Wednesday 11 July 2012

11th July 1812: General Maitland informs the Home Office of searches for Luddite arms in Holmfirth

Buxton 11th July 1812

My dear Sir

I have to acknowledge the receipt of Your’s of the 8th and 9th of July.

I request you will state to Lord Sidmouth, that every Exertion has been made, and is making, time being the point, upon which that of the 8th heats, and whenever authorized, I have already so disposed the Troops, that every thing in the Neighbourhood of Manchester, for the circumference, of 15, or 16 Miles, will be laid hold of, at the same time, and as soon as we have authority.

In respect to those Arms, we sent out Parties for, two Nights ago, it may be advisable, that you should be aware, if any discussion should take place, in Parliament upon that Head, of the current fact upon the occasion.—

The Prisoner, of whom you are aware, gave the Information, which is now before you, and I had a very long and satisfactory conversation with Mr. Hay on the Subject of under that Information, issuing Warrants for the Searching the Places stated therein.—

He seemed to have considered the Subject much, and stated his perfect readiness, to grant such Warrants, agreeing with me, that no time was to be lost upon the occasion. At the time however this conversation passed, though we generally knew the fact, of the Number of Depots being stated, we were ignorant of the Nature, and Discription of the Sites where they were.—

On the following Morning, when he went for the purpose of issuing the Warrants, and a detailed Account was produced by Mr. Ellison of Huddersfield if their Situation, it was discovered, they were all in the Field, and of course, it was held, but Warrants were not necessary, allowing what might be a trespass (though I am not aware of any having been felt) to take its course.

Under these circumstances it was, the Search was under, possibly unnecessary to mention, but still right you should know it.—

In respect to any Jealousies that exist, I can only say, that how ever teazing, they never shall alter my conduct, or derange my Temper in the smallest Degree. I stated it because from circumstances, I apprehended at the Moment, it might go some lengths, but whenever I found it had taken another direction, from a conversation I had, I waived entering into it, except in the instance of Ratcliffe whom I have not an Opportunity of seeing—

You will have heard from Hay, what he has very prudently done, relative to the Informant, and I am not still without hopes, for I do not totally dispair that some thing may be made out of him—

You are perfectly right in your supposition, which you will have found out before this, that Lloyd’s [Men] were the People that occasioned all the Nonsense in the Provincial Newspapers. You know him well and though extremely zealous, no reliance can be placed on his prudence, At the same time that Civil Zeal, is a Commodity of eminent price in this Market. If you look back to the Private Letter I wrote Lord Sidmouth on the 7th Inst You will find, I stated, I did not admire the hands they were in, and in a former letter, that I deplored, we could not try him, in a different way, than by bringing him before a Magistrate.—

The truth is, I was very anxious upon this Subject, but did not like to interfere myself, where the Magistrates wished to bring him up, but I believe Lloyd and the very Zealous Officer indeed, having no such Delicacy, went into him, and got out of him, all the Information we had.

In this state, I certainly did not like to interfere, nor did Mr. Hay, and we left them to their course, for it was soon found, they have made Promises, which would render it impossible in fairness, under any circumstances to make further use of the Man, than an Informant.

This is the correct State of the Case, and though we have failed in the Information, still it persuades me, from the whole complection of the thing, as strongly as I have ever stated it, that we nearly in truth know every thing that is to be known upon the Subject.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] John Beckett Esqr
Under Secretary of State
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/125.

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