Tuesday, 19 June 2012

19th June 1812: General Maitland updates the Home Secretary with his analysis of the situation in the North


19th June

My dear Lord

You will see by the letter, I have sent to day, the feeling I entertain, relative to the present State of the Country.

I have not deemed it necessary to send up, the various informations, and proceedings, upon which, that Judgement is formed. Many of them, must be already, before your Lordship, but I have very little doubt, it is nearly the correct State of the case.

I at one time, certainly conceived, it might have, a more extended, and general organization, but I am at present, inclined to think, it proceeds, from Local Heads, and has no settled Objects in View, further than, to be prepared, that any Mischief that may occur.

I have seen, some letters from Town, stating, the feelings, of the disaffected there, and mentioning, that they looked, to the rising of those here. It is again stated, to those here, that they are to look for, a rising in London, from which I infer, that the true state, is very much, that in both Places, there may be, a few disaffected, but that they are endeavouring at both, to strengthen, their Party, by the Idea, of an existence, of an Organization at each, which is by no means, the case at either.

The number of Arms seized, in this immediate Neighbourhood, in one Division, near Stockport, amounts to 17 Guns, 1 Pistol, and 8 Swords, similar circumstances, have happened, along with the whole of the Border, and as far as information goes, there is generally about 100 concerned, but only 10, or 12, make their appearance.

There is a total impossibility, to get the Magistrates to act, in some Quarters, and I am now trying, if we can find, one, or two, active Young Men of Property, who will undertake, if put in the Commission to act.

There is a Question, upon that Subject relative to myself. I believe the name of all the Privy Counsellors, is in every Commission of the Peace, in every County. I am perfectly aware, how unfitting, generally, it would be, to mix the Character, of a Magistrate, with that of a Military Man, but I have doubts, whether in the event, of any emergency occurring, it might not be well, to possess the Power of Acting, by taking out the Decliners.

This is a Private Question, but I know Your Lordship too well, to think you will take it amiss, to be asked, the favor of your private Opinion on the occasion.

The suspending the Acts of Council has already had, a considerable effect here, but tomorrow, is the great Day, when any change will shew itself, as more business, is done in that Day, than any other—

I am [etc]
Rt Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/124.

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