Samuel Bamford’s Autobiography, Volume 2: Passages in the Life of a Radical
Samuel Bamford (28 February 1788 – 13 April 1872, was an English radical and writer, who was born in Middleton, Lancashire.
In August 1819, Bamford led a group from Middleton to St Peter’s Fields, to attend a meeting pressing for parliamentary reform, where they witnessed the Peterloo Massacre.
Bamford was arrested and charged with treason. Although the evidence showed that he had not been involved in the violence, he was nevertheless found guilty of inciting a riot and sentenced to a year in Lincoln gaol.
The experience of the massacre made a deep impression on Bamford, and convinced him that the state’s power would always succeed against radical militancy. He came to be seen as a voice for radical reform, but opposed to any activism that involved physical force.
Bamford was the author of poetry (mostly in standard English)but of those in dialect several showing sympathy with the conditions of the working class became widely popular.
“Passages in the Life of a Radical” covers Samuel’s life from 1815 to 1821 and his introduction into the politics that lead to his being arrested as one of the leaders of the reformers at Peterloo.