What an exquisite piece of political memorabilia! 'Hunt and Liberty' - a jug celebrating the renowned radical Henry 'Orator' Hunt, and memorialising one of the most cathartic events in Britain's history.
At least fifteen people and probably many more died in the Peterloo massacre in central Manchester in August 1819. Cavalry charged into a large and peaceful crowd assembled to attend a Reform demonstration to be addressed by Hunt.
This jug was probably made shortly after Peterloo. It recites the key slogans of Regency radicalism, 'No Corn Bill' and 'Universal Sufferage [sic]'. And in a very gentle denunciation of those responsible for Peterloo, it wishes 'Bad Luck to the Manchester Butchers'.
Below the likeness of Hunt, there are some other indicators of radical demands: annual Parliaments; vote by ballot; Habeas Corpus, and Bill of Rights.
Hunt is surrounded by some of the radical motifs of the time. There's the phrygian cap, a symbol both of the American and French revolutions; and what appear to be laurel leaves; but what the ship is about, I don't know.
On the rear, there's a verse:
May the rose of england never blow
Nor the scotland thistle never grow
Nor the harpof ireland never play
Until reformers gain the day.
HUNT AND LIBERTY
Hunt was jailed for seditious conspiracy in the aftermath of Peterloo but in 1830 was elected the Member of Parliament for Preston. He criticised the 1832 Reform Act for being insufficient and in that same year he presented to Parliament the first petition for women's suffrage. He died in 1834.
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