Friday, 9 March 2012

9th March 1812: Letter from "Ned Ludd Clerk" addressed "To Mr Smith Shearing Frame Holder at Hill End Yorkshire"

To Mr Smith Shearing Frame Holder at Hill End Yorkshire.


Information has just been given in that you are a holder of those detestable Shearing Frames, and I was desired by my Men to write to you and give you fair Warning to pull them down, and for that purpose I desire you will now understand I am now writing to you. you will take Notice that if they are not taken down by the end of next Week, I will detach one of my Lieutenants with at least 300 Men to destroy them and furthermore take Notice that if you give us the Trouble of coming so far we will increase your misfortune by burning your Buildings down to Ashes and if you have Impudence to fire upon any of my Men, they have orders to murder you, & burn all your Housing, you will have the Goodness to your Neighbours to inform them that the same fate awaits them if their Frames are not speedily taken down as I understand their are several in your Neighbourhood, Frame holders. And as the Views and Intentions of me and my Men have been much misrepresented I will take this opportunity of stating them, which I desire you will let all your Brethren in Sin know of. I would have the Merchants, Master Dressers, the Government & the public to know that the Grievances of such a Number of Men are not to be made sport of for by the last Returns there were 2782 Sworn Heroes bound in a Bond of Necessity either to redress their Grievances or gloriously perish in the Attempt in the Army of Huddersfield alone, nearly double sworn Men in Leeds.

By the latest Letters from our Correspondents we learn that the Manufacturers in the following Places are going to rise and join us in redressing their Wrongs Viz. Machester, Wakefield Halifax, Bradford, Sheffield, Oldham, Rochdale and all the Cotton Country where the brave Mr Hanson will lead them on to Victory. the Weavers in Glasgow and many parts of Scotland will join us the Papists in Ireland are rising to a so that they are likely to find the Soldiers something else to do than Idle in Huddersfield and then Woe be to the places now guarded by them for we have come to the easier Way of burning them to Ashes which will most assuredly be their Fate either sooner or later. The immediate Cause of us beginning when we did was that Rascally letter of the Prince Regents to Lords Grey & Grenville, which left us no hopes of any Change for the better, by his falling in with that Damn'd set of Rogues, Percival & Co to whom we attribute all the Miseries of our Country. But we hope for assistance from the French Emperor in shaking off the Yoke of the Rottenest, Wickedest and most Tyranious Government that ever existed; then down come the Hanover Tyrants, and all our Tyrants from the greatest to the smallest. and we will be governed by a just Republic, and may the Almighty hasten those happy Times is the Wish and Prayer of Millions in this Land, but we won’t only pray but we will fight, the Redcoats shall know that when the proper time comes We will never lay down our Arms. The House of Commons passes an Act to put down all Machinery hurtful to Commonality, and repeal that to hang Frame Breakers. But We. We petition no more that won’t do fighting must.

Signed by the General of the Army of
Ned Ludd Clerk

Redressers for ever Amen,
You may make this Public
[March 9th or 10th]

This letter appears in Binfield (2004, p.209). Binfield notes that there are several possibilities, but no certainties, as to who the intended recipient of this letter was.

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