Saturday, 23 February 2013

23rd February 1813: General Acland writes a summary of recent events for General Maitland

Wakefield 23rd Febry 1813.

My dear Sir.

I went this morning to Huddersfield & fortunately met Mr. Radcliffe, Scott & Armytage the magistrates also Lloyd & Alison, they all agree the temper & feeling of the country is totally changed, & that there is every [reported] prospect & expectation of all continuing quiet — Radcliffe & Mr Armytage without any allusion I me to the subject, stated that in their opinions the troops might be withdrawn leaving only one Regt of Cavalry & that the trial should be made to enable us to form a fair opinion as to its real state, as well as the true disposition of the people—Mr. Scott was not altogether in this mind, but thought a Regt of Infantry should be left also, so as to give a company or small detachment in each Town.

Radcliffe gave no hint about his guard being withdrawn but said soon after the troops were remov’d if the country was quiet he should go away for a month or two which I know he intended doing way before the commission at York took place – others whom I have conversed with since we (quartered at York) think also a Regt of Cavalry will be sufficient for this Riding.

Allison tells me the sentiments of all classes are changed, those who were known to be implicated in the late disturbances & when not proceeded against are truly sensible of the Lenity shewn them by our Government & many of those who were active promoters of the depredations & were entirely unknown or only partially so are much [gratified] & feel happy that no measures have been taken to detect or punish them.

About 60 have taken the oath of Allegiance before Mr. Scott about 5 or 6 of them appear to have taken the illegal oath, but they state it only bound them to promote petitions for peace & parliamentary reform & as far as Mr. Scott can ascertain these do not seem to have join’d in any of the depredations or plundering — Dean who was executed is stated by most of them to have been as active in all the disturbances as either Mellor or Thorpe

Mr. Armytage has administered the oath of Allegiance to about 20 - 15 of which have come in within the last three days.

Sir John Kaye has here been most active in gaining every information from his Tenantry about Dalton many of the Lower classes of these have have been implicated than he was before aware of but are here thoroughly sensible of their error and there is every appearance they will return to orderly & peaceable habits of Life.

In short all that I have conversed with seem to be of opinion that we have now such a Key to the character of most of the people in general that any thing that may occur again must be speedily broken into, but the recurrence of disturbance is not likely to happen again at least for some time.

I went to see the Plantations of Mr. Hague & Mr. Horsfall that was stated to have been destroy’d the former has about 250 or 300 young trees broken or cut down the latter about [80] though it appears to me to have proceeded from a very mischievous principle I have my doubts if it is connected with the system of Luddism & [illegible] do not believe it is—

I did not find Mr. Horsfall at home & could only find a Servant who knew little or nothing.

Mr Hague does not suspect any one he has always been to a certain degree popular with the Lower classes, & [attributes] the spirit that has now shewn itself to his having been very active recently in getting subscriptions for Mr. Cartwright, but many [illegible] think it proceeds from offence given in his being over tenacious in preserving his [illegible] & having been somewhat severe in doing it—

The Tenter that was destroy’d (& which may cost about 20£ to repair) belonged to one Drake who was a principal Evidence against the persons let out on bail.

Mr. Hague has offered a reward of 50£ for the detection of any one concerned & tells me he has spoken to Ratcliffe to write up to the Secretary of State to grant a pardon to any one who will impeach—

Allow me to [report] you my thanks for the kind manner in which you have supported me about Major Hawker I can only say it shall ever be as if always [illegible] my [study] & not as I think will give you satisfaction & to anticipate your wishes.

Will you consider about sending the Horse artillery & [illegible] they actively can be [well] spared. I believe Foy would be gratified in taking them back there previous to giving up the Command.

I am anxious to save the post & have therefore hurried myself in writing.

Wroth: P: Acland
M General

I shall be most anxious to learn from you what is to become of me, if it is possible to arrange it I shall be happy in return to Chelmsford


[To] Lt General
The Rt. Honble
T. Maitland

This letter can be found at HO 40/2/9.

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