Monday, 30 April 2012

30th April 1812: Colonel Ralph Fletcher writes with details of prisoners held at Bolton

Bolton le moors April 30—1812

My dear Sir/

With this you will receive the depositions of the witnesses against those concerned in or present at the administering of an illegal oath to Serjeant Holland Bowden of the Bolton Local under my Command— I have not time to dictate upon the Subject any further than to observe that we have certain Evidence against many others (and these the Chiefs) – but we are shy of bringing these witnesses forwards—being desirous to cover over all our Intelligence even with a Shadow rather than exhibit the Sources to open day.

I have been strongly requested to suggest to Government the propriety of a Special Commission to try the Culprits—I have no Observations to make on the Subject any further than to mention the Circumstance—the propriety must be left to the Wisdom of his majestys ministers

Various Correspondences have taken place – betwixt myself & the magistrates of other parts of this County and particularly this day I received a Note from the Revd Robt Hay requesting a Communication of the Intelligence I might possess on the Subject of the intentions of the disaffected

Any thing referring to that Subject immediately necessary to the Peace of the Country I have communicated by return of the Messenger—the Substance of my answer—which may serve as an Epitome of my opinion at this juncture is—“That the disaffected will not dare to attempt any open attack during the first Week in May although they had confidently anticipated that period”—I think they will be so checked by the late apprehendings of the Jacobins in this Neighbourhood as to defer the that time at least if not forever — all attempts at open Violence—Secret & Clandestine Firings both of Factories & private Houses & Outhouses—I shall not be surprised to hear of—nor even of private murder or assassination!—The principles so long (since 1792) promulgated, with more or less Industry according to Circumstances, has so operated on the public mind—by pamphlets and other Broadsides of the Press—that I do not expect that any State of permanent Tranquillity can reasonably be expected untill the present Generation shall have passed into Oblivion.—

The Post is ready to set off & I beg leave to remain dr Sir

Your most Obt Servant
Ra: Fletcher

To John Beckett Esq
und - Secretary of State
Pray Turn over

The Names of the persons committed on 29 April [on] are under

Christopher Metcalfe
James Brierley
Henry Thwait
Joseph Clement
John Hayes
Thos Pickup
Willm Gifford

Those remanded are

Samuel Radcliffe
John Hurst
Robt Waddington
Peter Topping
Richard Charlton
John Dewhurst
James Lion

This letter can be found at HO 40/1/1.

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