Saturday, 8 September 2012

8th September 1812: General Maitland writes to the Home Office with his concerns about the West Riding

8th September

My dear Sir

I attended at a Meeting of the Lieutenancy yesterday, when they came to the Resolution, of enforcing the Ward and Watch Bill, where Voluntary Associations had not taken place, and this Measure is to be finally adopted Wednesday Sen’ night at a Special Meeting to be called for the purpose.

Several instances of the old System, of taking Arms, and destroying Machinery, have taken place within the last fortnight, and what makes this truly alarming is, that such is the State of Fear in the Country, that the People will not only, not come in, and tell, but even when you send to them they are afraid to state what has passed.—

I cannot flatter you, with stating that I think the evil Spirit here is broke in upon in the smallest Degree, and an universal system of Terror prevails with regard to the result of the Long Nights, set originally agoing and sedulously supported by the Threats, and the Boasts, of the disaffected, of what they will then accomplish.—

I have now got Parties out, all over the Country, but the result of this will not be known, or felt, for at least a time, no pains however shall be omitted on my part, in endeavouring to get rid of it.

The last Return I saw from Cheshire, gives upwards of a Thousand, who had actually taken the Oaths, and they were still coming in, but in no other part of the Country, far less in this Riding have they shewn the smallest disposition.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] John Becket Esqr.
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/127.

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