The Manchester Mercury was founded by Joseph Harrop in 1752. Harrop was a printer, bookseller and publisher in Manchester. The newspaper never sold in large numbers and Harrop had a reputation for stealing articles from other newspapers.
Joseph Harrop also published books and in 1764 he gave away a free copy of the 778 page A New History of England to every subscriber of The Manchester Mercury. When Joseph Harrop died in 1804, his son James became the new owner and editor of the newspaper. James, like his father, was a Tory who strongly disapproved of parliamentary reform. It is believed that Joseph Harrop wrote the account of the Peterloo Massacre that appeared on 17th August, 1819.
The Manchester Mercury ceased publication in 1830.
About twelve o'clock, Mr. Clayton, the Boroughreeve, followed by, I should think, four or five hundred special constables, came into the midst of the multitude: at first, there was a considerable pressure upon them by the crowd, but an admonitory cry of 'order, order!' having been raised by some of the leaders, it speedily abated, and in a few minutes, the special constables seemed no more an object of particular notice than any other persons present. They formed themselves into two continuous lines, which reached from the waggon outwards towards a gentleman's house on the south side of St. Peter's Field, which commanded a view of the whole scene, and in which, I was informed, the Magistrates had taken up their station.