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Learning Curve
Power, Politics and Protest
The growth of political rights in Britain in the 19th century
Home > Peterloo > Source 3
source 3 transcript 
Letter from Mr W.R. Hay, a magistrate from Lancashire, to Lord Sidmouth, 16 August 1819
(Catalogue ref: ZHC 2/41 p.259-62)
3a   3b   3c   3d   3e    
3a   3b   3c   3d   3e    
ZHC 2/41; letter from a Lancashire magistrate to Lord Sidmouth, 1819

As you study the source, ask yourself:

  • What steps were taken by the authorities to control the meeting?
  • What impression are you given of the size and appearance of the crowd?
  • What happened to Hunt, Johnson, Saxton and Sykes, the main speakers at the meeting?
  • Were many people hurt at the meeting?
  • Does the writer justify in any way the use of force against the crowd?
  • Have a look at source 2, the engraving of the events at St. Peter‚Äôs Fields. Can you spot any similarities and differences with this version of events?
  • This account was written on the same day that the events happened. Can you think of any advantages or disadvantages this might mean for historians?
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