Monday, 28 April 2014

28th April 1814: George Coldham sends more information about the stockingers Union to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 28th April 1814

My Lord,

I am very much gratified in being enabled to assure your Lordship that the Practice of Framebreaking has been to the present laid aside—The Magistrates are very much gratified to perceive by your Lordship’s last Letter that they were under an entire misapprehension respecting the expiration of the Revision of the Watch & Ward Act. Mr. Lewis Alsopp and Mr Alderman Ashwell my Brother Mr Alderman Coldham and myself within these last few Days had several Consultations on the subject of the present State of this District. All these Gentlemen were Members of the Committee appointed by the Corporation Nottm during the existence of the late Disturbances to assist the civil power in defence of the publick Peace & from former experience we are all of us disposed to repose the most entire confidence in each other’s Zeal and Discretion in the Service of the Publick. Considering the State of Parties here it is very important to those who watch over the Proceedings of the Societies respecting whom I have before communicated to your Lordship to have a Channel of Information connected with each of the political parties here open & accessible to them. We are all of us disposed to think that the great Arm of the United Society the executive Committee is here in Nottingham & if it be we have little hesitation in pointing out some if not all of its Members. We should be glad to have sent down to us one of the printed Constitutions of this Union. It is proper perhaps to inform your Lordship that the Secret Committee of this Corperation has closed its Accounts & is supposed by the Corperation to be fundus officio we who have been lately brought to act in concert on this subject are unanimous in our opinion that it would not be Desireable to have any avowed renewal of the Powers of that Committee because much mischief would arise from any Steps which would have a tendency to shew the persons connected with these Societies that they were under the vigilant Inspection of the Magistrates or the Police. The Bellman of this Town had my Directions some time ago to cry all Meetings of these Societies because I was persuaded in this way we should be more likely to come at the persons & their manner & time of meeting & he has at my request constantly endeavoured to watch over & make out what Information he could respecting them. With little variation he saw that almost all the Meetings are held at the Newton’s Head, Glasshouse Lane kept by one Rollet - that the Money in his Judgement is paid weekly there by the Members of the Society & that the Books containing the Accounts relating thereto are brought there for the purpose of keeping an Account thereof. We think Gravenor Henson Willm Simpson Willm. Latham John Lowater & one Savage are members of the executive [Meiney] or the Committee having the Charge of the Funds of the Society. He has seen all these men continually at Rollet’s but Willm. Simpson Savage & one Vale have been generally those who have given in Directions to give Notice of Meetings relating to the Trade—It is a most Difficult matter to find a Frameworknitter upon whom we can rely to obtain & give us Information Every constable as such is known & is more or less an object of suspicion. It is astonishing how clearly we can perceive that some of the leading Characters as we believe of these formidable Societys are engaged must continually in watching the movements of all Persons evidently acting in opposition to them. I have little Doubt that the late breaking of Frames were Directed by the executive Committee of the Union. In consequence of the more peaceable Demeanour of the People & understood order from the Societies not to break any more Frames the Magistrates have found themselves at liberty to Dispense with the Piquet Guard — which until this moment has been under orders to turn out at an Instants Notice to assist either the Constables or the military Guard of Infantry who in constant preparation for the same purpose as the Guard Recess in a centrical Situation in the Town. I beg to assure your Lordship that no Step shall be omitted to obtain Information & that you may Depend upon our being upon the alert & I am sure the Magistrates of the Town are most anxious that in any way which the Law will justify them in putting an End to this most dangerous & hitherto successful combination.

I am My Lord,
Your’s very obediently

Geo Coldham

[To] Lord Sidmouth

This letter can be found at HO 42/138.

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