Tuesday, 5 June 2012

5th June 1812: Delegates from the North & Midlands meet in Lancashire Hill, Stockport

On 18th June 1812, the Manchester Magistrate, William Robert Hay, passed to the Home Office a report from an informer called 'RW'. He had obtained the information from a third party, apparently the man's employer. The letter set out the details of a delegate meeting which had taken place at Lancashire Hill, Stockport on either Thursday 4th or Friday 5th June 1812:
I have just had half an hours conversation with my Informant, from whom I learn that on the 4 or 5th inst four delegates from Nottingham, Derbyshire, the Neighbourhood of Huddersfield & Lancashire came into This Town & Had a meeting with a few leading men amongst the Ludites in this neighbourhood at a private House near Lancashire Hill. These delegates after blaming in strong terms the rashness of the people here in beginning the Riots before the time appointed, & before they were sufficiently numerous & furnished with arms, proceeded to report progress. Their papers are numerous & state the number of people twisted in, & the quantity of arms they possess, for instance Middleton Derbyshire 120 men & 10 stand of arms. The Roll is wrote in Numbers not names/of the former they count very high, but of the latter they complain of great scarcity, however in addition to what they may be able to collect by their nightly depredations, they say report that they have a manufactory going on for them in Sheffield of Pike heads, that are to be sent out in Boxes by the regular couriers. The Delegates suppose it will be the end of Septr or beginning of Octr before their plans are sufficiently ripe for execution, when a blow will be struck, but I understand in the first instance they do not intend to meddle of Mills & Machinery.

These delegates pretend to report for the Counties of Nottingham, Warwick, Stafford, York, Lancaster, Chester, & Derby. They say the whole of the Kingdom are proceeding in the same way.—

The report can be found at HO 40/1/1.

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