Tuesday, 1 May 2012

1st May 1812: Major Gordon reports Luddites raiding for arms in the Huddersfield area

Huddersfield ½ past 9 oClock AM
1st May 1812


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of Lieut Genl the Honble HG Greys letter or this day and am sorry to be under the necessity of noticing the want of Non-Commissioned officers in the West Kent Regt having only 6 Serjs & 5 [illegible] & 2 [illegible] with the four Companies & the 211 Rank & file on paper they are not so efficient by one third fourth as the detachments of Royal Cumberland & Royal Debigh Regt. The Denbigh marched this morning for Leeds, on their Route to Hull & you are aware that I am to lose the Cumberland on the third of this month. An attack I understand was made last night in the neighbourhood of Honley for the purpose of seizing upon the Arms intended for the protection of individuals – the general appearance is much worse every hour in this neighbourhood – drunken men have been seen with pistols in the streets during the day, but without offering violence to any person, we (the military) have not the power of taking such a man to a magistrate – violent measures must be resorted to before any thing can be done with safety in this neighbourhood. The Special Constables are fearful of becoming mark’d characters, and the Watch & Ward Bill is publicly opposed and I fear they will not have courage now to enforce it—There is no man of Character in this neighbourhood who could not find employment if inclined to work and it is entirely a political business, & the unfortunate workmen are threaten’d if they receive orders from the persons who use machinery—We have strong reason to suppose there are arms secreted in some of the woods in this neighbourhood.—

I fear my next report will not be more favorable—assassination appears to be the order of the day with the Ludites

I have [etc]
William Gordon
Majr Capt 2nd Drgn Gs.

To [Lieutenant-General Grey]

This letter can be found at HO 42/123.

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