Sunday, 29 April 2012

29th April 1812: William Hay informs the Home Office about strangers in Manchester

Police Office Manchester Ap. 29. 1812


We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Beckets Letter of the 27th instant, & on the part of the public to express our best thanks to the prompt attention given to our suggestion. No part of the force alluded to as yet arrived (12 noon) – but as this letter will be kept open, any further particulates that may occur, may be added up to the time of the posts going out. It is more than probable that in the course of the day some part of it will arrive, if not, tomorrow morning. In the mean time the public is benefited by the ready assistance of the Cheshire Legion, & other provincial corps, which enable Col. Clay to make his arrangements with greater ease, & in greater extent we feel considerable confidence that on the arrival of the force mentioned in Mr Beckets letter sufficient will be prepared to protect this part of the Country, & to restore that firmness which one could not but expect would in some degree give way under the unprecedented & barbarous outrages and menaces of the Insurgents. General Dirom is expected here this evening – It has been thought necessary to increase the proportion of Col. Silvesters Regiment of L. Mila & we have the honor to implore you a formal multiplication of the same.

Mr. Beckets letter very satisfactorily removes our doubts respecting the receipt of our letter.

We should feel obliged, as the Loc. Militia is partially resorted to, if we could have a copy of such act as may have lately passed—we are told that there is such a one, that it contains m[a]ny material alterations; but in the course of Office, no such as yet reached as.

In respect of the state of this place, we could not but observe that in the course of Sunday & Monday some thousands seemingly strangers resorted to this town. They were all of such awkward description - yesterday these people who very many of them had bundles & newly cut sticks totally disappeared. Whether are no they were drawn off by order of their directors we cannot tell - It much bore such appearance. However, be that as it may, we understand that the weavers for the most part are returned to their work for the present; and we are given to understand that there has always been work for such as would go to it. We enclose you a paper marked A which contains a copy of 2 resolutions passed last night at a meeting of the journeymen printers. It is confidently stated that the weavers had, in case the printers would cooperate with them, promised to join with them with 15,000 weavers & destroy the machinery for printing throughout England. This was declined by the printers who said that they wished to settle their own business - If that is true, which we believe it is, a copy of the Resolution is an important & satisfactory document.

The exertions of the well affected are unremitted, & confidence seems returning so far that the parties begin to inform – 4 were committed to Lancaster yesterday for trial, which together with 7 before committed were sent off under escort this morning. We understand that from Bolton 8 have been committed to Lancaster & that 9 are remanded to further examination. We have written to the Keeper of Lancaster Castle for returns of those committed from other parts of the County - The arrival of the Military will we hope embolden many to lay informations who from dread have hitherto been deterred.

We are given to understand that the mode of the Committees meeting is contrived in some such way as the following - The meetings are held sometimes in public, sometimes in private houses – but never 2 days together in the same. A committee having yesterday met at A., one of them today returns to A, & there waits till a 2d member arrived, he tells him where he is going, & leaving him he takes himself to the place appointed for the day – the 2d waits till a third arrives, & then goes as the first had done; & so on till all the Committee has notice – this is the practice from day to day - It appears that the day or mode of assembling for the main attack is not to be communicated to the main body till the morning preceding. We cannot help hoping that the appearance of such an increased force as will be provided by the time, & which must exceed any calculation the disaffected can have made, may deter them from carrying their main purpose into effect, at least for the present.

We have the honor to be, Sir,
with great respect,
Your faithful & obed humble servants

W R Hay
J. Silvester
R. Wright

The Right Honble Richard Ryder
One of H. Ms principal Sect of State &c &c

PS. 10 night. Gen Dirom is arrived – No troops are yet come in; but from circumstances we have reason to expect them – I am sorry to say that in the course of this afternoon, many very awkward people have again made their appearance - they seem very active, & intelligence for some purpose or other is quickly communicating. WR H.

[Enclosure] A

Resolved. 1st that this meeting fully disapproves of all measures that have been designed by any individual or individuals to be taken of a coercive or riotous nature to do away with machinery, are determined as a body at all times to discourage any measures of an illegal kind to accomplish a check on the same, and are determined not to take or encourag to be taken any steps thereunto but those that are consistent with our legal privileges as Englishmen.

2d. that the same committee appointed to the purpose of carrying into effect the Petition to Parlt for the purpose of withholding the bounty given by Government to Machinery all prints+ exported from this country, & continue to act as was first proposed - that an address to our masters be circulated as soon as possible, & the same committee be directed to execute the same as soon as it can be done.

+ I understand this to mean when the goods are printed by machinery

This letter can be found at HO 42/122.

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