Saturday, 7 June 2014

7th June 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Secretary on the Hosiers' Secret Committee

My Lord

Nottingham 7th June 1814.—

Soon after the appointment of the Secret Committee by a very numerous Meeting of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers of this Town I had the honour of communicating for your Lordships Information the manner in which that appointment was made and my opinion of the Gentleman who constituted it. I then represented that the state of the Manufacture here called for some controuling and energetic Representatives of the whole body of the Manufacturers whose safety and whose success would depend upon the concealment of their personal Identity.—I certainly flattered myself that your Lordship’s good Opinion of me would give some weight to the Opinion which I had taken the liberty to express respecting these Gentlemen, but I was aware that much more weight was attached to the manner of their Appointment which however it might be purposely enveloped in mistery carried upon the face of it strong and imperious title to Confidence because it was impossible that any but persons of the most unquestionable integrity and ability could be so appointed or venture to accept and act upon such an Appointment.—I can not notwithstanding say, that I was satisfied with the extent of the Information I was impowered to give to your Lordship on the subject of this Committee and I made the communication in a certain degree confidentially to Mr. Beckett with the express purpose of inviting the expression of his private opinion to me upon the subject if it should appear to him incomplete.—I have however received no hint from him on this subject as I should always gladly do if he will at any time do me the favour of addressing himself to me confidentially.—I have now no hesitation to state to your Lordship that it was not in my power then to give that complete information of the members of the Committee which I could have wished as being most respectful to you because one of the Secret Committee Mr. Matthew Needham was out of Town when he was appointed and he did not return till Friday last and had not determined finally upon accepting the appointment until Sunday, and I am sure your Lordship will perceive that I could not make the names of these Gentleman known without their express permission so to do.—I therefore could not know but that the whole Constitution of the Committee might be disarranged until Mr Needham's acceptance of the Office.—I have now the authority of the Secret Committee to state to your Lordship for your own Government, with an express understanding that this communication is made in the confidence that it will not be communicated to any one except Mr. Beckett or the persons about your Lordship to whom it may be necessary that it should be known that the originally appointed Secret Committee consist of Thomas Carpenter Smith of Nottingham, Matthew Needham of Lenton Esquire and Joseph Churchill of Nottingham and that they have agreeable to a power vested in them appointed John Parker Junr. and Mr. James Hooley who are not known to the Constituents of the Secret Committee here to be members of it and by these Gentlemen all the business of this Committee assisted by myself has been conducted.—

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

This letter can be found at HO 42/139.

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