Wednesday, 19 September 2012

19th September 1812: A spy reports from Saddleworth

Dobcross 19th. Septr. 1812.


Agreeable to Your Orders of the 17th I arrived here at 4 oClock in the evening but did not think it prudent to enquire immediately after Kenworthy the fear of any suspicion, but about 7 oClock the same evening I had the opportunity of hearing his name mentioned several times amongst the company in the Swan Inn where I took up my quarters and likewise got to know that he was in the habbit of buying and selling old cards at the different factories and mills round the country, but it is the opinion of the people here that that is only to screen his rogery—I immediately assumed the character of a Hatter, and wanted to buy a quantity of Old cards and by that means got introduced to him. I have had a deal of Conversation with him and made him believe that I was of the same opinion he is himself but the fellow is so very reserved that there is no taking proper hold of him it is the General opinion here that he is a chief planner of the disturbances in the different parts of the Country and the inhabitants here would give a great deal if there could be any thing proved against him so as to convict him but he acts in that kind of way that no hold can be taken of him at present. I am informed that the chief rendevous for him and his associates is at long Royal bridge, the better class of people here seems very well disposed but the lower class seems ripe for all kinds of mischief. I am going to Oldham this Morning in company with Kenworthy and shall do every thing in my power to get every information from him, and likewise to know the minds of the people in what ever part of the Country you may think proper to Order me—

You will please to direct for me at Oldham to be left at the post office till called for

John Knight

[To] General Ackland
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 40/2/3.

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