Friday, 2 December 2011

2nd December 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Clumber
Dec. 2 1811

Sir,

As I in my letter of yesterday informed you I should do, I have attended the meeting of the Magistrates held this day at Nottingham. I have there learnt that the disorders and tendency to tumult which exist are certainly of a very serious nature. The rioters have adopted a system by which they levy contributions on the villagers, and actually subsist themselves on the produce of their plunder. They contrive in such manner to overawe the inhabitants of the villages, that they are afraid of giving intelligence of the proceedings of the rioters, by which means it is certainly very difficult to act against them.

The rioters sometimes collect in great numbers in the villages about Nottingham and march to a considerable distance where they commit what depredations they please and levy contributions.

When I became yesterday acquainted with the extent of the mischief and dangerous length to which these disorders have been allowed to attain; I could not help seriously reflecting on the apparent remissness or want of activity on the part of the Magistrates in the neighbourhood of Nottingham; however such arrangements appear to have been made this day as will be likely to ensure in a greater degree the public tranquillity. Constables have been sworn in for every village, these will form a night patrole and troops are to be placed in every village ready to assist the civil power when called upon. No one is to be found out of his house after 10 o’clock under pain of arrest and any meeting of persons to be instantly dispersed by the civil or military power.

If energy and activity are used in putting these orders in execution, I trust that we shall soon feel the beneficial effects of such measures.

The Magistrates seem perfectly aware of the danger which may arise from delaying any longer to act with vigour, and to endeavour by force or otherwise to put down the present commotions as promptly as possible.

I have [etc.]

NEWCASTLE

The letter can be found at HO 42/117.

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