Saturday, 22 March 2014

22nd March 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham complains to the Home Office about the disposal of weapons by the military

Nottingham 22d. March 1814


Dear Sir,

I should have been glad to have heard from you again on the subject of your last Letter to me unless I could infer that Lord Sidmouth’s View of the question was changed by the Information which I afforded him. There is certainly many Symptoms of, of an Increase of Plan System & Organization amongst all the labouring Mechanics throughout the Kingdom. I have endeavoured to obtain more Information on the Subject & when I do I will communicate with you. In the mean time a Circumstance has occurred which I am directed by the Mayor to communicate to you for Lord Sidmouth’s Information. It is by no means the wish of the Mayor to interfere or to censure the Conduct of the Military here but they can not behold with Indifference the Sale of a very considerable quantity of Swords cast off from the Military disposed of here in Nottm at the rate of about 2 or 3 to any Person indifferently who might apply to purchase them. Mr. Alderman Swann as Deputy Mayor called at my Office this Morning & we having heard a Report that 500 old cast off Swords had been disposed of in the Town within these two Weeks last past sent for the Broker (Mr John Blackwell) who was stated to have sold them. Mr Blackwell is a very respectable man but he seemed anxious to decrease as much as might the Extent of his Sale but he admitted he has sold abt 80 on Account of the Officers or Government as we understood of the 9th Regimt of Dragoons. I am sure that in a population like ours it cannot be adviseable for them to be enabled to purchase Swords at such a Price as 2 [shillings] a Sword which was about the Average Price for Blackwell stated that he sold them without Scabbards for 1 [shilling] or one [shilling sixpence] or with Scabbards for 2 [shillings] or 2 [shillings sixpence]. Without our appearing to meddle with this Business Mr Alderman Swann trusts that Lord Sidmouth will make some communication to the War Office or we shall be ready to do it if he wishes it to come thro’ that Channel which may have a tendency to prevent the placing Arms in the Hands of the commonest of the People here In case of any popular Inflammation or if Struggles between the Masters & the Workmen they might become the Parent of infinite mischief.

I am Dear Sir.
Your obliged & [abl] Servt
Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

This letter can be found at HO 42/138.

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