Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 1
468 Pages
English
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Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 1

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468 Pages
English

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Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1, by Henry Hunt
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Title: Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1
Author: Henry Hunt
Release Date: August, 2005 [EBook #8685] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first
posted on August 1, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq.
Volume 1, by Henry Hunt
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be
sure to check the copyright laws for your country
before downloading or redistributing this or any
other Project Gutenberg eBook.
This header should be the first thing seen when
viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not
remove it. Do not change or edit the header
without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other
information about the eBook and Project
Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
important information about your specific rights and
restrictions in how the file may be used. You can
also find out about how to make a donation to
Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla
Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By
Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands
of Volunteers!*****
Title: Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1Author: Henry Hunt
Release Date: August, 2005 [EBook #8685] [Yes,
we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on August 1, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK MEMOIRS OF HENRY HUNT, V1 ***
Produced by S.R.Ellison, Stan Goodman, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
[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.
Buonaparte—Bonaparte
Collingborn—Collingbourn
Everley—EverlyHalcombe—Halcomb]
[Illustration: HENRY HUNT, ESQR.]
Engraved by T. Woolmoth from a Drawing taken in
the Kings Bench Prison the Morning after
Judgement was given.
Published June 5, 1820 by T. Dolby 299 Strand.
MEMOIRS OF HENRY HUNT, ESQ.
Written by himself,
IN HIS MAJESTY'S JAIL AT ILCHESTER,
IN THE COUNTY of SOMERSET.Volume I
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.
POPE.
LONDON:
PUBLISHED BY T. DOLBY, 299, STRAND; AND
34, WARDOUR STREET, SOHO.
1820
TO
THE RADICAL REFORMERS,
MALE AND FEMALE,
OFENGLAND, IRELAND, AND SCOTLAND,
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.
* * * * *
Ilchester Jail, May 22, 1820
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 andmost 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, fortwo 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
strict relation of facts, and I shall be very particular
not to gloss over or slight any one political or public
act of my life you shall be in possession of the
faithful history of that man whom you have so
unanimously honoured by the denomination of your
champion, and in whose incarceration a deadly
blow is, with savage ferocity, aimed at your rights
and liberties—one who, during his whole political
career, will be found to have been the consistent
and undeviating advocate of real or radical reform,
one who always, under every difficulty, at all times
and seasons, boldly and unequivocally claimed for
the people, the right of every man to have a vote
for the members of the Commons House of
Parliament, and who never, under any
circumstances, paltered or compromised the great
constitutional principle that "no Englishman shouldbe taxed without his own consent." Even when its
most zealous professed advocates had abandoned
the intention of maintaining this proposition, even
at the risk of loosing the friendship of his dearest
political connections, he stood firm upon the solid
basis of that incontrovertible principle, "equal
justice and freedom to all." No pretended
expediency, no crafty policy, although urged with
the greatest force and zeal, by the most
experienced and acute reasoners, neither flattery,
bribes, nor threats, could ever, for one moment,
shake his determination to support the principle Of
UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE, or in other words, the
right of every freeman to have a share by his
representative in the making of those laws, by
which his life, his liberty, and his property, are to be
governed and disposed of. I allude, more
particularly, to the meeting of delegates, (by some
called deputies) in London, some time in the
beginning of the year 1817. The principle of
Universal Suffrage was nothing new. I claim no
merit in having proposed any thing novel—this right
is as old as the constitution of England; it had been
advocated by Sir Robert, afterwards Lord
Raymond, by Sir William Jones, and afterwards,
with great perseverance and ability, by the Duke of
Richmond, who brought a bill into the House of
Lords, in which he claimed this right for the people,
and proposed to carry it into execution. At that
time, however, no part of the people had petitioned
for it, and the bill was thrown out. At that period,
the attention of the populace of the metropolis was
directed to other matters—they were engaged in
Lord George Gordon's disgraceful riots. The Dukeof Richmond, disgusted at the apathy of the
reformers, to which he attributed the failure of his
favourite measure, soon afterwards accepted a
place as master general of the ordnance, and
became a complete tool of the ministers. The
cause of reform languished till the year 1816,
although Major Cartwright, Sir F. Burdett, Mr.
Cobbett, myself, and many others, had made
frequent efforts to call the people's attention to the
only measure calculated to check the progress—
the fatal progress of corruption, and its consequent
effects, unjust and unnecessary war, profligate
expenditure, the funding or swindling system, and
the rapid annual increase of a ruinous and
irredeemable debt. It will be said that these
subjects will naturally be included in, and make part
of, my history. They certainly will, but there is one
circumstance connected with the events of 1816
and 1817, which is very imperfectly known to any
of the reformers, and which I feel it a duty to detail
to them all before I proceed any further.
In the latter end of the year 1815 and the
beginning of the year 1816, the evil effects of the
war began to be severely felt amongst all classes
throughout the country; and, in the North of
England, it was particularly felt by those employed
in the manufactories. Great disturbances prevailed,
and the Luddites, as they were called, committed
repeated depredations, by destroying the
machinery of their employers. This ultimately led to
the employment of spies and informers, by the
agents of the government; by which means, many
of the unhappy men were convicted and executed.