Monday, 26 May 2014

26th May 1814: The Reverend Becher reports a meeting with Leicestershire magistrates to the Home Office

26 May 1814.

Dear Sir,

I have been prevented from communicating with the Rev. Mr. Storey by the absence of his Son from this County. Yesterday however Mr. John Story who acts as a Magistrate both for Nottinghamshire & Leicestershire & Mr. Philip [Storer] who act for the latter County, waited upon me.—As Mr. Philip Story was present when his father took the depositions transmitted to Lord Sidmouth and had examined very minutely the premises at Donnington when the outrage was committed, we [informed] very fully upon the subject. They had very much over-ated the pecuniary resources of the Union Society; and were of opinion that much might have been effected towards discovering the Offenders by sending down some intelligent Magistrate or some Bow Street Officer—as to the funds of the Society I convinced them that their amount had been much exaggerated; and on stating the result of the visit made by Mr. Conant & Mr. Baker to Nottingham & the Bow Street Officers who I knew had been identified by the Delegates for the express purpose of avoiding them,—I think I convinced them that our own personal exertions must constitute the chief instrument towards the preservation of the peace & the punishment of offenders.—At the same time I mentioned that I had been expressly desired by you take the earliest opportunity of assuring Mr. Story, that Lord Sidmouth entertained an earnest disposition to afford the Magistracy in the disturbed Counties every countenance & support that could be consistently granted for protecting the civil authorities in their endeavours to bring the perpetrators of the prevailing outrages to justice—This appeared quite satisfactory—[The] Mrs Storys lamented the terror pervading the Manufacturers as well as the workmen who may have incurred the displeasure of the Society; but I could not discover that they had devised or collected any suggestions that were likely to conclude towards the detection of the principals or the suppression of the mischief.—

Unless you instruct me to the contrary I shall prosecute my enquiries with unabating vigilance & assiduity but will not trouble you unless when some occurrence of importance authorises me to address you

I have [etc]
John T. Becher.

[To] John Beckett Esq
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/39.

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