1791 - 1872

Joseph Johnson

Born in Manchester.

Successful brush manufacturer, he had radical political ideas, a supporter of universal suffrage and annual parliaments.

1818 Joseph helped to launch the 'Manchester Observer' with John Knight, James Wroe and John Saxton.  The newspaper was a success selling at least 4000 copies a week.  The newspaper expanded the following year by selling copies in most large cities and towns around Britain,

In 1819 Joseph with John Knight and James Wroe formed the Patriotic Union Society, Johnson became secretary and James Wroe treasurer.  The main objective of the society to obtain Parliamentary Reform.

The society arranged a meeting of the county of Lancashire rather than just Manchester alone.  They invited Major Cartwright, Henry Hunt and Richard Carlile to speak, Major Cartwright was unable to attend but Hunt  and Carlile agreed, the meeting was arranged for 16th August at St Peter's Field.

Johnson was arrested and charged with "assembling with unlawful banners at an unlawful meeting for the purpose of inciting discontent".

Whilst Joseph was in prison at Lincoln, his young wife became ill and died, the governor of the prison refused permission for him to attend the funeral.

After he was released from prison in March 1831 Joseph spirit was broken and he withdrew from politics.

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Last updated 3rd May 2017