Protest, Agitation and Parliamentary Reform in Britain - Radical Reformers

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  • Radical Reformers
    • Extra Parliamentary Pressure
    • Spa Fields
      • When a petition was refused by the government, a group of reformers organised a mass meeting in east London
        • Henry Hunt was invited to speak to the 10,000 supporters. The meetings aim was not violent or malicious and hunt was urged to present a new petition for reform
          • Hunt wasn't welcomed by the prince regent and was making a second speech when a group of Spenceans created a disturbance and left the meeting to storm the Tower of London
            • The trial of ringleaders identified the government involvement in the Spa Fields group where a spy was found to have encouraged the riot, leading to an acquittal of the defendants
    • Pentridge
      • Early in 1817 a group of revolutionary activists held meetings in Pentridge where they discussed plans for insurrection
        • They were joined by a member named Oliver. He persuaded the group that radicals in London were planning an uprising on June 9th
          • Oliver however was not a radical, he was a spy and agent provocateur aiming to lead the Pentridge group to an uprising
            • The rebels were intercepted by soldiers due to spies already in the group
    • Peterloo
      • On 16 August 1819, a meeting of peaceful campaigners for parliamentary reform was broken up by the Manchester Yeomanry,
        • he August meeting was the culmination of a series of political rallies held in 1819, a year of industrial depression and high food prices. Presided over by the radical leader Henry Hunt, the meeting was intended as a great demonstration of discontent, and its political object was parliamentary reform.
          • About 60,000 persons attended, including a high proportion of women and children. None was armed, and their behaviour was wholly peaceable. The magistrates, who had been nervous before the event, were alarmed by the size and mood of the crowd and ordered the Manchester yeomenry to arrest the speakers immediately after the meeting had begun.
            • The untrained yeomenry did not confine themselves to seizing the leaders but, wielding sabres, made a general attack on the crowd.
            • . The numbers of killed and wounded were disputed; probably about 500 people were injured and 11 killed
              • Hunt and the other radical leaders were arrested, tried, and convicted—Hunt being sent to prison for two years
    • March of the Blanketeers
      • The march was a badly organised attempt by the Manchester Textile workers to publicist their grievances.
        • They were encouraged by agent provocateurs including Oliver the spy


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