Sunday, 15 April 2012

[Mid to late] April 1812: Threatening letter from "W Balfour. Captain of Division" to William Trentham, Nottingham


I have received instructions from the Captain from his Head Quarters at Grinds Booth in which he orders me to represent to you the conduct of a Person of the name of Haywood who takes chevining from your Warehouse.This woman gives her Girls but half a Crown a Week tho' they chevin six pair of Hose a Day for which they work a great number of Hours the Captain has written himself to a Hosier of Nottingham respecting this Woman and he informs me that the result has been most satisfactory, the Captain desires me to represent to you in the strongest terms his detestation and abhorrence of your conduct if you are privy to this Womans transactions as you must be sensible that no human being capable of work can be maintained with 2/6 a Week.

You must be sensible Sir that these unfortunate Girls are under very strong temptations to turn prostitutes, from their extreme poverty.

The Captain authorises me to say that these People being defenceless he conceives them to be more immediately under his protection as his believes their Wages are the lowest in England He hopes you will endeavour to alleviate their misfortunes by giving the employ to each of these Individuals at an equitable Price.

Should you neglect to redress the grievance complain'd of I am commanded by the Captain to acquaint you, and I do hereby acquaint you, that however unwilling yet our Duty to the cause will compells us to attack you on your Property wherever you may be found

For this Purpose the Sections 11= 13= and 34 are put under my command and I shall not fail of doing my Duty to my Captain and my Frend

Sign'd W. Balfour
Captain of Division
Four oClock in the
Afternoun [illegible]

This letter can be found at HO 42/120. The letter is undated, but Kevin Binfield (2004, p.124) has decided it dates from April 1812, despite the fact it is in the Home Office files division for February. It seems a reasonable presumption given the events of 27th April 1812.

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