Saturday, 16 June 2012

16th June 1812: General Maitland updates the new Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, about the situation in the North West

16th June

My Lord

On my Way here, I met the General Officers, of the Inland District at Derby.

Their information, relative to the State of the Country, was in general satisfactory, and in particular, the account, of the Local Militia, was in all points, exactly what we could wish.

In Nottinghamshire, the numerous Detachments, which had antecedently, been scattered, about the Country, were generally called in, and it had been attended, with no evil effect, or only apparent uneasiness, on the part of the Country Gentleman.

I am sorry however, to be obliged, to report, that the Aspect of things here, is by no means improved.

[Nocturnal Meetings, are more frequent than ever, and stealing of Arms, carried on, with great perseverance]

The Site of these Movements, is in the corner of Cheshire, touching upon Yorkshire, and Lancashire, in the Neighbourhood, and to the Eastward, of Ashton, Stockport, and Mottram. Peculiar difficulty, occurs to the Military, doing any thing, in this Quarter, from the total want, of Magistracy, and objections, are made, but all the Magistrates, to act and reside there. “To Wit” Mottram and its Neighbourhood.

At the same time, it is evidently necessary, but a stop, should be put, to these illegal proceedings, without delay. [I therefore wish to be distinctly informed, how far according to Law, the Military have right to act, against such Meetings, where some are Armed, without the interference, of a Magistrate.

If this, be decided, in favor of the Military, being able to act, I have no doubt, we shall be able, to get at them, but on the other hand, if a Magistrate, must attend, I fear we have little to expect.]

I propose however tomorrow, to call a Meeting, of the Magistracy, at Stockport, where I shall state, my readiness, to make such a disposition, as will enable us, to get at some, of these Meetings, provided, they will find, any Body, to act with us, and see, what we can make out.

I own however, from them, I expect, but little. On this important Subject, I shall have occasion, to trouble you, tomorrow.

You will have hear’d e’er now, that 38 were seized, at a Meeting, in this Place, I doubt however, whether it would not, have been much better, to have let, the thing go on, till we were more deeply, informed as to the extent of their Views. At present nothing attaches, unless they can bring home, the Administering Illegal Oaths. I understand the Parties are most of them, Men of suspicious Characters.

I have [etc]
T Maitland

[To] Rt Honble
Lord Viscount
&c &c &c

10 OClock PM
Since writing the enclosed I have received by Express from Major Genl Dyott the accompanying letters, which sufficiently explain themselves—

I have further the honor of enclosing you the Answers I have sent both Public and Private.


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

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