Saturday, 7 July 2012

7th July 1812: Colonel Fletcher & his spy, John Stones, observe the 'Manchester 38' in Gaol

In his account of the arrest and trial of the 'Manchester 38', John Knight recounts a chilling episode that took place at the New Bailey prison in Salford on either Tuesday the 7th or Wednesday 8th July 1812:
On the 7th or 8th July, Higgins, the gaoler, accompanied by a magistrate of Bolton, named Ralph Fletcher, and a notorious character, of the name of Stones, came into each yard, and ordered in every yard the prisoners belonging to the thirty-eight, to separate themselves from the other, and then viewed our persons minutely, for a considerable time, with earnest attention.
This was no doubt aimed at fixing any of the '38' that John Stones had come across during his infiltration of the underground workers' organisations during the last few months.

This is from Knight (1812, p.vii).

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