Nottingham 2d. July 1814
On Friday Sennight last we summoned before the Magistrates in the Name of Messrs Rays but in reality under the direction of the Secret Committee a great number of Mr Ray's Master Hands under a Charge made against them by the managing Warehouseman of Messrs Rays of having neglected their Work in the hope that these Men could have been induced as one Man to step forward & put an End to this nefarious Combination. At first we seemed likely to be successful—one of the Master Hands came forward & told us the plain Truth he acknowledged that he believed that [they could if this charge] put a Stop to these proceedings by forcing the Men to work & preventing the Contributions to the Combination but he called upon us to obtain for him a fair & reasonable proportion of the other Master Hands to act with him He expected their cooperation but he was mistaken there was only one other he [illegible] disposed to act a similar part tho’ [illegible] appeared devoted to the Combination & had committed themselves beyond the power of retracting. There was some Satisfaction in coming at the Truth altho’ it boded us much more trouble than we first anticipated. But we have taken up some also of Mr Ray's Journeymen in consequence of [being] possessed of some private Information respecting them & any of the [mouth] a few of these I obtained Information which implicated three of the leading Members of the Committee three of the leading Managers & Directors of the whole Society by Saturday I went over in consequence of this Information to Mr Balguy our Recorder my Notice was that we ought to spare with Expence or [spare] no Trouble if predictable to make the Blow sure. With this Impression strong upon me It occurred to me that it would be adviseable if possible to get Mr Balguy to attend the Magistrates on the Conviction of the Offenders who are liable on for a separate Charge to three month’s Imprisonment in order that in the first Instance they might be liberated if it was [illegible] that the thing would not hold Water & that if they could legally be convicted, the parties might comprehend that after an Appeal to the Sessions there was little hopes of Mr Balguy’s reversing his own Judgement. Mr Balguy however declined attending altho’ he was of opinion that the parties might be [convicted]. As however there was much nicety in the form of the Conviction I thought it but to proceed still with the [but] legal assistance at Hand & immediately wrote to Mr John Balguy to London to urge him to come down as soon as possible to attend upon the Magistrates at the Conviction as Counsel for the Crown. Mr John Balguy came down, & he is strongly of opinion we shall succeed. We have held a Consultation with him & with my Brother & Alderman Ashwell the two Aldermen who has taken upon themselves the Conduct of this Business & we have determined to enter upon the Business on Monday evening & to endeavour to seize the parties implicated on that Evening in the midst of their Papers & to take their [obscured] away along with them. It is much to be regretted [obscured] the Nottingham Gazette (whose violence I am sure can not be to them the most agreeable way of supporting Ministers) has published the Organization of the Society & the first Minutes of the Conference. If it had not there might have remained some doubts as to our course of Conduct but after this I can entertain no probable objections to our striking at over at the Committee The State of the Trade is putting them down & I hope they can't stand long but we [illegible] not I am well aware [illegible] our Vigilance on Account of any Appearance of Stillness
Your’s very truly
[To John Beckett]
This letter can be found at HO 42/140.