Thursday, 20 September 2012

20th September 1812: James Stevens sends the Home Secretary an encrypted Luddite communication

Mansfield Septr 20th, 1812

My Lord

I have the Honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships communication of the 18th Instant—and Hewitt has no objection to enter into any Corps. which his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief may be pleased to direct

Several of the Luddites letters which I am in possession of have been unintelligible untill this week owing to the following ingenious plan—Their letter paper is all cut to one size, and every correspondent is in possession of what they term a Key, a specimen of which I have inclosed—and which being placed upon the letter shews at once what they wish to disclose—the remainder of the letter is a Cloak in case it should fall into the Hands of the Police

The Canal scheme is not to be carried into effect untill next month, when the nights will be more favourable for their plans—some of the Luddites oppose it on the ground that it is not calculated to produce that terror, which it appears to be there object to inspire, and are for more desperate measures

I have [etc]
James Stevens

[To] The Rt Honb Lord Sidmouth &c
Secretary of State

The unencrypted letter says "Sir - The Committee for the relief of the Poor meet on Wednesday night at 8 o'Clock when the case of the woman who lives on Bulwell Common will be taken into consideration. Yours &c &c. Bulwell Sep 13th 1812"

When the 'key' is applied to it, it says "The Committee meet on Wednesday night at 8 o'Clock on Bulwell Common"

This letter can be found at HO 40/127.

No comments:

Post a Comment