Saturday, 23 June 2012

23rd June 1812: Colonel Ralph Fletcher informs the Home Office about links between Huddersfield & Manchester

Bolton 23 June 1812

Dear Sir

The following Extract from B’s weekly report I think it proper to transmit
“Subscriptions are set on foot to relieve the 38 men committed from Manchester last Week — and also for the Relief of their Families. The Citizens say that the ablest Council in the Kingdom are returned to defend them — amongst whom are Scarlett—Williams—Brougham & Halley.

A Delegate from Glasgow past through Manchester on Tuesday 17th instant he is for London and says that the People think the time long & some of them are impatient for a Start whilst others relax in their Efforts as believing the Business cannot be done this Season—They have (taken in 40 miles round Glasgow) 56,000 men who can be depended on. He lamented the Blow given to the Cause by the Manchester Apprehensions & Commitments, as the then intended Petitioning might have united the Whole of the Country. He declined giving his address—but his Name is Robinson. He is about 5 feet 4 Inches high—dark complexion His nose rather sharp, about 40 years of age—dressed in Blue, with short Boots. He expects to return in Twelve days intending to pass through Leeds and to stop a day or two there if possible, and should cause Information to be sent to our Town such as is necessary to be known.”
B acquaints me that the Huddersfield Luddites—according to their Delegates report – have 300 Stand of arms in one depot and 225 Stand in another – also 9 Blunderbusses – and a vast (or abundance) of Pistols, which last they keep by them for an Emergency. When a General meeting takes place among them, he said, it consists of Captains of Hundred – and Commanders of Thousands—and these when sent on any Delegacy are sworn to Secrecy & to do their duty to the best of their power—There men are regularly classed in a thousand each—and Seven of such Classes to constitute a Legion—They (viz the Huddersfield Luds) will pay their Subscriptions towards defraying the Expenses of defending the Prisoners at Lancaster. B is directing his endeavours to discover the Depots before alluded to—and untill I receive his particular Communication in this respect – I think it will be unnecessary to mention it to General Maitland, but as soon as any probable Situation where these arms are collected can be ascertained I will lose not a moment in making the Information known to him according to your directions as contained in your last—I conveyed Job Fletchers declaration to the General on Saturday last—

My principal motive for troubling yourself this Communication – was to describe Robinson the Glasgow delegates person that if he could be recognized & watched to his hiding place in London it might be possible to grasp at the persons who compose the superior Committee there & their place of meeting

I have [etc]
Ra: Fletcher

To John Beckett Esqr

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

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