Deposition [legal testimony to be used in a trial] of John Livesey, Blanketeer, 6 March 1817 (HO 40/5/4a f.1336)
Information of John Livesey taken and made before Charles Wicksted Ethelston JP, 6th March 1817. That on 3rd of March about 12 o’clock A. M. he was at the meeting on the ground near St. Peter’s Church. Baguley rose and spoke to the following effect, Gentlemen you have met here different times, and what you have resolved will have no effect, therefore I think it is high time to come to a determination. I now propose that you meet here at 9 o’clock on Monday morning this day week, in order to go to London with your Petitions, to as many of you as are willing to undertake this journey I say Monday next, signify the same by holding up your hands, and the majority (as appears to deponent) held up their hands (loud Cheers) orator proceeded, but Gentlemen you must consider the difficulty that must attend this Undertaking. Consider well the inclemency of the Weather and the Season of the year. Can you leave your Wives and Children and tear yourselves from all Friends to go and claim those Rights your Ancestors got for you. They only want looking after and I am determined to go with you myself.
But as I said before consider well the undertaking. I say will you turn back when you go to Stockport or when you come to face those high and cold Hills in Derbyshire? (Cries from all sides No, No.) Then will you stick fast to your Leaders, (Cries We will, We will, from the Crowd), Orator then said you must bring each of you a Blanket, you must consider it will take each of you 6 days to go, and your Number will be too great for any accommodation on the Road. Therefore you must expect to be down on the ground at Nights. Now the legal mode of presenting your Petition is for 10 out of every 20 to go and petition the Prince Regent. [illegible] is not lawful. Now are you willing for those that can earn 10 shillings per week to give five shillings of that money to his Wife and family while he is away (Cries for all sides Yes, Yes) but above all conduct yourselves peacably and show an example to the Police Friends. We don’t shut ourselves up in the Police Office. We do nothing to be afraid of. We come out in the open air. We have nothing to say, but so that every one may hear. ‘Tis Liberty we will have.