Saturday, 29 March 2014

29th March 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham informs the Home Office of threats made against a Hosier

Nottingham, 29th March 1814.

Dear Sir,

Yesterday a most respectable Manufacturer of this Town with whom I have the Honour to be upon the most amicable footing one of the Gentlemen who were deputed to go to London during the Discussion of the Bill brought into Parliament by the Frameworkknitters during the last Sessions Mr James Hooley brought me the Original of the Letter of which you have a Copy on the other side. The Men are endeavouring to procure from the Manufacturers an advance in the rate of Wages which Mr Hooley has been adverse to grant from a Conviction that if it be extended as far as they wish it will increase the Price of the Manufactured Article so as to injure if not destroy the Sale of it in the foreign Market. Mr Hooley is a Man of a most intrepid & decided Character but one who has acted with great kindness & Attention to the real wants of the working Hand during the time of their Distress. He has now informed his workmen that if any of the Manufacturers choose to employ his Men at a higher rate of Wages he will suffer them to work his Frames to the [other] Houses at the increased rate & be contented with receiving only his Frame Rent. Mr Hooley has done me the Honour to state that he has made this Communication to me from his entire confidence in the Attention & Exertion of the Mayor & Aldermen if they should be required. He has desired me to communicate the Letter to Sir George Wood & has authorized me to send a Copy of it to you for the Information of Lord Sidmouth. He is not apprehensive of a personal attack upon himself altho’ he is of all Men the most liable to it from his residence is about a Mile & an half out of the Town. If Mr Hooley had not adverted to the circumstance which I took the liberty of mentioning in my last Letter you must be convinced that this Letter could not have done otherwise than bring it forcibly to my recollection, but he was aware of that occurrence & adverted to it in very strong & pointed language imputing considerable blame to those who might be considered responsible for it. I told him that I had written to you on the subject. Mr Hooley is Disposed to fear that we shall have some Trouble with these Frameworknitters & that it will arise out of their Organization & the Funds they have provided for controlling the Masters in the Conduct of their Business. I shall therefore immediately set about procuring Information on this point & you may Depend upon hearing from me on the subject as soon as I can learn anything that is worthy of Detail. I do not think that any good but much mischief would arise from any Publication of this Letter in the Gazette with Rewards offered for the Discovery of the Writer & so strong & decided an opinion does Mr Hooley entertain on this point that he would not have consented to my sending it you without speculating that this use should not be made of it. I beg that you will communicate this Letter to Lord Sidmouth in any way you may judge proper & assure him that I shall always have great pleasure when I can be of Service in promoting the Peace & good Order of the Country

I am Dear Sir

Yours very truly

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

This letter can be found at HO 42/138.

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