The procession, at starting, moved in the direction of Burslem and Tunstall, to swell their train, and returned by way of Long Port and Hanley.
Upon reaching the hustings, we calculated that the numbers amounted over 20,000.
Mr George Mart was unanimously called to the chair, and opened the business first with prayer, and then gave out an appropriate hymn, made for the occasion, which was sung by the meeting; after which the worthy chairman said - Now, fellow-country men, you are assembled today in thousands to demand your rights as freemen, and prove by your conduct, order and, and demeanour, that you are entitled to that position which you seek. Give no handle to your enemies, but proceed calmly and deliberately with your own business.
He then called upon Mr John Richards to move the first resolution. He said that the great general grievance under which they laboured was class legislation (hear, hear). Men who represented boroughs were required to have £300 a year and men who represented Counties £500. It was not then wonderful that those class legislators should represent themselves at the expense of the people. The power which his system gave them had enabled them to tax all the articles of their produce and the duty went into the pockets of the idlers. By Universal Suffrage alone could this great and crying evil be checked.
Mr F O'Connor was introduced to the meeting, and was most rapturously cheered. He said that though it was the first time he had appeared in the Potteries, yet he had joined with them in their struggle against the masters. He said he had intended to address them upon subjects connected with the present agitation, but he had just learned from their chairman, that six other victims were sacrificed, in Ireland, to the rapacity of the Infidel, State Church (hear, hear, hear). "Yes," said he, "six more persons have been slaughtered, while our philosophical motto is, "Peace, law, and order." (Great sensation, and shouts of shame, shame.) But with God's blessing, said he, if the law does not right us, we will have an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, man for man, and blood for blood. (Cheers.) (He was in the act of explaining the tithe slaughter at Rathcormac, when the whole platform gave way with a tremendous crash, and, we regret to state, that one boy of about thirteen years of age was severely, but we trust, not dangerously injured. When the platform had tumbled, Nr. O'Connor sprung with the rapidity of lightning upon a plank, which was attached edgeways to the uprights.) "Such," said he, "will be the fall of both Whig and Tory." (Cheers and laughter.) Mr. O'Connor was then requested by the Chairman to proceed to a rising ground, whither the meeting followed him. "Now," continued he, "I am upon God's footstool, upon man's inheritance, which won't give way. (Cheers.) A thought strikes me that you are poor, and I'll tell you the reason why, and why poor laws are necessary because you have about 130 master potters who annually share about one million's worth of your labour. (Cheers, and 'true.') Now, £250,000 would be more than ample for risk and speculation, and the remaining £750,000 would make you independent of the three Devil Kings of Somerset-House (i.e. the 3 Poor Law Commissioner's in London)" Mr. O'Connor was loudly cheered throughout.
Mr George Salt in moving the second resolution said, the resolution he had to propose embraced many points but only one principle, and that was Universal Suffrage. The others would be good in their way, and would be sure to follow. (Cheers.) Therefore keep to the Suffrage and let nothing divert them from their course. (Cheers.)
Mr. Wm. Kelsey of Newcastle in seconding the resolution said the five great principles were inherent in the constitution. The Barons had forced Magna Charta from King John and were they so degenerate that they could not force the People's Charter from the oppressors of the present day.