Sunday, 5 August 2012

5th August 1812: General Maitland updates the Home Secretary on the situation in the North

Manchester 5th August

My dear Lord

I have written to Becket on the Subject of the New Bill, and therefore it will be unnecessary to trouble you on the occasion.

Speaking generally, every thing is here, extremely perfectly quiet, but I apprehend the same Spirit still to exist in the Quarter where it has always manifested itself.

In some degree however, it has assumed a new Shape, and the Meetings that were formerly concealed, and now held under the pretence of Petitioning for Peace and Parliamentary Reform, consisting of exactly the same Parties, and all of them we have reason to believe concerned in the administration of Illegal Oaths.

Their ostensible View at present is to raise Money for the defence of the Prisoners in Lancaster Goal, in which they have been in some degree successful.

The avowed intention of the whole is not to act at present, but to postpone whatever they may be at, till the short nights, and the general result of every thing I have been able to learn since I last wrote Your Lordship generally upon the Subject, leads me to believe that I am correct in my Opinion, they have no Head of any consequence; that they are not so numerous as they are frequently stated, but I must add I do not think the Spirit is in the smallest degree abated, though the Seizure of many of them in this Quarter has led them to be infinitely more cautious and wary in their proceedings may have hitherto been—

In respect of the West Riding, if my Information is correct, there is great difficulty in getting the Magistrates and Peace Officers to act in that Quarter and if this be true I know no remedy for this Evil but to dose it, for a time with a larger Body of Troops, and measure that I certainly would wish to carry into effect, and which I mean to propose to Lord Fitzwilliam should it meet with your Lordships approbation—

It may be necessary to inform your Lordship that I have stated my reasons for wishing it, to His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, and that he has consented to a pretty general change of the Quarters of the Troops in this Part.

I have no reason to believe they have succeeded to any extent, but I have no doubt very general attempts have been made to tamper with the Troops, which being the Case I am confident Your Lordship will agree with me that it would be most unwise to expose them to unnecessary temptation by permitting them to remain long in any Quarter, where they might form permanent connexions and attachments.—

I have [etc]
T Maitland

Lord Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/126.

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