Monday, 11 June 2012

11th June 1812: William Cartwright's brother writes to the West Riding authorities asking for help

Wakefield June 11—1812


I take the liberty of laying before you the situation of my Brother William Cartwright of Rawfolds and earnestly soliciting for him your protection

I need not state to you the Circumstances or result of the Attack upon his Mill by the Luddites two months ago presuming they will be fresh in your recollection—But the situation which that occurrence has placed him is most melancholy—The fatigue of watching every night in a cold mill for more than three months; sinks into insignificance, when compared with the misery of constant alarm and dread of assassination, which these deluded people announce by threatening letters, and openly speak of as certain even tho’ distant, and that no lapse of time will protect him. The murder of Mr Horsfall confirms all this and the inverteracy of the lower orders thro the country, excited by his successful resistance and continued defiance compels him to believe it—Courage and caution in this case are almost equally [unavailing]—The complete seclusion he is obliged to observe will make it obvious his business must be neglected—in fact it is not in his power to look to it—To the fear of death he is obliged to add that of approaching ruin, and sees his Children around him entirely unprovided for—He was completely ruined 12 months ago by the embarrassments arising from the dispute with America, and tho happily reestablished by the assistance of his friends all his hopes are blasted—The expenses of fortifying his Mill—The damage done in the attack and the hourly charge attendant in maintaining a sufficient force to protect it amount to a Sum far beyond the profits of any moderate trade—His continued defence is proved necessary by secret intelligence he has received, that the Luddites are resolved to destroy him & his mill by an overwhelming force now in preparation, “cost what it may to the party”—A proof (if one were wanting) of the Audacity of these people offer’d it self during my stay with him last week. A party of about 9 or 10 assembled within 200 yards of his house at ten o'clock in the Morning to fire at a mark—I may be permitted to add that his successful resistance has in all probability stemmed the torrent of devastation as no attack on any other place of consequence has since been made

If these circumstances appear to you to give him any claim on the protection of the public I entreat with a brothers feelings that you wou’d condescend to take some steps in his behalf

I beg you will accept my apology for obtruding my self on your notice and that the defects of this representation drawn up in haste may be excused

I have[etc]
John Cartwright

To the five Lieutt & Deputy Lieuts & Magistrates of the West riding of York assembled at the Court house

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

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