A Manchester Jeanie Deans

“There is none,
In all this cold and hollow world, no fount
Of deep strong, deathless love, save that within
A mother's heart.”
Mrs. Hemans Siege of Valencia .

About the beginning of the present century there was resident in the neighbourhood of Portland Street, Manchester, an elderly Irishwoman, whose violent temper made her the terror of the neighbourhood. The only person of whom she stood in awe was the Roman Catholic priest, Father Rowland Broomhead. She had a tender side to her character, however, and her son, a wild youth, having committed an offence, which in the then barbarous state of the criminal law made liable to be hanged, she undertook a journey to London; walked the entire distance on foot, braved every difficulty, and by her perseverance gained access to Queen Charlotte, to whose motherly feelings she made a strong appeal, and received a promise that the life of her boy should be spared. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, but in accordance with the royal promise he was not hanged, but transported. This was told me by one who in her youth had known the irascible but true-hearted Irishwoman.

Literary Taste of the Eighteenth Century

The literary tastes of our great-grandfathers may be supposed to be mirrored in a catalogue of the circulating library established in the middle of the last century at Manchester. The list of the subscribers includes the names of Mr. Edward Byrom, the Rev. Mr. Ethelston, Joseph Harrop, Titus Hibbert, Thomas Henry, Dr. Peploe, Richard Townley, and Dr. C. White. The late president of the Chetham Society had a book-loving predecessor, for the name of Mr. James Crossley is also in the list. The books are of a highly respectable character, and impress one with a favourable opinion of the pertinacity of those who could pursue knowledge tinctured with so slight a flavour of entertainment. Out of 452 books there are but twenty-two professing to be novels, and amongst these are “Don Quixote,” “Gil Blas,” “Devil upon Two Sticks,” “Sir Charles Grandison,” “Tristram Shandy,” and Sir Thomas More's “Utopia.” The library had faith in “Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem,” and patronised “Poet Ogden,” who wrote “The British Lion Roused.” Byrom, Deacon, and Callcott were also amongst their local authors. The readers who were tired of Mill's “Husbandry” and of the “Principles of the Quakers Truly Represented,” might turn to Voltaire's “Letters Concerning the English Nation,” or amuse themselves with Glanvill's examination of “The Opinion of Eastern Sages Concerning the Pre-existence of Souls;” and if the daughter of the house obtained by chance the heterodox treatise which declares “Christianity as Old as the Creation,” she might have it changed for the “Young Misses' Magazine,” or, still better, the “Matrimonial Preceptor.” Another fine avenue for the satisfaction of polite curiosity would be afforded by the study of the wonderful work in which Tobias Swinden discourses at large on the “Nature and Place of Hell,” and proves to his own satisfaction that “the fire of hell is not metaphorical but real,” and shows “the probability of the sun's being the local hell.” At the end of the catalogue is an advertisement of a proposed musical circulating library, in which the neglect of church music is affirmed; “and if we continue our present fondness for things in the sing-song way, 'tis great odds but our present taste will be entirely changed, and, like some of our modern religious sects, we shall be so distressed as to rob the stage and playhouse to support and enrich our churches.” This is supported by a reference to “the Methodists, as they are call'd,” and their use of song tunes. The volume contains supplementary lists of additions down to June, 1768. These include the first edition of Chaucer and “The Vicar of Wakefield,” then in the early flush of fame. For the members not satisfied with Glanvill's speculations, there had been added Berrow's “Lapse of Human Souls in a State of Pre-existence,” and the studious character of the Mancunians received a delicate compliment by the purchase of Tissot's “Treatise on the Diseases Incident to Literary Persons.” The additional subscribers included Mr. Nathaniel Philips, Rev. Mr. Dauntesey, and the Rev. John Pope. The number of works in the library in June, 1768, was 586, representing perhaps twice that number of volumes.

What was the First Book Printed in Manchester?

The answer to this question is not so obvious as might at first be expected. There were in the Lancashire of Elizabeth's days two secret presses. From one there issued a number of Roman Catholic books. This was probably located at Lostock, the seat of the Andertons. The other was the wandering printing-press, which gave birth to the attacks of Martin Marprelate upon the Anglican Episcopate. This was seized by the Earl of Derby in Newton Lane, near Manchester. The printers thus apprehended were examined at Lambeth, 15th February, 1588, when Hodgkins and his assistants, Symms and Tomlyn, confessed that they had printed part of a book entitled, “More Work for the Cooper.” “They had printed thereof about six a quire of one side before they were apprehended.” The chief controller of the press, Waldegrave, escaped. In these poor persecuted printers we must recognise the proto-typographers of Manchester. No trace remains of “More Work for the Cooper.” The sheets that fell into the hands of the authorities do not appear to have been preserved. Putting aside the claims of this anti-prelatical treatise, we have to pass from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Many tracts and books by local men, and relating to local affairs, were printed before 1719, but that appears to be the date of the first book printed in Manchester. The title page is here reproduced:—“Mathematical Lectures; being the first and second that were read to the Mathematical Society at Manchester. By the late ingenious Mathematician John Jackson. ‘Who can number the sands of the Sea, the drops of Rain, and the days of Eternity?'—Eccles. i., 2. ‘He that telleth the number of the Stars and calleth them all by their Names.'—Psalm cxlvii., 4. Manchester; printed by Roger Adams in the Parsonage, and sold by William Clayton, Bookseller, at the Conduit, 1719.” (Octavo.)

The claims of Jackson's “Lectures” were stated by the present writer in Notes and Queries  (see fourth series, iii., 97, and vii., 64), and in his “Handbook to the Public Libraries of Manchester and Salford.” Some further correspondence appeared in Local Gleanings  (vol. i., p. 54), and an extract was given from one of William Ford's catalogues, which, if accurate, would show that there was a local press at work in 1664. Ford has catalogued a book in this fashion:—“A Guide to Heaven from the Word; Good Counsel how to close savingly with Christ; Serious Questions for Morning and Evening; Rules for the due observance of the Lord's Day. Manchester, printed at Smithy Door, 1664. 32mo.”

Apparently nothing could be clearer or less open to doubt. After a careful look out for the book, a copy has been secured, and is now in the Manchester Free Library. The title reads:—“A Guide to Heaven from the Word. Good counsel how to close savingly with Christ. Serious Questions for Morning and Evening; and rules for the due observation of the Lord's Day. John 5, 39. Search the Scriptures. Manchester: Printed by T. Harper, Smithy Door.” (32 mo, pp. 100.) There is no date, but the name of Thomas Harper, printer, Smithy Door, may be read in the “Manchester Directory” for 1788, and the slightest examination of the “Guide to Heaven” will show that its typography belongs to that period. From whence, then, did Ford get the date of 1664? If we turn to the fly-leaf the mystery is explained, for on it we read, “Imprimatur, J. Hall, R.P.D. Lond. a Sac. Domest. April 14 1664.” The book, in fact, was first printed in London in 1664, and Thomas Harper, when issuing it afresh, reprinted the original imprimatur, which Ford then misconstrued into the date of the Manchester edition. The book is entered as Bamfield's “Guide to Heaven” in Clavell's “Catalogue,” and the publisher is there stated to be H. Brome. Either Francis or Thomas Bamfield may have been the author, but the former seems the more likely. Thomas Bampfield—so the name is usually spelled—was Speaker of Richard Cromwell's Parliament of 1658, and he was a member of the Convention Parliament of 1660, and was the author of some treatises in the Sabbatarian controversy. Francis was a brother of Thomas, and also of Sir John Bamfield, and was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1638. He was ordained, but was ejected from the Church in 1662, and died minister of the Sabbatarian Church in Pinner's Hall. He wrote in favour of the observation of the Saturday as the seventh day, and therefore real Sabbath, and whilst preaching to his congregation was arrested and imprisoned at Newgate, where he died 16th February, 1683-4. His earliest acknowledged writing was published in 1672, and relates to the Sabbath question.

The first book printed in Manchester, so far as the present evidence goes, was Jackson's “Mathematical Lectures,” but it was the fruit of the second printing-press at work in the town.

A Manchester Will of the Fifteenth Century

The will of George Manchester, A.D. 1483, was presented to the Peel Park Museum, Salford, by the late Mr. Stephen Heelis. It has several points of interest. The date is given in a peculiar form: “the first year of the reign of King Richard the Third after the Conquest, when he raised his realm against the Duke of Buckingham.” The Manchester localities mentioned are the Irk Bridge, the Furthys (? the Fords), the Pavey, the Spring Bank, the Butts, the Tenter Bank, Drynghouses, Bradforth, and Mylnegate. The family names of Fornesse, Strangeways, Blakeley also occur. Dialectally noticeable are the words brege (bridge), garthyn (garden), longs (belongs), whether (whichever), wedit (wedded), spendit (spent). The spelling of the word lawful seems to point to the former use of a guttural sound now fallen into disuse. The peculiar employment of the word livelihood is also noteworthy. The perusal of this interesting document seems to show that in the past the dialect of Lancashire approximated more closely than at present to the Northumbrian group. The will reads as follows:—“Be it knawen to all men & in especiall to all myn neghburs th at I George Manchester have made my Wyll in dyspocion of my lyvelouede the xx ti  day of October the fyrst yere of the regne of Kyng Richard the thyrd after the conquest when he raysed hys realme agaynes the Duke of Bokyngham. Fyrst my wyfe schall have dewrying hyr lyve the place th at I dwell in so th at she kepe hyre Wedo. And at the furthys xiii s viii d and at the pavey vi s viiii d. And if so be th at sche be weddit Roger my sone schall hafe the place th at I dwell in and delyver hyr alsmuch in a nother place at the seght of neghburs. And also it is my will th at Hugh my sone have the halfe burgage th at I purchest of Richard Fornesse and the hows be yond Irke brege that [? Emyun or Simyun] Blakela dwells in and the garthyn and the orchard th at longs thereto and the Spryng Bank dewryng his lyve and then remayn to myn eldyst sone and hys heres male laghfully begotyn. And also it is my will th at Thomas my sone have a no th er hows be yond Irke brege next the Butts and the garthyn & my newe orchard th at is cald the Tentur Bank dewryng hys lyve & then remayn to myn eldest sone & his heres male laghfully begottyn. And th en it is my will th at myn eldest sone have my land at Drynghowses and Jamys hows of Bradforth and Geferous of Pedley and Johns Phyllypp & Johns Alseter & my kylne & my kylne hows and the blake burgage in mylngate with the appurtenaunce th at was sum tymes Nicholas Strangewyse. And it is my wyll th at yf Roger my sone hafe non ischewe male of hys body lawfully begottyn that then my lyfelode remayn to Hugh my son and hys heres male of hys body laghfully begottyn. And yf Hugh my sone have non heyres male of hys body laghfully begottyn th at then my lyfelode remayn to Thomas my sone and hys heres male laghfully begottyn. And yf so be Thomas my sone have none heres male of hys body laghfully begottyn th at th en my lyfelode remayn to Thurstan of Manchester my brother and hys heres male laghfully begottyn or bastard so th at it be in the name. And yf my name be spendit of Manchester it is my wyll th at John of Buth my Syster sone have my lyvelode & so furth male or generall whether God wyll. And all so it is my wyll th at Roger my eldyst sone gyf to Elyzabeth my Doghtter iiii marks to hyr maryage when he ys mared hym self.” The anxiety to keep his belongings within the enclosure of the family name was greater than his dislike of a bar sinister.

The Lancashire and Cheshire wills published by the Chetham Society show that the illegitimate children were often provided for along with those born in wedlock, and in several cases bore the surname of their father. There are several entries relating to the Mancestres in the manorial rent roll of 1473, which has been translated and printed by Mr. Harland in his “Mamcestre.” Ellen Mancestre appears as the tenant of two burgages, late Katherine Johnson's, for each of which she paid 12d. George Mancestre held a messuage in “Le Foris” at a rent of 3s. Mr. Harland conjectures this to be the clerkly rendering of “the Market or the Courts.” He was also concerned in a field near the “Galoz,” and paid 6d. as tenant of an ostrina, concerning which Mr. Harland observes:—“The word we have rendered singeing house is in the original ostrina, literally purple, from ostrea, an oyster. But it seems to be an error for ustrina  (from uro ) a burning or conflagration (Apuleius ) a place in which anything, especially a dead body, has been burned (Festus), or a melting house for metal (Pliny); but besides these meanings of classic times, the word had other mediæval significations, one of which is, a place where hogs are singed—ubi porci ustulautur. (See Ducange in voce .) This seems to be the most probable meaning of ostrina  in the text.” May not this be the “dryng-howses” named in the will? The name of the family of Manchester is not yet “spendit,” but is still borne both in this country and in the United States.

Manchester Grammar School Mill

In 1883 the Manchester School Mill was acquired by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, in order to make a new road from Long Millgate to Victoria Station. With the destruction of the School Mill there passed away a curious relic of ancient custom, and a link that connected modern Manchester with the quaint old town that stood by Irk and Irwell in the fourteenth century. In the very home of Free Trade there existed a monopoly at least six centuries old. The School Mill claimed the right to grind all the malt that is brewed within the limits of the old town of Manchester. This monopoly is but a fragment of its former privileges, which were abolished as inimical to the general good more than a century ago.

In Roman times as a prime requisite a water mill, it is said, was erected upon the rocky channel of the Medlock below the station and town, on a site which in later times was called Knot Mill. If this be correct, the situation must have been found inconvenient, for the town mill next heard of was situated on the Irk. The right of compelling their vassals to grind at the “lord's mill,” and to pay such tolls as he might fix, was a valuable privilege to the lord of the manor of a busy and thriving place. When Randle, Earl of Chester, granted the first charter to Salford in 1230, he said in it:—“No burgess ought to bake bread to be sold save at my oven by reasonable custom. If I shall have a mill there the burgesses shall grind at my mill to the twentieth measure, and if I shall not have a mill there they may grind where they will.” When Thomas Grelle, Baron of Manchester, in 1301, granted the charter, by which for many succeeding centuries Manchester was governed, he was careful to remind his burgesses that they should have their corn ground at his mill and their bread baked at his oven, “paying to the aforesaid mill and aforesaid oven the customs as they ought and are wont to do.”

The Grammar School was founded in 1515 by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, Hugh Bexwyke, Ralph Hulme, and Joan Bexwyke, and in what respective proportion the institution is due to these worthies may be a matter of doubt. For the endowment of the school they purchased, for a “valuable consideration,” the amount of which is not stated, the lands, rents, and services of the Manchester Corn Mills and all their tolls. Lord La Warr, in thus parting with the ancient soke mills of his manor, merely retained a chief rent, which was then fixed at £9 13s. 4d. The transfer of the mill from the wardens of the college to an independent body of feoffees is set forth in a deed which was executed in 1525, and in which Hugh Bexwyke, clerk, and Joan Bexwyke, widow, state that Thomas West, Knt., Lord La Warr, “did give grant and confirm to them and to Ralph Hulme, deceased, all his lands and tenements, rents, reversions, and services of his water corn mills, called Manchester Mills, situate and being in the town of Manchester, upon the water or rivulet of Irke, running and flowing from and in the town of Manchester and the precincts of the same as far as the water or river of Irwell, flowing between the town of Manchester and the town of Salford, and also of all the tolls soken of the aforesaid mills of all the tenants of the said Lord La Warr in Manchester, and of his sojourners of the same, and of all other residents there.” Further, the same Thomas, Lord La Warr did give, grant, and confirm to them his “fulling mill there, called a walke millne, situate, standing, and being upon the said rivulet or water called Irke; and also his close of land, with its appurtenances, called Walker's Croft; and also Thomas, Lord La Warr in like manner did give, grant, and confirm to them the aforesaid water or rivulet of Irke, and its free fishery, from a place called Asshelle Lawne as far as the said water or river called Irwell, and also all his lands and tenements adjacent and adjoining, without the several closes and burgage on each side of the same water or rivulet called Irke, flowing in the said town of Manchester, from the place called Asshelle Lawne, into the said river of Irwell.” And farther, the same Thomas, Lord La Warr did give, grant, and confirm to them “full power and authority, and right of making, setting-up, fixing, and attaching mills or messuages, and so many and such weirs, floodgates, and fastenings, to both sides of the same water or rivulet, called Irke, and upon, through, and across the same water, in any places whatsoever, from the said place, called Asshelle Lawne, unto the said water or river of Irwell,” as they or their heirs and assigns should think to be expedient or beneficial for their greater profit or advantage. Lord La Warr also conveyed to the purchasers by the same deed some fulling mills in Ancoats, where there are various evidences of the early practice of textile industries. The value of the Manchester Mills when they were first bought as an endowment for the school was estimated at £47 10s. per annum. Lord La Warr promised that no more mills should be erected within or about the manor of Manchester, and thus ensured to the schools the monopoly of the grinding of the corn and malt for the town. The restraint was probably felt to be injurious at a comparatively early period. In 1556 those who evaded this toll were threatened with amercement, and apparently continued to be undeterred by such threats, for in 1561 it was ordered that “in future” they should forfeit twenty shillings. In 1592 the feoffees had to guard their monopoly against the attack of Anthony Travis, who erected “a horse mill within the town.” The Duchy Court of Lancaster upheld the rights of the monopolists, and actually prohibited the use within the town of even a hand mill or quern mill for the grinding of either corn or malt. If, however, the grain lay at the mill for twenty-four hours unground the owner might take it away to some other mill. In 1608 a horse mill was ordered to be destroyed. During the Commonwealth the people of the town had freedom in this matter, and they used it so that the revenues of the school began to diminish very rapidly. An order of Parliament was obtained in 1647, and the mills were then leased to Mr. John Hartley for £130 per annum. The new lessee established his right against two hardy individuals who had set up a common brewhouse in the college, which they contended owed no suit or service to the School Mills. The decision went against them. In 1701 some persons who had erected mills in Salford were prosecuted for having customers who ought to have ground at the Manchester Mills. They were ordered not to receive any corn or malt for grinding from any of the inhabitants of Manchester. In 1728 some persons who had erected a brewhouse in Salford and sold ale and beer to the burgesses of Manchester were required “under pain of forfeiting £100 to have all their corn and malt that should be spent ground in their houses at the School Mills.” The farmers of the mill at this time made an attempt to obtain a judgment that should include oats, which had not been ground at the School Mills for two generations. The Judges, however, insisted that an issue ought to be directed for trying the custom at common law. This the farmers did not think expedient, and so they dropped the suit and paid the costs. In 1732 they were successful in restraining Sir Oswald Mosley from using a malt mill which he had erected in Hanging Ditch. It will easily be understood that the tenants of the mills were exceedingly unpopular with the inhabitants. Witty John Byrom, in an epigram which became proverbial, thus lampooned the two of them, who from their spare forms had been nicknamed Skin and Bone:—

“Bone and Skin, two millers thin,
Would starve the town, or near it;
But be it known to Skin and Bone
That Flesh and Blood won't bear it.”

This was written in 1737, and there was something prophetic in the quatrain, for in 1757, when the pressure of hard times was severely felt, there was a fatal riot arising out of the popular feeling against the monopoly. On June 6th the provisions brought by the farmers to the market were seized by the mob, and a considerable quantity was destroyed. The approach of harvest would, it was hoped, bring something of peace and plenty, but when this anticipation proved delusive, the patience of the people was exhausted, and a large assembly from Saddleworth, Oldham, and other parts, having destroyed a corn mill at Clayton, advanced to Shudehill. They were met, however, by Mr. James Bayley, who was then high sheriff of the county, and who had with him a party of soldiers and a large number of the well-to-do inhabitants on horseback. The rioters, confident that the soldiers would not fire upon them, proceeded to various acts of violence. The goods in the market were seized, the troops were pelted with stones, and one of the soldiers was killed on the spot. This was more than the military were likely to endure, and on receiving orders they fired, and in the ensuing struggle four of the rioters were killed and fifteen wounded. This unhappy occurrence probably had its share in the formation of that public opinion which in 1758 led to the passing of an Act of Parliament for the regulation of the mills. This Act stated that in consequence of the increase of population, it was desirable to free the inhabitants of Manchester from their obligation to grind at the School Mills any corn or grain whatsoever, malt only excepted. The exception was made on the ground that the mills were adequate to the task of grinding all the malt needed. The charge was fixed at “one shilling and no more for the grinding of one load containing six bushels or twenty-four pecks of malt of Winchester measure,” instead of the twenty-fourth part which had previously been taken. The monopoly in this modified form continued to our day.

Formerly the privilege was valuable, and though the profit was devoted to a good cause, it is instructive to note the economical effect. The restriction was always irksome to the brewers, and it is observable that all modern local breweries have been erected just outside the boundaries of the township of Manchester, as, for instance, in Moss Side, Hulme, Cheetham, Ardwick, and Gorton. No new breweries have been built for many years in Manchester proper.

It will be seen from this rapid retrospect that the Manchester Grammar School Mills have a written history extending from the year 1301, and a tradition that carries them generations further back.

Alexander Barclay and Manchester

Probably the first purely literary reference to Manchester is that contained in the first eclogue of Alexander Barclay. Of the two shepherds who carry on a dialogue, Cornix is the chief speaker, and graphically pourtrays the miseries of life at court. Early in the conversation comes this passage:—

   .       .       .       .       .       .
Thus all be fooles which willingly there dwell,
Coridon, the court is the bayting place of hell.
That is hardly saide man, by the roode of rest.
I graunt it is harde, but to say truth is best,
But yet shall I proue my saying veritable,
Aduert my wordes, see if I be culpable.
Unto our purpose: by diuers wayes three
Men may be fooles, I shall them count to thee:
They all be fooles which set their thought and minde
That thing for to seke which they shall neuer finde.
And they be fooles which seke thing with delite,
Which if they finde is harm and no profite;
And he is a foole, a sotte, and a geke also,
Which choseth a place unto the same to go,
And where diuers wayes lead thither directly
He choseth the worst and most of ieopardie:
As if diuers wayes laye unto Islington,
To Stow on the Wold, Quaueneth or Trompington,
To Douer, Durham, to Barwike or Exeter,
To Grantham, Totnes, Bristow, or good Manchester,
To Roan, Paris, to Lions or Floraunce.
What ho man abide, what already in Fraunce.
Lo, a fayre journey, and shortly ended to,
With all these townes what thing have we to do?
By God man knowe thou that I haue had to do
In all these townes and yet in many mo,
To see the worlde in youth me thought was best,
And after in age to geue my selfe to rest.
Thou might haue brought one and set by our village.
What man I might not for lacke of cariage.
To cary mine owne selfe was all that euer I might,
And sometime for ease my sachell made I light.
To our first matter we better must entende,
Els in twelue monthes we scant shall make an ende.
(Spenser Society's Reprint , pp. 5-6.)

This passage has not escaped the notice either of Mr. T. H. Jamieson, who has edited Barclay's translation of the “Stultifera Navis,” or of Dr. A. W. Ward, who has written his life in the “Dictionary of National Biography,” and puts the query that Godmanchester may be meant. The eclogue from which the quotation is taken, together with two others, are said to be “gathered out of a booke named in Latin, ‘Miseriæ Curialium,' compiled by Æneas Silvius, Poet and Oratour.” This, of course, means that member of the Piccolomini family, who, after an earlier life not free from reproach, made a decorous pontiff, as Pope Pius II., and died in 1464. This book, drawn from his own experience of the unhappy life of courtiers, was the most popular of all his writings. It was often reprinted, but whether Barclay worked from a printed or a MS. copy is not known. Now, what his principles of translation were we know, both from his declaration and practice. In his version of Brandt's “Ship of Fools,” he tells how he added and omitted as seemed best for his purpose of producing a book that should aid in strengthening the morality of the time. And in dealing with Æneas Sylvius, he has been even freer than in dealing withBrandt. Of the “Miseriæ Curialium,” there are several editions in the British Museum, and those of Paris (1475?), Cologne (1468?), Rome (1485? and 1578), have been examined for me by Dr. W. A. Shaw, to whom my best thanks are due for his kindness. “The book,” he says, “of Æneas Sylvius is in prose, and, in epistolary form addressed to ‘dñō Johī de Arch Pspicaci et claro Jurū cōsulto.' There is none of the eclogue and dialogue form of Barclay's work; there are no interlocutors, and there are no references, save to such names of classical antiquity as serve for satirical notice, in, say, Juvenal, with the exception that, in the section treating of the table and pleasures of eating, he refers briefly to the place of origin of the better known delicacies. There is no mention of Manchester, nor of England, from first to last, nor any possibility of it from the style of the letter, and taking it casually, side by side with Barclay, I cannot find a parallel point which would suggest a translation.”

We may, therefore, probably regard the passage as strictly autobiographical, and conclude that, in his wandering life as a preaching friar, Barclay, at some time or other, visited Manchester. From internal evidences, the eclogues are assigned to the year 1514, but it is curious that whilst there is a long reference to the death of John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, in 1500, there is none to his successors, Redmayne (1501) or Stanley (1509). The early editions of the eclogues are undated, and the first three eclogues were apparently issued before the others. There are many points of interest in regard to the life and work of Alexander Barclay, which cannot be discussed in directing attention to one of the earliest—probably the very earliest—purely literary mention of a place that in after ages has not been without claims to distinction in literature and science. The date of Barclay's birth is conjecturally, but with tolerable certainty, fixed in 1476, and he died in 1552. Since the biographies by Mr. Jamieson and Dr. Ward were written, some fresh information has appeared in Mr. James Gairdner's “Letters and Papers of the reign of Henry VIII.,” vol. xiii., pt. 2 (1893). These show that whilst Barclay was conscious of ecclesiastical abuses and desirous of their reform, he was an object of suspicion to those who were carrying out the work of the suppression of the monasteries, and ran some risk by his retention of the distinctive habit of the friars. Robert Ward writes on October 9th, 1538, to Cromwell that at Barking, Suffolk, when Barclay preached there in the Whitsun holidays, he did not declare the King's supremacy. Ward states that he reproached the preacher for not doing so, but does not record his answer. On October 12th, William Dynham writes to Cromwell: “Of late I came to the priory of St. Germayne in Cornwall, and sat at supper with the Prior, accompanied by Alexander Barckley, who the day before preached in honour of the Blessed Virgin, but not so much to the edifying of his audience as his demeanour next day was, I heard, to their destruction. At supper I moved such questions as I thought might do good to the audience. He served my purpose, till, ‘after a sodeyne dompe, he brake silence, as a man that had spoken too well (and yet a frere in a somewhat honester weed),' and glorified himself. He first protested he would preach no new things, not set out by the King and his Council. I answered, wondering what he meant, when all men of literature and judgment ‘knew that our so Christian a Prince and his Council set forth no new thing but the gospel of Christ, and the sincere verity thereof.' Barckley replied, ‘I would to God that at the least the laws of God might have as much authority as the laws of the realm.' Asked him what he meant, and Barckley said, Nothing, but he thought men were too busy pulling down images without special commandment of the Prince. Dynham answered, he knew none pulled down, except such as idolatry was committed unto, and reminded him ‘of St. Margarets Patent is rode' (the rood of St. Margaret Pattens in London), and the assembly, although somewhat dispraised, yet for the intent and good fact thereof, tolerated. Here, he demanded, what followed thereof? I requiring him to answer his demand, he said I knew how many tenements and some people were burnt soon upon. ‘What, Barckley?' said I, ‘here is somewhat moved; ye have a versatile ingeyne, but were ye so sleper as an eel, here will I hold you. Would you infect this audience with that opinion, that God for such cause plagued them? Your cankered heart is disclosed. My true little stomach, with reverence of the prior and his board, must be opened lest it break. You are, Barckley, a false knave and a dissembling frere. You get no pence might I rule here. You seek your own profit vocall to hinder the truth more than unity to set forth the true and princely endeavour of our most Crysten, and of his church Supremest Head, most laudable enterprises; whereof, I trust, thou shalt hear.'”

Writing to Cromwell on October 28th, Latimer says that “A man has written to him that Frere Bartlow does much hurt in ‘Corwall and in Daynshyre,' both with open preaching and private communication. Suspects he has some comfort from Rome, through Dr. Nycolasse.' The Abbot of Evesham, the bearer, asks Latimer to thank Cromwell for him. Thinks he will find few who will better remember his kindnesses. He seems a very civil and honest man, and one who puts all his trust in Cromwell. Requests Cromwell to maintain him in his right to what he has obtained by his goodness.” These passages enable Mr. Gairdner to identify the subject of this anecdote told by Foxe, the Martyrologist: “Hereunto also pertaineth the example of Friar Bartley, who wearing still his friar's cowl after the suppression of religious houses, Cromwell coming through Paul's Churchyard, and espying him in Rheines's shop. ‘Yea,' said he, ‘will not that cowl of yours be left off yet? And if I hear by one o'clock that this apparel be not changed, thou shalt be hanged immediately, for example to all others.' And so, putting his cowl away, he durst never wear it after.” It is satisfactory to know that he survived these dangers, received some preferment, and died peaceably in 1552.

Manchester and the First Reform Agitation

The reform agitation began in Manchester in 1792, and its history is instructive and too little known by the present generation. The town, which was heartily Republican in the Civil Wars, was as heartily Jacobite in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, and in its closing years was dominated by the sworn friends of intolerance and privilege. The vainly proposed repeal in 1789 of the Corporation and Test Acts, by which the Nonconformists were excluded from all municipal offices, led to the formation in Manchester of a “Church and King Club,” whose members showed their loyalty by deep potations and their piety by wearing buttons which bore a representation of the “Old Church.” An era of bitter party feeling now set in. Those who were Dissenters, those who were suspected of thinking that Manchester and other important manufacturing towns should be represented in Parliament, those who ventured to regard the sale of pocket-boroughs as a scandal, those who hinted that any improvement was possible in the constitution of a Parliament that was notoriously non-representative and that included many members who owed their position to improper and corrupt influences, were marked out for social ostracism and persecution. The Liberals of that day banded themselves together and formed the Manchester Constitutional Society, which in May, 1792, set forth as one of its objects that “members of the House of Commons should owe their seats to the good opinion and free suffrage of the people at large, and not to the prostituted votes of venal and corrupt boroughs.” The Government immediately issued a proclamation against “wicked and seditious writings,” and called upon the magistrates to take rigorous action. The King's birthday was celebrated by illuminations, and the partisans of the “glorious Constitution,” which denied them the rights of citizenship, tore up a couple of the trees growing in St. Ann's Square, and tried to batter down the gates of the Unitarian chapels in Cross Street and Mosley Street. The publicans were warned that their licences would be forfeited if they allowed any gatherings of the reformers upon their premises. No less than 186 of them signed an agreement to that effect, and insome of the taverns was a conspicuous announcement, “No Jacobins admitted here.” The war with France was hailed with delight by the adherents to the old order, and was deeply deprecated by the reformers. A man of great talent, Thomas Cooper, issued an address on the evils of war, and this, with other dissuasives, appeared in the Manchester Herald , a newspaper which the reformers had started. Encouraged by the authorities of the town, a drunken mob attacked the printing office and sacked it. The Rev. J. Griffith declared that he would not act against the rioters if called upon to do so, and a special constable offered the mob a guinea for “every Jacobin's house that they pulled down.” A friend of the printer's applied to the constable for help, and was answered by a threat of being kicked out of the place. The leader of the reformers was Mr. Thomas Walker, and his house also was selected for attack. He and his friends defended the place with firearms. The conduct of the rioters was defended by Wyndham in the House of Commons, and a prosecution was instituted, not against the law-breakers, but against Mr. Walker. He had firearms in his possession, and therefore he had “obtained arms to wage war against the King.” The case came on at the Lancaster Spring Assizes, but the principal witness proved himself to be a shuffling perjurer, and Law, afterwards Lord Ellenborough, saw the matter to be so hopeless that he threw up the case. Thomas Cooper left the town for America, where he obtained high distinction as a chemist, jurist, and political economist. The reformers were helpless and almost hopeless. The war fever had seized the nation; the right of public meeting and the freedom of the press were the subject of constant attack. The law against seditious assemblies was used as a means of prohibiting any public expression of disapprobation of the state of the Constitution or the acts of the Government. It was denounced by Charles James Fox, and a very whimsical protest was made against it in Manchester, which is thus described in a newspaper of the time:—“On Monday evening (28th December, 1796), the members of the Manchester Thinking Club commenced their first mental operation by beginning to think, or in other words, submitting themselves like good subjects to a constitutional dumbness. The number of thinkers assembled was not less than 300, and many of the thoughtful actually came from Liverpool, Stockport, and other remote places to witness this novel spectacle. The members were all muzzled, and such an imposing silence prevailed for one hour as would have done honour to the best thinkers that ever adorned assemblies of a more dignified nature. The word ‘Mum' appeared in large characters on every muzzle, and except a seditious sigh or a treasonable groan that occasionally broke forth, ‘Mum' was literally the order of the night.” Here is an advertisement of the meetings of the “Thinking Club”:—“The members of this truly constitutional Society continue to meet for the intellectual purpose of silent contemplation every Thursday evening, at the Coopers' Arms, Cateaton Street, where strong constitutional muzzles are provided at the door by Citizen Avery, tailor to the swinish multitude. The questions still to be thought of are: Is man really a thinking animal or not? and if he is, as thinking is rather a troublesome operation of the mind, ought he not to be thankful that his betters kindly think for him? The chair to be taken at half-past seven. Thinking to begin precisely at eight.”

But war brought its usual concomitant of want, and the sufferings of the people led to deep-seateddiscontent. The weavers called a meeting for the 24th of May, 1808, to ask for the establishment of a minimum rate of wages. The meeting was resumed on the following day, and although it was quite orderly, the Riot Act was read, and the military were ordered to clear the ground. One of the weavers was killed, several were wounded, and several arrested. Colonel Hanson, the commander of a local volunteer corps, tried to persuade the men to disperse by a promise that their interests should be looked after. This was giving “encouragement to the rioters,” and for this he was sentenced to a fine of £100 and six months' imprisonment in the King's Bench. Meanwhile the policy of the Government increased the distress of the nation, so that in the cotton districts the people were half-starved, and a scanty dinner of oatmeal and water was too often the only meal in the four and twenty hours. A town's meeting was called for 8th April, 1812, to thank the Regent for retaining the Anti-Reform Ministry of Castlereagh and Sidmouth. The reformers immediately issued placards calling upon the public to attend. The promoters of the meeting, alarmed at the thought of opposition, now announced that it would not be held, as the staircase was too weak to sustain the pressure of a crowd. People assembled for the expected meeting, and the Exchange was soon surrounded. No authentic account of the beginning of the riot has appeared, but the present writer was informed by an eye-witness that the last touch was put to the anger of the populace by a merchant who afterwards made himself an evil reputation. He was standing at the door of the Exchange, and as a chimney-sweep passed by he struck the lad's black face with his walking-cane. The populace forced their way into the room, the furniture was destroyed, the windows broken, and the military had to be called out before the place was cleared. This was followed during the next fortnight by food riots and by machine breaking. The authorities, instead of seeing in the existing discontent the symptoms of evils needing remedy, treated every expression of a desire for reform as a crime to be punished with merciless severity. Spies were actively at work fanning the disaffection of the operatives in order to betray them if they could be inveigled into illegality. In 1815, the Corn Law was passed whilst the House of Commons was guarded by soldiers. The Manchester meeting held to protest against its passage was presided over by Mr. Hugh Hornby Birley, who was then Boroughreeve. In 1815, a number of the Radical reformers, chiefly of the artisan class, resolved to adopt an address to the Prince Regent and a petition to the House of Commons in favour of peace and Parliamentary reform. They met at the Elephant, in Tib Street, but hearing that the meeting was likely to be broken up they adjourned to the Prince Regent's Arms, in Ancoats. John Knight, who was their recognised leader, had just concluded a speech when the room was entered by the famous “Jo” Nadin with a blunderbuss in his hands, and followed by a number of soldiers with fixed bayonets. The reformers were arrested and marched, with their hands tied, to the New Bailey. They were taken before the Rev. W. R. Hay, who, with the gross partiality for which he was notorious, refused to allow Fleming, the spy-witness, to be cross-examined. They were tried at Lancaster in the following August, when Nadin, the constable, admitted that he had sent Fleming as a decoy, and that the spy had asked to be “twisted in”—that is, to be sworn as a member of a seditious society. All who were found in the room were included in the common indictment, and thus could not testify in each other's behalf. Fortunately Nadin had been too precipitate, and one man escaped his notice. He testified that no oath had been administered, and it was further shown that the two men said to have put the oath to the spy were elsewhere at the time. The thirty-seven prisoners were defended by Brougham and Scarlett, and triumphantly acquitted. They had, however, been in prison for three months, they had been taken from their homes and daily avocations, and it was by the merest good luck that they had escaped transportation.

The writings of William Cobbett had great influence upon the working classes, and his incessant cry for reform met with sympathetic response. The Sunday schools had given elementary instruction to the stronger brains, and native shrewdness, tutored by suffering and hardship, had made them into intelligent politicians. They knew where the shoe pinched, and in spite of some errors of judgment had a clearer conception than their “betters” of the remedy. Sam Bamford, the weaver-poet, was the secretary of a political club at Middleton for Parliamentary reform as a means of obtaining the repeal of the Corn Laws and other desirable objects, and similar clubs existed all over the county.

In 1816, the Ministers suspended the Habeas Corpus Act, and took other measures for burking public discussion. At the “blanketeer” meeting, held at St. Peter's Fields, 10th March, it was decided that the men should march to London to petition, each with a blanket on his shoulder for protection from cold in the night. The meeting was dispersed by the military, many were arrested, and those who had started on their way to the Metropolis were pursued. The “blanketeers” were overtaken on Lancashire Hill, Stockport, where more were arrested, more wounded, and where one cottager was shot at his own door. It is only fair to the military to state that they showed far more moderation than the magistrates. A few of the “blanketeers” reached Derby. The spies were now at work, and Bamford tells how one of these invited him to join in making a “Moscow of Manchester.” The muddle-headed authorities accepted without inquiry all that their infamous agents told them, and after the arrest of Bamford and others at Ardwick, the Rev. W. R. Hay assured his awe-struck hearers that when these men were tried “purposes of the blackest enormity must be disclosed to the public.” After being taken in irons to London—one of them being an old man of seventy-four—and examined by the Secretary of State, they were discharged, and not even put upon their trial. Yet this “plot” was the chief argument used by Sidmouth for a further suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. Castlereagh cynically avowed that they had sent Oliver the spy “to see what was going on.” The Lancashire men were warned in time, and Oliver, though he tried hard, had no success here. In Derbyshire, however, he fomented an “insurrection,” and those whom he had first incited to sedition he afterwards betrayed to the scaffold. In 1818, the Manchester reformers sent a petition to the House of Commons, in which they asserted that there never had been in this neighbourhood any reason for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, denounced the work of the spies, and asked for an inquiry into the action of the magistrates at Manchester. Bamford and others who had been arrested also petitioned; but Mr. George Philips's motion for an inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons was rejected by 162 votes against 69, and the Ministry obtained an Act of indemnity for all their proceedings. Mr. John Greenwood managed to exclude the name of Mr. J. E. Taylor from the list of the Salford assessors because he was a moderate reformer, and asserted that he had written a handbill leading to the destruction at the Exchange in 1812. Mr. Taylor, unable to obtain any retraction or explanation, denounced him as “a liar, a slanderer, and a scoundrel.” For this an action for libel was begun. Mr. Taylor defended himself, and the jury came to the conclusion that the plaintiff was “a liar, a slanderer, and a scoundrel.” Mr. Taylor's acquittal was chiefly due to the foreman of the jury, Mr. John Rylands, of Warrington, who, resolutely putting aside all legal cobwebs, declined to punish a man for telling the truth.

The year 1819 was an important one for the cause of reform. There was a meeting in St. Peter's Fields in June, when the people, to embarrass the Government, decided to abstain from excisable articles as far as possible. Roasted corn was to take the place of coffee, sloe leaves to be substituted for tea, and the use of spirits and ale was to be abandoned. The “loyal” inhabitants placarded the town with incentives to drinking, and an attempt was made to pay for this poster out of the church rates. The people had lost hope of obtaining reform by petition, and the notion was broached of appointing a representative to claim a seat in the House of Commons. The reformers of Manchester therefore called a meeting for the purpose of electing “a legislatorial attorney and representative” for the town. This assembly was called for August 9th, but the magistrates declared that it would be illegal, and the intention was abandoned. The reformers then presented a requisition, signed by 700 householders, asking the Boroughreeve to call a town's meeting. He refused to do so, and it was then decided to hold an open-air meeting in St. Peter's Fields for the purpose of petitioning for a reform in Parliament. The reformers from all parts of Lancashire were expected to be there, and at Middleton and elsewhere they were drilled into the proper method of marching so that there might be no confusion. The authorities professed to regard these harmless marchings with sticks and broom handles as the presages of revolution. The procession that filed into St. Peter's Fields on the morning of the 16th August, 1819, was largely composed of young men and young women of the artisan class, dressed out in their Sunday best. They had many flags with them. There were from sixty to eighty thousand people present to give a welcome to Henry Hunt, whose handsome form and power of speech made him at that time the idol of the Lancashire workmen. Loud were the cheers of the multitude as he rode up to the hustings—which had been placed where is now the south-east corner of the Free Trade Hall. The white hats—then the symbol of Radicals—were waved in the air, the men hurrahed, and the women smiled as the hero of the hour approached. The magistrates, perhaps honestly alarmed, but weak and vacillating, now determined to arrest the ringleaders in the face of the assembled multitude. There was not the slightest occasion to fear any riot or disturbance, and active precautions had been taken to overawe the reformers. On the field, in readiness for action, were six troops of the 15th Hussars, a troop of Horse Artillery with two guns, part of the 21st Regiment of Infantry, some companies of the 88th Regiment, above 300 of the Cheshire Yeomanry, and about forty members of the Manchester Yeomanry—sworn foes of reform. As the immense multitude listened in intense silence to the opening sentences of Hunt's speech, the Manchester Yeomanry, under the command of Mr. H. H. Birley, appeared on the outskirts of the crowd, and were received with shouts. Without one word of warning they set their horses in a gallop, and with their bright swords flashing in the air, they dashed into the crowd, striking right and left with their sabres with all the energy of madmen. They became scattered over the field, and were literally wedged into the palpitating mass of humanity which they were attacking. The Hussars were now ordered to the attack, and for the most part drove the people with the flat of the sword, but the edge also was used. When the yeomanry were extricated they wheeled round and dashed again into the crowd wherever there was an opening, cutting and slashing at all who came before them. In many parts the panic-stricken crowd was literally piled up in heaps. For attending a perfectly peaceable meeting to ask for a reform in Parliament, which had then no representatives of the great towns, and was largely filled by the owners of pocket-boroughs and their nominees, for thus asserting their rights as Englishmen to discuss their grievances, ten men and one woman were killed and 600 were wounded. The man chiefly responsible for this slaughter was the Rev.W. R. Hay, who is said to have read the Riot Act from a neighbouring window, but, if so, did it in such a manner that it was never heard by the crowd. The peaceful nature of the assembly was shown by the number of women and of old men who were in it. Poor old Thomas Blinstone, at the age of 74, was rode over by the yeomanry, and had both arms broken, and said he, “What is wur than aw, mester, they'n broken my spectacles and aw've never yet been able to get a pair that suited me.”

The “Peterloo Massacre” was a baptism of blood for the cause of reform, and the Tory victory was worse than a defeat, for it excited the indignation of all England against those who had caused the slaughter of their fellow-subjects for demanding admission within the pale of the Constitution.

The Rev. W. R. Hay wrote to Lord Sidmouth on the night of Peterloo giving his version of the affair. At the same time Mr. J. E. Taylor and Mr. Archibald Prentice each sent a plain account of the disgraceful conduct of the magistrates and the yeomanry. These appeared in London papers, and the accuracy of their narratives was amply confirmed by Mr. John Tyas, the representative of the Times , whom blundering “Jo” Nadin had taken into custody as one of the dreaded conspirators. The effect was to rouse a storm of indignation before which even the obtuse magistrates quailed. On the 19th, a hole-and-corner meeting was held in their interests at the Star Inn, when thanks were awarded to the justices and the yeomanry. This was responded to by a protest signed by 4,800 of the merchants, manufacturers, and others of the “respectable classes,” in which the meeting just mentioned was described as a private one, and those who had thus falsely claimed to speak for Manchester were invited to call a public meeting. On the 27th, Lord Sidmouth conveyed the thanks of the Prince Regent to the magistrates and military “for their prompt, decisive, and efficient measures for the preservation of the public peace.” Mr. Hay and his friends had need of sympathy, for they were the objects of general execration. Meetings all over the kingdom were held, at which their sanguinary interference with the right of public meeting was denounced. The sympathy felt with the working men reformers was not confined to one class. The Duke of Hamilton subscribed to the fund for the relief of the sufferers. Earl Fitzwilliam was dismissed from his post of Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding for his energetic protest against Peterloo. Sir Francis Burdett made a still more vigorous protest, and his letter to the electors of Westminster led to his imprisonment for three months, and the infliction of a fine of £2,000. Shelley, writing to Peacock, exclaims, “What an infernal business this is of Manchester! What is to be done?” What he did was to write his “Mask of Anarchy,” in which he made a call to the nation:—

“Rise like lions after slumber,
In unvanquishable number;
Shake your chains to earth like dew,
Which in sleep had fallen on you;
Ye are many—they are few.”

The effect of Peterloo was to bring forth a greater disposition to united action between the middle and the working classes on the reform question. The authorities on their side strained the law to crush out the reformers. An inquest was opened as to the death of John Lees, who died from the wounds he had received on the field. The object of the coroner was to avoid an unfavourable verdict, and this he accomplished first by not putting in an appearance at all, and then by frequent adjournments, so that the inquest, which opened 8th September, continued until December, and was never concluded. When Parliament met in November, Earl Grey moved an amendment to the Address in which the Manchester massacre was denounced as illegal and unconstitutional, but this was defeated by a large majority, as was a similar motion in the House of Commons. Sidmouth carried the series of coercive measures known as the “Six Acts,” and the powers of reaction were in full triumph. Several efforts were made, but in vain, to bring the assailants of the meeting to justice, and even as late as 1822 an unsuccessful action was brought against Captain Birley and three others of the yeomanry by one whom they had cut down.

Whilst the reformers were thus baffled in their endeavours to obtain justice, the partisan magistrates and judges made short work of those who fell into their power. Hunt and others who were arrested at Peterloo were sent to Lancaster, and the trial was removed to York. It was so plain that the Peterloo meeting was not illegal in itself, that every effort was made to connect it with previous drillings on White Moss, where a spy named Murray had been beaten by some of the reformers assembled there. The banners, one of which had on it the words, “Equal Representation or Death,” and others inscribed “No Corn Laws,” “No Boroughmongers,” were also made the most of. Five of the accused were acquitted, but Hunt, Johnson, Knight, Healey, and Bamford were found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Hunt received sentence of two years' imprisonment, whilst Bamford and the others were condemned to a year's imprisonment. Johnson was refused permission to visit, even in the custody of an officer, the deathbed of his wife. The Government had soon an opportunity of rewarding the Rev. Mr. Hay, and his appointment soon after Peterloo to the rich living of Rochdale increased the popular hatred which pursued him to the grave. An epigram of the time reads:—

“Hay making at Christmas, 15th January, 1820.
Well may the men of Rochdale say
That certain trades alone are thriving;
Who pay so high a price for Hay ?
Whose butcher  gets so good a living!”

There was no perceptible change in the position of the reform question for some years. The House of Commons was in the hands of the boroughmongers, and the traffic in seats was notorious. Whilst Manchester was unrepresented, there were 200 members returned by 100 boroughs, whose united population was less than that of Manchester alone. In 1827, Manchester was fluttered by the prospect of a seat in Parliament being assigned to it. Penrhyn was then in bad odour for its corruption, and Lord John Russell gave notice that if it were disfranchised he would move that its power of electing two members should be transferred to Manchester. A meeting convened by persons of all parties was held in the still unplastered room of what is now the Old Town Hall. Tories like Mr. H. H. Birley and Mr. Benjamin Braidley were joined with Radicals and Whigs like Mr. Thomas Potter, Mr. G. W. Wood, Mr. John Shuttleworth, and Mr. F. R. Atkinson to petition for representation. This was all the more necessary since a member of the House of Commons, Mr. Legh Keck, strenuously denied that the great towns desired to have representatives in Parliament. The history of the bill was curious. It passed the Commons, and the second reading in the Lords was fixed for 23rd June. Lord Lyndhurst held that as there were 420 voters and only fourteen were shown to have been bribed, the further progress of the measure should be resisted. Lord de Dunstanville, who had property in the neighbourhood, naturally concurred. Lord Eldon had not known “a case so utterly destitute of foundation.” Lord Dacre declared that as the object of the bill was to transfer the franchise from the landed to the commercial interest he should oppose it. The then Marquis of Salisbury called attention to the preamble of the bill, which ran—“Whereas, on account of the great wealth and population of Manchester, it is expedient that it should return burgesses to Parliament.” “Now,” said the noble Lord, “in that single sentence were embodied all the wildest doctrines of reform. If there were no other ground for opposition he should oppose this bill on that ground alone. As no other noble lord had objected to the bill on that ground he had determined to enter his protest against such doctrines being smuggled into a bill to ruin the constitution.” In face of this Tory opposition the bill was withdrawn. A town's meeting was held at Manchester in February, 1830, when Mr. John Brooks exhibited a list of bad debts for the year 1829, amounting to £11,180, and of bad debts in January-February, 1830, to the extent of £981. Mr. Prentice, Mr. Elijah Dixon, and others who spoke referred to the constitution of Parliament as the cause why no attempt was made to remedy the existing distress. In Parliament Lord John Russell vainly endeavoured to obtain hearing for a proposal to give Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds representatives; O'Connell tried to bring in a bill for universal suffrage, triennial parliaments, and the ballot. Lord John Russell moved two resolutions in favour of an increased number of representatives, and for the additional ones being given to the large towns and populous counties. Both proposals were rejected by large majorities.

The death of George IV. on the 26th June, 1830, may be taken as the landmark between the old and the new era. The French revolution of July gave an impetus to the desire for reform at home. The Boroughreeve of Manchester declined to call a meeting of the inhabitants to congratulate the French people on the reconquest of their liberty, but the meeting was held in spite of official opposition, and Mr. Mark Philips, Mr. Alexander Kay, and Mr. J. C Dyer were appointed a deputation to convey the address then adopted to Paris. The need for reform at home was insisted upon by Mr. Richard Potter, Mr. R. H. Greg, Mr. G. Hadfield, and other speakers. The reformers were staggered when Parliament met in November by the language of the Duke of Wellington, who said that “he had never heard or read of any measure up to the present moment which could in any degree satisfy his mind that the state of the representation could be improved or be rendered more satisfactory to the country at large than at the present time. He was fully convinced that the country possessed at the present moment a Legislature which answered all the good purposes of legislation, and this to a greater degree than any Legislature ever answered in any country whatever.... He was not only not prepared, but he would at once declare that, so far as he was concerned, as long as he held any station in the Government of the country, he should always feel it to be his duty to resist such measures when proposed by others.” The Duke next advised the King that it would be unsafe to trust himself in the city. On the 15th, the Duke was defeated and resigned, and Earl Grey took his place pledged to peace, retrenchment, and reform.

In Manchester the year was remarkable for the opening of the Manchester and Liverpool Railway, and the formation of a Political Union very much on the plan of that of Birmingham. This association was at first mainly composed of shopkeepers and working men, but was afterwards joined by representatives of all classes. Amongst the artisan members was Mr. Rowland Detrosier, a self-taught workman, remarkable for the extent of his intellectual acquirements and for his great oratorical powers. An early death cut short a career that promised the highest distinction. In January, 1831, a requisition was presented to the Boroughreeve and constables asking them to call a meeting to petition for reform. They declined because the town was in an excited state. A great meeting was, however, held on the 20th, and the petition adopted. On the 31st a petition for representation was adopted at a town's meeting in Salford. When Lord John introduced the bill on the 1st of March he put the case of the great towns very neatly. “Our opponents say our ancestors gave Old Sarum representatives, therefore we should give Old Sarum representatives. We say our ancestors gave Old Sarum representatives because it was a large town; therefore we give representatives to Manchester, which is a large town.” Henry Hunt, who spoke on the second day of the debate, vindicated the reform agitation in which he had taken part, and, in spite of attempts to drown his voice, denounced “the drunken and infuriated yeomanry” who had slaughtered the people in 1819 for doing that which the Government was then doing—advocating the propriety of Parliamentary reform. A town's meeting was held in Manchester on the 8th March to thank the Ministry for the introduction of the bill. This was the first gathering of the kind that had ever been convened by the authorities. In the House of Commons the second reading was carried by a majority of one. In the Committee stage there was a long fight, and on their proposal to reduce the number of members, the Government were put in a minority of eight. The King, although regarded by the public as a reformer, was really in great dread of the bill, and had refused to dissolve until stung by some language used in the Lords. “What did they dare to meddle with the prerogative?” he exclaimed, and then declared that he would go down to dissolve the House in a hackney coach if necessary. He went down. “Turn the rogues out, your Majesty,” was the advice of a rough sailor who rushed from the crowd to the side of the carriage. He gave voice to the feeling of the nation. Parliament was dissolved, and the Tories strained every nerve to secure a victory at the polls. The Duke of Northumberland alone is said to have subscribed £100,000 to their election fund. But the nation at large saw that the choice lay between reform and revolution, and a great majority of the counties and free boroughs returned candidates who were pledged to support the bill. The bill was re-introduced, and passed the second reading on July 7th by a majority of 136. Next day “Orator” Hunt presented a petition from 194,000 working people of Manchester and the district in favour of universal suffrage, annual parliaments, and vote by ballot. When the question of enfranchisement came up, some members argued that as Manchester was to have two members, there was no need to give one to Salford. The bill was introduced on the 25th of June, but the tactics of delay were so well observed that the third reading was not reached until September 22nd. That very day there was a town's meeting in Manchester, when Mr. James Burt, the Boroughreeve, again presided. The speakers included Mr. Richard Potter, Mr. Mark Philips, Mr. R. H. Greg, Mr. G. Hadfield, and others. The only dissentient was a working man, who was, however, ready to accept the bill as a stepping-stone to something better. A similar meeting was held in Salford in the following week. The bill was brought into the House of Lords on the 3rd of October, and its rejection was moved by the Earl of Wharncliffe. The debate was continued until the 8th, when the votes for the bill were 158, against 199. The majority of 41 included a contingent of 21 Tory bishops, on whose behalf the then Archbishop of Canterbury made the hypocritical declaration “that to a temperate and safe reform he would offer no objections.” The prelates have since learned more sense.

On the 12th October there was an immense gathering in Manchester. The first intention was to hold a meeting in the then Riding School in Lower Mosley Street, which would hold about 4,000 persons. The street was, however, so full of eager candidates for admission that it was decided to hold the meeting in the open-air at Campfield. The Boroughreeve, not feeling equal to the control of such a gathering, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Thomas Potter presided over this meeting of one hundred thousand persons. The temper of the people was bitterly hostile to the Lords. When Mr. Shuttleworth spoke of the necessity of creating fresh peers, the response was, “No more peers; we've had enough of them.” One of the Radicals, Mr. R. J. Richardson, moved an amendment asking the King to issue writs to populous boroughs, to withhold them from rotten boroughs, to create no new peers, but to take such other measures as would ensure a bill for universal suffrage, annual parliaments, and vote by ballot. This was carried by an enormous majority, and the vast assembly then peaceably dispersed. At Bristol and other places there were disastrous riots. In Manchester the influence of the Political Union and the good sense of the people generally, who were willing to accept the bill as a substantial instalment of reform, prevented any outbreak. Parliament was prorogued until December 6th. The second bill was introduced on the 12th, and the second reading was carried in the early hours of Sunday morning, December 18th, by a majority of 162 in a House of 486. The third reading was not reached until March 19th, when 355 voted for and 239 against. The great question now was, “What will the Lords do?” It soon became apparent that they would mutilate the bill. On a motion by Lord Lyndhurst, the Ministry found themselves in a minority of 35. The King's fears had been increased by the riots, and he refused Earl Grey the power to create such fresh peers as would give him a majority. The Ministry resigned, and the Duke of Wellington, as the leader of the Tories, was “sent for” on the 9th of May. The news reached Manchester by seven o'clock on the following morning, and the excitement was intense. Business was suspended, and groups of citizens were seen discussing the gravity of the situation. The Reform Committee had sat daily at the Town Hall since the previous September, and thither flocked the friends of reform. On the motion of Mr. Absolom Watkin, a petition to the Commons was adopted, calling upon them to refuse to vote any supplies until the bill was passed. The petition was not placed for signature until nearly three o'clock, but by six it had received 24,000 signatures, and Mr. Richard Potter, Mr. John Fielden, and Mr. John Shuttleworth set off in a chaise to take it to London. They departed amidst the cheers of the multitude, and had an enthusiastic greeting at Leek, Derby, Northampton, and other places on the road. The journey was accomplished in seventeen hours. As they approached London they gave reports of the meeting and copies of the petition to the passengers of the coaches on the road, and the news spread like wildfire through the country. The petition was presented to the House that same night by Mr. John Wood, M.P. for Preston. This was the first call to the Commons to stop supplies until reform was obtained, and it had quickly many echoes.

Peterloo was the place selected for an open-air meeting on the 14th. Mr. C. J. S. Walker, the son of the man whose house had been attacked by the Tories of 1792, was called to the chair, and the venerable Robert Philips, a veteran of '92, moved the first resolution. Mr. Elijah Dixon and Mr. Joseph Johnson, who had been imprisoned after Peterloo, were amongst the speakers. A town's meeting was held in Salford, and another in Chorlton. Throughout the country the same sentiment prevailed, and it was said that the Duke of Wellington would try to form a Ministry that should deal with reform. The announcement was received with such a storm of indignation that even the victor of Waterloo was cowed. The King had to recall Earl Grey, but to avoid the creation of fresh peers a sufficient number of the Lords abstained from the divisions, and the Reform Bill became law on the 7th of June, 1832. The general joy found expression in a grand procession of the authorities and trade societies of Manchester and Salford on the 9th of August. In the long debates on the Reform Bill nothing is more remarkable than the distrust of the people felt by the opponents of reform. There was a prophetic instinct in Earl Grey's reply to a sneer of the Earl of Dudley. “The Earl of Dudley,” said Earl Grey, “will live to learn a lesson from the statesmen of Birmingham and the philanthropists of Manchester.”