Monday, 7 April 2014

7th April 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham reports that Hosiers are yielding to Luddite demands

My Lord,

I am honored with Mr. Beckett’s letter of the 6th April written to me by direction of your Lordship, in consequence of my letter to him of the 4th Instant communicating to you that three frames the property of Messrs Needham and Nixon had been lately broken at Kimberley on the night of the 2d Instant.—I have lost no time in laying before the Deputy Mayor Mr. Alderman Swann, your Lordship’s letter and I am by him directed to apprize your Lordship that at the solicitation of Mr. Needham on the 5th Instant two of our most active Constables were sworn in Constables for the County of Nottingham in order to go over to Kimberley to investigate and endeavour to trace out the persons implicated in this daring outrage and I know that they have been ever since engaged in the Inquiry, but with what success I have not yet learned.—Messrs Needham and Nixon's are most anxious to discover the persons engaged in this daring Violation of their Property and most determined to prosecute them, if discovered. I have reason to know this from personal Communication with Mr. Needham who has advised with me on the subject.

Mr. Alderman Swann, in the absence of the Mayor desires me to assure Lord Sidmouth that he may depend upon the utmost exertions of the Magistracy of this Town if they should appear to be necessary to maintain the Public tranquillity; but Lord Sidmouth may be assured that this is a question entirely distinct from all feelings of Party Spirit, or attachment or disaffection to the State of the Administration for the time being. It is simply an Attempt on the part of the men to induce their masters to raise their wages to accomplish which they have had recourse to Intreaties and means to intimidate.—Messrs Needham and Nixon are amongst the most respectable Hosiers in the Trade but they have been one of the leading Houses, in refusing to advance 2d. a pair to a certain Description of the Workmen who have requested and demanded it of their masters.—Their Frames have been broken to intimidate them into a compliance with this demand. From a considerable intimacy with Mr. Needham I know that this line of conduct would not have had its desired effect upon them but the Trade have pretty unanimously determined to agree to the advance and in consequence they have reluctantly and against their Judgement, been compelled to submit with the rest.—

I have reason to think that this submission, which I lament is a most ungenerous mode of procedure towards Messrs Needham and Nixons on the part of the General Body of Hosiers and a most impolitic act on the part of themselves, will however for the present, produce a total Cessation of all hostilic movement on the part of the Frameworkknitters, and I have reason to know that the Hosiers entertain the same opinion on the subject. If however anything occurs of sufficient importance to be communicated to your Lordship you may depend upon hearing from me.—

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

7th April, 1814

This letter can be found at HO 42/138.

No comments:

Post a Comment