Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17th January 1812: The Manchester spy, B, meets another Irish contact & visits Stockport

Colonel Fletcher's spy, 'B', filed another report on the 17th January.

Commencing on the 14th January, B explained he had a met a man called Brannigan from Ireland, and they discussed 'the Business' there. Once again, a state of non-sectarian unity was described to B, with 'knobs' (i.e. noblemen) being involved. Brannigan said large numbers of people - 400,000 - were said to be involved, and that Catholics in England may also rise, a line which no doubt leapt out at the recipient of the report, the Orangeman Colonel Ralph Fletcher. Brannigan's destination was Birmingham, and B posited that this was where the Irish were getting their arms from.

B reported that on the 16th January, the Mottram delegate has returned from his trip around Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. Some places had links with Scotland, and many were willing to correspond, while others at Northallerton felt this was too risky. B had tried to find out the name of the delegate, but the Committee was sworn to secrecy.

On Friday 17th, B had been to Stockport and explained that the Committee there was growing and that they had delegates from an area up to 6 or 7 miles wider than previously.

B gave an account of the disarray the Manchester Committee appeared to be in. The President had gone to the Derby Quarter Sessions and not returned. B did not know when they were to meet next. Another Committee member, called Washington, was described as  being "in darby jail for a bastard Chield". B described Royton as being "in a dengrous state", as well as Saddleworth.

Finally, B stated he was due to attend a meeting in Newton, near Hyde, Cheshire on 22nd January where delegates from many of the surrounding villages would be present to give reports and give account of the numbers involved and their plans.

The report appears at HO 42/119.

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