Friday, 24 February 2012

24th February 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham to Home Office

Private & confidential
pray excuse haste.

24th February 1812

Dear Sir,

I was prevented by a great pressure of business from writing to you yesterday. I have received your letter, and I hope that neither you or Mr. Ryder will think me impertinent when I write, because I think you wish to know how the public mind is impressed here. We have had a very long investigation of the outrage in Broad Lane Paddock; and I fear it will not end in the detection of any of the Leaders or Actors in that Outrage, which was conducted with extraordinary skill and management but in the interval between the dismissal of the Patrole, and before the People are stirring, by getting in at the front window in the House, and breaking the Frames in the Garrett — they were however so much alarmed that they did not complete their work, the men making a good deal of noise, and left the house in less than ten minutes from their entering it. The guard has been ordered to be kept on duty later, and is intended to be increased. I was called up to the Magistrates of the County yesterday, to inform them whether I knew or had stated that the Bill making it death to break Frames has originated with them in London. I told them I had not learned that it did, and on coming home entertaining great doubts about the Bill myself, l had enquired of Mr. Sculthorpe if it had the sanction of the County Magistrates, and learned from him that it had not, which I wished to know, in order that I might speak of the thing as it was. I took this occasion to say that I was surprized to find the Bill altered with respect to the Town in the manner I stated to you and Mr. Ryder, and informed them that I had in consequence thought it my duty to wait upon Mr. Ryder, and retract the Consent understood to be given to the Bill of the Town Magistrates, and to urge upon him some alterations in the Bill, which he had assured me he should feel no objection to leaving as I wished, if objections did not come from the Magistrates. They assured me that these alterations had not been of their suggestion, and that they would and should not oppose the alterations I wished. Will you be so good as to inform Mr. Ryder of this.

It is as I feared, I have had a long conference with those who have given me most important information, and kept a watch upon the motions of the Framebreakers, and they will do so not a moment longer than the law is as it now remains. They cannot they say consent to act where the death of a fellow creature must be the consequence of their giving such information as may lead to his Conviction. It is worthy to their feelings, and in their judgement increases in a tenfold degree the danger of their Employment, they have been already once or twice in danger of being shot, then if they are detected in suspicious circumstances they will be sure of meeting death from the Frame-breakers who are armed.

In haste,

Yours [etc.]

Geo. Coldham

This letter can be found at HO 42/120.

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