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Title: Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1
Author: Henry Hunt
Release Date: August, 2005 [EBook #8685]
[This file was first posted on August 1, 2003]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MEMOIRS OF HENRY HUNT, V1 ***
[Note:The use of quotation marks in the text does not accord with modern
usage. Double quotes are nested within double quotes, and where this
results in 2 doublequotes closing off a speech, one is omitted. In these
cases ["] has been inserted to clarify the dialogue.
Spelling of some proper names is inconsistent. These inconsistencies have
not been altered--cf.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
In every work regard the Writer's end,
Since none can compass more than they intend;
And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
_And particularly to the Reformers of Lancashire, who attended the Meeting
of the 16th of August, 1819, held on St Peter's Plain at Manchester, and
more especially to the Reformers of Yorkshire, in which County a Jury
found me Guilty of illegally attending that Meeting, for which, the Court
of King's Bench sentenced me to be imprisoned in Ilchester Jail for_ Two
YEARS _and_ SIX MONTHS, _and at the end of that period, to enter into
recognisances for my good behaviour, for Five Years, Myself in_ ONE
THOUSAND POUNDS _and Two Sureties in_ FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS EACH.
FRIENDS AND FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, In dedicating this work to you, I will, in
the first instance, briefly record the fact, that--on Monday, the 15th day
of May, Mr. Justice Bayley, as senior puisne Judge of the court of King's
Bench, in a _mild and gentle manner_, passed the above unexampled sentence
upon me for having attended a public meeting at Manchester, by the
invitation of seven hundred inhabitant householders of that town, who
signed a requisition to the Boroughreeve to call the said meeting on the
16th day of August last, for the purpose _"of taking into consideration
the best and most legal means of obtaining a reform in the Commons House
of Parliament."_ This meeting was no sooner assembled to the number of one
hundred and fifty thousand persons, young and old of both sexes, in the
most peaceable and orderly manner, than they were assailed by the
Manchester yeomanry cavalry, who charged the multitude, sword in hand, and
without the slightest provocation or resistance on the part of the people
(as was clearly proved by the trial at York), aided by two troops of the
Cheshire yeomanry, the 15th hussars, the 81st regiment of foot, and two
pieces of flying artillery, sabred, trampled upon, and dispersed the
unoffending and unresisting people, when 14 persons were killed and
upwards of 600 wounded. I, and eleven others, having, by a mere miracle,
escaped the military execution intended for us, were seized and confined
in solitary dungeons in the New Bailey, for eleven days and nights, under
a pretended charge of high treason. At the end of that time, upon a final
examination, I was sent under a military escort, upwards of fifty miles,
to Lancaster Castle, although bail was ready, and waiting to be put in for
me. After this sentence was passed, I was sent to the King's Bench Prison,
where I was confined till four o'clock on the Wednesday following, when I
was conveyed in a chaise to this prison, where I arrived at ten o'clock
the same night, being a distance of 120 miles. Thus, after having been
confined in _three separate jails_ since the 16th of August--the New
Bailey, at Manchester, Lancaster Castle, and the King's Bench, I am doomed
finally to be incarcerated in a dungeon of this, the _fourth jail_, for
two years and six months, while _Hulton_ of _Hulton_, and those benevolent
gentlemen of the Manchester yeomanry cavalry, are at large, without even
the chance of any proceedings, that might lead to the punishment of their
crimes, being instituted against them. Yet, we are gravely told from the
bench, that the laws are equally administered to the _rich_ and to the
_poor_; of the truth of which assertion, the above will, in future ages,
appear as an unexampled specimen.
In addressing this work to you, my brave, patient, and persecuted friends,
I hope to have an opportunity of communicating with you once a month,
during my incarceration, and during the progress of the work, I shall take
care to avoid all exaggerated statements. I shall confine myself to a
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