Ward ("The borough of Stoke-on-Trent") added an account of the events as part of an appendix to his book:
NOTE: From the tone of the account Ward was not disposed towards the Chartist causes.
Early in the month of July, 1842, a dispute arose between Mr. Sparrow, a principal iron and coal-master of Longton, and his workmen, on account of a reduction he required in their wages.
The men refused to submit to his terms, and turned out in a body from his employ. They imagined that by inducing the colliers in general to follow their example, and stopping the works of the other proprietors, they should obtain the rate of wages they contended for.
They proceeded, therefore, systematically to compel the vast body of working colliers in the district to cease working, visiting the different pits, and threatening or coercing the refractory. This state of things having lasted for several weeks, bands of colliers proceeded through the Pottery towns, and all round the neighbourhood, soliciting relief for supporting themselves and families during the struggle with their employers; and the boldness of these beggars became at length most annoying and alarming.
On Saturday, the 6th August, three men, carrying a begging-box through the alleys of the shambles in Burslem- Market, were taken into custody by the police-constables, and placed in the lock-up, under the Town-Hall, on a charge of vagrancy. Their incarceration becoming known to their Hanley comrades, they assembled there towards midnight, to the number of about 200, proceeded to Burslem, broke open the Police Station, carried off their friends in triumph, committed much other mischief, by the demolition of windows, and the illuminated dial of the Town-Hall clock, and then retired before dawn of day, without being known or identified. A general stoppage of the manufactories was necessarily produced by the stoppage of the Collieries, and the workman, suffering from these privations, became the convenient and ready instruments of the seditious demagogues, who had been long disseminating the deleterious doctrines of "The People's Charter," as the sovereign and sole remedy for poverty, and all political grievances.
These notions had taken deep root among the ignorant and most excitable portion of the working people, and many were ripe for insurrection. Although danger was apprehended from the combinations of the Colliers, and the distress produced by the stoppage of business, and the magistrates took precautionary means, by swearing in special constables, to maintain the peace, yet was the district very ill prepared to meet any outbreak of popular fury. No military force was at hand until, upon the urgent representations of the magistrates, a small troop of dragoons and a company of infantry were sent to Newcastle about the beginning of August. The weather was beautifully fine, the fields covered with abundance, and the ring-leaders of sedition hence conceived that the time was particularly auspicious for the assemblage of large mobs, and the achievement of their traitorous designs.
The very general stagnation of trade at this period produced similar effects in Lancashire, und the town of Manchester was for some time at the mercy of a mob. The " Delegates" of the Chartist conspiracy had (there. is good reason to believe) resolved upon a grand demonstration on the 16th of August, the anniversary of the "Peterloo Massacre". It was commemorated indeed at Burslem, as will presently be seen. On Monday the 15th, after some inflammatory sermons by Cooper (a talented Chartist orator from Leicester), on the day before at Longton and Hanley, the fraternity of Chartists and the surly advocates for a fair day's wages (which was all the Colliers in general sought for, and no more than they had a right to expect), assembled in formidable array at the Crown Bank in Hanley, where the Chartist Meetings had been usually held, proceeded thence to stop the engines at Earl Granville's works, broke open the Police Office at Hanley, also a print-works, also a principle pawnbroker's shop there, and the house of the tax collector; proceeded to Stoke, demolished the windows of that Post Office, and afterwards those of Fenton and Longton.
The rectory-house at the latter place was the especial object of their fury; it was gutted and set fire to, though the fire was extinguished before it destroyed the premises. The house of Mr. Mason at Heron Cross, that of Mr. Allen of Great Fenton, and that of Mr. Rose, the police magistrate at Penkhull, were in like manner visited and treated by parties of marauders, who, returning to Hanley in the evening, were again lectured, and commended by Cooper for what they had done, though he reproved them for their drunkenness, as being likely to expose them to detection. Terror and consternation spread around, and many families left home for security. The scenes of the night were expected to surpass the atrocities of the day, and so they did.