Today is the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre; a tradgedy that became a seizemic event in British social history. The gathering at St. Peter’s Fields in Manchester witnessed a crowd of thousands of working men and women assembling to hear speeches from radical commentators of the time. One of those speakers was to be Richard Carlile.
Carlile was about to speak when the Manchester Yeomanry stormed into the crowd, killing an estimated 15-20 people, and injuring many more. The panic and confusion swept through the people as the Yeomanry indiscriminantly rode into the crowd. Carlile went on to report about the massacre in his journal The Republican, which led to Carlile being jailed for blasphemy, blasphemous libel and sedition.
It was while he languished in jail that he was to write his Masonic expose, which was originally published in The Republican. This expose went on to become The Manual of Freemasonry, a book that can still be found in Masonic Hall libraries around England and Wales. My latest book, out soon entitled Rediscovered Rituals of English Freemasonry will detail the life of Carlile and discuss the high degree rituals displayed in The Manual, presenting for the first time an examination of the complete Carlile rituals.