Monday, 12 May 2014

12th May 1814: The Memorial of the spy, John McDonald

To The Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Humble Memorial of John MacDonald of Manchester in the County of Lancaster Labourer Sheweth that early in the year one thousand eight hundred and Twelve the Counties of Lancaster York and Chester were unhappily disturbed by Riots and Societies were formed for the administration of illegal Oaths and for purposes intended to subvert the order and Government of this County—

That Generals Maitland and Ackland on the third day of July one thousand eight hundred and Twelve with the concurrence of the magistrates for the district of Manchester employed your memorialist to go from Manchester into Yorkshire for the purpose of entering into the before mentioned unlawful societies with the view of detecting and suppressing the same and the mischiefs intended thereby and engaged that your memorialist should be handsomely rewarded for undertaking so dangerous a service—

That your memorialist accordingly went into Yorkshire and entered into a society in Halifax and had there an unlawful Oath administered to him and entered into the plans of the society and afterwards gave information to General Ackland and Prosecutions were carried on at York against several of the parties in which prosecutions your memorialist attended as a Witness and upon his evidence several the persons charged were convicted and transported

That your memorial list is a poor man and engaged in the before mentioned undertaking which he knew to be exceedingly perilous for the purpose of serving his Country.

That he has not received any compensation for the services rendered on this occasion and he most humbly conceived that his case is entitled to consideration.

Your Memorialist therefore prays that the circumstances of this claim may be taken into consideration and that such measures may be adopted for making him some compensation as in your Lordships direction may seem [meet]

The + mark of John McDonald

We the undersigned Magistrates acting within the Division of Manchester do certify that the Facts stated the foregoing memorial are true—Witness our hands this twelfth Day of May 1814

WR Hay
M. A. Farrington
R. Wright
J. Silvester

This document can be found at HO 42/139. In a letter of the same day, Manchester JPs recommended that McDonald should be paid £50.

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