Friday, 31 August 2012

31st August 1812: General Maitland tells the Home Office that Fear is the key to success against the Luddites

31st August

My dear Sir

I this morning received Your’s, Lloyd’s information is correct as to the fact of the Oaths of Allegiance taken at Stockport, but not one of them Stockport Men, they all came from the Country, and that part of the Country. I have so frequently alluded to, indeed it is most material there should be no misunderstanding upon this Subject.

The numbers that have come in have been induced by Fear, and Fear alone, in fact whenever we seized any of their Heads that moment they begin to come in, and not till then, and of this I have the most clear and distinct Proof. It is very difficult to get at them from the Magistrates Clerks, but the return of those coming in, who have already been sworn is fast increasing, in fact, in that part of the Country where there has been real Military Exertion the Thing it over, and if we can set it agoing here in the same Way we will soon get rid of it.

Upon this Head I am happy to tell you that I think tomorrow or next day we will be able to commence at Barnsley, and I have at present great hopes we shall be able to lay hold of at least 6 or 8 of the Ringleaders, if we succeed in this, it will be a great Thing.

Schofield is just committed, to York Jail for trial, and the information is complete as far as one unimpeachable Evidence goes.

I have just received this moment a letter from Lawson, he is to be at Liverpool the 3rd and I shall send Acland to see him.

I shall be at Sheffield tomorrow about the Barnsley business, and shall write to you.

Mr. Scott who committed Schofield had some previous communication with your department upon the Subject, but on thorough consideration he judged it right to commit at once, if any use can be made of him otherwise, it is of course still open should it be deemed expedient.

T Maitland

[To] John Becket Esqr.
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/126.

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