Friday, 15 June 2012

15th June 1812: The Mayor of Leicester writes an alarmist letter to General Dyott

Leicester, June 15th 1812


I take the liberty of requesting that you will, if it be possible, increase the force of this Garrison. I understand there are only about 158 Soldiers in the place.

It is not possible, in the compass of a letter, to explain to you all the reasons which induce me to apprehend for the safety of the Town—. I will state a few – but beg you to give me credit for more— Letters threatening assassination have been sent here to several persons— It is pretty clear that these have been sent by the Committee of Frameworkknitters who have as complete an organization of the whole Body as you could have of a Regiment. The Leicester Chronicle has been for some time employed in familiarizing and justifying assassination. It has advertised a Subscription for Bellingham's Widow. The system of terror is here almost as complete as at Nottingham; and do not forget that the Press is here more devoted to Revolutionists than in any other part of the Kingdom. I received by the Post lately the following letter—
“Sir, excues the libberty of the poor woman but I am very sorry to inform you that their is moast dreadful work carring on wich they say things is quite in their favour they did not think you would have let the Sussix gon but Sir if it is in your power you had much better get them to return on some more boath your sake and some Hundreds wich is in great danger Sir rewards is of no youse I should like to say a great deal but durst not as I overheard last night but I beg you will be as caushas as possable you can for they are a great hopes to have it done in avery short time they say — know. so I concluded with wishing all may be well for their is too many Luds — Lester 11th June.”
The letter wears all the appearance of being the genuine effusion of an honest person of low condition—Since the receipt of this the keeper of the very house in which the Committee of Frameworkknitters meet called privately on the Chief Constable and told him he is very miserable—That there will certainly be dreadful work and soon— that he has overheard some of the Frameworkknitters talk of such things as make him shudder &c, the Chief Constable bid him keep his ears open and inform him from time to time. Now, Sir, with a Committee organized by Nottingham men, holding constant communication with them and having very great correspondence in other places, headed by a clever man who has threatened assassination, and assisted by a Press which justifies it, and which is conducted by a man who has confessed privately that he should like a Revolution, can you suppose that if there be a general rising there is any place where more vigourous measures will take place on the part of the Insurgents than this?

I beg you to consider, Sir, that I can not state to you all that leads me to this apprehension— much is derived from the general character of affairs — but if there be ground for fear any where there is at Leicester. If a blow is struck any where it will be here struck with the relentless fury by the heads of the organization. It is a part of Nottingham in its system. They are jointly soliciting a Bill — delegates from both places are together in London and others conferring here — continually — There is a perfect identity between them, and here the press is more in their favor than at Nottingham or any where.

You may depend upon it that this Town would be the head quarters of the Insurgents for a considerable district, and it ought, therefore, as I am persuaded you will think, to have a force equal to the importance of it. It spreads over a space larger than Nottingham. Many inhabitants have expressed their surprize to me that we have so few Troops in the Town—. I know your readiness to listen to my requests and I beg to assure you that I am,

Sir [etc]
Jno Stevenson, Mayor
[To] Major Genl Dyott &c

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

No comments:

Post a Comment