Sunday, 17 June 2012

17th June 1812: General Maitland sends his instructions for the Wiltshire spies to Lord Sidmouth


17th June 1812

My Dear Lord

As it will be of great consequence, the Persons sent here out of Wiltshire, should know, how to communicate with me, when they may have any thing of importance to explain, or to state.

The following is the channel through which such Communications must be made. The Person wishing so to communicate must address his letter to Mr Benjamin Harris, Post Office, Manchester, and must proceed himself to Buxton. On his arrival at Buxton he must leave a letter at the Great Hotel under the same direction, adding “to remain till called for”.

The substance of the first letter must be simply

M__________ requests to see Mr Harris as soon as possible

The second

M__________ is to be found at such a House in Buxton, naming the house, and the Person must wait till sent for, which will be without delay.

It will be necessary I should have the names of the men sent, and that opposite to their names, should be placed the letter by which they are to be known

M__________ John &c &c
N__________ James &c &c

and so on. But beginning with M, as I hope the other previous letters will be filled up. This will be requisite, as his real name, is the one by which he must go at Buxton.

The Places to which these men should be sent, are at least, Two to Huddersfield, One to Halifax, One to Bradford, One to Saddleworth, on the borders of Lancashire, and Two to Leeds, but none of the men where Two are sent to the same Place should be known to each other.

The General object of their Instructions ought to be, to get sworn in, and to become Active and Efficient Members, of these Committees, to conceive merely being sworn in is nothing, but to endeavour, to come to a thorough knowledge of what is at the bottom of all this, who are their real Leaders, what their ultimate object, and not to hazard any discovery of themselves, by communicating with me, or any where too frequently, unless the information they have, is of real importance.

I presume some channel, will be fixed, in Wiltshire, for their communicating occasionally upon general Subjects, how they go on &c &c.

I am [etc]
T Maitland

[To] Right Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/124.

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