This volume provides a narrative account of the events leading to the charge of a strong force of yeomanry and regular cavalry into a crowd of more than 100,000 workers gathered for a parliamentary reform meeting on St Peter's Field, Manchester in August 1819. Several were killed and dozens sabred and badly wounded. The book describes, with much contemporary detail, the nature of a society powerfully influenced by technological change in the years leading to the massacre.
This book recounts not only the events of that tragic day and the aftermath of the Massacre, but also the events over the preceding years which led to the circumstances of that terrible day. The Napoleonic Wars were over, industrial output requirements had changed with the end of war, and the industrialisation of previously manual processes in economic output meant that a whole new way of life was developing, especially in the North of England. Men, and now women and children, were able to be occupied in the production of goods. But their lives were not easy, the hours they worked were unendurable, and they were not paid well, or even sometimes in cash at all. Squalor and deprivation abounded, and the earlier Luddite Revolts, which had been ruthlessly dealt with in the North by the Northern Commander, General the Hon. Thomas Maitland. Now, in 1816 the Northern Commander post was held by General Sir John Byng, a very different man, but one in whom the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth had every confidence.
Over the course of the nearly 230 pages of this book, a detailed account is given of the various circumstances, economic, social and cultural which eventually led to the gathering of tens of thousands of people who dreamt of reform and a better life on St Peters’s Field in Manchester on 16 August 1819. How these people came together, what they wanted, and how they were dealt with by the authorities, both local and national, is an utterly engrossing read. It’s easy to see, with the benefit of hindsight, how so many incredibly small instances of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, failed or exaggerated communications, personal goals and political drivers resulted in the débâcle that then occurred. Where responsibility for the Massacre ultimately lay is harder to define – Lord Sidmouth, the Home Office under Henry Hobhouse, the Manchester magistracy, Sir John Byng; all were responsible to some degree, but nobody was ever held to account for what happened. A tragedy all round, and one which deserves to be more widely known and understood as a vital part of English history.
The book is in mint condition however D/W is price clipped and has a 4 inch scratch or manufacturing mark on the rear
Priced at over £100 on other sites