Friday, 27 April 2012

27th April 1812: Manchester magistrates inform the Home Office about the 'Northern National Army'

Police Office Manchester 27 April 1812


We have the honor to enclose a notice under the Local Militia Acts by which it will appear that we have directed a certain portion of the L.M. to be called out – they are to be picked men – the measure has been recommended by General Dirom, thro Col. Clay, to us.

We are informed that Head Quarters of those direct the revolutionary proceedings are at Manchester – The Confederacy is called The Northern National Army – there is no connection beyond Carlisle – meetings are held by under delegates in every town in the Neighbourhood — The Pikes made have a hook to them – they are called Hook Spears; are like our Serjeants Halberds & a Pike with a Crook sharp as a knife which is to cut the horses bridles

A notice was yesterday stuck up on paper on the Hearse House in Prestwich Church Yard – In words – it was directed “To Whitefield Luddites”— and in figures 1.2.3 &c “you are hereby required to be ready on the shortest notice to join our army: fail not at your peril. Amen.” By some Key which a respectable man was in possession of, the figures were decyphered into the above - of this we may hear more – Whitefield is a little hamlet part of Pilkington.

I have issued 5 warrants for felony today – 4 for robbing the mill at Worsley on Monday last – the evidence is clear if the parties are taken, and an escort is granted for the purpose – the 5th is for coming for money with about 150 people, which money (2 pounds) the complainant has sworn he gave thro apprehension of his life & damage to his property. Not knowing what the commitment to Lancaster hitherto may have been or hereafter may be, I think it right to mention that many of the principal Inhabitants of this neighbourhood are strongly disposed to apply for a Special Commission to try the rioters. Should that be the case, there is reason to think that many parties will be apprehended, as informers are afraid to appear from the danger they will be under in the long interval between the present time & the next assizes—One of our Informants the same respectable Person as before has today furnished us with the enclosed marked A. We have sent to Oldham to know if any place can be identified with the above – If it is so – means will be taken to search for the arms.

We have the honor to be, Sir, with sincere respect –
Your faithful & obt humble servants

WR Hay
J. Silvester
R. Wright

To The Rt Honble Richard Ryder
One of H. Mjs principal Secretaries of State &c &c



April 27, 1812


In addition to the information before given, the following was received the last Evening.—

Token, or warning — To be done by a Man in each district or Hamblett – at 12 O Clock on the Evening of 1st May say on friday next (and not on Thursday as before stated which was my error) The man is to wear a brass Medal, with two wheat Sheaves (to denote purity) and a Hand uniting the Sheaves together (to denote unanimity) on one side—Its supposed on the other side of the Medal is the form of the oath that is taken but that was not seen.—

Ammunition – At a Stone House at Oldham.

Arms — Spikes, Knives, Cut lasses, Bows and arrows. Spike Balls to lame the Horses feet in the Streets — its also intended to have Ropes across the Streets and Lanes to trip up the Horses.

Mode of Attack — Each Sett to Murder the Affluent in their own Neighbourhoods; also such poor as will not join them in taking their property and uniting with them in the work:—Its supposed this will be done in this space of three Hours.

Bounty — to each on swearing in two pounds two shillings.

If this infamous plot be discovered, it will be put off to a future day but will not be relinquished—.

This letter and enclosure can be found at HO 42/122.

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