Friday, 6 April 2012

6th April 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham to Home Office

6th April, 1812

Dear Sir,

The want of materials and a very real pressure of Business has prevented my communicating with you for some time but I have great pleasure in assuring you that after the temporizing and turned Conduct of Sir John Bailey all Persons here who value the Peace and Security of this Neighbourhood feel themselves under great obligation to his Majesty’s Ministers for the very prompt attention they have shown to the removal of the Convicts and the firmness with which we understand they have resisted any immediate Exhibition of relaxation in the Sentences of the principal Framebreakers who have become amenable to the Law. The Luddites are certainly very much enraged at present appearances but thank God they are also very much alarmed. There is a considerable Division in that part of them connected with the Lace Trade and I have reason to think a considerable defalcation on the whole —in those disposed to counternance their measures. There is however as yet very little more satisfaction at the nature of their situation and very little decrease in the strength of their conviction that a great portion of the Evils they sustain arises out of the conduct of their Masters to them. The Men have yet hope that some of their Comrades Sentences will be mitigated and we think that until this question is determined no Attempt to break Frames will be made but from all the Intelligence I can learn if they should soon learn that there is no Hope of any mitigation of their sentences then they will proceed with more caution but will to keep up the spirits of the party be determined upon breaking some of the obnoxious Frames both in the Town and Country. I have intimation of one Sett or Shop of Frames in the Town which in this case is threatened. We shall however proceed very cautiously endeavour to come at accurate Intelligence and lay our plan if possible to Detect them in the Act. We should be glad confidentially to know whether there is any Intention to pardon the Men convicted and when we may expect that they will receive such an Answer as they will consider as final; for we should proceed upon such Information to redouble our Vigilance (if it were likely that the Hopes of the Framebreakers should be entirely overthrown) against the Period when we might guess that they would acquire authentic Intelligence of this fact. l hope on Wednesday morning to convey to Mr. Secretary Ryder official Notice of the Town Magistrates having deemed it expedient to enforce the Watch and Ward Act and to transmit the full Account of the Steps we have hither to taken in it. I believe it is in contemplation of the Corporate Magistrates to have the whole of the civil force provided by this Act of Parliament marshalled and made subject to the call of the Magistrates, in case any Emergency should render it proper to avail ourselves of the full Extent of it, but they will only use such a part of it as may be necessary to give full vigour and effect to the present nightly Patrole of the Military. In the Country there have been several Framebreakers apprehended since the Assizes and some at Basford in consequence of Information which I caused to be given to the Country Magistrates. I shall at all times be ready and happy to give you and Mr. Ryder every Information in my power on this Subject but shall be more happy if I should soon be enabled to inform you that this shocking System isentirely subsiding.

Yours [etc.]

Geo. Coldham

This letter can be found at HO 42/122.

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