Thursday, 16 February 2012

16th February 1812: Letter from “Joe Firebrand" at “Robin Hoods Cave" to "Mr. Trevit Biddles Bowler” at Nottingham

Robin Hoods Cave,
Feby. 16.

To Mr. Trevit Biddles Bowler and all others concerned in similar practices.

We are much concerned to find that you and your neighbours Biddles and Bowler continue to oppose the public good by working those bad articles Single Press & 2 Course Warp-------

Now do you think that we who have encountered such difficulties & hazarded our lives for the good of the Trade are to be opposed & our past efforts made of no effect by your mean obstinacy no it shall not be so you may think that because your frames are secured by the presence of so large a civil & military force you have nothing to fear but can defy us with impunity but you must understand there are more methods of revenge than frame-breaking to be resorted to when that is not practicable! for our past labours shall not be in vain. In order that it may not be the case it is thought proper to inform you what will be done to such of you that persist in making the aforementioned Articles.

This information is designed for your good that no Children may perish which if they do blame your own obstinacy not us: as we have at all times manifested a disposition to spare life we wished still to show the same especially where Innocent Blood is concerned. You may think we shall not be able to fire your houses but the means which will be used will be so effectual that the flame will rise to the highest room in the house in a moment, the composition to be used is Spirits of Turpentine Tar & Powdered Gunpowder mixed together a Proper Quantity of this mixture powered in at the bottom of the door & lighted by the application of a bit of Touchpaper will do the business instantly. But there are many other modes of revenge or rather punishment to be inflicted on the obstinate equally injurious to Life which will be used where this is not practicable--to prevent any of which evils take the timely warning as 14 days will be allowed to finish Warps &c., before execution--Mr. Trevit you may get in a mender, go to the Warehouse when others do not & give a charge of secrecy to your men but it will not do for do how you will we shall be sure to get to know how you act in this matter. This warning is intended for all making the same kind of work.

Joe Firebrand

This letter is featured in Binfield (2004, p.106). Binfield notes that this is one of the first threatening letters to threaten personal violence,

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