December 9 – John Lloyd was in London to meet with Hobhouse. (HO 42/200 fol. 561)

1819, December 9 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “… Oldham, Stockport and their immediate vicinities seem not to be stirring they go with Hunt & the higher radicals & wish to wait for a more favourable opportunity. (HO 42/200 fol. 585)

1819, December 10 – The spy W.M. [William Monk] reports that – “Thistlewood I have been informed is in or near Manchester and I have also been told that Secretary Walker is out of the way – for what cause I know not…” (HO 42/200)

[Note: The spy William Monk was connected to the Magistrate James Norris through a mutual friend – a “Mr Hodgeson” (see HO 42/198 fol. 602)]

[Note: These reports proved to be incorrect. Thistlewood was still in London.]

1819, December 10 – The postmaster of Macclesfield reported that Revd Joseph Harrison “…has been in Macclesfield this day amongst the Reformers.” (HO 42/200 folio 482)

1819, December 11 – Hulton informs Sidmouth that “our mission to Nottingham failed.” (HO 42/200 fol. 586)

[Note: It seems that Hulton left Nottingham prematurely. See below report.]

1819, December 11 – Morland (in Nottingham) reports to Byng that – “there were 4 delegates here yesterday 2 from the north 1 from Manchester & 1 I believe from London.” (HO 42/201 fol. 4)

[Note: The delegate from Manchester (Bolton) being William Tootill.]

[Note: It’s possible John O’Neil was another delegate. See HO 42/203 fol. 548]

1819, December 11 – A witness (Joseph Moore) swore before Norris “… that he thinks the idea of rising is now entirely done away with but they may still lunge or do private mischief – Says there is a schism amongst them at Middleton & Bamford has left them and is strongly suspected of having turned against them since he came back from London – he is again gone from Middleton but where cannot learn though he supposes to London to attend the hearing of his petition.” (HO 42/200 folio 588)

1819, December 11 – The spy A.S.B.D. from Oldham reports to Norris that – “the leaders have decided to be at Manchester on Monday, but they seem undetermined whether to go or not… we have continued to make a schism amongst here and Knott who has been so active, they think has been telling their secrets – My opinion is they dare not go on Monday… Charles Whitworth is a likely man for you, he is very poor and very busy” (HO 42/200 fol. 545)

[Note: Further evidence that the spies were tasked with affecting a schism amongst the Unions.]

[Note: Charles Whitworth would later be recruited as a spy with the designation ‘W’.]

1819, December 12 – Norris reports to Sidmouth that – “… the gentlemen who went to Nottingham on Thursday in the hope of being able to seize the convention which was supposed to be sitting there were completely unsuccessful – they found out by means of Ramsay the house where the Committee sat about a fortnight ago but certainly they (the Committee) did not make use of the same house again nor could all the diligence exercised by Ramsay enable him to find their place of sitting; neither could he see in Nottingham Toothill the Bolton delegate though he was continually on the search for him… Toothill has not been seen here since the day appointed for his setting out for Nottingham and most of the Committee at Manchr are at present (particularly today) missing from their homes…” (HO 42/200 fol. 567)

1819, December 12 – Norris reports to Sidmouth – “… on the whole we saw no reason to believe that the rising if attempted would not be so general around us as was expected & in many places particularly Oldham, Middleton, Royton, Stockport etc no intention of the sort is apprehended. The schism between Hunt and Watson & Thistlewood seems to pervade these parts the friends of the former being totally averse to any meetings at present whilst those of the latter including of course members of the lowest orders having been looking to such a measure as a simultaneous meeting or rising as the great object of all that their leaders have been preaching…” (HO 42/200 fol. 567)

1819, December 12 – Joseph Harrison arrested for 2nd time. Committed to Chester Gaol for preaching sedition at Stockport on December 5th. He was arrested between 10-11PM, conducted by file of soldiers to the barracks and from there in a post chaise to Manchester New Bailey at midnight.

1819, December 12 – Meeting of Spenceans at White Lion – “Thistlewood said that Walker had told him that simultaneous Meetings had been appointed in the Country & that the risings would take place the night previous to the day of Meeting & thereby Government would be off their guard & not prepared.” (HO 44/5 fol. 206)

1819, December 12 – “W – attended Sunday evening states he went to O’Neill about six o’Clock, there was with him a delegate from Leigh – O’Neill desired W. and the Delegate to go somewhere, and the White House at the top of Ancoats Lane was fixed on in about 40 minutes O’Neill came – W. asked the Delegate for what purpose he was come, he said for instructions and shewed W. his certificate to certify to the Manchester Committee he was properly deputed for that object. W. asked him what was thought of the Business in his neighbourhood, he said they had what might be termed 5000 persons resting upon their arms, that they had their agents at Bolton and several places waiting to see what would be done, and it would be a great disappointment if nothing was done tomorrow – O’Neill then came and the Leigh Delegate said to him if nothing was done tomorrow the people in their neighbourhood would be disappointed. O’Neill said if no Meeting took place at Manchester it would be no disappointment to the People in the Country because it might be possible that placards would be posted in the morning stating an adjournment, but he would be properly instructed before he left Town. The conversation then turned upon the manner people were to be supplied with provisions. O’Neill said that a plan had been fixed upon, that no person would want. W. believes that all the Manchester Delegates have been into the Country the last three days giving orders.” (HO 42/200 fol. 572)

1819, December 13 – This was the planned date for simultaneous Reform Meetings throughout the country.

1819, December 13 – Thomas Sharp (Boroughreeve of Manchester) writes to Sidmouth that he is informed “… that Thistlewood was yesterday at Stockport, but cannot positively vouch for the latter as a fact…” (HO 42/201 fol. 43)

[Note: These reports proved to be incorrect. Thistlewood was still in London.]

1819, December 13 – Harrison was called into court on Monday morning where his Stockport friends were waiting to give bail. He was put back without examination and fetched up at night when his friends had gone home concluding that his examination would take place the following day. By this trick his committal was secured without the possibility of bail being put.

1819, December 13 – Letter from Ralph Wright (Magistrate of Flixton) to Sidmouth – “… I have the Honor to inclose to your Lordship a Copy of the Depositions which have been this day taken before me ag’t Joseph Harrison of Stockport for speaking seditious Words tending to excite the People to Insurrection. I have committed him to Chester Castle & have required him to find 2 sureties in 250 [pounds] each and himself to be bound in 500 [pounds] to answer the Charge at Chester Assizes. I have also directed 48 hours notice of the Bail to be given to Mr. Oswald Milne my Clerk that proper Inquiry may be made before so dangerous a Character is again let loose upon the public…” (HO 42/201 fol. 41)

[Note: Ralph Wright had taken refuge in Manchester after being harassed by the Flixton Ultra Radicals.]

1819, December 14 – Letter from Ralph Fletcher to Sidmouth – “Thistlewood is said to be hovering in the Neighbourhood of Manchester – and that the Radicals thought that, if he had appeared on the 13th there would have been a Meeting…” (HO 42/201 fol. 129)

1819, December 15 – Anonymous letter from Barnsley – “… As to the arming, about which you enquire… You wish to know what or who has impelled them to such acts? I will tell you, in order that such conduct may not be imputed to the genuine Reformers of this place:— It is the misfortune of Barnsley to contain a weak minded old man— a would be politician [Thomas Farrimond], remarkable for nothing so much as the greedy credulity with which he swallows every wonderful story. This poor fellow has been duped by a political incendiary, who visited him periodically, representing himself as a delegate from God knows where. At the instance of this delegate, he called a meeting to be held on Monday, the 13th inst. being told that such meetings were to be general. Finding the advertisement standing alone, he saw who was the dupe, and consequently abandoned the meeting altogether, and now regrets all he has done, not knowing what course to pursue. You now have a key to the whole history of this tremendous Barnsley Meeting, by the terrors of which Senates stood appalled. The great body of the Reformers of this place had no hand whatever in the business, and the political incendiary spoken of above, has ceased to visit Barnsley, and is no where to be found…” (MO Dec 25, 1819)

[Note: Who is this “political incendiary”?]

[Note: See report from spy W above on Dec 12, 1819. “W. believes that all the Manchester Delegates have been into the Country the last three days giving orders.”]

[Note: See letter from Farrimond below on Jan 4, 1820. A Barnsley Reformer had argued with him that “we were not deceived either by Wakefield or Leeds, but by Manchester.”]

1819, December 16 – Nathan Broadhurst was apprehended at Bury and taken to the New Bayley, Manchester. The next morning he was committed to Lancaster Castle. (Lancaster Gazette, 24 Dec, 1819.)

1819, December 16 – The London spy ‘C’ reports that –  “…Thistlewood told the meeting that if any news were received from Manchester in the course of this day he would let them know before night he said he heard a report that one Reg’t was cut to pieces & that another laid down their arms at a place about 12 miles from Manchester…” (HO 42/201 fol. 207)

[Note: It appears Thistlewood was in a delusional state of mind or someone in Manchester had been sending him false reports.]

1819, December 17 – The Times reports that “The person who has given himself out as Mr. Thistlewood at Manchester is not improbably an imposter. We know it to be a fact that the real Mr. Thistlewood is at this moment in London. – Star.” (The Times, Dec 17, 1819)

[Note: The Times report appears to be correct as Thistlewood was in London between 7th Dec – 13th Dec according to the deposition of George Edwards (see HO 44/5 fol. 202 – 206) ]

1819, December 17 – The spy Samuel Fleming informed Ethelston that “… he became acquainted with Richard Kelly in April last – he became acquainted with Robert Peers about the month of July last – and with Thomas Corbett about the same time – he has frequently been there [Stockport] since that time and several times he has seen the three together – the subject of Conversation among them has been a general Rising and examinant was present when Peers brought three Pikes to Daniel White in a Room at a public house (the Sun he thinks) in Stockport – Kelly and Corbett seen present at the Time…”  (HO 42/201 fol. 252)

1819, December 17 – The spy Daniel White informed Ethelston that “… he went to Stockport about July last as appears by a former deposition – met with Kelly who introduced him to Corbett & Peers for the purpose of obtaining arms against his Majesty’s Government… Deponent further saith he saw Kelly again about ye letter end of August or the beginning of September who had told him he had been taken to Lyme Park to look at the Cannon there which the Reformists meant to seize for the purpose of using them at the general rising – saith he saw Corbett & Peers afterwards & received 2 more pikes from them…” (HO 42/201 fol. 255)

Amongst these depositions was an undated letter written by Richard Kelly endorsing Daniel White as deputy for the prisoners committee – “… I was Deputed By the prisoners Commitee [sic] to Chapel-in-Le-firth [sic] to Meet with some friends to see to get a subscription entered into in that place for the relief of the Prisoners in Chester Castle…” (HO 42/201 fol. 257)

[Note: This letter shows that Richard Kelly and Daniel White were affiliated with the Stockport Prisoners Committee of which Rev. Joseph Harrison was secretary.]

1819, December 21 – Alpha reports to Fletcher that – “… After Walker [W.C. Walker]  was liberated from under Broadhursts warrant Mr Harmer advised him to go out of the reach of the police entirely as he well knew they were after him again. Accordingly he went down to Flixon [Flixton]… We advised him to stay at Wigan all night and to go down to Liverpool this day where he will take some conveyance in a day or two either to Carlisle or Glasgow by water… He has a Blue Coat a yellow waistcoat and Brown Trousers and Quarter Boots… he will go in his Mothers Maiden Name and Correspond with his wife under the same Cover… Walker has had a plan of the Mote and Platform connected with the New Bailey… and says that it is very badly Constructed for Defence and shews poor Judgement in the Men who found it He shewed Me the Plan it is an exact one drawn by Hepworth of Flixon and Walker says he would arrange a few Radicals that would take the Men on the Platform like a Wasp nest…”   (HO 42/201 folio 512)

[Note: Interesting that Alpha was so keen to assist Walker in his escape. Did Walker know too much?]

[Note: Hepworth of Flixton most likely a reference to Dr. William Francis Hepworth? He had been committed to 3 years imprisonment at Lancaster Gaol in 1816 for practising an illegal abortion. He was born approx 1770.]

[Note: Another Hepworth mentioned in a report from Oswald Milne to Sidmouth, 13 Mar 1817, (HO 42/161 fol. 147). Apprehension of Hepworth, very active at seditious meetings at Lymm and Carrington. Anonymous letter, believed to be Hepworth fol. 150. (See also HO 42/164 fol. 34)]

[Note: John Hepworth, one of the 38 taken up in 1812. Leading person at Lymm etc. Could mean James Hepworth?(See HO 42/162 fol. 365.) Possibly a relative? See QJC/1a Rycroft Hepworth; Age 47;  Offence: Present at and consenting to administration of unlawful oath to Samuel Fleming to bind him re unlawful Combination & Confederacy. Also James Hepworth; Age 45; same offence. James and Rycroft were brothers see HO 42/129/309. So maybe William Francis Hepworth was the younger brother?]

1819, December 23 – Arrest of eleven Ultra Radical Delegates in Manchester – The following men were arrested by constable Nadin at the Sidney Smith public house in Port Street, Manchester: Chris Rollinson, a tailor from Darwen; William Dobson, a weaver from Blackburn; James Lang, a weaver from Mount St, Ancoats, Manchester, Charles Whitworth, a schoolmaster from Staley-bridge; Robert Bamber, a shoemaker from Westhoughton; Richard Johnson, a shoemaker from Flixton; John Blamer, a cabinet-maker from Padiham; William Tootall, an itinerant Radical; Charles Mason, an itinerant Radical late of Bolton, Bury, Blackburn, etc. Two other persons named in the warrant – Naaman Carter, blacksmith, and George France, nailor, were apprehended on the 24th. (The Morning Post, Dec 27, 1819.)

[Note: The Bolton Reformer & spy David Ramsay played a large part in setting up the arrest. (See Alpha’s report in HO 42/203 fol. 556.) Charles Mason (real name Farrell) turned informant under duress it appears. According to John Lloyd he had a sketchy criminal past which they appear to have taken advantage of to obtain information. (See also HO 42/178 fol. 113)]

[Note: Charles Whitworth from Staley-Bridge was also a spy.]

[Note: The shady ultra-radicals James Lang and James Tetlow would later work for the spy Thomas Yates ‘Alpha’ collecting information for a fee. This was after Alpha had been ousted as a spy in 1821 and was therefore forced to “outsource” his spy work. The big question remains, were these men agent provocateurs all along? I strongly suspect they were.] 

[Note: Alpha reported that the delegates from Yorkshire and Scotland had escaped. A committee man went with the Yorkshire delegate to Huddersfield to prepare them for the general fast and another man went with the Scotch delegate to Scotland to prepare them for the “general grand lift.” (HO  42/201 fol. 516)]

1819, December 23 – Harrison released from Chester Castle on bail.

1819, December 24 – Letter from Harrison to Editor Manchester Observer. He writes “I have been twice committed to Chester Castle in less than four months for no other crime than that of preaching the Gospel in my own hired room.” Also that “Mr. Bruce seems tolerably comfortable he was my bed fellow during my confinement.”

[Note: James George Bruce was arrested as accessory in the shooting of Constable Birch. Bruce was formerly assistant teacher at Harrison’s school and had resided in his house.]

1819, December 28 – Lascelles (Harewood near Leeds) reports to Sidmouth that – “A circumstance came to my knowledge yesterday; and altho I am not at liberty to mention the person from whom I received it, yet it certainly comes from the most indisputable authority. A meeting of eight delegates from different places in Yorkshire took place at Leeds on Sunday or Monday senight upon the subject of the Bill then before Parl’t for the seizure of arms. After much discussion a resolution was carried to the following effect viz that the seizure of arms in the possession of individuals should be resisted, and that the first shot fired by the military in execution of the law should be considered the signal for a general rising; to be followed by an attempt to march on London…” (HO 42/201 fol. 501)

[Note: Could this be one of the meetings mentioned by Joseph Brayshaw in his “Account of the Missions” that Peter Lever and James Mann attended? And possibly when Thomas Farrimond met Peter Lever at Leeds? I wonder who this “most indisputable authority” was? Apparently General Byng sent a letter to Lascelles dated 29th December, 1819. Unfortunately I don’t have access to this record but the book source infers that it makes mention of James Lang and Tootal? (see Harewood MSS, WYL250/6/2/B2/1/12). Could James Lang and Tootal have attended this meeting at Leeds on 19/20 December just a few days prior to the 23 December meeting at Manchester where they were arrested by Nadin and later released?] 

[Note: Thomas Farrimond had said that he never went as a delegate after giving up the secretaryship which was around Christmas 1819. So it’s probable this was the last meeting he attended as delegate. (HO 40/16 fol. 146)]

2ndEarlOfHarewoodViscount Lascelles
(1767 – 1841)

1819, December – Report from the Magistrate of Wakefield to the Lord Sidmouth – “… The quarrel among the leaders of the Radicals in London, and Hunt not daring to lead them, prevented the general risings on the first November indeed Hunt wrote to them not to meet on that day. They then in hopes of Cobbett heading them fixed the 23rd November. I took no alarm on these two occasions, because I saw evidently that Hunt was a coward, and Cobbett no fool. Now they are really dangerous because the work is to be done without any leaders. The sections are to do it – each section contains 25 men. I believe that Willan, Mason, Dickenson etc. will be kept in the dark. I am confident that Dickenson & even Mason would not have consented to the plan which is I believe now agreed upon – If the first brush succeeds they may then come forward in Committee but not in the field…” (HO 42/200 fol. 90)

1819, December 30 – Norris to Sidmouth writes – “… the Glasgow delegate was with Johnson at Smedley the whole of the afternoon before he left & that he slept at Johnson’s cottage… My informant M [aka W.M. (William Monk)]. has always stated that though the higher radicals affect to keep aloof from the present disturbances of the public peace & declare that they have no connexion with them yet he is sure that if they the ultra radicals had the slightest advantage at the outset the higher ones would instantly join them. This is my own conjecture; and I believe it to be true as of Johnson [Joseph Johnson] in particular – how much he may in this part of his conduct be consid’d the organ of Hunt & Cobbett etc I do not know…” (HO 42/201 folio 592.)


1820, January 1 – Jeremy Bentham publishes “The King against Sir Charles Wolseley, Baronet, and Joseph Harrison, schoolmaster : set down for trial, at Chester, on the 4th of April, 1820. Brief remarks tending to shew the untenability of the indictment.”

Jeremy_Bentham_by_Henry_William_Pickersgill_detailJeremy Bentham

1820, January – All the windows in Harrison’s school and house were broken by vandals.

1820, January 4 – Thomas Farrimond writes to the Editor of the Sheffield Independent – “… On the 13th December 1819… T_____s M_____y accosted me in the following manner, “Well, Farrimond what think you of your rows in Barnsley now?” I civilly enquired what he meant; he replied “That we were not deceived either by Wakefield or Leeds, but by Manchester. “you see,” said he, “you can not hold a Public Meeting now in Barnsley.” He then commenced a tirade of abuse and malicious invective against my character, amongst other charges he said, “Your Books have been found deficient; you are wronging the people.” By this time, a concourse of persons collected, who contradicted his foul calumnies, by saying, “that my books were examined, and the accounts proved to be correct.” Notwithstanding he shook me by the collar, and struck a bye-stander for defending my character… (Sheffield Independent, 8 Jan, 1820)

[Note: According to this article it seems that someone from Manchester had deceived Farrimond into advertising a Reform Meeting at Barnsley for the 13th of December. (See anonymous letter from Dec 15 above) – “..This poor fellow has been duped by a political incendiary, who visited him periodically, representing himself as a delegate from God knows where. At the instance of this delegate, he called a meeting to be held on Monday, the 13th inst. being told that such meetings were to be general…”]  

1820, January 5 – George Palmer, spy of Carlisle reports that “… In the beginning of the month of August [1819] they began to drill. He thinks a letter from one Catteral of Manchester was received by the Committee and soon after James Graham was sent as a delegate to Manchester. He was to call upon Catteral who would introduce him to the Manchester Committee; and he accordingly went and was introduced and brought back word that they were busy making pikes in Lancashire… After the communication was opened with Manchester, they received their instructions from there by delegates. Hunt was written to, to attend the Meeting here, but he excused himself by saying it was too far and his business would not allow of it… there is a man here now… who belongs to the Preston Committee… informed him how they were going on there; that there was a warrant out against him and four more and they were obliged to fly… White told him that O’Neil (he thinks is his name but he is the man that lost his arm at Glasgow or Paisley last week by a soldier) in passing thro’ about three weeks ago had informed him that he had been at Nottingham, where all the Delegates in England were assembled ([page torn] met Weens at Manchester and turned him back as he was too late having got drunk at Manchester) they seemed to be in a great state of forwardness and all agreed except the Manchester ones to rise on the New Years Day. The Manchester Delegates objected, stating their men were not fit to take the field at such a season for they had neither coats to their backs nor shoes to their feet, and that they could do nothing before the first of April, but it was definitely fixed only it was said about that time. He said that he had seen the Lancashire Books and had about 160,000 men upon them, and they could bring about 120,000 into the field half of which they could arm with muskets pistols and blunderbusses and the other half with pikes, and that they had four six-pound brass cannon upon travelling carriages which were sunk in a pit fourteen yards below the ground and only twelve men knew of them. That the Sheffield people were to come to Manchester and join there that the Birmingham people were to join the Southwarkers [London] there (109 miles) the Carlisle and all on the road were to join at Newcastle. These three points were to form their armies… Weens he believes is now about Whitehaven still sending pamphlets…” (HO 42/203 fol. 548)

[Note: Weens is mentioned in spy Alpha’s report (42/198 fol. 104, dated 16 Nov, 1819) “Carlisle Delegate, Weens is in Manchester now and I think will not return till after the Nottingham Sitting of Delegates.”]

[Note: Catteral is mentioned in spy JW’s report (HO 42/198 fol. 96-98, dated 17 Nov, 1819) “stated that he was Deputed from the Committee appointed to Conduct Mr Cobbett into Manchester…”]

[Note: O’Neil is mentioned in spy Y’s report (HO 42/199 fol. 126, dated 17 Nov, 1819) “… Carter Lang and O’Neil asked upon me this morning at half past eight and we went all together to the reading room at No 10 Church Street, and from there to Mr Johnson’s, where Lang and O’Neil (being Delegates) delivered their Orders… O’Neil also mentioned in W’s report see HO 42/200 fol. 572, dated 12 Dec, 1819.]

1820, January 6 – William Toothill is out on bail provided by the Bolton Radicals – Toothill had made mention that Lang was not bailed by the Manchester Reformers – “… Look at the Reformers of Manchester they had not even attempted to procure Bail for Lang. Lang the Man that had travelled North and South that been with them for years, well Known well tried…” (HO 42/203 fol. 556)

[Note: What is interesting is that James Lang had been deputed to the South as well as the North. We know he went to Glasgow but now Toothill is saying he was also deputed to the South. I presume London? Therefore, James Lang was a central figure with connections to the Scottish and Yorkshire Uprising in 1820. He had met Thistlewood in Manchester in September 1819 and now it seems he had been deputed to the Radicals in the South. I presume the  Spenceans.]

1820, January 9 – At a secret meeting at Middleton Alpha reports to Fletcher that Bamford said – “… that the Object of this
Meeting was to see if all Towns would make an attempt to raise and form a General Deputation up to London against the next  opening of Parliament with instruction to protect against the late New laws and further to Protest and insist upon an enquiry being established into the Manchester affair and that a General Subscription throughout the Country be opened for such Purposes… it was his decided opinion that if Hunt would make his appearance Publicly in Lancashire again that even still the People would be again Animated and if Hunt was severely dealt with he did believe it to be the Private views of that Man to let and even encourage the People to serve themselves in their own way…” (HO 42/203 fol. 386)

[Note: It’s clear that Bamford was still in support of Hunt and legal means to advance the cause.]

1820, January 10 – London spy B.C. reports that – “… a Person just arrived from the North now at Thistlewoods (answering the description of Tatlow [James Tetlow]) who was in Town in Sep’r last, who had informed Thistlewood, the principal part of the Arms in the north are secreted, & only a few left out to mislead the Police – Thistlewood still declares, with 20 good men, he could do all he wants…” (HO 44/4 fol 3.)

1820, January 11 – Alpha reports to Fletcher that he had visited Joseph Johnson at Smedley and – “… Johnson says that Walker has been at Flixton a few days ago and soon after he was there eight Men were took up and he said this Confirmed him that Walker was not that good Character he is generally reported to be…” (HO 42/203 fol. 363)

[Note: It seems Walker was made the scapegoat. I think it more likely that the arrests were a result of Alpha’s reports to Fletcher on Dec 21. Walker’s only mistake being that “loose lips sink ships.”]

1820, January 12 – Letter from Alpha the spy – Reports that Harrison was “… in the same cool deliberate frame that he is remarkably noted for and tells me that nothing gives him as much pleasure as the present stillness of the Radicals at this time he says the Courier is boasting of this as if the principles of Reform and Reformers is done away with but far from that he considers that great progress is daily making amongst them and he was much hurt to hear that we had given up the assembling of numbers together at Bolton” also that he “seems quite offended that Walker [W. C. Walker] should have been elected chairman at Wigan Meeting and advises me to have nothing do with him for he imagines him to be a very dubious character.”  Alpha also mentions that he visited “William Perry the Secretary to the Stockport Union” who assured him that “… there was some Hundred of both Pikes and Pistols in Stockport and he would defy the strictest search to find them…” (HO 42/203 folio 332.)

[Note: W. C. Walker was known by Norris as the ‘Thistlewood, of these parts’. I believe this to be an accurate comparison for not only was Walker a violent revolutionary but I believe, like Thistlewood, he was the unsuspecting tool of spies.]

[Note: Harrison’s objections to Walker seems to indicate that his loyalties now lay with the Huntites who were espousing legal means to achieve Radical Reform.]

1820, January 12 – Letter from Alpha the spy – Reports that Harrison asked him “… what I thought upon Cobbetts new plan… he said from all that he had yet been able to learn that was what the money was wanted for to execute Plates and appoint sufficient Number of Men to carry them to every Part of England Scotland and Wales and this or abstinence was the only sure stroke that could be acted on the Part of the Reformers and if then both failed he should recommend as a last resort Hostile Measures. And I still am of opinion My dear Langshaw [codename for Ralph Fletcher] that these Men will do all they can to cause a Riot previous to March assizes.” (HO 42/203 folio 332.)

[Note: Alpha addressed his letters to John Langshaw as a front in case his letters were overseen or intercepted. (see HO 42/198 fol. 36)]

[Note: Col. Ralph Fletcher’s nephew was named John Langshaw and was raised by him.]

1820, January – The spy David Ramsay, now a marked man in Manchester, is sent into the West Riding of Yorkshire to procure information for General Byng. (HO 42/203 fol. 412)

john_byngGeneral John Byng
(1772 – 1860)

1820 January – February: – Joseph Brayshaw (of Yeadon) wrote in 1822 that after the passing of the Six Acts [Dec 30, 1819], several private meetings took place in Leeds which he attended. He said that “the object of these meetings was to devise plots” and “in these meetings various measures were prepared for the purpose of obtaining a Parliamentary Reform. The ultimate conclusion was that it would never be obtained except by physical force, and it was held out as absolutely necessary that a time should be fixed upon for the purpose of commencing revolutionary operations.” Lever from Huddersfield represented the inhabitants of all the large towns southward as far as London as being perfectly ready to rise and fight for their liberty.” Brayshaw however found Lever’s accounts to be “very much exaggerated” and “proposed that before any thing was done, persons should be sent off for the purpose of ascertaining the truth.” Lever was appointed for Lancashire and Cheshire, Brayshaw was appointed for the north and Mann was appointed to the south. Mann was ordered to collect all the information he could on his road to Nottingham, Birmingham, Coventry and to call upon all the leading characters in London – Hunt, Wooler, Cartwright, Cobbett and Thistlewood. In London he found no “preparations made for accomplishing Reform by means of force” but was advised “not to call on Thistlewood as he was surrounded by spies.”  (The Republican, Volume 6. page 582 – 592)

[Note: Analysing the reports of Brayshaw and various newspaper reports I estimate that James Mann made his mission to London in late January/early February 1820. Just a few weeks before the Cato Street Conspiracy.]

[Note: The Lever from Huddersfield that Brayshaw mentions was Peter Lever. He would later play a leading part in the Huddersfield Rising. I surmise that this is the same Peter Lever who was arrested in 1817 for attending the Blanket March and who had previously resided in Manchester and Cheadle Moseley (Stockport). It makes perfect sense that they would appoint someone native to Lancashire and Cheshire to assess the strength there.]

1820, January 19 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. Writes that whilst he was sleeping in the Castle last week McInnis attempted to escape but fell from the walls and he [Lloyd] officiated as doctor for him.

1820, January 31 – Letter from Wm Dawson to Lord Sidmouth reporting that Bagguley plans to break out of prison – “Baguley who with Johnson & Drummond was convicted of Sedition at the last March Chester Assizes is meditating an escape from Prison by means of a Woman who sells eggs to the Prisoners and who is to convey a Disguise secretly, and by piece-meal. I do not know that Johnson or Drummond are implicated in the scheme but if my ?? be correct it furnished the best solution of Baguley’s conduct on wearing his Beard unshaved from his Conviction, thus what has been deemed a foolish measure may be but the result of an artful scheme.” (HO42/203)

[Note: This might explain why Bagguley and Drummond were forced to wear the County clothes and put in irons. See letter Drummond to Harrison Feb 27, 1820]

1820 January 31 – Dr. Watson says “he is determined to go to America when he gets out under the Insolvency Act, if he can but raise money sufficient to get there with his family. He is quite disgusted with Thistlewood associating with the set of blackguards he has continually about him, he dreads the consequence of their mad violence…” (HO 42/203 fol. 269)

1820 January/February – James Mann of Leeds had been sent to London “…to caution Thistlewood against placing any reliance on support from the country, and to beseech him not to attempt anything desperate or unlawful…” When in London Mann had been advised by Major Cartwright and others “not to go near Thistlewood; and that he did not go near him.” (Cobbetts’ Two-penny Trash, 1831.)

[Note: Cobbett argued that if Mann had warned Thistlewood that no support existed in the North it may have persuaded him to not go ahead with his disastrous plot in February, 1820.]

1820 February – The spy George Edwards reported that Cook [William Cook(e)] – “… told me that as soon as he was certain that something would be done he should write into the country (he believes Huddersfield) to his brother in law who is one of the delegates and who will communicate it to the delegates all over that part of the country so that they may begin something at the same time as in London…” (HO 44/4 fol. 356)

[Note: George Edwards had reported that William Cook –  “has received three letters from Leeds the last (he says) states their determination to form into little parties to murder all those in that part of the cuntry [sic] who has been obnoxious to them.” (Conspiracy on Cato Street, Vic Gatrell)]

[Note: Cooke shoemaker has a relative named Smith living in Huddersfield. (HO 40/11)]

1820, February – According to the Scottish Reformer Alexander Richmond, Thistlewood informed the Ultra-radicals that “… ten days posterior, the news of a desperate stroke against their enemies would reach them.]

1820, February 15 – George Edwards reports that – “Cook & me left the room together he told me that as soon as he is sure that the destruction of the ministers took place or any thing else certain he will write to his brother in law who is one of the delegates at Wakefield and will communicate it to the other delegates in that part of the country so that they may begin at the same time as we begin in London.” (spelling corrected. HO 42/199 fol. 618)

1820, February 19 – Cryptic letter from Swann [senior] to his son Joseph Swann at Chester Castle. “Patience my Boys and alls well – Fear not – There are many happy days laid up in store which must come shortly – The angel of freedom appears upon the wing and rest she cannot – this you may depend on. Convulsions and fearful signs are all afloat and burst they must with a tremendous crash – Reason and truth will appear with all their virtuous train, bearing down corruption and tyranny before them like a mighty tempest.”

[Note: Joseph Swann received this letter just days before the Cato Street plot.]

1820, February 22 – Harrison wrote notice which appeared in Manchester Observer stating that the arrangement made with the Union Committee (led by Perry and “made solely with a view to add strength to public interest, by allaying the little worthless animosities that then existed amongst us”) has expired and all future monies collected are to be directed to the Committee for the relief of the Prisoners and also to assist Harrison “to defend his cause upon three indictments at the ensuing assizes.”

[Note: Why the sudden change of heart? I can only surmise that he learnt of the approaching Cato plot and wanted to cut ties with the seemingly more militant Radicals?]

1820, February 22 – Glasgow delegates arrested – “On Tuesday evening [22nd Feb], no fewer than twenty-seven Delegates from the Radical Societies in correspondence with the Glasgow Leaders, were apprehended, in full conclave, in the house of a vintner in the Gallowgate, their persons searched and their papers secured; and, by the prompt assistance of the military, were safely lodged in the jail.” (Glasgow Herald, Feb 25, 1820)

1820, February 22 – From Joseph Brayshaw’s reports etc. I estimate Brayshaw would have arrived in Glasgow around this time. It seems he arrived late enough to avoid the arrests.

1820, February 23 – Cato Street Conspiracy. This was a Spencean plot led by Arthur Thistlewood to murder the cabinet ministers. The plot was blown however by the spy George Edwards whom Thistlewood had made his aide-de-camp. Thistlewood escaped but was later captured at a safe house.


1820, February – The satirical pamphlet “The Loyal Man in the Moon” is published and makes mention of Harrison:

Call every honest priest a parson,
Supported but to keep a farce on;
Except, indeed, our good friend Harrison,
Whose merits are beyond comparison;
Because he worships us and ours,
And rails against the “higher powers.”

1820, February 24 – Letter from Harrison to Drummond. Writes that John Robinson (a member of the Stockport Troop of Yeomanry) who was witness to his “seditious” sermon on December 5th has been admitted to the asylum and he is “informed that the thoughts of what he did at Peterloo, have swallowed up the thoughts of what he swore against me.”

1820, February 25  – James Lyon (Manchester) reports to General Byng that – “a Radical Committee were assembled here on Friday last and that they continued in consultation during the greater part of the day. A delegate from Paisley assisted at their meetings but nothing has transpired as to the object of it nor were the civil authorities in any way acquainted with what may have been discussed. The person who gave the intelligence to the Boroughreeve said the greatest secrecy and caution was heard and that he found it impossible to get admittance to the room. All that he knew and was sure of was that the Committee were in expectation of receiving important news.” (HO 44/11 fol. 57)

1820, February 25 – Ethelston reports to Sidmouth that – “…I have information from ye most authentic source of ye accuracy of which I am fully convinced, that another insurrection of the people is in contemplation to take place before Hunt’s trial & to be accompanied by a massacre of the Friends of Government – I am also given to understand that the links of this revolutionary chain extend from one extremity of ye United Kingdom to the other, & that letters brought by delegates & written in ambiguous characters known only to secret agents of ye party were read on Sunday last – These communications were from Ireland particularly Belfast & also from various parts of Scotland – A chief in this conspiracy is one Scholefield a preacher connected with Harrison of Stockport – My informants assure me the Plot is the deepest we have had yet, & that the London Committee is at the bottom of it…” (HO 44/4 fol. 122)

[Note: Rev. James Scholefield (1790 – 1855)]

1820, February 26 – Thomas Sharp (Manchester) reports to Sidmouth that – “…I beg permission most respectfully and sincerely to congratulate Your Lordship on the providential escape of His Majesty’s Ministers from the murderous intent of the wretches, whose diabolical conspiracy was so fortunately discovered and frustrated. I am induced to entertain an opinion, that the Plot was not entirely unknown to the disaffected Party in this Town; as a Committee met early in the Afternoon, and from my informant (Y,) I received a vague account of it about half past six, nearly two hours before the arrival of the Mail – The utmost endeavours are used to discover the retreat of the Committee, but without success…” (HO 52/1 fol. 76)

1820, February 26 – Ethelston reports to Sidmouth that – “two most confidential persons, who are now before me, bring me information that a Signal from the Committee in London has been hourly expected for a general Insurrection in this neighbourhood. Delegates for the last fortnight have been out in every direction & couriers have arriv’d at Manchr & Stockport from all parts connected with the Reformists – Meetings have been held at Midnight in private houses with the utmost possible precaution & secrecy – What is very strange is that the Town’s Officers & ye Military have been kept in the dark as to the suddenness of the intended Insurrection; which my Informants assure me wou’d certainly have taken place here had not the hopes of the Conspirators in London been blasted by the vigilance of the Police…” (HO 44/4 fol. 232)

1820, February 26 – The spy Daniel White reports to Ethelston – “… that he has had a communication with some persons deep in the secret of the intended Insurrection in the country – saith a Signal was expected all last week & that the Reformists were ready with weapons to act wherever it was given – saith the Committee are much disappointed with ye news of the “blow up in London” which has for a time spoil’d their plans – saith there was a constant correspondence with ye London Committee & that the Union Society knew some grand measure was carrying on in London… saith a general expectation prevails in Manchr that Hunt will be acquitted at York & that then they will be at the old game…” (HO 44/4 fol. 233)

1820, February 26 – Messages passed to Benjamin Haigh Allen – The Spencean “… Cook the shoemaker has a relation of the name of Smith living at Huddersfield who was formerly a delegate he has in a vault under his house – arms to the value of £100.”; “Smith (Cook’s relation) residing at Huddersfield formerly a delegate – has arms concealed to the value of £100.” (HO 40/11 fol. 52)

1820, February 27 – Brayshaw in Glasgow, Scotland returns home – “Orator Brayshaw lately paid another visit to this place. He spent four days in Paisley and this town [Glasgow] in visiting such of his friends as were at liberty. He went off on Sunday night.” [Feb 27]. (Caledonian Mercury, March 2, 1820.)

[Note: This puts Brayshaw in Glasgow at the time of the Cato Plot.]

1820, February 27 – Letter from Drummond to Harrison. Writes that they were ordered by the governor to put on the county clothes but refusing to do so they were put in double irons.

1820, February 28 – Benjamin Haigh Allen reports to Hobhouse that – “We have no person of the name of Smith in Huddersfield who has taken a prominent part among the disaffected… A principal delegate from the neighbourhood John Crowther alias Balbiner has been in London for the last fortnight he was expected home last Thursday but has not yet arrived… Crowther is a very dangerous character…” (HO 40/11 fol. 50)

1820, February 28 – George Palmer reports that Brayshaw “… came to Carlisle today from Glasgow… he had left Leeds about a week ago by the directions of the Radical Committee there and had gone by Newcastle upon Tyne to Glasgow with instructions to the committees at those places and Carlisle; that one _____ Hunter of Leeds a man of some property had been delegated to Major Cartwright and Hunt for information how to act about a fortnight ago, and that as soon as Hunter returned he had set off; that Major Cartwright was the head man and had told him that the first act the magistrates did, that could be made a pretext, the Radicals were to rise where it happened and that was to be the general signal for rising in every other place; that he had ordered some pamphlets to be printed at Newcastle, but he could not wait until they were done, and they were to be sent to McKenzies in Carlisle… he went away upon the top of the coach to Kendal where there is a Radical Committee, and then to Lancaster where there is another Committee and then to the Preston Committee and on home to Leeds after giving instructions at those different places… [Brayshaw] pressed very strongly upon them to get every thing ready and leaders appointed as he did not know how soon it would take place, that he would not be the least surprised if he heard of it tomorrow he said the numbers were increasing every day in Leeds.” (HO 40/11 fol 83.)

[Note: This report seems to go against what Brayshaw had reported in the Republican in 1822. Palmer’s report portrays Brayshaw in a more militant light.]

[Note: Hunter seems to be an alias for James Mann?]

[Note: Brayshaw had previously used the printers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to print his 1819 pamphlet “An Appeal to the People of England , on the Necessity of Parliamentary Reform”. I wonder what this new batch of pamphlets was about or possibly a reprint of the above?]

1820, March 2 – Brayshaw arrived home at Yeadon from Glasgow. (HO 40/11 folio 134.)

[Note: I believe he stayed at James Wilson’s house at Strathaven (17 miles south of Glasgow) on his return.]

1820, March 2 – Secret meeting of delegates in Nottingham – Thomas Castleage reports to Allsop that – “… One of the party proposed that if they found it impracticable in any other way they should Ludd them (the ministers) separately; but they hoped to strike a terrible blow and effect a rising generally – they said it must be done, but the best plan would be to let it rest for a month or so, and be preparing by every means possible… All the strangers were dressed like navigators [sailors] with smock frocks… They blamed Thistlewood, and said that Hunt always told he was no general, his hot head would spoil everything and that Hunt always cautioned them against Thistlewood. A person at the meeting said the job should have been done when Hunt returned from Manchester for there were then 200,000 mostly armed and complained of Hunt for writing into the country to stop it…” (HO 40/11 fol. 76)

[Note: It seems that the ultras have now swung their support back to Hunt.]

1820, March 2 – The spy ‘XY’ (William Chippendale) reports to Byng that – “… With respect to the pikes – Ever since I wrote you last I have been in daily expectation of giving a good account of them but one gross accident or another has interposed to protract the delivery of them – It is now understood that they are to be delivered on Sunday next and to be distributed from the Union Room in Woodhouses on the Monday or Tuesday following so that there is still some hope of a capture…” (HO 40/11 fol. 135.)

[Note: Joseph Harrison would visit Woodhouses on Sunday, March 12. Coincidence?]

1820, March 4 – Report of Samuel Fleming the spy to Ethelston the magistrate. Reports that the Stockport Reformers were planning to take the cannon at Lyme Park but the plot was blown by White [Daniel White]. A reformer named Kelly sent a letter to the Stockport Committee with information that White was the man who divulged the plot. Said the letter was delivered to Harrison who immediately called the Committee together and that Harrison “was in a great passion and zest for Kelly” and the Committee ordered that White be sent after. (HO 40/11 fol. 140)

1820, March 5 – Thomas Sharp reports to Sidmouth that – “Mr. Hunt passed through Manchester yesterday, on his way to Preston, but did not make any public appearance.” (HO 40/11 fol. 111)

1820, March 5 – Sidmouth writes to the Earl of Lonsdale – “… I thank you for your letter, and for the important depositions inclosed in it – I suspect that the name of the Leeds schoolmaster is Brayshaw (not Bradshaw) an old itinerant in the cause of blasphemy and treason. – Palmer should be encouraged – The Mayor of Leeds will receive the necessary information respecting Brayshaw – Your Lordship’s name will not be mentioned. The accounts for Nottingham, Newcastle, Glasgow etc are not satisfactory – In most of the disaffected districts in the north of England and in Scotland, it is certain that an expectation existed that an important blow would be struck in London before the 1st of March…” (HO 44/7/171 fol. 527)

1stEarlOfLonsdaleEarl of Lonsdale
(1757 – 1844)

1820, March 5 – Joseph Brayshaw held a secret meeting in Leeds to reveal the Radicals’ strength in the North. He writes that the – “Huddersfield delegate, the person from Glasgow, and I think another from Manchester, met me in Leeds.” (Brayshaw’s account of missions)

[Note: The Huddersfield delegate probably being Peter Lever?]

[Note: At a later meeting Brayshaw – “… informed them of what had passed between myself and the persons from Huddersfield and Glasgow. I then told them, that in my opinion, those individuals were unfit to be relied upon, in any respect, on account of having brought so many exaggerated and false accounts; and that in my opinion, they were still determined to endeavour to bring as many persons as possible into danger, by procuring a partial rising, though they knew it was impossible to do any good.” (Brayshaw’s account of missions)]

1820, March 6 – William Bancost (Wakefield) (purportedly a concerned moderate Reformer) reports to Viscount Lascelles that – “… About two months ago, one James Mann, of Leeds… was deputed to go to London from that town and this (Wakefield) to adopt measures and plans which are to be carried into effect as soon as possible. The blow is to be struck suddenly; Revolution is the word; – Arms are to be taken from those who had any in their possession; – Pikes to be a considerable amount in number, since the late King’s demise, have been made & spread over the whole face of the country – Those who make the least resistance are to be put to death – The soldiers are to be seized in their quarters, their arms taken from them & themselves made prisoners… I know not when the terrible time is exactly when the above is to take place – but remember, my Lord, I have informed you. At the same time a person of the name of Brayshaw was sent off to Glasgow in Scotland, on a similar occasion and errand. My motive for informing you of the above is that you may lay the whole before the Privy Council of His Majesty, that proper measures may be applied to prevent the dreadful result of their diabolical machinations…” (HO 44/1 fol. 218)

[Note: I suspect William Bancost is an alias. Joseph Brayshaw had allegedly notified Edward Baines that “the Radicals were going to meet with arms and ammunition, upon which the editor sent out fifteen men in different directions to spread a report that it was a Government manoeuvre to get them together.” See 40/12/ fol. 335.]

1820, March 6 – Whitaker (Holme near Burnley) reports to Sidmouth that – “…I think it my duty to say of Adamson in particular, that he was sent as an ambassador from Carlisle specifically for the purpose of exciting disturbances in Blackburn Hundred & that he was the sole cause of the meeting at Burnley…” (HO 40/11 fol. 116)

1820, March 12 – The spy ‘XY’ (William Chippendale) reports that “Harrison preaches two sermons to day at Oldham and one at Woodhouses, for the purpose of making collections to support the trials. A considerable sum is expected to be raised. The poorest person comes forward with his note and the alacrity with which all classes contribute is astonishing. Harrison’s preaching is announced by placards upon the walls which plainly state his object, viz that he purposes preaching two sermons in the Union Room for the purpose of making a collection to support the trial of Hunt and his associates… I shall have a report of Harrison’s discourses from a friend who will attend him the whole of the day. After accompanying him to Woodhouses he will drive with him in Failsworth and afterwards accompany him to Oldham…” (HO 40/11)

1820, March 12 – At least 9 entries appear in the Windmill Room Chapel birth register for children from Woodhouses. This coincides with the report from the spy ‘XY’.

1820, March 12 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. Writes that he believes that Joseph Swann, a Stockport Reformer and prisoner at Chester Castle, had knowledge of the “London Conspiracy [Cato], and of the time the horrid deeds were fixed to be perpetrated.”

1820, March 14 – Chris Becket (Leeds) reports to Hobhouse that – “… It appears that Brayshaw went into Scotland some time ago that he was lately at Glasgow – & was to have attended the late meeting of the Radicals there – if he had not been prevented by illness – that in consequence of some of his Brother orators being imprisoned soon after the meeting he left Glasgow & returned home – where he arrived on the 2nd Inst (having travelled during the night & slept during the day) – he remained there 2 or 3 days – but was hardly seen as he never stirred out in the day twice & appeared to be in a miserably poor condition – & he then went to his Father’s at Heslington within 3 miles of York where he is supposed to be at present – intending probably to attend Hunt’s trial – as he declared before he left Yeadon – that he should be at York for the purpose at that time – but that it would be necessary for him to disguise his person …” (HO 40/11 folio 134.)

[Note: Joseph Brayshaw of Yeadon near Leeds was a friend of the Scottish Radical James Wilson. See picture below.]

1820, March 16 – Trial of Henry Hunt & others at York. The trial lasted 2 weeks and Hunt was found guilty.

1820, March 31 – Ralph Fletcher (Bolton) reports to Sidmouth that – “… A delegate came from Carlisle; and (in the words of Alpha) delivered to one Toothill – “the Compliments of the Reformers of the North, saying that in fourteen hours, the Radicals there would be all in Arms.” … there did appear, two leaders, understood to have come from Manchester, about 60 persons assembled in a field in the outskirts of Great Bolton and about thirty in a field in Little Bolton, In the former Group the leaders told them that Meetings at the same hour were held in different parts of the Kingdom, and on his proposing that they should march towards Helshaw Moor [Halshaw Moor near Farnworth?] (in the Road towards Manchester) to join another party – One of the persons assembled said – how many Black Faces have we amongst us? This disconcerted both leaders & the rest of their followers, & they separated without any further proceedings… Toothill… entertained the two Persons who came to be leaders on the evening of the 31st March. It cannot be proved that he went to the Field with them, though it is believed, but respecting this, further enquiries will be made – He is a determined Revolutionary and having served in the Army, is therefore a more dangerous character…”

[Note: Toothill did not participate in the attempted March 31st rising and gave an explanation to the Committee of ultras on the April 21st which “appeared to them satisfactory.” (HO 40/13 fol. 5). This furthers my suspicion that he was a spy and possibly under the pay of Alpha.]

[Note: “Black faces” was a nickname for a spy. At Bolton in 1812 spies had smeared their faces with coal dust to give the appearance of being colliers.]

1820, April 1 – Yorkshire West Riding Revolt (April Fool Uprising). The uprising appears to have been in concert with those of Scotland.

[Note: Brayshaw later blamed the attempted Yorkshire rising on James Mann who failed to warn the Huddersfield Radicals of the exaggerated reports and lack of preparation from other places. See Brayshaw’s Account of the Missions of 1820.]

[Note: “Peter Lever [who is mentioned in Brayshaw’s account of the Missions] called them together for the purpose of concerting a plan for attacking the town of Huddersfield.  We then drew up a plan by which the people were to march up in subdivisions and attack the town at the same time by different roads… Lever said he was a leading man and therefore gave the directions – That the whole Country was ready for a Revolution and that he had instructions from Manchester, Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley, Sheffield, Glasgow all Scotland. That the town must be attacked, that no lives were to be taken if no resistance were made, but if there were, Battle was to be given…” (HO 40/12 fol. 38.)]

1820, April 1 – James Lyon reports to Byng that “… The Committee are stated to have left Manchester yesterday for the purpose of giving instructions and a man of the name of Broadhurst who corroborates the forgoing intelligence that every arrangement is so completely made that cowardice alone shall forth prevent the attack…” (HO 40/12 fol. 1)

1820, April 1 – Thomas Sharp (Manchester) reports to Lord Sidmouth that – “… I have information that Delegates are waiting in Town to ascertain the arrival or non-arrival of the North Mail; the latter circumstance being considered as a signal that operations have commenced in the North…” (HO 40/12 fol. 8)

1820, April 2 – Joseph Swann’s son Robert was baptised by Harrison at the Windmill Room Chapel.


1820, April 3 – Joseph Haigh (Huddersfield) reports to Sidmouth – “…The Rising was in consequence of a Delegate from Manchester arriving by Coach he was immediately forwarded to Cowcliffe to an Union Meeting and the same Evening upwards of twenty Messengers went off to every district round Huddersfield…” (HO 40/12 fol. 36)

1820, April 4 – John Knight, George Dewhurst & Nathan Broadhurst are committed to Lancaster goal for 18 months for attending illegal meetings.

[Note: Nathan Broadhurst resided at Newton Lane. Broadhurst’s wife’s maiden name was Mary Hill (married at Kidderminster in 1808). ]

Nathan Broadhurst had served 11 years in the Horse Artillery. He was born at Bolton in 1788 and died 1835.
Parents – Isaac Broadhurst & Betty Lawton. His children – Henry Hill, b. 1809, Heaton Norris; Isaac Lawton, b. 1812, Rugby. In October 1818 he was committed by Ralph Fletcher of Bolton for being a “rogue and vagabond.”]

[Note: In September 1818, John Lloyd, solicitor’s clerk of Stockport had written a letter to the Collector of Customs at Liverpool preventing the departure of Isaac Broadhurst (Nathan’s father) and his brother-in-law Mr. Lawton (age 62). Lawton and Broadhurst lodged an action in the courts to receive compensation for unlawful imprisonment. They were successful and received a huge sum in compensation. (see Chester Chronicle, Apr 3, 1818.) Isaac Broadhurst had lived at Cheadle Bulkeley.]

1820, April 5 – William Perry of the Union Rooms, London Place, Stockport, opened an exclusive subscription for Birtinshaw and Swan who are now confined in Chester Castle.

[Note: I believe Birtinshaw and Swan’s allegiance lay more with Perry’s faction of the Stockport Union. The more militant radicals who were under the influence of the atheist Richard Carlile.]

1820, April 5 – Government forces defeat Radical weavers at the Battle of Bonnymuir, Scotland – The Radicals under the leadership of Hardie and Baird had marched from Glasgow to the Carron iron works to take the cannon there but were guided to an ambush outside the village of Bonnybridge by government spies. On the following day a band of Radicals from Strathaven led by James Wilson marched towards Glasgow with a banner proclaiming “Scotland Free or a Desert” but disbanded when told the fighting was over.  

Hardie, Baird and Wilson, the leaders of the Radicals were later hanged at Stirling, with Hardie declaring “I die a martyr to the cause of truth and liberty.”

Scotland Free or a Desert


1820, April 8 – Private Meeting of Ultra-Radicals at Flixton – James Lang of Manchester (Chairman), Richard Johnson of Flixton, Charles Whitworth of Staley Bridge,  William Wood of Stockport, William Dobson of Blackburn, George France of Manchester, William Toothill and Alpha (Thomas Yates) of Bolton were present. “… Wood complained of the peculiar difficulties at Stockport, having had so many prisoners to maintain – which had somewhat tired their contributors, but still he thought the men of Stockport would not be backward on the day of unrest, being generally supplied with two pikes each and a good brace of pistols. – He deprecated midnight meetings, approving rather of open day work – and drawing away the attention of the military to some part of the country – whilst the attack should be made on another.” (HO 40/12 fol. 166.)

[Note: Many of these men were the same arrested at the Sidney Smith on Dec 23, 1819. Many of them spies.]

1820, April 8 – Letter from Stockport to Bolton Radicals – The Stockport Radicals “… express strong hopes of a speedy Revolution, saying “We are here ready to a man to exercise physical force, whenever a general muster shall take place, but intimating that as failures had already been experienced for want of one general signal for a simultaneous movement, it would be proper to agree upon some mode of mutual communication, and desiring the sentiments of the Bolton Radicals on the same…”

1820, April 8 – Trial of Bruce and McInnis for Shooting at Birch, Stockport Constable. In court Harrison gave a character witness for Bruce and said “I know the prisoner, Mr. Bruce; he was some time in my employ; I consider him to be a faithful, honest, industrious, humane man: I am confident he is respected by all who know him.”

1820, April 9 – A group of 200 armed Radicals mustered outside Carlisle but dispersed without violence or arrests. This was in response to a seditious notice from Glasgow posted in the town on 8 April invoking a call to arms. (The Times, April 18, 1820)

1820, April 10 – Bruce and McInnis found guilty and sentenced to death. Bruce was later pardoned and transported to New South Wales (Australia.)

1820, April 10 – Trial of Wolseley and Harrison. Harrison represented himself and summed up:

… then we have something of the Cato-street conspiracy, as it is called, I suppose to connect me with those foolish, absurd, rash men, who engaged in such an enterprise. Some gentlemen behind me won’t let me speak. Perhaps there are some men who would accuse me of participating with the men on whom sentence was so solemnly pronounced this morning, but of that I am quite guiltless…

Joseph Harrison

1820, April 11/12 – A group of roughly 300 armed Radicals marched from Barnsley and nearby villages to Grange Moor, near Huddersfield. On arriving at Grange Moor, they found that only 20 men from Huddersfield had come to join them. Thomas Farrimond cried out that they had been betrayed, and panic set in. Men fled in all directions, discarded their weapons, and dropped their flags. When the military arrived, most fled and a few gave themselves up. 

[Note: “An outbreak contemporaneous with the Scottish insurrection occurred in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was led by William Comstive (1792-1834). Born illegitimate in rural Lancashire and in great poverty, his father killed early in the French Wars, Comstive worked in cotton mills before enlisting in the 29th Foot in 1811, aged 19. He achieved promotion in the Peninsular War but was demoted from corporal in 1813 and then sergeant in 1815 for ‘unsteady conduct’. It is claimed that ‘He was at Waterloo, where he proved himself to be a brave and reckless soldier’. Discharged in 1818, Comstive worked as a journeyman linen weaver in Barnsley, Yorkshire, where he became involved in radical politics: ‘He was the captain of the Barnsley rebels, and the soul of the movement. He was a good penman, and having a fair knowledge of military matters, drew up a plan for attacking Huddersfield’ in conjunction with other parts of the West Riding. Comstive rallied 200-300 radicals on Grange Moor on the night of 11 April, but after the Huddersfield men failed to turn up, the radicals dispersed and Comstive was captured by soldiers.” (Taken from p.79, Soldiers as Citizens, Nick Mansfield, 2019) 

[Note: “[Comstive] gave the plan he had drawn up to Craven Cookson and Stephen Kitchen [Kitcheman], who had been appointed a deputation to go to Huddersfield, and these men turning traitors the document came into the hands of the authorities.” (The Rising of the Luddites, Frank Peel, 1888). They returned from Huddersfield and convinced the Barnsley radicals to march on Grange Moor.]


1820, April 12 – B. Haigh Allen (Huddersfield) reports to Hobhouse on May 8th that – “…The rising on the night of the 31st March was fixed by a Scotch Delegate who returned from the provincial Government. The orders for the rising of the 12th April were given by delegates from Manchester…” (HO 40/13 fol. 121)

[Note: The Huddersfield magistrate Benjamin Haigh Allen had attended Peterloo. (Audio Talk by Alan Brooke.)]

1820, April 12 – Norris reports to Sidmouth – The Manch’r Committee & delegates who were set at liberty at the last Lancaster assizes are again in full activity. To their incarceration almost alone do I attribute the circumstance that the Cato Street Conspiracy was not followed up by something of the sort here. They were I believe the Committee of the followers of Thistlewood in this quarter…” (HO 40/12 fol. 146.)

[Note: He refers to the Ultra Radicals arrested at the Sidney Smith Tavern on December 23, 1819.]

1820, April 13 – Ralph Fletcher reports to Sidmouth that – “… Alpha in a communication this moment received mentions a letter from the Stockport Reformers addressed to the Radicals at Bolton – and read by Lyon the Chairman to a select meeting on the 11th instant purporting their disappointment at the failure of the 1st instant, [April 1] but asserting their readiness to a man to exercise physical force whenever there shall be a general muster – and requesting this signal may be so arranged that the Rising may be simultaneous throughout the United Kingdom. They expect communications from Scotland & other places which may serve to direct their future proceedings…” Also that “… Wilson communicated a plan on which the Radicals at Macclesfield are said to be acting, and which it is said has its origins on Hunt’s recommendation. It is the union of the Independents and some other Denominations, with the Radical Reformers; and that in pursuance of the scheme, they have obtained a licence for the Union Room at Macclesfield and had sermons prepared for Reformers, preached on Sunday, by such itinerant Preachers as Harrison of Stockport approved – But their meetings were held in the same Room on Saturdays, at which politics and not religion were discussed. (HO 40/12 fol. 166.)

1820, April 13 – Ralph Fletcher reports to Sidmouth that – “… At Manchester on the 13th inst. the Manchester Committee were all in anxious expectation of news from Huddersfield… but nothing certain could be heard until Eddon, who had been sent to Huddersfield for the purpose, arrived and made known the melancholy result viz: that 500 Radicals had run away at the very first approach of the Yeomanry, and thrown away their pikes – The Members of the committee cursed and swore, Lang [James Lang] declaring that no blow could ever be successfully struck, without a thorough organization throughout the Kingdom. Johnson from Flixton, Whitworth from Staley, Wood [William Wood] from Stockport etc. all hastened to their respective places to communicate the unpleasant tidings…” (HO 40/12 fol. 322.)

1820, April 15 – Private Meeting of Ultra-Radicals at Manchester – Present: Alpha, James Lang, George France, Charles Whitworth, Richard Johnson, McClelland (who is one of the Manchester secret commitee) and Mather of Westhoughton. – “… McClelland complains of the irregularity of intelligence from their Scotch and Yorkshire friends, which left the Manchester Reformers in complete ignorance of the course that ought to be pursued… and what (continued he) can be more aggravating than the accounts brought by Eddon from Huddersfield – When the Manchester Delegates were there and told them that such a plan could not be acted upon, they termed us cowards; so we consented they should “make the experiment first…” (HO 40/12 fol. 322)

[Note: So it seems that Eddon warned the Huddersfield Radicals not to rise on the 12th April as Manchester had failed to take the lead.”]

1820, April 15 – Execution of Jacob McInnis by hanging at Chester.

1820, April 15 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse regarding McInnis body. Writes that the “body is in the Castle at present and I hope the Radicals who are now asking to take it to Stockport may not succeed for it would not be right to have any parade at Stockport which may excite sympathy or vengeance.”

1820, April 15 – Joseph Harrison returned to Stockport, where he preached with his cousin John Harrison to raise money needed for his next trial.

[Trivia: John Harrison (Joseph’s cousin) was the grandfather of Benjamin Waugh who founded the NSPCC.]

1820, April 16 – Letter from James Lyon to General Byng writes – “The body of McInnis who was executed yesterday at Chester was to be brought into Stockport to day in procession. A great number of the disaffected amongst them. Parson Harrison was prepared to go to meet it.” (HO42/12)

1820, April 16 – Harrison missed the coach heading back to Chester for the Assizes and was forced to hire a chaise to reach Chester by the time appointed. They suspect foul play as the coach mysteriously left 20 minutes earlier than usual and the court had ordered him to be back by Monday noon.

1820, April 17 – Stuart Corbett (Barnsley) reports to Sidmouth that – “… We yesterday heard that Ferryman [Farrimond] is in Cheshire somewhere near Stockport and have sent a special constable in the course of last night with directions to apply to the police at Stockport for assistance and to endeavour to apprehend him…” (HO 40/12 fol. 255)

1820, April 18 – Trial of Harrison at Chester for uttering seditious words in a sermon on 15th August, 1819.

1820, April 18 – Trial of Harrison at Chester for uttering seditious words in a sermon on 5th December, 1819.

1820, April 18 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse. Writes that “we have tried Harrison today upon both indictments and convicted him and the court has sentenced him to one years imprisonment upon each.”

1820, April 18 – Letter from Glasgow Central Committee to Bolton Reformers – “Dear Brothers, It is hard for us to believe that you have abandoned the cause for which you have been at so much labour and expence… with respect to open hostilities. We have at the moment laid aside any attempts of this nature not from the idea that we shall gain our object any otherwise than by this means. But are all so much discouraged at our Brethren not coming forward in a more tumultuous form that we are at a loss which way to pursue. It was useless for us to persevere unless England would have stepped forward with a helping hand… til something further is executed on your part we shall remain dormant… if you had turned out we should have stayed out to a man and lost the last drop of our blood… We consider ourselves as Scotchmen and ready any time to act upon a plan that would wear any probability of success – let us hear either by letter or some friend… we are willing to communicate in this way and if you want any directions Lang [James Lang] knows all friends here to whom it is proper to send any thing without us mentioning any names. We remain yours in Bonds of Union and Liberty signed The Glasgow Central Committee.” (HO 40/13 fol. 1)

[Note: This is further evidence that James Lang had visited the Glasgow Radicals in September, 1819.]

1820, April 20 – Stuart Corbett (Barnsley) reports to Sidmouth that – “…I have just heard that the Barnsley Constable is on the road to Barnsley with the younger Ferryman [Farrimond] and three other persons whom he has apprehended in Cheshire or Lancashire…” (HO 40/12 fol. 265)

1820, April 21 – Stuart Corbett (Barnsley) reports to Sidmouth that – “… We have thought it our duty to commit to York Castle William Rice of Dodsworth and John Ferryman [Farrimond] of Barnsley (the son of Thomas Ferryman) on a charge of High Treason; – and John Burkinshaw of Dodsworth for a misdemeanor…John Ferryman it is supposed is led by his father… We have not yet succeeded in discovering Thomas Ferryman…” (HO 40/12 fol. 269)

[Note: Thomas Farrimond aka Ferryman/Ferrymond/Ferrimond played a leading role in the 12 April, 1820 Grange Moor uprising.]

[Note: “Thomas Ferrymond of Barnsley in the West Riding of the County of York, weaver, is about fifty five years of age… he is supposed to be a native of Wigan in Lancashire and talks the Lancashire dialect…” (HO 40/13 fol. 54)

1820, April 21 – Hobhouse writes to the Lord Advocate of Scotland –  “In consequence of a letter which Lord Sidmouth received from John Paterson of the Card Factory at Leith, dated the 11th inst., stating that suspicious persons had embarked onboard three smacks which sailed on that day, the arrival of those smacks has been watched, I inclose a list of the passengers, which I understand is much below the average number of passengers. It is stated to me that there is no cause of suspicion against those who landed at Wapping. I observe that one Wm Walker, weaver from Glasgow, landed at Sheerness, which is a very unlikely place for a man of his class to find employment…” (HO 79 fol. 61.)

[Note: These suspicious passengers appear to be fugitives related to the failed uprising in Scotland on April 5. Could the mentioned Walker be our “Sailor Boy” Walker? Why else would Hobhouse single him out? Alpha had reported on Dec 21, 1819 that W.C. Walker planned to go north to either Carlisle or Glasgow. It’s impossible to say but I include this report should further evidence be found.]

1820, April 22 – Lloyd (Stockport) reported to Hobhouse that – “In consequence of a letter to me from Barnsley our constables have captured & sent into prison three of the traitors who fled from Grange Moor – (the scene of former deeds of which I have left that neighbourhood some remembrance).” (HO 40/12 fol. 280.)

[Note: Grange Moor is 6 miles from Huddersfield. The fact that they fled to Stockport could suggest there was some cooperation or assistance from the Stockport Union?]

1820, April 22 – General Byng reports that “… A Wakefield Paper of yesterday fills several columns about a man who was seen going about speaking inflammatory language, calling on some quondam Reformers, & recommending insurrection, and had asked the way to my house & others. I went over and saw the editor and publisher, to whom I proved that I was in London at the time, and I further declared that neither the man alluded to or any other was employed by me, they then gave me up the name of the villain, who proves to be Lancashire [John Lancashire] who in 1817 lived at Middleton, once was taken up under the suspension act with Roberts since his release, he has lived at Almondbury 2 miles from Huddersfield. Told them I remembered him well, and a worse character I knew not, that I have no doubt he was employed as a spy, but it was by the disaffected, who I knew well sent such characters about, that if a commotion take place, it might be attributed to spyes, as they would say, employed by Government. I inferred from what they said, it was Scholes and Smoller [Smaller] who told them of this man… I went on to Sir John Hague, and got him to see Haigh Allen [magistrate of Huddersfield] today, & to put him on his guard against Lancashire, in case he should have had any communication with him…” (HO 40/12 fol. 282)

[Note: Byng makes an interesting point “…I have no doubt he was employed as a spy, but it was by the disaffected…” At first I thought this was nonsense but Byng may have been partially correct. I’ve said earlier that I believed that spies such as Alpha were outsourcing their work to others and therefore not on the government books. Could this be the case with Lancashire?]

[Note: After his release from prison in 1817 John Lancashire (occupation weaver) had moved from Middleton to Almondbury Bank which is less than 1/2 mile from Moldgreen where Peter Lever resided. (see p.74, Liberty or Death, Brooke & Kipling, 2012.)]

[Note: Peter Lever (occupation weaver) had been looking for work in Middleton after his release from prison in September 1817 and had asked a friend there which men “had been imprisoned from Middleton, and who was the Deputy there.” (Chester Courant, April 14, 1818). Coincidence?]

[Note: Benjamin Scholes was Inn keeper of the Joiner’s Arms at Wakefield. John Smaller was shoemaker from Horbury. Both active Radicals in 1817 and victims of Oliver the spy. John Smaller together with James Mann were arrested under the Suspension of Habeas Corpus Act and conveyed to London in chains.]

1820, April 22 – Report from Leeds Mercury – “… Thomas Ferriman [Farrimond], a person who has long been known as a violent Radical, and whose mental sanity has been doubted, is one of the persons charged with attending at Grange-moor; this credulous, doting, old man, has for the present made his escape, but it is expected that he will soon be traced and apprehended. He is represented to have given way to absolute phrensy [sic] on finding, when he arrived at the place where he expected to meet the insurgent army, that he was duped and betrayed. From the confessions of several of the persons who have been taken into custody, it appears certain that the men who marched from Barnsley had been amused with the most marvellous accounts of the force which was expected to join them from Huddersfield and Wakefield, as well as the Scotch army, whose success was spoken of as certain. On Thursday evening, three of the persons who had absconded from Barnsley, William Rice, John Birkinshaw, and John Ferriman (the son of Thomas Ferriman), were brought to that town in the custody of Mr. Hopwood, the constable of Barnsley, who had followed them into Lancashire, and arrested them there…” (Leeds Mercury, 22 April, 1820)

1820, April 23 – Private Meeting of the Ultra-Radicals –  Lang, McLellan, Bradshaw, Bremelow (all of Manchester), Wood [William Wood] of Stockport, Whitworth of Staley, Johnson of Flixton, Hest of Wigan, Egdon of Leeds, Toothill and Alpha of Bolton and two others (names unknown) were present. “… Wood, expressed the Grief & Disappointment the Stockport Radicals felt for the Execution of Maghinnes [McInnis]. He complained also of the plight of their burdens – in having to support so many Friends now in prison and that he feared unless other districts would assist, they would not recover their former activity. It was passed unanimously that nothing but physical force could afford the desired relief – and that a new plan of organization should be devised.” (HO 40/13 folio 5.)

[Note: William Wood would later be a member of the Committee for the management of the Stockport permanent fund (elected July 17th 1820.) (HO 40/14.)]

1820, April 30 – Examination of George Palmer of Carlisle reported that – “Wilson [James Wilson, gardener of Huddersfield] said the Huddersfield Rising was spoiled by Brayshaw of Yeadon near Leeds telling the Editor of the Leeds Mercury [Edward Baines] that the Radicals were going to meet with arms and ammunition, upon which the editor sent out fifteen men in different directions to spread a report that it was a Government manoeuvre to get them together: in consequence of which only about 300 men attended at Grange Moor; whereas they expected there would have been 40,000.” (HO 40/12 fol. 335)

[Note: James Wilson of Huddersfield may have been a spy. He had fled to Barnsley after the failed April 1 rising and encouraged the Reformers there to rise. After the April 12 failed rising he turned up at Carlisle and encouraged an uprising there also. (see Liberty or Death, Brooke & Kipling, 2012.)]

[Note: It seems that Joseph Brayshaw (1794 – 1856) emigrated to America in 1823 in hopes to establish a commune based on Owenite beliefs. Settled in DuQuoin, Illinois.  After teaching a few years he became a medical doctor. Married Elizabeth Pyle in DuQuoin 1824. One of his sons was named Carlile and another Owen (presumably named after Richard Carlile & Robert Owen). Joseph Brayshaw was born in Haxby, York, 27 Feb 1794, parents – William Brayshaw & Alice Holdsworth.]

[Note: Click to see gravestone of Dr. Joseph Brayshaw.]

1820, May 1 – Thistlewood and the other Cato Street conspirators were executed and decapitated.


1820, May 5 – Ralph Fletcher reports to Sidmouth. Writes that – “…Lang [James Lang], in a private conversation with Alpha, said, when Thistlewood was on his return from Manchester, about halfway between Manchester & Stockport – he wished to know whether we could make sure of taking the Barracks, to which I replied that I believed it could be done. Lang continued to Alpha, I yet believe that Thistlewood died in full expectation that such a plan would yet be executed…” (HO 40/13 folio 7.)

1820, May 15 – At a meeting held at Bolton, Toothill said that “… nothing is left for us but a struggle. He avowed that from his conversation with Thistlewood, he knew the Cato Street Conspiracy was a real & not a sham plot – I have (said he) a class of Thistlewood who all avow to be avenged of his Blood yet I shall soon have them so arranged as neither to be thrown into confusion nor betrayal…”

[Note: Pure conjecture but I suspect that Toothill was a spy and probably under the pay of Alpha. Also interesting that Toothill had met and conversed with Thistlewood at some point. Could Thistlewood have attended the secret Nottingham meeting on December 11 and met Toothill there?]

1820, May 15 – Letter from Moses Colclough (Nottingham) to William Tootill (Bolton) – “…We are anxious for a personal interview with the Radicals of Lancashire and I am coming at the expence of the Nottingham friends to Manchester on Thursday and Friday to the Races, you know the meaning of the term Races, when I will give you a most encouraging detail of the preparations and progress of Thistlewoods beautiful design, which you will find truly worth your notice. – In expectation of seeing you at the Races I am all impatience like a little child…” (HO 40/13 fol. 3)

1820, May 17 – Letter from William Tootill (Bolton) to Moses Colclough (Nottingham) – “… Men of Nottingham Rest assured the transactions and discussions at Nottingham on the 24 of Novr last will never be erased from my mind till I see them experimentally acted upon, and nothing shall stop the exertions on my part but death itself…” (HO 40/13 fol. 3)

1820, May 22 – Private meeting of Ultra-Radicals at Manchester – “… Wood [William Wood] said they of Stockport were joining the metropolitan committee in aid of the sufferers – They were divided into sections of five persons –  paying each one shilling a year, casting lots in which of the five names the money should be paid – They had two objects in view on the arrangement – To support the prisoners – and keep up an organisation amongst their members – They worked a correspondence with the Manchester committee of management & to follow its directions either for measures hostile or otherwise. He strongly recommended perseverance and providence would smile on their efforts & make Peterloo yet swim with the Blood of ministerial pride & magisterial injustice.” (HO 40/13 folio 5.)

1820, May 23 – Extract of letter from Robinson (High Constable of Stockport) to Lloyd – “… Every thing very still and quiet – The Radicals quite in the Dumps – They had hopes to have made a stir this week – but are done for the present- In fact I think we shall have a quiet Summer – Money has come in very slowly with them the last week – Many very violent Radicals have declared they will subscribe no more – Moorhouse says he is ruined – Still the Unions? – There is the Root of all the Evil.” (HO 52/1 folio 72)

1820, May 24 – Harrison incarcerated at Chester Castle Gaol.

ChesterCastleLitoChester Castle Courts & Gaol.

1820, May 29 – At a meeting at James Tetlow’s (Manchester) – Moses Colcough (Nottingham) informed the Manchester Committee “… that they exactly coincided in their opinion that nothing of a regular constitutional nature would ever prove congenial. That every exertion should continue to be made to bring to maturity all the plans of which the foundation was laid in September & October 1819.” (HO 40/13 fol. 225)

1820, June 3 – In a letter to the Manchester Observer James George Bruce writes that “Birch’s evidence was fair and manly; I shall ever say so, in justice to him; but that wretch Pearson, I have no doubt would have sworn the very planets from their orbits, sooner than lose the reward of £400 which he flattered himself would be the price of his perjury.”

1820, June 5 – B. Haigh Allen (Huddersfield) reports to Hobhouse that – “Peter Lever, James Hirst, Pilling & Gill have absconded… We have had warrants out against Lever, Pilling & Hirst since the 10th April…” (HO 40/13 fol. 234)

[Note: It’s strange that no real efforts were made to capture these men. In contrast a 100 pound reward was offered for Thomas Farrimond and constables sent after him.]

b_haigh_allenBenjamin Haigh Allen
(1793 – 1829)

1820, July 6 – Letter from James Wilson, Glasgow to the Reformers of Manchester and its connected Towns in Lancashire – “…We are happy in seeing that all manner of Correspondence is not given up betwixt you & Yorkshire & Nottinghamshire and more especially that you have a small Rivulet into France which we hope will soon be extended into a channel that will enable us to convey more enlarged Ideas of the internal State of each country. May the French succeed in erasing the name of Bourbons from France – May the English destroy every Branch of Brunswick House and may afflicted Ireland claim her own system of Representation in the sincere prayer of the – Radical Reformers of Scotland…” (HO 40/14 folio 131/132.)

[Note: The letter was copied by spy Alpha and given to Col Ralph Fletcher.]

James_WilsonJames Wilson
(1760 – 1820)

1820 June 10 – B. Haigh Allen (Huddersfield) reports to Hobhouse that – “…By referring to the examination of Joshua Hirst taken 3 April you will perceive that he strongly implicates a Scotch Delegate who attended a meeting at Cowcliffe & by whose direction that meeting appeared to act. The anonymous examination enclosed today as well as the one sent down by you shew that this Delegate was James McIntire a weaver in John St Paisley…” (HO 40/13 fol. 279)

1820, June 10 – Article appears in the Manchester Observer that – “A despicable wretch who had long professed to be a most violent and strenuous advocate for Reform, was detected as a SPY! under the influence and pay of a certain Junto in Manchester :- conclusive evidence to this effect was in the possession of Edward Roberts, a respectable operative Mechanic, and was on the eve of being produced:- to suppress this evidence… Roberts has been arrested for a penalty, which he declares he never incurred, and is consequently imprisoned for an offence which he never committed. This he is deprived of the means of bringing to light a most abominable Spy Plot, in which a variety of most important discoveries is expected to be made…” (Manchester Observer, 10 June, 1820)

[Note: Possibly the same Roberts who was part of the new ultra Radical committee of the Manchester Union on Nov 4, 1819.]

[Note: Roberts also appears as a signatory on a handbill informing the people that the Manchester Meeting of the 9th August, 1819 had been cancelled. – “Edward Roberts, 2, Ancoat’s street”

1820, July 1 – Letter from Lloyd to Hobhouse who writes that Pearson, the witness against McInnis and Bruce, whom he had in confinement at his request as a “sort of turnkey,” will “not like to remain a turnkey without salary.”

1820, July 10 – Letter from John Horatio Lloyd to Sidmouth regarding his father’s diminished income since the death of Rev. Prescot – “…your Lordship will have learnt that the Magistrate to whom my Father was clerk & thro’ whose means his profits came, is now dead. Altho’ his place is partly supplied by others, yet my Father is entirely excluded – He has now remained constantly at home since leaving London for the last time, & whether he has excited prejudice by the independent firmness & intrepidity of his conduct during the late distressing period of tumult, or from whatever course, there is, I fear, no chance of his obtaining the means of support from his profession… I trust… that some situation may, if possible, be granted to my Father in which he may still exert his talents usefully, & obtain an honorable & moderate competence… I am particularly anxious that, whatever the result may be, my Father should remain ignorant of my Interference…” (HO 44/2 fol. 94, see also 44/1 fol. 71)

1820, July 13 – Letter from Hobhouse to John Horatio Lloyd – “… Lord Sidmouth has received your letter of the 10th instant with great Regret, and desired me to take the earliest opportunity of assuring you that so far from taking offence at your having written to him, he is pleased with your having done so. He sets a just value on your Father’s services, & is extremely sorry that they have not been productive of the emolument, which he so well deserves… With regard to your Father, his Lordship cannot pledge himself to any thing specific; but you may be assured of his Lordship’s readiness to assist him whenever an opportunity arises…” (HO 44/2 fol. 94a)

1820, August 24 – Letter from Joseph Harrison’s brother (Stockport) to Bagguley (Chester Castle.) He writes that the “Committee has received a letter from Mr. Hunt Esq. wherin he wishes his love to be remembered to Mr. Harrison and please to acquaint Mr. Harrison that for the sake of peace it is thought advisable to discontinue the dinners at present to prevent any more reflections on the ground of partiality.” (HO 40/14.)

1820, August 30 – Scottish revolutionary James Wilson is executed by hanging and beheading.

1820, September 11 – It was reported in the Observer that James Lang and James Tetlow were taken into custody charged with vagrancy for collecting subscriptions incidental to the obtainment of signatures to the Address to the Queen. Norris discharged the defendants finding “these men have committed no offence against the law.” (Manchester Observer, 16 Sept, 1820) 

[Note: It’s curious that Norris was so lenient on these men. I suspect they were spies or informers. See report below from Manchester Observer, Apr 20, 1822.]

1820, September 16 – Thomas Farrimond is captured at Whitehaven, Cumberland. – His captor “… observed no papers at his lodgings except a letter from his wife dated Barnsley 18 May last addressed to him at Ulverston wherein she informs him of the apprehension of many of his Brother Radicals who have lately pleaded guilty at York and desires him to direct for “J Cunliff, Book Agent, Arundal, Sheffield…” (HO 40/14 fol. 285. & fol. 296)

[Note: Thomas Farrimond: Admitted evidence in exchange for immunity from death penalty. Pardoned from Hulks 1828.]

[Note: Report of Thomas Farrimond (York Castle) – “… A few weeks before the Grange Moor meeting, two or three persons, came to me, and gave me information of their plan and strongly impressed upon me, to engage with them, to propagate it, as above mentioned but my feelings would not let me, it appeared so horrible, and they came to me afterwards on the same business, two or three times, but I never did agree to it, and the last time they came was the day before Grange meeting and they said, the men in their neighbourhood, would not come forward on the present attempt, and I told them, I had nothing to do with it. And I hoped, that it would not take place, but prove, like other reports, they said, I should see to the contrary, it would be like the Derby act, and there was no way, but that they had told me of for the people to do it amongst themselves and to have nothing to do with strangers, the people are ready amongst themselves, and needs no strangers for such are all spies and that has caused all confidence to be lost amongst the people __ over, and their plan, will raise it again and __ may be communicated from place to place by men we know to be genuine, and keep it entirely secret, but to ourselves, and all such in every place throughout the country, these men come from the neighbourhood of Sheffield, and are labouring men, and they said they had fixed upon the Revd Doctor Corbett, and the right Honr Stewart Wortley, and then they would assassinate in that part of the country. When things was made complete etc. after I made my escape. I worked a few days, near Manchester, while there, a man came to me who knew me, and invited me to a meeting where there was above thirty persons, met on the same subject as above described, at this I was very much surprised to find the same principles there but I declined going. I left that part immediately after, and I got to Ulverston, and I had not been there above a fortnight, but a man came from Leeds and told me, he saw a man at Leeds, then propagating a plan and he knew the man to be a real one too, but he did not inform him what the plan was nor would not, but he said, there never was a plan, like it before, and it was night time, to do something better than had been done, and after that in about a week another came through on his way to Carlisle on the same errand, but he was a stranger to me, he came from Blackburn and near Wigan, I saw a few of my relations, and a man send me word he could like to see me but he was called to a meeting of importance, and he could not see me, at Royton a man was com’d from Huddersfield on the same concern, and near Chorley, they was going to meet on the first of May, likewise at Middleton, these meetings are to establish confidence again, and to inform them of a same plan, and from these meetings they take it to the people all over as above described to be ready…” (HO 40/16 fol. 122, Feb 15, 1821). (Spelling corrected.) ]

[Note: It’s curious that no names are given. Was Farrimond protecting his friends or were the government trying to hide something?]

[Excerpt of examination of Thomas Farrimond (York Castle) – taken Mar 8, 1821 – “… I am in the fifty second year of my age. I was born at Lamber head green near Wigan in Lancashire where I lived with my parents until I married… I am by trade a weaver… I was chosen secretary to the Barnsley union society about four years ago… I gave up being secretary at Christmas 1819 and only wrote one letter afterwards to Mr Wild which was an answer to one which came from Huddersfield from Peter Lever saying the meetings were removed from Leeds to Huddersfield and wished me and Mr Wild to go over to his house as he was very ill and had some little property to leave but I did not go. I wrote a defence to the charge against me and went to Leeds to know why it was not published and met Peter Lever, Kershaw and several others, and Kershaw told me they did not wish to have any public disputes amongst the Radicals. I was at a meeting at the Spang Bell public house near Wakefield with Oliver, Mr Liddall from Birmingham and about ten others a short time before the meeting at Thornhill Lees [in 1817]. I was a delegate twice to Leeds and once to Stockport and Manchester. At Stockport [in August 1819] I was held two days and two nights as a spy. It was when Birch laid bad of his wounds, they suspected me. I wished to go upstairs to Mr Hunt who I said would know me but they would not let me go. I then referred to Robert Robinson who came from Barnsley and he came forward and knew me and they sent William Wood who was secretary to the Union Society at Stockport with me to Manchester where we met with Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson at Smedley Cottage and Mr Hunt knew me. This was the week before the Manchester Meeting [Peterloo]. I never went as a delegate after I gave up being secretary…” (HO 40/16 fol. 146)]

[Note: Mr Wild of Wakefield.]

[Note: Could the Kershaw mentioned be a reference to Kershaw Crowther? See Black Dwarf, April 4, 1822. Kershaw Crowther, Mr. Man’s Yard, Slowbeck [Holbeck] Lane. Also The Republican, Jan 11, 1822.]

1820, December 31 – James George Bruce arrived at New South Wales (Australia) along with 171 convicts aboard the ship Elizabeth.


1821, January 9 – David Ramsay to Lord Sidmouth writes that “According to your Lordships instructions dated June 1819, I have ever since that period reported to the Magistrates which information I flatter myself has contributed not a little of the restoration of tranquility of this District as no appearance of any public commotion has taken place since I gave information of and appeared against the eleven Delegates. But my Lord the Part that I have taken against the Radicals has reduced myself to poverty as I can find no employment… Col. Fletcher has made several applications for me to be put into the Manchester Police but Mr Norris thinks I am too well known to be of service… I wrote to the Adjutant General for admittance into the Army as a private soldier and a volunteer without bounty but that could not be granted I being 36 years of age … (HO 44/7 fol. 35, [spelling corrected.])

1821, February 21 – Chippendale writes to Hobhouse respecting Robert Wild. – “… I know Robt Wylde very well and am intimately acquainted with his character & past conduct. He is the son of John Wylde late a sergeant of the 2nd Lancashire Militia commanded by Lord Stanley, and was an out pensioner (very undeservedly) of Chelsea Hospital. Robt Wylde has been a Private soldier in more Regiments than one. He deserted from one Regiment and finally got released from the Service by playing the old soldier. I believe he shammed sickness. In regard to talents and character in any respect, he is, in my opinion, very insignificant and has raised himself into the notice of the Reformers by impudence alone. I trust he is a weaver by trade but am not quite certain. He is not much in love with work, and I understand he is in very humble circumstances. His age and appearance correspond with your account of him. For what purpose he can be upon a visit to Hunt I am at a loss to conceive. For no good one I am persuaded He must necessarily be so deficient in cultivation that there can be no congeniality in Hunts mind and his to make them suitable companions… I presume you are aware that Robt Wylde is one of the persons that took their trials at York along with Hunt.” (HO 40/16 fol. 113.)

1821, March 19 – Ultra-radical delegates from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire met at Stockport and issued a republican declaration written by Joseph Brayshaw. The declaration apparently ratified by the delegates at Stockport was sent unsigned to Hunt and Wooler who declined to publish it. Hunt considered it “downright tyranny and the greatest impudence” for the delegates to determine “what shall or shall not be in the constitution”.  Hunt later wrote to the Reformers from his prison cell: 

Let us have a House of Commons fairly chosen by the people, and then my worthies of the Committee, you may, if you please, submit to those representatives, the propositions contained in your declaration… Let us stick to the principle of Universal Suffrage and Vote by Ballot, by which to obtain an honest Parliament, and they will secure to us every blessing that Freedom can desire…

Henry Hunt

1821, March 28 – Eckersley writes to Byng that – “They say at the Police Office that Meetings had taken place here and at the Windmill Rooms in Stockport on Sunday last, which were attended by Delegates from Paisley, Carlisle, Birmingham, Nottingham etc. etc. Their deliberations were held with closed doors, and with so much precaution that many leading Reformers were not allowed to be present. The subject of discussion has not yet transfixed, but it seems Leeds is a point they look to, for whatever may happen; if anything should result from what may now be doing – I am to know more about it towards Sunday next; probably there is little or nothing in it, as however it was mentioned to me by one of the constables (who acts in the absence of the Boroughreeve) I have set about an enquiry, and shall endeavour to find out what the thing is -” (HO 40/16 fol. 183)

1821, April 19 – William Perry writes to Richard Carlile that the “… infernal spy system is at work again in this part of the country; their plan is to call deputy-meetings for some purpose or other. If convenient, a caution from you will prove highly necessary to the unwary, as the most distressed are generally the most zealous for a change in the system, they perhaps might be led into a fateful error.” (The Republican, 1821)

1821, April 19 – Bagguley, Drummond and Johnston were discharged from Chester Castle. “Bagguley’s beard is nearly eight inches long.”

1821, April 21 – Article in the Manchester Observer – “…It is now two or three weeks since we first heard that several rash, and ill advised men, were endeavouring to get up secret meetings in different parts… We were convinced that these attempts could not have originated with any honest Reformer, but must owe their birth right to the old source [Col Ralph Fletcher]… we have been enabled to prove that a Bolton Blackface [Yates*] has been very active, and was last seen and recognised at Chadderton, at the late dinner to commemorate the release of Messrs, Pilkington and Kay, from prison…We have also understood, that other secret meetings of persons calling themselves “delegates,” were to have been held in Cheshire, and Yorkshire, in the ensuing week, but we hope and believe… that the deluded… will see the folly of all attempts at secret measures, and be convinced, that by adopting them, they are only risking their own liberties and lives, and playing into the hands of their enemies…” (MO 21 Apr, 1821)

[Note: * See MO 25Aug, 1821. MO reveals name as Yates.]

1821, April 26 – Richard Carlile replies to William Perry’s letter – “… I have no hesitation in saying, that any means to establish a representative system of government are justifiable, and I would only hesitate on the probability of success, or the most prudent time of putting those means in practice. Always recollect that a successful resistance to oppression does not form rebellion but a glorious revolution. It is only called rebellion when it is unsuccessful… As to espionage which you imagine is now going on in the north, it is difficult to suspect and accuse until some exposure takes place. I hope the reformers have had sufficient lessons on this head to make them cautious…” (The Republican, 1821)

Always recollect that a successful resistance to oppression does not form rebellion but a glorious revolution. It is only called rebellion when it is unsuccessful…

Richard Carlile

Richard_CarlileRichard Carlile
(1790 – 1843)

1821, May 5 – Death of Napoleon Bonaparte exiled on St Helena. – Many of the Radicals including Henry Hunt revered Napoleon for his civil reforms and felt that he was ill treated by the British Government. 

800px-Eastlake_-_Napoleon_on_the_BellerophonNapoleon Bonaparte
(1769 – 1821)

Napoleon is dead… True history will faithfully record his deeds, his valour, his unrivalled genius, his magnificence, his justice, his impartiality, wonderful capacity in the field and in the cabinet, his gratitude, his honour, his universal knowledge and skill in the arts and sciences, the first of men, the most wonderful man that ever existed!

Henry Hunt

1821, May 8 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse – “Bagguley is here and yet unshaven – He moves respectfully to me and so do others, who formerly were as ready to pull a trigger against me.”

1821, June 18 – At the anniversary of the Stockport Loyal Wellington Club Lloyd recommended a toast to the Magistrates who were at Manchester and “observed that men who attended and maintained their post in the hour of danger, as was the case with these gentlemen, merited the warmest approbation of the well disposed part of the community.”

1821, June 28 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse that – “… We had a Meeting this forenoon, pursuant to advertisement, for the purpose of adopting arrangements for celebrating the Coronation; When it was generally resolved to have rejoicing & a Committee appointed to proceed immed’y to the plans. Whilst we were together Mr. Bagguley made his appearance amongst us trusting to make a proposition to which he said he had been urged by a Friend he was told we were in Committee; but we had no objection to hear him – He pulled out a paper Book, and read the form of a Resolution that the King be petitioned to liberate all persons confined for political offences prefacing it by saying that as all political animosities were subsiding it wou’d be fitting for us to shew a liberality in promoting the end etc. I became the speaker in reply, & told him it wou’d not be becoming in us to dictate what sho’d be Royal Grace on such an Occasion…” (HO 44/8 fol. 54)

1821, July 31 – Norris writes to Sidmouth that Bagguley “had determined to abandon politics altogether and wished to enter the army in the 16 Lancers the Queens now stationed here – I suggested to him that he might do better in his own trade or calling but he parried this on the ground that as he had changed his politics nobody would countenance him and he was bent on the army. I then ventured to tell him that I doubted whether or not they would have him in the army – at which he smiled.”

1821, August 20 – At a public dinner at the Manchester Union Rooms, Samuel Drummond “…denounced a person from Bolton, named Yates, as a Spy, & he was consequently turned out of the Room…” (HO 40/16 folio 423.)

[Note: Thomas Yates was ‘Alpha’ the spy.]

1821, August 20 – Report in the Manchester Observer respecting Yates ‘the spy’ – “…it was discovered that Yates from Bolton., the same fellow who was at the Chadderton dinner, formed one of the company. Mr. Candelett, the Vice President, immediately went up to the person pointed out, and boldly asked – “Are you YATES, the Bolton Spy?” To this question he confusedly stammered out “Yes, I am!” The cries of “out of the window with “the rascal,” now became general:- the execution of this was however prevented by the interference of Mr. Shillibeer, who proposed that the fellow should leave the room unmolested. He accordingly sneaked out, accompanied by the hisses, groans, and execrations of the meeting. Being pointed out to the assembled multitude below stairs, he was pursued by the hootings of the people down to the New Cross, where he joined Shan Jack, and other worthy associates.” (MO, 25 Aug, 1821)

1821, August 23 – Harrison writes of the governments’ ill treatment of the Radicals. “…separated us from our families, cut us off from the society of our friends, prevented us following our callings to “provide things honest in the sight of all men,” made us dependent upon charity for our support, and forced many of our families to seek relief at the Parish workhouse; doomed us to be kept day and night under lock and key, and to traverse the same twenty yards square of flags month after month, and year after year; deprived us of the free use of pen, ink, and paper, besides placing us under a severe censorship; clothed us in jacket and trousers or red and green; and fed us with one pound of bread and two pounds of potatoes per day…”

1821, August 25 – Report in the Manchester Observer that the “notorious hackney-coachman, Mr. L” [John Livesey the spy] occupation in Manchester is gone and now can be found on the “Russian Bear” coach in Liverpool.

1821, August – September – Bagguley absconded with about 25 pounds of the Stockport Permanent Fund.

1821, November 6 – “[Yates] had the boldness to intrude himself as a guest at the birth-day dinner of Mr. Hunt, which was held at the Union-rooms in Manchester, on the 6th of November last. The wolf, however, was soon scented, and obliged to make a precipitate retreat from the roused indignation of the company…” (Manchester Observer, 20 Apr, 1822.)


1822, January 17 – Resignation of Lord Sidmouth.

1822, January 24 – Eckersley writes to Byng that – “It would seem they are very shy at Oldham and at Stockport, in intrusting their funds to any but their own Committee ever since Baguley went off, with monies from Stockport and Macclesfield. – They now call him a turn coat.” (HO 40/17 folio 18.)

1822, February 14 – Eckersley writes to Byng that – “…Nobody can tell where Baguley has gone to…” (HO 40/17 folio 50.)

1822,February 23 – Lloyd writes to Hobhouse and mentions “I saw a notorious villian of the name of Jump [Robert Jump], a journeyman bricklayer, standing with a table and pen & ink on the crown of our Bridge (over the Mersey, which divides Cheshire from Lancashire) and inviting the cotton boys to sign their names for Mr. Hunt…”

1822, March 20 – John Knight, George Dewhurst and Nathan Broadhurst are liberated from Lancashire Castle. (Lancaster Gazette, 23 Mar, 1822.)

1822, April 20 – Report in Manchester Observer regarding Yates – “… soon after the fatal 16th of August, it was discovered that a fellow called Yates, who had found means to ingratiate himself with the Bolton Reformers, and acted as secretary to their union, was neither more nor less that a black face, and was in the pay of a certain well-known fire-brand magistrate [Ralph Fletcher] in the neighbourhood. This Yates, whilst in the office of Secretary-spy, had become intimately connected with a professed Reformer in Manchester, named James Lang, and upon the discovery of Yates deliquency, this intimacy naturally cast a suspicion of the character of Lang…” Lang reported that “… a few weeks ago he was sent from his home in the neighbourhood: that to his great surprise he there found Yates, whom he had long before desired neither to call upon him; that upon asking him what he wanted with him, Yates replied that he had something to say which might turn up to his (Lang’s) advantage; and after a little round-a-bout conversation, proceeded to ‘open his budget;’ that Yates stated he was engaged to get what information he could gather about the parties engaged in the prosecution of Birley, and that if he would assist him, he should enter into present liberal pay… Lang proceeded to state that he went many journies to Middleton and other places, and gave Yates such intelligence as he thought proper… and that Tetlow had received ten shillings for two days for the same kind of work…” (Manchester Observer, Apr 20, 1822.)

[Note: So it’s confirmed that James Lang and James Tetlow were in the pay of Alpha (Thomas Yates) the Bolton spy.] 

1822, May 18 – Letter from Harrison to editor of Manchester Observer writes ‘I also feel thankful for the kind remembrance which Mr. Hunt still maintains toward me. I lie under great obligations to him, for interesting himself on my behalf in various instances of late. I would write to him, but am resolved never to write to my superiors whilst I am here, unless they write to me…’ (MO 18 May, 1822.)

1822, June 4 – Letter from Henry Hunt to Joseph Harrison writes “…My only reason for not addressing you before, was an invincible horror of having my letters overhauled by Gaolers and pettifogging Magistrates; and that will be my only reason for being so brief now… I beg you and Mr. Swann to accept the enclosed trifle, and I shall be delighted if it should enable you to procure any convenience which you may stand in need of. I am comparatively a poor man; and I do not offer this ostentatiously, your kindness will take the will for the deed; and I assure you I shall consider myself honoured by your accepting it… I expect Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Northmore will call upon you in a short time…”

Men will be of different opinions in politics, as well as in other things; for my part, I think the British Constitution, as defined by the venerable Major Cartwright, is best suited to the habits and dispositions of the British People; but I cannot be angry with my brother for thinking that a Republic would conduce more to the preservation of our rights, and the promotion of our happiness.

Joseph Harrison

CartwrightjohnMaj. John Cartwright
(1740 – 1824)

1822, June 12 – Letter from Rev. Joseph Harrison to Thomas Wooler, editor of Black Dwarf. “I received a letter from Mr. Hunt last week, containing a present of five pounds each, for Joseph Swann and myself, and feel a particular desire that it be published.”

1822, July 8 – Death of James Moorhouse at Stockport aged 57.

1822, August 3 – Harrison and Swann were visited by Sir Charles Wolseley and Thomas Northmore at Chester Castle.

[Note: Thomas Northmore was founder of the Hampden Club in 1812.]

1822, August 8 – “John Lloyd, gent, to be Clerk Prothonotary and Clerk of the Crown within the counties of Chester and Flint, vice Samuel Humphreys, dec.” (The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1822)

1822, August 12 – Lord Castlereagh commits suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.

1822, September 19 – Rev. Joseph Harrison writes to Thomas Wooler and mentions “I was eight days and nights in solitary confinement for having a Chester Guardian in my possession…”

1822, September – Henry Hunt writes about Harrison in his Address to the Radical Reformers – “The sufferings of this worthy man have been great indeed, for a length of time: for nearly two years he was compelled to wear the gaol dress…”

1822, October 30 – Hunt released from Ilchester prison.


1823, January/February – The Republicans of Leeds met to celebrate the Birthday of Thomas Paine. One of the toasts was to “Mr. Joseph Brayshaw, and may he be speedily restored to health.” (The Republican, Vol. 7).

[Note: This is the last time Brayshaw is mentioned in The Republican.]

1823, May 29- Joseph Brayshaw (age 29 – schoolmaster) arrived in Philadelphia, USA onboard the Ship Plato. (United States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874).  

1823, June – Joseph Brayshaw “recently arrived in America for the purpose of making a tour of the western states” was witnessed handing out pamphlets in Philadelphia “with a view to ascertain a situation for the establishment of a society upon the principle of an equitable participation of labour and capital…” (A Visit to the Colony of Harmony, in Indiana, Hebert Brooks, 1825.)

1823, July 14 – Dinner in Honour of Hunt by the Manufacturers of Birmingham. “Mr Hunt next proposed the health of the Rev. Joseph Harrison and Joseph Swan, and between six and seven pounds was immediately collected for them.”

1823, July 16 – Henry Hunt visits Harrison and Swann at Chester Castle. Whilst in Chester Hunt is invited to dinner by Loyalists pretending to be Reformers who play a trick on him. (See Black Dwarf, Aug 13, 1823, p244 for Hunt’s take on the proceedings.)

What a poor ineffectual struggle we have made for liberty; we are likely to become the laughing stock of surrounding nations.
When we read in old books that the English are very tenacious of their rights, we can scarcely believe it true, whilst our political rights are either unknown or unregarded by the majority of our countrymen…

Joseph Harrison

1823, October 6 – Harrison liberated from Chester Castle.

1823, October 8 – Harrison writes that “The last few weeks of my imprisonment have been remarkably cheered by reading Mr. Hunt’s Memoirs, and his invaluable addresses to the Radical Reformers, male and female, of the United Kingdom. Here we have such a fund of information as I never expected to find in one work – a work which will be read with avidity a thousand years hence; for though, in some instances, it seems bordering upon romance, yet every sentence carries conviction of its truth, and makes one almost feel present with its high spirited and patriotic author.”

1823, October 31 – Meeting held at Great Horton, near Bradford, Yorkshire, to congratulate Harrison on his restoration to liberty. “Mr. Harrison rose and said, that Mr. Hunt might be considered one of the greatest patriots that ever existed in any age or country.”

Mr. Hunt might be considered one of the greatest patriots that ever existed in any age or country.

Joseph Harrison

[Note: Joseph Harrison’s half brother William lived at Great Horton. Joseph also spent part of his youth in the area where his father was Congregational Minister of the Allerton, Bingley, Wilsden and Skipton chapels.]

william harrison portraitWilliam Harrison
(1796 – 1873)


1824, January 1 – John Johnston’s (Blanketeer and fellow prisoner at Chester Castle) children are baptised by Harrison at the Windmill Room Chapel.

1824, February 23 – Joseph Harrison agitated for the repeal of the Combination Laws at a public meeting in Stockport. In a report from Brig Maj Eckersley to Gen John Byng, he writes that “the Meeting was attended by all the Rabble of the Town, with Parson Harrison, of Reforming notoriety at their head, and that the room in which it was held, at the principal Inn [Warren Bulkeley Arms], was taken possession of by them, at an early hour. – There was a great deal of discussion, but it would seem they almost overlooked that part of the inquiry which applies to the exportation of Machinery, and directed their attention, principally, to the Combination act…” (HO 40/18 folio 100.)

1824, April 11 – Last baptism by Harrison at the Windmill Room Chapel.

1824, May 22 – Closing down of the Windmill Rooms. The contents consisting of a “pulpit, a pew, several desks, forms, &c.” were “sold by auction under a distress for rent.”

1824, June 24 – Joseph Brayshaw marries Elizabeth Pyle and settles in DuQuoin, Perry County, Illinois, USA. He would spend the rest of his life in DuQuoin as an M.D. and hobby farmer, a regular contributor to the Praire Farmer magazine, once dabbling in local politics.


1825, December 1 – James George Bruce who was implicated in the Birch shooting was granted an absolute pardon in the penal colony of New South Wales. This means he could return to England if desired. [Further research needed to find his fate.]


1826, December – Harrison joins the Baptists and “is appointed to preach the gospel at Bullocksmithy.”


1830, July – The French “July” Revolution. It was reported that… “Among the actors in the French Revolution was the son of the notorious Thistlewood, who led on a body of the people against the Swiss Guards.” (The Standard, Sep 24, 1830.)

[Note: Julian Thornley Thistlewood (b. Feb 22, 1808. d. 1893). was the son of Arthur Thistlewood. The Paris marriage records show a marriage of Julian Thornley Thistlewood to Adele Victoire Petit on 2nd April, 1841. It appears that he was a landscape painter as was his son Georges William Thornley (1857-1935) a friend of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas. Some of G. W. Thornley’s works.]

[Note: Letter from Arthur Thistlewood’s grandaughter, S. Thornley-Thistlewood, Bordighera, Italy – “… I am the daughter of Julian Marmeduke Thistlewood, the son of Arthur Thistlewood. He came to France very young, married, and became a well known painter… father recollected seeing his stepmother crying when books and furniture were sold to get money. At seventeen my father, Julian Marmeduke, came to France… bore the name of Thornley, for the name Thistlewood was impossible in those times of prejudice…”  (Lincolnshire Chronicle, Nov 29, 1907)]


1830, July – August – Henry Hunt ran as radical candidate for the seat of Preston but lost to Edward Smith-Stanley.

1830, July – August – After his election defeat, Hunt decided to remain in the north-west and teamed up with John Johnston (of Blanketeer fame and Harrison’s fellow prisoner at Chester Castle) and Joseph Mitchell (of Oliver the Spy fame and the man Harrison expelled from the Stockport Union in 1818.)

1830, September 24 – John Johnston attended a Reform meeting at Glasgow. – “… After informing the meeting that he was a Scotsman, although he had never before addressed a Scotch audience, he said the days of espionage were gone by – therefore they need not be afraid he was a spy…” (Caledonian Mercury, October 2, 1830)

[Note: Johnston was mistaken, government spies were still in force. David Ramsay’s services were once again rendered in Manchester.]

1830, October 4 – Reform Meeting at Middleton – Speakers were Ogden, Fitton and Knight. A tri-colored flag was displayed and a blue flag with the words “Unity and Strength” and on the reverse “Liberty and Fraternity”.  The informant met Nathan Broadhurst and “Sailor Boy” Walker  at the meeting but they took no part in it. “they shewed him a report of the Carlisle meeting, which says plainly they will arm, and that immediately – Johnston (who was of great radical notoriety in 1818) has been figuring at Carlisle…” (HO 40/27 folio 528.)

flag[Note: The actual flag that had been carried to Peterloo by the Middleton contingent.]

tri-colour-EDITEDRadical Tri-colour flown at Smithfield Meeting.

1830, October 7 – Meeting at Blackburn – “Sailor Boy” W.C. Walker spoke – “recommending that Blackburn and all the towns in the northern district, should follow the example of Carlisle, in appointing Hunt the head of the northern Union. he then read a report of the last Carlisle meeting, at which one of the speakers said “… that if Parliament did not address their grievances they would go to London and tear down the House of Commons, and plant a flag of Radicalism on its ruins…” (HO 40/27 folio 530.)


1830, October 8 – Broadhurst and W.C. Walker went to Preston – “… they all went to Johnston’s (who lives at Preston) his wife told them he was in Scotland on business – they then went to Mitchell’s, who went with them to a Public house, when the subject of Hunt being then head of the Union was again introduced – Mitchell said they had communications from Carlisle and other place on that subject which he highly approved of, but he should have it brought before the Union on Tuesday night Mitchell shewed a letter from McKinley of Glasgow, saying that he and one or more, should be at Carlisle on Wednesday the 13th or at Langham on Wednesday the 14th where they expected to meet a few friends from the South – Broadhurst and Walker will go, and probably Mitchell…” (HO 40/27 folio 530.)

[Note: On February 22, 1817, Andrew McKinley had been arrested on a charge of being engaged in ‘a treasonable plot or conspiracy.’ He went to trial on July 1817 but was released after the Jury found him “Not Guilty” (The Trial of Andrew McKinley, 1818).]

1830, October 12 – Robert Peel reports to the Bishop of Carlisle that intelligence gathered from Manchester stated that – “… Mitchell shewed a letter from McKealy [McKinley] of Glasgow, stating that he and one or more should be at Carlisle on Wednesday the 13th, or at Langholm on the 14th., when they expected to meet a few friends from the South, Broadhurst and Walker will go, and probably Mitchell…” (HO 79/4 folio 199.)

1830, November – On the Rotunda in London Gale Jones stated “…that Julian the son of Thistlewood who has been in France and was very active in the late Revolution having in another name headed the people has called on him and is coming among us. I have been trying to see him, but have not as yet done so, but he is expected at the Rotunda on Monday and talks of hoping the time is at hand when he can be revenged.” (HO 64/11 fol. 253, Nov 1830.)

Blackfriars_Rotunda_1820Blackfriars Rotunda

1830, November 26 – Article regarding Mitchell in the Liverpool Mercury – “… we beg to suggest that Mr. Mitchell should disprove a report which was very prevalent respecting him about the period when Oliver was prowling about, seeking whom he might destroy. It may be fresh in the recollection of many of our readers that General Byng was, at the time, commander of the disturbed district; and in that capacity there is no doubt that Castlereagh’s infamous agent would communicate with the General, who might conceive that Oliver was an honest, and zealous, and loyal man. About this period it was generally reported in the newspapers that Mitchell had been seen riding along with General Byng in his gig; and we never heard that he has given a satisfactory refutation to this serious charge…”

1830 – December – Henry Hunt becomes parliamentary member for the seat of Preston.


1831 – January 8 – Dinner at Spread Eagle Inn, Hanging-ditch, Manchester in honour of Hunt’s return for Preston – “Mr. Walker alluded briefly to the once prevailing opinion, that Mr. Mitchell had acted as a Government spy, and flatly contradicted the foul imputation.”  (Preston Chronicle, January 8, 1831)

1831, April – John Johnston withdrew his support for Hunt and welcomed the Whig’s proposed Reform Bill as ‘part payment.’

[Note: For more information on the election see: Preston History blog.]

1831, June 21 – Report from spy David Ramsay to Mr. Lavender (Deputy Constable of Manchester). who says the Radicals “… expect about forty deputies in London next week:

Manchester:      Brooks and Curran
Stockport:         Parson Harrison and Hawarth –
Blackburn:         Walker Sailor Boy of 1819 notoriety
                              and the other to me unknown –
Macclesfield:    Morris –
Oldham:            one said to be John Knight …” (HO 52/13 folio 448.)

[Note: It appears that the notorious W. C. Walker (Sailor Boy) has made a comeback however I’ve not yet been able to find any evidence of his going to London as a delegate. George Meikle of Blackburn went as a delegate.]

[Note: Morris was Secretary to the Macclesfield Union and a preacher. It appears they could not raise enough funds to send him but he preached a sermon to raise funds for Edward Curran and William Brooks.  (see Manchester Times and Gazette, July 9, 1831)]

[Note: Stephen Lavender who replaced Nadin as Deputy Constable of Manchester had been a Bow-street officer, and in 1820 assisted in the arrest of Thistlewood and his gang. He also took part in the search for young James “Jeb” Watson, the fugitive in 1817.]

1831, June – Harrison sent as Stockport deputy to London with a petition demanding the full radical programme. “The northern deputies expected to join forces with the new National Union of the Working Classes in London to mount an effective radical opposition to the Bill under Hunt’s parliamentary leadership.” Another Peterloo era veteran – William Fitton was the Royton deputy.

[Note: Hunt’s opposition to the Reform Bill stemmed from the fact that it would ignore the working class and direct voting power to the middle-class. The same class of people responsible for the Massacre at Peterloo.]

1831, June 28 – Reform Meeting at Bazaar Coffee House, Castle  Street, Oxford Market, London. Joseph Harrison was called to the chair and began his speech by saying “It was of the utmost importance that the opinion of the working classes in London should be collected, and generally disseminated amongst their brother operatives in the country, and more particularly their views as to Universal Suffrage.” (PMG July 2, 1831)

1831, July 4 – Report from London spy – “… The principle Meeting House now of the London Committee of the National Union is the Bazaar Coffee House in Castle St Oxford Market of which Gast is one of the principles and Hetherington forms one, but he is far from being very active lately because “he begins to find Hunt is not quite as good as he aught to be.” To this place many of the delegates have often lately met and are to continue and most of them are in constant communication with Hunt particularly Dunn and Harrison…” (HO 64/11 folio 334.)

1831, July 4 – Reform Meeting at Portman Market, New Church Street, Lisson Grove, London. “Mr. Harrison further observed, that the resolution he held in his hand, was for Radical Reform, and that was the very thing they wanted.” (PMG July 9, 1831)

And the best means, said Mr. Harrison, to obtain this, is UNION – Unity of design – of effort, and of heart.

Joseph Harrison

1831, July 5 – Report from London spy – “… Harrison from Stockport and Brooks from Manchester are the principle of them as to ability and they say having been allowed by favour of Hunt to go to the House of Commons and hear the debates on their petitions and plans and having been much about London in companys they are much disappointed at finding Hunt so little thought of and so little unanimity among the Reformers …” (HO 64/11 folio 336.)

1831, July 6 – Joseph Harrison attended NUWC Meeting at Castle Street Assembly Rooms, Oxford Market, London. James Savage was Chairman, speakers were Osborne, Mansell, Meikle of Blackburn and Harrison of Stockport. Mansell moved that the NUWC present an address to Henry Hunt for “his patriotic and manly conduct in the Commons House of Parliament.” (PMG July 9, 1831)

1831, July 8 – Whilst in London the northern deputies Joseph Harrison, Edward Curran and George Meikle sent a letter to Sir Robert Peel advocating universal suffrage, vote by ballot and short Parliaments. (PMG July 9, 1831)

…But those who sent us think the question had better be settled now upon the principle of Universal Suffrage, Vote by Ballot, and short Parliaments – that is, one or two years – they are not particular. If they get these, and their sufferings still continue, they will bear them with patience; – if they do not get these, you may depend upon it, Sir, that they will continue to agitate the question in such a way as to endanger the Aristocracy, and even the Throne itself….

Harrison, Curran & Meikle

[Note: “Born in Ireland [1799], Curran settled in Manchester about 1818 to practise his trade as a hand-loom silk-weaver. He was present at Peterloo in 1819…” (from Appendix A: Local Chartist Portraits. For a full citation see Pickering, “‘The Fustian Jackets”)]

[Note: George Meikle residing at King Street, Blackburn, born c.1787-91. (1841 UK Census.) King Street address confirmed in Northern Star, Oct 14, 1843. Occupation Currier (Blackburn Standard, 14 Dec, 1836.) Occupation Book Seller (Northern Star, July 13, 1839.) Was married to Barbara Bell in 1808 at Newcastle Upon Tyne (daughter of Edward Bell, Millwright of Hexham.) Son Edward Meikle born in Newcastle upon Tyne, 1813. Daughter Susannah Hutchinson born London, 1815, baptised Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1817. Daughter Eliza Robinson born c.1818, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Son George Meikle born in North Shields, 1819. Daughter Barbara Pilkington born in Carlisle, 1821. Most children were baptised in the Swedenborgian Chapel at Newcastle upon Tyne. Barbara Meikle, widow, remarried in 1850 so it seems George Meikle died before 1850. It’s possible he was living in Scotland late 1840’s and maybe died there. See Northern Star, Dec. 5, 1846. Glasgow Branch of the Land Company. ]

1831, July 10 – Reply of Peel. “He regrets that it is not in his power to support the measures to which that letter refers; and he is satisfied that the labouring classes would be the first to suffer by their enactment.” (PMG July 9, 1831)

Robert_Peel_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_13103Robert Peel

1831, July – Joseph Harrison and the northern deputies used Henry Hunt’s house in Stamford Street as their meeting-place, and he arranged parliamentary visits and private interviews for them with various ministers and Radical MPs (Lord Althorp, Lord Russell, Sir Thomas Denman, Joseph Hume among them.) By the end of July, with nothing to show for their efforts, most of the deputies had left London to return to the north. (HO 64/11 folio 335,336)

1831, July – Henry Hetherington (editor of the Poor Man’s Guardian)  “went with Harrison to Stockport and is to remain in the North for sometime as a delegate from the National Union in London, and during his absence Cleave and Watson are to conduct his business as to continue both the Poor Man’s Guardian and the Republican.” (HO 64/11 folio 379.)

[Note: The London Magistrates Halls and Birnie had issued summons against Hetherington for publishing papers with unstamped sheets. Hetherington wrote a letter to the Bow Street Office stating that he “is going out of town for a week or two, and doubtless he will hear further from  Messrs. Halls an Birnie on his return…” Morning Post, July 22, 1831.]

465px-Richard_Birnie_SayRichard Birnie
(1762 – 1832)

1831, August – On his way north Hetherington was accompanied by Brooks and Meikle, the Manchester Delegates who visited Coventry and Birmingham on the way. They arrived at Manchester on a Sunday and held a pubic meeting in which “Mr. Harrison took the Chair.” Whilst in Manchester Hetherington was pursued by two Bow Street constables whom he managed to escape by climbing out the window of his lodgings. (PMG September 17, 1831)

1831, August – Brooks and Curran came into possession of a private letter from Joseph Mitchell to the editor of the Manchester Times denouncing Hunt and wishing to have Cobbett in his place as Preston candidate. When challenged by Brooks and Curran, Mitchell admitted that he had ‘gone off’ Hunt. (See: Preston Chronicle, September 3, 1831)

1831, August 23 – “Robert Jump, a bricklayer, living in Chestergate, Stockport, on Tuesday evening last, took quantity of arsenic. The circumstance was immediately discovered, and assistance was speedily procured, and he is now doing well. He however states his determination to effect his purpose.” (Chester Courant, 30 Aug, 1831.)

[Note: Stockport… Mr. A. Campbell lectured for us on Sunday evening, October 31st [1841]. His lecture was a funeral oration, on the death of an old social and political reformer, of the name of Robert Jump, who for near fifty years had consistently striven to get a change in the institutions of the country. Though he was not a member of our association, and never had been, we made a collection for his aged widow…” (The New Moral World, 1841). Robert Jump (c.1771 – 1841) seems to have been a native of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.]

1831, August – October – According to Hunt’s biography by Huish, in the latter part of 1831, Hunt waited upon Sir John Byng to see if he would own to a knowledge of Mitchell. Sir John replied, “You know, Mr. Hunt, it won’t do to tell tales out of  school.”  Hunt left quite satisfied that “Mitchell was really not only the companion, but the guilty companion of Oliver, and as a paid spy of Sidmouth, he had frequent communication with Sir John Byng.”

[Note: Mitchell sued John Saunders for libel in 1837 (the publisher of Hunt’s biography by Huish) but they settled proceedings out of court. See: London Dispatch, 12 Mar, 1837.]

1831, September – Henry Hetherington is taken into custody and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for refusal to pay stamp duty for the Poor Man’s Guardian and The Republican..

1831, October 31 – Curran left Manchester for Macclesfield to meet Henry Hunt. (London Courier, Nov 2, 1831)

1831, November – Hunt left London for his northern tour. On his arrival he found “… several thousand persons from Stockport accompanied with a coach and four, a band of music, and innumerable flags and banners, the Committee of the Stockport union with Mr. Harrison at their head intreating me to proceed to Stockport, where a public supper to welcome me was provided, and a bed was prepared for me…”

1831, November – A Radical Reform Meeting, convened by some of the lower classes of the inhabitants of Stockport, the Mayor having refused to comply with their request, was held on Tuesday last at Sandy Brow; a person named Perry [William Perry], the keeper of a “Jerey” shop, in the chair. (Macclesfield Courier, Nov 1831)

1831, November 4 – Hunt writes in his Address to the Radical Reformers of England, Ireland and Scotland – “I have just heard that the old half-cracked – half-idiot baronet – Sir Charles Wolseley, has been to Preston, to pay his amiable friend Mitchell a visit. It appears Mitchell has persuaded him, that he has a chance for Preston on some future occasion, and he went down there to feel his way.”

1831, November 5 –   Hunt visits Preston and tells his supporters that  – “Mitchell says he is no spy. Why, I have spoken to men in Manchester who saw him in 1818 and 1819, and who said he had received money, but I did not believe it. And who do you think he accused most of all? Why his recent visitor, the old humbug Sir Charles Wolseley. We met at Johnson’s at Smedley (near Manchester,) and soon afterwards we were thrown into prison. The magistrates read an account of all that had occurred: ah, how could they tell all this? there was nobody present with us but Mitchell. I was told lately at Manchester, that Mitchell was at the Police-office, and once he was watched into General Byng’s carriage and out again, and yet he says he is no spy!”  (Preston Chronicle, 12 Nov, 1831)

[Note: So it seems that according to Hunt, Mitchell was present at Johnson’s house (Smedley) the day prior to the Peterloo Meeting of 1819. This is backed by Mitchell’s comments below.]


1832, February 1 – London Spy reports. – “…there was some persons arrived on that day and were then at Hunts House in Stamford St. I then went to Benbows early in the evening where I found Osborne, Santos and several others of the Union and among them Curran of Manchester talking of the arrests at that place and which has made some confusion among them. I tried to know what their business was and all I can learn is that him and two others are come up as witnesses in Hunts favour in an action for libel against the Times Newspaper…” (HO 64/12 fol. 29. Feb 1, 1832.)

1832, February 2 – London Spy Reports – “…Curran is lodging at Hetheringtons and they are all nearly constant in their attendance on Hunt, but when they yesterday found they had time they all visited Hetherington in Prison and afterwards through Hunts favour went to the House of Commons and waited until the Reform Bill began to be discussed when they left. From all I learn at present they are in no way deputed to communicate anything to us nor to have anything to do with us from their Union…” (HO 64/12 fol. 30. Feb 2, 1832)

1832, February – London Spy Reports – “…The names of the persons in Town from Manchester are John Curran, Nathan Broadhurst, William Ashmore who is secretary to the National Convention there and a person named Baxter, but he is not connected with them in Hunts case, nor have they anything to do in London, but on his trial…” (HO 64/12 fol. 73)

1832, February 7 – Curran Arrested – “… Sir, – I am sorry to inform you that Lavender arrested Mr. Curran this morning between 10 and 11 o’clock, in the Exchequer Court. You may have an idea of the “powers that be” when their vengeance extends to a man who never did an injury to society in the whole course of his life. I was standing close by Lavender’s elbow, but it seems he did not know me; he intimated to a friend of mine that he wanted my person also… NATHAN BROADHURST A RADICAL REFORMER. London, Feb 7, 1832. (The Poor Man’s Guardian, Feb 11, 1832.)

1832, February 9 – London Spy Reports – “…A good deal of alarm existed among us by hearing that Curran of Manchester had that day been arrested, but no one knew for what and though as I have often stated we had nothing to do with them. his colleagues have not since been seen or heard of, the Majority of the Committee are fearful the Government mean to suppress all Unions…” (HO 64/12 fol. 35. Feb 9, 1832)

1832, February 9 – William Ashmore is apprehended  in Manchester for seditious speeches made on 22nd January. (HO?? Box 18, Foster Reports 1832.)

1832, February 16 – London Spy Reports – “… Mansell stated that he had received a letter from Brooks of Manchester who stated that the Union there were in a bad state as to funds… Osbourne also stated that when Curran and Broadhurst were arrested they were without money and he advised Watkins who is the sub-treasurer to assist them…” (HO 64/12 fol. 40. Feb 16, 1832.)

1832, February 23 – London Spy Reports – “…Cleave stated that as ordered he had by Hetheringtons advice written to a person named Haywood who is Hetheringtons principle Agent at Manchester to know how if any subscription had been got up there for the Men in Prison or if they had any person to defend them on their trial, but as yet had received no answer… ” (HO 64/12 fol. 44. Feb 23, 1832.) 

1832, April 28 – Mitchell writes to the editor of the Preston Chronicle – “…MANN, of Leeds, says, who, while he states, that he “always suspected me,” has kept as a secret, the fact of my being closeted with a magistrate at Shepley, for the putting down of the radicals, now about 13 years since! Alike to this brazen falsehood, is the lie about my being “allowed to get off the hustings,” when, it is notorious that I was never on the hustings on the 16th of August, and was off them by the advice, and agreement of the party, which attended at Smedley Cottage, on the 15th, to arrange for the meeting…” (Preston Chronicle, Apr 28, 1832)

1832, June 7 – Great Reform Act becomes law.

The “Reformed” Parliament.

1832, July 12 – Hunt visits Preston and comes to blows with Mitchell – The place from which Hunt spoke was directly opposite Mitchell’s shop who watched on smoking a cigar. “… A passage was opened for him, and he went to the room where Mr. Hunt and his friends were. Mr. Hunt repulsed him from the window from which he himself spoke, and Mitchell addressed the assemblage from the other window. He disclaimed any personal opposition to Mr. Hunt, and then began to criticise the conduct of Mr. Hunt in pretty severe terms… Mr. Hunt approached him in a rage (in the room), and said if he wanted a quarrel it was with him, and he was his man. Whereupon the Hon. Member placed himself a la Crib, and instantly dealt Mr. Mitchell a blow to the face. Mitchell would have returned it, but he was torn back, and finally turned out of the room…” ( The Morning Post, July 19, 1832)

1832, August 3 – Henry Hunt presents the first female suffrage petition to Parliament.

1832, December – Ironically John Horatio Lloyd (son of ultra-loyalist John Lloyd, the Magistrate’s clerk) is elected Member of Parliament for Stockport as a Radical! “… He was a member of, and frequent speaker at, the Union Debating Society, where he was associated with J. S. Mill [John Stuart Mill], Charles Buller, J. A. Roebuck, the late Lord Clarendon…” His obituary states that “…He was, at that time, an ardent Radical; and there was, indeed, much that needed thorough reform. It was his hatred of oppression, and his desire to secure the just rights of the people, which enlisted him in the ranks of the reformers. In later days he used to say that all the measures he had then advocated had become law; but he remained a consistent Liberal to the end…” (Obituary of John Horatio Lloyd.)

[Note: Click here to view a picture of John Horatio Lloyd.]

[Note: John Stuart Mill was the second Member of Parliament to call for women’s suffrage after Henry Hunt in 1832.]

1834 – John Horatio Lloyd’s political career would be short lived however. In 1834 he “exposed himself in the Temple Gardens” and ‘run naked in the sight of some nurse maids.” As such, the Benchers of the Inner Temple resolved that he “shall relinquish his chambers in the Temple and give up the key before the opening of Hilary Term, and also be denied admission to the garden or Hall of Inner Temple.” (Calendar of Inner Temple Records vol 8 1828 –  1835; Constance – The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, Franny Moyle, 2011.)

[Note: John Horatio Lloyd’s granddaughter Constance Lloyd would marry the famous playwright Oscar Wilde in 1884.]

1835, February 15 – Death of Henry Hunt, aged 63. Buried in Colonel Vince’s vault in St. Peter’s Church, Parham Park, Sussex.

1848, April 16 – Death of Joseph Harrison, aged 69. Buried at Stockport Municipal Cemetery.