Wednesday, 30 October 2013

30th October 1813: A Sheffield JP, Hugh Parker, applies to the Home Office for expenses he paid to procure Luddite prisoners

Woodthorpe Oct. 30th 1830

My dear Sir,

When I had the pleasure of seeing you in the Spring you may perhaps recollect to have mentioned to me a Claim made in the Bill of the Solicitors for the prosecution of the Barnsley Luddites for a Sum of money advanced by myself for the purpose of procuring information in respect of that business.

Understanding from the Solicitors that their Bill has been paid by the Treasury with the exception of my claim I take the liberty of troubling you & wish you would have the goodness to represent the circumstance to Lord Sidmouth as I am sure it cannot be the intention of his Majesty's Government to suffer the monies I have advanced in it’s service to be unpaid.

When I perceived there was a probability of bringing to light the proceedings in the vicinity of Barnsley I found it would be necessary to advance with caution some small Sums of money, & in the first instance I never advanced more to the persons, upon whose evidence the Luddites were afterwards convicted, than was necessary to pay their expences from Barnsley to Sheffield when they came over to give information, so that it could not be considered as the price of their evidence. When the time was arrived for apprehending certain of the Luddites I advanced twenty Pounds for sending the two Witnesses to Shrewsbury not only for their own protection until the Assizes but to prevent their being tampered with by the Friends & accomplices of the Prisoners, & after Trials, I assisted Broughton, (who was the first person that gave me information) with ten Pounds that he might leave the Kingdom & settle at Dublin, the other Witness went for a Soldier. I shld add that all this was done with the advice & concurrence of my Brother Magistrates, & the sending of the Witnesses to Shrewsbury was known & approved of by Genl. Maitland who attended some of the Examinations at Sheffield.

These are the circumstances & I am persuaded I have only occasion to mention them to induce Lord Sidmouth to order the Treasury to repay to me these Sums, which together amount to Thirty Seven Pounds three Shillings £37. 3. 0.

During the disturbances that took place in Sheffd & the vicinity in April & August 1812 some of the Peace Officers were particularly active & employed for a few weeks both night & day in keeping the Peace—& two or three of them were frequently exposed to much personal danger in mixing with the disaffected in their nocturnal meetings held in the Fields. By means of information brought to me by one of them I was enabled to surprize one of the Assemblies, & by the aid of a small band of Soldiers made 23 prisoners.

We have no means of rewarding these useful men unless you furnish the Funds. I shd be glad to distribute amongst them 5 Gues a piece. I leave the question however to your discretion & hope if not irregular his Majesty's Government may agree the ward Persons alluded to. They are 7 in Number.

Believe me, to remain Dear Sir
very truly yr’s
H. Parker

P.S. I shd be obliged to you to pay the money, after the circumstances have been submitted to Lord Sidmouth to Messrs Morland & Ransom. Pall Mall on my account

To John Beckett

This letter can be found at HO 42/135.

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