Thursday, 8 May 2014

8th May 1814: George Coldham informs the Home Secretary about suspicions that the Editor of the Nottingham Review is involved in Luddism

Nottingham 8th May 1814

My Lord,

In consequence of a Conference with Mr Allsopp I Determined on Wednesday last to go over to Donington to see if I could learn any thing which might be useful to us here in the progress of our Investigation of the Organization & Influence of the Union Society. I reached Donington at 9 OClock on the Morning of that Day but Mr Simon Orgill was already gone to Leckington & had been making a Deposition which had been Dispatched to your Lordship by Mr Story. On his return I learn’d from him that he very much suspected that John Blackner who is the Writer for the most part of the Nottingham Review was one of the Principals in the Union Society and that he had been engaged in the management of the Attack made upon his Property. Simon Orgill formed this opinion on the main from his having in his Judgement for some time past rendered Blackner his declared & determined Enemy by having endeavoured to persuade & advise Mr Sutton the Editor of the Review to Discharge him from his Office of Editor he Orgill being persuaded that the mischievous principles of the Paper & particularly the manner in which all circumstances relating to the very improper combination amongst the Workmen were spoken of in that Paper were intirely to be ascribed to Blackner. I learned from Mr Orgill that he had been enabled to swear to the Voice of one of the Assailants of his House but that Mr Story the Magistrate after taking the opinion of a very judicious Solicitor upon it (Mr Locket of Derby) had Determined to Discharge the Prisoner. who was put into Custody upon Mr Orgill’s Statement. I Doubt myself whether it would have been wise to have committed him whether there was a chance of conviction or no for the sake of making this More a Touchstone to try & sift out his connection with the Heads of the Plot here. Simon Orgill came to our Office on Friday & has put into our Hands the management of his Business in recovering Damages of the Hundred & he is Determined & Disposed to do every thing and any thing that he can to Detect & give Information against the Leaders of the Association here. On Wednesday Night an anonymous Letter was put into the Police Office in a fictitious Hand stating that the Writer was anxious to give Information that an Attack for the purpose of breaking Frames will be made on Friday Night at Mansfield. The Writer also promised to give further Information respecting Orgills Attack. In consequence of receiving this Letter from our Constable Hilburn I Dispatched one of my Clerks to Colonel Need at Mansfield after having gone myself to General Burnes Aide de Camp to ascertain our force here & offered to dispatched any Dragoons from here he might wish. My Clerk returned early in the Afternoon Colonel Need being enabled to assemble a sufficient force from the Yeomanry Cavalry to repel & Defeat any Attempt to break Frames there & judging very wisely that any movement of Troops would tend to give alarm & prevent the Attempt being made. A Billet in a similar Hand writing was put into the Gazette Office & published whether this was the Cause of the Attempt not being made at Mansfield I know not but none such occurred. It is however singular that at 11. oClock on Saturday Morning a Woman reported it in Nottingham to great many Frames had been broken in Mansfield. Simon Orgill has given me Information of a Man here concerned in his Outrage and has left at our Police Office the Hammer with [which] the mischief was done and he is to send a Warrant here from Mr Story to apprehend this man from whom we expects we can extract some important Information. The Union Society were engaged in Orgills Business for they Distinctly offered to his Men Money to leave give Information to assist in the Business.

I am in haste

My Lord
Your Lordships most obedt & Faithful Servt.

Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

This letter can be found at HO 42/139.

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