Wednesday, 23 April 2014

23rd April 1814: The solicitor Louis Allsop tells the Reverend Becher about his plans to employ a spy among framework-knitters

22 April 1814.
Friday Evening

My Dr Sir

I could not possibly reply to your Letter received Yesterday Afternoon by the return of the post. I shall have great pleasure in rendering to You personally any Assistance in my power respecting the Frame-breakers.

The persons who have established the Society we conversed about, when last I saw You; They whom You allude to, as invested with the power & actuated by the Will to preserve the peace of this County will do me the Credit to believe that they can command my Services at any time. But I am apprehensive, you estimate my Services too highly; unconnected as I am officially with the Magistrates, & those persons who have been actively employed in the Investigation of the proceedings before referred to, I am not in the Way of meeting with proper people to be employed in the Discovery of the Mischief, & before I could form the opinion which a discreet man ought to do, it would be necessary for me to know more of those I should employ, than I can possibly do; my Maxim is not to engage to do more than I can perform, and with all then upon a first Communication I am anxious to come to a full Explanation; with this understanding I am quite at your Service. There are certain Individuals in this place, who possess both the means & Inclination to get at the bottom of the proceedings. I have been in the habit of advising with them most confidentially for a considerable time & I have occupied the whole of this morning in a Communication with them & in directing their attention the Investigation of the Society, We spoke about; They have now allowed me the Liberty to mention their names. They are fully alive to the Extent & Danger of the Mischief; we much wanted a Set of the printed Resolutions of the Club, you had when in Nottingham, and if I am not successful in getting a Set (which I have reason to expect) I must beg of You to procure a Copy, & forward to me here. I explained to these gentleman the Substance of the Resolutions, as far as I cd. remember from the hasty perusal I had of them, and my impression thereof—We all agreed as to three of the parties, the same three I named to You, and the probability of the fourth, one only doubt respecting him being that the rest would not trust him—the men agree too, in my Suggestion that the Constitution of this Club is founded upon the Methodist System of Wesley, & this particularly struck one of my Friends as a convincing proof that Latham who is a Methodist was one; many Circumstances came out on comparing our Sentiments, to corroborate each other, not worth while troubling You or myself with—It appears to us quite evident that the principal Actors are in Nottingham and that a person, if possible, shod. be immediately procured to go amongst them, one was thought of, his name not mentioned, but some Circumstances about him came out, which induced me to think he is the same from whom you obtained the Information you stated to me at Nottingham; it was settled that We should obtain Information from Hodgson the printer, by those who could approach him in all of the Meetings & the names of the parties who usually attended at a public house in Glasshouse Lane. The parties suspected and most difficult to watch, as their time appears to be occupied very much in observing the Actions of those whose Intents or Duty they fancy, are in opposition to them. There is a regular communication with these people in Sheffield, where the Workmen have struck & it would be desirable to obtain Information therefrom. Lord Sidmouths attention should be directed to this, & to the propriety of examining at the post office here & that the different places where Committees of this Society are established, the Letters, as some may by chance be sent in that Way, tho’ they doubtless communicate by the Coaches & by private hands. a great difficulty is, what can afterwards be done; Lord S must consider whether the Magistrates have sufft power to seize these people & their papers, if not, such power ought to be given by Parliament, as well as the punishment made greater than the Law deems now to inflict upon persons guilty of unlawful Combinations—The most desirable thing would be to get at the main Springs, because while these Fellows remain untouched, altho’ the minor agents may be punished, the Hydra will always spring up again & particularly as these men are living entirely at the expense of the Society—an opportunity presented itself to me this Evening of making an Enquiry of Hodgson the printer, he printed 5000 of the papers, for which he was paid about 25£ he was employed by a Man of the name of Simpson, Kings place Woolpack Lane—it is my Intention in the Morning, if I can get time, to enquire who this Simpson is; tho’ I understand Hodgson has communicated these matters to some of the County Magistrates—I have this day heard that Latham has been travelling about the Country lately, and has been at Daventry.

Saturday evening

I have not had an Opportunity to obtain Information this day, Hodgson has been twice at Simpsons who is from home, but says he can see on Monday Morning however You had better send me a Copy of the Rules, in Case Simpson shod. refuse to let Hodgson have them—I hear that Latham has been at Tewkesbury.

I am
Mr D Sir
Most sincly Yrs

L. Allsopp

[To] Revd J T Becher

23rd April 1814: The Duke of Montrose reassures Francis Raynes about the possibility of a reward

Two years after the height of the Luddite disturbances in the West Riding, Francis Raynes was still pursuing a reward for his services to the government. He was still with the Stirlingshire Militia, although he was apparently suffering from illnesses contracted whilst on military service in the middle east (fever - most likely malaria). Leave of absence being continually refused, he had taken up his case with the commanding officer of the militia, the Duke of Montrose:

London, 23d April, 1814.


I received your letter, and spoke to Lord Sidmouth on the subject of your expectations. He assured me that he was as anxious about it, as if you were in a regiment that he commanded, or was more clearly connected with him, and that it should not escape his recollection. I really believe he means that something should be done for you; but I fear and believe he has difficulty in finding that something.—You may rest assured that I shall be glad to serve you, and to state your pretensions, though I cannot pledge myself for what Government will do, or when.

I remain, with esteem, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

23rd April 1814: Simon Orgill attacks the Nottingham Review's report about the raid on his factory



Not doubting but that you will give a much injured man the opportunity of defending his character against an attack made on it in a weekly publication, viz. the Nottingham Review of last week, I have presumed to solicit the admission of the following into your highly respectable paper. After having named the attack made upon me and my property, he tells his readers he was at Donington when this violent outrage was committed; he was, but why he was there is best known to himself, about this I make no enquiry. He then proceeds to narrate the particulars, which he has done with a tolerable degree of accuracy, except in one instance, where he says one machine is but slightly injured; in this he is much mistaken; the injury having been done with a broad, thin, and sharp instrument, was not so apparent. Not content with having done this, he proceeds by an hypothetical Inuendo to assign a reason why this dreadful Evil was inflicted on me, and which it is impossible to construe into any thing short of an apology for the perpetrators. He accuses me, or rather says I have been accused, of paying less wages than are paid at Nottingham. This is false; I assert, without fear of refutation, that for one kind of work I pay more by 10 per cent, than they do. He then goes on to say, that I justify myself by pleading superior speed in my machinery. I ask who has accused me, and to whom have I set up this justification; I owe obedience to none but to my country and its laws,―against them I am unconscious of having transgressed: I am accountable to no man nor set of men for the manner in which I conduct my own affairs, nor will I ever be called to an account by them. This writer proceeds to give a direct invitation to the persons now in my employment, and assures to them plenty of work elsewhere. How kind!!! It is not enough that my life must be attempted and my property destroyed, but this insidious attempt must be made to prevent me from repairing the damages; but on this score I trust he will now be satisfied.

The miscreants who have visited me with their vengeance, have added ingratitude to the black catalogue of their crimes. But perhaps they do not know it. I will tell them; and I believe I shall not be charged with vanity or Egotism when I say, that it is to me that they owe all the facilities of which the warp frames are now capable. After considerable study, and considerable expence too, I discovered the mode of applying wheels to the common horizontal warp frame; this discovery I gave up to the trade without reward, or hope of reward. For the truth of this statement I appeal to William Vickers, Broad-marsh, and to Mr. Smith, framesmith. How well I am recompensed, the Editor of the Review can tell.

Yours, most respectfully,

Monday, 21 April 2014

21st April 1814: Threatening letter sent to a Tewkesbury Hosier, James Kingsbury


April 21, 1814.


As you have made your self so troublesome, as to solicit the hosiers to take the advance of one shilling per doz. of the hose, I think it will be an act not inconsistent to Reason and Justice, if the Stockingers be rather troublesome to you since you have behaved in the manner you have―and take notice from the date hereof, that if you do not advance the work in seven days; you may depend upon receiving the contents of a pistol.

From what we have said you may reply on as true. So help we God to perform what we have promised.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

[After] 19th April 1814: Threatening letter sent to a Leicester Hosier, James Rawson

[After 19th April 1814 – date of meeting alluded to]

James Rawson

We here declare that your life shall pay the forfit of your conduct, on tuesday last at the Exchange, and at the committee since your commencing Overseer of the poor. there is not a greater Villain in existence. than you. are. We, shall. set no. time but. take opertunity as it serves. you may perhaps evade it. for a time but we shall. be warey. and sure. for our resolution. is not to be shaken. A committee is appointed. and your most secret. movement. are obsrved.

19th April 1814: Further Leicester Hosiers meeting delays decision on wages

At a Meeting of the Hosiers held this day at the Exchange, Mr. SAMUEL COLTMAN, in the Chair, it is resolved unanimously.

1st. That although an advance of wages is highly desirable, the Manufacturers present are not sufficiently numerous to decide upon it.

2d. That a General Meeting of the Hosiers be held on Tuesday, the 21st June, at the Exchange, at three o’clock, when it is hoped that the situation of the Manufactory will be more favourable to an advance in wages than the present time.

3d. That the thanks of the Meeting be given to the Chairman.

Leicester, April 19th, 1814.

19th April 1814: The Reverend Becher asks a Nottingham solicitor to recruit a spy

London New [illegible]
19 April 1814

My dear Sir

Since my conversation with you upon the system of organization prevailing among the inferior Mechanics in the County of Nottingham, it has [devolved] upon me to confer with those invested with the power; &, fortunately, for us, actuated by disposition to preserve the peace of the County.

I have ventured to mention your name at the Office of a man of acknowledged fidelity & discretion; and I am authorised to apply to you for any useful communication which may have reached you since we separated.—If your disposition to [sour] the public will induce you to direct your attention to the investigation of the prevailing offences any reasonable allowance will be made to such private Informer as you may find it necessary to employ for the purpose of discovering the extent of the mischief projected, as well as the principal person concerned in the revival of frame breaking and the dangerous confederacy which is now so industriously promoted—meanwhile my personal endeavours shall not be wanting.—

I need scarcely add that I shall be glad to hear from you at your earliest convenience and to receive a full statement of your sentiments.—

I am &c &c
J. T. Beecher

To Lewis Allsop Esq. Nottingham.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Luddite John Hill is lost to us again, just as we thought we'd found him

'JH' - but not John Hill - the enigmatic gravestone at Greetland
Back in March, I wrote about how research by local historian Andrew Howson and myself had led us to contact Greetland Methodist Church officials to try to ensure that they looked into whether the remains of a Luddite hanged at York, John Hill, were buried in a plot there which was marked marked with an enigmatic gravestone (see picture above) bearing his initials.

This was only possible because the graveyard was being cleared in preparation for development on the site. Andrew's research into church records, combined with my publication of documents on this website, made it clear that Hill was buried at Greetland on 20th January 1813, within 4 days of his execution, and that the famous Methodist Thomas Jackson had signed the burial records, despite claims in Jackson's own biography that he prevented Luddite burials from taking place there.

Officials at Greetland Methodist Church, in particular Geoff Butler, took this research seriously, and applied for licenses to exhume the 'JH' grave plot, with archaeologists undertaking the excavation and other experts being employed to determine if the remains had injuries consistent with hanging.

In the meantime, Andrew and I determined that Hill's wife and child had died and been buried at Greetland within only a few years of Hill himself - on 16th April 1816 & 28th July 1816 respectively. Further research from Andrew determined the names that the patriarchal style of the burial records omitted - Hill's wife was originally called Susannah Fleeming, and had married Hill on Christmas Day 1810, and had died aged 26, while their daughter, Ann, was born 6 months before the Luddite uprisings in the West Riding on 28th September 1811 and died aged only 5.

There was therefore a very real prospect that Susannah and Ann had been buried with John, in the same plot.

So it was with much disappointment that I was informed by Geoff Butler yesterday that the remains found in the 'JH' plot at Greetland did not match what we had hoped would be found: instead, the grave contained the remains of a man and a woman aged over 60 years of age, and the remains of a small child up to 1 year of age.

Where is John Hill? Well, we know that he is buried somewhere in the graveyard at Greetland, but clearly not in a marked plot. The 'JH' gravestone was the only plot with a headstone that was a likely candidate. The church's own recording of the gravestones do not yield evidence that any other graves may contain John and his family. It's possible that his remains may be uncovered as work progresses on the wider site, and Geoff Butler has given me assurances that those doing the work will be alert to any remains uncovered. We can only hope that the remains of John, Susannah and Ann are located in this way.

The likelihood of a burial in an unmarked plot fits in with the fact that the latter day Methodist church was acutely embarrassed that members of its congregation were in any way connected with Luddism and the disturbances in the West Riding. In this way, Thomas Jackson wrote in his biography six decades after the burial of Hill that he had prevented the burial of Luddites (read the extract after the 'read more' link below). Strangely, Dr John Hargreaves is quoted in an article in the Yorkshire Post today saying that it's possible that Jackson's vain lies are the truth, despite the documentary evidence & primary sources that he has seen - found by amateur historians - that prove Hill's burial at Greetland & the fact that Jackson knew this had taken place.

Happily, Geoff Butler has confirmed that the current Methodist Church at Greetland is keen to remember John Hill in a more permanent way on the site, even if his remains can never be found.

15th April 1814: The Trial of Major Gordon, for murder

On Friday 15th April 1812, Major Gordon of the Second Dragoon Guards, the former commander of the forces stationed at Huddersfield during the Luddite disturbances there, was tried for murder. An account of his trial is below.


On Thursday, the 14th ult. at the General Sessions of the Peace, held for the Town and Port of Sandwich, and its liberties, before Richard Emmerson, jun. Esq. Mayor, Wm. Fuller Boteler, Esq. Recorder, and a Bench of Magistrates, a bill of indictment was preferred against Major Gordon, of the 2d Dragoon Guards, for the murder of George Gregory, a private in the same regiment, and after a long examination of witnesses returned a true bill. The Court immediately adjourned to Friday the 15th, at nine o'clock in the morning, and soon after the prisoner (Major Gordon), came into the Court, supported by Lieutenant-General Craufurd, Colonel of the 2d Dragoon Guards, and a number of military and private friends, and appeared at the Bar, to take his trial upon such indictment, to which he pleaded—Not Guilty.

It appeared, by the evidence adduced on the part of the prosecution, that on the morning of the 25th of March, while the detachment of the regiment, under the command of the prisoner, were marching out of the barrack-yard at Ramsgate, where they had been quartered, in their way to Portsmouth for embarkation on foreign service, the deceased marched out with the rear-guard; that on passing the prisoner, Major Gordon, who was on foot on the outside of the barrack-yard, he brought up his horse towards the prisoner and refused to march; that the prisoner ordered the deceased to go on, and ordered the corporal of the rear-guard, who had charge of the deceased, to draw his sword; that the corporal answered the prisoner, "that his sword was at head-quarters (Deal) to be ground;" that the prisoner then drew the deceased’s sword, and after kicking the deceased’s horse, to make it go on, struck the hind-quarters of the horse several times with the flat part of the sword, at the same time ordering the deceased to go forward; that the deceased curbed his horse and prevented it from going forward, repeatedly saying, that he would not march until he knew why he was made a prisoner, though he had been told several times that it was "for being drunk under arms;" that the prisoner (Major Gordon), extended his arm, with the sword in his hand, towards the deceased’s back, as if to urge him forward, at which moment the deceased’s horse, by a violent plunge towards the prisoner, brought the deceased upon the point of the sword, which entered the left side of the deceased, just below the last rib, and caused his death; that the sword had been ground only the day before the accident for foreign service, unknown to the prisoner, and that otherwise it would not have caused any mischief; that a private’s sword in its ordinary state would not have penetrated the deceased’s clothes, and that if the horse had been allowed by the deceased to go forward, and had not been thrown suddenly round towards the prisoner, the accident would not have happened.

Sixteen witnesses were examined for the Crown, of whom, the evidence of three only, John Halford, a bugleman of the Rutland Militia; Benjamin Austen, a tailor, at Ramsgate; and Joseph Burton, a Serjeant of the Rutland Militia; imputed to the prisoner the charge of having given point at the deceased; but it being proved that Halford had said "he would be dammed if he would not do all he could to hang the Major," and that Austen had expressed himself very inveterately against the prisoner, and in consequence of the Serjeant most evidently shewing by his testimony, that he was a very prejudiced witness against the prisoner; their evidence was entirely left aside.

It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Snowden and Mr. Peake, the surgeons who examined the wound, that from the appearance of it, they could pronounce positively that the wound was not occasioned by a wilful thrust of the sword.

Previously to the prisoner being called upon for his defence, the Recorder stated to the Jury, that the case made out in evidence put the charge of murder entirely out of the question, and reduced the charge to a question of manslaughter.

The prisoner delivered a written defence to the Court, which, at his request, was read by General Craufurd, who executed the most arduous task with great feeling and effect. It contained a most solemn denial of any intention of either killing, wounding, or striking the deceased; coupled with expressions of the most poignant regret at the unfortunate accident, and gave a clear statement of the manner in which it had happened.

Several witnesses, officers and privates of the same regiment, were examined for the prisoner, from whose evidence it appeared, that the deceased had been reported to the prisoner to be drunk when the squadron were paraded to march off, and had in consequence been sent to the rear guard as a prisoner - that after being so made a prisoner, the deceased refused to march and obey orders―that his insubordinate conduct had been reported a second time to the prisoner, Major Gordon, who desired the corporal the rear guard "never to talk with the drunken man, as he would only get an impertinent answer," that the prisoner drew the deceased’s sword, which had been improperly left in his possession, intending to give it to the corporal, who was without a sword, as his own had been sent to Deal to be ground for service—that the corporal actually rode up to the prisoner to receive the sword—that the prisoner struck the deceased’s horse with the flat part of the sword several times, as the deceased would not proceed—that the deceased still continuing to check his horse and refusing to go on, the prisoner extended his arm with the intention of placing the flat part of the sword against the deceased’s back, by way of urging him forward, when the horse was suddenly forced round by the deceased towards the prisoner, and the fatal accident happened by the deceased’s body coming in contact with the point of the sword in consequence of this violent motion of the horse.

All the witnesses called by the prisoner to the facts of the case, concurred in attributing the deceased’s death entirely to accident, and denying that the prisoner was in a passion, or used any intemperate language to the deceased. The privates who were examined, spoke highly of the prisoner's humanity to the soldiers in general.

The following witnesses gave the prisoner the highest character possible in every respect, both as an officer and a man. His uncommon command of temper, patience, and forbearance, under the most trying circumstances, on various occasions, as well as his remarkable humanity, benevolence, and charitable disposition, were completely established by them. Upon their oaths they described him as one of the most amiable characters which exist; in short, as possessing every virtue which adorus the human mind.―Lieut. Gen. Craufurd; Right Hon. Lord George Beresford; Lieut. Col. Kearney; Geo. Watson, Esq. Major Gossip; Sir John Leman Rogers, Bart.; Lt. Col. Spicer; the Hon. John Somers Cocks, M.P.; Lieut. Col. Webb; Lieut. Col. Ross; Capt. Bush; Lieut. Soulsby; Cornet Kearney, and Wm. Hougham, Esq. of Canterbury.

The Recorder then charged the Jury, lamenting, that after the exceedingly high character which had just been given of the Prisoner; notwithstanding his full conviction that the unfortunate incident had proceeded from accident alone, he could not conscientiously direct them to find a general verdict of acquittal, but in his opinion, in point of law, their verdict must be manslaughter.

The Jury retired for half an hour, and returned their Verdict―Manslaughter.

The RECORDER, in passing the sentence of the Court, very strongly repeated the regret which he had before expressed his charge to the Jury, and stated that not only himself, but the whole Bench, were unanimously of opinion at accident alone was the occasion of the deceased’s death; that the sudden turn of the horse had brought the deceased on the point of the sword, which, from having just been just sharpened, penetrated his body, and that there was a total absence of all intention on the part of the Prisoner in any way to hurt the deceased; but that, in his as in his opinion an incautious use, had been made of the sword, it amounted in law to Manslaughter.

He declared the sentence of the Court to be, that the Prisoner should pay a fine of 50l. which he immediately paid, and was then discharged.

The trial lasted until after eight o'clock at night.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

13th April 1814: George Coldham tells Lord Sidmouth the stockingers Union is in league with Luddites

My Lord

I am very sorry that I am compelled to report to your Lordship that the men employed in endeavouring to discover the persons engaged in the very scandalous attack upon the Frames of Messrs Needham and Nixon at Kimberly have been totally unsuccessful, and that there does not appear at this time any chance of coming at the Principals in this daring outrage.—

I am sorry to say, that the mischief appears to be spreading and taking a wider direction.—I have received a report, which I know to have come thro’ only one intermediate Channel from one of those who has been in the very Cabinet of the Luddites. He is sick of his connection with them, and I hope I may continue to hear useful Information problem. I learn however from him that there is a System of Union of great extent which raises a very large Fund from weekly contributions upon every individual Frame. He says that the Committee of this Society directs the movements of the inferior bodies, and is capable of supporting without work any of the Leaders who may be desirous of existing without laborious employment.—I am endeavouring to get this person to communicate distinctly with me, but if I do I am sure it can only be accomplished by engaging not to permit his name to appear and never to suffer him to be appealed to as a Witness. This man I have little doubt was wholly maintained for a considerable time out of this Fund but he is now able to maintain himself with the utmost ease out of his own labours and therefore the natural honesty of his principles will not permit him to be supported by the means of a Society whose Leaders he can't admire. If I can get at more detail your Lordship may depend upon hearing from me. In the mean time I am desired by the Magistrates here to state to your Lordship that there is every appearance of the system of Framebreaking recommencing with more than its former activity in this Town, and there is great reason to fear that very many of the Swords before alluded to have been purchased by the active Partizans of this system as they have been brought into Action and placed in the very front of the means adopted to incite terror. On Monday night the House of George Bateman, South Street, Meadow Platts at the outskirts of the Town, inhabited by the Commonest people, was entered by 3 or 4 men, who called George Bateman by his name and asked him how he did, and went up Stairs. Bateman having been making merry and thinking they were only some Companions of his Sons. He soon however saw some other persons come into his House, and heard a noise from above stairs like breaking Frames from which he cried out and seized upon one of the men below who drew out their Swords, threw him down and threatened to kill him. His Wife however continued to cry out Murder and the men almost immediately came down Stairs, and left the House having considerably damaged 5 Frames therein, which were of the description of Frames called Independent, that is, not belonging to any Hosier. It was about 9 o'Clock when this happened and there were only the man and his Wife and his Wife's sister in the house.—He offered to follow them but they presented a pistol and said they would shoot him on which he turned back.—They all deny knowing anything of the men and protest most solemnly that they would inform the Magistrates, if they could. Bateman gave Information of the fact at the Police Office on the night it happened.—The men had crapes or Handkerchiefs over part of their faces.—Bateman confesses belonging to the Union Club and was working at full prices therefore he can't think why he was obnoxious but George Bateman seemed to think it was owing to a supposition that he was working for a man of the name of Galloway, to whom he did work some little time back who was particularly obnoxious on Account of getting work done at the low prices. As soon as the Mayor learnt this attack had been made he summoned all the parties in the House and two or three Magistrates entered into the most strict Examination of the Case 12 o'Clock till about ½ past three yesterday.—In the mean time they gave directions for summoning 12 or 14 of their most trusty Constables to attend them at 6 o'Clock in the evening and these they charged to patrole the Town during the whole night to prevent as much as possible the occurrence of similar attempts to enable the Magistrates by actual inspection to appreciate the real State of the Town and the degree of apprehension that they have a right to entertain as to its future Tranquillity. There is no reason from the report of the Constables to consider ourselves, in a state of security. The Constables were probably the means of preventing one or more similar attempts last night. One party of them were attacked by a much more numerous detachment of these men and were very roughly handled. The Magistrates have this night summoned a more numerous body of Constables and given them charge to patrole the town, in every direction during the night and to make a faithful and very particular report of the result of their watchings. In the mean time the Magistrates have everything to fear from present appearances.—The most effectual means of guarding from actual attacks upon Property within the Town has been proved to us by experience was derived from the vigilant execution of the Watch and Ward Act aided by the Military.—This Act expired on the first of March last.—We have great reason to fear that a knowledge of this fact has actuated these men, to seize the present opportunity to be active in mischief under a notion that there is no law to reach them. I do not shrink the opinion I expressed at the moment, but it was impolitic to impose the Penalty of death upon this Offence, altho’ the present expiration of the Law and the consequences that have followed seem at first sight to contradict my judgement.—At first Transportation would have been a Punishment sufficient, I think, to terrify the Offenders if the means of Conviction had been rendered more easy, and the aiders and accessaries had been rendered punishable and responsible in the manner provided in the Act of the 52d of the King, and if the Punishment had not been increased to death I apprehend the Law would have been rendered perpetual in the first instance.—I am aware that by an Act of the present Session this Punishment is repealed and Transportation for life, or for a smaller term not less than 7 years is substituted for it. Still we are deprived of the Clauses in the prior Act which affect Accessaries.—There was much good in the Watch and Ward Act but I apprehend that if the Magistrates within their Jurisdiction had power to appoint a greater number of Special Constables and to pay them and combine their Surveilance with a Military Guard after a Special General Sessions at which all the Magistrates or a given and respectable number of them should concur in the necessity of adopting such measures it would be much better answer the purpose intended in such a place as this.—But the source of the present evil rests with the Societies of the Workmen and their combinations to regulate and influence the mode of conducting the Trade of their masters. If the Magistrates who could see their way, they would gladly seize the Papers of the present Society’s and endeavour to come at the root of the Evil, but not being political or connected with any political purpose I cannot see that they come under the 39th G. 3d that we have any evidence to proceed against them under the Combination Act.—It seems to me that some Act of Parliament should be framed which would oblige every Society to Register with the Clerk of the Peace of the Town District &c their Rules and Constitution to be approved of by the Magistrates and any alterations therein, together with the names, Occupations and place of abode of the members and Officers, an Account of their Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Society, of the money received and disbursed and the persons by whom received and paid for the purposes for which the same were received and applied, should be quarterly given in the same persons, which Acts and Proceedings should be open to the Inspection of the Secretary of State of the Home Department or any person appointed by him.—I am aware that these Provisions would contain very considerable Incroachments upon the Liberty of the Subject, and I state them to your Lordship, for the consideration of yourself and Persons of much maturer Judgement than I can pretend to, in entire confidence that you will duly appreciate my motive for making the Suggestion.

The Magistrates will be glad to have some more Foot Soldiers in the Town.—They have been already compelled to apply to the General of the District for the immediate return of the Cavalry removed during the County Election.

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

13th April, 1814

Saturday, 12 April 2014

12th April 1814: George Sculthorpe sends the FWK Union Constitution to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 12th April 1814

My Lord

The inclosed Articles and general Regulations belonging to an Association appearing to be formed in this Kingdom, have been laid before the Magistrates Assembled at a Special Sessions held at the Shire Hall in Nottingham on the 9th instant; And I am directed to state to your Lordship that in the Opinion of the Magistrates, the Peace and tranquillity of not only this but all the other Manufacturing Towns in the Kingdom is much endangered by the formation of a Society of this description, and which is rendered highly alarming from the large Sums of Money likely to be raised in the Nottingham District alone Amounting Probably to 150£ weekly.

I am also desired to state to your Lordship that in the Night of Sunday the 3d instant Seven Stocking frames were destroyed in the Neighbourhood of Nottingham by a number of disguised Persons none of whom have yet been discovered; And that many of the Principal manufacturers in this Neighbourhood are under much alarm on the subject.

The magistrates do not perceive that any existing Law affords a Remedy against this Association.

I have [etc]
Geo. Sculthorpe
Clerk to the County Justices

[To] The Right Honble
The Secretary of State
Home Department.

12th April 1814: The government reminds skilled workers of the penalties & punishments for working abroad

Whitehall, April 12, 1814.

As several Articifers and Manufacturers, Subjects of Great Britain, have, from Time to Time, gone into Foreign Countries to exercise their several Callings, contrary to the Laws of these Kingdoms, the following Abstracts of Acts of Parliament of Their late Majesties King George the First and Second, and of His present Majesty, for preventing such Practices, are published, for the Information of all Persons who may be ignorant of the Penalties they may incur by Disobedience to them: And it will be observed, that such Penalties likewise extend to those who are any ways concerned or instrumental in the Sending or Enticing Articifers or Manufacturers out of these Kingdoms, or in the Exportation of the Tools and Instruments used by them, as well as to the Articifers or Manufacturers themselves.

Statute 5 George I. Chap. 27.

IF any person shall contract with, entice, or solicit, any articifer in wool, iron, steel, brass, or any other metal, clock-maker, watch-maker, or any other articifers of Great Britain, to go into foreign countries out of the King’s dominions, and shall be convicted thereof, upon indictment or information in any of the Courts at Westminster, or at the Assizes or Quarter Sessions, he shall be find any sum not exceeding ONE HUNDRED POUNDS for the first offence, and shall be imprisoned three months, and till the fine be paid. And if any person having been once convicted shall offend again, he shall be fined at the discretion of the Court, and imprisoned twelve months, and till the fine be paid.

If any of the King’s subjects, being such articifers, shall go into any country out of His Majesty's dominions, to exercise or teach the said trades to foreigners; and if any of the King’s subjects in any such foreign country, exercising any of the said trades, shall not return into this realm within six months after warning given by the Ambassador, Minister, or Consul of Great Britain, in the country where such articifers shall be, or by any person authorised by such Ambassador, &c. or by one of the Secretaries of State, and from henceforth inhabit within this realm; such persons shall be incapable of taking any legacy, or of being an executor or administrator, or of taking any lands, &c. within this kingdom, by descent, devise, or purchase, and shall forfeit all lands, goods, &c., within this kingdom, to His Majesty's use, and shall be deemed alien, and out of His Majesty's protection.

Upon complaint made, upon oath, before any Justice of Peace, that any person is endeavouring to seduce any such articifer, or that any such articifer hath contracted or is preparing to go out of His Majesty's dominions, the purposes aforesaid, such Justice may send his warrant to bring the person complained of before him, or before some other Justice; and if he shall appear by the oath of one witness, or by confession, that he was guilty of any of the said offences, such Justice may bind him to appear at the next Assizes or Quarter Sessions: And if such person shall refuse to give security, the Justice may commit him to gaol till the next Assizes or Quarter Sessions, and until he shall be delivered by due course of law. And if any such articifer shall be convicted, upon indictment, of any such promise, contract, or preparation to go beyond the seas, for the purpose aforesaid, he shall give such security to the King not to depart out of His Majesty's dominions, as such Court shall think reasonable, and shall be imprisoned till security given.

If any of the above offences shall be committed in Scotland, the same shall be prosecuted in the Court of Justiciary or the Circuits there.

Statute 23 George II. Chap. 13.

IF any person shall contract with, or endeavour to seduce any articifer in wool, mohair, cotton, or silk, or in iron, steel, brass, or other metal, or any clock-maker, watch-maker, or any other articifer in any other of the manufactures of Great Britain or Ireland, to go out of this kingdom or Ireland into any foreign country not within the dominions of the Crown of Great Britain, and shall be convicted, upon indictment or information, in the King's Bench at Westminster, or by indictment at the Assizes or General Gaol Delivery for the county, &c. wherein such offence shall be committed in England, or by indictment in the Court of Justiciary or any of the Circuit Courts in Scotland, or by indictment or information in the Kings Bench at Dublin, if such offence be committed in Ireland; the person so convinced shall, for every articifer contracted with or seduced, forfeit FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS, and shall suffer imprisonment in the common gaol of the county or stewartry wherein such offender shall be convicted for twelve calendar months, and until forfeiture be paid: And in case of a subsequent offence of the same kind, the persons so again offending shall forfeit, for every person contracted with or seduced, ONETHOUSAND POUNDS, and shall suffer imprisonment in the common gaol of the county or stewartry wherein such offender shall be convicted, for two years, and until such forfeiture be paid.

If any person in Great Britain or Ireland shall put on board any ship or boat, not bound directly to some port in Great Britain or Ireland, or to some other of the dominions of the Crown of Great Britain, any such tools or utensils as are commonly used in, or proper for the preparing, working up, or finishing of the woollen or silk manufactures, or any part of such tools, he shall, for every offence, forfeit all such tools, or parts thereof, put on board, and TWO HUNDRED POUNDS, to be recovered by action of debt, &c. in any Court of Record at Westminster, or in the Court of Session in Scotland, or at any of the Four Courts in Dublin respectively, wherein no essoin, &c. shall be allowed.

It shall be lawful for any Officer of the Customs in Great Britain, or for any Officer of the Revenue in Ireland, to seize and secure, in some of His Majesty's warehouses, all such tools or utensils prohibited to be exported, as such officer shall find on board any vessel not bound directly to some port in Great Britain or Ireland, or to some other of the dominions of the Crown of Great Britain; and all tools so seised shall, after condemnation, be publicly sold to the best bidder; and one moiety of the produce shall be to the use of His Majesty, and the other moiety to the officer who shall seize and secure the same.

If the Captain of any vessel in Great Britain or Ireland knowingly permit any of the said tools, prohibited to be exported, to be put on board his vessel, he shall, for every such offence, forfeit ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, to be recovered as the penalties inflicted upon persons exporting the tools; and, if the vessel belongs to His Majesty, the Captain shall not only forfeit ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, but shall also forfeit his employment, and be incapable of any employment under His Majesty.

If any Officer of the Customs in Great Britain or of the Revenue in Ireland, take, or knowingly suffer to be taken, any entry outward, or sign any cocket or sufferance for the shipping or exporting of any of the said tools, or knowingly suffer the same to be done, he shall forfeit ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, to be recovered as aforesaid, and also forfeit his office, and being incapable of any office under His Majesty.

One moiety of the forfeitures shall be applied to the use of His Majesty, and the other moiety to the use of the person who shall sue for the same.

Statutes 14, 21, 25, and 26 of His present Majesty.

BY these Statutes the like penalties and forfeitures as above-mentioned are extended to persons packing or putting on board any vessel, not bound directly for some port in Great Britain or Ireland, any machine, engine, tool, press, paper, utensil, or implement whatsoever, used in or proper for the working or finishing of the cotton, steel or iron manufactures of this kingdom, or any part or parts of such machines or implements, or any models or plans thereof; and all Captains of ships and other persons receiving or being in possession of any such articles, with an intent to export the same to foreign parts, and all Custom-house Officers suffering an entry to be made thereof, are respectively liable to the like penalties as are above-mentioned, in the case of tools and utensils used in the woollen and silk manufactures.

12th April 1814: Government notice requesting information on frame-breaking in Gilt Hill, Nottinghamshire

Whitehall, April 12, 1814.

Whereas it hath been humbly represented unto His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that about two o'clock on the morning of the 4th instant, five or six persons or more, disguised in slops or flannel shirts, broke and entered into the shop of Mr. Thomas Morley, of Gilt-Hill, in the parish of Greasley, in the county of Nottingham, and destroyed five stocking frames, with the work that was on them;

His Royal Highness, for the better apprehending and bringing to justice the persons concerned in the said felony, is hereby pleased, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, to promise His Majesty's most gracious pardon to any one of them (except the person or persons who actually broke the said frames) who shall discover his or her accomplice or accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they may be apprehended and convicted thereof.


Friday, 11 April 2014

11th April 1814: Attacks on properties of the enemies of Luddites around Huddersfield

In the evening of Monday 11th April 1814, the properties of two of the enemies of the Luddites in the Huddersfield area were attacked. The date was significant because it was the second anniversary of the attack on Rawfolds Mill. The anniversary, and the identity of the targets of the attacks, were not remarked upon by the local press.

One of the targets was directly linked to Rawfolds. John Drake of Longroyd Bridge - a Cropper whose son, Joseph, gave evidence at the trial of men accused of being involved in the attack at Rawfolds - had been the target of at least 5 attacks over the past 14 months. As recently as 29th & 31st March, a Tenter kept near his house had been broken. This time, the windows of his house were smashed.

At Folly Foot, the garden of John Sykes was destroyed. Sykes' sole shearing frame had been destroyed by Luddites on 5th March 1812. On this night, palisades in his garden were thrown down, and 'every article growing' there was pulled up and destroyed.

11th April 1814: Five plain silk frames destroyed by Luddites in Nottingham

At 9.00 p.m. on Monday 11th April 1814, Luddites struck in Nottingham. A party of up to 4 men entered the house of George Bateman, on the corner of South Street and Coalpit Lane, in the Meadow Platts area. Bateman assumed they were friends of his son, as they hailed him by his name and asked him how he was. But then, some other men entered: they were carrying swords, and disguised with their coats and jackets turned inside out, all wearing hats with handkerchiefs tied over their faces. As they entered, Bateman heard that his frames were being attacked in the workshop upstairs. Bateman cried out, grabbed one of the men next to him, but the Luddites threw him to the floor, presented their swords to him and threatened to kill him if he stirred.

In the meantime, Batemen's wife had continued to cry out 'murder', and the men upstairs soon came down and left, followed by the other men. Batemen followed them out, but one of the Luddites pointed a pistol at him and threatened to shoot him. Bateman turned back to his house. Upon his return, he found that the five plain silk stocking frames in his workshop had been very badly damaged in the attack.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

10th April 1814: Attack on a lace factory at Castle Donington

Number 3-5 Borough Street, Castle Donington - numbers 7-9, which compromised Simon Orgill's factory, are to the right of the picture (Google Street View, January 2009)
Simon Orgill was an entrepreneur in the Leicestershire lace trade. He was notable in the lace trade for pioneering the adoption of the 'Dawson Wheel' into warp lace frames around 1807, essentially mechanising operations that had previously been undertaken by hand.

By 1814, he was the sole owner of a business that rented a number of former farm buildings off Borough Street in the Northwest Leicestershire village of Castle Donington, for use as a factory. No doubt as a consequence of his innovation, the prices (or wages) that Orgill paid his workmen were much less than was the norm in neighbouring Nottinghamshire, and unsuccessful attempts had been made by the Framework-Knitters Union members in Nottingham to enrol Orgill's workmen into the Union and shut down Orgill's business.

In the evening of Easter Sunday 10th April 1814, Luddites had decided to use other methods to achieve these ends, and mounted an attack on Orgill's premises. Arriving around midnight on the 11th, they forced their way into the back of Orgill's house, and went through an internal door into the workshop. Once there, they completely destroyed 11 of the patent warp lace frames kept inside, and partially damaged another. Expensive cotton yarn and most of the lace already completed in the workshop was either cut, burnt or stolen by the Luddites, and they tried to start a fire with the remnants of the yarn on the warping mill, but this did not take hold before it was extinguished later.

Meanwhile, Orgill and his wife had been woken by the noise, with Orgill's wife being first to open the bedroom window and look outside. A Luddite keeping watch on the outside spotted her, and fired a pistol straight at her, the shot missing her by inches.

At the end of the raid, and as the Luddites left, one of them called out "Old Simon, before we leave you, I will have another peg at you" and 2 shots rang out, penetrating the bedroom windows and lodging in the ceiling. There were no injuries.

The value of the lace stolen by the Luddites, and possibly other goods in the house, was estimated at £70, with the damage to the frames being estimated to be between £400-1000. Orgill's business never subsequently recovered.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

8th April 1814: The Sheriff of Nottingham accuses the Framework-knitters Union of working with Luddites

Elton, near Bingham Notts
April 8th: 1814—

My Lord,

I Have the Honor to enclose an examination which I think it my Duty to submit to your Lordship containing an account of the breaking of Several Stocking Frames belonging to Messrs Needham & Nixons most respectable Hosiers of the town of Nottingham:—from communications which I Have had with these and other Gentlemen and also with the Corperation of Nottingham, I am induced to believe that the Committees of Stocking Makers who are pressing for an advance of wages encourage these unlawful proceedings, or at least possess a power of controuling them, when it is certified to them, by the working Stocking Makers that any individual Hosier has submitted to the advance of price proposed by the Committees. Messrs: Needham and Nixons are desirous of offering a Reward of two Hundred Guineas to any Person that may inform concerning the transaction detailed in the enclosed examination so as to lead to the conviction of any one of the Offenders, and they have requested me to solicit of your Lordship that the Reward may be offered by His Majesty's Government, the responsibility of expence resting on Messrs Needham and Nixons who consider this method is the most likely to obtain the ends of Justice & also to prevent a repetition of the Offence.

I Have [etc]

W. J. N. Norton
Sheriff of the County of Nottingham

Right Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
Secretary of State for the Home Department &c &c &c

Monday, 7 April 2014

7th April 1814: Leicester Hosiers meeting takes stockingers' demands for higher wages seriously

AT a Meeting of the Hosiers convened by public advertisement this day, at the Exchange, Mr. Carr, in the chair, it was unanimously resolved.
1st. That the petition of the framework-knitters is entitled to the mature deliberation of the manufacturers.
2d. That it is highly necessary that an advance should take place in the price of labour.
3d. That this meeting be adjourned until Tuesday the 19th instant, when a full attendance of the manufacturers both in town and county, is particularly requested, at the Exchange, at 3 o’clock precisely.
4th. That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Chairman.

G. Carr,
Joseph Hames,
Smith and Brookhouse,
Harby Barber,
John Moore and Son,
James Sergeant,
J. B. Robinson,
J. and S. Coltman,
Thomas Davie,
William Rawson,
George Hurst,
Richard Mitchell,
J. Worthington & Son,
Thomas Stokes,
Richard Rawson.

Leicester, April 7, 1814.

7th April 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham reports that Hosiers are yielding to Luddite demands

My Lord,

I am honored with Mr. Beckett’s letter of the 6th April written to me by direction of your Lordship, in consequence of my letter to him of the 4th Instant communicating to you that three frames the property of Messrs Needham and Nixon had been lately broken at Kimberley on the night of the 2d Instant.—I have lost no time in laying before the Deputy Mayor Mr. Alderman Swann, your Lordship’s letter and I am by him directed to apprize your Lordship that at the solicitation of Mr. Needham on the 5th Instant two of our most active Constables were sworn in Constables for the County of Nottingham in order to go over to Kimberley to investigate and endeavour to trace out the persons implicated in this daring outrage and I know that they have been ever since engaged in the Inquiry, but with what success I have not yet learned.—Messrs Needham and Nixon's are most anxious to discover the persons engaged in this daring Violation of their Property and most determined to prosecute them, if discovered. I have reason to know this from personal Communication with Mr. Needham who has advised with me on the subject.

Mr. Alderman Swann, in the absence of the Mayor desires me to assure Lord Sidmouth that he may depend upon the utmost exertions of the Magistracy of this Town if they should appear to be necessary to maintain the Public tranquillity; but Lord Sidmouth may be assured that this is a question entirely distinct from all feelings of Party Spirit, or attachment or disaffection to the State of the Administration for the time being. It is simply an Attempt on the part of the men to induce their masters to raise their wages to accomplish which they have had recourse to Intreaties and means to intimidate.—Messrs Needham and Nixon are amongst the most respectable Hosiers in the Trade but they have been one of the leading Houses, in refusing to advance 2d. a pair to a certain Description of the Workmen who have requested and demanded it of their masters.—Their Frames have been broken to intimidate them into a compliance with this demand. From a considerable intimacy with Mr. Needham I know that this line of conduct would not have had its desired effect upon them but the Trade have pretty unanimously determined to agree to the advance and in consequence they have reluctantly and against their Judgement, been compelled to submit with the rest.—

I have reason to think that this submission, which I lament is a most ungenerous mode of procedure towards Messrs Needham and Nixons on the part of the General Body of Hosiers and a most impolitic act on the part of themselves, will however for the present, produce a total Cessation of all hostilic movement on the part of the Frameworkknitters, and I have reason to know that the Hosiers entertain the same opinion on the subject. If however anything occurs of sufficient importance to be communicated to your Lordship you may depend upon hearing from me.—

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

7th April, 1814

Friday, 4 April 2014

4th April 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham reports an outbreak of framebreaking

Dear Sir,

I am very sorry to inform that in the Neighbourhood of this Town the organized System of Combination among the Frameworknitters has begun to act in the former mode of breaking Frames. Three Frames were the Night before last broken at Kimberley in the County of Nottingham by a great number of Persons who broke into the Shop in which they stood in the Night. The Workman in whose possession they were behaved very well refusing most distinctly to give them entrance which they obtained by absolute force. The Frames belong to Messrs Needham & Nixon who have declined to give the advance and are very intimate Friends of Mr Hooley. We have as yet had no Attempt made in the Town. Since writing my Letter respecting Mr Hooley to you I learn that he has shewn that Letter to a Deputation of the Master Workmen who have reprobated it in very strong Terms. The Officers of the 9th Regiment have communicated with the Magistrates on the Subject of the Swords sold & were assured by them that only 70 were actually sold. I write by order of the Mayor & beg that you will lay this Letter before Lord Sidmouth.

Yours [etc]

Geo Coldham

Nottm 4th April 1814