Saturday, 10 March 2012

10th March 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham to Judge Bayley

Nottingham
10 March, 1812

My Lord,

I apprehend that your Lordship is apprized of the nature of my communication with the Secretary of State for the Home Department, by direction of the Magistrates of this place, representing the necessity for the continuance of a force in Nottingham during the Assizes adequate to the forming a strong Guard for both the Prisons and to the keeping up the present nightly military Patrole in the Town.

By means of a military force alone the Security of an immense and very valuable property in Frames employed and deposited in the Town accumulated to an enormous extent by the terror of the late dreadful system of Frame-breaking has been for the last two months placed in a state of safety, and by this alone the Magistrates are convinced its Security can be maintained until the experience of the Punishment of some of their Confederates shall convince these deluded men that it is out of their power to protect their Comrades, or avoid the just but severe Sentence of the Law.

I have detailed to Mr. Secretary Ryder some circumstances of private information which I have acquired as to the Plans of these men, who have reckoned with great exultation upon the removal of the Troops during the continuance of the Assizes, as an opening for them to accomplish what in the presence of the Military they dare not attempt.

The Secretary of State has written to me that the removal or continuance of the Troops awaits your Lordship’s directions previous to your entering the County of Nottingham.

Under these circumstances the Mayor and Aldermen are impressed with great anxiety as to the result of the determination which may be formed upon this subject, and they have requested me in their name to represent to your Lordship that they do not consider the Town and the property contained in it, or the Prisoners in the Gaol safe without such a military force remaining as is adequate to the purposes before alluded to.

They have reason to believe that plans for the liberation of the Prisoners are meditated and will be executed if the military be absent by a very numerous body of Men whom they know to possess arms and to have promised their Comrades protection and impunity.

If no military force be in the Town the leading Witnesses in some of the Prosecutions against the Framebreakers will in my Judgement be exposed to danger,and when their testimony may reach the life of some of these violators of the Law the lives of such persons may not be safe.

This very day I dispatched one of my Clerks to fetch into this Town from his own house in the Country one of the Prosecutors of several of these Indictments whose life l know to be seriously and deliberately threatened by these confederates in Iniquity.

Under such impressions as these the Magistrates have authorized me most urgently to solicit General Hawker on no account to permit the Troops to leave the Town as it seemed they had been intended to do until your Lordship should have peremptorily decided upon the continuance or removal during the Assizes and they hope that your Lordship will upon due consideration have the goodness to adopt such a determination as will place the continuance of our present state of Security out of all doubt.

I have [etc.]

Geo. Coldham,
Town Clerk

This letter can be found at HO 42/121.

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