Sunday, 16 September 2012

16th September 1812: James Stevens informs the Home Secretary that Luddites plan to attack Canals in Nottinghamshire

The 'Luddite Arms' Stevens enclosed with his letter: the motto is 'Taisez Vous', which means 'Keep Quiet'
Mansfield Sep. 16th 1812

My Lord

Having reason to suppose the Luddites in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield are arranging a similar plan to one form’d in this County — which has for its object the destroying of the Canals has induced me to write to your Lordship, to inquire who is the acting person in the Police for that part of the County of York—in case I get information worth communicating

The first Canal to be destroy’d in this County is the Nottingham and Cromford, their plan is for five different parties to make the attempt at the same time upon the different Locks and afterwards court the Reservoir

—I am sorry to inform your Lordship that the Luddites in this County are gaining Ground every week—they are forming themselves into Classes and divisions—and the inclosed Schedule will convey to your Lordship the manner in which they make their returns—The Secretary’s of Divisions are changed every Quarter—

Besides different Riots which took place last week, we had an attempt at assassination and two Houses enter’d for the purpose of stealing arms—and unless some different regulations are adopted in this County I see no possibility of an end being put to their depredations

I have [etc]
James Stevens

The Rt Honb: Lord Sidmouth


I have the Honor to inform your Lordship—since writing the above I have waited upon Major Gen’ Hawker – to concert measures for the protection of the Canals

This letter can be found at HO 42/127.

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