Friday, 11 May 2012

11th May 1812: Lieutenant-General Maitland issues 'Instructions for Officers' regarding illegal oaths

Head Quarters North west District
Liverpool 11 May 1812


Lieut General the Honble Thomas Maitland Commanding His Majestys Forces in the Inland North west Districts, has been pleased to authorise me to send you the following Instructions, in addition to those which have already been transmitted to you for the Inspection of the Local Militia in this County and cheshire—

It being thoroughly ascertained that certain unprincipled and Infatuated men have combined for the Destruction of Property, and the eventual Subversion of His Majestys Government, And that in the Prosecution of these treasonable pursuits they are in the Habit of administering illegal Oaths by which the unwary, but well intentioned may be Seduced—It is particularly desirable the men of the Local Militia, in whose Loyalty Zeal and attachment, the most thorough Confidence is placed, both from the Experience of their past and their recent Conduct, should be made fully aware of the Acts which may be used to withdraw them from their Allegiance, you will therefore upon the Inspection of each Regiment of Local Militia, take such measures as shall appear to you, and the Commandant to the most expedient to explain to the men, the Danger they may be exposed to, in allowing themselves to be tampered with and to be induced to come under such illegal Engagements. They are to be informed most pointedly that the administering, or the taking of such Oaths will in future, under a Bill now under the consideration of Parliament, should it Pass, render the Persons doing it, liable to the Punishment of Death, and that it is their Duty to their King and Country to resist every Offer, which may be made to them with such Views.

If attempts should be made by Strangers, or others, to tamper with the Men, after the period of Training and Exercise or even after they shall no longer belong to the Regiment, It is their Duty to give Information thereof to their Officers, if they shall belong to the Regiment or if after they are discharged from it, to the nearest Magistrate, in Order that such wicked and ill disposed Persons may be apprehended, and brought to Punishment.—

I have [etc]

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

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