Saturday, 23 June 2012

23rd June 1812: Francis Lindley Wood complains to Earl Fitzwilliam again about Luddite arms raids

Hemsworth June 23d 1812

My Lord,

I have the Honor to send herewith the Resolutions of the Meeting of Lieutenancy & Magistrates held yesterday at Wakefield, & once more to request your Lordship to lay them before the Secretary of State, or to transmit them to him with such observations as you think proper to be made there upon.—I have to state that the Meeting still retains the same firm Conviction as was expressed by the Meeting of the 11th inst: that without a Seizure of Arms from the Robbers, or some equally strong & unlooked for Measure sanctioned by his Majesty's Proclamation or by new legislative Provisions adapted to meet the present Emergency, no reasonable Hope can be entertained by the Magistrates of putting a Stop to the Extension of the present System of Outrage & Terror—I inclose a Statement made by 3 respectable Merchants from Elland as being the strongest, but by no Means the only Evidence since the 11th inst:, of the Prevalence & Continuance of this System in the manufacturing Districts of the Riding.—On the contrary the Magistrates & Lieutenants from the disturbed Districts repeated their former Statements & brought down their Instances to the 21st that the nightly Robberies of Arms, Lead & Ammunition are universal throughout the Districts bounded by the Rivers Calder & Aire, & that the drilling & training of the disaffected are carried on with increasing Activity.—The Deposition herewith sent shows in some Degree that a Sort of military arrangemt takes Place amongst these People, of which also the Impossibility of Approach to their Places of Exercise or Assembly as a much stronger Evidence.—I am urgently requested by the Magistrates & Lieutenancy to press upon the Consideration of his Majesty Secretary of State the Impossibility of their preserving in any Degree whatever the Peace of the Riding without the Aid of the whole force at present in this Neighbourhood, at the least — & they would be glad of some Answer as to the Doubts expressed by several of the Magistrates as to the Extent of the Powers in the Case of an armed Assembly of Men in the Night who do not, while observed, proceed to any other Breach of the Peace then may be supposed to arise from such Assembly at such a Time.—

I remain My Lord
Your most obedt faithful Servt.
Fras. L Wood

The Rt Honble
Earl Fitzwilliam

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

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