Thursday, 13 September 2012

13th September 1812: Mancunian Luddites start to take the oath of Allegiance to the King

Didsbury near Manchester
Septr. 13th 1812

My Lord

I have to report your Lordship that 56 men living in Manchester, have in the course of Friday and yesterday, attended, & taken the oath of Allegiance before me. I have the more pleasure in giving your Lordship this Information, because until now, no persons within the Town have taken the benefit of the wise, salutary, & humane act of Parliament passed for this purpose. Various reports have been circulated, (perhaps by evil designing persons) calculated to claim the minds of those who had taken the illegal oath, & were desirous of tab during it. Means have been taken to dissipate their Fears, & I hope the example now set, & which shall be generally known, will have the effect of inducing many to profit by it.

I have gained very little Information from these men. They express Sorrow & complain heavily of the misery they have endured in their minds, since they took the Oath in April or May last. They profess that in some cases, motives of curiosity to know the Secret attached to it, in many Fear & Terror from the threatenings made use of, & in others persuasion, have cause them to err, but in all no information was given to them, as to what must be done but they were told, “to be ready when called upon”. It appears that the men who administered the Oath to these people, Weaver Strangers or men who have left this part of the Country.

I think the Numbers twisted in are very considerable, however we are all quiet at present, & the principal agitators have either removed from hence, or suspended their operations.

I am [etc]
R. A. Farrington.

[To] Rt Honble Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/127.

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