Monday, 18 June 2012

18th June 1812: Doubts about Thomas Allsop's guilt from a Post Office spy

Gratian Hart was sent to the Midlands by the General Post Office to  watch over the mail and try to detect communications between Luddites. Here, he gives his opinion of the handwriting of the threatening letter to Henry Wood of Ann Wood & Co & that of Thomas Allsop who had been arrested on suspicion of writing it.

Leicester June 18. 1812

Dear Sir.

I beg to return my best thanks, for the leave of Absence granted me. Should circumstances permit I hope to take Town in my Route Home.

I sent to You a Printed incendiary paper some little time since: I now enclose a fac Simile of the Original letter; with the utmost Satisfaction I inform You, the Author was committed to Jail last night, and this day is fully committed for Trial: I fear there will be some difficulty in proving the Hand Writing so as to fully conflict the Mans cunning and versatility of writing raising many Obstacles: I cannot for my part trace the Similarity between the Threatening letter and the Writing of some Papers I have seen belonging to them, that others do: however evidence is strong, and I hope it will silence the Leicester Chronicle which has most impudently advocated the cause of this their Brother in Creed.

The Man acted as Secretary to the Stocking Makers Committee who are acting on behalf of the Whole Body to form regulations between themselves and the Masters of Hosiery — the Capability for Mischief his correspondence evinces is very great, and the good consequences of his committal great: the better part of the Frame Workers began to suspect this Man of other Views than those of the Committee, and actually voted his discharge from the Chair, when the Arm of the Law was over them.

More good News: the Villains who have been burning the Stacks of Corn in the Neighbourhood of Loughboro, are brought in and committed: we begin to hope a better days.

I am [etc]
Gratian Hart

Francis Fraling Esq
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/124.

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