Friday, 14 December 2012

14th December 1812: The Leicester framework-knitter's leader, Thomas Allsop, offers to become an informer

Leicester 14th Decr. 1812

Honoured Sir

I feel it my duty as a faithful and Loyal Subject of His Majesty to lay before you the Inclosed Paper. You will form your Opinion on its contents, I do not hesitate to say that Societies formed on the place there pointed out our once inimical to our Laws, and but subversive of the Peace and Property of His Majesty’s subjects. It has its origin at Nottingham and I believe I should never have been trusted with it but that I was tried at Lammas Assizes in the Borough of Leicester on a Charge of having sent a Threatening Letter to a Mr Wood of the said Borough of which I was perfectly Innocent and which was clearly proved, but to return, The Language of the “Articles” would alone justify me in this mode of procedure but I have many reasons to believe that the Object of these societies is to persevere in an organized plan and to act in unison with the Luddites of Yorkshire and I am further justified in this Opinion by their having recommenced their outrages at Nottingham by Frame-breaking. It is intended to form societies under the pretence of Obtaining Parliamentary Relief and I believe are many societies formed but mark the Articles, No Person is to be admitted to their meetings. What does this argue, that there Object is unlawful, I have been requested to form societies in Leicester but this I cannot do for unless there is an ostensible Object in view and that Object is agreeable with the Crown Laws and Constitution of our Country I will have nothing to do it.—

Your Candour will forgive me writing so familiar and I must beg of you that my name may not be mentioned as making this discovery as it would probably cost me my life, If you should wish for further particulars I should thank you for a line Addressed T. Allsop Burley’s Lane, Leicester and to come unfranked to avoid suspicion

I should think an interview with you might be useful, but as I am an humble Individual and have not the means of defraying the expence that must rest with you. I shall not fail to give You every information that I can on this important subject, I have as yet had no communication with any Person in Leicester on the Business, shall wait your Instructions. In laying this business before you I trust I shall have done my duty and that my conduct may meet Your Approbation is the earnest wish of

Honoured Sir with all [Deference]
Your Obedient, Humble Servt
Thomas Allsop

[To] The Right Honorable
The Secretary of State
Home Department

P.S. I earnestly interest Your Honour to return the printed paper soon as may be convenient to you for I dare not be without it in fear of discovery—

This letter can be found at HO 42/130. The paper that Allsop alludes to in his letter is not in the Home Office records, at least in the same division.

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