Wednesday, 16 January 2013

16th January 1813: General Acland gives Francis Raynes orders to observe the funerals of the yet to be executed Luddites

Wakefield, 16th January, 1812.



As the bodies of the culprits who are to be executed this morning at York, are to be delivered over to their friends after execution, it is adviseable that their burial should be observed, and that proper persons should be sent to watch their proceedings. The object of this, is not to prohibit their fair and decent burial; but to ascertain, as far as may be, the temper of the country upon the subject. No military exertion can be made use of upon the occasion: but it is of eminent necessity, that the people should understand we have a watchful eye over their proceedings; and, if any un-common or unexpected number may be collected, on any of these occasions, it is fitting that they should not only know we are watching their motions, but that such undue ceremony will be attended by a patrole of cavalry, to see that they immediately go quietly to their homes. It becomes, therefore, important, that every exertion on your part, should be made, that any attempt to riot of disturbance, may be instantly checked, and that, till the funerals are over, you remain constantly on the alert and take such measures, that the men under your command, may be ready to turn out without, if possible, letting the people suppose you are more than usually active, or taking any particular precautions.

You will, moreover, endeavour to get some person on whom you can rely, to be quietly present at the funerals of those person, if in your neighbourhood, in order to ascertain, as much as possible, their feeling and disposition on the occasion.

I have [etc]


[To] Captain Raynes, &c. &c.

P. S. Desire the orderly man to report to you, whether he saw any unusual number of people on the road, and let me know on his return.

This is from Raynes (1817, pp.124-125)

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