Wednesday, 25 February 2015

25th February 1815: Near riot in Ipswich as threshing-machine breakers are sent to Gaol

The Great White Horse Hotel (formerly Inn) at Ipswich: where the magistrate Sir William Middleton took refuge amidst scenes of near riot. It is now home to a clothing & coffee shop (photo by David Hallam-Jones. cc licence)
On the morning of Saturday 25th February 1815, the 8 or 9 men arrested for breaking threshing machines at Gosbeck 4 days earlier were conveyed to Ipswich Gaol. Two of the men were given bail by the visiting magistrates, and would stand trial at the next Assizes. The rest were committed to Gaol, being unable to afford bail at that time (although by 28th February, they had found bail, and were released).

Accounts as to what occurred afterwards differed between the Bury & Norwich Post and the more local paper, the Ipswich Journal, which differed principally over whether or not objects were thrown (The Bury & Norwich Post having the last word and insisting an onion was thrown, hitting one of the Magistrates).

Both publications agreed that, as they left the Gaol, the officials were surrounded by the general public present & subject to a hostile reception, with Sir William Middleton (the former MP for Ipswich) in particular being a focus of hostility: whilst seven other magistrates slipped away, Middleton was forced to take refuge in the Great White Horse Inn.

The Bury & Norwich Post described a scene outside the Inn as a 'street filled with disorderly people, who stood debating on the Corn Bill till late in the evening'.

Middleton only emerged much later when the crowd had dispersed, at around 10.00 p.m., and then accompanied by an escort of constables, retiring to his residence at Shrubland Hall.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

21st February 1815: 2 Threshing Machines destroyed at Gosbeck, Suffolk

Tuesday 21st February 1815 saw the igniting of a spark in agricultural areas that would consume different parts of East Anglia over the coming months.

At Gosbeck, near Ipswich, 20 labourers collectively destroyed 2 threshing machines and apparently made threats to destroy others. The local magistrates were quick to act to end the disturbance, and 8 or 9 men were arrested.

Friday, 6 February 2015

6th February 1815: George Coldham seeks a trial by Secret Committee for James Towle

Dear Sir,

You knew the arrangement which has made respecting the Prosecutions against Towle a Prisoner confined in the County Gaol that it would be conducted by the Secret Committee here & that in Consideration of it a Sum commensurate to the Expence should be remitted me on that Account etc the time is now approaching to render it expedient that I should prepare for the Assizes I wish to know if you have any wish that the Counsel ordinarily retained for the Crown should have Briefs herein or that I should manage it without any relation to that Circumstance as the Secret Committee may Direct me.

I am Dear Sir Yours very faithfully
George Coldham

Nottingm 6th Febry 1815

[To John Beckett]

Friday, 2 January 2015

2nd January 1815: The funeral of Joanna Southcott

Joanna Southcott's (new) gravestone at St John's Wood burial ground, London. Photo by David Bingham (cc license). See below for more details about this headstone.
An account of Joanna Southcott's funeral appears in many newspapers, but the version below is from the Manchester Mercury of Tuesday 17th January 1815, as it contains some details the others omit. It is important to note the date of the funeral as being Monday 2nd January 1815, as it is often incorrectly stated as taking place on 1st January (even by some scholars).
Burial of the wicked Joanna.

After the dissection on Saturday se’nnight, the body was put in a plain coffin by the Undertaker’s men, in the presence of three Gentlemen. From the putrefaction which had taken place, the smell was most intolerable. In consequence, when the lid was screwed down, pitch was applied to the edges and rim, to confine and prevent the egress of the misserata. While this was performing, the strictest injunctions of secrecy were given to all present. At twelve o'clock on the same night, the crowd having retired from the street, the coffin was carried by four men to Mr. Moore’s, the undertaker, corner of Rathbone place, Oxford-street. Here it remained during Sunday. On Monday afternoon, about two o'clock, it was put into a hearse, drawn by two horses, without the usual ornament of feathers, to favour the belief, had it been recognized, that it did not contain a corpse, but was only going to receive and convey one. The hearse, followed by three gentleman in a coach and pair, then proceeded to Marylebone Upper Burying-ground, near Kilburn, where it was interred; and the usual Church service repeated by the Clergyman. The few people whom curiosity attracted round the grave had not the slightest suspicion that the coffin which was lowering down contained the remains of Joanna Southcott. In fact such precautions were taken, that it was impossible that the secret could prematurely transpire.—It was known to none of her followers, and scarcely to any of her late confidants. The three Gentleman who followed the corpse to the grave were muffled up more than is customary even to mourners: they wore great coats, which were buttoned up to the chin, black cloaks standing high in the collar, handkerchiefs tied round the lower part of the face, and their hats pulled over their eyes. So completely had they succeeded in disguising themselves, that not a feature was visible: they abstained from all conversation, so that the writer of this communication could not recognize their persons. On their road to the place of interment, they were joined by a fourth person, equally well disguised as themselves, and who did not separate from them. This last is conjectured to have been Tozer.
The Morning Post of 16th January 1815 recorded an 'altercation' between the officiating Clergyman at the funeral and William Tozer, one of Southcott's disciplines, having taken place:
Tozer complained the the regular Church Service had not been gone through; the Clergyman replied that the customary prayer for the dead had been read. Tozer said this was not sufficient for so holy a woman and a prophetess! to which the Clergyman replied, that he trusted it would never again be his lot to officiate at the funeral of one who had lived by practising imposture and fraud, uttering blasphemes, and died unrepentant. This severe remark but just silenced Tozer.
The grave at St John's Wood burial ground in London features both an old and new headstone. The old burial stone is recumbent and covers the grave, but is damaged, with most of the original inscription obscured. The stone doesn't seem to have been erected immediately, with newspapers first commenting upon it in May 1815 (in particular the Morning Chronicle of 29th May 1815 which I consulted), nearly 5 months after the funeral. Photos of this stone can be seen here and here.

A much finer tablet was erected in 1828, along the wall of the cemetery directly in front of the old burial stone. Contemporary newspaper articles (the Sheffield Independent of 27th December & York Herald of 18th October 1828) remark that it was made from black marble, edged in white, with gold lettering and stars in silver next to the word 'Sacred' at the top. This headstone was damaged (allegedly by an explosion on a nearby barge carrying gunpowder in 1874), and replaced by the latest one - pictured above - in 1965 by the Panacea Society.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

31st December 1814: John Lee asks the Home Office if they support the prosecution of the former spy, Joseph Taylor

By the end of 1814, time had caught up with the former spy, Joseph Taylor, who had been caught out extorting money from the well-to-do in Lancashire, trading on his usefulness to the government as a spy.

My Lord,

In the Matter of Joseph Taylor.

I have the honour by the directions of the Magistrates here to transmit your Lordship a Statement accompanied by a Copy of the Papers referred to therein, of the Manner in which the above Person obtained divers Sums of Money from several of the Gentleman and Merchants of Rochdale and its Neighbourhood, in order that Government may if thought proper, direct him to be prosecuted at its Expence, conformably to the Wish of the Parties concerned.

I beg to observe to your Lordship that the Quarter Sessions at Manchester commence about the Middle of January next And therefore the Transaction I am now troubling your Lordship with &c demands immediate Attention. As soon as your Lordship shall have obtained the Determination of Government upon this Business I hope to be favoured therewith for the Information and Guidance of the Gentleman here. I trust your Lordship will think with me that Taylor ought not to go unpunished.

I am [etc]
Jno: Lee.
Rochdale Decr 31st 1814.

[To] The Right Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
Secretary of State
&c. &c. &c.

Although the papers are absent from the Home Office files, a cover note from a Home Office clerk to John Beckett of the Home Office written in the New Year follows with a description of the contents of John Lee's letter:

Letter and five Inclosures from Mr. Lee of Rochdale containing an account of Joseph Taylor who was useful during the Disturbances in the north West Districts – This man it appears has been obtaining various Sums of money by making unauthorized use of the name of Sir J Radcliffe &c—That he has imposed upon several reputable Individuals by false Stories & by producing Certificates fraudulently obtained & false lists of Subscriptions & by asserting that he never received any thing from Government for his Services – he has been committed by the magistrates, who wish to know whether Government will prosecute—Will Mr Beckett first send these papers privately to Mr. Hobhouse?

[Home Department] 3d Jany 1815.

John Beckett then forwarded the documents to Henry Hobhouse, the Solicitor to the Treasury, on the same day with the following note:


Mr. Beckett presents his Compliments to Mr Hobhouse & is directed by Lord Sidmouth to transmit for his perusal the several accompanying papers relative to the Conduct of Joseph Taylor, the Person employed during the Disturbances. Mr. Beckett requests that Mr Hobhouse will return them with such remarks as he may see occasion to make.

Home Department
3d January [1815]

31st December 1814: The dissection of Joanna Southcott

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815:

"The following day, a quarter of an hour before the time appointed, I arrived at Mrs. S.’s in order to prepare the body for the operation, but I was not permitted to touch it till the expiration of the hour, hanging as it were with a fond and eager hope to the last moment, in the cherished expectation of her rising again. At the appointed hour of two, the medical gentlemen were punctual in their attendance, viz. Dr. Adams, Dr. Sims; Messrs Taunton, Clarke, Want, Caton, Mathias, Cooke, and several others, whose names I not acquainted with. I then went with some of the disciples to the apartment where the body was lying, and I was surprised to find her exactly in the same situation as when she died, lying in bed, and covered with flannel, with her wearing apparel, rings, and every thing in the same unaltered state. The body was now in such a high degree of putrefaction, that we could not trust to the limbs to convey it, and it was accordingly moved to the table on a sheet. On every thing being in readiness, the attendance of the medical men was requested, who all placed themselves round the table, and behind them stood the disciples smoking tobacco; a proof that they did not consider the prophetess to possess the most savoury odour!

"The disappointment of her disciples on opening of the body, may be better conceived than described. It was strongly depicted in every countenance. Mr. Sharpe was the only one that held out to the rest the balm of consolation. Life, he observed, was involved in mystery. His mind had been so often turned to the investigation of the works of the Deity, to discover evidence for the existence of the soul, that, he was satisfied of the existence of a God and of a soul: that he was in hopes, by this woman, something would be revealed; but now he felt greatly disappointed, and all the he could say was, that he was in the same state with respect to his knowledge of God, as before he saw this woman. The two female attendants, Mrs. Townly and Mrs. Underwood, were inconsolable. They had all pictured to themselves many happy days, the enjoyment of heaven on earth. This sad event, this unexpected change, to suddenly coming upon them, was too much to bear. One of the disciples declared he should turn Unitarian. None condemned her as an impostor—one declared he would ever revere her memory, and once a month visit the spot where she was laid with pious and reverential awe!!!

The Morning Post of the 2nd January published (among others) a declaration by the medical men present about the outcome of the dissection:


We, the undersigned, present at the dissection of Mrs. JOANNA SOUTHCOTT, do certify, that no unnatural appearances were visible, and no part exhibiting any visible appearance of disease sufficient to have occasioned her death; that a number of gall stones were found in the gall bladder, and the intestines were unusually distended with flatus, and no appearance of her ever having been pregnant. The uterus was not distended, enlarged, or diseased, but on the contrary rather smaller than the usual size.

Dr. Reece.
Dr. Sims.
Dr. Adams.
Mr. Clarke.
Mr. Want.
Mr. Cooke.
Mr. Stanhope.
Mr. Caton.
Mr. Phillips.
Mr. Darling.
Mr. Foster.
Mr. Wetherall.
Mr. Santon.
Mr. Wagstaffe.
Mr. Wilkinson.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

30th December 1814: Joanna Southcott's followers remain convinced she will rise from the dead

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815: 

In the course of [Friday] I called again, for the purpose of informing the attendants I would decline opening the body if they would not consent to it on the following day. I saw on this occasion Mr. Sharpe and Col. Harwood, who considered the time would not be expired till the following morning at four o'clock, according to her dying injunctions, making four days from her death: after that time I was at liberty, they said, to open the body. On this I appointed two o'clock next day, when the Colonel informed me he would himself acquaint the Medical Gentleman who were appointed to attend by Mrs. Southcott. He requested to know the names of the Medical Gentleman I intended to introduce, when I gave the names of Messrs. Clarke, Want, Caton, and Maccloud. The disciples in attendance were equally sanguine in the idea of her rising again. She is not dead but sleepeth, seemed to be the opinion of the whole. In performing the dissection, it was requested by Mr. Tozer, that I would conduct it in the same manner as the Cesarian operation, that all hopes of resuscitation might not be destroyed!! To this request I replied, that certainly the same power that could raise a putrid body, could raise one that had been opened. His next request was, that I would take care of the child, for he and all the disciples were fully confident, if Joanna was not raised before opening the body, the child would be found on dissection.

Monday, 29 December 2014

29th December 1814: Dr. Richard Recce is concerned about the remains of Joanna Southcott

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815:

On Thursday I paid another visit to the remains of Joanna. The body was beginning to be offensive, her lips and fingers had assumed a black appearance, but even this change did not shake the faithful of her followers, and I was obliged seriously to address Mr. Sharpe, stating that putrefaction had actually begun to take place, that the warmth employed would accelerate the process, and, if continued, it would be to no purpose to open the body. To this he replied, rather sharply, "do not be uneasy, you will not suffer by it, for depend upon it she will return to the body. My answer was, that if they thought so, they should endeavour to keep it sweet for her reception; for should the ceremony for her marriage in Heaven continue two days longer, the tenement would not be habitable on her return. Well then, said he, the greater will be the miracle. The God that raised up Lazarus will raise her up, and that he would do so, he had not the smallest doubt. The evil, I replied, will in this case find its own remedy, for in two or three days she will stink you all out of the house. Colonel Harwood informed me, that several medical men had called and inspected the body, who agreed in opinion of her being dead, except Dr. Sims, who would not speak decisively, from her warmth, so that even on the question of death we could not agree.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

28th December 1814: Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin visits Garnerin's 'Phantasmagoria' in London

By Wednesday 28th December 1814, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was back in London, after returning from her elopement to the continent with Percy Shelley in September. Aged 17, she was 5 months pregnant and, at that point, estranged from her father, and lived with Shelley, as yet unmarried.

Her journals for the 28th December record an outing that night that seems likely to have later have played a part in influencing her first novel, which she would begin 18 months later:
[Shelley & I]—go to Garnerin's lecture—on Electricity—the gasses—& the Phantasmagoria
'Phantasmagoria' was the name given to an exhibition of optical illusions via a magic lantern, a relatively new but very popular form of entertainment. It had also already come to mean a series of real or imaginary images experienced in a dream, or fever-like state. It was also the name of a French collection of German ghost stories, translated by Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès, which Byron would read to Mary, Shelley and others 18 months later at the villa Diodati.

Garnerin was André-Jacques Garnerin, a pioneering French balloonist & parachutist, with a now lesser-know sideline in this kind of show. A front-page advert in the classified section of The Times of the preceding day announced his show:
THEATRE of GRAND PHILOSOPHICAL RECREATIONS.—The Professor GARNERIN has the honour to inform the Nobility and Gentry, that in consequence of his engagements at Covent-garden, his Theatre will be open this week, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and he hopes to merit the approbation of his numerous visitors, by his new experiments on the Electricity, Gas, Aerostation, Fantasmagoria, &c. The performance begins at 7 o'clock. Spring-gardens room.
An advert for the show in the 19th January 1815 edition of the Times promised, in addition to the above, that Garnerin would "make the experiment of Johanna Southcott's Resurrection." Southcott was still featuring in April 1815, with an advert in the Morning Post of 17th April mentioning her and detailing 'Experiments of Electricity' featuring "the Electric Dance, Delineation of a Thunderbolt, Fire produced from Water, and Imitations of the Aurora Borealis."

Saturday, 27 December 2014

27th December 1814: The death of Joanna Southcott

Joanna Southcott, as depicted by William Sharp in a print of an engraving from 1812. Sharp was a former radical turned millenarian convert & disciple of Southcott, one or her 'elect' or inner circle.

The death of Joanna Southcott was publicly announced in several newspapers, one of the earliest being the Morning Chronicle of Wednesday 28th December 1814. Their article was picked up by the Leeds Mercury of 31st December, and that version is published below:


"SIR—As you desired to be present at Mrs. Southcott’s accouchment, had it taken place, as was then expected; the friends consider it as their duty to inform you and all the medical gentlemen who had that intention, that to all appearance she died this morning exactly as the clock struck four.

"Care is taken to preserve warmth in the body as she directed; and it is the wish of the friends that you will see her in her present state.


"38, Manchester-street, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 1814.

"To Dr. R. Reece."


"SIR—Agreeably to your request, I send a messenger to acquaint you that Joanna Southcott died this morning, precisely at four o'clock. The believers in her mission, supposing that the vital functions are only suspended for a few days, will not permit me to open the body until some symptom appears which may destroy all hopes of resuscitation.―I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


"Piccadilly, Dec. 27, 1814."

As Mrs. Southcott’s believers are of opinion she has only gone into a trance (which she predicted twenty years ago), and that she will be delivered of Shiloh in four days, we shall (says The Sunday Monitor) on Sunday next be able to communicate further particulars.

Messrs. Wetherall, Adams, and Kent, were present when she breathed her last, as were Miss Townley, Ann Underwood, the housekeeper and Mr. Smith, one of those she determined her seven elect. The last words she was heard distinctly to utter were, "Oh England! England!"

The faith of the believers is now stretched to its utmost capacity. To imagine that a living virgin at sixty five would produce a son was pretty well! but to believe, firmly and steadfastly, that a dead virgin, beyond the grand climacteric, will return to life to become the mother of a living Shiloh, implies a stretch of credulity that stands unparalleled in the annals of fanatical delusion!

Number 38 Manchester Street, Marylebone in June 2014 (from Google Street View). The address at which Southcott lived up until her death.

Friday, 26 December 2014

26th December 1814: A report about the ailing Joanna Southcott

The Leeds Intelligencer of Monday 26 December 1814 published an update on the ailing Joanna Southcott:


The extravagant and degrading folly of Joanna Southcott’s tribe is likely to be soon at an end, so far as such fools can be cured of their absurdity. The Priestess herself is about, as we understand, to drop her trade. Shiloh has not come, and no period could be chosen more suitable than the present one of disappointment for a general closing of the Firm. The report is, that the miserable old Woman herself is dying. We are yet unacquainted whether this be true, or whether it is not a new trick to smooth over the deception in a way, which leaving the imposture sufficiently undecided, for at least the vulgar roguery of her followers, may give room for new visions, and new practices on the public credulity. The whole business has been eminently disgusting, and we think, serious blame attaches to those in whose province the protection of public order naturally falls, for suffering this indecency and crime to go so far. We live in a Christian country; the spirit of the Religion is deeply mingled with the whole frame of our Civil Society; the law is made strong as well for the protection of feebleness and ignorance against low delusion, as against the more palpable violences that may derange the general system. We have a provision of Law expressly directed against impostures on our Religion. Why were they not put in force while such vagrants as Mr. Towzer and his coadjutors were holding forth in the face of the Police. It is a mere evasion to say, that the delusion would come to an end. It was not the less culpable and those who permitted it to take a single step towards the diffusion which it obtained. Why is the law put in force against the impostor who tricks a silly chambermaid out of sixpence for selling her fortune? And yet a delusion, so palpably gross and revolting as not to allow a moment’s doubt in any rational mind of its being a legitimate object of prevention and punishment, was suffered to spread to its full extent, and is now likely to be restrained only by the death of the wretched creature who lent herself to its vileness. Joanna Southcott's whole system was one continued course of grievous blasphemy, scarcely less guilty in those who allowed, than in those to whom it was made a source of profit. The profit was however immense, and the Magistracy would not do unwisely to clear their name of the possible imputation.

The above we have extracted from a respectable London print. The Believers here, however, are all on the alert. Mr. George Turner, (who is, we fancy, the High Priest, at Leeds,) received the following letter on Friday, from the Secretary of Joanna Southcott:

"I have the satisfaction to inform you, that our dear Joanna began to revive on Monday: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, she appeared dying; her pulse at 8, and Dr. Reece said she could not live over Monday, therefore he was very much surprised to find on that day her pulse rose, and otherways better. Yesterday she said, "What will the Doctor say now?" Mr. Westerhill said she had pains that indicated approaching labour, but he could draw no judgement how soon. The life of the child is strong. I have no time to add more, than kind love to yourself, Mr Hurst, sen. and all friends, and remain your’s faithfully in the work of the Lord;


Dec. 21, 1814.
Numerous Christmas presents too, were sent by the Union Coach, from this place, on Thursday, so as to arrive in town for Joanna's Christmas-Day Dinner.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

21st December 1814: The death of the prisoner John Baines the elder

'Hulks in Portsmouth Harbour' by Thomas Christopher Hofland, c.1830. The Halifax prisoners were held in ships similar to these at the adjoining harbour at Langstone, immediately to the east of Portsmouth
On Wednesday 21st December 1814, John Baines the elder, one of the 5 men from from Halifax found guilty at the York Special Commission of administering illegal oaths, died on board a prison hulk in Langstone harbour, Portsmouth.

Baines was the third prisoner of the 7 who were sentenced to transportation at York to die since arriving on the south coast. John Lumb had died in an accident within 6 weeks of arrival, and Baines' own son, also called John, had died earlier in the year, in March 1814.

Like with his son, the prison hulk register is the only source of information about Baines' fate, and the cause of death is not recorded there. He would have been aged around 67-68 at the time. Given his age, Baines had done well to survive for almost 2 years - his son was aged only about 35 when he died, and the prison hulks were notorious for their poor conditions.

At this time point, none of the prisoners sentenced to transportation at the York Special Commission had actually been deported.

It is not known where Baines' remains are buried.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

20th December 1814: Lancashire Calico Masters call for the disbanding of the Journeymen's Union

Dog-Tavern, Manchester, 20th Dec. 1814.


AN ADDRESS from the MASTER CALICO PRINTERS in Lancashire and the Counties adjacent, approved of at a General Meeting held here this day.

THE Masters sincerely regret, that the conciliatory sentiments which they earnestly submitted to the Journeymen, by the printed Resolutions of the 22d March last, were not embraced; and, that the recent proceedings of the latter evince a determination to carry their unnatural system of controul to every possible extent.

If the blind selfishness of this spirit were not checked, the ruin of those who act upon it, as well as of their employers, must be the certain result — The trade itself would be forced into those countries where combinations do not exist, and where it will be left to the natural and genial influence of freedom.

It is notorious, that foreign competition is daily gaining ground; and if the English Printers remain inactive, or are not permitted the free exercise of their own discretion, they and the articifers they employ, with their numerous families, depending upon this branch of business, will inevitably become martyrs to the unlawful and extravagant claims and restrictions of the Journeyman, whilst others are enjoying the fruits of that ingenuity, and of those exertions, to which the establishment and improvement of the trade are so essentially indebted.

Under the increased and increasing pressure of these evils, the Masters were impelled to associate. They know that the interests of themselves and their servants are completely identified. They seek no reduction in the established rate of wages, and they are perfectly disposed to give employment to such of the Journeymen as are desirous of conducting themselves faithfully, and of submitting to the conditions which are indispensable to the well-being and prosperity of all trade. If any individuals yet obstinately refuse, their object will be decided, and they must sustain the consequence. The services of such men cannot be of any value, and they will not afterwards be accepted.

The CONDITIONS alluded to are these, viz.

They are to withdraw themselves entirely from all combinations to controul or restrict their employers, and engage not to be concerned in them for the future. They are to do all such work as may be offered to them in their several capacities, without attempting to interfere as to the kind or number of hands employed, or the machines used; they are to conform to the rules prescribed for the preservation of order and regularity in the works of their masters. They are to be subject to abatements for spoiled or imperfect work, not exceeding in any case the wages paid for the work done upon goods so damaged, except only in evident instances of malicious or wanton injury. And they are also, before they can be received, to sign a declaration in the form subjoined:
"I, A.B. do hereby declare, that I do not, nor will hereafter, belong to any combination, which has for its object the controul or restriction, in any way whatever, of my employers, in the free exercise or management of their business, nor will I, individually, attempt any such controul or restriction, but will, to the best of my ability, do such work as may be offered to me, in my capacity of <blank> during my service with <blank> and in all other respects conduct myself faithfully therein."

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

3rd December 1814: Joanna Southcott's health deteriorates


Official Bulletin.—A material alteration has taken place within the last three days, in Mrs. Southcott’s situation.

On Thursday night, she complained of a great oppression insomuch that she could not lay down in her bed, nor be in one posture, but a very short time together during the night.

On Friday morning, she got some sleep, but waked frequently with the oppression and pain. Towards the evening she became restless again, had a very bad night, and this day, (Saturday) is so much exhausted, that she cannot keep her head off the pillow. She complains of a giddiness in her head, and extreme faintness all over her. She declares that she feels the animation within much stronger during these last three days than usual; sickness and pain continue, but not those pains that tend to any effectual good; only general pains all over her.

This is the state she is in at present; some change must soon take place, according to all human understanding, as she still continues without taking nourishment, except the wine, which does not remain long on her stomach. The sleep she has during the day, seems to be her only support.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

2nd December 1814: The government charges Charles Sutton with a 'criminal information' for libel

Around Friday 2nd December 1814, the proprietor of the Nottingham Review, Charles Sutton, was charged by the Attorney General with a 'criminal information' for libel for the satirical letter from 'General Ludd' published in the paper in October. The government had clearly decided that it had enough suitable evidence to try Sutton and he would face trial at the next Nottingham Assizes.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

29th November 1814: The Times newspaper automates their printing operation

The Tuesday morning 29th November 1814 edition of The Times was the first one printed using the new automated steam-powered printing press designed & built by Friedrich König & Andreas Bauer of Würzburg, Germany. The editorial waxed lyrical about the new machine:


Our Journal of this day presents to the public the practical result of the greatest improvement connected with printing, since the discovery of the art itself. The reader of this paragraph now holds in his hand, one of the many thousand impressions of The Times newspaper, which were taken off last night by a mechanical apparatus. A system of machinery almost organic has been devised and arranged, which, while it relieves the human frame of its most laborious efforts in printing, far exceeds all human powers in rapidity and dispatch. That the magnitude of the invention may be justly appreciated by its effects, we shall inform the public, that after the letters are placed by the compositors, and enclosed in what is called the form, little more remains for man to do, than to attend upon, and watched this unconscious agent in its operations. The machine is then merely supplied with paper: itself places the form, inks it, adjusts the paper to the form newly inked, stamps the sheet, and gives it forth to the hands of the attendant, at the same time withdrawing the form for a fresh coat of ink, which itself again distributes, to meet the ensuing sheet now advancing for impression; and the whole of these complicated acts is performed with such a velocity and simultaneousness of movement, that no less than eleven hundred sheets are impressed in one hour.

That the completion of an invention of this kind, not the effect  of chance, but the result of mechanical combinations methodically arranged in the mind of the artist, should be attended with many obstructions and much delay, may be readily admitted. Our share in this event has, indeed, only been the application of the discovery, under an agreement with the Patentees, to our own particular business; yet few can conceive,—even with this limited interest,—the various disappointments and deep anxiety to which we have for a long course of time been subjected.

Of the person who made this discovery, we have but little to add. Sir CHRISTOPHER WREN'S noblest monument is to be found in the building which he erected; so is the best tribute of praise, which we are capable of offering to the inventor of the Printing Machine, comprising in the preceding description, which we have feebly sketched, of the powers and utility of his invention. It must suffice to say father, that he is a Saxon by birth; that his name is KŒNIG; and that the invention has been executed under the direction of his friend and countryman BAUER

Four days later, another editorial seemed rather more defensive and made it clear that the print workers were less than happy about some of their number losing their jobs to the new machine:

We are at length able to meet the complaints of our customers with a confidence in our capacity to remove the cause of them,—to meet their increasing demands with an assurance that we shall be able to fulfil them. The Machine of which we announced the discovery and our adoption a few days ago, has been whirling on its course ever since, with improving order, regularity, and even speed. The length of the debates on Thursday, the day when Parliament was adjourned, will have been observed: on such an occasion, the operation of composing and printing the last page must commence among all the journals at the same moment; and starting from that moment, we, with our infinitely superior circulation, were enabled to throw off our whole impression many hours before the other respectable rival prints. The accuracy and clearness of the impression will likewise excite attention. Till Parliament, therefore, shall be again assembled, there will exist no reason why the public in any part of the metropolis should wait for the The Times Journal longer than eight o'clock.

We should make no reflections upon those by whom this wonderful discovery has been opposed,—the doubters and unbelievers,―however uncharitable they may have been to us, were it not that the efforts of genius are always impeded by drivellers of this description; and that we owe it to such men as Mr. KŒNIG and his Friend, and all future promulgators of beneficial inventions, to warn them that they will have to contend with every thing that selfishness and conceited ignorance can devise or say; and if we cannot clear their way before them, we would at least give them notice to prepare a panoply against its dirt and filth.

There is another class of men from whom we receive dark and anonymous threats of vengeance, if we persevere in the use of this machine. These are the Pressmen. They well know, or at least should well know, that such menace is thrown away upon us. There is nothing that we will not do to assist and serve those whom we have discharged. They themselves see the greater rapidity and precision with which the paper is printed. What right have they to make us print it slower and worse for their supposed benefit? A little reflection, indeed, would shew them, that it is neither in their power nor in our’s to stop a discovery now made, if it is beneficial to mankind; or to force it down, if it is useless. They had better, therefore, acquiesce in a result which they cannot alter; more especially as there will still be employment enough for the old race of pressmen, before the new method obtains general use, and no new ones may be brought up to the business: but we caution them seriously against involving themselves and their families in ruin, by becoming amenable to the laws of their country. It has always been matter of great satisfaction to us to reflect, that we encountered and crushed one conspiracy: we should be sorry to find our work half done.

It is proper to undeceive the world in one particular; that is, as to the number of hands discharged. We, in fact, employ only eight fewer workmen than formerly; whereas more than three times that number have been engaged for a year and an half in building the machine.

The Leeds Intelligencer of 12th December 1814 quoted a recent edition the Stamford Mercury which revealed that the machine had cost The Times "upwards of £8,000", but that the newspaper had saved £25 per week for each 'pressman' it had replaced.

The König & Bauer company that the two inventors formed 3 years later still exists, & today their machines print most of the world's banknotes.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

19th November 1814: Joanna Southcott leaves directions as to what should happen if she dies

Saturday Evening, Nov 19, 1814.—Joanna sent for Dr. Reece, and gave him directions what he is to do; in case she should die, she wishes him to examine (open) her body, to ascertain the cause of her feelings for these last nine months. On the other hand, she puts her life into the hands of Mr. Wetherell to deliver her; if he wish for any assistance, it is her will, no one should be permitted to try a pain but Dr. Reece; and in case she should appear as dead for three or four days, that no force should be used to extricate the child, but to leave her according to the directions given by the Spirit to be kept as warm as possible till there is a visible change take place either in life, or that actual death has taken place to the full satisfaction of her friends.


The above was signed by Joanna Southcott in the presence of, and witnessed by Dr. Richard Reece, and four of her friends.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

11th November 1814: The Hosier William Woodcock reports to the Home Office about spies & informers amongst Framework-knitters & Luddites

Mansfield 11th November 1814.


Several months elapsed after your Communication of the eighteenth of February last before I could engage a fit Person to ascertain the facts pointed out in your Letter. I discovered that there was only one Society at mansfield and at length procured a Copy of their Rules which had no essential variance from the printed Rules of the Nottingham Societies before obtained by me I found also that the Society had ten pounds deposited in the mansfield Bank in the names of two of their numbers and that their Secretary had in his hands about six pounds more the six pounds has since been sent to two of the Societies at Nottingham and the mansfield numbers have divided the six Pounds amongst themselves at this time they were gradually putting [off] from the Society which has now altogether ceased to meet. The weekly Collection of money from the Journeyman (whether members or not of the Societies) is also discontinued.

In the year 1811 and man who had been guilty of many acts of framebreaking confessed those to me in order to procure his protection. I took his Confession before a magistrate and have ever since been in correspondence with him – finding that Nottingham and its immediate neighbourhood was likely to be the Scene of Depredation I recommended him to get better acquainted with the Framebreakers there which he did – but as he informed me that the Call made by these men on their Companions to the Commission of any mischief was frequently very sudden allowing no time to give me notice I made him known to Mr Coldham of Nottingham and am glad to find that he gave Mr Coldham notice of the late atrocity at New Basford when he was of the Party. I have seen this man a few days since – he says some of the Nottingham Framebreakers have proposed destroying Frames at Mansfield

I shall have notice of their Attempts and further Situation of the objectionable Frames I trust there will be little Chance of the Depredators escaping.

I am
Your most obedient humble Servant
Wm Woodcock

[To] J. Beckett Esq.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

5th November 1814: Joanna Southcott writes to the press to decry a hoax letter


The following letter appeared in the Observer of Sunday last, and made a considerable impression on the believers of Joanna's mission. It is however clear from the subsequent letters of Mrs. Southcott, which we also subjoin, that the letter purporting to be signed J. Towzer, is a complete forgery.

"Having been requested by Joanna to acknowledge her former wicked errors,—I have therefore, on the part of Joanna, respectfully and with sincere contrition to state, that for some considerable time past she has been in a state of delirium, but at length having become, as it were, herself again, being now calm and collected, and fearing that she is approaching to her latter end, hereby renounces all the wicked incantations of her former distempered brain; and she hopes that a generous public will forget the impositions and errors that she has of late endeavoured to impose upon their understanding. And she further hopes, that all good christians will not only forgive, but will fervently join in her prayers to the Almighty, for a forgiveness of her late blasphemous doctrines, and past sins.


To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.

SIR,―As a point of common honesty I desire that you will insert this from me as a reparation for the injury intended against my character, by the infamous forgery which you suffered to be copied from The Observer into your paper of this day, signed "J. Towzer." the purport of which was, that I had authorized it to be drawn up, to acknowledge my having imposed upon the public, and that I now renounced the whole of my visitation. In all what I have done and published to the world my conscience accuses me of nothing to renounce, and therefore leaving my cause to God, who hath directed me in the course I have hitherto pursued, I shall persevere in that course, to the confusion of my enemies, who falsely accuse me of imposture and incantations, whereby they themselves become imposters and deceivers, to mislead the unwary.

As you, Mr Editor, were so ready to exult in the insertion of the article above mentioned, supposing, no doubt, that it was genuine, I rely upon your candour, with the same readiness to announce to the public how you were imposed upon by that vile forgery.


From the Leeds Mercury of Saturday 5th November 1814

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

29th October 1814: The Nottingham solicitor, Louis Allsop, reports that he has entrapped Charles Sutton

29th Oct. 1814.—

My Lord.—

I entertain a strong hope, that my Letter to Mr. Addington will have rendered an explanation sufficiently Satisfactory, to induce your Lordship to think, that the paper purchased by Mr Cartledge, can be made legal Evidence; I have hitherto been unsuccessful in purchasing a paper, from Mr Sutton's Agents at Castle Donington & Loughborough; upon looking into the Question respecting the proof of the publishing &c in case of libel &c it occurred to me that I might still accomplish what We wanted through the Medium of the Stamp Distributor, Mr. George Smith; I accordingly applied to him, & learnt that Sutton was in arrears several Weeks & had not signed the papers for this period as required by the Act 38 Geo 3d c 78; I therefore consulted with Mr Smith, & we decided that his clerk, who was in the habit of getting the papers signed, should take such as remained unsigned, of which the paper of the 14th was one, to Sutton & procure his Signature thereto; this, after one or two attempts was accomplished; Sutton Signed the paper in Mr Smiths Clerks presence, & he immediately brought it back, with the others, to the office, where I was waiting for him, & in my presence, & without having parted with the possession, he wrote at the bottom of the Sheets close to Sutton’s Signature to the following effect—"28th Oct. 1814, saw Mr Charles Sutton sign this paper which he delivered to me immediately"

"Mr Shelton.—"

We sealed the paper up in a Cover, which Shelton & I signed. I now sincerely trust, We have him safe beyond all doubt. If your Lordship decides upon proceedings agt. Mr Sutton I trust your Lordship will excuse the Liberty I take in recommending your Lordship, to order the leading Counsel on the Circuit to be retained, & also in proper time to secure a Special Jury, & to have the Trial take place in the County & not in the Town of Nottm.—

I have [etc]
L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth