Friday, 20 April 2012

20th April 1812: Colonel Clay informs the Home Office of the state of Manchester & the surrounding towns

20. April 1812
½ past 11 o’clock. P.M.


In consequence of information I received from the Police Office at a late hour last night, I occupied the points previously agreed on for the protection of the Provision warehouses before seven o'clock this morning, which had the desired effect. The Town has, however, been in a most disturbed state all day; so much so, that it became necessary to read the riot act this afternoon; & towards Evening, to call out the whole Garrison for the purpose of dispersing the mob & clearing all the Streets; which has been attended with some difficulty, but affected without material injury to any one.

In the midst of the tumult here, expresses arrived from Ashton, Middleton, & Eccles — with requisitions for Troops—. At the former place the mob plundered several shops in the town & demolished the windows of the Inn — at the latter, the people had assembled & evinced a disposition to Riot; but at Middleton, the mob made a most daring attack on the works of Mr. Burton, who has nobly defended them, & shot five of those wretches on the spot. I sent immediate assistance to him, & have since heard that all is quiet there: but to Ashton & Eccles I could not spare a man; as I am fully aware that the disturbances in the neighbourhood are principally intended to draw off the force from hence.—

I have also been informed that the People at Worsley have been very riotous today; but I have nothing official from thence.

A great number of people have also been levying Contributions on different Gentleman's families at their Country Residences in the Vicinity of Manchester this morning.

I have the honor to be,
Your most Obedient
Humble Servant

JG Clay – Colonel
Commanding at Manchtr

The Right Honble
The Secretary of State
Home Department
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/122.

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