Passages in the Life of a Radical (8)
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CHAPTER XXII.

FURTHER KINDNESS FROM THE KING'S MESSENGERS—A GLIMPSE AT THE "INFERNALS"—DEPARTURE FROM PRISON—ARRIVAL AT HOME.


I MUST own that I did not clearly comprehend the meaning of this bond.  I could not guess at the reason why I was not to "appear in his Majesty's Court of Justice at Westminster" as well as any other British subject, and I could only account for the exception by supposing it was the common form—a mere official ceremony; indeed, Sir Nathaniel intimated as much, and Lord Sidmouth had said it was only what the others had agreed to.  I afterwards, however, had reason to suppose that it was intended to deter me, should I become so disposed, from commencing an action in the above Court for false imprisonment, which I could have done, the Indemnity Bill not having then passed.  I should imagine, however, that my bond could hardly have kept me out of court [14] unless the law could be made to commit felo de se; unless it could be made to forbid a subject from claiming the law.  But these questions I must leave to those who are learned in such matters.

    On returning from Sir Nathaniel's office to the messengers' room, I was warmly congratulated by Mr. Williams, one of the kind messengers who brought myself and companions from Manchester.  He cautioned me in a friendly manner as to my future interference in politics, and concluded by inviting me to his house the morning following, and soon after I stepped into the coach and was conducted to my old quarters for the night.

    After breakfast on the succeeding morn I collected every article I had left in the provision and grocery line, and conveyed them under the door to the women, and bidding them farewell I told them to keep up their spirits and mind their good resolutions, and with a thousand thanks and their best wishes I left them, and passed into the inner yard of the prison.  Here I encountered my fellow captive, James Leach, from Rochdale.  He was much affected, and expressed great anxiety as to the duration of his imprisonment, and whether it were likely to end in a capital charge, or be merely detention as a State prisoner.  I consoled him as well as I could, and told him I now thought it would be imprisonment only, and that not of long duration.  He sat down on a stone and shed tears.  I was grieved to see him so much depressed, and did all in my power to cheer him, promising also to go over and see his mother and other relatives, and inform them of his actual condition and future prospects, and so I left him.

    On arriving at the outer gates I found one of the turnkeys smartly dressed, and ready to accompany and conduct me; for I was a stranger to the town, and could not, therefore, have readily found my way; neither was I to be lost sight of until carried off by the coach.  He first took me to Mr. Williams's, I think, in Jermyn Street.  We were received with much kindness, and after partaking a lunch that gentleman made me a handsome present of clothes.  He also consigned to my care as a present from Mr. Dykes, his fellow messenger, a stock of clothes for the doctor and some money for his wife; and I must say that the kindness of these two gentlemen to myself, and to my less fortunate comrades, was such as will, whilst we live, deserve our warmest gratitude.

    My conductor, as may be supposed, was rather well acquainted with the town, and with those descriptions of its residents who were most frequently under the cognisance of the police.  He asked if I should like, before I quitted London, to look into one or two of the "flash cribs," "shades," and "infernals," as he called them, and I assented.  He led me then through lanes and alleys and sombre courts, where our fellow-beings, both male and female, young and old, appeared in squalid misery; and where a disgusting odour came reeking from the doors and windows of every habitation. I mentally ejaculated—


"Oh! let me live afar from scenes like these,
 Where the winds bend the giant armed trees;
 Bask on my own dear banks of new-blown flowers,
 When thirsty Sol hath supp'd the morning showers."


    The dens we visited were indeed horrid and murky shades.  But it was morning, and the thieves and their "pals," as he termed the repulsive females, seemed drowsy and almost as blind as owls in sunshine.  He showed me some characters who had already figured conspicuously at the Old Bailey, and one or two he pointed out who were to be had up again in a short time.

    These revelations, the objects they distinguished, and the mode of life they illustrated, were almost wonders to me, and my conductor seemed to enjoy my surprise.  I could almost write a book on the scenes and characters I noticed in the course of two hours.  But such a production is the less necessary, inasmuch as a clever writer of the present day has, in his life and adventures of a famous housebreaker, [15] disclosed quite as much as it is either requisite or agreeable to know of such characters and their modes of life.

    After visiting many other places, and gratifying my curiosity as well as the time would permit, I returned to the prison and dined.  After again seeing James Leach, and bidding him good-bye, I took leave of Mr. Atkins, the governor, and of Mr. Beckett, the deputy-governor, whose behaviour to me had been uniformly kind, and leaving the prison with my morning's conductor, I mounted the coach at "The Peacock," Islington, and, quitting London, I arrived at home on the morning of the 2nd of May.

    Having taken an early opportunity for delivering to Healey's wife the presents for her husband and herself, I afterwards, in conformity with my promise to James Leach, visited his mother and other relatives at Spotland Bridge, near Rochdale.  To these poor but industrious and respectable people I gave a faithful account of the situation in which I had left him; told them all about our imprisonment and the treatment we had experienced, and concluded with as consoling a prospect for the future as I thought the facts justified.  I felt great pleasure in this latter part of my mission, because I wished to soothe the old woman's uneasiness on account of her son, and I came away with the agreeable assurance that I had contributed to make this family happier than I found it.

    I now went to work, my wife weaving beside me, and my little girl, now become doubly dear, attending school, or going short errands for her mother.  Why was I not content?  Why was not my soul filled and thankful?  What would I more?  What could mortal enjoy beyond a sufficiency to satisfy hunger and thirst, apparel, to make him warm and decent, a home for shelter and repose, and the society of those he loved?  All these I had, and still was craving—craving for something for "the nation," for some good for every person, forgetting all the time to appreciate and to husband the blessings I had on every side around me; and, like some honest enthusiasts of the present day, supervising the affairs of the nation to the great neglect of my own, of my


"Hours more dear than drops of gold."


   But it was not with us then as it is now; and we have that excuse to plead.  We had none to direct or oppose us, except a strong-handed Government, whose politics were as much hated as their power was dreaded.  We had not any of our own rank with whom to advise for the better, no man of other days who had gone through the ordeal of experience, and whose judgment might have directed our self-devotion, and have instructed us that, before the reform we sought could be obtained and profited by, there must be another, a deeper reform, emerging from our hearts, and first blessing our households by the production of every good we could possibly accomplish in our humble spheres, informing us also, and confirming it by all history, that governments might change from the despotic to the anarchical, when as surely as death would come the despotic again; and that no redemption for the masses could exist save one that should arise from their own virtue and knowledge; that king tyranny and mob tyranny, the worst of all, might alternately bear sway; and that no barrier could be effectually interposed save the self-knowledge and self-control of a reformed people.

   But, as I said, we had none such to advise.  Our worthy old major [16] was to us a political reformer only; not a moral one.  His counsels were good so far as they went, but they did not go to the root-end of Radicalism.  He seemed to have forgotten, in the simplicity of a guileless heart, good old man as he was, that the people themselves wanted reforming, that they were ignorant and corrupt, and that the source must be purified before a pure and free government could be maintained.

   In the absence therefore of such wholesome monition—in the ardour, also, and levity of youth—and impelled by a sincere and disinterested wish to deserve the gratitude of my working fellow countrymen, it is scarcely to be wondered at that I soon forgot whatever merely prudential reflections my better sense had whispered to me whilst in durance, and that, with a strong, though discreetly tempered zeal, I determined to go forward in the cause of Parliamentary reform.

    And so, as it were, like another Crusoe, I lay with my little boat in still water, waiting for the first breeze to carry me again to the billows.


 
CHAPTER XXIII.

PRIVATE MEETINGS AND PLOTS IN YORKSHIRE—THOMAS BACON—AUTHOR'S CAUTION OF HIM—ITS REJECTION—BACON'S BETRAYAL AND FATE—BRANDRETH, TURNER, AND LUDLAM EXECUTED—OLIVER THE SPY.


SOON after my return I found that a secret influence had been at work during my absence exciting to and carrying on private meetings and suspicious intrigues in our neighbourhood; and that one of my neighbours in particular, whom I wished better, had been so deluded as to give his attendance at one or two meetings of a suspicious character which had been held in Yorkshire.  I became aware also, though my information was not very distinct, that my old acquaintance, Joseph Mitchell, and another person, a stranger whom I did not know, were the chief movers in these proceedings, that the stranger had made frequent inquiries after me since my return, and that I might expect to hear shortly of a decisive blow being struck for "the liberties of the country."

    I treated these reports with contempt or reprehension, as might be requisite at the time.  The enunciation of Mitchell's name certainly did not awaken confidence on my part; nor did the intelligence that he was moving about with a well-dressed and apparently affluent stranger at all tend to repress certain forebodings which had begun to-arise in my mind.

    One day, when I was at work, a message was sent requesting me to step over to the Dog and Partridge public house, which was opposite to where I lived.  I went, and found an aged, grey-headed man, stooping beneath probably seventy years, his venerable locks hanging on his shoulders, and having in one hand a stick, and on the other arm a basket containing rolls of worsted and woollen yarn, and small articles of hosiery, which he seemed to have for sale.  On looking at him more steadfastly I recognised him as my old co-delegate to London, from the town of Derby, Thomas Bacon, and I shook him heartily by the hand and sat down beside him.  With him was a tall, decent-looking young man, much like a town's weaver, wearing a blue coat, and with a clean white apron wrapped about his waist.  After a civil salutation to him also, I addressed friend Bacon, and asked what particular business might have brought him to our part of the country, so far from his residence.  With a smile he pointed to his wares, but almost immediately gave me to understand that he carried them only as a disguise to his real business.  He said a delegate meeting was to be held in Yorkshire, which would cause a finishing blow to be levelled at the boroughmongers, as I should shortly bear; and that a man from Middleton, whose name he gave, and who attended several previous meetings, was particularly wanted on the present occasion; and he concluded by asking me to direct him to that man.

    I paused, as if striving to recollect the person, repeating the name, and considering meantime what might be the consequences to my neighbour if I sent the unconscious emissary to his house, and I finished by declaring there was no such man, and that the name must be a fictitious one.  I then took the opportunity to caution my old friend against forming connections so liable to abuse, and so dangerous and unwise, as well as hurtful to the country, directed, as they were, against a strong Government; and for the overthrow, by force, of a national order of things.  The old man seemed struck by what I said about the delegate from Middleton having given a false name; but he huff'd at my advice, and said I should, notwithstanding there might be a traitor or two, soon learn something which I at present little understood.  I reminded him I had but just returned from a Government prison, and told him that from what I had observed, or been able to gather in various ways, I was sure no force would avail in overturning the present state of things, that I believed ministers had eyes to see and ears to hear and tongues to whisper whatever occurred; and that he might depend on it neither he nor any persons with whom he might be connected could take one step beyond the pale of the law, without being instantly in the gripe of the executive.  I entreated him to consider these things, to pause, and not to be led away and lead others at his time of life.

    He drank his beer rather hastily, took up his basket, thanked me for my good wishes, but declined my advice, saying he was "too old a politician to be counselled by one so young as myself"; and so, motioning his companion, they both went down the street, and, to my satisfaction, took the road back towards Manchester.

    This pertinacious old man was, in a few weeks after, arraigned for high treason at Derby, and pleading guilty, was, with fourteen others, transported for life: whilst the young man, who was one of the Turners, was hung and beheaded, with the equally unfortunate Brandreth and Ludlam.  The stranger whom Joseph Mitchell had so assiduously introduced amongst the discontented classes of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire, first inveigled them into treasonable associations, then to armed insurrections; he got them to arm as has been done in the present day, and then betrayed them.  How one, if not more, of my neighbours at Middleton escaped has just been shown.  I thought it no dishonour to deny a person and a name when apprised that their discovery would probably lead to the ruin of the parties sought after, if not of many others.

    That stranger, that betrayer, was Oliver the spy.

    It may perhaps not be amiss to refer to a few of the more prominent national events which occurred in the year 1817, after my liberation from prison.  On June 13th the Habeas Corpus Act was further suspended.  On the 16th Sir Francis Burdett's motion relative to the conduct of Oliver the spy, who had consummated his villainies, and had been accidentally unmasked, was made in the House of Commons.  On the 4th of October there were great disturbances at Worcester.  On the 18th Jeremiah Brandreth was tried, and found guilty of high treason, and on the 22nd was sentenced, with Turner and Ludlam, to be executed.  On the 5th of November the Princess Charlotte died, lamented by the whole nation; and it was expected, that now the hand of death had struck within the Prince Regent's threshold, his heart would be moved, and he would respite the prisoners under sentence at Derby; especially when he considered that they had been instigated to crime by a Government agent—Oliver the spy.  But his heart was untouched, and the day after that on which his daughter expired, they were brought forth and executed.  On the 28th of January, 1818, a Bill was introduced into Parliament to restore the Habeas Corpus Act; and on the 10th of March an Indemnity Bill passed.

    By this time all the State prisoners had been released, and had arrived at home.  My friend Healey returned quite an altered man; instead of being flattish in front, and somewhat gaunt looking, he came home plump and round, and genteelly dressed, with one or two large boxes, a rather heavy purse, and his finger bedizened by a broad gold ring, which he said he had received for an "extraordinary operation on the teeth of a great lady of Devonshire."

    James Leach also arrived in Middleton about the same time, on his way home.  I went to see him at the public house where he stopped, and found him also much altered in outward appearance and manner.  Instead of the simple­minded and soft-hearted lad I had left at Coldbath Fields, I now found a person smartly attired, and with some cash in his pockets.  I perceived also that he affected superiority, and was somewhat distant, and that my neighbours took notice of this.  But, as I despised all affectation, and not the less because he displayed it, and as I cared nothing about his motives for coolness, I did not trouble him with any questions on either subject, but merely remarked them, and he went his way.

    I found afterwards that this young man and his relatives had been secretly propagating reports that I had acted as a spy for the Government; that I had become that being most abhorrent to my soul; and had, in fact, purchased my own liberation from prison by betraying this James Leach and my companions.

    This was a sore blow to my feelings,—heavier from not being expected, and coupled as it was with deep ingratitude.  I had the consolation, however, to know that I had not deserved this at their hands, that I had merited the very reverse of detraction, and that their best good offices would not have been more than equivalent to the entire good faith with which I had served them in their hour of humbled sorrow.  But why should I expect them, or their like, to reciprocate with me?  Because I judged of them as was then my wont with respect to nearly all mankind, that their sentiments were as disinterested as my own, and that they were worthy of friendship because they stood in need of it.  When, however, I found out my error, the pride of an indignant though wounded spirit was my solace, and I looked with serene contempt above the calumny and the calumniators, leaving to time the obliteration of the injury, and the infliction of shame on my detractors.

    The principal of these is now reputed to be wealthy.  With the aid of political friends he entered the provision line, soon after his return from prison.  He has maintained his distance and his superiority ever since, and he is welcome to both, and his riches to boot.  He has, however, never yet found an opportunity to acknowledge the service I formerly rendered him; and it was not until one of the late elections for Rochdale that I obtained distinct evidence of the part he had been playing, though I knew as much; I then, however, sent for him into a public company, where his words were repeated to his face, and, not being able to deny them, or to prove anything against me, he acknowledged the letter, and so I left him, and have ever since held him at his distance, and in his unenviable superiority.

    Healey also scarcely acted the part of a friend in these matters.  He heard the slanders, and conveyed them to me by hints and half-sentences—a line of conduct which I should not now tolerate for one moment—but he never spoke out candidly, nor disclosed his authors.  He, however, had his reward.  I did that for him which I would have done at the time for the other, or for any friend in need.  He became ill of the typhus fever, and when he sent for me he was fast sinking under the worst symptoms of the disorder.  He took medicines, but they seemed of no avail, and he expressed his belief that he should die.  May I be forgiven, for I swore he should not! and I got a large tub in which I placed him, and his wife filled it nearly to the brim with water as hot as he could bear.  I washed and laved him all over, and then lifted him out, and rubbed him with a cloth till his skin burned, and then I put him into bed, and covered him well up; he fell into a sound sleep, awoke streaming with perspiration, and from that time he began to get better.


 
CHAPTER XXIV.

RENEWED AGITATION FOR REFORM—FEMALES VOTE AT MEETINGS—ORIGIN OF FEMALE UNIONS.


WITH the restoration of the Habeas Corpus Act, the agitation for reform was renewed.  A public meeting on the subject was held at Westminster, on the 28th of March and in June; Sir Francis Burdett's motion for reform was negatived in the House of Commons.

    Numerous meetings followed in various parts of the country; and Lancashire, and the Stockport borders of Cheshire, were not the last to be concerned in public demonstrations for reform.  At one of these meetings, which took place at Lydgate, in Saddleworth, and at which Bagguley, Drummond, Fitton, Haigh, and others were the principal speakers, I, in the course of an address, insisted on the right, and the propriety also, of females who were present at such assemblages voting by a show of hand for or against the resolutions.  This was a new idea; and the women, who attended numerously on that bleak ridge, were mightily pleased with it.  The men being nothing dissentient, when the resolution was put the women held up their hands amid much laughter; and ever from that time females voted with the men at the Radical meetings.  I was not then aware that the new impulse thus given to political movement would in a short time be applied to charitable and religious purposes.  But it was so; our females voted at every subsequent meeting; it became the practice, female political unions were formed, with their chairwoman, committees, and other officials; and from us the practice was soon borrowed, very judiciously no doubt, and applied in a greater or less degree to the promotion of religious and charitable institutions.

    Amongst the meetings for reform held in the early part of the summer of 1819 were the one which took place on Spa Fields, London, at which Mr. Hunt was chairman, and another held at Birmingham, at which Major Cartwright and Sir Charles Wolseley [17] were elected to act as legislatorial attornies for that town in Parliament.

    It would seem that these movements in the country induced our friends at Manchester to adopt a course similar to that at Birmingham, and it was accordingly arranged that a meeting for that purpose should be held on St. Peter's Field on the 9th of August.  But the object of that meeting having been declared illegal by the authorities, it was countermanded, and another was appointed to be held on the 16th of the same month.

    It was deemed expedient that this meeting should be as morally effective as possible, and that it should exhibit a spectacle such as had never before been witnessed in England.  We had frequently been taunted by the press with our ragged, dirty appearance at these assemblages; with the confusion of our proceedings, and the mob-like crowds in which our numbers were mustered; and we determined that, for once at least, these reflections should not be deserved—that we would disarm the bitterness of our political opponents by a display of cleanliness, sobriety, and decorum, such as we never before had exhibited.  In short, we would deserve their respect by showing that we respected ourselves, and knew how to exercise our rights of meeting, as it were well Englishmen always should do, in a spirit of sober thoughtfulness, respectful, at the same time, to the opinions of others.

    "Cleanliness," "sobriety," "order," were the first injunctions issued by the committee, to which, on the suggestion of Mr. Hunt, was subsequently added that of "Peace."  The fulfilment of the two first was left to the good sense of those who intended to join our procession to this "grand meeting"; the observance of the third and of the last injunctions—order, peace—were provided for by general regulations.  Order in our movements was obtained by drilling; and peace, on our parts, was secured by a prohibition of all weapons of offence or defence, and by the strictest discipline, of silence, steadiness, and obedience to the directions of the conductors.  Thus our arrangements, by constant practice and an alert willingness, were soon rendered perfect, and ten thousand men moved with the regularity of ten score.

    These drillings were also, to our sedentary weavers and spinners, periods of healthful exercise and enjoyment.  Our drillmasters were generally old soldiers of the line, or of militia, or of local militia regiments; they put the lads through their facings in quick time, and soon taught them to march with a steadiness and regularity which would not have disgraced a regiment on parade.  When dusk came, and we could no longer see to work, we jumped from our looms and rushed to the sweet, cool air of the fields, or the waste lands, or the green lane-sides.  We mustered, we fell into rank, we faced, marched, halted, faced about, countermarched, halted again, dressed, and wheeled in quick succession, and without confusion; or, in the grey of a fine Sunday morn, we would saunter through the mists, fragrant with the night odour of flowers and of new hay, and ascending the Tandle Hills, salute the broad sun as he climbed from behind the high moors of Saddleworth.  Maidens would sometimes come with their milk-cans from the farms of Hoolswood or Gerrard-hey, or the fold near us; and we would sit and take delicious draughts, new from the churn, for which we paid the girls in money, whilst a favoured youth or so might be permitted to add something more—a tender word or a salute—when, blushing and laughing, away would the nymphs run for a fresh supply to carry home.

    Next would follow a long drill in squads; and so expert were the youths that they would form a line and march down the face, or up the steep, or along the sides of the Rushpenny, and, suddenly halting, would dress in an instant in a manner which called forth the praises of the old campaigners.  Then, when they broke for a little rest, would follow a jumping match, or a race, or a friendly wrestle, or a roll down the hill amid the laughter of others sitting in the sun.  Some would be squatted on the lee of a bush of gorse or tall fern; some reading, some conversing in earnest discussion on the state of trade or national affairs, or on their own privations or those of their neighbours—for few secrets were kept of those matters—some would be seen smoking their pipes, kindled by burning­glasses; and so till the bugle sounded to drill, and after that, away to breakfast.

    Such was one of our drilling parties.  There were no arms—there was no use for any, no pretence for any, nor would they have been permitted.  Some of the elderly men, the old soldiers or those who came to watch, might bring a walking staff, or a young fellow might pull a stake from a hedge in going to drill or in returning home; but assuredly we had nothing like arms about us.  There were no armed meetings, there were no midnight drillings.  Why should we seek to conceal what we had no hesitation in performing in broad day?  Such as I have described were all our drillings, about which so much was afterwards said.  We obtained by them all we sought or thought off—an expertness and order whilst moving in bodies; and there was no hyperbole in the statement which a magistrate afterwards made on oath, that "the party with the blue and green banners came upon the field in beautiful order!" adding, I think, that "not until then did he become alarmed."

    Some extravagancies, some acts, and some speeches better left alone certainly did take place.  When the men clapped their hands in "standing at ease," some would jokingly say it was "firing," whilst those who were sent to observe us (and probably we were seldom unattended by such), and who knew little about military motions, would take the joke as a reality, and report accordingly; whence probably it would be surmised that we had arms, and that our drillings were only preparatory to their more effective use.

    On the afternoon of Friday, the 13th of August, I saw Mr. Hunt, at the residence of Mr. Johnson, at Smedley.  Tuke, the painter, was amending Mr. Hunt's portrait, as indeed it wanted.  In the course of conversation Mr. Hunt expressed himself as apprehensive lest the people from the country should bring arms to the meeting on the following Monday; and he desired me to caution those from Middleton against so doing.  He also showed me a letter on a placard, addressed to "The Reformers of Manchester and its Neighbourhood," wherein he entreated them to come to the meeting "armed only with a self-approving conscience."  He said that if the soldiers did attack the people, and take their caps of liberty and their banners, still he hoped they would proceed to the meeting, and not commit any violence.

    I must own that this was new and somewhat unpalatable advice to me.  I had not the most remote wish to attack either person or property, but I had always supposed that Englishmen, whether individually or in bodies, were justifiable by law in repelling an attack when in the King's peace, as I certainly calculated we should be, whilst in attendance at a legally constituted assemblage.  My crude notions led me to opine that we had a right to go to this place, and that, consequently, there would not be any protection in law to those who might choose to interrupt us in our right.  I was almost certain there could be no harm whatever in taking a score or two of cudgels, just to keep the specials at a respectful distance from our line.  But this was not permitted.

    Still I scarcely liked the idea of walking my neighbours into a crowd both personally and politically adverse to us, and without means to awe them, or to defend ourselves.  Was it not a fact that a numerous body of men had been sworn in to act as special constables?—was not an armed association formed at Manchester? and had not weapons been liberally distributed? and what could we do, if attacked by those men, with nothing to defend ourselves?  But Mr. Hunt combated these notions.  "Were there not the laws of the country to protect us? would not their authority be upheld by those sworn to administer them?  And then was it likely at all that magistrates would permit a peaceable and legal assemblage to be interfered with?  If we were in the right, were they not our guardians?  If wrong, could they not send us home by reading the Riot Act?  Assuredly, whilst we respected the law, all would be well on our side."

    But on the Sunday morning a circumstance occurred which probably eradicated from the minds of the magistrates, and our opponents generally, whatever sentiments of indulgence they might have hitherto retained towards us.  It is set forth in the following document:—


    "Examination of James Murray, of No. 2, Withy Grove, Manchester, Confectioner, who, on his Oath, saith that on Sunday last, the 15th instant, he was at White Moss, near Middleton, about five miles from Manchester, between three and four o'clock in the morning, and saw there assembled between fourteen and fifteen hundred men, the greatest number of whom were formed in two bodies, in the form of solid squares; the remainder were in small parties of between twenty and thirty each; there were about thirty such parties, each under the direction of a person acting as a drill serjeant, and were going through military movements; that Examinant went amongst them, and immediately one of the drill serjeants asked him to fall in.  He said he thought he should soon, or gave some such answer; he then began to move away, upon which some persons who were drilling cried out, 'Spies!'  This Examinant, and William Shawcross, and Thomas Rymer and his son (all of whom had accompanied this Examinant from Manchester) continued to retire; the body of men then cried out, 'Mill them!—murder them!'  Near one hundred men then pursued this Examinant and his companions; they overtook them near a lane-end, at the edge of the Moss, and began to pelt them with clods of earth.  They at last came up to the Examinant and his companions, and beat them very severely.  Examinant begged they would not murder him; but the general cry was, 'Damn him! kill him! murder him!'  Examinant said, 'You treat me very differently to what nations treat each other's prisoners when they are at war.  Suppose that I am an enemy, you ought to treat me as a prisoner.'  They said, 'How will you treat us if you take us prisoners when we come to Manchester?'

    "Examinant knew at the time that a meeting was appointed for the next day (Monday) at Manchester.

    "The men kept beating Examinant all the time; at last they debated among themselves whether they would kill Examinant or forgive him, and they determined to forgive him provided he would go down upon his knees and beg pardon to them, and swear never to be a king's man again, or to mention the name of a king. Examinant complied to save his life, they standing over him with sticks, as he apprehended, to murder him, provided he had objected.  They afterwards went away.  Examinant was not previously acquainted with any of the persons assembled that he saw, but is certain that he should know again two of those who beat him.

    "The greatest part of the number assembled had stout sticks from three to four feet long.

    "In consequence of the ill-treatment received by Examinant as above, he was confined to his bed for three days.


"Sworn at Manchester before me, this )

 
21st day of August, 1819.) JAMES MURRAY.

"RA. FLETCHER."

 


    Some years afterwards a young man named Robert Lancashire informed me that the detection of, and assault on, these parties happened as follows:­—

He said he was coming from his work at Manchester, late on Saturday night, when he fell into company with some men whom he did not know, but who proved to be Murray and his companions.  The men began to converse with him chiefly on the state of the country, and, as he was of a communicative turn, they questioned him about the drilling parties, and particularly those which were said to frequent the White Moss; and he told them all he knew about such parties.  The people at the "White Lion" at Blackley were up, and they all went into the house and had something to drink, during which he promised to show the men into the road leading to the Moss.  He also heard them use expressions to each other which convinced him they were sent by the police to watch the drillers; and, as they were going to take advantage of others, he determined to do the same by them.  He accordingly put them into a road which led to the Moss, and afterwards, taking a shorter way over the fields, he apprised the drillers of the sort of persons who were coming, and the consequence was that they were set upon and beaten, as described by James Murray.

    This circumstance, as before intimated, was unfortunate for us.  On the return of Murray and his companions to Manchester they were visited by some of the authorities, to whom their statements were given.  A special meeting was held at the police office the same forenoon; and it is probable that, at that meeting, it was determined to return a full measure of severity to us on the following day, should any circumstance arise to sanction such a proceeding.


 
CHAPTER XXV.

MORNING OF THE 16TH OF AUGUST—ARRANGEMENTS AT MIDDLETON—ADDRESS BY THE AUTHOR—ARRIVAL OF THE ROCHDALE PEOPLE—PROCESSION TOWARDS MANCHESTER—EVENTS OF THE DAY.

[Ed.—The "Peterloo Massacre."]


THE same forenoon we had a meeting in Langley Dingle, a pleasant and retired spot, where was a sheltered bank sloping towards the sun, with plenty of bushes and dry grass, and a rindle tumbling at our feet.  Here—whilst some were sitting, some lying, and some pacing to and fro—we discussed and arranged our plans for the succeeding day.

    All allowed that the occurrence at the White Moss was an unfavourable one; and I, now more than ever impressed with the belief that we should meet with opposition of some sort, proposed that a party of men with stout cudgels should be appointed to take care of the colours, in order that, at all events, they might be preserved.  This was discussed at some length, but the more confiding views of my neighbours, together with Mr. Hunt's admonition, prevailing, my suggestion was overruled, and we shortly afterward separated.

    I may say that, with myself, the preservation of our colours, under any circumstances, was a point of honour worth any sacrifice.  Fortunately, more placid views than mine prevailed; and if an aspect of entire confidence could have disarmed party feeling, it would have been done the following morning.  But such is seldom the case; and it was not so in the present instance, as will soon appear.

    By eight o'clock on the morning of Monday, the 16th of August, 1819, the whole town of Middleton might be said to be on the alert: some to go to the meeting, and others to see the procession, the like of which, for such a purpose, had never before taken place in that neighbourhood.

    First were selected twelve of the most comely and decent­looking youths, who were placed in two rows of six each, with each a branch of laurel held presented in his hand, as a token of amity and peace; then followed the men of several districts in fives; then the band of music, an excellent one; then the colours: a blue one of silk, with inscriptions in golden letters, "Unity and Strength," "Liberty and Fraternity"; a green one of silk, with golden letters, "Parliaments Annual," "Suffrage Universal"; and betwixt them, on a staff, a hand­some cap of crimson velvet with a tuft of laurel, and the cap tastefully braided, with the word "Libertas" in front.  Next were placed the remainder of the men of the districts in fives.

    Every hundred men had a leader, who was distinguished by a sprig of laurel in his hat; others similarly distinguished were appointed over these, and the whole were to obey the directions of a principal conductor, who took his place at the head of the column, with a bugleman to sound his orders.  Such were our dispositions on the ground at Barrowfields.  At the sound of the bugle not less than three thousand men formed a hollow square, with probably as many people around them, and, an impressive silence having been obtained, I reminded them that they were going to attend the most important meeting that had ever been held for Parliamentary Reform, and I hoped their conduct would be marked by a steadiness and seriousness befitting the occasion, and such as would cast shame upon their enemies, who had always represented the reformers as a mob-like rabble; but they would see they were not so that day.  I requested they would not leave their ranks, nor show carelessness, nor inattention to the order of their leaders; but that they would walk comfortably and agreeably together.  Not to offer any insult or provocation by word or deed; nor to notice any persons who might do the same by them, but to keep such persons as quiet as possible; for if they began to retaliate, the least disturbance might serve as a pretext for dispersing the meeting.  If the peace officers should come to arrest myself or any other person, they were not to offer any resistance, but suffer them to execute their office peaceably.  When at the meeting, they were to keep themselves as select as possible, with their banners in the centre, so that if individuals straggled, or got away from the main body, they would know where to find them again by seeing their banners; and when the meeting was dissolved, they were to get close around their banners and leave the town as soon as possible, lest, should they stay drinking, or loitering about the streets, their enemies should take advantage, and send some of them to the New Bailey.  I also said that, in conformity with a rule of the committee, no sticks, nor weapons of any description, would be allowed to be carried in the ranks; and those who had such were requested to put them aside, or leave them with some friend until their return.  In consequence of this order many sticks were left behind; and a few only of the oldest and most infirm amongst us were allowed to carry their walking staves.  I may say with truth that we presented a most respectable assemblage of labouring men; all were decently, though humbly attired; and I noticed not even one who did not exhibit a white Sunday's shirt, a neck-cloth, and other apparel in the same clean, though homely condition.

    My address was received with cheers; it was heartily and unanimously assented to.  We opened into column, the music struck up, the banners flashed in the sunlight, other music was heard; it was that of the Rochdale party coming to join us.  We met, and a shout from ten thousand startled the echoes of the woods and dingles.  Then all was quiet save the breath of music; and with intent seriousness we went on.

    Our whole column, with the Rochdale people, would probably consist of six thousand men.  At our head were a hundred or two of women, mostly young wives, and mine own was amongst them.  A hundred or two of our handsomest girls, sweethearts to the lads who were with us, danced to the music, or sung snatches of popular songs; a score or two of children were sent back, though some went forward; whilst on each side of our line walked some thousands of stragglers.  And thus, accompanied by our friends and our dearest and most tender connections, we went slowly towards Manchester.

    At Blackley the accession to our ranks and the crowd in the road had become much greater.  At Harpurhey we halted, whilst the band and those who thought proper, refreshed with a cup of prime ale from Sam Ogden's tap.  When the bugle sounded every man took his place, and we advanced.

    From all that I had heard of the disposition of the authorities, I had scarcely expected that we should be allowed to enter Manchester in a body.  I had thought it not improbable that they, or some of them, would meet us with a civil and military escort; would read the Riot Act, if they thought proper, and warn us from proceeding, and that we should then have nothing to do but turn back and hold a meeting in our town.  I had even fancied that they would most likely stop us at the then toll-gate, where the roads forked towards Collyhurst and Newtown; but when I saw both those roads open, with only a horseman or two prancing before us, I began to think that I had over-estimated the forethought of the authorities, and I felt somewhat assured that we should be allowed to enter the town quietly, when, of course, all probability of interruption would be at an end.

    We had got a good length on the higher road towards Collyhurst, when a messenger arrived from Mr. Hunt with a request that we would return, and come the lower road; and lead up his procession into Manchester.  I at first determined not to comply.  I did not like to entangle ourselves and the great mass now with us in the long hollow road through Newtown, where, whatever happened, it would be difficult to advance or retreat or disperse, and I kept moving on.  But a second messenger arrived, and there was a cry of "Newtown," "Newtown," and so I gave the word, "left shoulders forward," and running at the charge step we soon gained the other road, and administered to the vanity of our "great leader," by heading his procession from Smedley Cottage.

    A circumstance interesting to myself now occurred.  On the bank of an open field on our left I perceived a gentleman observing us attentively.  He beckoned me, and I went to him.  He was one of my late employers.  He took my hand, and rather concernedly, but kindly, said he hoped no harm was intended by all those people who were coming in.  I said "I would pledge my life for their entire peaceableness."  I asked him to notice them, "did they look like persons wishing to outrage the law? were they not, on the contrary, evidently heads of decent working families? or members of such families?"  "No, no," I said, "my dear sir, and old respected master, if any wrong or violence take place, they will be committed by men of a different stamp from these."  He said he was very glad to hear me say so; he was happy he had seen me, and gratified by the manner in which I had expressed myself.  I asked, did he think we should be interrupted at the meeting? he said he did not believe we should; "then," I replied, "all will be well"; and shaking hands, with mutual good wishes, I left him, and took my station as before.

    At Newtown we were welcomed with open arms by the poor Irish weavers, who came out in their best drapery, and uttered blessings and words of endearment, many of which were not understood by our rural patriots.  Some of them danced, and others stood with clasped hands and tearful eyes, adoring almost, that banner whose colour was their national one, and the emblem of their green island home.  We thanked them by the band striking up, "Saint Patrick's day in the morning."  They were electrified; and we passed on, leaving those warm­hearted suburbans capering and whooping like mad.

    Having squeezed ourselves through the gully of a road below St. Michael's Church, we traversed Blackley Street and Miller's Lane, and went along Swan Street and Oldham Street, frequently hailed in our progress by the cheers of the towns­people.  We learned that other parties were on the field before us, and that the Lees and Saddleworth Union had been led by Doctor Healey, walking before a pitch-black flag, with staring white letters, forming the words, "Equal Representation or Death," "Love"—two hands joined and a heart; all in white paint, and presenting one of the most sepulchral looking objects that could be contrived.  The idea of my diminutive friend leading a funeral procession of his own patients, such it appeared to me, was calculated to force a smile even at that thoughtful moment.

    We now perceived we had lost the tail of our train, and understood we had come the wrong way, and should have led down Shudehill, and along Hanging Ditch, the Market-place, and Deansgate; which route Hunt and his party had taken: I must own I was not displeased at this separation.  I was of opinion that we had tendered homage quite sufficient to the mere vanity of self-exhibition, too much of which I now thought was apparent.

    Having crossed Piccadilly, we went down Mosley Street, then almost entirely inhabited by wealthy families. We took the left side of St. Peter's Church, and at this angle we wheeled quickly and, steadily into Peter Street, and soon approached a wide unbuilt space, occupied by an immense multitude, which opened and received us with loud cheers.  We walked into that chasm of human beings, and took our station from the hustings across the causeway of Peter Street, and so remained, undistinguishable from without, but still forming an almost unbroken line, with our colours in the centre.

    My wife I had not seen for some time; but when last I caught a glimpse of her, she was with some decent, married females; and thinking the party quite safe in their own discretion, I felt not much uneasiness on their account, and so had greater liberty in attending to the business of the meeting.

    In about half an hour after our arrival the sounds of music and reiterated shouts proclaimed the near approach of Mr. Hunt and his party; and in a minute or two they were seen coming from Deansgate, preceded by a band of music and several flags.  On the driving seat of a barouche sat a neatly dressed female, supporting a small flag, on which were some emblematical drawings and an inscription.  Within the carriage were Mr. Hunt, who stood up, Mr. Johnson, of Smedley Cottage; Mr. Moorhouse, of Stockport; Mr. Carlile, of London; Mr. John Knight, of Manchester; and Mr. Saxton, a sub-editor of the Manchester Observer.  Their approach was hailed by one universal shout from probably eighty thousand persons.  They threaded their way slowly past us and through the crowd, which Hunt eyed, I thought, with almost as much of astonishment as satisfaction.  This spectacle could not be otherwise in his view than solemnly impressive.  Such a mass of human beings he had not beheld till then.  His responsibility must weigh on his mind.  Their power for good or evil was irresistible, and who should direct that power?  Himself alone who had called it forth.  The task was great, and not without its peril.  The meeting was indeed a tremendous one.  He mounted the hustings; the music ceased; Mr. Johnson proposed that Mr. Hunt should take the chair; it was seconded, and carried by acclamation; and Mr. Hunt, stepping towards the front of the stage, took off his white hat, and addressed the people.

    Whilst he was doing so, I proposed to an acquaintance that, as the speeches and resolutions were not likely to contain anything new to us, and as we could see them in the papers, we should retire awhile and get some refreshment, of which I stood much in need, being not in very robust health.  He assented, and we had got to nearly the outside of the crowd, when a noise and strange murmur arose towards the church.  Some persons said it was the Blackburn people coming; and I stood on tip-toe and looked in the direction whence the noise proceeded, and saw a party of cavalry in blue and white uniform come trotting, sword in hand, round the corner of a garden-wall, and to the front of a row of new houses, where they reined up in a line.

    "The soldiers are here," I said; "we must go back and see what this means."  "Oh," some one made reply, "they are only come to be ready if there should be any disturbance in the meeting."  "Well, let us go back," I said, and we forced our way towards the colours.

    On the cavalry drawing up they were received with a shout of good-will, as I understood it.  They shouted again, waving their sabres over their heads; and then, slackening rein, and striking spur into their steeds, they dashed forward and began cutting the people.

    "Stand fast," I said, "they are riding upon us; stand fast."  And there was a general cry in our quarter of "Stand fast."  The cavalry were in confusion: they evidently could not, with all the weight of man and horse, penetrate that compact mass of human beings; and their sabres were plied to hew a way through naked held-up hands and defenceless heads; and then chopped limbs and wound-gaping skulls were seen; and groans and cries were mingled with the din of that horrid confusion.  "Ah! ah!" "for shame! for shame!" was shouted.  Then, "Break! break! they are killing them in front, and they cannot get away;" and there was a general cry of "break! break."  For a moment the crowd held back as in a pause; then was a rush, heavy and resistless as a headlong sea, and a sound like low thunder, with screams, prayers, and imprecations from the crowd­moiled and sabre-doomed who could not escape.

    By this time Hunt and his companions had disappeared from the hustings, and some of the yeomanry, perhaps less sanguinarily disposed than others, were busied in cutting down the flag-staves and demolishing the flags at the hustings.

    On the breaking of the crowd the yeomanry wheeled, and, dashing whenever there was an opening, they followed, pressing and wounding.  Many females appeared as the crowd opened; and striplings or mere youths also were found.  Their cries were piteous and heart-rending; and would, one might have supposed, have disarmed any human resentment: but here their appeals were in vain.  Women, white-vested maids, and tender youths, were indiscriminately sabred or trampled; and we have reason for believing that few were the instances in which that forbearance was vouchsafed which they so earnestly implored.

    In ten minutes from the commencement of the havoc the field was an open and almost deserted space.  The sun looked down through a sultry and motionless air.  The curtains and blinds of the windows within view were all closed.  A gentleman or two might occasionally be seen looking out from one of the new houses before mentioned, near the door of which a group of persons (special constables) were collected, and apparently in conversation; others were assisting the wounded or carrying off the dead.  The hustings remained, with a few broken and hewed flag-staves erect, and a torn and gashed banner or two dropping; whilst over the whole field were strewed caps, bonnets, hats, shawls, and shoes, and other parts of male and female dress, trampled, torn, and bloody.  The yeomanry had dismounted—some were easing their horses' girths, others adjusting their accoutrements, and some were wiping their sabres.  Several mounds of human beings still remained where they had fallen, crushed down and smothered.  Some of these still groaning, others with staring eyes, were gasping for breath, and others would never breathe more.  All was silent save those low sounds, and the occasional snorting and pawing of steeds.  Persons might sometimes be noticed peeping from attics and over the tall ridgings of houses, but they quickly withdrew, as if fearful of being observed, or unable to sustain the full gaze of a scene so hideous and abhorrent.

    Besides the Manchester yeomanry, who, as I have already shown, did "the duty of the day," there came upon the ground soon after the attack the 15th Hussars and the Cheshire yeomanry; and the latter, as if emulous of the Manchester corps, intercepted the flying masses, and inflicted some severe sabre wounds.  The hussars, we have reason for supposing, gave but few wounds, and I am not aware that it has been shown, that one of those brave soldiers dishonoured his sword by using the edge of it.  In addition to the cavalry, a strong body of the 88th Foot was stationed at the lower corner of Dickinson Street: with their bayonets at the charge, they wounded several persons, and greatly impeded the escape of the fugitives by that outlet.  Almost simultaneously with the hussars, four pieces of Horse artillery appeared from Deansgate, and about two hundred special constables were also in attendance; so that force for a thorough massacre was ready, had it been wanted.

    On the first rush of the crowd I called to our men to break their flag-staves and secure their banners, but probably I was not heard or understood, all being then inextricable confusion.  He with the blue banner saved it, the cap of liberty was dropped and left behind—indeed, woe to him who stopped, he would never have risen again; and Thomas Redford, who carried the green banner, held it aloft until the staff was cut in his hand, and his shoulder was divided by the sabre of one of the Manchester yeomanry.

    A number of our people were driven to some timber which lay at the foot of the wall of the Quakers' meeting house.  Being pressed by the yeomanry, a number sprung over the balks and defended themselves with stones which they found there.  It was not without difficulty, and after several were wounded, that they were driven out.  A heroine, a young married woman of our party, with her face all bloody, her hair streaming about her, her bonnet hanging by the string, and her apron weighed with stones, kept her assailant at bay until she fell backwards and was near being taken; but she got away covered with severe braises.  It was near this place and about this time that one of the yeomanry was dangerously wounded and unhorsed by a blow from a fragment of a brick; and it was supposed to have been flung by this woman.

    On the first advance of the yeomanry, one of the horses, plunging at the crowd, sent its fore-feet into the head of our big drum, which was left near the hustings, and was irrecoverable.  Thus booted on both legs at once, the horse, rolled over, and the drum was kicked to pieces in the melee.  For my own part, I had the good fortune to escape without injury, though it was more, than I expected.  I was carried, I may say almost literally, to the lower end of the Quakers' meeting house, the further wall of which screened us from observation and pursuit, and afforded access to some open streets.  In my retreat from the field a well-dressed woman dropped on her knees a little on my left: I put out my hand to pluck her up, but she missed it, and I left her.  I could not stop; and God knows what became of her.  Two of, the yeomranry were next in our way, and I expected a broken head, having laurel in my hat, but one was striking on one side, and the other on the other, and at that moment I stepped betwixt them and escaped.

    After quitting the field, I first found myself in King Street, and passing into Market Street and High Street, I more leisurely pursued my way, taking care, lest some official should notice me, to remove the laurel from the outside to the inside of my hat.  I was now unhappy on account of my wife, and I blamed myself greatly for consenting to her coming at all; I learned, however, when in St. George's Road, that she was well, and was on the way towards home; and that satis­fied me for the time.

    Having met with an old neighbour, we agreed to go round past Smedley Cottage, to learn what intelligence had arrived there.  We descended the hill at Collyhurst, and on arriving at the bottom we espied a party of cavalry, whom from their dress I took to be of the Manchester yeomanry, riding along the road we had quitted towards Harpurhey.  One of them wore a broad green band, or sash, across his shoulder and breast; I thought from its appearance it was a fragment of our green banner, and I was not mistaken.  They were traversing the suburbs to reconnoitre and to pick up any person they could identify (myself, for instance, had I then been in their way), and the inglorious exhibition of the torn banner was permitted for the gratification of the vanity of the captor.  This party rode forward a short distance, and then returned, without making any prisoners from our party.

    At Smedley Cottage we found Mrs. Johnson, her two children (I think two), her maid-servant, and Mr. Hunt's groom, who had just come from the town, and had brought the information that Mr. Hunt, Mr. Johnson, Knight, Moorhouse, and several others, were prisoners in the New Bailey.  I was touched by the lady's situation, though she bore the trial better than I could have expected.  We gave her some particulars of the meeting, to which she listened with a manner mournfully thoughtful, occasionally shedding tears, and her features pale and calm as marble.  She spoke not much: she was evidently too full to hold discourse, and so, with good wishes and consoling hopes, we took our departure.

    We now called at Harpurhey, and found at the public. house, and in the road there, a great number of the Middleton and Rochdale people, who had come from the meeting.  My first inquiry was for my wife, on whose account I now began to be downright miserable.  I asked many about her, but could not hear any tidings, and I turned back toward Manchester, with a resolution to have vengeance if any harm had befallen her.  But I had not gone far ere I espied her at a distance, hastening towards me; we met, and our first emotions were those of thankfulness to God for our preservation.  She had been in greater peril and distress of mind, if possible, than myself: the former she escaped in a remarkable manner, and through the intervention of special constables, to whom let us award their due.  She afterwards heard, first, that I was killed; next, that I was wounded and in the Infirmary; then, that I was a prisoner; and lastly, that she would find me on the road home.  Her anxiety being now removed by the assurance of my safety, she hastened forward to console our child.  I rejoined my comrades, and forming about a thousand of them into file, we set off to the sound of fife and drum, with our only banner waving, and in that form we re-entered the town of Middleton.

    The banner was exhibited from a window of the Suffield Arms public house.  The cap of liberty was restored to us by a young man from Chadderton, who had picked it up on the outskirts of the field; and now we spent the evening in recapitulating the events of the day, and in brooding over a spirit of vengeance towards the authors of our humiliation and our wrong.


 
CHAPTER XXVI.

AUTHOR'S OBSERVATIONS AT MANCHESTER—REDFORD AND HIS MOTHER—LUNCH AT THE "TEMPLE"—ARMING AT MIDDLETON.


THOMAS REDFORD, who, as before stated, had been wounded, was going to Manchester the following morning to visit his old mother, and I chose to go with him.  At the house of an acquaintance of his, where we first called, we found means to procure a disguise for me, as I was desirous to move about without exciting particular notice.  My hat was accordingly changed for an old slouched felt; my lapelled coat for an ancient-looking long-waisted surtout, with broad metal buttons; a handkerchief was tied over my mouth, a stick was in my hand, and a wig concealed my hair; and so attired I walked slowly forth, a tall, pale, and feeble, elderly man—indifferent health had then rendered me pale.  I passed many persons, some of the police, who in my ordinary dress would have known me, but they all seemed quite engaged and in a hurry; and so, confident in my disguise, I made my observations at leisure.

    All seemed in a state of confusion; the street were patrolled by military, police, and special constables; the shops were closed and silent; the warehouses were shut up and pad­locked; the Exchange was deserted; the artillery was ready; and it was reported that thousands of pikemen were on the way to Manchester, from Oldham, Middleton, and other surrounding districts.  I entered public houses, called for my squib of cordial, and listened, saying nothing.  I overheard the groups in the streets, and the general opinion was that the authorities were stunned, and at a loss how to proceed; that many of the wealthy class blamed them, as well for the severity with which they had acted, as for the jeopardy in which they had placed the lives and property of the townspeople; whilst all the working population were athirst for revenge, and only awaited the coming of the country folks to attempt a sweeping havoc.

    Some proposals which I heard assented to filled me with horror.  The immolation of a selected number of the guilty ones might have been discussed before God and man, but what these men sought would not do; and I retired and put off my dress, more thoughtful than when I took it up.  I found Redford's mother bathing his wound with warm milk and water, and to please her he said it was easier.  It was a clean gash of about six inches in length and quite through the shoulder blade.  She yearned, and wept afresh when she saw the severed bone gaping in the wound.  She asked who did it, and Tom mentioned a person; he said he knew him well; and she, sobbing, said she also knew him, and his father and mother before him; and she prayed God not to visit that sin on the head of him who did it, but to change his heart and bring him to repentance.  That prayer had well-nigh touched my heart also, but Tom rapped out one of another sort, to which I incontinently, as may be supposed, added my "Amen."  The wound having been linted, and bound with sticking-plaster, Tom put on his clothes, the slash in his coat having been sewed, and the blood sponged off by a young woman.  His mother then, with many prayers and much good advice, resigned him, as she said, "to the guidance of God, through a wild and weary world."  We called at Smedley Cottage, but nothing had been heard of the prisoners since the day preceding.

    On arriving at the end of the lane, before descending past Smedley Hall, we met two men with a covered basket, and they asked us to go with them.  They both knew me, and one of them I knew well: he was a staunch Radical, and an influential one as I supposed; his name was Chadwick, and he was a shawl weaver, latterly of Stockport.  They had got a good lump of a nice leg of roasted veal, and some ham to match it, and were going to the "Temple" bowling-green to meet some friends, and to discuss their grievances and their viands over a bottle or two of porter.  They had taken the meat from a public dinner table in George Leigh Street the day before.  A feast had been provided by the reformers for the evening's solacement.  After the catastrophe anything, it would seem, was law that could be done, and a band of hungry constables and police hastened to seize the meat; but the reformers, hearing of their intention, removed some of the best joints, and left them to devour the remainder, which they did on the spot, and never paid for it.  Such was the account these friends gave of their lunch, and their motive for coming out of town.

    We went with them, and met some half dozen others; and a discussion ensued on the state of affairs, and the course that should be taken by the reformers.  At last it was agreed to hold a larger meeting the day following on the Tandle Hills, and with mutual pledges to be punctual we separated.

    I found when I got home that there had been a general ferment in the town.  Many of the young men had been preparing arms, and seeking out articles to convert into arms.  Some had been grinding scythes, others old hatches, others screw-drivers, rusty swords, pikels, and mop-nails—anything which could be made to cut or stab was pronounced fit for service.  But no plan was defined, nothing was arranged, and the arms were afterwards reserved for any event that might occur.

    The day following I attended on the hills with a trusty friend.  Notices had been sent to Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, and some other places, but at the time appointed no one appeared.  We waited for hours, until the afternoon waned, but no one came; and then we went down to Royton, to ascertain the disposition of the reformers of that place.  Some had been severely wounded, but most of the people were carousing, and there did not appear to be any disposition to retaliate the out rage we had suffered by force of arms.  I called on William Fitton, but he gave no encouragement to such an idea.  I went to John Kay, in Royley Lane, but he was, as usual, imperturbably placid.  He was one of the least impassioned men I ever knew.

    After introducing the cause of my visit I asked his opinion, and in order to obtain it frankly I spoke the more so.  "If the people were ever to rise and smite their enemies, was not that the time?  Was every enormity to be endured, and this after all?  Were we still to lie down like whipped hounds, whom nothing could arouse to resistance?  Were there not times and seasons, and circumstances, under which the common rules of wisdom became folly, prudence became cowardice, and submission became criminal? and was not the present one of those times and seasons?"  It was astonishing that men could eat and sleep, that "the voice of their brothers' blood crying from the ground did not make them miserable."

    "It does make them miserable," said this philosopher, for he was one if ever such existed in humble life, and we are taught to believe as much—"it does make them miserable, and on account of this affair neither you nor I are happy, but our oppressors are wretched.  We, according to the impulse of our nature, wish to avenge that outrage.  Let us be quiet, it is already in the course of avengement.  Those men would, even now, shrink out of existence if they were only assured of getting to heaven quietly.  They are already invoking that obliviousness which will never come to their relief."

    "Again, if the people took vengeance into their own hands, where would they begin? where would they end?  Would they denounce all Manchester and the whole country?"  "No, no, the authors and perpetrators only."  "But how could they be got at?  Would we descend to assassination?"  "No, no!"  "To indiscriminate massacre, like that we had witnessed?"  "Oh, no, no!"  "Could we march against an army?"  We had no thought of doing so, we had no thought of anything save avenging in some way our slain and imprisoned fellow-beings."  "Then," he said, "we had best remain as we were; we should hear of a sensation in many parts which would forward our cause, but the least outrage on ours would only strengthen the aggressors, and create that plea of justification which alone could mitigate their remorse."  They would exclaim, "See, these are the men who came with peace on their lips; behold now the violence of their hearts—what would they not have done had we not put them down—and so, claiming merit for what they had done, they would next arraign their captives, our friends, and have them executed."  Such was the substance of the arguments of our friend John Kay.  His reasons had at all times some weight with me; on this occasion they were conclusive.

    Several persons from Middleton came to me whilst at Royton.  They said that a number of men, representing themselves as deputies, had arrived, and were at the "Suffield Arms."  On going there I found persons from Manchester, Rochdale, and Blackburn.  My heart recoiled from one of the former.  He was one of those whose atrocious conversation the day before had filled me with disgust.  I told them briefly that I would not take any part in a delegate meeting to discuss the taking up of arms; that I saw not any prospect of succeeding, and if I did they were not the men with whom I could act.  I had sent for men whom I knew, but they came not; strangers came whose faces I had never seen before, and I would not act with such, neither was it to be expected that I should.  I then recapitulated the arguments of my friend John Kay, and advised them to return from whence they came, and they soon after did so.  The day following there was another attempt to get up a delegate meeting—the Manchester people seemed determined to have one—but it met with the same fate, and the men, about half a dozen in number, separated without doing any business.

    Some days after I was informed of the arrest of Joseph Healey, at Lees.  I began to expect something of the sort myself, and told our constable that if he got a warrant, and would let me know, I would go with him any day or night to Manchester, and there should be no fuss, no one should be the wiser.  He said he would take that course should he have a warrant, and I attended to my business as usual.

    As a narrative collateral with these passages, the account given by my dear wife of her attendance at the meeting on Saint Peter's Field, and of some incidents which befel her, may not be devoid of interest to the reader, and certainly will not be out of place if introduced here.  She says:—


    "I was determined to go to the meeting, and should have followed, even if my husband had refused his consent to my going with the procession.  From what I, in common with others, had heard the week previous, 'that if the country people went with their caps of liberty, and their banners, and music, the soldiers would be brought to them,' I was uneasy, and felt persuaded, in my own mind, that something would be the matter, and I had best go with my husband and be near him, and if I only saw him I should be more content than in staying at home.  I accordingly, he having consented after much persuasion, gave my little girl something to please her, and promising more on my return, I left her with a careful neighbour woman, and joined some other married females at the head of the procession.

    "Every time I went aside to look at my husband, and that was often, an ominous impression smote my heart.  He looked very serious I thought, and I felt a foreboding of something evil to befal us that day.  I was dressed plainly as a countrywoman, in my second best attire.  My companions were also neatly dressed as the wives of working men.  I had seen Mr. Hunt before that time; they had not, and some of them were quite eager to obtain good places that they might see and hear one of whom so much had been reported.  In going down Mosley Street I lost sight of my husband.  Mrs. Yates, who had hold of my arm, would keep hurrying forward to get a good place, and when the crowd opened for the Middleton procession, Mrs. Yates and myself, and some others of the women, went close to the hustings, quite glad that we had obtained such a situation for seeing and hearing all.  My husband got on the stage, but when afterwards I saw him leap down and lost sight of him, I began to be unhappy.  The crowd seemed to have increased very much, for we became insufferably pressed.  We were surrounded by men who were strangers, we were almost suffocated, and to me the heat was quite sickening; but Mrs. Yates, being taller than myself, supported it better.

    "I felt I could not bear this long, and I became alarmed.  I reflected that if there was any more pressure I must faint, and then what would become of me? and I begged of the men to open a way and let me go out, but they would not move.  Every moment I became worse, and I told some other men then, who stood in a row, that I was sick, and begged they would let me pass them, and they immediately made a way, and I went down a long passage betwixt two ranks of these men, many of them saying, 'make way, she's sick, she's sick, let her go out,' and I passed quite out of the crowd, and, turning to my right, I got on some high ground, on which stood a row of houses—this was Windmill Street.

    "I thought if I could get to stand at the door of one of those houses I should have a good view of the meeting, and should perhaps see my husband again; and I kept going further down the row until I saw a door open, and I stepped within it, the people of the house making no objections.

    "By this time Mr. Hunt was on the hustings addressing the people.  In a minute or two some soldiers came riding up.  The good folks of the house, and some who seemed to be visitors, said 'the soldiers were only come to keep order, they would not meddle with the people;' but I was alarmed.  The people shouted, and then the soldiers shouted, waving their swords.  Then they rode amongst the people, and there was a great outcry, and a moment after a man passed without a hat, and wiping the blood off his head with his hand, and it ran down his arm in a great stream.

    "The meeting was all in a tumult; there were dreadful cries; the soldiers kept riding amongst the people and striking with their swords.  I became faint, and turning from the door I went unobserved down some steps into a cellared passage; and, hoping to escape from the horrid noise, and to be concealed, I crept into a vault and sat down, faint and terrified, on some firewood.

    "The cries of the multitude outside still continued, and the people of the house, upstairs, kept bewailing most pitifully.  They could see all the dreadful work through the window, and their exclamations were so distressing, that I put my fingers in my ears to prevent my hearing more; and on removing them, I understood that a young man had just been brought past, wounded.  The front door of the passage before mentioned soon after opened, and a number of men entered, carrying the body of a decent, middle-aged woman, who had been killed.  I thought they were going to put her beside me, and was about to scream, but they took her forward and deposited her in some premises at the back of the house.

    "I had sat in my hiding-place some time, and the tumult seemed abated, when a young girl, one of the family, came into the vault, and suddenly crouching, she bumped against my knee, and starting up and seeing another dead woman, as she probably thought, she ran upstairs, quite terrified, and told her mother.  The good woman, Mrs. Jones, came down with the girl and several others, and having ascertained that I was living, but sadly distressed, she spoke very kindly, and assisted me to a chair in her front room.  She offered me refreshment, and would have made tea, but I declined it.  I was too unhappy to take anything except a little water.  I could not restrain my feelings, but kept moaning and ex claiming, 'My lad—my poor lad!'  They asked if I was married, and I said I was, and had lost my husband in the crowd, and was afraid he was killed.  Those good people did all they could to comfort me.  They asked where I came from, and my husband's name; and I told them I came from Middleton, but evaded mentioning his name, lest, on account of his being a leader, I should be put in prison; for though they had behaved most kindly, I doubted whether they would continue to do so if they knew whose wife I was.

    "I now became wishful to go, and Mrs. Jones called a special constable, and requested he would see me into Market Street, from whence I could find my way.  The man very civilly took my arm, and led me over the now almost deserted field.  I durst not look aside lest I should encounter some frightful object, and particularly that which I most dreaded to see, the corpse of my husband, being almost assured he was dead or wounded.  I only looked up once, and then saw a great number of horses at rest, and their riders dismounted.  I durst scarcely open my eyes; and hurrying with the constable over that dreaded place, we were soon in Market Street, where, thanking my conductor for his civility, he returned, and I hastened towards Shudehill, where I met one of our people who had heard that my husband was killed.  Afterwards I was informed that he was in the Infirmary; another said he was in prison; and then I heard that he was gone home; and soon after I had the pleasure of again rejoining him at Harpurhey, for which mercy I sincerely returned thanks to God."


 
CHAPTER XXVII.

AUTHOR'S SECOND ARREST ON A CHARGE OF HIGH TREASON.


ABOUT two o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 26th of August—that is, on the tenth morning after the fatal meeting—I was awoke by footsteps in the street opposite my residence.  Presently they increased in number, and came nearer, and from the manner in which they collected and approached the place, I was convinced a sore trial was at hand for the little woman who lay asleep on my arm, and I felt more concern on her account than on my own.

    Bang! bang! came the blows on the door. "Hallo! who's makin' that din at this time o' neet?"

    My wife was crying, and all in a tremor, but I cheered her, and told her to be quick, and I would keep them in talk whilst I put on a few things of my own.

    "Open the door," said a voice, authoritatively.

    "Open the door"—imitating the voice—"an' hooa arto 'at I should oppen my dur to thee?  Theawrt sum drunken eawl or other, or elze theaw wud no' come i' that way."

    "Open the door, or I'll break it," said the same person.

    "Break it wilto?  An' hooa art theaw ot tawks o' breakin' into foke's heawses ot dyed oth neet?  Theaw'd better not break it, unless theaws an eyyron pot o' the yed."

    There was another bang, and a stout push at the door, but they might as well have shoved against the Rock o' Gibraltar; the door had been firmly propped to prevent a too sudden surprise.

    "Will you open the door, man?" said another voice.

    "Well, but hooa ar yo' and wot dun yo' want? for thurs moor nor won I yer."

    "We are constables, and we want you," was the reply.

    "Oh! that's a different thing quite: iv year constables yo' shan com in by o' myens.  Why didno yo' tell me so at forst?"

    By this time both my wife and myself were decently attired, and advancing to the door I took away the prop and shot the bar, and bid them come in, and not soil the silk work in the looms.

    A crowd of men entered; it was quite dark, but I learned from the sound of gunstocks on the floor that we had soldiers.  My wife was terrified and clung to me.  I told her to get a light, and she went towards the door for that purpose, but shrunk back on running against a musket as she groped her way: the constables also repulsed her.  They said she must not go out; they would get a light themselves; and in a short time Joseph Platt, one of my former conductors to London, appeared with a candle.
 
    I now perceived that my visitors were a strong posse of police, some soldiers of the 32nd Regiment; Mr. Nadin, the deputy-constable of Manchester; and several officers of infantry and hussars.  These seemed interested by the proceedings, and were attentive observers of what took place.  The military force consisted of a company of Foot, and as I afterwards learned, a troop of hussars.  The officers were no doubt surprised that such a parade should have been deemed requisite for the apprehension of a poor weaver in his cellar.  "Well, Mr. Nadin," I said, laying aside my vernacular and speaking common English, "and what may be your pleasure with me now?"  He informed me in his usual dogged way, striving to be civil, that he had a warrant against me for high treason.  I said if that was the case I was ready to accompany him; but he would never convict me, and if he did, my blood would kill him.  He and his assistants then commenced searching the place, for arms, as I thought, on which I ridiculed their simplicity, saying, "And do you think I should keep my depot here?"  One of the men laid hold of a sugar cane, and asked what that was?  I said he might surely see it was a pike shaft, but the head I had removed to another place.  I had been expecting them, I said, seven or eight days, and, of course, had made the place as clear as I could for their reception.

    The drawers were rummaged; my oaken box was explored; a shawl was spread on the floor, and all my books and papers were bundled into it; there was not, however, anything of consequence; some poems in manuscript had been deposited elsewhere.  I took up some of my printed poems, "The Weaver Boy," and would have presented a copy to each of the officers, but Mr. Nadin would not permit me; he took the books and threw them on the heap, and I thought the officers seemed displeased.  He then bade one of his men to handcuff me.  "Nay, Mr. Nadin," I said, "can this be necessary?  I give you my word of honour not to attempt an escape."  With a profound oath he bade the man do his duty, and I was chained.

    The order was then given to move; my wife burst into tears.  I tried to console her, said I should soon be with her again; and bestowing a kiss for my dear child when she came in the morning, I ascended into the street, and shouted, "Hunt and liberty."  "Hunt and liberty," responded my brave little helpmate, whose spirit was now roused.  One of the policemen, with a pistol in his hand, swearing a deep oath, said he would blow out her brains if she shouted again.  "Blow away," was the reply; "Hunt and liberty.  Hunt for ever."

    Nothing further was said.  The soldiers shouldered arms, and the word "March" being given, the prisoner and his escort tramped down the street.

    "I thought you very foolish," said a young hussar officer, in a friendly tone at my left elbow.  "Why so?" I asked; but before he could reply he was interrupted, and I had not an opportunity for speaking to him again: I supposed he meant something about the books.  "Well, but how is this?" I said to Mr. Nadin.  "You know I am not in the habit of walking on these excursions; I must have a coach."  And scarcely had we gone many yards ere we came to a coach with the door open, the steps down, and a file of hussars on each side of the road.  I stepped into the vehicle, followed by Nadin, one of his men, and a boy; the door was closed and we drove off, accompanied by the trample of horses and the clatter of arms.

    With reference to this transaction the London Times newspaper—whose information would seem to have been derived from some one upon the spot—said, "The party sent to arrest him consisted of a troop of horse, a detachment of infantry, and a posse of constables.  To such a formidable force no resistance was offered, nor was there any apparent inclination to resist.  The alleged traitor was called up from his bed about four o'clock in the morning, when he little expected to be honoured by such visitors; but he manifested no symptoms of confusion, displeasure, or alarm.  He was even good-humoured and jocose with the officers, inspiring them at the same time with a high idea of his talent, coolness, and presence of mind.  He first asked why he had been so waited upon, and was told by Nadin that he had a warrant to arrest him.  'On what charge,' he rejoined.  'On charge of having committed a capital felony.'  'Ah,' he replied, 'you will never convict me; my blood would poison you, man; it is as black as a bull's blood.'  Seeing the, officers search the house for pikes, or pikeheads, he remarked upon their suspicious simplicity, saying, 'And do you think that I would keep them here?' "

    As if this were too good a thing to be given unmutilated, to one of my station, the same paper, as a kind of qualifier, says in another place: "BAMFORD, THE REFORMIST!—This individual, who is now in confinement, charged with seditious practices, was formerly an actor of very considerable repute, at Liverpool and other places, and was then in flourishing circumstances.  He has since, we understand, procured a scanty subsistence by writing comic songs, and occasionally jeux d'esprit, and by trifling benefactions from actors who had formerly known him."

    This, I need not inform my Lancashire readers, was as unfounded as it was absurd.  A hand-loom weaver metamorphosed into "an actor of considerable repute," and then "living by writing comic songs and jeux d'esprit," and by trifling trifling benefactions from actors?"  That would indeed have been worse than weaving!

    Who ever heard of a play actor becoming a patriot? the one all reality, the other all imitation; the one a reflector only, the other the thing reflected.  The writer of that paragraph knew but little of human nature.

    As we were ascending the brow at Alkrington, I remarked that it would seem as if Mr. Nadin and myself were destined to be fellow travellers; this was the second trip I had taken with him.

    It was, he said; but we should not travel often.  How so?  What did he mean?

    It was my last journey with him, probably.  Did he think so?

    Yes.  He was nearly certain I should never return from whence I was going.

    Indeed!  Why not?  What was to be done with me then?

    "Thou'll be hanged," he said.  "Hanged!" shall I?  "Aye! thou'll be hanged at this hurry!  Thou'll never come back alive!"  Might there not be a small misreckoning in that hanging matter? I said, No! Speaking seriously, he did not think there would.  Well! I was not of his opinion.  He would find himself mistaken ere long.  Did I expect to get off then? I had no doubt about it.  And if I did he would give me credit for greater cleverness than he thought I possessed or ever should.  He had been in the fish market at Manchester, of course?  He had.  And had seen live snigs there?  He had.  And had seen them glide out of the rude grasp of the fishwomen?  He had seen that.  "Well!" I said, "I am like one of those snigs.  I shall slip through your hands this time, whether you will or not: and I hope to do more."  What was that?  "To assist in bringing to condign punishment some dozen or so of your Manchester magistrates and yeomanry."  Psha! I need not speculate on such an event.  This would be my last journey up that hill.

    The coach stopped at Sam Ogden's at Harpurhey.  Nadin got out, and left me, the man, and the boy, guarded by the hussars.  After sitting some time the foot soldiers came up; a person or two dressed as gentlemen also appeared.  One of them said, "Where is the villain?"  The door was opened and I was asked to step out.  I did so, and in passing forward to the lobby a blow, or severe push in my neck, nearly flung me on my face.  I turned, and saw Mr. Thomas Andrew, of Harpurhey, in an attitude of menace!  I shall not repeat the terms in which I addressed him; but I told him that no man, much less a gentleman, would descend to outrage a person in chains—that he had disgraced himself; and that it was well for him—a circumstance he no doubt had calculated on—that my hands were confined.  The lobby was filled with soldiers and police, and some one said, "No one should touch the prisoner."  Probably it was one of the military, who knew not that this person was brother to the head constable of Manchester.

    I was next shown into the kitchen, and took my seat in an old armed chair, in the farther corner near the fireplace.  On each side of me was seated a policeman with a pistol in his hand.  The infantry piled arms in two or three stacks, and the hussars came in, in turn, whilst others remained on guard.  Half a dozen tables were quickly surrounded, and as soon plentifully supplied with oat cake, cheese, and ale; to which the men set with right good will.  I told them to make play, and spare nothing, and if no one else would pay the shot I would.  They laughed, said I was a hearty fellow, and they wished they might take such a one every night.  Of course I and my two policemen replenished to our liking; but our ale was eightpenny, and of a prime tap.

    The large bread-flake in the kitchen was speedily unthatched, and about half of a large old cheese disappeared.  Pipes were then lighted, more ale was brought, and, being willing to improve our acquaintance, I sung, in my way, that fine old piece known as "General Wolfe's Song," beginning—


           "Why, soldiers, why—
 Should we be melancholy, boys?"


    The jugs were again replenished, the soldiers were becoming good company, and I said if they were all of my mind we would not march so long as old Sam would chalk up, either for King George or myself.  The soldiers asked me to drink with them; I did so, and gave them a toast.  Soon after I was sent for into the bar parlour, and there found the military officers, Mr. Nadin, Mr. Jonathan Andrew, the head constable of Manchester, and his brother.  Speaking to the officers, I said they would excuse me, but there was a person in that room to whom no deference whatever would be shown by me, and therefore I should take the liberty to be seated.  A few questions were asked, some conversation of no consequence passed, and it seemed to me as if I were sent for more for the purpose of observation than any other thing.  At length I was reconducted, and the ale being finished, of which my especial guards had freely partaken, the word to fall in was given, and in a short time we were clattering through the drowsy streets of Manchester.  I was first taken to the police office in King Street, and from thence to the prison in Salford.  The turnkey appeared, in temper crusty, and half awake; the door opened and banged to behind me, and the next moment I was ushered into one of the lock-ups.

    A close, warm air, tainted with an abominable odour, was the first thing that saluted my senses on entering this wretched place.  It was a small cell, perhaps four or five yards in length, by two or three in width, and probably as lofty as it was long.  Opposite the door was an aperture to let in a stinted quantity of air; on two sides of the room were two benches fastened to the wall; in the centre was a stove with a fire in; and at a corner on the right was a convenience, from which emanated the disagreeableness first mentioned.  Two or three fellows were stretched on the benches; one was doubled up in a corner, and one lay coiled up like a dog on the floor before the stove; one of them opened it, flung in some slack, and stirred it, and a light flashed out that showed every corner of that noisome crib, and the persons I was now associated with.

    "In the name of the devil," demanded he who stood with what served as a fire-poker in his hand, "what comes here."

    "He's e'en a lang un like teseln," said another, a Yorkshireman.  "A flash cove," said a third; "he's a smart shirt on!"  "He's a fence, or a devout smasher," exclaimed another.  "Come, friend, let's have a word of exhortation."  "Nay," said one," "that leathern skull-cap looks too priggish.  That'll pray none; he'll rap out when he's been afore the beak."  "Come, friend, let's be knowing what thou'rt here for," said he with the poker, "we jolly boys, who give life to these palace halls, keep no secrets."  "Then let me know my company," I said; "what art thou here for?"  "Knives and forks—third appearance—I'm lagged this time."  "And what art thou down for?" addressing another.  "Oh! mine is only bail, or good behaviour.  I knocked a fancy pal down, and thrashed her bully."  "And what art thou for?"  I asked a third.  "Mutton," he said; "a leg of mutton, but it was all a mistake."  "Who'll believe it," exclaimed he in the corner; "thou was near being lagg'd last time, and thou goes it now, old boy: we'll both sail together; then it'll be—


"Suppose the duke be short of men,
     What would old England say?
 They'd wish they had those lads again,
     They'd sent to Botany Bay."


    He who sung this catch was accused, he said, "of grabbing a purse"; but it was all a mistake, as Bill there said, about the mutton; only who'd believe it, when they couldn't find the other man as did it.  "My case, then, is worse than any of yours," I said.  "Ah! ah! 'flimsies,'" was the remark—"notes, man, don't you know the proper names of notes? you've been in the note business, I suppose?"  "Oh, no, nothing of that sort."  "A little in the crack line, perhaps?"  "Housebreaking," said another.  "No, not that!"  "Not on the road, surely?—not in the collecting way?


'With your loaded pop in hand.'"


"No, not an highwayman either, if that is what you mean?"  "What the devil are you? Have you robbed a church, and killed a man?"  "Worse than either, as the law says."  "What have you done?" several now asked in surprise.  "My crime is honoured, if it succeed, and the most dreadfully punished if it fail.  Hanging, drawing, and quartering is my doom, I understand."  "Oh! high treason; aye, high treason; are you one of those Peter's Field pikemen then?"  "That is what they say."

    One of them now produced an old stump pipe, another some tobacco; they smoked round; their conversation turned on their own affairs; and, becoming drowsy, I stretched myself on one of the benches, and was soon asleep.

    When I awoke a peep of dull light was gleaming through the lofty and grated aperture.  My companions were, some huddled in drowsiness; others pacing backwards and forwards wearily, breathing the muddled and tainted air; aye, as wearily as do those unfortunate fishes which are doomed to paddle around glass vials, through thick and sickening water, as an ornament to parlour windows; or for the amusement of the lady and her visitors, and the improvement of the young "prodigies" in the study of natural history.

    I admire not that philosophy which would go in a coach to see Africa in the next field, nor that religion which requires the wonders of other lands to direct it to "nature's God," which crieth; "bring hither all things, that I may learn to adore the Creator;" nor that civilisation which is for ever catching, and caging, and immuring, and tormenting God's noble creatures, and robbing them of their inheritance in the wilds of air, earth, and ocean, for the gratification of a selfish and indolent curiosity, for the promotion of a knowledge which availeth little, and is obtained at the expense of humanity.

    Towards noon we were called out of this odious place and taken into the court above for examination, or rather recognition, before the magistrates.  My companions were placed in the box commonly allotted to the jury, whilst I was seated at a small desk near the dock, generally occupied by the governor or an assistant.

    The magistrate on this occasion was Mr. Norris.

    The felony cases were first disposed of, and it went hard against some of my late fellows.  One man was afterwards committed for trial for drilling, and several were required to find bail, or sureties, for assaults and other minor offences.

    My case, Mr. Norris said, was a most serious one; the charge against me was nothing less than that of high treason.  The evidence would not be gone into at present, and I should be brought up for a future examination.  I asked, might I be allowed to put a question or two.  Certainly.  I wished to know who was my accuser? and on what information I had been deprived of my liberty?  Mr. Norris said that would be made known to me in due time.  I said Mr. Nadin had seized a number of papers and political tracts at my house, and I begged to know who held them, and from whom they would be recoverable?  Mr. Norris said the constable who seized them would be responsible: they might become necessary to the ends of justice.  That did not satisfy me, I replied.  It was possible that other papers might be introduced amongst them, and I wished them to be sealed up, and deposited with a party beyond all suspicion.  I was told to be silent; if I uttered any more impertinence I should be committed.  I said I understood I was committed.  No; I was remanded, and would be brought up on a future day for final examination.  The turnkey then tipped me on the shoulder, and I followed him.

    My prison was now a pleasant one, compared with the cell I had quitted.  To be sure, except my bed, everything around, beneath, and above was of iron or stone, and those are cold comforts; yet on the whole I was agreeably disappointed in the change which had taken place.  The walls were very white, the floors were well stoned, my bed seemed very clean, and there was a free current of air, as good as any gentleman in the neighbourhood breathed; and, contrasting this place with the lock-up, I thought I could not wish a better if I were a king.  I had also a long airy passage to walk in during the day; and there, pacing backwards and forwards—sometimes studying, sometimes whistling, and sometimes singing—I contrived to pass the hours much more pleasantly than if I had been locked up with my cell companions.  A thinking mind tranquillised by fortitude, with some book reminiscences, especially poetic ones, and some cheerful thoughts of the world outside, need not, indeed never will, give itself up to unavailing regrets because the earthly form which it directs has become circumscribed in its whereabouts.  Nature, seeking its ever destined change, through life to death, and through death to another life, must necessarily become aware of the drag on existence which a prison imposes; it cannot be insensible to that, and it will doubtless wish it were removed, but a mind thus constituted need not descend to frivolous complaints.

    I might perhaps have some gifts and resources not common to others; and if I had, I made good use of them in my solitary hours; and, grateful for their bestowal, I derived solacements commensurate with their exercise.

    I happened to have a kind turnkey here: I think he had formerly known me; he was a Rochdale man, and his name was Grindrod.  He found that I was unwell, having a cough, and fulness of the chest; and instead of the prison gruel, he brought me up a basin of warm tea or coffee, morning and evening, from his own table; my dinners were of the prison allowance.  Once or twice also my fellow prisoner, James Moorhouse, sent me a little fruit, which I was allowed to receive.  My kind gaoler never hinted at remuneration, and it was not without difficulty that, on my going away, I prevailed on him to accept a small gratuity as an acknowledgment of my gratitude.

    On the morning of our final examination, which was Friday, the 27th of August, my wife and Joseph Healey's wife came to the prison to see us, if they might be allowed.  Mr. Andrews, the late deputy-constable of Bury, with whom I previously had some acquaintance, was at that time connected with the Manchester police, and was on that day in attendance at the New Bailey on business.  He saw the two women standing in the crowd outside the gates, and beckoning my wife, asked her if she was come to see me.  She said she wished to do so, and her companion, who was Healey's wife, wished also to see her husband.  He accordingly took them into a room upstairs, where there was a comfortable fire, seats, and a table.  A number of soldiers' wives were about their business, and foot soldiers were walking sentry.  Amongst those of the soldiers who passed to and fro was John Hall, a Middleton man, formerly a neighbour of ours, and then a private in the 31st Regiment of Foot.  He conversed with them a short time and left them, and soon after reappeared, and set before them a dinner of excellent steak and porter, which was very acceptable at the time.  They were, however, not the less unable to account for this, as the table was set out in a style which could not be within the means of a private soldier; but John said nothing: he refused to receive any gratuity, and, having removed the things, he went about his business.  They were afterwards ushered into the public court, but it was so crowded as to be insufferable, and, after exchanging a few looks and mute gestures with me and Healey, who were in the dock, they were glad to escape from the crowd, and await our disposal in the room they had quitted. [18]

    From the bar I was conducted to the yard of my former cell, where I was joined by several of the other prisoners, and we were taking what should have been our dinners, when an order suddenly came that we were to prepare to set off for Lancaster Castle.  Our meal was soon despatched, and we quickly bundled up our few things.  We were then taken to the turnkey's lodge, and each hand-chained, after which we were placed on a four-horse coach, in the inside of which were Mr. Hunt, Mr. Knight, Saxton, and Nadin.  The outside party consisted of myself, Swift, Wilde, Healey, and Jones, with a number of constables armed with pistols; we were also escorted by a strong detachment of hussars, and thus, amid the huzzas of an immense multitude, we drove off.

    Proceeding at a rapid pace, we soon left the dim atmosphere, and crowded streets of Manchester and Salford behind.  The populous thoroughfares of Pendleton were next traversed, and a pleasant ride of twelve miles brought us to the large town of Bolton, where we changed horses, amid a throng of people, which the hussars found some difficulty in keeping at a distance.  But their expressions of sympathy and goodwill were not to be restrained, and their loud shouts of "Hunt for ever!"  "Never mind 'em, lads!"  "Down with the tyrants!" and a general huzza, with waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and clapping of hands, when we drove off, added to the cheerfulness of our party.

    Soon after leaving Bolton darkness came on, and we had scarcely cleared the moors of Horwich, when the coachman, who knew not the way, drove upon a piece of new road, and, endeavouring to extricate himself, the coach began to heel on one side, and we should have gone over—constables, prisoners, and all—had not the pole broken, on which the horses were steadied, and we dismounted, and being most carefully looked to by the constables and soldiers, we walked down to the village of Lower Darwen, and were all snugly counted into a public house there.  The poor Jehu, whose mistake had led to the misadventure, then got a large dividend of devil's blessings from our conducting constable.

    At this place Mr. Hunt refused to partake of any vinous or fermented liquor, and out of compliment to him most of us did the same.  Saxton, however, whose fiery visage told of the indulgence he loved, took brandy and water, and candidly declared that he would not attempt to carry into effect Mr. Hunt's rule of temperance.  He would attend a meeting at any time he said, or make a speech, or move or second a resolution for parliamentary reform; but a resolution for a personal reform in the matter of a little cordial he neither could nor would entertain.  A discussion ensued which caused some laughter, in which Mr. Hunt joined; and having sat about an hour, the pole was repaired, and we drove into Blackburn, where we left the coach, the driver, and the hussars, and went on with a fresh vehicle and guards.

    At Preston we stopped at the head inn, and took supper in a large room, to the lower end of which a number of respectable-looking persons were admitted.  These genteel visitors seemed not to have the smallest idea that their presence might be disagreeable to men in our situation, and that a plea of curiosity was likely to seem but an ungracious excuse for coming to view us as they would wild beasts, "at feeding time."  The streets here, as at every other town where we stopped, were crowded, and we set off amid loud cheers.

    Morning broke betwixt Garstang and Lancaster, and the first challenge of "John O'Gaunt's tower," as it stood out before us in the mild sunlight, excited our attention.  It looked indeed like the stern and lordly keep of an old baron, and a small exercise of imagination was sufficient to place in our mind's eye its powerful chieftain, waiting in helmet, cuirass and glaive, beneath its portcullis.

    We passed quickly along the streets of the town, the hussars came trotting dusty and choked and weary behind us.  It was about five o'clock; few people were stirring, and the clatter of our cavalcade aroused many from their peaceful slumbers.  We dismounted at the foot of the castle steep, and walked up accompanied by our guards, and took our station beneath the arch of the grim old gate, the boldness and strength of its masonry attracting our admiration.  A blow from the ponderous knocker made the place resound, and in a few minutes the wicket was opened, and we were prisoners in Lancaster Castle.

    And now friend reader, since thou hast accompanied me to this my fourth place of confinement, instead of contemplating the repulsive walls, and the dungeon towers, and the massive keep, for which there may be time hereafter, let us, from the eminence of this


"Wide water'd shore,"


mentally cast back our eyes and survey the course by which we have arrived at so undesirable a place.  And in doing this, let us not be blind to our own faults, but be simply just towards ourselves as we have been to others.  Let us not spare ourselves the humiliation of blame when deserved, though it do humble our self-esteem, though we have to declare, "this hand hath offended."

    In our progress now retrospectively scanned, how great was the portion, as we perceive, of folly which accompanied our good intentions!  Groping in a mental and political twilight, we stumbled from error to error, the dim-eyed calling on the blind to follow; we fell as a natural consequence, and a happy circumstance would it have been had our fall served in these later times as a warning to others, but it has not.

    "For a nation to be free, it is sufficient that she wills it," and we may add that a nation cannot be free unless she does will it.  We thought the will to be free already existed—foolish though—we looked for fruit ere the bloom was come forth; we expected will when there was no mind to produce it, to sustain it; for rational will is the result of mind, not of passion; and that mind did not then exist, nor does it now.

    The agitators of the present day, Radicals I may not call them, have suffered greater humiliations than we did.  With the example of our disasters before them, they have not avoided one evil which we encountered, nor produced one additional good.  On both occasions there was too much of the "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal," but latterly it has been varied by dark counsels and criminal instigations from their own authorised ones.  Then followed delegations, and the silly egotism of portraits, and mock-solemn conventions, and formal self-displaying orations, and words and phrases bandied beyond all human entertainment.  Next came multitudes deserted of leaders—who stood at a safe distance—and they drove before them a cloud and a whirlwind of terror and confusion, through which were seen flashes, and conflagrations, and blood-streaks; and when it had passed all had vanished, and there remained dungeons, beside whose open gates were weeping wives and children, and prisoners, some victims to their own folly, and some to the wickedness of others, were marching in, chained by scores.

    On no! the still small voice of reason has not been listened to now, more than it was formerly.  It speaks a language too pure, too unassuming, too disinterested, for any human crowds that have yet appeared.  It requires great sacrifices for the obtainment of great results, a stripping of all vanity, an abandonment of all self, and a cleansing from all lucre.  Its appeal could be understood by rare minds only, and they have not been found.


 
CHAPTER XXVIII.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON ENTERING LANCASTER CASTLE—DEBTORS' YARD AND DEBTORS—THE ROUND TOWER AND ITS INMATES—ANOTHER PRISON WARD—COMFORTABLE ANTICIPATIONS—A SLEEPING CELL—AUTHOR'S HORRIBLE SENSATIONS ON BEING LOCKED IN—HENRY HUNT AND JOHN KNIGHT BAILED.


OUR arrival seemed scarcely to have been expected so early as it took place, for it was not until we had waited some time between the inner and outer gates that a young man, who we afterwards found was the governor's son, made his appearance without coat, and with other indications of a hurried dressing.  Having perused the documents presented by Nadin, and cast a hasty but observant glance at his prisoners, he conducted us into the debtors' yard, where we were greeted with a shout and many good wishes and shaking of hands by some debtors who were abroad.  A very brief reconnoitre was sufficient for the settlement of any doubts as to the place being a most excellent one for safe detention.  All around were high and frowning barriers of masonry, and we felt as completely shut in from the world as if we were at the bottom of a great well, where neither force, nor art, nor supplication, were of any avail.  On our right were high and smooth walls, capped by movable spikes, threatening impalement to any wight whom a desperate good fortune enabled to ascend there.  At regular distances were strong prison towers containing sleeping cells; a little more in our front stood the huge gloomy mass known as "John O'Gaunt's tower," which looked like a pile hewn square from the solid rock.  At the top of the yard, and on our left, were the habitations of the debtors, with their small windows all looking down into the great well; whilst from the casements and crib-looking loop-holes some of the poor fellows stood clapping hands and waving night caps, as if they really thought that a welcome to such a place must be as gratifying as to any other, and that a welcome was a compliment anywhere.

    We were conducted from hence to the first criminal ward on our right, the tower of which is, I believe, called the round tower.  Here we found several prisoners, and amongst them an attorney from Manchester, and his clerk, who had each been sentenced to three years' imprisonment for falsely swearing to a debt against my former fellow prisoner, Joseph Sellers.  Their time was nearly out, but the old attorney was apparently hastening fast to another world.  He lay in one corner on the floor doubled up, and in dreadful agonies from pains in his bowels and limbs; the latter caused by rheumatism.  This place was very inconvenient, cold, and comfortless.  A continued draught of wind brought the smoke down the chimney, and we were all coughing and nearly blinded.  Soon after we were removed into the next ward but one, towards the round-house, and there we were comparatively at home, having a much better day-room and yard, and besides those amendments we were all together, without any admixture with other prisoners, and were consequently at liberty to converse freely amongst ourselves.

    There were a good kettle and pan in the day-room, and good water in a pump in the yard; we sent into the town for other kitchen requisites, as plates, knives, forks, and such articles; also for bread and butter (until our prison allowance was given us), tea, coffee, and other grocery matters, and having a fire in the place, we soon contrived to make a good breakfast, and were quite merry over it.  At dinner we fared no worse; we sent out for whatever we wanted, ales and liquors excepted; the prison allowance of vegetables and soup was in part used by us, and the remainder we gave to a felon, who was allowed to come in and clear our day-room and cells every morning.  The day passed off pretty agreeably, but towards evening Hunt gave way to fits of impatience because no one appeared to bail him.  He in particular inveighed against Johnson for having, as he said, invited him down to Manchester, got him into that trouble, and then abandoned him.  Sooner, he said, than he would have done as Johnson had done by him—sooner than he would have walked home at liberty, and left his friend and guest in prison—he would have had his arm torn from his body.  Mr. Hunt generally made use of the strongest terms he could at the moment command, and to those of us who had frequently been in his company, exhibitions of violent feeling were by no means new.  He had not the candour to reflect that Mr. Johnson could not better serve us than by first securing his own liberty, as a means towards furthering ours, which in this case I believe he did.

    Night came, and the rattle of keys informed us that we were about being introduced to our sleeping berths.  We had our choice, and Mr. Hunt took the cell next the door.  I, at his desire, went to the next, as he said he could call to me if he should be unwell, and John Knight went into the third; the others of our party were lodged in the cells above.  During the day, which turned out rather fine and clear, I had imbibed a favourable opinion of this prison.  The day-room and yard were clean and airy, and whilst the attendant was sweeping out the cells and making the beds, I had gone in and found them with their doors all open, lighted with the forenoon sun, and as white and sweet as a constant application of quicklime could make them.  The cells were perhaps eight feet in width, by ten or twelve in length, and seven or eight upwards.  Over a very strong door of wood—I think with clamped nails—was a square aperture for the admission of air; on the other side the door was the passage—beyond it again was a massive iron grating, and the entrance to the passage was also secured by another door, of, I think, iron.  At the head of the cell was an iron slab, full of perforations, and resting on projections from the wall; a sack with straw in, a couple of blankets or so, and a good horse-rug, made up our bed, and the whole being apparently clean, I promised myself a sleep as sound as a king could enjoy in his cups.  A capital prison thought I, and a strong one too, and though it kept one from rambling out, it would also keep the storms from coming in, as I should find should I have to spend a winter or two within its shelter.  Besides, I had heard that these felon-dungeons were constructed under the direction of the celebrated "humane Howard," therefore they must be the very best for comfort as well as security, and, as I said before, I, from their daylight appearance and these considerations, thought well of my domicile.  But in those days I always looked at things on their brightest side.

    We turned in, and my door had not been many minutes closed ere I began to feel as if I were being smothered.  My old complaint on the lungs had gone with me to this place, and though I constantly was cheerful, very stubborn fits of coughing had convinced me that I was far from being well.  I now began to feel as if I was closed up in a coffin, and not a breath of air above and around me.  How dreadful were my sensations!  I can never forget them.  My chest heaved for air, but the cooling, life-giving stream came not, and I stood leaning on my bed, pumping and gasping in the close, suffocating den.  I thought of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and concluded that the fate of its sufferers would be mine.  I thought of getting up to the air-hole, but it was above my reach, and there was not anything in the place I could put my feet upon, else I should have deemed it luxury to have stood inhaling the blessed fluid all night.  Oh! humanity, humanity, I thought, what is the humanity which builds prisons on such plans as these?  I endeavoured to tranquillise my mind for the sustainment of this trial, and I found the effort was not made in vain.  I was now coughing, and had burst into a profuse perspiration, and sitting on my bed, I felt a breath of air waft coolly and gratefully on my dewy forehead.  I then knelt on the bed, and being more on a level with the air-hole, I thanked God for the relief afforded by a more plentiful supply of the heaven-breathed element.  Soon after I got cooler my coughing became less frequent, and I lay down on the bed with my clothes on, promising myself a sound repose during the remainder of the night.  I had not dropped asleep when the rattling of keys was again heard, the outer door was unlocked, lights glanced in the lobby, and the names of Hunt and Knight were pronounced; bail had arrived for them, they were called from their cells, and Hunt bidding me "good night," and saying he would be with us again in the morning, the door was banged to and locked, the light departed, and I was soon in a peaceful sleep.  I afterwards, so long as I continued here, slept in Hunt's cell, but it was no better than the others; all were exactly the same as to dimension and the too great exclusion of air.

    The doors were thrown open in good time the next morning, and after we had all washed at the pump we were subjected to the prison rule of examination as to whether we were infected by cutaneous disease.  Some of our party felt indignant at this, considering it a degradation; but I, who remembered the unpleasant discovery at Coldbath Fields, approved of it, reflecting that it was impossible to keep the inmates of a large prison in a clean and healthy state without daily examination.  Our breakfast consisted of milk, coffee, and bread-and-butter, and I may as well mention here that the prison allowance of gruel, bread, potatoes, soup, and butcher's meat, were henceforward regularly dealt out to us; a small quantity of butter, I think to each man, was also given us twice a week in common with the other prisoners, but half of this was afterwards disallowed and cheese substituted, by order of the visiting magistrates.

    The daily routine of a pent-up life such as we led could not afford much variety of incident.  We were all—now that Hunt and Knight were gone—young men and full of life and spirits.  We chatted, sung, told stories, had hopping and leaping matches, and walked in the yard; we sometimes also wrote letters, and when one arrived from a wife or a friend the lucky wight would retire aside and read it by snatches and morsels, lest it should be too soon done; newspapers were also permitted to pass, and we received one or more daily.  Hunt and Knight also came to the round-house the morning after they were bailed, and then set off for Manchester to make preparations against the day on which we should have to plead.

    Meantime we continued to make ourselves as easy as possible.  The doctor came to see me and gave me a mixture, which did me some good, but I obtained the greatest relief at night by standing or kneeling on my bed, and inhaling the stream of air as it flowed in.  On some nights, when my cough was rather merciful, I found amusement in composing, as at Coldbath Fields, bits of rude verse, like the following:—


            "Here is no repining,
     Every heart is true and steady.
             Here is no declining,
     Still for England's service ready.
             Here is not a tear shed,
     Such a weakness we disdain it.
             Here is not a bow'd head,
     Sign of sorrow, we refrain it.
 The more the cruel tyrants bind us,
 The more united they shall find us."


    This verse pleased my companions exceedingly, and it afterwards became of some celebrity amongst the reformers.

    One day James Murray, who was so dreadfully beaten at the White Moss, and one Heiffor, a barber from Manchester, were introduced into our yard by one of the turnkeys.  They came for the purpose of looking us over, and identifying any of us who might have been present at that outrage, but, fortunately, none of our party happened to be on the Moss that morning, and none of us were ever sworn to as having been there; at least neither of these two visitors swore to any of us.  After viewing us some time, during which not a word was interchanged, they went away.  We remarked that persons frequently came upon the round-house and on the great tower to look at us, and as we knew some of them were not our friends we afterwards made it a rule to walk into the day-room and shut the door the moment we noticed any such observers.  We also made it a rule to sing "The Lancashire Hymn" every evening before locking-up time.  We closed the door of our day room during this piece of devotion—for we always sung in the true spirit of devotion—and surprised, at first, our almost insensible turnkeys by the awakening of tones of sublime and heart-stirring music.  We were sometimes taken out to pump water, and that was a little variation from our dull life; it afforded us opportunities for practical joking and some laughter.  We went to chapel on prayer days and Sundays, and were also pleased with a trip to the great tower, where our heights were taken by a standard measure, and a description of our hair, eyes, complexions, and external marks, was carefully noted down in a book, and may there, probably, be found to this day should any of my learned and searching readers wish to consult it.

    One morning Sir Charles Wolseley, Hunt, Mr. Thomas Chapman, of Manchester, and other friends, called us down to the round-house, and after some congratulations, and hearty shaking of hands, they informed us that several bills of indictment which had been presented against certain individuals of the Manchester yeomanry corps, had been thrown out by the grand jury, whilst all the indictments preferred against our party had been returned true bills.  They also informed us that the proceedings of the magistrates and yeomanry at Manchester had caused a strongly indignant feeling throughout the nation; that the public press had very handsomely taken up the affair; and that we needed not to fear being deserted in our struggle, for friends were coming from all parts to give bail for us.  Mr. Hunt put into my hand a copy of the London Times, in which was set forth an account of my arrest at Middleton, as already quoted.  Sir Charles had also seen my dear wife and child, and in compliment to the spirited conduct of the former, on the above occasion, he had made her a present of a one pound bank-note, for which kindness I sincerely thanked him, and felt relieved from some apprehensions lest they might be distressed whilst I was at this place; indeed, we were all tranquillised by an assurance that our families would be protected during our absence from home.  This, if I recollect aright, was the first time I had ever exchanged a word with Sir Charles, and it seemed I was destined to know him only for his kindness, many instances of which he afterwards gave me, as will probably appear in the course of this my narrative.  He was one of the few who dared to be honest in the worst of times, who marched with the van of freedom against English misrule.  May happiness attend his latest moment of consciousness, and may his name be ever cherished in many hearts as it is in mine!

    Mr. Harmer, solicitor, of London, with Mr. Dennison, of Liverpool, also called to see us.  Mr. Pearson, who, as we understood, was to be our legal manager in the case, was frequently at the gate, and what with the attentions of friends, and our own resources, we contrived to lead a much more worldly mannered life than might have been thought possible in such a place.

    One day the iron gate at the round-house was thrown open, and a number of gentlemen entered and walked up the yard into the day-room, where most of us were at the time; we were given to understand they were "the grand jury," the same men who had found the indictments true against us, and had cut those against the magistrates and yeomanry.  They looked at the place and at us some time, but mostly at us; we also eyed them pretty closely, but no civilities passed; in truth, we had none to spare; and it was quite as much as we could do to refrain from reproaching them in words.  That, to be sure, would have been a sad breach of the irresponsibility which hedges our English juries, but it would have been quite natural, and might have come with a not monstrously bad grace from men in our situation, and treated as we had been.  There was perhaps enough said in our looks; they gazed at us till I suppose they could guess what we would say; and then they went back, and in reply they stopped half our butter!  One of our young fellows, Swift, I think, was devouring a wedge of bread-and-butter when they entered, and as he had not the manners, or the cunning, to put it aside, but kept biting and chewing, and anon looking most wolfishly towards their honours and worships, that circumstance perhaps suggested the propriety and the expediency and the "high and imperative duty" of "stopping our butter."

    When the time comes that the grand jury system shall be abolished, or greatly modified in England, the conduct of these gentlemen in the bills affair—not the butter—will be quoted as one very strong authority for the change.

    At length the day came when we were to appear before the court, to plead to the indictments found against us.  The turnkeys conducted us through the round-house, through another yard, through a part of the great tower and into a long room at the back, which at this time was lighted by a lamp or two, casting a pale but distinct gleam through the place.  Here we were told to wait, and there being a bench or two in the place, we were at liberty to sit if we chose it.  I, however, preferred looking about me, and soon espied a man, not of our party, who was seated on one of the benches.  This room, I should inform my reader, was, as I afterwards learned, termed "the sweating-room"; it was the room in which prisoners waited until called for trial, and to which they were, in the first instance, conducted after trial; it was therefore indeed fitly named.  How many hundreds of victims—some doubtless innocent—had there sweated until their hearts were sick?  The one before me was an example to the point; he sat near the light and I remarked him well.  His dress and general appearance were those of a respectable country shopkeeper or small farmer.  He seemed to be about forty years of age, his hair a little grey, and smoothed decently, but not affectedly, on his brow.  His coat was drab and of the plain country cut; one of those good but old-fashioned purple and spotted silk handkerchiefs was around his neck, and his shirt collar, which was turned down, looked so plain and white, that my imagination reverted to his comfortable country home.  He sat with his hands clasped betwixt his knees, and his looks directed intensely, but calmly, towards a door in another part of the room.  The sweat stood in big, bright drops on his forehead, so big, that they broke into each other and trickled down his face.  Then he would wipe his brow, and soon again it would be clustered with the perspiration.  He came from some country place near Bolton, and had just been tried for the then capital crime of passing forged banknotes, and acquitted; another indictment, however, lay against him, and he was waiting to be again conducted into court.

    "He is an old offender," said our turnkey, "and if it goes against him this second time he may say his prayers—nothing can save him."

    "But surely," I said, "if he only escapes this once more, he will never give you a chance of having him here again?"

    "I rather think he will get off," he said; "the old judge seems not very fond of these things; but then he'll be here again, he's well known, he cannot keep out of it."  "Has he ever been taken before?" I asked.  "No," replied the turnkey; "but they have had their eyes on him some time, and it's well known he's done a deal in the note line.  He might as well go up and be cast now," he continued—"it will only give us trouble another time.  We're sure to have him.  When once they get properly into the note business, they never give over till it's too late."

    The door from the interior opened, a person entered, and speaking to our conductor, we were motioned to go forward.  We descended some steps, and passed along a subterranean passage, nearly dark, at the further end of which the light increased, and we could hear voices, and a kind of confused hum above.  In a few minutes a man was handed down some steps into the passage by another, who held his arm; the former appeared to be in distress.  They passed to the room from whence we had come, and our guide motioning us to advance, we mounted the steps, and found ourselves in an oblong box or compartment, mounted by iron spikes, in a large crowded place, lighted by numerous lamps and chandeliers, and with hundreds of eyes gazing upon us.  The spectacle was certainly calculated to inspire us with awe and alarm; our sudden transition from a scene of gloom and wretchedness to one of light and splendour produced a momentary confusion of mind—a vacant wonder and uncertainty as to what all this could mean.  One moment, however, and a glance around was sufficient to recall the mind to its duty; and then, whilst the ear was listening, the eye was observing, and the memory receiving impressions which have never yet been erased.

    In the box where we stood were, besides ourselves, several officers of the prison; the deputy-governor—the young gentleman who received us at the gate—stood in a small space on one side; behind us, but separated from our box, was a packed mass of human beings, with javelin men in their liveries, and their glittering weapons.  On our right was a large pew or compartment, crowded with well-dressed persons; before us, and somewhat elevated, sat the judge, a man of venerable years, clothed in a long robe of bright scarlet and ermine, with a flowing white wig, and a countenance of rough, blunt mould; a look like that of a surly old lion, at once stern, wilful, and magnanimous—this was the venerable Baron Wood.

    On the bench with him were several gentlemen and ladies, probably the sheriff and his friends; all the space on the left was equally crammed, and the galleries on each side were crowded with elegantly attired females, who, I flattered myself, seemed generally to be prepossessed in our favour.  On the floor, betwixt us and the judge, was a large table, covered with green cloth, on which lamps were burning, and books, papers, and writing apparatus were confusedly distributed; around the table were a number of barristers in their costume: some writing, some conversing, and others observing us.  Hunt, Moorhouse, Johnson, and Knight, were in the space near the table, on the judge's right.  Sir Charles Wolseley, Mr. Chapman, Mr. Harmer, Mr. Dennison, Mr. Pearson, and a number of other friends, were near them, and every other inch of the floor was occupied.  A number of reporters for the metropolitan and county press were also there, plying their ready pencils; and it is probable that the description of this scene, which some of those gentleman sketched on the spot, might, if now consulted, display a more correct and striking picture of the group than the present one drawn from memory alone.

    Mr. Littledale, who on this occasion acted for the Government, requested that the indictment might be read, and it was accordingly read by the clerk of the arraigns.  It stated that the prisoners, being persons of a wicked and turbulent disposition, did on the first day of July, conspire and agree together to excite tumult and disturbance: and that they did, on the 16th day of August, unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously, assemble together, and cause others to assemble, to the number of sixty thousand, in a formidable and menacing manner, with sticks, clubs, and other offensive weapons; with banners, flags, colours, and placards, having divers seditious and inflammatory inscriptions, and in martial array; and did, on the said 16th of August, make great tumult, riot, and disturbance; and for half an hour unlawfully and riotously did continue assembled, making great tumult and disturbance, contrary to the peace of our Sovereign Lord, the King, &c., &c.

    Each of us pleaded "Not Guilty," and elected to traverse until the next assizes.  The judge proposed naming the amount of our bail in a few days; but after being respectfully urged, with sundry good reasons, for an immediate determination, he mentioned ourselves in £200, and two sureties, each in £100, as the amount of recognisance which would be required on behalf of us who were in custody.  We were then re-conducted to our old quarters, and our fellow defendants on bail departed into the town with their friends.

    I may as well mention that the poor fellow we had seen in the sweating-room was again put to the bar the same night, to answer an indictment for uttering another note of the same parcel as the one for which he had been acquitted belonged to, but in consequence of the strong observations of the worthy judge, who held this was a part of the transaction for which he had been already tried, the man again got off.  I believe no evidence was tendered.  If I am not mistaken in the person, however, he was soon after apprehended for a like offence, and the predictions of the turnkey were verified.

    On Tuesday, the 17th of September, we were again brought up to put in bail.  Hunt, Knight, Johnson, and Moorhouse, were each bound in £400, and two sureties, in £200 each; and the conditions were that we should severally appear on the first day of next session of Oyer and Terminer, to answer the indictment which had been read.  All the required forms having now been complied with, Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Chapman becoming my sureties, we were discharged from custody; and after some show off by Mr. Hunt, without which indeed he scarcely knew how to get out of any matter, we left the dock, and went with our friends to an inn in the town, where we took a frugal repast, and remained for the night.

    The observant reader will have noted that we were sent from the New Bailey to Lancaster Castle, because we had not sureties ready to give bail with us.  Now suppose a catastrophe like that of St. Peter's Field was by any means to take place in Manchester in these days, does not the reader feel assured that no ten honest labouring men would be allowed to be dragged off for want of bail?  I am of opinion that now gentlemen in great numbers and of vast wealth would come forward without the slightest appeal from the prisoners, and tender themselves as sureties for the fulfilment of the law.  Such, if my view be correct, is the great change which has taken place since the year 1819; and should not this change, which is only one of many that are and have been working vast alterations for the better in men's thoughts and feeling, encourage us to hope that even without tumult, or violence, or destruction of property, or oppression of person, all that is requisite for the redemption of our native country will in due time be ours if we can only have patience to rest upon reason, and eschew violence?  Some are in the habit of shouting "No Surrender!" but I say we should all surrender; we should surrender our passions, and our prejudices, and our uncharitableness towards others.  We should seek to win as much as we can from the common humanity of our adversaries.  The good and the wise will pursue this course, and they will succeed, whilst the treacherous, the arrogant, and the intolerant will dwindle far behind in the march, and will perish of self-contention, instead of coming up to win the laurels.

    It had been arranged that we should all travel the country back from Lancaster in a four-horse stage coach.  One belonging to Moorhouse, which had conveyed some of our friends to Lancaster, was accordingly selected, and in it and upon it we left Lancaster on the morning after our liberation.  Some very inflated and bombastic accounts of this progress, if I may so call it, appeared in several publications of those times, but, as it is not my wish either to give a reprint of exaggerations, or to detract from the real honour of our triumph by a wreath of tinsel, I must leave such statements as I find them in the prints of the day.  The morning turned out to be as fine a one as any holiday folks could wish.  We were cheered by rather large crowds in the streets of Lancaster, breakfasted at Garstang, and on approaching Preston, we fell in with multitudes of people, numbers of whom carried handsome flags and banners, some with the words, "Hunt and Liberty," and various other matters.  From Preston to Blackburn the crowds increased, and our passage through the latter town was more prolonged, and the shouts louder than before.  From Blackburn to Bolton we were, I believe, drawn the whole of the way, and the honest and simple-hearted country weavers seemed to think no labour, no distinction too great for the persecuted travellers.  At Bolton we were similarly welcomed; Mr. Hunt and Mr. Pearson each addressed a dense crowd from the windows of the Swan Inn.  We stopped at Bolton all night, and went towards Manchester on the morning of Thursday, the 9th of September.  On arriving at Pendleton the crowds became immense, and we approached the town at a very slow pace.  Several stand coaches, containing friends who had come out to meet us, here joined the procession.  The spectacle now was calculated to produce feelings of surprise, and perhaps of pleasure; but any feelings of that sort were saddened in my breast by seeing all this fine energy cast like flowers at the feet of one who I now began to suspect was excessively egotistical; and I almost doubted whether he who loved himself so well could ever really love his country for its own sake; whether one of such a nature could be expected to remain faithful, if, from any change of circumstances, his country no longer yielded the incense to his self love, for which his whole heart seemed to beat.  But I was amused, as well as a little humiliated, by what was continually occurring near me.  Hunt sat on the box-seat; I sat immediately behind him, and the other defendants were disposed of as suited convenience.   Moorhouse stood on the roof of the coach, holding by a rope which was fastened to the irons at each side.  He had kept that position all the way from Bolton, I am not quite certain whether or not from Blackburn.  Hunt continually doffed his hat, waved it lowly, bowed gracefully, and now and then spoke a few kind words to the people; but if some five or ten minutes elapsed without a huzza or two, or the still more pleasing sound, "Hunt for Ever!" "Hunt for Ever!" he 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?"  Moorhouse himself was fagging; he would, however, wipe his forehead and face, which were as red as a kiln, and waving his hat, and raising his voice, now become perfectly hoarse, he would "hip, hip," and the third "hip," was generally drowned in a loud huzza, accompanied by the afore-mentioned exclamation, now become so grateful to the ears of our leader.  He would then resume his seat, the bowing and hat-waving went on as before; we had a little calm, and advanced a short distance; Moorhouse was again reminded, and the many-throated voice again yielded the words of acclamation.  At times I had some difficulty to avoid laughing in Hunt's face; at times I was vexed at being a party in such a piece of little vanity; I contrasted all this glare and noise with the useful results of calm, sober thought, and silent determination, and I made up my mind that, when once out of this, I would not in future be any party in such trumpery exhibitions; in the unworthy setting up of the instrument instead of the principle of a great cause.  To this resolution I have, I think, been faithful; and though I have been, and still may be blamed, it is not likely that I shall ever depart from the rule.

    We arrived at Smedley, and were all hospitably received by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.  At length I got away, and with my wife on my arm, and my little girl holding my hand, I was once more happy in traversing by hedge-sides, with their autumnal hues, towards that lowly home from which thirteen days before I had departed under such different circumstances.


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NOTES.

 
14.    Certainly not as a plaintiff.  He had merely been required to enter into his own recognisances to keep the peace for twelve months.
 
15.    Harrison Ainsworth's "Jack Sheppard."
 
16.    Cartwright.
 
17.    Sir Charles Wolseley, Bart., of Wolseley, Staffordshire.
 
18.    At this point Bamford inserts in his narrative an account of the proceedings before the magistrates, taken from the Times of August 30, 1819.  The Government abandoned the charge of high treason and prosecuted for conspiracy.  On this charge the accused were committed, but bail was allowed, Hunt and Johnson each in £1,000, and two sureties in £500; Bamford and the rest in £500, and two sureties of £250.  Johnson and Moorhouse found bail at once.  Bamford then resumes his narrative.

 



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