Hunt’s invitation

Letter from Henry Hunt on 6 July to Joseph Johnson, the editor of the ‘Manchester Observer’, which was intercepted by the government: see the note at the start of the letter.  This is Hunt’s response to an invitation from Johnson on 3 July, on behalf of the Manchester Patriotic Union, to attend a public meeting in Manchester in four weeks hence. The letter shows Hunt organising things and the importance of a mass meeting from across the Manchester region.

(Catalogue reference TS 11/1056)


Added note at top of page:

x Dropped into a General Post Receiving House in London – 7 July, the Seal (Wax) a Pen with the Motto “Truth”


Middleton Cottage July 6 1819

My dear Friend,

I have this day received your favour & I am delighted to see the report of the Stockport Meeting & I am also very happy to perceive that Sir Charles Wolseley conducted himself so well. Really he is now fairly in with us, in the cause of the People, and altho’ he is not the most brilliant Man in the world, nor the boldest perhaps, yet I believe him now to be honestly & sincerely with us, therefore we must cherish him. As for the Title I think nothing of it yet it may go a great way with the Multitude & it must be a cursed Eyesore to our aristocratical opponents. I feel highly flattered with the Compliment paid me at the Dinner & very sensible of the kindness of him who proposed it. Really my good fellow, there is nothing on Earth I would like better that to visit the Reformers of Manchester again, and in fact to pass a Day with you would be a sufficient Inducement for my taking such a Journey if it were not for the Expense.

I was in great hopes of receiving a visit from you long before this. However if you think that I can render any Service to the cause of Real Reform by my coming to a Public Meeting at Manchester, you may command me & I will make any Sacrifice to obey your call, even if I were to walk.

I am not ashamed altho’ I am sorry to inform you that the Tyrants have, by means of their Agents, the Harpies of the Law, harassed me so as to strip me of every Shilling of ready rino [ready cash] to meet the Demands of the Villains. They have several suits now hanging over my head, that I scarcely know how I shall raise sufficient money to ward off the Blow that is aimed at me. I think if you have another Meeting at Manchester you should make it very Public as early as Possible, & make it rather a Meeting of the County of Lancashire, than of Manchester alone. The best way to do all this will be to send me a short public invitation which I will briefly answer. You can get this correspondence into the Observer & we will get it into the London Papers, what say you to this? You can advertise the Meeting in the next Observer & say that you have sent an Invitation to me to take the Chair. This will raise a public feeling, & a desire to know whether I accept it, or not. Nay I think by management the Largest assemblage may be procured at Manchester the 2nd of August that ever was seen in this Country.

Unless the People are prepared to come from almost all Parts within 20 Miles around I think we had better let the matter rest a while. What say you? Pray write to me fully your opinion. You see I use candour to you in the greatest Confidence. We shall have a Meeting in London, as I have heard before that Time. Write, but be careful to say nothing that can even by implication [be] taken hold of by the Villains. Address me 5 Wych Street London. God bless you.

Yours most sincerely

(Signed) H Hunt

Remember me kindly to Whitworth, Knight, Wroe & all Friends.

Return to Protest and democracy 1818 to 1820, part 2